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The Courting of Eggsy Unwin

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            “Wot the fuck, Harry? Y’ berk, wot are y’ doing here?” Eggsy demanded as he crossed the sidewalk towards Harry, who stood just outside of the café, unsuspecting of Eggsy. As far as Eggsy knew, Harry was still in Brussels with Arthur dealing with a diplomatic matter. He hadn’t thought the agent was due back for another two weeks. Yet here he was, standing with a cup of coffee in hand, jacket thrown over one arm, and briefcase in the other hand.

            Where was his umbrella? Harry never went anywhere without his Rainmaker.

            Harry turned to look at Eggsy, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. There wasn’t a shred of recognition in his eyes. “I beg your pardon?”

            “Why didn’t y’ call me? I thought we said we’d get a pint when y’ got back,” Eggsy said, trying not to come off too petulant. But he enjoyed their tradition of going for drinks after each mission. It reminded him of the first time they met, sitting in the Black Prince. Eggsy wouldn’t say it out loud, but he still thought of that day—very fondly, he might add—and it may or may not have been reoccurring material in his spank bank.

            “I’m sorry, but I think you have me confused with someone else,” Harry said—with a straight face—and then turned around.

            Eggsy’s eyebrows shot up. Was this some new test Harry was trying to pull? If so, what was the purpose?

            “Very funny Harry. Does Merlin know y’re back?” Eggsy pressed, not walking away.

            “Who?” Harry asked with a frown. He turned back around, frowning at Eggsy. It was only then that Eggsy realized something was off about him. He wasn’t in his normal bespoke suit—though this one looked perfectly tailored for his long, lean body—and his normally gelled back hair was soft and untamed. Eggsy itched to run his fingers through it. He bet it felt like downy feathers.

            But… if this wasn’t Harry—and it had to be, he had Harry’s face—than who was it? A million scenarios ran through Eggsy’s head. Had there been an accident Merlin hadn’t told him about and now Harry had amnesia? There had been that fear when he returned from Kentucky still in a coma. For three long months Eggsy had kept vigil by Harry’s bedside, terrified Harry would wake up and not remember who he was.

            “I’m sorry, but as I said, I think you have the wrong person,” Harry—or the man that looked like Harry—said. He didn’t turn around this time. Instead he studied Eggsy, gaze raking over him, seeming to finally take notice of who Eggsy was.

            The hairs on the back of Eggsy’s neck stood up. There was definitely a flash of something in those honeyed eyes. A hunger that Eggsy had searched for in Harry’s own gaze time and time again and found nothing.

            “My bad,” Eggsy said, frowning. “Y’ just looked a lot like my mate. Sorry.”

            Not-Harry smiled, albeit awkwardly, like he didn’t know how to respond, and then said, “It’s quite alright. It happens.” He paused a beat, and then asked, “Did you ask if I was Harry?”

            “Yeah,” Eggsy answered warily. “Why, y’ know him?”

            “Looks just like me?”

            “Y’ could be his doppelganger.”

            Not-Harry sighs and says, “Yes, that’s what I thought.”

            “Care to clue me in bruv on wot y’ thought?” Eggsy pressed. Did this bloke know Harry? Maybe he was with Kingsman? No, no one had ever mentioned doubles before.

            Not-Harry blinked, startled. It was almost as if it hadn’t occurred to him that Eggsy would want to know what he was going on about.

            “Oh, right, terribly sorry.” He flushed, and Eggsy can’t help but think how adorable it is. There’s something wonderful about this Not-Harry. An innocence that Harry doesn’t have; he hasn’t been jaded by the world yet. “I believe you’re looking for my twin brother, though I haven’t seen him in a year.”

            Twin brother?

            Eggsy hadn’t been expecting that.

            Not-Harry held out his hand, his timid smile warming, and Eggsy’s heart fluttered. “My names Mark Darcy, by the way.”

            Eggsy accepted his hand, his own lingering longer than was technically appropriate. “Eggsy,” he said. Without letting go of Mark’s hand, Eggsy repeated, “Y’re Harry’s brother?”

            “Yes, I’m afraid so.” Mark chuckled. He didn’t let go of Eggsy’s hand, and didn’t comment on the fact that Eggsy still held his. “Oldest, though he’ll tell you otherwise.”

            Eggsy smirked. “Sounds like him.” He looked down at their hands, only then realizing they were still together, and quickly let go. “Well, I should go. Sorry to bug y’.”

            “Oh, right.” Confusion flashed across Mark’s face, but he quickly covered it up with a polite smile. “Pleasure to meet you, Eggsy.”

            “Pleasure was mine,” Eggsy said. Really.

            He didn’t turn and leave, though he knew he was supposed to. Mark blinked, head tilted to the side. After a few minutes, Mark asked, “Weren’t… weren’t you going?”

            Right, fuck. Way to look like an idiot.

            “Right, sorry.” He didn’t leave. He couldn’t. For whatever reason, he was absolutely charmed by the bumbling man with Harry’s face. But the longer Eggsy studied Mark, the more he noticed minute differences. There was more gray in Mark’s hair, especially at the temples, and there was a gentleness in his eyes that Harry’s didn’t hold. They were a paler shade of brown, a café de leche instead of a black espresso.

            “Would y’ like to get coffee some time?” Eggsy blurted out, punctuating the question with his trademark smile. When in doubt, whip the dimples out.

            Eggsy wasn’t sure what to expect. He didn’t even know if Mark was bi or gay or pan—hell, he could have been ace—but he figured it didn’t hurt to ask.

            “That would be nice,” Mark said.

            Eggsy perked up. He handed Mark his phone and said, “Add y’r number.”

            Mark hesitated for a moment, but then accepted the iPhone and typed in his digits. When Eggsy got the phone back, he immediately fired off a text. “There’s mine. I’ll text y’ later, okay?”

            Laughter lit up Mark’s eyes, and Eggsy decided he liked the ring of sticky syrup that circled his pupils. “Alright, I look forward to it.”

            Eggsy winked and then turned and left, a visible skip in his step. It didn’t dawn on him until he was back at Kingsman that asking Mark out could’ve been construed as a betrayal to Harry. But Eggsy had been chasing after Harry for a year now—over, really, if you counted his training—and Harry hadn’t made shown a lick of interest. Eggsy cared about Harry—more than cared, honestly—but he couldn’t keep chasing after a pipe dream. At least Mark was interested.

Chapter Text

            In the span of two weeks they’d been on two coffee dates, one night out at the bar, two dinners, and seen a movie together. After their first coffee date, which happened two days after Eggsy met Mark, they’d seen each other about every other day.

            “You know, it’s usually polite to look a person in the eyes when you’re speaking with them,” Roxy stated, a smile belying her brisk cadence. “Talking to Mark again?”

            “No,” Eggsy lied, then amended when Roxy narrowed her eyes at him, “Yes. We were talking about grabbing dinner tonight. I told him I’d let him know in a little bit—not sure if Merlin had a mission for him.”

            “And what date number is this? Eight? You’ve seen him almost every day since you’ve met him,” Roxy said. “When do I get to meet this mysterious Mark?”

            Eggsy flushed. He hadn’t been able to hide Mark completely from Roxy, especially when he ended up canceling their plans to go to a bar in order to meet Mark for dinner. But he knew the moment Roxy met Mark, realized that he looked exactly like Harry, she would freak. She wouldn’t understand that while yes, Mark did share Harry’s face—that he was by all technicalities related, a fact that Eggsy had confirmed himself after a bit of records digging—he wasn’t anything like Harry.

            Where Harry was theatrics and violence and deadly elegance, Mark was awkward and stable and charmingly fumbling. Mark was as much of a gentleman as Harry, and they both shared a linear mind when it came to problem solving, but that was where the similarities ended.

            Mark may have been Harry’s twin, but he wasn’t Harry, and Eggsy liked him for that.

            “I don’t know, it isn’t serious yet,” Eggsy answered with a shrug.

            Roxy huffed and took a swig of water. They’d just finished sparring, both slick with sweat and sore-muscled. Eggsy’s shoulder was particularly stiff after a flip Roxy had performed on him.

            “Not serious? You guys haven’t left eachother’s side since you met. You’re looking at your phone right now!” Roxy accused.

            Eggsy winced and smiled at her sheepishly, putting his phone away. He hadn’t meant to keep checking it.

            “It’s only been two weeks, Rox. We haven’t even had sex yet.”

            “You haven’t?” Roxy stage whispered. Her eyes bulged out of her head in a similar fashion as JB’s did.

            “Fuck, no need to sound so scandalized. It ain’t that big of a deal, is it?”

            “Eggsy, you take every honey pot mission you can. And every guy and girl you’ve dated, you’ve bedded by date two. This is going on date… nine? Have you at least kissed him.”

            “Yeah, he kissed me,” Eggsy grumbled, scowling at Roxy. “And oi, y’ make me sound like some kind of whore.”

            “Eggsy, you are a whore,” Roxy said. “And was this a kiss-kiss, or a peck on the cheek?”

            “Retired,” Eggsy pointed out, and Roxy rolled her eyes. “And what if it’s a peck on the cheek? We’re taking it slow. Besides, he’s still going through his divorce.”

            “He’s married?” Roxy hissed, then promptly slapped Eggsy’s sore shoulder.

            “Ow! Wot was that for?” Eggsy demanded, digging his heel into the joint of his shoulder and rubbing.

            “Idiot, what are you thinking? You know this’ll only end badly.”

            “How? It ain’t like he’s using me for sex. He’s getting divorced Rox—and no, stop, don’t give me that look—I’m serious. They’re really done. And besides, it’s why we’re taking it slow. He didn’t want to do the dishonorable thing—don’t hit me again!” He scooted away from Roxy’s raised hand. “I like him Rox, I really do. And since—”

            He clamped his mouth shut, not finishing that train of thought.

            Roxy’s gaze softened and she lowered her hand. She sighed, shoulders slumping with defeat. Everyone knew how hung up Eggsy was on Harry—that was, everyone but Harry. He’d been pining over Harry long before he joined Kingsman, and it had only become more painfully obvious when Harry made performed his Lazarus effect. But loving Harry Hart was like loving the moon. Eggsy could never actually have it.

            So he was trying to move on. And Mark made him happy. Made him believe that maybe, just maybe, he could. That there was life after the disaster that was Harry Hart.

            Eggsy had never felt more appreciated, more adored, more cared for. Mark didn’t treat him like everyone else. He didn’t know Eggsy was a spy. Didn’t know about his colored past. All he saw was Eggsy, and that was all Eggsy wanted.

            Roxy sighed and set her water bottle on the bench. “You really like this guy?”

            “Yeah, I do Rox,” Eggsy murmured, mouth twitching in an involuntary smile. He couldn’t help it. Every time he thought of Mark, his stomach twisted, as if an entire migration of butterflies were traveling through his body.

            “Okay, fine. But I want to meet him soon,” Roxy said.

            “Okay,” Eggsy agreed, though he added mentally, but not too soon.

            “So… what are you going to do when Harry returns?” Roxy asked. “You know he’s do back soon.”

            Eggsy’s stomach dropped, sending all the butterflies tumbling into the abyss. He’d forgotten about Harry’s return. No, that was a lie. It’d been there in the back of his mind, a needling worry he tried to pretend didn’t exist.

            “I don’t know. Not like I’m obligated to tell him, right?” Roxy gave him a deadpanned look. Eggsy huffed. “If he asks, I’ll tell him. But I ain’t bringing it up. Besides, I doubt he’ll care. Far as he’s concerned, I’m just his protégé.”

            “Right, that’s just it,” Roxy said. She shoved to her feet and started for the mat. “Ready for round two?”

            Eggsy groaned.

Chapter Text

     Eggsy fussed with his tie in front of the hall mirror. Mark had just texted him to let him know he was on his way. Eggsy had been ready for over an hour, but now he was questioning his wardrobe choice. It had taken him two hours to choose a suit and tie, and it was really ridiculous how flustered he was getting over a simple date. It wasn’t even like it was their first.

     But he got this flustered every time he went out with Mark. There was something about him that left Eggsy breathless and giddy, as if he were a kid again and just gotten off a merry-go-round.

     Eggsy hadn’t been like this with any of the other birds or blokes he dated. The only man to leave his heart racing like a rabbit’s had been Harry.

     Eggsy shoved all thoughts of Harry out of his head. The older agent was due back tomorrow, and Eggsy’s conversation with Harry was looming ever closer. There was a proverbial countdown clock ticking in his head.

     But tonight none of that mattered. All that mattered was Mark.

     A knock at the door jostled Eggsy from his worries. He smoothed a hand down his tie, the other through his hair, and determined that he looked damn fine.

     Eggsy opened the door and greeted, “Hey.”

     “Hello Eggsy,” Mark said, his eyes crinkling as his face split into a smile. Eggsy nearly collapsed from the weight of Mark’s attention, his gaze seeming to take all of Eggsy in with a single swoop, and an exhilarating kaleidoscope of emotions passed over his eyes. Mark didn’t even seem to know how to process them, because he ducked his head and kissed Eggsy’s cheek. “You look lovely.”

     Eggsy, emboldened by the compliment, turned his head and kissed the corner of Mark’s mouth. “Y’ don’t look too bad yourself,” Eggsy said with a wink.

     It was a cheesy line, but worth it when Mark’s cheeks pinked faintly, and he tried to hide his flush with a cough. Eggsy laughed and hooked his arm through Mark’s. “Come on, let’s go to dinner.”

     Mark transferred the umbrella he was carrying to his other hand. Black clouds bruised the sky, heavy with rain. An electricity crackled in the air around them, and Eggsy didn’t know if it was the building storms or them.

      Mark took him to a French bistro across from a park. From the window, Eggsy could watch the leaves rustle. The conversation flowed as easily as the bottle of wine they split. Eggsy ordered in French and delighted at the surprise in Mark’s eyes.

     Halfway through the meal, Mark was deep into a story of his childhood with Harry.

     “He was incorrigible,” Mark said with a chuckle. “We had a tutor, a dreadful woman by the name of Mrs. Bexley. Harry despised her. He did everything he could to try and scare her off. One time he filled her desk drawer with spiders.”

     Eggsy laughed. “He didn’t!”

     “He did,” Mark insisted. “Of course, to Harry’s chagrin, she was one step ahead of him. She had a can of bug spray on hand when she opened the drawer.”

     “Damn, he must have been pissed.” Eggsy grinned. He always knew Harry had been a little shit when he was younger. Eggsy was pretty sure that if Merlin had any hair left, Harry would have caused him to pull it out. “Wot about y’? Did y’ ever get into any trouble?”

     Mark sniffed and lifted his wine glass. “Certainly not.” He paused. “Well, not because I did something. People always got Harry and I mixed up, and good portion of the time I got in trouble for his follies.”

     “Yeah?” Eggsy set his fork down, nudging his plate away. He folded his arms across the table and leaned forward, gaze fixed on Mark. “So y’ did nothing than? Not even a little something?”

     “Well…” Mark studied his wine glass thoughtfully, swirling the red liquid around. “I may have had my share of pranks, though usually they were on Harry.”

     “I bet y’ both were such a handful.”

Eggsy couldn’t wait to tease Harry. The thought made him pause. Of course, Harry may not like him knowing so much about his past. It wasn’t like they discussed it. Harry hadn’t even mentioned Mark to Eggsy.

“I was a perfect delight,” Mark said. “What about you? Were you a little angel when you were younger?”

Eggsy stiffened. He hadn’t mentioned anything about his past; about Dean and his mutts, about his years on the streets, about the drugs, or even his short stint in the Marines. He didn’t want to tarnish what they had—this beautiful, shiny thing—with something as ugly and disgusting as his past.

The minute Mark realized what Eggsy used to do, he’d cast Eggsy out.

He may do that when he realizes y’ve been lying about what y’ do.

The giddy bubbles that had been popping in his stomach all night went flat.

Who was he kidding? This entire relationship was doomed.

“Eggsy?” Mark asked, his eyebrows furrowed with concern.

Eggsy blinked, realizing he’d been silent too long. He hid his flush with a sip of wine and said, “Sorry, got lost in thought.”

Mark frowned, opening his mouth like he wanted to ask, but thankfully he didn’t.

“I was a hellion,” Eggsy teased.

Mark’s eyes twinkled, though it could have been a trick of the candlelight. “I couldn’t imagine that,” Mark said, visibly relaxing.

“I was,” Eggsy insisted. “When I was six, I tore the labels off all the cans of food in the cupboard. Mum was so pissed.”

“How horrid of you.” Mark chuckled.

After their plates were cleared, they decided to share a dessert. Eggsy cut into the chocolate cake and took a bite, moaning softly as it hit his mouth. “Oh, oh this is good,” Eggsy said, eagerly taking another bite. He may have even sucked on the spoon and flicked his tongue out to thoroughly clean it.

He paused when he looked at Mark, who was trying—and failing—to cover a smile. “Wot?” Eggsy asked, blinking.

Mark took his napkin and dipped it into his water glass. He reached over the table, saying, “You’ve got a little,” and cleaned Eggsy’s cheek.

Eggsy’s face turned red. “Oh, uh, thanks.”

Smooth, Eggsy.

When they finished, Eggsy wasn’t ready to say goodnight. It wasn’t fair how quickly the nights went. It felt like no sooner Mark picked Eggsy up, he was bringing him home.

“Do y’ want to go for a walk?” Eggsy asked.

Mark glanced at the sky, which rumbled ominously. Eggsy expected Mark to say no, but to his surprise, Mark offered his arm with that little smile of his, and said, “That sounds lovely.”

They cross the street and start down a dark, sinuous path. Street lamps illuminate the pathway the further they walk in the park, casting small coronas of light across the asphalt. There’s a tartness in the breeze that whips through the trees. It’s thick with rain, and Eggsy knows if they don’t turn back soon, they’ll get caught in the downpour.

But neither he or Mark suggest turning around. The conversation moved as easily as it did in the restaurant, until they somehow land on the subject of Mark’s ex-wife.

“Do y’ regret it?” Eggsy asked.

Mark paused and tipped his head in consideration. “No,” Mark answered, honestly. “I suppose I don’t. She’d been lovely, at least at one time. And for a brief moment we’d been happy, and I can’t say I regret that. But would I ever go back? No.”

Eggsy pondered what he said, his mind briefly going back to Harry, who would be preparing to get on a plane home soon.

Did he regret never taking a chance with Harry? Letting it slip past him until they’d somehow moved past that possibility of something more?

He looked up at Mark, and thought, no. Because then he wouldn’t have met Mark. He mourned all the futures he’d been denied with Harry, all the chances he could have had, but he didn’t regret it.

A drop of rain hit Eggsy’s cheek. Mark fluidly opened the umbrella to shield him. Eggsy moved closer, standing under the small circle of protection as the slow droplets turned into a downpour.

“Seems the rain finally caught up to us,” Mark murmured, chest to chest with Eggsy.

Eggsy smiled up at him. “Seems y’re right. Shame.”

“Yes, a terrible shame,” Mark agreed. He looped an arm around Eggsy’s waist.

Eggsy dropped his gaze to Mark’s mouth, which was tipped into that sweet smile that left him dizzy and breathless. They hadn’t kissed yet. He hadn’t gotten much more than pecks on the cheeks. He’d been dreaming of those lips. And now there they were, and he wondered if it be okay.

Mark leaned down and Eggsy tipped his head back. His breath caught.

Mark kissed him, gentle at first, like he was dipping his toes into the water, but then when their lips pressed together, he took the plunge. Eggsy looped his arms around Mark’s neck and opened his mouth to his tongue.

Rain soaked Eggsy’s hair and clothes, and he realized belatedly that Mark’s umbrella had slipped from his hand as he wrapped his other around Eggsy and hauled him close.

Eggsy didn’t care that he was soaked. All that mattered was Mark’s lips against his own and how his heart raced. Eggsy didn’t stop kissing him, even as the rain drenched him to the bone, and Mark never pulled away.

Chapter Text

Harry returned home around three in the afternoon. It hadn’t been an extremely hard mission. He’d mostly been a glorified bodyguard for Arthur. But it had been a long trip, one that left him drained and looking forward to being home. Sometimes dealing with the monotony of diplomacy was much worse than facing off against a war criminal.

When he returned, there was debriefing, then paperwork, and by the time he finished everything—including a shower, because he’d been an airplane for hours and needed to wash—it was close to six. He planned to text Eggsy to see if they were still on, but was delighted to find his boy waiting for him at the tailor shop.

“Welcome home,” Eggsy greeted.

He was dressed in a pair of dark pressed jeans and a crisp button down. The sight of Eggsy never failed to stop Harry. How couldn’t it? Eggsy was striking. He had the face of a Botticelli angel and the body of Michelangelo’s David; but even stripped of all aesthetic beauty—and there was plenty of it, with wide eyes that glimmered like jewels, and dimples Harry was sure he could swim in—Eggsy was still gorgeous. There was just something resplendent about him, in the way he smiled, in the laughter that sparkled in his eyes, and how even in the darkest of days, there was a light that shone from inside Eggsy.

It had been that light that had guided Harry back to the land of the living, that had helped him overcome months of physical therapy, had helped him readapt back into a world that had prodigiously changed in his short reprieve from it.

"I hope you weren't waiting long," Harry said.

“No,” Eggsy assured. “Only a few minutes. I went home for a bit, took care of Dais.”

“And how is our girl?” Harry asked, gesturing to the front door. He waved goodbye to Andrew, who manned the front.

“Misses y’. Kept asking about Uncle Harry. She got a new book and wants to show y’,” Eggsy said, beaming proudly.

Harry opened the door to the Kingsman cab and Eggsy slipped in. Harry instructed the driver to go to their usual bar, a pub not far from the shop called The White Pauper. They’d found it on a walk home from work one serendipitous fall evening and had both instantly fallen in love with the tavern.

“Well, you should bring her by sometime. It’s been far too long since you’ve been around, and I shan’t disappoint our princess. Besides, I may have a surprise or two for her from my latest trip.”

Harry glanced at Eggsy, who shook his head with a bemused smile. “Y’ spoil her,” Eggsy accused, without any real infliction.

“She deserves it,” Harry countered, supplying mentally, and so do you.

A strand of sandy blond hair broke from Eggsy’s mold and fell in his face. Harry’s hand twitched. It took all his control not to reach out and brush the stray strand of hair from Eggsy’s face. All he’d thought about while he’d been gone was the last conversation he had with Merlin, who had quite bluntly told him he needed to have a cranial rectalectomy and to “ask him out already”.

“Crazy, huh?” Eggsy said, laughing.

Harry blinked, realizing he’d zoned out. Thankfully he didn’t have to comment, because the cab came to a stop in front of the tavern. They climbed out and went inside, finding their usual booth tucked in the back. The tavern was dimly lit, but the warm woods that paneled the walls helped brighten the space so it was less of a dreary ambiance. There was a rich oaky scent that permeated with the smell of beer and peanuts.

“How was your trip?” Eggsy asked. He knew Harry couldn’t discuss much, all of their missions classified, but that didn’t stop them from sharing what they could. Of course, usually he had something more exciting to discuss.

“You don’t want to hear about it. I don’t even want to talk about it, it was dreadful,” Harry bemoaned, earning another small smile from Eggsy that sent his heart fluttering. He felt like a preteen again, woefully mooning after his crush. “I mostly played babysitter to a bunch of… how did you put it? Toffs.”

Eggsy laughed, head thrown back and mouth opened wide, and it was all Harry could do not to kiss him.

Eggsy didn’t want him. They were merely friends. Unique friends. Friends with raw, palpable sexual tension, and a rich history that could fuel even the most priggish of housewives. But friends, nonetheless. He was Eggsy’s mentor. A father figure.

Nothing more.

Eggsy didn’t want to be saddled with an old man. He deserved someone young, someone vibrant.

Someone, Harry thought, that wasn’t him. Half-broken and fully jaded by the world.

Eggsy shook his head. “Well, what did y’ tell me? Not every mission can be car chases and saving princesses.”

Harry sniffed. “No, I suppose not. But I’d prefer if they’d stop giving me these escort missions as if I’m some wet-eared agent fresh out of training.”

“Have you talked to Merlin? Told him you’re ready to take on more?” Eggsy asked. The sympathy in his eyes made Harry’s gut wrench. He knew what some of the other agents thought of him. How they pitied him.

He’d come out Kentucky with a head scar, reoccurring migraines, and tremor in his hand. While he still could shoot, his aim wasn’t what it used to be. The fact was he was an old horse in need of being put out to stable. But he wasn’t ready to go.

“We’ve spoken,” Harry murmured. The waitress brought their beers around and Harry took a sip of his Guinness.

Eggsy didn’t press, and Harry was thankful. He didn’t want to discuss his atrophic career.

“Tell me what you’ve been up to while I was gone,” Harry prompted, setting his beer down.

“Well, not much.” Eggsy squirmed, taking a sip of his beer. The glimmer of laughter in his eyes faded and he dodged Harry’s gaze.

Harry frowned. “Eggsy?”

Eggsy set his beer down, his mouth pressed into a thin line, and then let out a huffing sigh, and then said, “I met someone.”

The struck Harry’s heart like a lightning bolt splitting a tree. He managed to school his features into something liken to neutral and arched a brow in fiend interest. “Oh? That’s wonderful, Eggsy. And who is the lovely man or woman?”

“Man,” Eggsy said. Harry didn’t know why, but that made it worse. “Uh, y’ actually know him.”

Harry blinked, the ache in his chest briefly dulled by his curiosity. “I do?” When Eggsy didn’t answer right away, wheedled, “You can’t tell me that and leave me guessing, Eggsy. It isn’t gentlemanly.”

Eggsy smiled, and there was a flash of sadness across his face—regret, maybe?—but it was gone before Harry could process it.

“Right. Well, it’s, um. His name is Mark.”

“Mark? I don’t know any Mark.”

Well he did, but that was…

“No.” Harry deadpanned.

Eggsy flushed, head dipped down. It was all the answer he needed.

His ears started to ring. Or he thought they did. That could have been his heart getting ready to explode. Or the song on the jukebox.

“I didn’t realize you knew each other,” Harry registered himself saying, and even he realized his voice was strained.

“Met by accident,” Eggsy said. “Got talking and… well.” Eggsy shrugged. “Been going out for a couple weeks.”

A couple weeks. Then they met shortly after he left.

“Why didn’t y’ ever tell me y’ had a twin, Harry?” Eggsy prompted.

“We aren’t exactly on speaking terms,” Harry stated curtly. The words came out harsher than he meant and Eggsy flinched.

Eggsy looked down at his beer, all the light that had illuminated his face earlier dwindled down to a pale flickering candle flame ready to go out with the next hard breeze. “If y’ aren’t comfort with this… I can, I can stop seeing him. I know it probably is awkward, wot with us working together, and him being y’r brother.”

Harry opens his mouth to say yes. God almighty, does he want to say yes. But he can see the misery in Eggsy’s eyes, see the desperation for Harry to approve, to tell him good job, my dear boy and I’m proud of you, and Harry can’t. He can’t deny Eggsy this. Can’t deny him anything.

Even though it should be him. It should be him making Eggsy glow brighter than the north star.

He’d stood to the side all this time because he didn’t want to shackle Eggsy with his age and his stubbornness and all those bollocks reasons, and here Eggsy had gone and found his brother.

Harry could hear Merlin laughing at the irony now.

“No,” Harry forced himself to say. “No, no it’s fine. I just… it’s quite the shock. I haven’t spoken to Mark in, well, a little over a year.”

Not since Mark’s wedding with that awful reporter Bridget Jones. Harry could still feel the sting of Mark’s words.

Eggsy’s mouth twitched up, relief washing over him. His shoulders slumped, relaxing. “Yeah?” He sighed. “Christ. I was worried. I don’t want to do anything to lose y’ Harry, y’re important to me.”

God, how Harry’s heart ached. It was like someone had thrown it into a blender and repeatedly kept hitting pulse.

“As you are to me, my dear boy,” Harry assured. “And I only want to see you happy.”

Even if that happiness isn’t with me.

Chapter Text

            “What did I tell you?” Merlin asked, a single eyebrow arched for emphasis.

            Harry sniffed, refusing to give Merlin the satisfaction of an ‘I told you so’. Merlin had heard it enough times in his life, another one—especially for this situation—wasn’t necessary. “Instead of being condescending, you could help me.”

            “I’m not being condescending,” Merlin stated briskly. “I’m merely pointing out that I had told you to speak with the lad before your mission in order to avoid this scenario. And now, because you didn’t take my advice, you’re shit out of luck.”

            “Condescending,” Harry repeated with an eye roll. Merlin didn’t have to be so blunt about the entire matter. He couldn’t convince himself that it wasn’t real if Merlin kept pointing out how cosmically grand Harry had bollocked everything.

The fitting room lift continued its slow crawl up towards Kingsman Tailor Shop. Harry tried to will it to go faster than its snail pace, but the shift didn’t move any faster than it always did. He could still remember the day he had brought Eggsy down to the bullet station. Eggsy had looked on with such wonder in his eyes. Even then, before Harry had realized the depths of his emotions, he’d been struck by Eggsy’s beauty and potential—he was a newborn star just waiting to shine.

“You know, there’s still time,” Merlin pointed out, his focus directed back to his ever present tablet. “You could always tell Eggsy, let him know your feelings. It may change things.”

“I can’t do that,” Harry said. You didn’t see his eyes.

Harry had seen so many motions pass through those viridian depths. He’d never seen such happiness in them before. Harry didn’t enjoy listening to Eggsy talk about Mark, watching as his eyes lit up like fireworks, but he would if it meant he was happy.

“Oh stop pining all ready,” Merlin barked, glaring over his tablet. “You’ve done this to yourself, I hope you know. You could have spoken to him anytime.”

He did know. “That’ll be enough, thank you. Have you spoken to Arthur about the new mission?”

“You’ve only just returned from your last.”

“I was security detail in Brussels. The most exciting thing to happen was watching Ginger nearly break James’s arm.”

“She didn’t.” Both of Merlin’s eyebrows shot up.

“She did. Jack was beside himself with laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever seen M apologize so quickly.”

 “Well, there’s a surprise. Why did she do that?”

The lift drew to a smooth stop. Harry straightened his sleeve, making sure his cufflink was secure. “There may have been a heated discussion on how a proper martini is made. You know Ginger. She can be very assertive when she wants to be.”

They excited the changing room, and Harry nodded to Dagonet who manned the front counter of the shop. Without looking up from his tablet, Merlin navigated around the shop with preternatural precision.

“Off to lunch, sirs?” Dagonet asked.

“Yes, we’ll be back shortly,” Harry said. He opened the front door and started down the step, nearly walking straight into Eggsy’s back.

Merlin smacked into his with an undignified grunt and a sharp, “Good God Harry, why did you stop?”

Harry stood stock still, staring over Eggsy’s shoulder at Mark. Eggsy turned around, a lazy grin saddled across his mouth, and said, “Hey ‘Arry.”

Mark met Harry’s gaze and a bolt of tension shot through the air between them. Eggsy shifted down a step, moving closer to Mark. Merlin broke the silence. “What are you doing out here lad?”

“Just got back from lunch,” Eggsy said, beaming at Mark. For a brief moment Mark’s somber expression softened as he turned his focus to Eggsy, before snapping back up like a steel wall when he returned to looking at Harry. Eggsy held up a white bag. “I actually brought Harry back sumfin. We went to that Thai restaurant he loves.”

“I’m afraid Merlin and I have already made arrangements for lunch,” Harry said, a bit more clipped than he meant to.

Eggsy’s smile deflated briefly as he lowered the bag, and Harry’s heart lurched. He almost canceled with Merlin just to erase that look on Eggsy’s face.

“Oh, right. Guess I should have called and checked,” Eggsy said with a weak laugh. He turned to Mark. “Did y’ want to take it? I don’t like it, and it seems a waste just to get rid of it. Y’ could have it for dinner tonight.”

Harry clenched his hands at his side to keep from snatching the bag of food away from Mark in a childish declaration of ‘mine’.

“Though I guess y’ did just have Thai,” Eggsy started to drawl, lowering the bag before Mark could even accept it.

It shouldn’t have felt so triumphant to see Eggsy start to retract his offer. Mark shook his head, though, and accepted the bag of food. “Nonsense, I’d hate to see your kindness go to waste.”

Harry snorted derisively before he could stop himself, earning a look from all three. He could feel Merlin’s smug smile even without looking at him.

“You always did have a tendency to salvage leftovers,” Harry said, staring down the length of his nose at Mark. If he got a bit of satisfaction in being a step up, placing him taller than Mark, well he wouldn’t admit it.

Mark narrowed his eyes minutely. Eggsy glanced between them. Harry inclined his head to the side and offered a curt, “I hope you’ve been well.”

“Quite well, actually,” Mark said, setting a hand on Eggsy’s shoulder.

Harry thumbed his signet ring and reminded himself that he wasn’t allowed to shock his twin brother. He was practically watching himself hold Eggsy, but it wasn’t him. He had better hair, for one—when had Mark gotten so gray? And he certainly dressed better, though Mark had started getting his suits bespoke, after years of campaigning for him to stop buying off the rack. Mark did look older, and Harry briefly wondered what had happened before Eggsy.

He’d checked on Mark as soon as he was able to after V-Day to reassure himself his twin was all right. Mark had luckily not invested in Valentine’s free SIM Card and been working from home—alone—during the rage, so he’d come out unscratched. It had been a small blessing, one that Harry—despite his ill feelings now—was grateful for.

“How’s Bridget?” Harry asked, and he immediately regretted it, realizing how low a blow it was as soon as Mark’s expression crumpled.

Mark glanced away, jaw clenched, a palpable ache radiating off him. As much as he wanted to hurt Mark for replacing him in Eggsy’s life, he didn’t like to see that expression on Mark’s face. Harry’s anger soured on his tongue, and he wondered not for the first time, what happened between Mark and his second wife. Usually Harry got satisfaction in being right, especially when it came to Mark, but there wasn’t any. All he felt was a bad case of indigestion.

Eggsy shot Harry a sharp glare—and Harry was sure if looks could kill, Eggsy would have eviscerated him—and snapped, “Harry.”

Harry opened his mouth to apologize, but Mark cut him off before he could. “Well, I should be going. I’d hate to keep you from your work longer.”

“Mark,” Eggsy started, but went silent at Mark’s headshake.

“I have to get back myself,” Mark assured.

Harry watched, feeling as if he were standing outside a window looking in upon their private world, and he realized with his heart in his throat, that Mark was as equally besotted with Eggsy, as Eggsy was with him. Mark smiled at Eggsy, and it was the kind of smile he’d only seen on Mark’s face once when they were boys; he looked at Eggsy as if he were the world.

Mark kissed Eggsy’s cheek, sparing Harry another glance as he straightened. “Pleasure to see you again, Harry. I do love our yearly exchanges.”

Mark turned to leave, but Eggsy caught him by the lapel of his suit jacket and tugged him back around, dragging him into a kiss that made Harry turn around to face Merlin. Merlin raised his eyebrows, the look on his face screaming ‘I-told-you-so’.

“Oh, shut it,” Harry grumbled.

“I’ll call y’ tonight, kay babe?”

Mark coughed and murmured something that Harry didn’t catch. Harry stepped aside with Merlin, letting Eggsy up the stairs and into the shop. Mark looked at Harry, his hair slightly rumpled and his cheeks flushed.

That should be Harry with that expression on his face. He should be the one that’s been kissed within an inch of his life. He should be the one tasting Eggsy’s lips.

“Well, as much fun as this has been,” Merlin announced, stepping down from the steps. “I’ve seen enough Twilight Zone episodes to know how this ends. Harry, I’m going to lunch. You can either join me or continue the Cold War with your brother.”

Merlin started down the street, and Harry knew he wouldn’t look back. Harry almost stayed there, just to spite Merlin, but Mark coughed in his hand and said, “Have a good day, Harry.”

“Goodbye, Mark,” Harry said and forced himself to follow Merlin. When he caught up with him, he said, “You were no help back there.”

“And what did you want me to do? Amnesia dart him and have his body deposited in the Siberian deserts? I don’t think Eggsy would appreciate that, and while I hold our years of friendship in the highest regard, I won’t do that to the lad.”

“He figured out your password for World of Warcraft again, didn’t he?” Harry fixed Merlin with a flat look.

“I don’t know how he does it. If he wasn’t such a good agent, and if he didn’t love his job so much, I’d recruit him for my department.”

“You aren’t stealing my protégé,” Harry said—perhaps a bit possessively.

Merlin smirked and spared Harry a side glance. “I don’t have to, your brother’s already done that.”

Chapter Text

     Mark had terrible luck when it came to meeting people. He wasn’t sure what it was about him, but he always seemed to attract a certain kind of person: the kind that assumed monogamous was synonymous with open relationship. Even before his first wife, Elizabeth, Mark had dated a series of both men and women who he caught in various stages of undress with different partners.

     Harry once told him it was because he refused to see people for what they really were and that he always needed to fix someone. Now in his early fifties, with two divorces under his belt, Mark had begun to understand what Harry meant. Perhaps he did find himself falling arse-over-tits for disasters of human beings because some part of him had a masochistic desire to repeatedly break his own heart.

     He’d all but resigned himself a lonely life after Bridget left. She proclaimed it was because of irrevocable differences, that they just never seemed to work. Mark blamed it on the fact that she had this terrible habit of falling onto Daniel Cleaver’s dick (a trait Elizabeth had shared) and then assuming Mark was the unfaithful one.

Even his own brother, it seemed, didn’t want anything to do with him. So beyond visits to mother during the holidays (where he’d no doubt receive yet another awful sweater), he accepted that he’d spend the rest of his days dining for one and retiring to bed by nine o’clock.

     At least, that was the original plan, until a vibrating ball of sunshine barreled into his life. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to start dating when divorce papers weren’t even signed—something he’d hopefully remedy soon—but Eggsy made him defy all things logical.

     Mark had shared many storybook kisses. The first one with Bridget in the snow had left him light headed and giddy with exhilaration. But nothing could have compared to the quickening of his heart and the warmth that bloomed in his belly when he held Eggsy in the rain. Sure, he’d gotten a slight runny nose for it, but it had been entirely worth it to see the glassy-eyed expression on Eggsy’s face—the same one Eggsy had on his face now, as Mark pressed him against the door of his Kensington Park flat.

     Eggsy tightened his grip in Mark’s hair, tugging him closer. Mark tipped his head down, ghosting his mouth over Eggsy’s. His lips were lush and succulent, tasting slightly of the popcorn they shared during the movie. A small wrecked sound escaped Eggsy as he leaned into the kiss, flattening the length of his body against Mark so he felt every hard contour and the prominent bulge forming between his legs.

     Mark had planned to wait till things were finalized with Bridget before they consummated their relationship. It wouldn’t be right, to Bridget or Eggsy, but Mark found it increasingly hard to resist when Eggsy kept grinding against him like that.

     Why such a perfect human being would be interested in Mark, he wasn’t sure. Bridget, he’d understood. They shared the trait of being walking natural disasters. Mark with his inability to articulate any kind of emotion and his tendency to come off colder than he meant—as a barrister, you’d think he’d be better at communicating—and Bridget with her verbal diarrhea and tendency to act before she thinks.

     Yet here they were: a literal embodiment of purity and sunlight, slotted comfortably in Mark’s arms, panting against his mouth, and he wanted Mark.

     Eggsy was unlike anyone Mark had ever dated. For one, he actually seemed to have his life together. And two, he’d never met anyone more invested in the lives of others.

     Elizabeth had been about as charitable as a cucumber, and Bridget, for all her goodness, could never quite get over her insecurities and had a terrible tendency to make brash, almost always cataclysmic, decisions.

     But Eggsy? Eggsy cared. He really, truly cared. About the man on the street corner. About his co-workers. About his sister and mother. About his friends. About Harry. About Mark. And it probably was sad that Mark found it so queer, to be bewildered by the concept of putting others before one’s self, but in a world where so much nastiness and darkness festered, it seemed almost alien to have someone this good. Mark was almost completely certain Eggsy wasn’t even human and really of the angelic heritage.

     “Y’ know, as much as I love making out with y’, I bet it would be more fun inside,” Eggsy murmured against Mark’s mouth, emphasizing the statement with a nip to Mark’s bottom lip. “In your bed.”

     Oh. Oh.

     Well, Mark certainly wasn’t averse to that. He kissed Eggsy one last time, finding it hard to resist those delicious lips, and then fished out his keys.

     Mark extracted his keys, but as he selected the right one, Eggsy latched himself onto Mark’s neck. He pressed a line of kisses along the length of Mark’s neck, biting at the junction beneath his jaw. Mark fumbled with his keys, a bolt of pleasure shooting from his fluttering pulse to his thickening cock.

     “Been thinking about this all night,” Eggsy confessed huskily into Mark’s ear before taking his earlobe between his teeth to nibble.

     Mark clenched his keys in his hand and swallowed convulsively. “Just tonight?” Mark asked, tipping his head to the side to allow Eggsy better access.

     Eggsy hummed, scraping his teeth along the column of Mark’s throat, and reached between them to start working on Mark’s belt. “Well, if we’re being honest, been thinking about it since I ran into y’ on the street.”

     Ah yes, when he mistook Mark for Harry. The only flaw in their relationship, but one Mark would gladly over look. He’d stew in uncomfortable silence with Harry for eternity if it meant being with Eggsy. Though it did put a damper on things when he thought of his cantankerous twin.

     The jingle of his belt coming undone snapped Mark back to the present. He licked his lips and said with a slight chuckle, “Were we supposed to be going inside?”

     “I was getting impatient,” Eggsy hummed, nuzzling Mark’s collar. “We could give y’r neighbors a show, really turn some heads.”

     Oh, and if that didn’t make Mark’s cock twitch. He hadn’t realized he had an exhibitionist streak in him, but Eggsy was certainly opening his eyes to all sorts of possibilities.

     “As lovely as that sounds,” Mark said, managing to find his key, “I think it’s best we move inside. Your knees will thank you.”

     Eggsy glanced up at Mark, his face only partially illuminated by the street lamp. An impish smile spread cheekily across his kiss-swollen mouth.

     “Who said anything about my knees?” Eggsy asked.

     Mark raised both his eyebrows, a slow grin spreading across his mouth. He inclined his head towards the door and intoned, “I will gladly crawl for you, but first, inside.”

     Eggsy threw his head back and laughed, a wonderfully bright sound ringing from him. Mark couldn’t help but swoop down for another kiss.

     “Weren’t y’ getting the door?” Eggsy asked against his mouth, still laughing.

     “Right,” Mark said, distracted again by Eggsy’s mouth.

Finally, Eggsy extracted himself from Mark and took the keys from his hand. “This one?” Eggsy held up the key Mark had already selected. Mark nodded, and when Eggsy turned to face the door, Mark looped his arms around his waist and started to press a line of kisses along his neck.

Eggsy pressed back against Mark, his arse grinding tauntingly against Mark’s aching cock. Eggsy managed to get the door open—thankfully, before Mark fucked him up against it—and they stumbled inside, a tangled mess of limbs.

Mark kicked the door shut behind him and Eggsy tossed the keys onto the table kept in the foyer. He broke away from the kiss long enough to give a cursory glance around and pant, “Nice place.”

“Wait till you see the bedroom,” Mark said, loosening his tie with one finger.

They only made it up two steps, before Secret Agent Man started to play.

“Ignore it,” Eggsy said, grabbing Mark by the lapels of his jacket and guiding him upstairs. The ringing stopped when they reached the second level.

“First door on the left,” Mark instructed, too busy sucking a mark into Eggsy’s neck to really see where they were walking.

Secret Agent Man started playing again and Eggsy let out a series of curses. “Fucking hell, Harry,” He ground out and extracted himself from Mark with an apologetic look. “Just give me a second, babe.”

Mark nodded, not sure what to feel about Harry calling Eggsy so late. His stomach certainly dropped.

Eggsy answered the phone. “Kind of in the middle of something here Harry.”

Mark couldn’t hear the other side of the call, and it dawned on him Eggsy may want privacy. He pointed to the door they’d been heading towards, then headed into his bedroom to allow Eggsy to talk. He turned on the light.

“I’m on a date—yes with Mark, who else?” Mark heard Eggsy say from the hall. He removed his tie, rolling it up and placing it in his drawer with the rest of his ties, including his snowman one.

“No, it’s fine, just—what is it? Can it wait?” Eggsy asked.

Mark glanced at the door, shrugging out of his jacket and hanging it up. Why did he get the sinking feeling that tonight wasn’t going to end how he wanted it?

“Really? Tonight?” A pause, and then Eggsy grumbled, “Fucking hell. Okay. No, no it’s no problem. Really Harry, it’s fine. I understand, it can’t wait. I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

Yes, definitely not going how Mark wanted. He could already feel his cock deflating with disappointment.

“Bye Harry,” Eggsy said, and then a moment later walked into the room. His gaze briefly gravitated towards the bed, regret bright in his eyes. “Babe, that was Harry. We just got a last minute call from one of our top customers. He needs me to fly out, some emergency with his tuxedo. The toff bastard won’t even wait till morning, he’s demanding I fly out now.”

Eggsy shifted, crossing his arms over his chest—or pretending to, at least, but Mark could see that he was hugging himself. Mark drew in a breath through his nose and let it out. He couldn’t be mad. It wasn’t Eggsy’s fault a customer was being difficult, and he certainly doesn’t want to make it harder on Eggsy than it already is.

Mark crossed the room and cupped Eggsy’s face in both of his hands. He kissed him briefly and murmured, “It’s fine.”

“Are y’ sure?” Eggsy whispered, searching Mark’s face. “I mean, we we’re, and now I’m... I’m sorry.”

Fear thinned Eggsy’s voice, making Mark’s stomach clench. He didn’t like the way Eggsy’s eyebrows worried together, as if he expected Mark to just cast him out because they didn’t have sex. What kind of men did Eggsy date before him?

“There isn’t a need to apologize,” Mark assured, stroking his thumb along Eggsy’s cheek. “When you get back we’ll go out. How long will you be gone?”

“A few days, hopefully no more than a week,” Eggsy confessed.

Well there was a disappointment. He would miss Eggsy terribly. Mark kissed his forehead, letting his lips linger there for a minute as he inhaled Eggsy’s scent. He couldn’t place his cologne, but it filled Mark with a rush of warmth and longing.

“You’ll be missed every minute you’re gone,” Mark promised.

Eggsy hugged him tightly around the waist, hiding his face against his chest. “Corny bastard,” Eggsy grumbled, but Mark could hear the smile in his voice.

Mark walked Eggsy to the front door, and they lingered there for a moment, exchanging lazy kisses that neither wanted to see end, before Mark finally said, “Go, you mustn’t keep them waiting.”

Eggsy nodded, and after a final kiss, left. Mark leaned against the door frame, watching Eggsy slip into a taxi, which for some strange reason, had been idling down the street.

Chapter Text

            The polished mahogany table gleamed beneath the overhead lights of the meeting room to the point of nearly blinding Mark. Not only could he see his reflection in the polished surface, but he was pretty sure there were solar flares exploding behind him from how bright the lights were. His temples had begun to throb in the tell-tale signs of a building migraine from their intensity; well, it was either the lights or the fact that Mark had been sitting there for thirty minutes, waiting for Bridget. Who was late, again.

            Mark wasn’t sure if she did it on purpose or if it really was her infamous bad luck that caused her to be late for every meeting, but since the paperwork for their divorced had been filed, she’d arrived no earlier than twenty minutes passed the time of their scheduled appointments. Mark really started to suspect that she was in conspiracy with his brother, who would have been late for his own birth if Mark hadn’t been there to shove him along.

            Mark checked his watch, then glanced at his lawyer Andrews, a sturdy man with a solid disposition. Bridget’s lawyer, a man of equal stature by the name of Godfrey, coughed in his hand. Godfrey at least had the decency to look apologetic, if not even a bit peeved himself.

            “Well,” Mark said, not sure how to proceed. Today was the day they signed their papers. Everything would be official and then Mark would be free to be with Eggsy.

They’d spent the greater part of the month discussing back and forth the merits of the prenupt Mark had Bridget sign before their ill-fated marriage. He’d originally been against it, finding the whole idea distasteful, but Harry had insisted, and Mark had to admit he was terribly grateful he did. While Bridget wasn’t the type to gauge him for every penny he owned, she hadn’t exactly been happy about the idea of getting nothing and returning to her homelier life. She tried to fight the prenuptial agreement, but she didn’t have much of a leg to stand on when she cheated on him.

The whole ordeal left a sour taste in his mouth and he really wished Eggsy was back from his business trip. His absence left a constant ache in Mark’s chest, which only dulled slightly when Eggsy called in the evenings. While Mark could listen to Eggsy’s voice for days on end, he missed looking into his eyes and his smile; Mark missed just being within the same vicinity of his radiance.

“Apologies, Mr. Darcy,” Godfrey said with a strained smile.

“No, it’s fine.” What else could Mark say? It wasn’t the man’s fault Bridget was late. He rubbed at his forehead and heaved a sigh. “Perhaps we should just reschedule for a later day. I can’t be away from my office much longer.”

“Of course,” Godfrey agreed.

No sooner he extracted his planner from his briefcase, the door to the office flew open and a frazzled Bridget stumbled inside. Her blond hair was windblown and tangled, her cheeks so flushed with exertion that it would have been endearing if Mark wasn’t so annoyed, and he could just make out a run going up the length of her pantyhose on her right leg.

“Sorry,” Bridget wheezed. “There was, you see, a—”

“Bridget,” Mark cut her off. “While I’m sure your story is no doubt entertaining we really need to proceed.”

Bridget straightened, a flash of pain crossing her face. She pursed her lips together, considering Mark a moment, before nodding curtly. “Of course, right,” she said, straightening her skirt.

Mark sighed again and looked at Andrews. “Could you perhaps get Ms. Jones a bottle of water?”

“Of course,” Andrews said and excused himself from the room.

Mark turned back to Bridget. She studied him closely, her jaw set in a defiant line. No one said anything. Mark didn’t know what to say. What did he tell the woman he had loved, that he no longer did? What did he say when everything they built, the life they’d worked so hard for, was being torn apart?

He was tired and ready for it to be all over, to be able to move on to the next stage of his life, one which would hopefully have Eggsy in it. Just the thought of Eggsy made him smile. His skin still prickled from their last moment together. The want in Eggsy’s eyes, the need and desperation for Mark, filled those lonely nights that they’d been apart.

Godfrey turned and whispered into Bridget’s ear heatedly, and she turned to whisper back. Mark shifted and turned his chair slightly around to give them privacy.

The door to the room opened and Andrews said, “Here you go, Ms. Jones.”

Mark turned back to the table as Bridget accepted the cold bottle with a tight smile. She opened it up and took a long drink, then set the bottle down.

“Now that we’re all here, shall we proceed?” Andrews asked, withdrawing the sheaf of paper from his briefcase and sliding it across the table. “All the papers are in order; we just need both parties to sign this.”

Bridget stared at the paperwork as if it were a snake crawling towards her. Godfrey held out a pen for Bridget, and when she didn’t take it, he asked, “Bridget?”

“Are we really doing this?” Bridget turned to Mark, eyes wide and earnest. “I mean…”

“Bridget, please,” Mark said. He was tired. He didn’t want to have this fight anymore. All he wanted was to be done.

“It’s just, I mean, couldn’t we give it another try?”

“You were the one that said we were, and I quote, irrevocably different,” Mark said. “It’s over, Bridget, and I believe it’s for the best.”

Something passed through her green eyes, an emotion Mark didn’t recognize. She pressed her mouth together, so tightly thin lines appeared around her lips. She accepted the pen and uncapped it, but didn’t sign the papers.

“But what if we talked about it?” Bridget suggested. “I mean, really sat down and talked things through.”

“Talk about what? About how you have a terrible habit of falling into Cleaver’s lap? Or that I can’t seem to do anything right in comparison?”

            He didn’t mean to come off so harshly, but the words were spat out with bitter resentment. He’d done his best, dammit, and even then it hadn’t been enough.

            Bridget flinched. “Yes, well… we could try couples counseling.” Mark scoffed at that. They were beyond that stage. “Mark, you had considered it. Remember? At Nicole’s, when we—”

            “That’s enough, Bridget,” Mark snapped, before she could say anything else. He didn’t want to rehash his drunken foray with her. It had happen before Eggsy had run into him on the street, when he’d still be vulnerable and desperate to reclaim his former life, consequences be damned. It had been a terrible mistake, one caused by too much scotch, too little sex, and the horrible habit of falling into bed with women that were not good for him.

            The look flickered across Bridget’s face again, the pain nearly palpable, and Mark murmured an apology for raising his tone. Bridget smothered the hurt quickly, though, behind a front of cold anger. “You haven’t changed. You’re still just as obtuse as you were when we first met.”

            Godfrey and Andrews exchanged pained looks. Mark ignored them. “No, I’ve just gotten tired of catering to your childish whims.”

            “My childish whims?” Bridget hissed, incensed. “I wasn’t the one that cried about missing me.”

            Mark flushed. He swore he’d never touch another glass of a whiskey again.

            “I assure you, I did not cry, and whatever I said had been nothing more than the ramblings of a drunk. And if I recall, none of this would be happening if it weren’t for you and your constant need to be assured. I can’t spend every waking moment reaffirming that no, I’m not cheating on you with one of my colleagues, who may I remind you, is a lesbian. And the irony of this entire situation hasn’t been lost on me, Bridget.”

            “You’re an arse, Mark Darcy,” She shouted and snatched up her water bottle. Mark was pretty sure she planned on throwing the water in his face, but the bottle slipped out of her hand and the entire thing thumped against Mark’s chest, spilling water down the front of his suit and into his lap.

            Mark shoved his chair back, standing immediately to avoid getting even more water on him. The bottle clattered to the ground and leaked water everywhere. Mark held his hands up, trying to peel the soggy clothing from his skin.

            “Well,” Mark deadpanned, voice thin and brittle. “I see you’re still not above behaving like a two-year-old. Sign the damn papers Bridget and let’s put us both out of our misery.”

            Bridget’s chin wobbled, and for a horrifying second Mark thought she actually might cry. But then she snatched the pen back up and signed the papers with a brisk signature. Mark signed them, and then Andrews snatched up the sheath of paperwork before anything could happen to it.

            “I’ll get this filed immediately,” Andrews said.

            Bridget glared at Mark from across the table. She opened her mouth and Mark waited to see what she had to say, but then she shook her head, grabbed her purse, and stormed out. Mark watched her go, water dripping down his front.

            Why didn’t he feel good about all of this? All he felt was cold and wet.

            “Let me get you a towel,” Godfrey said.

            “Thank you,” Mark murmured.

            After Mark had dried off as much as possible—there was still a very distinguished wet spot in the front of his trousers, which everyone stared at as he left the lawyer’s office—he returned to his office. His headache hadn’t subsided, the tension intensifying by the time he made it back to work. Luckily he had a change of trousers, so he didn’t have to face the race of the day with what looked like a piss stain.

            Bridget had been going to say something, Mark knew it, but he wasn’t sure what. Was he going to curse him? Call him more names? Plead with him to reconsider?

            Mark slumped in his seat, haunted by the look in her eyes. He wished Eggsy was there. Just the sound of his voice alone would help assuage some of his anxieties.

            “Line one, Mr. Darcy,” Jessica, his secretary announced over the intercom.

            “Who is it?” Mark asked, holding the intercom button down.

            “A Mr. Unwin.”

            Mark’s heart tumbled and he quickly said thank you, before accepting the call. “Eggsy,” Mark greeted.

            “Hey babe,” Eggsy said, and Mark could hear the smile in his voice.

            Mark closed his eyes, savoring the sound of Eggsy’s timber. His shoulders immediately began to relax and he reclined back in his chair, cradling the phone close to his ear.

            “How are you?” Mark asked. “I hope you haven’t been working too hard.”

            “Oh no, it’s been easy,” Eggsy assured. “Everything okay? Y’ sound upset.”

            That was an understatement.

            “I was going to tell you when you returned, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to say it now. I just signed the papers today,” Mark said. He’d wanted to celebrate the moment, but all he felt was a dull sense of failure.

            “Oh, baby, are y’ okay? Do y’ want to talk about it?” Eggsy asked. Mark’s fingers twitched and he wished for the hundredth time Eggsy was there so he could simply run his fingers through his hair.

            “No,” Mark assured, “It’s all right. Honestly, it went about how I expected it to. I’m just glad it’s over.” He hesitated, then admitted in a gentle whisper, “I do miss you terribly. It would have made things so much easier to have you here.”

            “I wish I could have been there,” Eggsy confessed. “I miss y’ too. A lot. Kind of silly, ain’t it? Haven’t been separated for that long. Just about a week.”

            “Hmm, well when do you return?”

            “Should be tomorrow, actually. That was wot I was calling for, to let y’ know I was coming home,” Eggsy said. Mark perked up at the news. “Maybe once I get back we can go out and celebrate, yeah? Real proper like, if y’ catch my meaning.”

            Mark’s mouth went dry. They’d been so close to truly consummating their relationship the last time. And while Mark mourned the lost opportunity, a part of him was grateful they got the chance to wait. He wanted his divorce to be official, to do things properly with Eggsy. Eggsy deserved it. He deserved the world, if Mark was being honest.

            “That sounds like a wonderful idea,” Mark said.

            “I have to go to the office once I land to talk to my boss, but afterwards we can get together. Okay?”

            “What time do you suspect you’ll be back?” Mark asked.

            “Probably late tomorrow afternoon.”

            “I’ll make reservations for us,” Mark said.

            “Why Mr. Darcy, are y’ going to wine and dine me?”

            “Only the best for you, my darling,” Mark said, the pet name slipping out.

            Eggsy paused, and when he didn’t respond back in equal, Mark felt a wave of panic descend over him. Did he overstep?

            “Call me that again,” Eggsy whispered breathlessly.

            Mark’s pulse slowed. He chuckled and repeated, “My darling.”

            A knock at the door drew his attention away from the phone briefly. Rebecca entered and when she saw him on the phone, she mouthed an apology.

            “I have to go,” Mark said, “A work colleague is here. But I’ll see you tomorrow, all right darling?”

            “Y-yeah,” Eggsy said. “Yeah, I’ll see y’ tomorrow babe.”

            “Goodbye, Eggsy,” Mark said, ignoring Rebecca’s knowing smile. While Mark didn’t hide his sexuality, he didn’t flaunt it either. Not many knew of his bisexuality, and he didn’t particularly care about telling anyone. It was his business and no one else’s. But over their years of working together, Mark had come to grow close with Rebecca, and after she’d been so kind as to entrust him with her own secret, he did the same with her.

            Mark hung up with Eggsy after he said goodbye, and then turned his attention to Rebecca. Her silken brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail. “You two are cute,” Rebecca said, still smiling.

            “None of that,” Mark said with a sniff, though he couldn’t help but grin.

            Rebecca rolled her eyes and came to sit across from him. “I just wanted to check to see how you were, since today was the… well, you know.”

            “A disaster, but I suspected as much,” Mark said.

            “I’m sorry Mark, truly.”

            “Don’t be,” Mark said, honestly. He wasn’t, not when it meant he could finally be fully with Eggsy. “I’m glad everything is over and done with.”

            “Well, if you need someone to talk to, I’m here,” Rebecca said. She stood and added, “Don’t forget about the meeting later today.”

            “I won’t,” He assured her, booting up his computer. He paused and asked, “Do you think it would be too much to send Eggsy flowers at the office? I want to welcome him home.”

            Rebecca smiled and shook her head. “No, I think it’s a lovely idea.”

            Mark nodded and turned his attention to his computer. It was a shame, really, that things ended so catastrophically with Bridget, but Mark was done dwelling on it. He had Eggsy now, and he wouldn’t let Bridget, or anyone else for that matter, ruin this for him.

Chapter Text

            Eggsy’s relationship with the current Arthur was balanced. They toed the line of tolerance and outright despising one another. Formerly known as Caradoc, the current Arthur was the oldest agent Kingsman had, and if not for Chester’s ill-fated demise, he would have retired within the year. As it was, the spot for Kingsman’s King opened and since Caradoc held the most seniority and experience, it seemed only natural to elect him. Whether or not he was happy about the promotion, he didn’t say, though Eggsy suspected he’d been looking forward to spending the remainder of his twilight years on a beach in Greece.

            Personally, Eggsy would have preferred to see Harry take the mantle. But Harry wanted nothing to do with the position, and there were few other agents that volunteered for the job. So Caradoc became king, Eggsy became Bors (the former dying during V-Day), and the remaining positions were filled.

            Eggsy was pretty sure that if Arthur had his way, Eggsy would have been thrown out on his arse. While Eggsy had certainly proven himself as an agent, he still failed the final test, and he did kill Chester. Sometimes when some of the older agents or technicians thought he wasn’t around, Eggsy heard them refer to him as ‘the Kingslayer’. He didn’t know if he should feel honored or horrified that they saw him in such a light. As it were, he accepted his fate with a grain of salt and tried to rise about the moniker.

            Arthur stared down the length of his hooked nose at Eggsy, his hands folded over his knees as he listened to Eggsy recount his mission. Eggsy couldn’t complain too much about Arthur, even if the guy had a stick so far up his arse Eggsy could see it every time he spoke; he was a man of honor, and he held Eggsy to the same standards as everyone else. Eggsy proved he was a good agent, and whatever personal views Arthur had about Eggsy, he never let them get in the way of business.

            That didn’t mean that Eggsy couldn’t tell the man saw him as being no better than the muck on the bottom of his oxfords.

            “See that you file your paperwork—on time, agent—but otherwise you are dismissed, Bors. Please enjoy your week off,” Arthur said and turned back to his paperwork.

            Eggsy stood with a nod and left. He’d worry about the paperwork in the morning. He still had two days to get it filled and filed. Right now he wanted to get home and call Mark. He’d missed him during his week away, and while Eggsy had made sure to make time to call, it didn’t alleviate the ache in his chest at Mark’s absence.

            It should scare Eggsy how much he felt the void of Mark not being there, how quickly he’d grown accustomed to being with him on a regular, almost daily basis, but it didn’t. All it did was make Eggsy grin like a fool and feel like someone had filled his stomach with bubbly champagne.

            “You look happy,” Harry said as Eggsy approached him in the hall. Merlin was with him, both walking in the same direction as Eggsy. “A successful mission, I take it?”

            “Hmm?” Eggsy blinked, drawn out of his thoughts. “Oh, yes. It went great. Arthur couldn’t even complain. Y’ leaving?”

            “We were heading out, yes,” Harry said. “Shall we walk together?”

            “Sure, come on.” Eggsy started to head for the bullet.

            “See that you don’t spend your week off pissing away the days. I want that paperwork on my desk no later than three o’clock tomorrow,” Merlin said, fixing a pointed look at Eggsy.

            “Aww, I got two days to fill it out,” Eggsy groaned.

            “Agents who turn paperwork in on time get a two-day grace period. You’re worse than Harry. Just be grateful I’m not making you stay and fill it out now,” Merlin stated briskly as they loaded into the silver bullet.

            “Harry,” Eggsy whined. “Tell Merlin to stop being such a wet blanket.”

            “I’m afraid you’ll have a better chance of moving the sun,” Harry said.

            Merlin glared at him. “Don’t make me assign you on surveillance in the Yukon. I hear there’s a terrorist cell forming.”

            “Of what? Polar Bears?” Harry arched a brown at him, before turning his attention to Eggsy. He smiled fondly and it made Eggsy’s stomach flip flop. It wasn’t fair how easily Eggsy could melt when Harry looked at him with just even a little bit of pride. “Shall we go out to celebrate a job well done? I do believe drinks are in order.”

            Eggsy winced. He’d completely forgotten about their drink. “Sorry bruv, I’ll have to take a rain check. Tomorrow, maybe?”

            “Of course, you must want to get home and rest, see your sister and mother,” Harry said, and though he kept smiling, Eggsy swore it looked a little strained.

Guilt swept over him. “Actually I promised Mark I’d see him tonight.”

Harry’s smile faltered, his eyes growing clouded. “I didn’t realize you’d been speaking to him this week,” Harry said, a hardness to his tone that made Eggsy frown.

“Uh, yeah. I called him when I finished for the night,” Eggsy said, shifting in his seat. He glanced at Merlin, who was determinedly focused on his tablet—where had it even come from?

“While I’m glad you’re happy,” Harry said, and if Eggsy didn’t know better, there was disappointment in his tone. It made Eggsy’s heart sink. “But personal calls are strictly prohibited while on a mission.”

“I asked Merlin,” Eggsy said, nodding to Merlin, who’s shoulders hunched minutely. Harry glanced at Merlin. “He said it shouldn’t be a problem if it was at night, when I turned in. Besides, it was just a surveillance mission—wasn’t even as bad as y’ made it sound on the phone. I didn’t even really need to go out as soon as I did.”

Harry opened and closed his mouth, then coughed in his hand and said, “Ah, well, apologies.” Eggsy hated how curt it sounded. “Well, I hope you enjoy your evening. Perhaps another time. I’m busy tomorrow though, I’m afraid.”

“Oh,” Eggsy said, trying to keep the disappointment from his voice. “Day after?”

“Busy,” Harry said. “I have a full schedule, you see. I’ll have to get back to you—ow!”

“Sorry, leg spasm,” Merlin said.

Eggsy frowned and looked between the two. He felt like he was missing something, but he wasn’t sure what. All he knew was that Harry wasn’t happy, and it most certainly was with Eggsy. He just didn’t know why. Had he said something to offend Harry? Did Harry not want him dating his brother?

Maybe it was too weird for Harry, seeing his protégé with his family. Harry had never mentioned Mark, so he probably wanted to keep Mark separate from Kingsman. Eggsy glanced at his hand, chewing on his bottom lip.

He really cared about Mark, though. More than cared. Eggsy could feel himself slipping, his heart already halfway gone on him. But Eggsy also didn’t want to do anything that would ruin his friendship with Harry. It was hard enough when he’d thought Harry was dead, and then he had to come to terms with the fact that Harry would never reciprocate his feelings. He didn’t want to lose his friendship on top of everything else. The idea of Harry forgetting him, of leaving him behind, made Eggsy sick to his stomach.

“Okay, well let me know when it works for y’.” Eggsy forced a smile. “And, y’ know, sorry I couldn’t tonight.”

Maybe he could reschedule with Mark. But he missed Mark, so much so that it made Eggsy’s throat close up thinking about going another day without seeing him.

The bullet slowed to a stop and the doors slipped open. Merlin stood and put his tablet away. “I’m sure Harry’s schedule will clear up,” Merlin said, stepping off the train. “I know the appointment he was talking about tomorrow, and I do believe I can reschedule with him.”

Eggsy perked up, glancing from Merlin to Harry. “Really?”

“Splendid,” Harry said, and Eggsy told himself it wasn’t tersely, that Harry wasn’t gritting his teeth. “Then we’ll have drinks at the Pauper.”

Eggsy followed Harry and Merlin to the lift. No one said anything as they moved up to the tailor shop. Eggsy tried to think of something to fill the silence. It usually wasn’t that hard when it came to Harry. He could always find something to talk about with the other agent. But suddenly all of his words turned to stones, and he could only sink in the quiet.

The lift stopped and they stepped out of the dressing room. Dagonet turned to greet them, a crystal vase with a giant bouquet of daisies sitting on counter in front of him.

“Ah, Agent Bors, glad to see you back. These just arrived an hour ago for you,” Dagonet said, gesturing to the flowers.

Eggsy’s eyebrows shot up. He looked warily at Harry and Merlin. Harry’s eyes were fixed on the bouquet. Eggsy walked over to it, biting back a spreading grin, and plucked the card from the daisies. There had to be over a hundred. He couldn’t believe how many there were, but they were all so beautiful.

Eggsy opened the card, and the grin he’d been fighting won.

 

My Darling Eggsy,

Since words cannot describe how much I’ve missed you, here is a daisy for every time I’ve thought of you while you were away. Welcome home.

Yours Truly,

Mark

 

“Did Mark send them?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Eggsy sighed, still studying the card. He closed it and pocketed the note. “Yeah, he did.”

Harry sniffed and looked away. “A tad ostentatious, don’t you think? And flowers only wither and die.”

Eggsy frowned. “I think they’re nice,” Eggsy grumbled, rubbing a hand up his arm. “Never got flowers before.”

“Ow!” Harry yelped.

“Sorry, another leg spasm,” Merlin apologized.

Harry flushed and rubbed his calf. “Of course they’re lovely, Eggsy. Good taste does run in the family. I’m very happy for you.”

Eggsy nodded, glancing warily between Harry and Merlin, before turning back to the flowers. “Dagonet, could you have these sent back to my house? I don’t think I can carry them without ruining them.”

“Of course,” Dagonet said.

“I’m going to go, I’ll talk to you later, okay Harry?” Eggsy said, then nodded to Merlin. “See y’ Merlin.”

“Remember, paperwork on my desk by three!” Merlin shouted after him.

Eggsy waved him off, already fishing out his phone. The unease that had been swirling inside him during the lift ride dissipated as he pulled up Mark’s number and slid into the Kingsman taxi.

“Hello Darling,” Mark greeted.

“Thank y’ for the flowers,” Eggsy said, “They’re gorgeous.”

“Do you like them?” Mark asked with a note of hesitance, which only made Eggsy’s grin broaden.

“I love them.”

“I’m glad. Are we still on for tonight?”

“Yeah, just finished at the office. I’m going to get cleaned up and then I’ll be over, okay?”

“I’ll see you soon,” Mark said, and they disconnected.

Eggsy slipped his phone in his pocket and settled back in his seat. Hopefully tonight they wouldn’t be interrupted, because Eggsy was done with taking it slow. He was going to show Mark just how much he missed him, and by morning neither of them would be able to walk.

****

            Harry glared at the flowers as if they’d personally offended him—and they had. Leave it to Mark to send a ridiculous number of flowers. And how did he know that Eggsy’s favorite flower was a daisy?

            Because they’re dating, you idiot. He probably knows Eggsy very intimately.

            That idea alone incensed Harry more than any backwoods bigot from Kentucky ever could.

            “They’re quite lovely,” Merlin mused, and Harry could hear the grin in his voice even before he turned around.

            “You know, you’re supposed to be on my side,” Harry pointed out.

            “Not when you’re being an idiot.” Merlin slipped his tablet into satchel. “Though I suppose I could spare an hour for drinks—if you’re buying—in order to listen to you whine.”

            “I gentleman does not whine,” Harry pointed out, though that was very much what he intended to do.

            “Of course, but a gentleman also doesn’t act like a scorned teenage girl. Really Harry, refusing to reschedule drinks? A tad childish,” Merlin said, waving goodbye to Dagonet as he left the shop.

            “I wasn’t refusing,” Harry defended, even though they both knew it was a lie. “I have a very busy schedule.”

            “Sitting at home, alone, reading Emily Bronte and sobbing into your whiskey? Your rendition of Catharine Earnshaw leaves much to be desired.”

            Harry rolled his eyes and slipped into the taxi they’d share. “I’ll have you know I do have actual work to do. I wasn’t just being dramatic for the sake of it.”

            He did feel bad though for upsetting Eggsy. He hated the way the light died in Eggsy’s eyes when Harry had turned him down for drinks tomorrow. It had slipped out before he could stop it, and he didn’t know how to take it back without revealing his childish antics. And then he went and slipped his foot so far in his mouth he’d need it surgically extracted.

            No one has probably ever paid this much care and attention to Eggsy, and you make him feel bad about flowers. Eggsy deserved all the flowers. He deserved gardens. And Harry made it seem like a few stupid daisies were such a terrible thing.

            “Harry, in all the years I’ve known you, you’ve always been dramatic for the sake of it. And you forget who assigns your missions. You have nothing lined up right now, and are in fact, for the first time in I ten years, on time with your paperwork. If Eggsy dating another keeps you doing your paperwork, than I am in full support of him dating your brother.”

            “Must you call him my brother?” Harry grumbled.

            “He is, isn’t he? Honestly Harry, are you going to be like this from now on? Because I really will send you to the Yukon. I’m in no mood for your melancholy, especially when it’s your fault you’re in this situation.”

            Merlin raised a brow pointedly at Harry and fixed him with a deadpanned look. Harry clenched his jaw. His fault? What he had he done to deserve this fate? He took great pains in keeping Mark as far from Kingsman as possible, and Eggsy just happened to stumble upon him in the street.

            “My fault? How in the bloody hell is it my fault, Merlin?”

            “You’re the idiot who refused to speak to the boy. Eggsy was absolutely mad about you. As far as he was concerned, the sun rose and set in your eyes. And you tossed his feelings away—carelessly, I might add—because of what? Guilt? You thought he was too young? Whatever nonsense, it was enough to drive him away and into the arms of your brother.”

            Harry opened and closed his mouth. He couldn’t get a word in edgewise, though, because once Merlin started, he started.

            “Now you’re pouting because someone else snatched up your precious Eggsy and you really only have yourself to blame. You should have talked to him sooner—like I said. And instead of heeding my advice, you’re acting like a child who had their favorite toy taken away. Either let Eggsy be happy with your brother or do something about it, but stop your whining. It’s unbecoming, and quite frankly, nauseating, to see you so pathetic.”

            When Merlin finished, Harry didn’t say anything right away. He sat, stewing in the silence, letting Merlin’s diatribe marinate. He was right, of course. Though Harry wasn’t about to admit that to Merlin. He didn’t need a bigger head.

            But Harry really only had two choices. Either do the gentleman’s deed and bow out gracefully, letting Eggsy be happy with another, or he could try to win Eggsy over. A part of Harry knew he should leave Eggsy alone, let him be with Mark. But then Harry thought about all their possible futures, about those sweet moments that could be his, that should have been his, and he couldn’t walk away.

            “You’re right,” Harry said, and Merlin—who’d pulled out his tablet—looked up at him in surprise.

            “I’m shocked you’ll see reason. So you’ll leave the boy alone?”

            Harry settled back in his seat and looked out the window. “No,” Harry murmured. “No, I’m going to win Eggsy over. He’ll see that between Mark and I, I’m the better brother.”

            “Oh for fucks sake,” Merlin grumbled. “You fucking idiot.”

Chapter Text

            “Oh God, this is amazing,” Eggsy moaned. He’d been saying it all night, over and over again. Mark smiled at down at him, amusement warming his eyes. Eggsy scooped up another bite of the pasta. “Seriously, I think I’ll just kidnap y’ and bring y’ home to be my personal chef.”

            “I’m happy to cook for you any time,” Mark said as he angel hair onto his fork. “There’s no need for kidnapping.”

            “No fun in that.” Eggsy winked at him, delighting in the flush that spread across Mark’s cheeks. Eggsy finished every last bite of the pasta, barely restraining himself from licking the buttery lemon sauce clean from the plate. He wiped his mouth with his napkin, contently full. “That was, hands down, one of the best things I’ve had.”

            “You already have me, no need to keep flattering me,” Mark teased as he gathered their plates and carried them into the kitchen.

            Eggsy trailed after Mark, coming to a stop behind him when he set their plates in the sink. Eggsy looped his arms around Mark’s waist and set his cheek against his back. “Wot if I like just flattering y’? It’s so easy.”

            Mark settled his hand over Eggsy’s, stroking his thumb along the bumps of Eggsy’s knuckles, and murmured, “Well, I can’t argue with that logic.”

            Eggsy hummed in agreement, hiding his grin in Mark’s shoulder. “Missed y’” Eggsy mumbled, mouth still pressed against Mark.

            Mark shifted, and Eggsy let his arms go loose so Mark could turn around. It felt so natural to be like this, like they’d been doing it for years. It only made the sting of Harry’s earlier words all the sharper. If the choice came down to Mark or Harry, Eggsy didn’t know who he would choose.

            Eggsy would burn down the world when it came to Harry, but Eggsy had begun to realize that he would do the same for Mark.

            “What is it?” Mark asked, his smile dropping into a frown. He took Eggsy’s chin between his thumb and finger and lifted his face so Eggsy was compelled to meet his eyes.

The delicious pasta that Eggsy had scarfed down congealed in his stomach. He hated this. Hated that he felt so guilty for being happy. Hated that he didn’t know what was right. Hated that whatever he did, he seemed to hurt someone. And all he wanted was for Mark and Harry to be happy.

“Darling,” Mark whispered in concern, moving his hand to cup Eggsy’s face. “You’ve gone white. Did something happen?”

Eggsy shook his head. He didn’t want Mark to be upset with Harry. There was already a yawning gulf between them, Eggsy refused to be the cause of widening it.

“No,” Eggsy said, forcing a smile. He turned his face to nuzzle Mark’s palm. “I just realized how much I missed being with y’.”

It wasn’t a lie. For the first time in a week Eggsy felt like he could breathe again.

Mark kissed the top of his head. “My sweet boy,” he murmured into Eggsy’s hair. “Sometimes I think you’re too good for me.”

Eggsy tightened his arms around Mark’s waist and shook his head. “That’s bullshit. Anyone is too good for anyone, it’s you’re too good for me.”

Mark chuckled. “Well I don’t see either of us winning this argument. How about we settle for dessert instead? I have a lovely chocolate tart in the fridge.”

“Or,” Eggsy suggested, leaning back so he could look at Mark. “We could have a different kind of dessert. Sure the tart is delicious, but there’s something else I’m craving.”

“Oh?” Mark’s eyebrows shot up. Eggsy grinned and untangled himself from him. “Well, I’d be a terrible host if I didn’t offer an alternative.”

Eggsy laughed and grabbed Mark’s hand. “Come on.”

He barely made it to the stairs before Mark’s arms were around him. Mark pressed a line of kisses up the curve of his neck, and Eggsy’s knees went weak, his legs wobbling as he tried to maneuver up the stairs.

“Oi, we won’t make it far if y’ keep doing that,” Eggsy warned, though he tipped his head to the side to encourage Mark.

Mark grazed his teeth along the stretch of tendons, finding Eggsy’s fluttering pulse and sucking. Eggsy grabbed onto the banister for balance, his legs nearly giving out as a bolt of pleasure shot from Mark’s lips to his cock.

“Fuck me,” Eggsy gasped, nails scraping against the wooden grain.

“That’s the idea,” Mark hummed. He dropped his hand, palming at Eggsy’s front until his hand cupped Eggsy’s thickening cock through his trousers. With each roll of Marks’ palm, Eggsy felt spark after spark of hunger shoot through him, like someone was repeatedly striking flint.

“Bedroom,” Eggsy demanded, the single word strained as he rutted into Mark’s hand. “Now.”

“First door on the left,” Mark whispered into his ear.

Eggsy grabbed his hand and hauled Mark up the stairs, dragging him into the room. He kicked the door shut, barely able to contain the excitement that thrummed through him as he turned to face Mark.

Mark pressed him into the door, devouring Eggsy’s mouth with his own. He slammed Eggsy’s hands above his head, their fingers curled together. Eggsy whined, arching off the door to press the length of his body into Mark’s.

Mark broke away, his lips still grazing Eggsy’s, and asked huskily, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Eggsy closed his eyes and swallowed convulsively. He’d never been more sure about anything.

“Fuck yeah,” Eggsy said, leaning forward to try and steal another kiss.

Mark danced out of reach and Eggsy whined again. “Once we start, I don’t plan on letting you out of my bed.”

A shiver raced down Eggsy’s spine. “Mark,” he whimpered.

“Look at me darling.”

Eggsy opened his eyes and met Mark’s gaze. The look on his face gave Eggsy pause. Mark let go of one of his hands to skim his fingers down the hard line of Eggsy’s jaw. “You are so very important to me, Eggsy. I want to make sure you are one hundred percent positive this is what you want. If it isn’t, I’ll be more than happy to go downstairs and spend the remainder of the evening with you curled on the couch. But…” He searched Eggsy’s face. “But if it is, then I don’t plan on letting you leave this bed until I’ve worshipped every inch of you.”

Eggsy stood on his toes, grazing his teeth along the shell of Mark’s ear, and whispered, “Bruv, by the time I’m done with y’, y’ll be calling me y’r god.”

“Cocky little shit,” Mark chuckled and hauled Eggsy away from the door. They stumbled towards the bed, a tangled mess of limbs. The back of Mark’s knees hit the edge of the bed and he sunk onto the mattress.

Eggsy stepped back, just out of reach, and started to loosen his tie with a finger. He gave the bedroom a cursory glance around, noting its clean lines and contemporary feel, fitting the rest of his home. It was clear Mark’s and Harry’s tastes were quite different in the realm of interior design. Mark didn’t clutter every inch with pictures, and he lacked a certain affinity for butterflies, a trait Eggsy wasn’t sorry to see missing.

Eggsy slipped his tie off and followed it with his shirt and shoes. Mark’s gaze tracked his every move, sliding over him as he peeled off his socks and unbuckled his belt. Eggsy stopped when his belt was removed.

“Y’ know, usually this is the part where y’ get naked too,” Eggsy pointed out with a smirk.

Mark snapped to attention, flushing brightly. He stood, fumbling with his tie, and Eggsy laughed. He swatted Mark’s hands away and undid it for him, taking his time to slide the silk from his collar and setting it aside.

“It seems when you’re around, I lose my head,” Mark explained as Eggsy unbuttoned his shirt. Before Eggsy could respond, Mark cupped his face and tipped his head back, Eggsy fluttered his eyes close, sighing into the kiss. Mark pulled away and whispered, “But I would gladly give up all of my sanity if it meant I could remain by your side.”

“Fuck.” Eggsy opened his eyes. It was like coming up for air after being underwater. He didn’t know if he could stand beneath the weight of Mark’s gaze. If he was good enough.

Eggsy didn’t want to think about anything but this moment, about the now, and how fast his heart raced when Mark watched him. He didn’t want to consider that he may lose it all in a blink. He didn’t want to think about Harry’s disapproval. How Eggsy had spent the greater part of his life on his knees for other men and women, and how Mark deserved someone so much better than him. He didn’t want to think about anything but the possibility that this could be real.

            Eggsy finished unbuttoning Mark’s shirt, and they didn’t dawdle on the rest of their clothes. Eggsy found himself face down on the bed, his arse up in the air, and a thing of lubricant and condoms beside him. Mark ran his hand reverently down Eggsy’s back, fingers skimming over the bumps in his spine.

            “Look at you.” Mark groaned, coming to rest his hand on Eggsy’s lower back. “Gorgeous.”

            Mark moved his hand lower, cupping Eggsy’s arse and parting his cheeks to reveal his hole. Mark’s thick thumb dusted over Eggsy’s tight ring, and Eggsy convulsively clenched.

            “Don’t tease,” Eggsy grumbled against the comforter. His cock was already hard, hanging between his legs with a bead of precum on the tip. Eggsy reached between his legs and grabbed his balls, tugging them forward to stretch his perineum and hole. “Been thinking about this since we got interrupted.”

            “Have you?” Mark hummed, massaging Eggsy’s arse with firm strokes. “What did you do when you thought about it?”

            “Dirty old man,” Eggsy teased and wiggled his arse. He shifted his hand, running a dry finger along the rim of his hole. He his finger caught the lip and he pulled, stretching it further open. Mark groaned and let out a curse. “Fucked myself. Couldn’t get deep enough though. And my fingers weren’t thick enough. Need y’r cock.”

            “You naughty tart,” Mark whispered hoarsely and roughly squeezed Eggsy’s arse.

            Eggsy withdrew his hand and whined, his cock dribbling more precum. “Please Mark, don’t make me wait.”

            “Okay, okay,” Mark assured.

He picked up the lubricant and opened it with a schnick. Eggsy shivered and clenched the comforter in his fists. Mark stretched across Eggsy’s back and pressed a kiss between his shoulder blades. A slick finger circled Eggsy’s entrance, a gentle warning, before pressing in. The intrusion made Eggsy groan and wiggle more.

            “Fucking fuck,” Mark said wetly against Eggsy’s skin. He slid his finger slowly in with shallow thrusts, stopping only when he’d reached the third knuckle. Eggsy squeezed his walls, savoring Mark’s moan.

            “Come, open me up,” Eggsy encouraged. “Want to feel y’, baby. I don’t want to walk tomorrow.”

            Mark chuckled and responded by crooking his finger and thrusting, bumping a knuckle against Eggsy’s prostate. Eggsy jumped and whimpered, his arms collapsing beneath him. Whatever illusions Eggsy had of Mark being a tender lover went out the window as he started to thoroughly work Eggsy open, taking him apart one thrust at a time. It was like his fingers were homing missiles locked onto Eggsy’s prostate. They dashed over it, a constant tease, working him up, but never hitting his prostate directly.

            Mark knew what he was doing. Knew with each brush, Eggsy felt more of his control slip, until he melted around Mark.

            Eggsy clawed at the bed as Mark worked his way to three fingers. He pressed his forehead into the mattress and rocked back, bouncing on Mark’s hand. Mark withdrew his fingers and replace it with both thumbs, pulling Eggsy open and exposing him. The cold air ghosted over Eggsy’s wet hole and he sobbed, his gut so twisted he felt like an open raw nerve.

            “Please, please, please,” Eggsy babbled.

            “My perfect darling boy,” Mark praised. “Look at you.”

            “Mark,” Eggsy pleaded, voice breaking as he pressed back against Mark’s thumb. “Fuck, please. Please Mark.”

            “Please what, my darling?”

            Oh and if that didn’t nearly undo Eggsy. He whimpered, squeezing his eyes shut.

            “Okay, I have you,” Mark assured and withdrew his thumbs. Eggsy’s hole felt gaping and greasy from the lubricant Mark had smeared across it.

            Eggsy opened and looked to see what Mark was doing. Mark opened the condom, but before he could roll it on, Eggsy took it from his hand and did it for him, following after the rubber with his mouth. He sucked Mark down to the root, and Mark tangled his fingers in Eggsy’s hair.

            “Oh fuck,” Mark gasped and thrust into Eggsy’s mouth. Eggsy hummed contently, savoring the weight of Mark’s cock on his tongue. He wasn’t the longest Eggsy had encountered, but he was certainly thick, and his head was nice and wide. Mark tugged at his hair and ordered shakily, “Off darling.”

            Eggsy made a protesting sound in the back of his throat but lifted off Mark, a rope of spit connected between his lips and Mark’s cock. He rolled his eyes up to look at Mark through a veil of lashes, and Mark stroked his face, his pupils blown wide with desire.

            “Christ, what did I do to deserve you?” Mark murmured.

            Eggsy leaned forward and nuzzled his hip. “It’s me that doesn’t deserve y’,” Eggsy mumbled, half-drunk on his hunger.

            “Hey,” Mark murmured, catching Eggsy’s chin between his fingers and turning his head so they faced each other. “None of that. Why would you say that darling?”

            Eggsy’s heart thudded and he shook his head. “Never mind, I didn’t mean it,” he said. He shifted so he stood on his knees, and before Mark could argue, he kissed him.

            Mark drew back, but luckily it was only to move Eggsy into position, stretching him out on his back. Mark shifted over Eggsy, and Eggsy parted his legs, wrapping them around Mark’s back.

            A curl of hair fell into Mark’s face and Eggsy brushed it away, smiling at him. “Hey,” Eggsy whispered. The head of Mark’s cock brushed against his entrance, and Eggsy’s breath hitched.

            Mark reached between them and lined himself up, gently pushing in. The stretch burned satisfyingly and Eggsy arched into the touch with a shuddering gasp. Mark eased in, coming down so his arms bracketed the side of Eggsy’s head, and nosed his cheek. “Hello darling.”

            Eggsy wrapped his arms back around Mark’s neck and held on as Mark moved. Mark didn’t stop until he was fully seated. Eggsy pressed his mouth against Mark’s throat, not quite kissing, but feeling the rapid flutter of his pulse against his lips.

            “Perfection,” Mark whispered into Eggsy’s hair, coming to a stop with his balls nestled against Eggsy’s arse cheeks.

            Eggsy squeezed his legs, and it was all Mark needed to feel to begin. Eggsy should have known that as much as gentleman as Mark was, he was a beast in the bedroom. What was the saying? Gentleman on the streets, freak in the sheets. Mark pinned Eggsy’s hands above his head and slammed into Eggsy’s.

            Eggsy wanted to pretend that he had better control of his vocal chords, but who was he kidding? The repeated drag of Mark’s cock over his prostate and the burn of stretching muscles were equal measures of pain and pleasure, and Eggsy lost himself in the crashing tidal wave. He howled, outright screamed, as Mark broke him apart and exposed every nerve ending and depth of his soul.

            “Mark,” Eggsy sobbed. He took great gratification when Mark made a broken sound, his trembling arms nearly giving out as Eggsy clenched around his cock to create a suction with each thrust.

            Eggsy grabbed onto the back of his knees and drew his legs down, practically bending his body in half. Mark’s eyes widen minutely as he shifted above Eggsy, able to reach a deeper depth.

            “Fuck,” Mark groaned, grabbing onto the headboard for support as he drove into Eggsy. “You gorgeous creature. Darling, fucking hell—oh, shit, do that again.”

            Eggsy grinned and repeated the motion, swiveling his hips down hard on Mark as he slammed into Eggsy. Eggsy could feel the force of the thrust in his gut, fireworks going off behind his eyes and lighting through his body.

            Eggsy was grateful for all the gymnastics and yoga he did, because he was able to brace his feet the sturdy oak headboard, just below Mark’s hand. The position allowed Eggsy to maneuver his hand so he could grab onto his bouncing dick.

            It didn’t take long, he was already so far gone, and if he were being honest, his own release was a second thought. The tension in his gut released with a convulsion of tremors and cum splashed across his stomach. Eggsy moaned brokenly through his climax.

            Mark’s control slipped, and his measured strokes lost rhythm. He fucked into Eggsy, a wild man chasing his orgasm. Eggsy wished there wasn’t a condom separating them, but he knew that they had to play it safe, at least until Eggsy got the clear.

            Mark gave a few more shallow thrusts, mouth twisted into a silent moan. He was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. Eggsy’s entire body felt alive from watching the pleasure wash over Mark.

“Fucking hell,” Mark gasped and came to a stop over Eggsy, sweat rolling down the bridge of his nose.

            Eggsy couldn’t even get his tongue to work. His throat felt rubbed raw, and it was absolutely wonderful. He grinned.

            Mark withdrew and Eggsy lowered his legs with a hiss. He’d feel that in the morning. Mark removed his condom and threw it away before flopping down next to Eggsy. Eggsy rolled over and burrowed into his side. They had to clean, but Eggsy would worry about that in a little bit.

            Mark wrapped his arms around Eggsy and drew him closer, until Eggsy was stretched half on top of him. Eggsy kissed Mark’s chest, over his heart, and whispered, “Definitely worth the wait.”

            Mark combed his fingers through Eggsy’s hair. “Yeah?”

            “Oh yeah.”

            Mark chuckled and kissed his forehead. Eggsy laid his head down, letting a content silence settle over them. He’d never felt something so right, like this was where he’d been supposed to be all along. Everything would be perfect if there wasn’t that small niggling feeling in the back of his mind, that lingering doubt and disappointment that hung over him in a miasma of fear.

            “Is everything okay?” Mark asked.

            Eggsy didn’t have to look up to hear the concern in his voice. Eggsy nuzzled his chest and whispered, “Yeah, everything’s is great.”

            “I hear a ‘but’,” Mark said, and Eggsy’s stomach dropped.

He was ruining this moment with his stupid insecurities. It shouldn’t matter what Harry thought. Eggsy was his own man.

But it did. Harry was so important to him. Harry wasn’t just his mentor, he was… well, Eggsy wasn’t sure what category Harry exactly fit into. At one time he’d been the love of Eggsy’s life. But that had gone out the window when Harry made it clear where they stood. But that didn’t change that Harry held a very important place in Eggsy’s heart.

“I’m sorry,” Eggsy whispered. “I was just thinking about something me and Harry discussed earlier today.”

“Don’t apologize, darling,” Mark said. He scraped his nails along Eggsy’s scalp. “Though I do admit, it’s a little disconcerting that you’re thinking of my brother right now.”

“It ain’t like that, I swear,” Eggsy said quickly, struggling to push himself up on weak arms.

“I know,” Mark assured, moving his hands to cup Eggsy’s cheek. “I don’t doubt you.”

“I ain’t ever going to do that to y’,” Eggsy said, despite Mark’s reassurance. “Swear down, I won’t. Fucking cut off my balls before I cheat.”

Eggsy bit his bottom lip and searched Mark’s face. He’d never betray Mark. Never. He knew how Bridget and his first wife had done Mark wrong. He refused to treat Mark the same way. And besides, Eggsy was a lot of awful things, but he was no cheater.

“Shh, I know,” Mark whispered soothingly, continuing to stroke Eggsy’s cheek. “Easy, I know. And please don’t do that, I’m rather attached to your balls.”

Eggsy dipped his head with a light chuckle.

“What’s troubling you, my darling?” Mark asked.

“Harry just seemed…” Upset. And Eggsy didn’t know why. He shook his head, then after a brief pause, asked, “Mark, what happened between y’ two? I know it ain’t my place, but it’s just… Harry seemed so upset. And y’ both mean so much to me, I hate seeing y’ fight.”

“Oh you sweet thing.” Mark sighed and drew Eggsy back down so his head rested on Mark’s chest.

Mark didn’t answer right away, and Eggsy wondered if he would. It really wasn’t Eggsy’s place, and he opened his mouth to tell Mark to forget it, when Mark said, “It was over Bridget.”

Eggsy snapped his mouth closed. He trailed a finger down Mark’s chest, tracing the sparse hairs that were littered there.

“Harry had been there with my first wife, Elizabeth. He’d seen what it had done to me, and he’d been there to pick up the pieces after. He was even there for the disaster of pining for and dating Bridget.” Mark sighed and mumbled, “I should have realized then that it would have never worked, but I was foolish.”

Mark trailed his fingers up and down Eggsy’s arm and Eggsy suspected the touch was just as much for Mark as it was for Eggsy himself.

“Harry didn’t approve of Bridget. He’d been the one to insist on a prenup, and honestly, I’m grateful he did. The day of the wedding, after we got ready, Harry told he thought I was making a mistake.” Mark paused his hand. “He, quite bluntly, told me I’d regret it and that Bridget would only ruin me. He never was one for mincing words.”

“No, he really isn’t,” Eggsy grumbled, reflecting back to his own fight with Harry. Harry knew how to make words cut deeper than any knives.

“We fought, both said things we regretted. I called him a bastard, and he told me he wouldn’t stand here and watch me marry a whore. I told him to leave. And he, well, left.” Mark kissed the top of Eggsy’s head and hugged him closer. “Harry of course was right.”

“Mark, no,” Eggsy said, pushing himself up so he could look down at him.

Mark arched an eyebrow. “Eggsy, my marriage barely lasted four months. We were fighting on the honeymoon. Granted, I was tense because of Harry, but even after that we fought. Then Cleaver came along with a job opportunity for Bridget, and well, the rest is history.”

“Okay, maybe Harry was right about that, but that didn’t give him the right to say those things.” Eggsy shook his head, furrowing his brows together. “Harry doesn’t always realize what he’s saying.”

“No, I suspect he doesn’t. He never has, even as a child. When things don’t go his way, he has a tendency to throw tantrums.” Mark smirked. “He can, quite frankly, be a bit of a terror.”

Eggsy snorted derisively. “Don’t I know it.”

Mark’s expression sobered. “Harry never came back, and I couldn’t bear to admit that he was right, again, so well… a year went by. It’s been over a year now. Almost two, now that I think about it.”

“I ain’t going to tell y’ wot to do, but… y’ should talk to him,” Eggsy said. He set a hand on Mark’s chest. “The only reason Harry acts that way is because he cares, and for all of Harry’s great qualities, he’s shite at expressing himself.”

“How do you do that?” Mark asked.

“Do wot?”

“Read people so well. It’s like you know my very soul, and honestly, I’ve never known someone to understand Harry as well as you do. Most people can barely tell us apart.”

“I couldn’t, at first,” Eggsy reminded him.

Mark lifted Eggsy’s hand and kissed his knuckles. “And how grateful I am that you couldn’t.”

“Will y’ try?” Eggsy asked, brushing his thumb along Mark’s lower lip. Maybe if Mark and Harry mended the rift between them, Harry would come to approve Mark’s relationship with him.

“If it’ll make you happy darling, I’ll try,” Mark said, sucking Eggsy’s thumb into his mouth.

Eggsy shuddered, barely able to contain his grin. He pressed his thumb flat against Mark’s tongue, before drawing his hand back. He slipped onto Mark’s lap, straddling his waist, and whispered, “How can I thank y’?”

Mark cupped the back of his neck and drew his head down. Eggsy went willingly, his lips hovering over Mark’s.

“I can think of a few ways,” Mark whispered, their mouths sealing together.

Chapter Text

“No,” Merlin stated firmly, his back to Harry. He wasn’t even doing anything important. Harry could see that Merlin had Minecraft up on the second monitor while he observed Lamorak’s mission on the other.

“Surely there’s something that requires the both of us,” Harry insisted, leaning back in the seat he occupied. “And you could look at me while we have a conversation.”

“We’re not having a conversation. You’re bitching like a thirteen-year-old girl, and I’m trying to work,” Merlin stated, pausing in his game long enough to take a sip from his mug.

“Minecraft isn’t work,” Harry pointed out, refusing to comment on the teenage girl remark. There wasn’t anything wrong with inquiring about possible missions.

“Harry, this isn’t some tawdry romance novel. I refuse to send you and Bors on a mission together, gallivanting around as a married couple. The entire idea of the ruse is absurd for one,” Merlin said. “And two, I will not take part in your childish games.”

“There will come a time when you need my help, and I do hope you remember this moment,” Harry said. Merlin’s shoulders tensed, and Harry could hear a sigh escape him. It didn’t deter him. “A moment when you’re desperate for aid, for a friend to lend a hand, a moment when all of your fortitude and perseverance fails you, and you turn to me, asking—pleading—for assistance. Remember this, because when that moment comes, I won’t forsaken you, I cast you aside like a beggar as you’ve done to me. I’ll be there.”

Merlin turned slowly in his chair and fixed Harry with a bored look. “Are you done?” Merlin asked. “Or should retrieve a shovel to take care of all this horse shit you’re spewing?”

“So I take it that it’s still a no?”

“It’s still a no.”

“Bollocks,” Harry grumbled. He knew it’d been a long shot, anyways. Merlin never did favors when it came to missions. And perhaps Harry had a been a bit glib with his monologue.

“Now go away, before I do send you on a mission—Elyan hasn’t left for Canada yet. I can make an alteration, I’m sure he’d appreciate it.”

Harry shoved to his feet. “Not necessary.”

Merlin smirked and turned back around to his video game. “Maybe we can get drinks tonight. I’ll even be a good friend and let you bemoan a bit more about your cursed love life.”

“You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were finding amusement in my suffering,” Harry said, knowing very well that Merlin was getting entertainment from his follies.

            “No,” Merlin gasped. “What would ever give you that idea?”

            “Bastard,” Harry grumbled.

            “Better than being single,” Merlin shot back.

            “And you aren’t?”

            “That’s none of your business,” Merlin answered with a hum.

Harry scowled at his back. Before he could think of a comeback though, Harry’s phone rang. He sighed and fished it out, checking the number. Mark’s name flashed on the screen, along with an old picture Harry had taken during Christmas. The sight of his twin made him pause, Harry’s heart skidding to a stop.

Mark hadn’t called him since that disastrous wedding day. Harry hesitated, thumb hovering over the answer button.

What could Mark possibly want?

Mark had no reason to call, none. Unless… unless something happened. Was there an accident?

Overwhelmed by the thought of Mark hurt, Harry hit talk and answered, “Hello.”

“Hello Harry,” Mark said, sounding completely fine and healthy.

Harry scowled and immediately regretted hitting answer. “Mark. What do I owe the pleasure?”

Merlin turned in his seat and raised his eyebrows. He mouthed ‘Mark’, and Harry gave a sharp nod.

“I was calling to see if you might be free to meet sometime,” Mark queried. Harry frowned. What was his game? Why did he want to get together?

“And why would you want to do that?” Harry asked, trying to keep the disdain from seeping into his voice—he must have failed, because Merlin winced.

Merlin reached back and blindly grabbed his cup, all the while not breaking eye contact with Harry. The bastard was practically salivating. Harry pointed at the monitors, and Merlin waved him off. Fine, Harry would just see if Eggsy could hack Merlin’s World of Warcraft account again.

“I wanted to speak with you about a few things,” Mark said, the earnestness in his tone making Harry blink. “You see, I’ve come to realize that there are some matters we’ve been ignoring, and I would very much like to discuss them with you.”

Harry rolled his eyes. Sometimes Mark could get so winded. It was like he was channeling a Jane Austen character.

“Mark, do shut up,” Harry said, cutting him off before he rambled on even more.

Mark went quiet. Harry pinched the bridge of his nose. His immediate response was ‘no, go fuck yourself’, but he managed to quell the urge. Of course Mark would consider extending an olive branch now, when he’d unknowingly become Harry’s romantic rival. It seemed a bit out of the left field—they’d both been more than content with silently despising one another until their deaths.

Eggsy, Harry mused. His dear boy wouldn’t let such a feud between siblings remain. Harry just knew Eggsy was behind this, and it made his heart ache to think that Eggsy cared so much about Mark, about Harry.

“I’m free tonight,” Harry offered. It didn’t change that Mark was his rival, and that Harry would win Eggsy over, but it would be ungentlemanly of Harry to refuse Mark’s peace offering. Mark paused, and when he didn’t offer a time, Harry asked, “Is tonight not good?”

“I’m afraid I have dinner plans with Eggsy,” Mark explained. “Ones I can’t cancel. Perhaps we could do lunch this week?”

Harry tightened his grip on his phone, but he managed to keep his tone even as he asked, “Oh. How lovely. Where will you two be going?”

“We were able to get a table at Le Cinq.”

Harry’s stomach dropped. Le Cinq was one of the hottest, most exclusive French restaurants at the moment. Reservations took weeks, sometimes months, to obtain.

“How did you manage that?” Harry asked. While he didn’t doubt his ability to ascertain a table—which he had planned on doing once he and Eggsy were official—he wondered how Mark managed, especially without the connections Harry had.

“I have a friend,” Mark explained. “She managed to pull some strings. I’m afraid I can’t cancel because of it. So would lunch be all right?”

“Yes, of course,” Harry said, unclenching his teeth. “Lunch. This Wednesday perhaps? At the Roseleaf Café, one o’clock.”

“Thank you, Harry,” Mark said, and after a goodbye, hung up.

Harry lowered his phone, his fingers aching. He relaxed his grip, noting a small crack radiating from the corner of the screen. Bollocks.

“Well, this just got interesting,” Merlin said, grinning from ear to ear.

“Oh do shut up.”

“If you’re going to act that way, then I won’t offer my help,” Merlin said and started to turn back towards the computer monitors. “I certainly have better things to do with my time.”

“Help? Weren’t you just saying how you wouldn’t take part in my silly games.”

“Yes, well, I hate to see you flounder,” Merlin said and waved a hand dismissively over his shoulder.

“Flounder? I have everything under control.”

Merlin scoffed. Into the speaker, he said to Lamorak, “You’ve got company. Take the next left and hide out in that store.” Merlin released the button, and said to Harry, “Keep telling yourself that. Do you want my help, yes or no?”

Harry almost turned him down. The only one to benefit from Merlin’s help would be Merlin. But Harry was in a tight pinch, and while he most certainly wasn’t floundering, he could use a few extra hands for his plan.

“And what’s the price?”

“Consider this a freebie,” Merlin said, and at Harry’s arched brow, he added, “What can I say? I’m feeling generous suddenly—and I really don’t want to miss this once and a lifetime chance at seeing Harry Hart crash and burn.”

“Your magnanimity truly astounds me,” Harry drawled.

“I do try.” Merlin chuckled, then shifted so his full attention was on Lamorak’s screen. “Now go away, I have work to do,” —Merlin hit the button on the speaker again— “damn it man, I told you to lose them. They’re coming up on your right Lamorak.”

Harry left, wincing as Merlin shouted at Lamorak. The agent would no doubt be getting an earful when he returned from his mission. Harry fished out his phone and scrolled through his contact list. He selected Robert Graves and pressed talk.

“Robert,” Harry greeted, “You’re not away on business, are you?”

“No,” Robert said, “Though I get the sense that I’ll probably wish I am.”

Harry made his way to his office. He shut the door behind him, making sure to hit the lock, before saying, “Nonsense, I’m not calling for anything dastardly. I’m merely calling in that favor you owe.”

Robert heaved a sigh. “I’m going to live to regret asking for your help, aren’t I?”

Three years ago Harry had helped Robert—also known as Agent Kay—not only remove some large debt he acquired from his compulsive gambling, but also hide it from his wife and get help for his addiction. Harry had been more than happy to help Robert. As both a fellow agent and a friend, Harry saw it as his duty. Harry never really planned to cash in the favor Robert had promised him. But drastic times called for drastic matters.

“Certainly not. Everything had worked out for you, hadn’t it?” Harry took a seat at his desk and leaned back in the leather chair. “Now, I hope you didn’t make any plans for tonight.”

* * * *

            “I can’t believe y’ managed to get reservations,” Eggsy said as they pulled up to Le Cinq. “I hope it wasn’t too much trouble—really, I’d have been fine with fish and chips place around the corner from y’.”

            “Well, that’s always an option,” Mark offered. “But it really wasn’t a bother. Besides, I know you said you were interested in this place.”

            “Rox has been banging on about it since the place opened. Man, is she going to be jealous when she finds out where I ate.” Eggsy grinned, his cheeks already starting to hurt from how much he’d smiled so far. It wasn’t hard for his entire face to be aching by the end of the evening when he was with Mark.

            Mark handed his car over to the valet and they entered the restaurant. Le Cinq was in an industrial building renovated into a restaurant, with glass walls and exposed steel beams. From an architectural stand point, it was certainly interesting, and the ambiance definitely carried the pomp and circumstance that most high-end restaurants often held.

            A line of customers extended towards the door. The hostess dismissed a few with a wave of her hand, while gesturing for those who managed to secure a reservation to be seated. Mark approached the booth, Eggsy on his arm, and said, “Reservation for Mark Darcy.”

            The hostess, a slender woman with sharp brown eyes and a pinched mouth, glanced over tablet, then stated briskly, “I’m afraid your name isn’t on the list.”

            Eggsy glanced between the woman—she didn’t even have a nametag pinned to her black dress—and Mark.

            “If you could please check again, I confirmed my reservation this morning with Jennifer Warren.”

            The woman raised a manicured brow, the look on her face clearly stating she wasn’t amused at having to double check, but she gave another look over her list.

            “Again, I’m afraid you aren’t on the list. Perhaps your reservation is for another day,” The woman said, tone broaching no room for argument.

            Eggsy knew a dismissal when he heard it. He drew Mark to the side, letting the next person shuffle up, and said, “It’s no big deal. Maybe there was a mix up. Let’s just go grab some fish and chips and head back to your place.”

            Mark shook his head and shot the hostess an irate look. “I know it wasn’t for another day.” He pulled out his cellphone. “I’ll just give Jennifer a call and get this straightened out.”

            “Really Mark, y’ don’t have to. It isn’t a big deal if we don’t eat here.”

            Mark flexed his hand around his phone and studied Eggsy, searching his face. “Are you sure? You were so happy to come here—I’d hate to ruin it because of some clerical error or because some… harpy is gatekeeping the restaurant.”

            Eggsy chuckled and whispered conspiratorially, “She is a harpy, ain’t she? Thought she’d gouge y’r eyes out when y’ asked her to double check.” Eggsy took Mark’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “Come on, babe. Let’s not ruin the night getting upset. I fancy a beer and some fish, don’t y’?”

            “That sounds perfect,” Mark agreed.

            It was disappointing that they wouldn’t eat at Le Cinq, mostly because Eggsy now didn’t have bragging rights to hold over Roxy, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world. He just wanted to spend the evening with Mark; whether that was at an exclusive restaurant, or back at his flat in front of the telly, Eggsy could care less.

            With the evening back on track, they left the restaurant. They didn’t make it very far, though.

            “What do you mean you lost my car?” Mark demanded.

            The man at the valet booth typed furiously on his tablet, all the while repeating apologetically, “I’m sorry sir, it isn’t listed.”

            “I have a ticket right here.” Mark held up the ticket, which he clutched in a death grip.

Eggsy squeezed his forearm, trying to offer some kind of support. Mark wasn’t out right yelling, but his tone had certainly grown thin with frustration, and Eggsy could see that he was getting more incensed by the second. It didn’t help that the man assisting them didn’t seem all that interested in their predicament.

            The man eyed the ticket. “I’ll have Aaron double check. I’m not sure why it isn’t in here.”

            “Thank you,” Mark said with a huff, handing over the ticket.

            Eggsy steered him out of the way, letting the couple behind take their place. He shifted so he stood in front of Mark and cupped his jaw. “Hey, it’s okay. Just a bit of a setback. I’m sure they’ll find y’r car. Probably just didn’t put it in yet, s’all.”

            Mark let out a heavy sigh through his nose, his shoulders slumping, and nodded in acquisition. He turned his cheek into Eggsy’s touch. “You’re right.”

            Ten minutes later, the valet attendant returned, sans Mark’s Porsche. Eggsy grimaced. This wasn’t good.

            “What do you mean it isn’t anywhere? I gave it to one of your men, they gave me that ticket. How could you possibly misplace it?”

            Eggsy had to give Mark credit. He never raised his tone beyond a decibel above annoyed, but the murderous glare he fixed on the two car attendants could have buried them both six feet underground.

            “Only Aaron and myself are working, sir, and I’m afraid neither of us recall taking your car,” The man said.

            “There was another,” Eggsy cut in. “Gangly kid, red hair. Looked like a member of the Weasleys.” Both attendants exchanged a dubious look, and Eggsy’s stomach sunk to his feet. “He don’t work here, does he?”

            “No sir, no one by that description does,” Aaron said, his face going pale.

“Bloody hell.” Mark dragged his fingers through his hair, musing the strands.

            “Shall I call the cops, sir?” Aaron asked.

            “Yes, you bloody well should,” Mark snapped.

            “Babe, look at me,” Eggsy coaxed, taking Mark’s face in both of his hands. “It’s okay. We’ll get this sorted out.”

            “How could this happen? I haven’t been on a date this disastrous since Bridget.”

            Eggsy flinched at the comparison. He knew rationally Mark didn’t mean he was like Bridget, but the parallel still didn’t set well with him.

            Mark seemed to realize his mistake quickly though, because winced and whispered, “Oh darling, I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sorry—it’s just…” He broke off into a frustration groan.

            Eggsy huffed out a weak laugh. What else could he do? It was either laugh about it or get upset, and Mark was already on edge. “It’s okay, I know wot y’ meant.”

            In the end the police were called. Eggsy thought they would give their report and he’d arrange for a Kingsman taxi to take them back to Mark’s flat. But what should have taken no more than thirty minutes—an hour, tops—to do, evolved into a four-hour ordeal in which Mark was brought in because of a warrant appearing for his arrest.

            It turned out to be a clerical error, the warrant meant for a Mark Durcy and not Mark Darcy, but that didn’t stop the officers from grilling Mark as if he were some common criminal. Eggsy knew how the system worked, how merciless they could be. They wouldn’t let him see Mark during the time, and Eggsy spent the majority of it calling into HQ to see if Merlin could help. Oddly Merlin wasn’t in the office, nor was he answering his phone.

            Eventually Mark was released with a mumbled apology. Mark, looking thoroughly haggard and rumpled, staggered out of Holborn Police Station. Eggsy ignored the prickle of memories as he descended the steps, his gaze inadvertently flicking to the wall he’d first seen Harry leaning against. Eggsy’s initial response to seeing Harry had been a mixture of apprehension and hunger. While Eggsy’s hesitance had faded, his hunger for Harry never went away. There were days, even now after Eggsy had accepted his place in Harry’s life, where he felt it bubbling to the surface.

            Eggsy brushed the thoughts away and wrapped an arm around Mark’s waist. “Come on love, let’s get y’ home. Taxi is waiting for us.”

            Mark paused on the second to last step, causing Eggsy to walk a few paces ahead of him. Eggsy looked back, frowning. “Wot is it?”

            “You called me love,” Mark whispered, and even with only the pale coronas coming off the street lamps, Eggsy could make out the flush spreading across Mark’s cheeks.

            “I did,” Eggsy confirmed, smile twitching across his mouth.

            The exhaustion vanished from Mark’s face as his expression crumpled into a fond smile. He took Eggsy’s hand and squeezed it. “Let’s go home. I could really use some chips about now.”

            Eggsy laughed. “Yeah, yeah so can I.”

            They bundled into the waiting Kingsman taxi and headed home.

* * * *

            “How the bloody hell can they look so pleased?” Harry demanded from where he and Merlin reviewed the CCTV feed.

            Everything had been going swimmingly. Merlin had erased Mark’s reservations. Robert’s son, Daniel, had pilfered Mark’s car and safely disposed of it in an abandoned parking lot. Harry would arrange for it to be retrieved by the police and brought back to Mark in the morning. And the alteration to the Durcy file had placed Mark as the lead suspect in a string of robberies along the south end of London.

            The night had been thoroughly ruined. Harry had waited for Mark to lose his temper, to go from irate to thunderous. A glimpse at Mark’s scathing anger, which could be sharper than Gazelle’s blades, would surely scare Eggsy away and straight into Harry’s arms.

            Only, Mark never let his anger get the best of him, and when it was all said and done, they seemed all the happier. Whatever they said on the stairs—without Eggsy’s glasses, they had no audio to listen to—had seemed to erase an entire evening’s worth of disasters.

            “You know, you could always just let them be happy,” Merlin suggested.

            “I thought you were on my side.”

            “I’m on no one’s side but my own,” Merlin stated.

            Harry huffed at the flippant response, but considered Merlin’s words. Obviously they were further gone on one another than Harry suspected. And Eggsy had looked so happy when he was with Mark, and Mark had seemed to calm instantly under Eggsy’s touch. Maybe Harry should stop being a selfish prick and just let them be. Both Eggsy and Mark had struggled so hard. They deserved happiness, even if it wasn’t with Harry.

            “Rewind the feed,” Harry said. He wanted to see Mark’s face again, the moment when his anger and exhaustion vanished and he looked at Eggsy as if he hung the stars.

            Merlin rewound to the moment they walked out of the front doors. Eggsy held Mark around the waist and descended the steps. His gaze shifted, flicking to the wall.

            “Hold it,” Harry ordered. Merlin hit pause with a grumble. Harry leaned forward and studied the image. Eggsy wasn’t looking at Mark, his gaze had shifted past him, focused on the wall—on the very spot Harry had lounged as he waited for Eggsy’s own release. And the look on Eggsy’s face was clear. It was a flash desire, a sharp hunger that Harry could taste on his tongue.

            You can’t give up yet, Harry resolved, his determination bolstered by the look on Eggsy’s face. If there was even a trace of possibility that Eggsy could want him, he wouldn’t give up.

Chapter Text

            Mark didn’t know if his week could get any worse. He really didn’t want to tempt fate by saying so out loud, but anything and everything that could go wrong, did. He thought things were getting better after his disastrous date with Eggsy when the police notified him the next day about his car. They’d located it in an abandoned parking lot on the south end of London. His luck, Mark had thought, was starting to look up. Until it decided abruptly, and with great fervor, to plummet and crash.

            It started that very evening he retrieved his car. Someone—a husky-voiced woman—kept calling him, well past an appropriate hour, asking for a Rexton Reeds. Mark repeatedly informed the woman she had the wrong number, but she insistently rang. So did a hoarse man who had the timber of someone who hadn’t gone a day without smoking at least one pack of cigarettes. There were others too, all ringing between the hours of nine up until two or three in the morning.

            Each one asked for Rexton, and after the third call, Mark got the sense that they were soliciting drugs. At first Eggsy found it humorous. Whoever this Rexton was, his number must have been only one digit off from Mark’s. It stopped being funny, though, after the third night and the thirtieth call.

            Even Eggsy stopped finding the entire situation comical when he was woken for the fifth time in one night.

            Mark went and changed his number the next day. It led to the hassle of notifying everyone of importance about the switch, but at least he wouldn’t be receiving any more calls.

            It wouldn’t have been so bad if that had been it, but the combination from lack of sleep, and the stress of having his car stolen, being interrogated, and also receiving a message from Bridget asking if she could speak with Mark (which Mark ignored, not in the mood to deal with whatever Bridget had to say), had left both Mark and Eggsy on edge. Without realizing it, Mark had begun snap at Eggsy. He was just so tired, and really, he just wanted this week to be over.

            At least today he would get to bury the hatch with Harry. Mark could return to Eggsy with the news, and they could both move on.

            He arrived ten minutes early to the Roseleaf Café. He told himself it was to secure a decent table and not because he needed to mentally prepare himself for the looming confrontation. It wasn’t like his whole relationship with his brother depended on this conversation.

            Mark took a seat next to the window and ordered a tea. He busied himself with watching pedestrians walk by and fiddling on his phone, checking e-mails and responding to a text from Eggsy. One o’clock rolled around, quickly turning into five after, and then ten. Mark started to suspect he was stood up when it was a quarter after and Harry still didn’t show.

            Just as Mark was ready to pay for his tea and leave, the door to the café swung open, letting in a gust of warm air, and Harry strolled inside. He glanced around the room, his gaze quickly zeroing in on Mark.

            “I see your timing hasn’t improved,” Mark commented dryly.

            “If I was early it couldn’t be considered an entrance,” Harry said.

Mark snorted and rolled his eyes. “This isn’t drama club anymore, you know.”

“Ah, but the whole world is a stage.” Harry leaned his umbrella against the window and took a seat in the chair across from Mark. “You could use a little theatrics in your life. Or at least some stage makeup—I don’t recall you being so old.”

“I’m as old as you are,” Mark said, narrowing his eyes. He straightened, resisting the urge to fuss over his hair where he knew the temples were gray. “And I think you’re eccentric enough for the both of us, thank you.”

“I’m not eccentric. I’m merely the more interesting of the two of us.” Harry smiled, blinking his wide eyes behind tortoiseshell glasses.

Mark had to remind himself that he wasn’t five anymore and no, he couldn’t crumple up his napkin and hurl it at Harry’s stupidly smug face. Luckily the waitress swung by at that moment, saving Mark from saying something infantile and embarrassing.

Mark ordered a cobb salad, while Harry ordered a tea and ham sandwich. Neither spoke after the waitress left. The pregnant silence filled with the muted chatter of the other customers. He’d rehearsed what he was going to say repeatedly in his head. He’d even done a dry run with Eggsy. The words were right there, perched on the edge of his tongue like a high diver ready to take the plunge. But every time he opened his mouth to speak, the words became tangled.

He became alarmingly aware of how long he hadn’t said anything and on how Harry watched him coolly.

Mark took a sip of tea, grimacing when he realized he was down to the dregs and it had gone ice cold. The waitress returned with their food, and Mark ordered another cup of tea. He laid his napkin across his lap, but didn’t start eating. Harry watched him, sandwich untouched, and raised an eyebrow.

“Thank you for meeting with me,” Mark finally managed, breaking off into a cough at the end.

Harry’s gaze softened and the ball of tension in Mark’s stomach relaxed. Harry picked up his tea and took a sip. When he lowered the cup, he said, a fond smile teasing his lips, “Well, it’s certainly been too long since we’ve last had lunch.”

The reminder gave them both pause. Mark glanced away, finally picking up his fork, and said, “That’s why I wanted to speak with you. About that day, about everything.”

Harry appraised him, and Mark felt a sudden kinship to the butterflies Harry collected. Harry set his cup down. “Does this have something to do with Eggsy?”

“No.” Mark said, then amended, “Yes. Well… no.” He licked his lips, swallowing compulsively. “No, it doesn’t. I’ve been meaning to do this, for quite some time. Ever since Bridget and I separated, actually.”

Harry frowned and looked down at his plate of food. He selected a crisp and popped it into his mouth. Mark took it as a sign to eat and took a bite of his salad.

“I’m sorry,” Harry said, and when Mark arched an eyebrow, he clarified, “About Bridget. I didn’t want to be right, you know.”

Mark stabbed the lettuce a tad too aggressively. “But you were.”

“I was,” Harry agreed.

Mark huffed. He wanted to be angry still, but he wasn’t. He was just tired and done with the whole matter. Everything with Bridget, from their first meeting to their last, had been a disaster, and now that it was all over, Mark could see her for what she’d really been—a mistake.

“Yes, well you don’t have to be so smug about it,” Mark grumbled before taking another bite of food. He chewed thoughtfully, taking a moment to consider his next words, then swallowed and said, “I’m sorry.”

Harry froze mid bite. “Pardon me?”

Mark drew in a deep breath and exhaled. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. “About calling you a conceited peacock and a selfish knobhead. About everything. I…”

He what? Had been blinded by love? It seemed so silly to admit, though it was the truth. At least, partially the truth.

“I can’t erase my words or change how I acted. There aren’t any excuses, really. I’d been a fool. I let myself get swept away in this notion that…that…” He heaved a sigh. “That I could be happy, that I deserved love.”

“Mark,” Harry murmured, a queer look flitting across his face.

Mark continued before Harry could say anything else. If he stopped now, he wouldn’t get out everything he needed to say.

“I realize now that the reason I got so upset was because I knew you were right.” Mark smirked. “One of the rare instances where you are.”

“If I recall, I was always the one right growing up,” Harry said.

“You’d like to believe that.” He shook his head, setting his fork down. “I’m sorry Harry. These last two years have been… lonely, without you. Even though we didn’t see each other often, it was still nice to have you in my life. And after V-Day, well…”

Mark didn’t want to think about the day the world turned upside down. He should have reached out sooner. At least he was doing it now.

“Eggsy means a great deal to me,” Mark continued, not letting the silence settle. “And I know you mean a great deal to him. While I don’t know what he could possibly see in me, I want to give this my best shot. I know it’s important to him, and honestly, it’s important to me as well, that we don’t fight.”

Mark looked at Harry and waited. When Harry didn’t say anything right away, he shifted in his seat, an unease seeping into his stomach.

The tension unspooled when Harry said, “You do deserve love.”

“What?”

“Bridget was never good enough for you,” Harry said. “While I’m sorry that she hurt you, I’m not sorry that she’s gone. She could never appreciate you, not truly. And while I doubt there are many people in the world that will completely understand you the way I do, I believe you do deserve to be loved Mark. You always have, and that’s why I was so angry that you would choose… that woman.”

Mark sensed something unspoken hanging in the air, and hid mind supplied subconsciously over me. He opened and closed his mouth.

“Okay,” Harry said, and it took Mark a moment to process what he was agreeing to. “No fighting. I would… very much like to have you back in my life as well.”

Was that all it took? Him apologizing to erase all that hurt and pain they’d dealt each other two years ago? They’d traded words as if they were knives, slicing deep to the bone. Mark smiled, and for the first time since Harry joined him, it felt real.

They finished eating, making small talk, Harry filling Mark in on the tailoring business, while Mark talked about some of his most recent cases. They didn’t bring up Eggsy. Every time Mark hedged towards the conversation, Harry shifted it, but Mark didn’t allow himself to dwell on the matter. He was sure that with time whatever awkwardness was there would fade. He was just grateful they had a dialogue open, even if it was as trivial as budget cuts.

They split the bill and Mark walked Harry outside to a waiting black taxi. Mark hesitated at the curb, Harry standing at the open door, his umbrella hooked on his arm.

“It was good to see you Mark,” Harry said, and Mark believed it. There was warmth behind Harry’s eyes, a light that hadn’t been there the first time they’d bumped into each other outside Kingsman Tailor Shop.

“I hope two years won’t pass before we see each other again,” Mark teased, emboldened by the smile toying along Harry’s mouth.

Harry’s eyes crinkled as his smile broadened and he chuckled. “No, I suspect it won’t be that long.” He paused, another queer look passing over him that Mark couldn’t identify. After a moment’s hesitation, Harry enveloped Mark in a hug, squeezing his gently. “It was good to see you again, brother.”

Something hot and comforting opened in Mark’s stomach. He turned into the familiar embrace, returning the hug. He supposed there should have been some resistance on his part, or even an aversion to such a public display—they were two men in their fifties, he was sure it looked strange to outsiders—but all he felt was that familiar sense of belonging he’d always gotten with Harry as a child.

Whatever ups and downs they had, whatever difficulties they faced, Harry had been the one-person Mark could turn to when the rest of the world turned its back on him. And it wasn’t until that moment, wrapped up in his twin’s arms, that Mark realized how much he’d been missing him over the last two years. The ache that had always throbbed beneath the surface, the distinct Harry-shaped hole that was carved into his heart, filled, and Mark felt whole again.

Harry let him go, and Mark immediately missed the contact. He managed to pull himself together though, opening his eyes which he hadn’t realized he’d closed, and stepping away. The air around him lingered with the scent of Harry’s cologne.

“Goodbye Mark,” Harry said and slipped into the taxi.

Mark waited until he was gone before he walked back to his own car. He fished out his phone once he settled into the driver’s seat and sent Eggsy a text letting him known how things went.

* * * *

            “Shit,” Harry hissed, dropping his head into his hands. He’d returned to his office after lunch with Mark. The ham sandwich he’d picked at during their meeting sat in his stomach like a lead brick.

            The look of hurt on Mark’s face when he’d insinuated that he didn’t deserve love, the indication that he thought he was worthless, that he believed he was incapable of it, rekindled the old protectiveness Harry had harbored as a child and teenager. Harry blamed their father for that look on Mark’s face. He was the one that had always led Mark to believe he wasn’t worth the muck on the bottom of his shoe.

            Harry grimaced and leaned back in his seat. Harry hated that look on Mark’s face. Hated the hurt. Hated that he couldn’t erase it, even though he knew Mark deserved so much in this world. He deserved to be happy. There were so few people left that were inherently good. Mark was the only person other than Eggsy that Harry truly believed deserved nothing but happiness.

            And here he was, trying to break them up after Mark had struggled so long. Harry may have even written his number on a bathroom stall with the suggestion of soliciting smack.

            I really am a selfish knobhead.

            What should he do? He couldn’t keep going, yet letting Eggsy go sent a sharp bolt of pain through Harry. If only he hadn’t been so foolish. If only he’d told Eggsy sooner. Maybe then none of this would have happened.

            Harry removed the top from the decanter on his desk and poured some scotch into a crystal glass. He set the decanter down and picked up his glass.

            He had to let Eggsy go. As much as it would kill him—and oh, would it kill him—he would have to step aside. For Mark. For Eggsy.

            Harry took a long drink, the alcohol burning his throat as he swallowed around a knot. He’d fought his way back from the dead, only to find himself once more cast back out into the nothing.

            But this was the life he built for himself. He crafted these steel walls. He constructed this cathedral of solitude. He was the one that turned away from the world. And now he would remain here, alone.

            Harry drained the last of his scotch. So be it. If it meant securing both Mark’s and Eggsy’s happiness, Harry would shoulder the burden. He would let himself be shutout from their world. He would watch from the side, basking in the distant light of their bliss.

Chapter Text

            Eggsy wasn’t sure if Harry was ignoring him or if their schedules weren’t allowing it, but ever since his lunch with Mark, Harry had kept his distance. Mark assured him it was probably just Harry being kept busy with work, but as far as Eggsy knew, Harry didn’t have any missions on the roster.

            Maybe he just really doesn’t like me dating his brother.

            Go figure that as soon as Eggsy’s relationship with Mark started to improve—now that the midnight phone calls were over—Harry started to treat Eggsy like a passing stranger on the street.

            Eggsy sighed, tapping his pencil against the paperwork he needed to submit to Merlin. He’d spent the last hour going over his interactions with Harry—which accumulated in the last week to about two—and as far as he could tell, he hadn’t said anything offensive. Maybe a lame joke or two, but nothing worthy of completely shunning him.

            “You know, if you don’t finish that before three o’clock, Merlin won’t let you come with us tonight,” Roxy said, leaning against the doorframe.

            Eggsy glanced down at the paperwork, which was still mostly unfinished, and then at the clock. “I still got twenty minutes,” Eggsy said. “Besides, y’ know how I like to live on the edge.”

            Roxy rolled her eyes. “There’s living on the edge and then there’s just being plain stupid.”

            “I’ll finish it.” Eggsy laughed, though it did come out a bit strained. Merlin had told him if he was late on his paperwork again, he’d ship him off to the Yukon. Eggsy wasn’t even sure there was any danger there. He was pretty sure Merlin was just sending agents that pissed him off into wilderness with only a knapsack and a prayer. Elyan still wasn’t back.

            “Mmhmm.” She pushed off the doorframe and walked over to the vacant chair in front of Eggsy’s desk. “What’s wrong?”

            “Nothing, why?”

            Roxy took a seat, somehow making flopping into the chair look like an art form, and crossed her legs. “Please, you look like someone threatened to take JB away from you. Is it Mark?”

            “No, everything is great with Mark,” Eggsy said. “And don’t joke about that.”

             “Look, the only way to you’ll get your work done is if you sort out whatever is that’s bothering you. So you can either sit here and mope, missing karaoke night, or you can tell me what’s wrong.”

            “Nothing, really,” Eggsy started, but when Roxy’s glare deepened, he sighed. “It’s just Harry. He’s been… distant. I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head.”

            “I’m sure he’s just been busy with work,” Roxy said.

            Eggsy huffed. “That’s what Mark said too. He ain’t got a mission lined up, far as I know. And even if he did, never kept him from talking to me before. He’s acting like I’m a plague victim or sumfin. Do y’ think he’s upset about me seeing Mark? I mean they talked and Mark said everything was aces now, but who knows? Maybe Harry don’t think I’m good enough.”

            “Well that’s just stupid,” Roxy said, causing Eggsy to flush. “Harry thinks the world of you, and you know it. I don’t know what’s going on, but it certainly isn’t Harry thinking you aren’t good enough. Eggsy, he’s obliterated men that have spoken ill of you.”

            The memory of Harry fighting Dean’s goons sent a flash of heat through Eggsy’s stomach. That particular fond memory had frequented Eggsy’s spank fantasies for months afterwards.

            “Yeah, I guess y’re right. But am I really supposed to just believe he’s all of the sudden too busy for drinks?”

            “Maybe. Why don’t you invite him out tonight?”

            Eggsy considered the suggestion, returning to tapping his pen on his desk. He could invite Harry. Maybe if he knew it wouldn’t be one on one, he’d be more apt to accepting the offer. Though the thought that Harry couldn’t be around him without others being with them made his stomach churn.

            “Okay, I will,” Eggsy said. It was better than nothing, right?

            “Good, now hurry up and finish your work,” Roxy said as she stood. Eggsy waved her off and turned back to the stack of papers.

* * * *

            Harry was being ridiculous. He knew it. He realized that the gulf he was purposely digging between himself and Eggsy was pointless. He could see the hurt in Eggsy’s eyes every time Harry evaded him. But even though he realized what he was doing caused Eggsy’s pain, Harry couldn’t let himself be alone with Eggsy.

            If he did, he wasn’t sure he could trust himself. Harry swore he wouldn’t come between Mark and Eggsy, and he meant it—but dammit, Eggsy was so much harder to resist than he had considered. One look from him and Harry felt his will crumbling. All he’d need to do is one romantic gesture and he was positive he could have Eggsy in his arms. And when Eggsy looked at him with that heated stare and dimpled smile, Harry almost said ‘fuck it’.

            No, if Harry wanted to be true to his brother and do the honorable thing, it was better to distance himself. His relationship with Eggsy would atrophy, and eventually, with time, would become nothing more than friendly smiles and exchanges of casual pleasantries. The very idea left Harry sick to his stomach.

            Out of everyone in the world, Eggsy was the one person Harry didn’t want to lose. He’d let go of so many, forsaken so many romances, friendships, and even familial connections in the name of Kingsman. The irony wasn’t lost on Harry that Kingsman had nothing to do with this current predicament.

            Harry shoved his chair back and stood. What he needed was a mission, something to distract himself. He left his office and started down the hall. It was cowardly to run like this, Harry acknowledged, but he honestly didn’t give a damn. It was either be brave and suffer, or do both himself and Eggsy a favor and just cut and run.

            “Harry!” Eggsy shouted behind Harry.

Harry tensed, pausing mid-step. He turned to face Eggsy, smoothing his grimace into a polite smile. “Eggsy, my boy, what can I do for you?”

Eggsy jogged down the hall to join him, eyes bright and—was that hope shining in them? Harry’s heart sputtered.

“Me and a few of the others are going out tonight,” Eggsy said, and Harry’s stomach dropped. “Not sure how y’ feel about karaoke, but I thought maybe y’d want to join us. Merlin and Percival are coming along.”

“Alistair?” Harry quirked a brow. “Good heavens, he couldn’t carry a tune if it was handed to him in a bucket.”

Eggsy’s hesitant smile broadened into a grin. “So y’ll come?”

Harry shook his head, and Eggsy’s grin immediately dropped. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I made other arrangements,” Harry said, regretting the words as soon as they left him.

Eggsy tried to hide his crestfallen expression with another smile, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes, and there was a slight tremor to his bottom lip. Harry never felt more like dirt.

“Okay,” Eggsy said. The slight hitch in his voice belied his casual shrug. “Just thought I’d offer. Sorry for bugging y’.”

“You are never a bother,” Harry said before he could stop himself. He couldn’t let Eggsy think that though. Eggsy was never a bother. He was sunlight and warmth, the angel that guided Harry in his darkest hours. He was anything but a bother.

Eggsy searched Harry’s face, and Harry wasn’t sure if he imagined it or if Eggsy’s hand really did twitch, like he wanted to reach out and touch him.

“Are y’ sure y’ can’t come?” Eggsy asked, a touch softer than before.

Harry knew he should turn Eggsy down. It was hard enough as it was trying to separate himself from Eggsy.

“I suppose I could rearrange my schedule,” Harry said, as if he actually did have something else planned for the evening. The only thing he had on his calendar was sitting in a dark room with a bottle of scotch and cursing his shit luck.

Eggsy’s entire face lit up, and Harry knew that whatever hurt came from tonight would be worth it, if it made Eggsy smile like that. Harry clenched his hands at his sides to keep from drawing Eggsy into his embrace and kissing him within an inch of his life.

“Great,” Eggsy said, bouncing back on the balls of his heels. “We’ll be heading out around six.”

“I look forward to it,” Harry said, panic creeping up his spine. “Now, if y’ll excuse me.”

“Oh, right. See y’ Haz!”

Harry winced. “I do wish you wouldn’t call me that.”

Eggsy just grinned and responded with a wink.

* * * *

            Eggsy brought the drinks to their table, passing Roxy her lager, Merlin and Percival their scotch, and Harry his Guinness, before taking a seat. “So who’s up next?”

            “Morgan,” Roxy said. “I have this horrible feeling that he chose Madonna.”

            “Again?” Eggsy groaned.

            “Again,” Roxy confirmed with a grimace.

            “I didn’t realize Kay was a fan of her,” Harry said, a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. He tried to hide it behind a sip of beer, but Eggsy saw it and counted it as a step in the right direction. So far Harry had sat sullenly in the curved corner booth, mostly watching as the others sang.

            Harry talked and interacted with everyone, so Eggsy couldn’t even call him out on being antisocial, but there was a distinct lack of connection between Harry and everyone else. With each passing minute that Harry faked polite conversation, Eggsy’s stomach sunk further.

            Roxy shot him an encouraging look from across the table, but it did little to rally his confidence.

            “Are y’ going to sing Harry?” Eggsy asked.

            “Oh you should,” Roxy added.

            “Oh no,” Harry said, setting his beer down and waving a hand at them. “I do not sing.”

            “Come on, it’ll be fun,” Eggsy pressed, giving Harry his puppy dog expression. Harry resolutely looked the other way.

            “You aren’t that terrible,” Percival said. “You’d think you’d jump at the chance for attention. Plus it isn’t like you haven’t sung in public before. There was that time in Greece.”

            “Greece?” Eggsy perked up. “Oh I have to hear about this.”

            “No, you don’t,” Harry said, shooting Percival a menacing look. “And if Alistair knows what’s good for him, he’ll shut up. Don’t make me regale them with that time in Barbados.”

            Percival’s eyes narrowed, the only indication that Harry’s threat had any affect. “If you do that, I’ll have to tell them about that time Ettlebruck. It was a duck, wasn’t it?”

            “A goose, actually,” Harry corrected, paling.

            “Or perhaps I should share with them that mission ye both shared in Pilsen,” Merlin cut in, and Eggsy nearly pissed himself when Percival and Harry shrunk back in their seats, looking fully chastised. Merlin lifted his glass with a sniff. “That’s what I thought.”

            “I don’t see you singing,” Harry grumbled.

            “That’s because they don’t have proper music here,” Merlin stated before taking a swig of scotch.

            Harry snorted derisively. “Bullshit.”

            “What if we sang together?” Eggsy suggested, before Merlin could counter with a snide comment. As much as Eggsy loved watching Harry and Merlin exchange barbs, he was much more interested in getting Harry on the stage.

            “Oh that’s a splendid idea,” Roxy agreed, and before Harry could argue, Eggsy jumped out of his seat and dashed off to the DJ.

            He murmured his song choice and their names, then returned to a sulking Harry. “You know,” Harry said, picking back up his Guinness. “It’s very rude to force someone to participate when they wish not to.”

            “Oh come off it bruv, it’s all in good fun, innit? Besides, we’ll wreck them with our duet, trust me.”

            Harry’s eyes locked on his, and Eggsy’s stomach jumped, a crackle of energy shooting through the air. Eggsy swallowed, suddenly aware of how close they sat to one another. Harry’s shoulder bumped Eggsy, and beneath his bespoke suit jacket and shirt, Eggsy could feel the tensing of sinewy muscle.

            In another life, in another time, this could have been a date. It almost felt like one.

            Harry’s mouth twitched again, softening into a smile that warmed his honeyed eyes, and Eggsy’s stomach gave another disconcerting jolt of longing. “I suppose we will,” Harry murmured. “We do always work splendidly together.”

            “Like magic,” Eggsy agreed, and if his voice dropped a note, it certainly wasn’t because his gaze wavered to Harry’s lips.

            Morgan started his rendition of Lucky Star and Eggsy told himself to turn around and watch, but no matter how loudly he screamed at his body to move, he couldn’t seem to look away from Harry.

            Eggsy’s phone buzzed, finally breaking the spell. He fished out his cell from his pocket and pulled up the text from Mark: be there in twenty.

            Guilt flooded Eggsy’s system. What was he doing? Going all googly-eyed for Harry, fawning over him like he was some school girl crushing on One Direction. He was with Mark. He was happy with Mark.  He cared about Mark. Hell, Eggsy was starting to fall for Mark, in the this-could-be-the-one kind of way.

            He didn’t want to ruin what he had with Mark. The very idea of Mark leaving him made Eggsy’s throat clench.

            But no matter how much he was head-over-heels for Mark, there was still a residual longing for Harry. It would probably always be there, Eggsy suspected. Harry had been his first love. It was hard to let that go.

            I can’t let it interfere though. Eggsy needed to get a grip. If Mark even thought for a moment Eggsy was interested in Harry, that he was only dating Mark as some kind of consolation prize, then he’ll leave. Fuck, and I can’t… I just can’t deal with that.

            Tonight wasn’t about Eggsy mooning over Harry. It was about mending their friendship.

            “A round of applause for Morgan,” The DJ called as Morgan took a dramatic bow, his bangs flopping over his smoky eyes. He straightened with a wink and trotted off the stage, returning to the table they’d claimed.

            “Do you know any other songs?” Roxy asked as Morgan slipped in next to Percival.

            “Yeah, but none of them are in English,” Morgan said with a chuckle. Eggsy had a feeling the only other songs Morgan knew were the theme songs to the cartoons—wait no, they weren’t cartoons Morgan had told him, they were anime—he obsessed over.

            If Eggsy ran into Morgan on the street, he’d never suspect that he was a highly trained spy. Especially when Morgan didn’t have to wear a suit, he wasn’t. At least Eggsy didn’t have to feel self-conscious about his trackies when he was with him. Morgan had what seemed like an infinite collection of fandom t-shirts, all sporting some kind of obscure reference to one show or another.

            “And now let’s welcome to the stage Harry and Eggsy,” The DJ said. “They’ll be singing The Proclaimer’s I’m Gonna Be.”

            “Come on Harry,” Eggsy said, slipping out of the booth. Eggsy grabbed Harry’s arm and hauled him out of the booth. Harry protested, but he obviously didn’t mind, because Eggsy knew if Harry really didn’t want to sing, Eggsy would have never been able to get him out of the booth.

            They stepped onto the makeshift stage at the front of the pub. Harry straightened his tie, glancing over the crowd of patrons that watched them. Eggsy grinned and nudged him. A screen with the lyrics was set up near the microphone.

            The music started, and Harry sighed, turning to focus on the screen. “I’ll take the lead,” Harry said, and Eggsy shrugged. Whatever Harry wanted.

            The first words grew highlighted, and Harry started to sing, “When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you.”

            Eggsy’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline at Harry’s surprisingly harmonic vocals. He’d expected at best perhaps a throaty, whiskey deep timber akin to that of Tom Watts. Harry had the range, though, of a Broadway star, and Eggsy grinned as his section came up.

            “If I get drunk, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you,” Eggsy joined. He delighted at Harry’s shocked expression. A broad grin spread across Harry’s face as they moved into the chorus. “But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your door.”

            A tingling sensation rushed through Eggsy, scattering gooseflesh along his skin and standing the hairs on his arms. They harmonized, and it felt so perfect to sing with Harry. Just like everything else they did together, it was flawless, as if they were made for each other. Harry’s slightly deeper voice complimented Eggsy’s tenor.

            It dawned on Eggsy as they sang, no longer looking at the screen, that perhaps this hadn’t been the best song to choose. It was too much like a confession. It was everything Eggsy had thought, everything he’d wanted to tell Harry.

            “And when I come home (when I come home), yes I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who comes back home with you. I'm gonna be the man who's coming home with you.”

            The rest of the bar dropped into the background. Eggsy looked at Harry, their eyes meeting, and even if Eggsy wanted to, he couldn’t look away. The music faded, replaced by his thundering heartbeat. Eggsy was only vaguely aware of the song, of the people watching, of everything else around them.

            At some point Eggsy had drifted towards Harry, until there was barely a foot between them. When did they get so close?

            “Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, to fall down at your door,” They sang, the song dying off.

            Eggsy told himself the glimmer in Harry’s eyes was just the overhead lights. He repeated it over and over as his heart lurched into his throat. He swore it as Harry’s hand lifted, fingers skimming across Eggsy’s jaw. This crackling, all-consuming energy that sparkled and sizzled between them was just the heat of the lamps and not Harry finally returning Eggsy’s feelings.

            Harry didn’t care about Eggsy, not in that way. This was all in Eggsy’s head, a product of an eighties love ballad. Harry, in fact, was angry at Eggsy. He was sure. Eggsy licked his lips, and Harry’s gaze dropped a fraction.

            “A round of applause for Harry and Eggsy,” The DJ said, echoed by raucous clapping.

            Eggsy jerked back a step, the reverie shattered. He forced a cocky smile—which may or may not have trembled—and turned to the crowd, winking. He avoided looking in Harry’s direction as he waved, making his way back to their seat. He could feel Roxy’s eyes on him—feel Harry’s—but he kept dodging their glances.

            His phone buzzed and he fished it out, a queasy mixture of guilt and relief flooding his system at Mark’s text—I’m here.

            Eggsy turned to the door as Harry approached him, purposely shouting over whatever Harry started to say, “Mark, here!”

            Harry snapped his mouth closed and took a step back.

            Mark picked his way through the crowd, a brilliant smile spread across his face. Eggsy told himself he wasn’t over compensating when he pulled Mark into a kiss.

            When Mark drew back, flushed and surprised, Eggsy risked a look at Harry, who’s expression was guarded. Harry took a seat, downing the rest of his Guinness.

            “Harry, good to see you,” Mark greeted, then said hello to everyone else.

            “And you,” Harry grumbled around his glass.

            Roxy looked between Mark and Harry, mouth pinched, before sighing and saying, “How about another round?”

            “Good idea Rox,” Eggsy said, still holding onto Mark’s arm.

            “Care to help, Eggsy?” Roxy said, tone broaching no room for refusal.

            Eggsy followed her to the bar, putting the drinks on his tab. Roxy turned to him, glare sharp, and hissed, “What are you doing?”

            “Wot?” Eggsy asked. If he didn’t acknowledge what almost happened, then it wasn’t real.

            “You’re playing with fire Eggsy,” Roxy warned. “And nothing good ever came from that. All three of you will end up burned.”

            “I know,” Eggsy whispered harshly. “Y’ don’t think I don’t? It’s nufin, I swear.”

            “That didn’t look like nothing. Even a blind man could see that was a big something.”

            “Rox—”

            “You’re with Mark,” Roxy stated. “Not Harry.”

            “I know.”

            “Well then act like it dammit. If you don’t want to be with him anymore tell him.”

            “But I do,” Eggsy whispered. And there was his problem. He was too selfish to give Mark up. He cared too deeply to do it. But god, that moment with Harry, when nothing else in the world existed, it had been exhilarating.

            But what did it even mean?

            Did Harry like him? For a few seconds it had felt like it. For those few, shimmering moments, he had been the center of Harry’s universe and that future he’d always dreamed about seem so possible.

            “Then leave Harry alone. You can’t have both, Eggsy.” Roxy said. She grabbed the tray of drinks and brought it back to the table.

            Eggsy sagged against the bar. He wished he could have both, that would certainly save him from a lot of heartache.

Chapter Text

            Eggsy placed his folded shirt into the suitcase before closing and zipping it shut. “Why do y’r parents want y’ to come again?”

            Mark wrapped his arms around Eggsy’s waist from behind and kissed his temple. “Mother wants us to stay for the weekend. She’s been pestering me and Harry for some time, but well…”

            Eggsy didn’t need Mark to elaborate. Between the divorce and Mark’s estrangement from Harry, family visits had become the least of either twins’ concerns. Eggsy didn’t mention the fact that Harry had been in a coma for a good chunk of time.

            “Are y’ sure y’ want me to come?” Eggsy shifted, turning in Mark’s arms so he was facing him. He looped his arms around Mark’s neck, carding his fingers through Mark’s loose curls. “It won’t cause any problems?”

            “I’d like you to meet them, but only if you want to,” Mark said. “I thought with Harry there, you’ll least have the comfort of a familiar face. I do have to warn you that mother and father are… set in their ways.”

            “They don’t approve of y’ being bi, do they?” Eggsy asked, his stomach dropping a little further at the thought of facing Mark’s conservative parents.

            “They know, but well… I’ve been with women mostly, so I think they’re under the illusion that it was a phase.”

            Eggsy hid his face in Mark’s chest and groaned. “Lovely.”

            “If you aren’t feeling up to it, you don’t have to come,” Mark said, dropping a kiss to the top of Eggsy’s head.

            “No,” Eggsy grumbled into Mark’s pressed shirt. “No, I’ll go. It’s important to y’.”

            “They’ll love you,” Mark assured. Even Eggsy knew it was a lie, but it was nice that Mark was trying.

            “Did they like Bridget?” Eggsy lifted his head to look at Mark, who grimaced. “Fuck, they didn’t, did they?”

            “Well, in their defense, Bridget is a walking disaster and she had broken a priceless family heirloom during her first visit.”

            “Okay, so basically just don’t break anything? I think I can manage that.”

            “You’ll do wonderfully,” Mark assured, stroking Eggsy’s cheek. “And just think, it’s a weekend away in the countryside. We can go horseback riding. There’s a large jet tub—and I do mean large.”

            Eggsy raised an eyebrow. He liked the sound of that. He’d never been horseback riding, and he certainly wouldn’t say no to Jacuzzi. Sure it was a bit terrifying to meet the parents, especially ones that had been born and bred in an ivory tower, and probably if given the chance, would have joined Valentine in his bunker, but they did raise Mark and Harry, two of the most amazing and kind men Eggsy had ever met. Mark’s and Harry’s parents couldn’t be that awful. Right?

            And Harry would be there, like Mark said.

            Eggsy’s stomach flipped at the thought of Harry. He’d done his best to distance himself from Harry since the karaoke night, and Harry seemed to be doing the same. Eggsy wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Every time he thought of Harry, thought of the look they’d shared, the heat in Harry’s eyes when they’d stood on the stage together, Eggsy’s stomach re-enacted his battle with Gazelle.

            Y’re happy with Mark, Eggsy reminded himself. And he was. He was more than happy. But despite how complete Mark made him feel, there was still this Harry-shaped hole in Eggsy’s heart, and no matter what he did to fill it, it kept reappearing.

            “If y’ want me there with y’ babe, then I’ll go,” Eggsy said, and the delighted smile that spread across Mark’s face made whatever would come worth it. “So when do we have to leave?”

            Mark glanced at the clock on Eggsy’s bedside nightstand. “We don’t have to leave for another twenty minutes.”

            Eggsy grinned and curled his hand around Mark’s navy tie. “Well, it’s a good thing I’m already packed. Because I can definitely think of a better way to spend our spare time.”

            Mark certainly didn’t argue when Eggsy drew him onto the bed. By the time twenty minutes passed, Eggsy had to repack his clothes from knocking over his suitcase, and both he and Mark had to take a short—and shockingly cold—shower to clean up. But Eggsy didn’t complain, especially when there was such a pleasant ache in his arse from how hard Mark had pounded him into the mattress.

* * * *

            Mark’s family home was almost two hours outside of London in Oxfordshire. Eggsy nodded off about thirty minutes into the drive, but woke when they were still twenty minutes away. Mark squeezed his knee as they made their way through the rolling country hills.

            “Have a good rest?” Mark asked.

            Eggsy knuckled the sleep from his eyes, offering a drowsy smile in response. He yawned wide enough to pop his jaw. “I didn’t realize how tired I was.”

            “Well you’ve been working a lot of hours. This’ll be a nice retreat for us,” Mark said, a glimmer in his eyes.

            Eggsy glanced out the passenger window, humming in agreement. He hoped it was. Maybe the country air would help relieve some of the tension that perpetually knotted between Eggsy’s shoulders. Of course the idea meeting the parents wasn’t the most relaxing thought.

            He still was having trouble wrapping his brain around the fact that he was not only meeting Mark’s parents, but also the great Harry Hart’s. These were the people that raised Agent Galahad. Did they know what Harry had done for them? For the world? Of course they didn’t. If Harry had his way, Eggsy never would have known they existed.

            Hell, Eggsy hadn’t even realize Harry had any living family until his serendipitous run in with Mark.

            Eggsy contented himself with watching Mark as they wove down the sinuous road. Mark’s calm expression grew steadily pensive the closer they drew to the house. Eggsy wanted to ask what his parents were like, but before he could gather the courage to question Mark, the home rose over them like a great beast.

            It wasn’t the little country cottage Eggsy had imagined. It was a fucking estate. Even from the distance, with a long stretch of land extending down a sloping hill, Eggsy could see that Darcy Estate was grand. He immediately sympathized with Bridget as the mansion drew closer. Eggsy was overwhelmed by the horrible feeling that he was about to make a fool of himself.

            “Jesus fuck,” Eggsy murmured, face smooshed against the glass of the passenger window. “Y’ grew up here?”

            “When I wasn’t away with family or at boarding school, yes,” Mark said, as if it was normal for people to have two homes. If this was Mark’s summer home, Eggsy hated to see where they stayed during the winter season.

            Manicure gardens slid past as they weaved their way onto a gravel driveway. The driveway led to a roundabout in front of the brick home, with a large stone fountain in the center. Eggsy’s breath fogged the glass and he wiped it away, blinking up at the old chateau. It looked like it dated back to the regency era—Eggsy was pretty sure he’d just walked straight into Pride and Prejudice.

            “Wot did y’ say y’r dad did?” Eggsy asked.

            “He was a barrister like me, but he’s retired now,” Mark explained.

            “Bruv, this ain’t just some lawyer’s pension,” Eggsy said.

            “Well, no, my father comes from old money.”

            Eggsy tore his gaze away from the house, finally noticing the taxi parked in front of them. Harry stood beside it, unloading his suitcase from the boot. The sight of Harry made Eggsy’s breath hitch, and the overwhelming anxiety that swept through him calmed.

            Harry turned to face him and something flashed across his face before his expression smoothed into a cordial smile.

            Eggsy climbed out of Mark’s Porsche and waved. “Hey.”

            “You both made good time,” Harry said.

            Mark climbed out of the car and glanced at the house. Eggsy saw a waiver of doubt pass over him. “We didn’t want to keep them waiting.”

            Harry sniffed and turned to face the house. “No, I suppose you don’t.”

            Eggsy got the sense that he was missing something. “So, uh, y’ grew up here too Harry?”

            “Sadly,” Harry grumbled. He grabbed his suitcase and slammed the boot shut. “Well, come on.”

            Eggsy swallowed, wondering if he should have stayed home, and moved around the back of the Porsche to collect his suitcase. Mark tugged his out, not looking at Eggsy. Eggsy touched his arm and whispered, “Hey, are y’ okay?”

            Mark’s brow was furrowed, his gaze stormy with that familiar look of fear that Eggsy had channeled most of his childhood. Eggsy spared a look over his shoulder at the looming estate, then turned back to Mark.

            “Fine,” Mark reassured with a weak smile that didn’t quite meet his eyes.

            “If y’ want to leave at any time, y’ know we can go, right?” Eggsy said.

            Mark didn’t respond. He slammed the boot shut and carried his suitcase towards the front door. Eggsy sucked in a deep breath and whispered to himself, “Y’ got this.”

* * * *

            As Mark passed through the front door, the muscles in his shoulders tightened. He glanced around the familiar foyer, his gaze glimpsing over the chandelier and flowers arranged in the center of the room. The walls were white. The silver was polished. The crystal glittered. The flowers flourished. And while the sun spilled through the windows framing the door, it touched none of these things.

            Mark moved from the brilliant, golden world that existed with Eggsy, to the quiet reservation of his childhood house.

            He couldn’t even call it at home. It never carried that familiar, warm connotation that the word meant.

            Eggsy murmured his wonder beside him, and the warmth of his body next to Mark’s helped thaw some of the cold that seeped into his bones. He cast Eggsy a sideways smile and started to reach for his hand.

            “Mark, Henry,” Mrs. Darcy greeted from the top of the curving stairs that hugged the right wall. Mark dropped his hand before he could take Eggsy’s.

            “Mother,” Mark said and forced a bright smile. It wasn’t completely strained. It was good to see her, even if he knew how disappointed she was about the divorce.

            Mrs. Darcy descended the stairs, one step at a time, sunlight shifting over her well-aged face and illuminating the string of pearls collaring her neck. Her dark gaze hovered briefly over Eggsy, her smile dropping a fraction, before snapping back into place. It was so fast that Mark almost missed it, but he’s spent decades training himself to read the most infinitesimal changes in his parents’ expressions.

            Mark and Harry both met her at the foot of the stairs and dropped kisses onto her expectant cheeks, before Mark turned to Eggsy. “Mother, this is my partner I mentioned on the phone, Eggsy.”

            “Eggy?” Mrs. Darcy queried, arching her manicured brow.

            “Eggsy,” Eggsy amended with a polite smile. He crossed the foyer, his hand extended. “Pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”

            Mark blinked at the refined roll of Eggsy’s tongue, each syllable pronounced with perfect clarity. He immediately missed the casual cadence that Eggsy usually spoke in.

            Mrs. Darcy observed Eggsy coolly, and while her smile never wavered for a second time, Mark could read the distinct disappointment in her eyes. She shook Eggsy’s hand and said, “A pleasure, Mr. Eggsy.”

            Eggsy balked at the suffix attached to his name. “Just Eggsy, ma’am.”

            Mrs. Darcy nodded. “Of course. So you work with Mark at the law firm?”

            Mark looked at Harry, who clenched his jaw. “No mother,” Mark said, moving to stand beside Eggsy and slip his arm around his shoulders. “I explained, remember? I’ve been seeing Eggsy for a while now.”

            “Ah, of course,” Mrs. Darcy said, unapologetically. “I must have forgotten.”

            “Where’s father?” Harry asked. At the mention of their father, Mark dropped his arm from Eggsy, the tension screwing even tighter between his shoulder blades.

            “In his study, tinkering away at his ships,” she said, waving in the general direction behind her. “Now let’s get your things to your rooms. I forgot that you were bringing a guest, Mark. I’ll have to arrange to have a room prepared for Eggsy.”

            “Quite all right, I was planning on him staying with me,” Mark said.

            “Nonsense, that wouldn’t be very appropriate, now would it?” Mrs. Darcy said, steamrolling right over Mark. “I’ll have William air out the guest room.”

            “Mother, I think it’s all right,” Harry started, but Mrs. Darcy just patted his cheek to silence him. She maneuvered around them and started down the hall.

            “Leave your bags at the door, William will deposit them where they need to be,” She instructed over her shoulder.

            Mark and Harry remained at the foot of the stairs, sharing a grimace. Eggsy shifted beside Mark and said, “So, uh… she’s nice.”

            Harry snorted. Mark swallowed hard. Maybe coming back here was a mistake. Or maybe he should have just come by himself.

            “She was joking about the other room, right?” Eggsy asked.

            “I’m afraid not,” Mark murmured.

            “Oh.” Mark hated the disappointment in Eggsy’s tone. Eggsy did try to cover it, but Mark could plainly see that he was letdown.

            “I’m afraid our mother is a bit on the old fashioned side, you see,” Harry explained. Old fashioned was an understatement.

“Well, no big deal. It’ll be fun sneaking off, yeah?” Eggsy winked at Mark, and Mark couldn’t help but smile.

William, the family’s butler, retrieved their bags and moved them to the appropriate rooms. Mark didn’t go with Harry to greet their father, instead taking the opportunity to show Eggsy around the grounds before dinner. Pride bloomed in his chest as Eggsy looked over the sprawling gardens. An Olympic-style pool was in the distance, along with a tennis court. The stables were at the bottom of the hill, and to the west of the home was a labyrinth of neatly groomed hedges.

“This is like a fairy tale,” Eggsy murmured.

            Mark didn’t comment, though he didn’t really consider his life that romantic. He showed Eggsy his bedroom next, and Eggsy nearly choked on his spit. “Fuck me, this is bigger than my flat back at the Estates. Y’ had all this to y’r self?”

            There was the familiar accent. It comforted Mark to hear Eggsy speak more relaxed, and he immediately went to him, wrapping his arms around Eggsy’s waist. He kissed the curve of Eggsy’s neck with an agreeable hum. “I did, and I spent a lot of time here. Alone or with Harry.”

            “No friends came over?” Eggsy asked, tipping his head to the side in offering.

            “I didn’t like to go out much; I wasn’t really fond of others. Harry was my best friend growing up,” Mark explained, trailing a path of kisses along the length of Eggsy’s neck. He paused when he reached Eggsy’s pulse and pressed his lips against it, considering.

            Harry had been far more popular as a teenager. He’d always been the more outspoken one, capable of charming crowds of people with only a few words. Mark, on the other hand, stumbled over the simplest of sentences.

            But even with all the friends Harry had as a boy, he always put Mark first. Always made sure to spend time with Mark.

            For those awkward, troubling years, Harry had been Mark’s world.

            Mark smiled and grazed his teeth across Eggsy’s skin. He slowly withdrew, knowing they didn’t have time for a real snog.

            Eggsy didn’t seem to mind, taking the opportunity to snoop. Mark took a seat on the bed and contented himself with watching as Eggsy explored his past, holding up items for Mark to explain. Pictures of his years in boarding school. Artifacts from vacations. He brandished a picture of Mark when he was seven, standing in front of a homelier, simple cottage with a woman wrapped in a stained floral apron. Her hair was a mess, lines weathered her face, but she smiled blindingly.

            “Who’s this?” Eggsy asked.

            “My Aunt Violet, my mother’s sister. I would visit her with Harry during the beginning of the summer. It’s actually how I met Bridget. My aunt lived next to Bridget’s parents, and we would play together,” Mark explained. He stood and walked over to Eggsy, accepting the picture. He ran his thumb along the gilded frame—why had he never brought this picture home? “She never had kids of her own, so she loved having us over. She used to make the best ginger snaps.”

            “We should visit her,” Eggsy said.

            Mark’s fond smile dropped. “I’m afraid she passed away during the Rage.”

            “Mark… I, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize,” Eggsy said. They never spoke about that infamous day. Mark didn’t know who Eggsy lost or what he went through during those few terrifying moments when the entire world succumbed to pulsing anger and hatred. Mark didn’t like to think about it. He’d been lucky, he knew, to come out all right. But even if he personally hadn’t experienced the horrors first-hand, it didn’t mean he hadn’t felt the aftershocks.

            “It’s all right darling,” Mark said and kissed Eggsy’s forehead. “You didn’t know.” He set the picture down. “Dinner should be ready soon, shall we go downstairs?”

            Eggsy watched him, and Mark knew there were questions dancing on the tip of his tongue, but he dodged them by drawing Eggsy out of the room.

            Mark lead Eggsy to the formal dining room. He supposed he should have warned Eggsy about dinner with his parents. He supposed he should have warned Eggsy about a great deal of things, especially when it came to his parents. But Mark hadn’t considered much on the matter of what would happen when he brought Eggsy home, but simply fantasized about the wonders they could have. Eggsy would be mesmerized by the glitter and gold, not realizing that the shimmering surface of the house was really just glass.

            It was a silly dream, especially when he knew Eggsy could care less about any of this, but he still harbored that small fear of what if. What if he leaves. What if he realizes Mark isn’t worth it? That Mark’s too old. That Mark’s too boring. What if he realizes that there is so much more in the world? Like Elizabeth had. Like Bridget had.

            Even all the splendor of Mark’s wealth couldn’t keep them, let alone Mark himself.

            Eggsy took a seat in the chair Mark pulled out for him. Mark ignored the look from his mother. Harry sat across from Mark, on the right of his father, while Mark took the left seat. His father sat at the helm of the table, shoulders back and chin raised as if he were preparing to navigate a choppy sea.

            Mark shifted in his seat when Mr. Darcy’s gaze moved over the table, glimpsing past Harry and Mrs. Darcy, before settling on Eggsy. The urge to shield him, to cover Eggsy’s body with his own as if Mr. Darcy’s very gaze could cause some physical harm, swelled up inside Mark.

            “Father,” Mark greeted with a tremulous smile. Mr. Darcy looked at Mark, his cool steely blue eyes narrowed under his overwhelming white eyebrows.

            “Mark, Henry mentioned you brought a friend,” Mr. Darcy said. “Perhaps you should introduce us?”

            “Eggsy,” Eggsy supplied, hand extended. “His boyfriend.”

            Mr. Darcy accepted the offered hand, his eyebrows raised until they nearly vanished in his coiffed hair. His mouth pinched at the corners, the barest of grimaces as he shook Eggsy’s hand. Mark’s heart thundered as Eggsy locked gazes with Mr. Darcy. He glanced at Harry for help. Harry made a small gesture with his hand, the slight rise and lowering of his fingers, a silent signal to settle.

            Mark relaxed in his seat, the tension unspooling even more when Eggsy let go of Mr. Darcy’s hand and took his seat. Before Mr. Darcy could comment further, the food was served, and Eggsy murmured his appreciation.

            Silence settled over the table, broken only by the scrape of cutlery and reserved chewing. Several times Eggsy looked to Mark, his mouth opening as if he were about to say something, before he decided better and returned to eating.

            If awkward silence was all that was going to be inflicted upon them, then maybe Mark would survive the meal.

            It was stupid how tightly wound he became, how his stomach immediately knotted, making it hard to eat, as if he were fourteen again and desperately trying to get his father’s approval. He even found himself looking to Mr. Darcy occasionally, seeking out his gaze, just for the slightest indication that he was doing all right.

            When Mark realized what he was doing he turned to Harry, and Harry offered a smile, a glimmer of mischief lighting his eyes like caramel swirls. The his pounding heart slowed, steadying until it no longer hurt just to live.

            He wasn’t fourteen. He wasn’t. He shouldn’t need Harry to sooth his fears anymore. He shouldn’t be afraid of his father’s disapproval.

            “How is Bridget?” Mr. Darcy asked, drawing Mark away from his ruminations.

            “Bridget?” Mark blinked. Beneath the table Eggsy slid his hand over Mark’s knee and squeezed. “Fine, I guess. I haven’t spoken to her since I signed the papers.”

            Mr. Darcy sniffed, while Mrs. Darcy said on the far end of the table, “What a shame, this nonsense. She was a lovely girl.”

            “Lovely?” Mark repeated, flummoxed. They despised Bridget. Had all but outright said not to bring her around, in case she broke another family heirloom. “She wasn’t exactly a shining beacon of virtuosity and fidelity.”

            Eggsy snorted, trying to cover a bark of laughter. Mr. and Mrs. Darcy shot him a withering glare before Mrs. Darcy looked back at Mark and continued. “People make mistakes. Your father and I have shared our own disagreements, but you see that we’re still together, and stronger than ever.”

            “I’m afraid this discussion is a tad too late,” Harry interjected, tone firm. “Mark has already signed the papers and the matter is over with, and I for one am happy with it.”

            “What about you Henry? How is the… what was it, tailor shop?” Mr. Darcy asked.

            Harry’s eyebrow twitched, the only indication that he’d just barely restrained an eye roll. “Yes, it’s fine.” It was all he offered in explanation on his life.

            When Harry didn’t continue, Mr. Darcy prompted, “And are you seeing anyone?”

            “You know, Mrs. Buxton’s daughter is in town,” Mrs. Darcy started, “Perhaps I should invite her over.”

            “Thank you, but no,” Harry stated firmly.

            Mrs. Darcy frowned. “Well, perhaps Mark—”

            Mark flushed and glanced at Eggsy, who just raised his eyebrows, his mouth opened in a shocked ‘o’.

            “Mother, Mark is with Eggsy,” Harry said, “So he certainly doesn’t need to meet Mrs. Buxton’s daughter.”

            “What is it you do, Eggsy?” Mr. Darcy said. Mark nearly got whiplash from the sudden conversation change. Eggsy blinked, snapping his mouth closed. When he didn’t answer right away, Mr. Darcy pressed, “Well, boy?”

            “He works with me,” Harry supplied.

            “I believe I asked the boy.”

            “Eggsy,” Eggsy said.

            “Excuse me?” Mr. Darcy looked back at Eggsy.

            “My name is Eggsy, not Eggy, and it certainly isn’t ‘boy’, y’ get me guv?” Eggsy said, all pretense to his accent gone.

            Mark could feel the blood draining from his body. The little bit of food he managed to stomach during the blessed silence before soured and spoiled. “Eggsy,” Mark whispered.

            “Now see here young man, that is no way to speak to your hosts,” Mr. Darcy said, and while his tone never raised, there was a sudden sharpness, as if each word was wrapped with barbed wire. “You will speak to me with respect.”

            “Then y’ll do the same wif me,” Eggsy shot back.

            “Do you speak to your parents in that tone?” Mr. Darcy looked at Mark in disappointment, and it took all of Mark’s resolve not to flinch. “How did you even meet this young man Mark?”

            “I work at the tailor shop,” Eggsy said, “Just like Harry said.”

Mark glanced between them, not sure what to say to fix this. When he opened his mouth, Mr. Darcy said, “Young man, I’m going to have to ask you to remove yourself from this table until you can learn to speak.”

“Father—” Harry started.

“No, Henry.  My decision is final.”

Eggsy gaped at Mr. Darcy, then looked to Mark. Mark swallowed around a lump in his throat. He needed to speak up. He needed to tell his father enough.

But just like when he was fourteen, he lost his voice, and he sat there, unable to unglue his tongue from the roof his mouth. Hurt flashed across Eggsy’s face before he shoved his seat back, placing his napkin beside his half-finished plate.

“Excuse me,” Eggsy said, then left.

“Honestly, Mark,” Mr. Darcy continued as the door swung closed behind Eggsy. “I understand things are rough with Bridget, but this nonsense again? And with someone of his caliber?”

Mark couldn’t breathe. Everything crashed around him. He shrunk further into his seat, screaming mentally to speak up, to tell his father to shut up, but the words were swallowed in loud ringing between his ears.

He felt Harry’s heated gaze on him, and he was vaguely aware of his father’s and mother’s ramblings, but none of it processed in his mind.

“His caliber?” Harry snapped, and Mark looked up to meet his ashamed stare. “Eggsy is one of the most amazing, wonderful, kindest people you will ever meet. He’s far superior to anyone at this table, and the fact that you can’t see that means that you aren’t good enough to even know him.”

Harry shoved to his feet, startling their parents, and wiped his mouth with his napkin. He dropped it on his plate and walked out of the dining room, leaving Mark alone.

Mark looked between Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, and it was like coming up for air. He gasped, wordlessly standing.

“Mark,” Mrs. Darcy whispered sharply.

“No,” Mark said. “No.”

“What on earth are you going on about?” Mr. Darcy demanded, his face puce from anger.

“No,” Mark repeated, meeting his father’s glare, before turning and rushing out of the room to find Eggsy.

Mark found Eggsy in the guest bedroom, and for a brief moment he feared Eggsy was leaving—not that he didn’t have every right to. Mark knew he fucked up.

“Eggsy,” Mark said as he entered. “I’m—I’m sorry, I don’t—”

I’m sorry I’m so weak I couldn’t speak up.

Eggsy turned to face him, his eyes flashing. He paused, mouth open, and something crossed his expression. It was a new pain, and it made Mark’s heart ache.

“Does he always talk to you like that?” Eggsy asked, with surprising calmness. Mark worked his jaw, not meeting Eggsy’s gaze. Eggsy let out a long breath through his nose. “Right, I thought so.”

“He’s my father,” Mark said, as if that were a good enough excuse for his behavior.

“He’s an arsehole,” Eggsy deadpanned. “No offense bruv, but y’r dad is one of the biggest arseholes I’ve ever met, and I’ve met hundreds of them.”

Eggsy approached him, and Mark wanted to reach out and pull him close, but he didn’t when Eggsy kept his hands to himself. “I’ve spent my whole life letting people tear me down, Mark. I know wot it’s like to be forced to deal with that abuse, and I won’t… I won’t put myself back there. I won’t let someone talk to me, talk to you, that way.”

Mark shook his head. What did Eggsy want him to say? To do? It was his father. It wasn’t his place to say anything.

“Eggsy, it’s fine.”

“No, Mark, it isn’t,” Eggsy snapped. “It really isn’t. Wot he said to y’, to me’, it ain’t right. Y’ don’t talk to people that way. Y’ would never talk to someone that way, so why the fuck are y’ letting him do it to y’?”

“He’s—”

“Y’r father, I get it,” Eggsy said, “But that don’t excuse how he acted.”

Mark clenched his jaw. Eggsy was right, Mark knew it. He was saying the same damn thing Harry had told him growing up.

“Let’s leave,” Eggsy said, “Let’s just go, head back home. We’ll spend the rest of the weekend at y’r flat, in bed. Order take away and watch trash telly.”

“I can’t,” Mark said.

“All he is going to do is tear y’ down this weekend. Tear y’ down and Harry and me. And I’m not sitting through that Mark. I’m not.”

“Then leave,” Mark said before he could stop it. He immediately regretted the words, regretted the pain that flashed across Eggsy’s face.

Eggsy jutted out his jaw, and Mark could see him squaring off for a fight, one Mark didn’t have the strength to fight.

“I can’t leave Eggsy, but you’re right, you shouldn’t have to deal with this. It was a mistake to bring you, and for that I’m sorry. I’ll arrange for a taxi to take you home in the morning.”

Stop. Shut up. Stop talking like that. Stop ruining it.

“Mark—” Eggsy’s croaked, his eyes wide and shining.

“We can discuss this when I get home,” Mark said, instead of taking it all back. “Good night, Eggsy.”

He walked out before he did any further damage. He scrubbed a hand down his face. A tension headache worked its way along the back of his skull.

This was a big mess. He hadn’t planned for things to turn out this way, but he knew he should have realized the inevitable.

You only have yourself to blame.

Mark returned to his room. He tried to go to bed, to forget this whole mess, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t sleep.

He finally gave up trying to sleep around ten o’clock. He escaped down to the parlor room where the liquor cabinet was. He found the key his parents thought they hid and opened the cabinet, retrieving a bottle of scotch. He poured a splash into a tumbler, remembering the many times he’d done the same thing when he was fourteen. Harry would sneak into his room after he had a fight with Mr. Darcy, and they’d come downstairs after their parents had gone to sleep and steal a glass.

“You need to apologize to him,” Harry said from the doorway, arms crossed over his chest. He wore his dressing gown over his pajamas.

“A drink?” Mark asked, raising his glass in offer. He poured Harry a scotch even though he didn’t answer, and Harry accepted it.

“He’s right,” Harry said.

“I know.”

“Then go up there and apologize,” Harry ordered, clenching his hand around the crystal tumbler.

“I… can’t,” Mark said, staring down into his glass.

Harry scoffed. “Even after all these years, he still has his claws in you.”

“Do you think this is easy for me?” Mark snapped.

“This isn’t about you!” Harry slammed his glass on the table. “This is about Eggsy. About the fact that you are letting the best thing to ever happen to you walk away, and for what? Father? A self-righteous sperm donor that’s spent his life imitating Boris Johnson’s arsehole?”

“I try,” Mark said, voice cracking. His emotions barreled to the surface. “But every time—” Mark clamped his mouth shut and set his jaw. “You don’t understand. He likes you.”

“And do you think I give a rat’s arse? The only reason I came this weekend is because you were. There’s a reason I don’t speak with them—because I realized they weren’t worth the pain. And I wish to God you would pull your head out of your arse long enough to realize you deserve better. You always have. And I try dammit, but I can’t keep saving you if you won’t save yourself.”

“Harry…”

“You pick these awful women, these people that use you. You deserve the world Mark, and Christ, if I could give it to you I would. But you settle for shite. And now you have Eggsy, and he loves you dammit, and you’ll throw it all away? For father?”

Mark swallowed thickly and searched Harry’s face. His eyes were earnest, more open than Mark had ever seen them.

“All father’s ever done is cut you down. And you always defend him. But he isn’t worth it. He isn’t worth losing Eggsy over.”

Harry was right.

“I stepped down so you could have a chance at happiness for once, don’t make me regret it,” Harry said.

“What?” Mark frowned. Stepped down?

Harry paled, his mouth snapping closed.

Eggsy is one of the most amazing, wonderful, kindest people you will ever meet.

Harry had said it with such passion, but Mark had been too lost in his thoughts to realize then the depth of emotion that ran through each word. That hadn’t been Harry just defending Eggsy, it had been a proclamation.

“You love him,” Mark whispered, and the horror dawning on Harry’s face was all the confirmation Mark needed.

Chapter Text

            You love him.

            The confession hung in the air. Harry knew he had only two options: deny everything or tell Mark the truth.

            “How long?” Mark demanded.

            The longer the silence stretched, the narrower Harry’s options grew, until he realized too late that there was no taken back what was left unspoken.

            “Longer than you’ve known him,” Harry admitted, finally, and Mark flinched as if Harry had actually slapped him.

            “And does he…” Mark clamped his mouth shut, his nostrils flaring. He swallowed and repeated, “And does he feel the same?”

            “If you think that than maybe you don’t deserve him,” Harry said. He didn’t stop the anger from bleeding into his voice. “Which is something that is becoming clearer as the night goes on.”

            “Get off your fucking high horse,” Mark snaps. “Were you two an item?”

            “No,” Harry resigned, and Mark’s shoulders relax at that. “He has no idea.”

            “Why not?”

            It’s a question Harry hadn’t been expecting, and he doesn’t know how to answer it. To the rest of the world Harry is unflappable, the quintessence of confidence. They wouldn’t understand that behind the flashy façade beat a heart of a terrified old man.

            But Mark isn’t just anyone. He isn’t the world. He’s part of Harry’s. He is Harry’s world, the same soul, and Harry should have realized Mark could read him as clearly as he could read Mark.

            “You were scared,” Mark said, and Harry nodded minutely.

            “I didn’t think he’d want someone like me, someone who is…”

            “Old?” Mark supplied. “And then he found me.”

            “I believe the term is cruel irony.”

            Mark scrubbed his hand down his hand and turned around, presenting his broad back to Harry. “And now what? Now you’ll tell him?”

            Harry’s hand twitched and he had to resist the urge to reach out, to gather Mark in his arms. Even now, even with strife widening a gulf between them, Harry still wanted to comfort him, to make it better.

            “I hadn’t planned on it.”

            “Of course you didn’t.” Mark scoffed and turned back around, his brow furrowed. He threw his hands into the air. “You’re still protecting me, just like when we were boys.”

            “Well you won’t do it yourself,” Harry snapped.

            Mark shot him a scathing look. “Don’t act like you’re superior to me.”

            “I have never been the superior one,” Harry said, and he meant it. Between the two of them, Harry had never been the good twin. Most popular, yes, most loved, maybe, but never the good one. Darkness bubbled beneath the surface of Harry’s soul.

            “I love him,” Mark confessed, his eyes wide. Harry stared into a mirror, and in Mark’s eyes he could see his own insecurities reflecting back.

            “You could have fooled me,” Harry said before he could stop himself. “You treated him like he was nothing tonight.”

            Mark flinched again and whispered harshly, “You don’t think I know that?”

            “He’s been through too much to be treated like that. He doesn’t deserve it,” Harry said. “I won’t tell him that I love him, but I also won’t stand here and let you make him believe he’s inferior.”

            “And do I get a say in all of this?” Eggsy asked from the doorway.

            Harry spun around, heart leaping into his throat. “Eggsy.”

            “Darling,” Mark called behind Harry, but he went silent when Eggsy snapped, “Y’ don’t get to call me that. Not now.”

            Harry hazard a glance at Mark. He was sure they both shared twin expressions of horror.

            “Y’re both right wankers, y’ know that?” Betrayal flashed in Eggsy’s eyes, and Harry’s heart lurched. He did that. He put that crestfallen look on Eggsy’s face. Eggsy glared at Mark. “Y’ don’t get to do that.” He pointed at the ceiling, in the vague direction of his room. “Y’ don’t get to talk to me like wot I feel don’t matter, get to decide wot I do, and then walk out. This is a fucking relationship and that means we talk things through, and if y’ can’t do that than I… than I don’t want to be with you.”

            Mark made a choked sound and Harry looked away. Unease rose in his sternum. Eggsy turned his glare on Harry, and Harry wondered briefly if he’d been taking lessons from Merlin.

            “Y’ fucking arsehole,” Eggsy hissed. Harry’s mouth went dry. “All this time, all this fucking time y’ had feelings, and y’ didn’t say nufin? Not a single fucking thing? I swear to God Harry, for as brilliant as y’ are, y’ are a fucking dense berk.”

            Harry flushed. Well he thought that was a bit extreme. “I don’t think it’s so absurd to think you wouldn’t have any interest in a man of my age.”

            “Do y’ honestly think I bloody give a damn about that? I fucking loved y’ from the—” Eggsy paused, gaze flicking to Mark. He straightened his shoulders and started over. “I’ve been arse-over-heels for y’ since we met.”

            Eggsy shook his head, and before Harry could even piece the words together to make a coherent thought, Eggsy continued, “But I love Mark. I’m with Mark.” He swept his fingers through his hair, musing the short strands into a cowlick that Harry would have found adorable, if the situation weren’t so tense. “Fucking hell Harry. Y’ have fucking shit timing.”

            “So Merlin has told me on many occasions.”

            Eggsy laughed, but it was brittle and broken. No one spoke, and Harry supposed they were all waiting for the other. But whatever came next would shape how this turned out, and Harry wasn’t sure if he wanted that responsibility.

            You started this, old boy. It’s time to own up.

            Harry would rather face Valentine again than tell Mark and Eggsy the truth. He licked his lips and said, “If we’re bearing our souls, then I should tell you that I may have had a hand in the recent string of bad luck Mark has been suffering from.”

            Mark shifted to face Harry, his gaze narrowing. “What are you talking about?”

            “I might have called in a few favors on one of your most recent dates with Eggsy,” Harry answered vaguely. “And I may have left your number on a stall, insinuating your ability to procure recreational drugs.”

            No one said anything for a heartbeat, and then Mark roared, “You bastard!”

            Harry could have dodged the punch, but one part of him was surprised that Mark had even thrown one, and another part of him realized he deserved it.

            The first hit.

            The second one was completely uncalled for.

            “I can’t believe you—you put me through hell!” Mark yelled. Harry dodged the next strike, dancing out of Mark’s way. Harry made a mental note to arrange for Mark to get self-defense lessons after this, because his punches were everywhere and his arms were like wet noodles.

            “You always do this!” Mark continued and rushed Harry. Harry side stepped, knocking into a table and nearly losing his foot.

            “Stop it!” Eggsy shouted, but Mark and Harry ignored him.

            “Mark, calm down,” Harry said, hands up in surrender. “It was harmless.”

            “You stole my car,” Mark said, chest heaving with each breath. “I was nearly arrested. I had to change my phone number. Eggsy and I fought.”

            Well when said so plainly, it did sound bad.

            “Why?” Mark balled his hands into fists.

            “I was trying to break you up,” Harry admitted, sparing a glance to Eggsy, who looked at him in disgust. “An erroneous decision, I realize. But when I found out you were with Eggsy, I was overwhelmed with jealousy.”

            “That’s no excuse!” Mark yelled. “God, you’ve always done this. Whenever I have something you want, you do whatever you can to take it!”

            “That isn’t true, and you know it,” Harry said, barely able to keep his own tone even. He could hear his parents clamoring around upstairs, no doubt woken by the fighting, but he didn’t care. “I’ve given you everything. I’ve always put you first, you ungrateful twat. And what do I get for it? You treating me like the villain, casting me out because I called you out on your stupidity. If you’d listened to me, you never would have married that awful woman!”

            Mark flushed, his glare darkening. “I don’t need you giving me anything! I never asked for that. And that still gives you no right for what you did!”

            “I know that,” Harry yelled. “But I wanted him!”

            “Enough!” Eggsy boomed, the single word a thunderclap that silenced Harry and Mark. They turned to look at him. “Harry, wot y’ did was despicable.”

            Harry flinched.

            “Y’ had no right to do that. None at all.” Eggsy looked at Mark. “And Mark, y’ need to get y’r fucking head out of y’r arse. Harry loves y’, even if he has a shite way of showing it. And as far as I can see, he’s the only one that’s on y’r side right now.”

            Mark opened and closed his mouth, but didn’t say a thing.

            Cracks formed in Eggsy’s resolve, and the anger that had bolstered his composure collapsed into grief. Unbridled tears sprung to his eyes, and when the first rolled down his cheek, Harry’s heart broke.

            “I… I’m not a thing for y’ to fight over, and the fact that y’ both are, the fact that y’ thought it was okay to treat me like something y’ can play for Harry, then…” He sucked in a sharp breath and swiped furiously at his eyes. Mark took a step forward and Harry went with him. “Then maybe I don’t want neither of y’.”

            “Eggsy,” Harry started as Mark said, “Darling.”

            “Give me y’r keys Mark, I want to go home. Alone. Y’ can come back with Harry and I’ll have y’r car brought to y’r house.” When Mark didn’t respond fast enough, Eggsy shook his hand. “Mark!”

            Mark jumped and said, “They’re upstairs, in my room.” Pain flashed across his face, and guilt pooled in Harry’s stomach. He did this to them. “Eggsy, darling—”

            “No, I’m done.” Eggsy cut him off. “Until y’ both can learn to grow the fuck up I don’t want to talk to either of y’.”

            He turned, nearly crashing into Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Darcy looked at him, flabbergasted, while Mr. Darcy sputtered, “What in good heaven’s name is going on here? Do you realize what time it is young man?”

            “Go fuck y’r self,” Eggsy spat and shoved past them, marching up the stairs.

            Mr. and Mrs. Darcy watched him go, scandalized, then turned to Harry and Mark. “Mark, your guest is completely out of control,” Mr. Darcy started.

            To Harry’s surprise—and immense pride—Mark said, “Father, do shut the fuck up.”

            Mark walked out of the room, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy stepping out of his way. Mrs. Darcy called after him as he mounted the stairs, but he didn’t look back.

* * * *

            Mark didn’t speak to Harry the entire ride back into London. He sat on his side of the cab, arms crossed over his chest, and stared out the window as he replayed their fight. He was at fault, he knew, and he only hoped that there was a way to mend the damage. He wasn’t ready to let go of Eggsy—not in the way he had so easily conceded to defeat with Elizabeth or Bridget.

            He cast a sideways glance at Harry, who seemed lost in his own ruminations. He wasn’t ready to lose Harry, either. They’d only just repaired their relationship.

            When had it become so easy for them to spew vitriol at one another? Harry used to be the only one in his corner, and now he treated Harry as if he were no better than their parents.

            Mark opened his mouth, and Harry glanced at him. Mark snapped his mouth shut and turned back to the window. There was only a foot between them in the backseat, but it might as well have been an ocean.

            The taxi stopped in front of Mark’s flat. He sat there, even after the driver got out and retrieved his luggage from the boot.

            “I never meant to hurt you,” Harry said.

            “Yes you did.”

            Harry didn’t respond right away.

            “Yes, I suppose your right. I did.”

            Mark drew in a deep breath through his nose and let it out slowly. “Would you like to come in for a cuppa?”

            Another pause. Mark’s heart counted the seconds between their words.

            “That would be nice,” Harry said.

            Harry told the driver to wait and then followed Mark inside. “I don’t remember your place being so… white.”

            “Not all of us like to fill every inch of space with nonsense. Though restraint has never been your strong suit,” Mark said, leaving his suitcase at the door and making his way to the kitchen.

            Harry chuckled and followed behind him. “I’m perfectly capable of restraint, I just don’t believe if denying myself something that will make me happy.”

            Mark rolled his eyes. He filled the kettle with water and put it on the stove, then turned on the front burner. “Yes, but you take it to the excess.”

            Harry sniffed and straightened his cufflink. “One of us should enjoy their life.”

            “I enjoy mine,” Mark snapped, glaring across the island at Harry.

            Harry arched a brow, his expression never wavering from restrained civility. Mark hated how he could do that, how he could make Mark feel so small with a single look.

            “Do you? Because from what I’ve seen, all you do is appease the rest of the world. Mummy and father. Elizabeth. Even bloody Bridget Jones. You’re willing to ride off to play the white knight for the rest of the world, but you’re so unwilling to save yourself.”

            Mark clenched his jaw, but he didn’t know what to say—he couldn’t deny the truth.

            “And now look where it’s gotten you? Eggsy angry and hurt.”

            “No thanks to your help,” Mark said. He wasn’t fully to blame, and he wouldn’t shoulder it all himself.

            The first chink in Harry’s resolve appeared. His mouth twisted into a frown. “You’re right, you aren’t. I’m sorry Mark, for what I did. I was blinded by my jealousy.” Harry spread his hands out in front of him. “I’m a selfish, possessive old man. You know I don’t like sharing. I’ve never been fond of sharing you.”

            Mark blinked at the confession. Harry met his stare and the intensity of his stare made heat rise to Mark’s cheeks. The kettle whistled and he spun around, breaking the eye contact, and started to fuss over preparing the tea.

            “Yes, I do recall getting hit when I tried to play with your Action Man. Do you still take your tea with cream and sugar?”

            “Yes, well I did tell you not to touch it,” Harry said, warmth seeping into voice and easing the tension that knotted Mark’s stomach. “Two lumps, if you would be so kind.”

            Mark finished preparing the tea and passed the cup to Harry, who accepted it with a murmured thank you.

            “Where do we go from here? This is quite the mess we’ve seemed to have gotten ourselves into,” Mark said.

            Harry took a sip of tea, then set the cup and saucer down on the island. “Well first thing first is seeing if Eggsy will even speak to us.”

            Mark took a long drink of tea to keep from grimacing. He’d been trying his hardest to not think about the possibility that Eggsy wouldn’t want to speak with him.

            “Suppose he does,” Mark said, “What then? I love him Harry, and I’m not ready to let go. And I know you, you won’t so easily back down. You’ll say you will, and maybe for a while you’ll step aside, but then one day you’ll wake up and realize you can’t move on and we’ll be back to square one.”

            “You’ve always known me better than anyone else,” Harry chuckled.

            “Not all that twin nonsense is horseshit.”

            They fell into a speculative silence, a pensive look settling over Harry that Mark was sure mirrored his own.

            There weren’t many ways around this. One would have to back down. They could let Eggsy choose—this did involve him after all—but Mark knew that Eggsy wouldn’t be able too. He could never hurt one of them.

            So what did they do? All walk away, alone and miserable?

            It seemed to be the only solution and it left Mark sick to his stomach. He set his tea down, no longer thirsty.

            “Are you familiar with Kings 3:16?” Harry asked.

            Mark searched his mind for the bible verse, vaguely recalling the story of King Solomon and the two squabbling women. “You want to cut Eggsy in half? A tad extreme isn’t it?”

            Harry chuckled. “No, I’m not suggesting that. But the story does touch close to home, doesn’t it? Two women, fighting over a single baby. King Solomon’s solution was to trick the women into believing he would cut the child in half to see who the real mother was. And while his deception worked, there was an alternative I always thought possible.”

            “And what’s that?”

            “The two women shared the baby. They raised him together. Then instead of having one mother, the baby would have had two, and been all the better for it. Of course the concept was a tad too progressive for the times.”

            Mark licked his lips, a spark igniting a small fire in his stomach. He searched Harry’s face, trying to piece together what he was insinuating. “What are you getting?”

            “You and I have always been close,” Harry said. “Perhaps closer than brothers should be. I still remember fondly those summer nights when we were thirteen, at Aunt Violet’s cottage.”

            Mark flushed, the fire pooling through his stomach and rising to his sternum. Mark should have recoiled at what Harry was suggesting, but he would be lying if he pretended he had never once thought of Harry in such a light. Maybe it was narcissistic of him. They did share the same face. But Harry had always been so exquisitely handsome and refined.

            “You can’t possibly mean…” Mark didn’t say it, couldn’t.

            “It would solve all our problems, and I have missed you terribly. It would be good to have my dear brother back in my life.”

            Harry’s eyes glimmered. Mark wasn’t sure if it was the sun glimpsing through the kitchen window or Harry’s possessive streak sneaking through.

            “You bastard, you just don’t want to share either of us,” Mark said.

            “I did say I didn’t like to share you. I feel the same way about Eggsy.”

            “What you’re suggesting Harry, it’s… it’s incestuous. Wrong.” Even as Mark said that, though, Mark didn’t believe it.

            “Says who? Society? Our parents? Does it matter what they think, it’s what makes us happy. And I do want you happy Mark, as much as I want Eggsy to be happy. And while I hadn’t made the connection before, I am now. As far as I can see, this is the best way for me to do it.”

            Harry walked around the island, coming to a stop in front of Mark, and took him by the elbows. “If this is something you don’t want, and I mean you and not your perceived notion about what’s right and what’s wrong, then we can forget this whole business and I will walk away from both you and Eggsy. You can apologize to him and he’ll take you back—no, believe me, he will. He adores you. Loves you. And that boy’s heart is too immensely large not to forgive you. But… but if you want this, even a little bit, then perhaps we owe it to Eggsy and ourselves to try. To seek out our own happiness.”

            Mark searched Harry’s face for any sign of deceit, but he couldn’t find anything but hope. And Mark, damn himself, wanted this. The small fire, which had started as a candle flame, erupted into a pyre that burned through him.

            He let out a shaky breath, and Harry must have seen the confirmation on his face, because he leaned down and kissed him.

            Mark froze, clutching onto Harry’s jacket sleeves. He didn’t move as Harry kissed him oh so gently, as if he were fractured glass—and he was. He could feel the fissures splintering his very soul, something hot and fond and wondrous trying to escape through the cracks.

            Mark parted his lips and Harry let go of his elbows to seize his face with both hands, fingers spanning over his cheeks. Harry tipped his head back, deepening the kiss, and every restraint, every excuse Mark had as to why this was wrong, why this was so sinful, abandoned him, and he melted into Harry’s embrace.

            Harry’s tongue dusted over his lips and Mark quivered, welcoming him in with new found hunger. He never let go of Harry’s jacket, his fingers cramping as he returned the kiss with the same ferocity Harry devoured him with.

            Harry pulled away with a ragged breath and trailed his supple mouth along Mark’s cheek, nuzzling the side of his head. “Oh my sweet Mark,” Harry whispered, “I’m going to make this better for all of us.”

            Mark let Harry wrap him in a warm embrace. Harry would. Harry always made everything better. And Mark, tired of fighting the rest of the world, was ready to let him.

Chapter Text

            Eggsy sat on his bed and stared at his packed suitcase tucked in the corner of his bedroom. His mum banged around downstairs, feeding Daisy and getting ready for their day out. He’d been sitting there for an hour, trying to muster the energy to get up, shower, and become a proper member of society. But every time he went to stand, he felt the weight of yesterday crash down on him, and he collapsed back onto the bed.

            He turned his hands over on his lap and curled his fingers until his nails scraped against his palms. Eggsy glanced down at his calloused palms. He couldn’t remember a time when his hands weren’t scraped or cracked. Even before Kingsman he’d roughed them up on brick and concrete, racing through the city like a caged bird searching for a window.

            “Eggsy,” his mum called up the stairs, “We’re leaving. Y’ sure y’ don’t want to come babe?”

            “Ye—” The word dragged along his dry vocal chords, and he swallowed thickly around a buoying lump of emotions. “Yeah, I’m good. Y’ and Dais have fun.”

            “If y’ say so luv.  Message if y’ need anything,” she shouted. A few seconds later the front door opened and closed.

            Eggsy needed to get up. He couldn’t sit here all day. He couldn’t keep thinking about Mark and Harry and everything that had been left unsaid.

            He wanted to cry that it wasn’t unfair, but when had life ever been fair to him? He’d known a long time ago that it wasn’t that kind of movie—he was never meant to have a happy ending. Not like everyone else.

            “Fuck,” Eggsy whispered and pressed the heel of his palm against his eye. Mark had been different. Mark had… Eggsy had… Eggsy grit his teeth. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair that he’d fallen so hard for Mark, had believed so much in him, in them, and it had all imploded in his face because once again, Eggsy wasn’t good enough.

            And then Harry.

            Harry who had been his everything.

            Harry who he’d cried so many tears over.

            Eggsy had moved on. He’d mended his heart. He’d accepted his place in Harry’s life. And then Harry—the bastard—had tipped his world upside down again, and Eggsy honestly was starting to believe it was all a joke.

            But he wasn’t laughing.

            That’s enough, Eggsy berated himself. Y’ just need to unpack y’r bag and get on wif y’r day. Call Jamal and Ryan, see if they want to pop down to the Black Prince.

            He didn’t reach for his phone. He didn’t unpack his suitcase. He sat there, listening to the house settle, and waited for everything to stop hurting.

            Okay, he needed to start small. Break the tasks down.

            He just needed to stand.

            Eggsy balled his hands into fists against his knees again. He made the right call with Mark. He knew he did. He deserved to be treated like a human.

            How many times could a person’s heart break before it couldn’t be put back together anymore?

            Eggsy shoved to his feet, bones cracking, and let out a shaky exhale. One task done. He could do this. He could pick the pieces back up and reassemble them. He could learn to move on, to live without them, without love. He had his mum and Daisy. He had Roxy. He had Jamal and Ryan. So what if he didn’t have Mark? Didn’t have Harry?

            It never would have worked with either of them, because there would always be the other. And it was like Roxy said, Eggsy couldn’t have both.

            Unpack.

            He glanced at the suitcase, then decided that was too much, and headed to his bedroom’s en suite. A shower was an easier task to conquer. His movements were mechanical, he focused on the physical energy it took to strip down and bathe. It was clinical, a thorough scrubbing, and with each abrasive scrape of the loofah, he tried to wash away his anger and hurt.

            Eggsy finished his shower and stepped out into the steamy bathroom, skin pink and raw. He secured a towel around his waist and wiped the condensation off the mirror with his forearm. He shouldn’t be so tired from such a simple task. But his bed called to him and it sounded better than unpacking or socializing.

            One day. He’d give himself one day.

            Eggsy didn’t even bother getting dressed or properly drying off. He returned to his room and crawled back into bed, burrowing under a nest of blankets. He was vaguely aware of his phone lighting up with an incoming call, but he just rolled over and let sleep drift over him.

* * * *

            Eggsy woke to knocking. He groaned and, still lying on his stomach, blindly slapped his hand around until he found his phone. He peeked his head out from the blankets that had rucked up during his sleep and checked to see what time it was.

            Almost two in the afternoon. He’d been asleep for four hours. And had over a dozen missed calls and even more texts. He gave a cursory scroll through his messages, his stomach jolting when he saw a handful of calls and texts from both Mark and Harry. He dropped his phone back on the nightstand and buried his face back in his pillow.

            The knocking started again, and Eggsy grumbled under his breath. Whoever was at the door wasn’t going to go away, it seemed. With a huff, Eggsy sat up and rubbed at his mused hair, which had dried at odd angles. He tried to comb his fingers through it to tame the spikes of hair but they defiantly stuck out. With another huff, Eggsy found his robe and secured it around his waist.

            Whoever was here better have a good reason for waking him.

            He stomped downstairs to the front door, and without checking through the peep hole, wrenched the door open. “Wot do y’ want?” Eggsy snarled, not even fully awake yet.

            Mark and Harry stood in front of him, twin expressions of amused bewilderment on their identical faces. Eggsy swallowed and his stomach dropped to his feet. God, even with shadows under the eyes, they both still looked like walking sex. It wasn’t fair.

            “Usually when you answer a door, the proper greeting is ‘hello’,” Harry stated with a small smile.

            Eggsy fixed Harry with a withering glare and quipped back, “And usually piles of shit don’t talk, yet here we are. So I’ll repeat, wot do y’ want?”

            The small, petty part of him savored Harry’s grimace.

            “May we come in and speak with you?” Mark asked when Harry couldn’t seem to unhinge his jaw. Eggsy didn’t hesitate to turn his glare on Mark.

            “Don’t see why y’ need to come in,” Eggsy said, shifting so he could lean against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest. “Wotever y’ both got to say, y’ can say out here or y’ can fuck off.”

            “I understand that you’re upset Eggsy, but acting like a child—” Harry started, but snapped his mouth shut when Mark kicked his leg.

            “Did y’ honestly just say that?” Eggsy hissed. “Fuck y’ Harry. Fuck both of y’.”

            He shoved off the doorframe and moved to close the door, stopped only by Mark’s hand. “Darling,” Mark pleaded. “Please, just give us five minutes. That’s all we’re asking for.”

            Eggsy studied Mark’s face, and damn it, his heart lurched. Mark had that sad, kicked look on his face that he got whenever he thought he fucked up. And usually Eggsy was quick to console him, to assure Mark that he hadn’t ruin everything. But he had this time, and Eggsy didn’t want to comfort him. He shouldn’t have to.

            “Please,” Harry echoed softly, and Eggsy found his resolve trembling.

            He searched both of their faces, then let out a long sigh and stepped aside to welcome them in. Relief washed over the both of them, Mark’s shoulders visibly slumping as he moved inside, Harry following behind. Eggsy shut the door and locked it.

            “Wot do y’ want?” Eggsy asked, not moving away from the door.

            “Perhaps we should move to the living room?” Harry suggested.

            “No, wotever y’ need to say, y’ say it right here,” Eggsy stated and set his jaw in a determined line.

            Harry looked like he wanted to argue, but Mark set a hand gingerly on his arm. Eggsy didn’t miss the comforting touch or how Mark’s fingers lingered.

            “First, we both owe you an apology,” Mark said. Eggsy raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. When he didn’t respond, Mark swallowed thickly and continued. “Darling—”

            “No, I told y’ y’ don’t get to call me that,” Eggsy snapped.

            Mark flinched and nodded. “Right, I’m sorry. Eggsy, I… I know I screwed up. My father was out of line.”

            “Y’r father is an arsehole and honestly I don’t give a shit about him. Wot I care about is that I didn’t matter enough for y’ to speak up. There will always be people like him. I can handle them, and while I can handle it on my own, I shouldn’t have to. That’s wot a partner is for. To support one another, and y’ didn’t support me. Y’ fed me to the wolves.”

            “I know,” Mark said and took a step forward, but stopped when Eggsy narrowed his eyes. “I know, and I’m so sorry. But if you can find it in you to forgive me, I swear I won’t betray you like that ever again.”

            Eggsy glanced at Harry, who watched somberly, his expression unreadable. Mark took another step closer and added in a tender whisper, “I love you, darling, and if given the chance, I’ll spend the rest of my life amending the mistakes I’ve made.”

            Eggsy wanted to fall into his arms. He wanted to say it was all okay, that he forgave Mark. The sincerity shone in his eyes, and Eggsy knew Mark would be true to his word. But it wasn’t just about Mark.

            Eggsy wasn’t sure if there was anything left of his heart to break, but it still ached. A coldness spread through his veins, filling him with a terrible numbness.

            “I’m sorry,” Eggsy whispered. “But I can’t… not when I know how Harry feels. I won’t be the person that comes between you two.”

            “Eggsy, my dear boy,” Harry said, and Eggsy turned to face him.

            Eggsy’s breath hitched. Harry looked at him with such fondness and adoration. It was how Eggsy had always wanted Harry to look at him. And now, after pining for so long, Harry finally looked at him as if he were all that mattered in the world, and Eggsy would never get to know what that felt like.

            “I’m sorry Harry, I just… I can’t—can y’ both please leave?”

            He just wanted to be alone.

            Harry shook his head and Eggsy had to hold back a strangled sob. Harry crossed the room and took Eggsy by his shoulders. “My sweet boy.”

            “No, I’m still mad at y’,” Eggsy said, trying to shake off Harry’s hands. “Wot y’ did to Mark, it wasn’t right.”

            “I know,” Harry whispered, “And I am so sorry to the both of you for my selfishness. What I did was inexcusable, and as Mark had said, I would spend the rest of my life mending the mistake I made if given the chance.”

            Eggsy twisted from Harry’s grasp, his own hands clenched into fists. “Just stop, the both of y’. I won’t choose.”

            If that was what they wanted, then they were sorely mistaken. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t.

            “And you don’t have too,” Harry said, dropping his hands.

            Eggsy froze. “Wot?” He glanced between Harry and Mark. “Wot do y’ mean?”

            Mark shared a look with Harry, giving him a small nod. Harry smiled at Eggsy. The sunlight streaming through the foyer windows caught the small gray hairs threaded through Harry’s temples. He reached back for Mark, taking his hand.

            Eggsy’s pulse jumped, but he didn’t dare speak.

            “Mark and I believe we’ve come to a solution,” Harry said.

            “And wot’s that?” Eggsy managed to ask.

            Harry smiled coyly and exchanged another look with Mark, who flushed, but returned the smile.

            “We all three enter a relationship,” Harry stated plainly.

            It took Eggsy a few seconds to process the words. “Y’ can’t be serious.”

            “Very,” Harry assured with a sniff.

            “Harry and I have always been close,” Mark added.

            “This is more than close,” Eggsy said, gaping at the both them. Were they serious? This had to be a joke. It had to be.

            “We know it’s a little unorthodox,” Mark said.

            “But if each party member agrees, then we could all be very happy.”

            “One of you would always feel left out,” Eggsy pointed out, and even though he was trying to dissuade them, he couldn’t help but think about the what if.

            “I assure you, neither of us will,” Harry said with a chuckle, and Mark flushed again.

            Eggsy’s eyebrows shot up. “Fuck me.”

            “We intend to, yes,” Harry said, and it was Eggsy’s turn to blush to his roots.

            “Y’ both mean it. Like not just me dating both of y’. But all three, don’t y’?” Eggsy said.

            “Yes, that’s the idea.”

            Mark shifted his feet, still holding Harry’s hand. “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

            Eggsy’s traitorous cock twitched. “I… I… I…”

            His brain stopped working.

            “I need a drink,” Eggsy said and went into the kitchen to root around for the scotch he had hidden.

            Mark and Harry followed, and Eggsy grabbed three glasses, pouring them each a finger of scotch.

            “If you don’t want this,” Harry started, accepting the drink Eggsy passed him. “Then I will step aside so you and Mark can be together. I won’t meddle anymore.”

            Eggsy threw the scotch back in one gulp, the liquor burning a path down his throat. He set the glass down and poured another one. “Yes y’ will, because y’re that much of a selfish bastard.”

            Harry chuckled, seeming to not take offense to the accusation.

            “He has a point,” Mark said.

            “Perhaps, but on my honor as a gentleman, I would do my best.”

            “But eventually y’d start, because y’d be miserable,” Eggsy said, “And y’ don’t know how to express y’r feelings like a normal person.”

            “You know me as well as Mark.”

            Eggsy ignored the comment. He ignored that Mark and Harry hadn’t let go of each other’s hands. He focused on meeting Harry’s eyes, on the fire that ignited in stomach.

            “Are y’ serious about this?”

            “Very,” Harry answered.

            Eggsy turned to Mark. “And y’re okay wif it?”

            “Yes,” Mark said, offering a smile. Even though he tried to hide it, Eggsy saw the fear in his eyes. The unspoken terror of rejection, of Eggsy casting them out.

            And Eggsy couldn’t do that. Fucking hell.

            He took another shot of scotch. He hissed around the burn and said, “Y’ realize we can never go public. No one will understand.”

            “I could give a shit what anyone else thinks,” Harry stated glibly.

            “Maybe y’ don’t, but do y’ Mark? Mummy and Daddy are definitely going to disown y’ for this,” Eggsy said.

            Mark nodded. “I know the risks.”

            “Fucking hell,” Eggsy whispered. “This is real.”

            “What do you say darling?” Mark asked.

            “I’m still mad at the both of y’,” Eggsy said, pointing at both of them. “Y’ were both shitheads. And y’ owe me for it.”

            “And we will endeavor to make it up to you,” Harry promised.

            Eggsy snorted, briefly considering another shot. Mark and Harry both finished their first drink and set their glasses aside.

            “Well my dear boy, will you be our paramour?”

            Eggsy could come up with hundreds—thousands—of reasons why he should say no, why this was wrong. And not a single one mattered.

            “Yeah, yeah I will,” Eggsy said.

            The smiles that erupted across both Mark’s and Harry’s faces erased any doubt Eggsy had in his mind. He knew this was fucked up. He knew no one but them would understand. But if this was how he could find happiness—how they all could find happiness—then they deserved it.

            Eggsy shifted, not sure where to go from here.

            “So… what now?” Eggsy asked.

            “Now Mark and I start to apologize to you,” Harry said.

            “And how are y’ going to do that?” Eggsy asked.

            Harry answered with a slow, devious grin that gave Eggsy’s cock another twitch. Harry let go of Mark’s hand and reached for Eggsy. “Come here darling.”

            Eggsy went to him, accepting Harry’s hand with ease. Harry drew Eggsy into the curve of his arms. Eggsy glanced over to Mark to see if he was okay with it, but Mark just watched with a fond expression.

            “I’ve wanted to kiss you for a very long time,” Harry whispered, cupping Eggsy’s jaw and turning his attention back to him. Harry leaned down, and for a few spellbound seconds Eggsy felt like the world stood still. Then Harry’s lips touched his and suddenly there was life.

            Harry kissed him, gently, with the slow tenderness of an opening flower. Eggsy wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck, hauling him closer until their chests crushed together. Harry tipped Eggsy’s head back, his fingers carding through Eggsy’s hair, and deepened the kiss.

            Eggsy parted his lips when he felt the brush of Harry’s tongue. He tasted of scotch and tea, and Eggsy’s head swam with desire. A moan built in the back of his throat as he tried to pull Harry closer, tried to deepen the embrace. Harry drew back, nipping at Eggsy’s bottom lip with a chuckle.

“You greedy little thing,” Harry chastised teasingly, bestowing another small kiss on the corner of Eggsy’s mouth. Eggsy chased after his lips, drawing Harry back into another kiss. Now that he’s had a taste, he didn’t know if he could stop.

Harry drew him back, and Eggsy whimpered in protest. “Insatiable,” Harry laughed. “But don’t you want to give Mark a kiss, darling?”

At the suggestion, Eggsy turned to Mark, remembering that he was there. Mark watched, eyes glazed over and pupils blown wide. Mark looked at Eggsy, and Eggsy closed the distance between them in two great strides.

Mark grunted as Eggsy threw his arms around him and drew him down into a kiss. It was just as heady and desperate as Harry’s, spit-slick and leaving Eggsy gagging for more. Eggsy parted long enough to mumble against his lips, “I don’t want to fight again.”

“I know darling,” Mark agreed and drew Eggsy’s bottom lip between his teeth.

Eggsy whined, arching into Mark’s arms. A solid warmth pressed into Eggsy’s back, and he tipped his head back enough to catch a glimpse of Harry. Harry dipped his head down, brushing his lips along Eggsy’s fluttering pulse, and it took all of Eggsy’s strength not to nut right there.

“Fuck,” Eggsy gasped, eyes practically rolling into the back of his head. “Y’ know, gentlemen don’t kiss like this.”

“Yes they fucking do,” Mark and Harry answered in unison, simultaneously assaulting Eggsy’s neck in a flurry of soft lips and scraping teeth.

Eggsy quivered, sandwiched between both of their chests. He found enough strength to nudge Mark back, gasping, “Hold on.”

Both immediately stopped, watching him closely. Eggsy swallowed thickly and said, “I… can… can I see y’ two kiss?”

He didn’t know who to look at, but both shared twin Cheshire grins that made Eggsy wonder what he’d gotten himself into. Harry cupped the back of Mark’s head over Eggsy’s shoulder and hauled him into a kiss. Eggsy shifted so he could get a better look. His cock plumped, filling out so his dressing gown barely covered his erection.

Fuck, if that wasn’t the hottest thing he’d ever seen.

Harry licked his way past Mark’s lips, devouring his mouth. Mark melted into the embrace, pliant and needy, one hand gripping Eggsy’s arm, while the other clutched Harry’s neck. Mark moaned as Harry sucked on his tongue.

“Oh god, y’ gotta stop, it’s too hot,” Eggsy whined, earning a laugh from Harry.

Harry pulled away, leaving Mark dazed and chasing after his mouth. Mark blinked a few times, his glazed over eyes coming into focus as he turned to Eggsy. He dipped down, stealing another kiss from Eggsy. Eggsy could taste Harry on Mark’s tongue. He didn’t know how that was possible—how he could distinguish their flavors when they both tasted of scotch and tea—but he could and Eggsy’s head spun with the realization of what was happening.

This was real.

This wasn’t a dream, or some alcohol-induced fantasy. This was real and happening.

“Perhaps we should go upstairs to your room,” Harry suggested, already steering Eggsy towards the stairs. “So Mark and I can properly show you how sorry we are, without the risk of scarring your mother and sister.”

At the mention of his mum and Daisy, Eggsy’s brain snapped back into focus. He shook the haze from his head and said, “Yeah, yeah that’s a good idea.”

They made their way upstairs to Eggsy’s room. Eggsy couldn’t even be sorry about the state it was in—yesterday’s clothes crumpled on the floor, a towel haphazardly strewn across the back of a chair—because Mark had started to nibble at the curve of his neck, and all brain function stopped again.

“Take a seat,” Harry instructed. He pressed his hand against Eggsy’s lower back and guided him towards the bed.

Eggsy took a seat, glancing between Mark and Harry, and asked, “Wot are y’ going to do?”

His arsehole immediately clenched at the thought of being filled by the both of them. It was both a pleasant and intimidating thought.

Mark hovered on the peripheral of them, apprehension filling his gaze. Eggsy shifted on the bed, trying to quell his overheated desire, and asked with a thick swallow, “Are y’ sure about this Mark? Really?”

Harry looked to Mark. Mark straightened his shoulders, gathering himself up as if he were about to ascend Mount Everest, and said with a slight waver, “Y-yes.” He licked his lips and repeated, steadier, “I mean yes. I am. I do. Very much so, in fact.”

“If y’re doing this just to be with me,” Eggsy started, trailing off when Mark shook his head.

Mark looked at Harry, a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. “I’m not.” He paused, considering his words with a glance at Eggsy. “I mean, I am, in a way. But I’m also doing this for me. I think… I think I could be very happy with this.”

“Mark…” Eggsy whispered, desperate to reach out and gather him in his arms.

“How about we show Eggsy just what the Darcy brothers are capable of, hmm?” Harry smoothly drooped to his knees in a single fluid motion that left Eggsy breathless. Eggsy never thought in all his days he would get to see the great Harry Hart on his knees, let alone looking upon him with such desire. Eggsy’s heart quivered, the realization that this was really happening sinking in.

Mark moved beside Harry, and it was almost too much to have them both looking at him with such raw, palpable hunger. Eggsy didn’t know what to do, so he just watched and waited, almost afraid if he made any sudden movements or spoke that it would shatter the dream.

Harry smiled, a playful curve of his kiss swollen lips, and untied Eggsy’s dressing gown. It fell open, spilling over his thick thighs, and revealing his achingly hard cock. Harry sucked in a sharp breath between his teeth.

“Nice, isn’t it?” Mark murmured.

“It certainly has its appeal,” Harry said.

“Are y’ just going to stare at it all day or are y’ going to start apologizing?” Eggsy huffed.

Harry pinched the side of his thigh, earning a yelp from Eggsy. “Impatient tart.”

“Quite so.” Mark chuckled. “He can get quite demanding in bed.”

“Stop talking about me like I ain’t here,” Eggsy whined, though it broke into a pitchy moan when Harry unceremoniously sealed his lips around the tip of his dick. “Fuuck.”

Harry lifted off with a salacious wet pop and shifted to the side, making more room for Mark. Eggsy curled his hands around the edge of the mattress and watched with hooded eyes as Mark and Harry went to work. Mark’s mouth was devious and skilled, but Harry’s was trained in the art of seduction and pleasure. And the both of them on Eggsy, tracing up the length of his cock and teasing the glistening knob of his crown, was just sheer euphoria.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Eggsy moaned, barely able to keep his eyes open as Mark and Harry exchanged a slippery, spit-slick kiss, the tip of Eggsy’s cock pressed between their open mouths. He didn’t know whose tongue was where, all he knew was pleasure that flowed through the sinew of his muscle, penetrated the marrow of his bone, and ensconced its self around his very DNA.

Mark slid lower, trailing his tongue along the underside of Eggsy’s cock, marking a path from tip to root, and delving between Eggsy’s thighs so he could lave his bollocks. Harry adjusted his position, leaning over Eggsy, and lowered himself down on Eggsy’s cock, swallowing him almost completely to the root.

Eggsy fisted one hand in Harry’s hair. The sweet suction of Harry’s mouth combined with the skilled laps of Mark’s tongue barreled Eggsy’s towards the ledge. His very core became a single pulse of pleasure. He lost his being, forgetting everything but the feel of tongue and mouth.

A sobbed moan punched through Eggsy, coming from deep behind his ribcage, and he arched his spine. The fire that bloomed in his belly spread, and the moan turned in sharp cry as he came. Harry sucked down every last drop, Mark kneading Eggsy’s bollocks to milk more and more cum.

When they finally lifted off, Eggsy collapsed onto the bed boneless and panting. Harry suckled his oversensitive cock, teasing the tip. Eggsy nudged at his head with a whimper.

“Nngh… can’t… no more…”

Harry lifted off him and climbed onto the bed. Mark moved to the other side of Eggsy, stretching out beside him.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk again,” Eggsy said, staring at the ceiling as he floated in a post-coital haze.

Harry chuckled and kissed his cheek. “Then I shall carry you.”

Eggsy knew they had to get up and clean off. His mum would be home soon. But the thought of moving seemed too much, especially when he was snugged between two warm, hard bodies.

“Do y’ want me too…?”

“No darling,” Mark whispered, kissing Eggsy’s forehead. “This was about you.”

Harry pressed a kiss to his shoulder. “There will be plenty of time for more. Rest now.”

Eggsy made a soft humming sound in the back of his throat, and with the confirmation that everything was all right, het let himself slip into a comfortable sleep.

Chapter Text

            “Shouldn’t ye be in your office?” Merlin asked as Harry entered his lab. Merlin didn’t look up from where he was tinkering with—well, Harry didn’t know exactly what Merlin was working on. “And doing yer—”

            “Paperwork?” Harry cut him off.

            Merlin looked up with a scowl.

            “Oh, come now my dear,” Harry drawled with a chuckle. “There’s no need to be so upset.”

            “Ye have weeks’ worth of paperwork backlogged. Paperwork which I’ll have to take care of.” Merlin pointed his Phillips head at the door behind Harry. “Be gone with ye, till ye—”

            “Finish my paperwork?” Harry finished for him, savoring Merlin’s deepening scowl. “It’s all done.”

            Merlin’s eyebrows inched up his forehead. “All of it? Even the report from Brussels?”

            “Not that there was much to detail, but yes, even the Brussels trip,” Harry said. Merlin’s eyebrows hiked even higher, threatening to crest over the dome of his head. “You don’t need to look so surprised. I do turn in my paperwork.”

            “Yes, but never this quickly, and certainly not unprompted.” Merlin studied Harry, his gaze immediately narrowing. He shoved away from his desk and stood, setting the screwdriver down. “What are ye up to?”

            “I’m a model employee Merlin, you know that.” When Merlin’s scrutinizing stare didn’t slacken, the silence between them thickening, Harry huffed and said, “I’m beginning to think you don’t trust me.”

            “I trust ye with my life. But I also know that ye never do something without motive. So I’ll ask ye again, what are ye up to?”

            Harry should have known Merlin wouldn’t have let his hard work slip by. That was what he got for cultivating a reputation of tardiness—in all aspects, both for meetings and paperwork. After thirty-plus years, and a rich history, Merlin knew Harry as well as Mark or Eggsy. Possibly even better, if Harry was being honest.

            “I have plans tonight,” Harry announced, Merlin’s distrust never wavering. “I came down to let you know, and to ask that unless it is absolutely dire, I not be interrupted tonight. Not that I suspect any missions will arise, at least none that require my attention. Unless Arthur needs another babysitter. It seems it’s all I’m good for these days.”

            “Now Harry, ye know that isn’t true,” Merlin said with a note of exasperation. It was a fight they’d been sharing since Harry’s return to the field, and a battle they’d continue to wage until both he and Arthur stopped treating Harry as if he still had his water wings on. “Arthur wants to ease ye back into missions, not just throw ye in. Ye had brain surgery, Harry. Ye can’t just bounce right back from that and—wait, what do ye mean ye have plans? What, did a bottle of scotch ask ye out?”

            “Your humor is wittier than ever,” Harry stated dryly. “No, not that it’s any of your concern. I’m going out. And I would very much prefer not to be interrupted.”

            “Good,” Merlin said after a long pause. “Good, that’s really good Harry. Ye need to get out. See someone. Keep yer mind off Eggsy.”

            Harry didn’t blink, didn’t even so much as move a muscle in his face, but Merlin’s expression crumpled. “It’s with Eggsy, isn’t it?”

            “If you could please also not contact him, should anything arise. I do believe Kay is free tonight.”

            “Harry, what are ye doing? I thought ye dropped this nonsense.”

            “I have,” Harry assured. Merlin didn’t need to know about his new arrangement with Eggsy and Mark. As much as Harry loved Merlin, saw him as an extension of his family—a brother from another mother, had so colorfully put once by Eggsy—Harry knew Merlin wouldn’t understand what Harry shared with Mark and Eggsy. “This is purely platonic.”

            “Ye can’t keep messing with the lad. He doesn’t deserve it.”

            “I know,” Harry murmured—and he did. His regretted his rash, selfish choices, and regretted the pain they caused both Mark and Eggsy even more. “I’m merely trying to regain what we had before.”

            Merlin didn’t respond right away, considering what Harry said. He heaved a sigh and nodded. “Aye, okay. We won’t contact ye unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

            “Thank you, old friend. Much appreciated,” Harry said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have plans tonight.”

            He left, leaving Merlin shaking his head. Harry didn’t mind. Merlin could think whatever he needed to in order to accept Harry’s role in Eggsy’s life. As long as Mark and Eggsy knew the truth, that was all that mattered.

* * * *

            A couple weeks had passed since Harry and Mark had come to Eggsy with an offer he couldn’t refuse. In that time, Eggsy had gotten to know Harry as intimately as he knew Mark, and had discovered just how close Mark and Harry were. It hadn’t been all smooth sailing in the beginning. Especially the first night Eggsy went to stay at Harry’s with Mark. There’d been more elbows and long legs than were meant for Harry’s bed, and Eggsy had gotten a few bruises that weren’t very fun.

            Nothing happened that night, after an exhaustive attempt at love making, and they wound up all just going to bed, Eggsy squashed between Harry and Mark. Both Darcy brothers were terribly clingy in their sleep and Eggsy got woken up more than once from being overheated.

            The mornings and days weren’t any easier. The routine Mark and Eggsy shared was disrupted by one additional person. There’d been more than one broken tea cup over the last couple weeks.

            Despite the hiccups though, Eggsy couldn’t have been happier. Even if they didn’t seamlessly mesh together like the movies would have him believing, they still worked, and instead of fighting or anger when things didn’t go perfectly, there was just laughter and soft kisses of condolences. Even if things weren’t exactly right, Eggsy wouldn’t change a single moment.

            For the first time since they all started dating, Mark had to work late. A case required some serious attention, so he phoned both Eggsy and Harry to let them know he’d be in the office well after hours and for them to go on and enjoy themselves. Harry hadn’t wasted the opportunity to ask Eggsy out on a date, and Eggsy had been more than happy to agree.

            Harry sent a taxi to pick Eggsy up that night a little after seven. Eggsy didn’t know exactly what the plans were, or where Harry was taking him. Deciding to ere on the side of caution, Eggsy dressed semi-formally in a pair of deep charcoal trousers pressed sharp enough to cut glass, and a green button down that complimented his eyes.

            He’d expected a restaurant—French, to be exact, because Harry just seemed like the kind of posh bastard that ate escargot—and perhaps a stroll through the park. What he hadn’t expected was to be chauffeured a few blocks away to Harry’s home at Stanhope Mews.

            Eggsy looked at the Kingsman-issued driver, then shrugged and climbed out of the taxi. For a brief, disorienting moment Eggsy felt a queasy sense of dread spread through his sternum. The last time he’d gotten out of a Kingsman taxi and approached Harry’s house, Harry had been standing on the balcony with a Kingsman tablet, watching Eggsy in a mixture of complete disappointment and anger.

            Eggsy glanced at the balcony, half expecting to find Harry there again, once more wrapped in his porridge-colored cardigan and looking at Eggsy as if he were the biggest mistake Harry had ever made.

            That was a long time ago. Eggsy shelved the emotions brewing inside him, neatly packing them away and setting them aside. Whatever had happened before, it wasn’t now. Now, Harry loved Eggsy, and Eggsy loved him. They loved Mark.

            The past was over.

            Eggsy straightened his shoulders and approached the door. He knocked, wondering belatedly if he should have brought a bottle of wine. If he’d known he was going to Harry’s and not out to dinner he would have brought something.

            Harry opened the door and a puff of garlic-scented warm air escaped the home. “Eggsy,” Harry greeted. “Right on time.”

            Eggsy trailed into the house, sniffing the fragrant air. His stomach gave an approving grumble. “That smells delicious—though y’ didn’t have to go through all this trouble. Going out would have been fine.”

            “Nonsense,” Harry said as he closed the door shut and locked it. “I’d much rather have you all to myself, instead of sharing your attention with strangers. Besides, no one makes a lasagna as well as I do.”

            Eggsy rolled his eyes, fighting back a grin. “Conceited berk,” he teased good-naturedly. He looped his arms around Harry’s neck, drawing him down into a kiss. Harry went pliantly, melting against Eggsy. It was like Harry was kiss-starved, constantly demanding more, even as Eggsy moved to withdraw. Harry chased after his mouth, biting and nipping, until Eggsy was weak with want.

            “Harry” Eggsy mumbled against his lips, trying for a third time to pull away. Harry just hummed and licked his way back into Eggsy’s mouth, drawing Eggsy closer by curving a hand around his hip and lower back. Eggsy’s cock thickened in his trousers, and after an encouraging squeeze from Harry, he unabashedly humped against Harry’s thigh.

            Their kisses were always tinged with a hint of desperation, as if both expected it all to end abruptly, for everything to be snatched away. And while Mark sometimes held on to both of them with the same fear, it was borne from an entirely different reasoning. For Mark it was the constant abandonment, but for Eggsy and Harry, it was the memory of a thunder crack gunshot and the reality that everything could abruptly end.

            Harry took two fistfuls of Eggsy’s arse and hoisted him up. Eggsy wrapped his legs around Harry’s sinfully narrow waist, scrabbling to get purchase. He fisted his fingers in Harry’s hair, breaking their gelled mold, and tipped Harry’s head back so he could properly devour him.

            Eggsy couldn’t be arsed where they were heading as Harry carried him into another room. Suddenly Eggsy felt himself being stretched across the couch, Harry’s body covering his own, and Eggsy moaned pleasantly.

            Harry lifted off him long enough to adjust himself into a more comfortable position above Eggsy, having to maneuver his long gangly legs so they were scrunched. Eggsy took the opportunity to draw in deep, satisfying breaths and gasp, “Y’ know, that was supposed to just be a hello kiss.”

            “Hello,” Harry responded with a smile.

            Eggsy shifted, arms sprawled above his head, and returned the greeting with a whispered, “Hey.”

            Harry bent back over Eggsy, kissing him with the same ferocity that he had initiated with. Eggsy could sense the urgency bubbling beneath the surface. It was constantly there. A humming livewire charged and thrashing, waiting to strike either one of them. They’d discussed so much over the course of the last three weeks, figuring out what to do with their fledgling polygamous relationship. But not once had Harry and Eggsy sat down to talk about what existed between them, about all the things that had happened, about Harry’s betrayals, about Eggsy’s fears, about their insecurities, and that horrible day where both had wielded words like swords.

            “Harry,” Eggsy said between kisses. Harry answered with another hum, moving his mouth along the line of Eggsy’s jaw, down to the curve of his neck. He latched onto Eggsy’s fluttering pulse, sucking and nibbling into Eggsy keened and arched against Harry. “Fuuck.”

            Eggsy pushed against Harry’s shoulders and repeated with a pant, “Harry.” He caught a whiff of something charred and smoky. He pushed harder against Harry’s shoulders, finally managing to get him to lift off. “Harry, I think something is burning.”

            Harry shot up, eyes wide. He was off Eggsy in a flash, back in the kitchen with a string of creative curses that made even Eggsy’s cheeks color.

            Eggsy drew in a few calming breaths, shifting on the couch and adjusting his aching cock, before he stood and followed Harry into the kitchen.

            “Is it okay?”

            Harry dropped the pan of blackened lasagna into the sink and turned the water on. A hiss of steam escaped.

            “I’m afraid no,” Harry said, shoulders hunched.

            Eggsy stopped behind him and ran his hands up Harry’s tense back. “It’s okay babe, we can order take out.”

            “Takeout defeats the purpose that I was—that I—” Harry sighed. “Yes, fine. Takeout it is.”

            Eggsy bit his bottom lip. “Harry, y’ don’t need to make a big deal out of tonight. I’m just happy spending time wif y.” Harry’s jaw clenched. When he didn’t relax into Eggsy’s touch, Eggsy tugged at his arm until he turned to face him. “Oi, look at me,” Eggsy instructed. Harry met his gaze, albeit reluctantly. “I’m serious. Tonight ain’t about perfect romance. Tonight is about me and y’, and I would be happy eating a cheese sandwich and watching trash telly, as long as it was wif y’, y’ hear me guv?”

            Harry’s mouth twitched at the corners and Eggsy took it as a good sign. Harry let out a heavy breath through his nose and nodded. “I’m sorry Eggsy,” Harry said. “I wanted to show you an unforgettable night, to make-up…” Harry paused, grimacing. “I wanted to give you what Mark has, I suppose. A night of romance.”

            “And y’ are,” Eggsy assured, not missing Harry’s stumble. “And there’ll be many more nights of just y’ and me, where we can wine and dine each other, just like there’ll be nights of y’ and Mark, or me and Mark, or all three of us. And no matter wot, they’ll all be perfect. Now why don’t y’ call in for some Thai then join me in the living room.”

            Harry dropped a kiss onto Eggsy’s forehead. “And tell me, when did you get so mature?”

            Eggsy playfully shoved his shoulder. “Oi, I’ve always been the mature one.”

            Harry smiled and fetched the phone, while Eggsy returned to the living room and took a seat on the couch. His hard on had wilted, but that was fine. He and Harry needed to talk, and an erection wouldn’t exactly be appropriate for the conversation they were about to have.

            After Harry placed the order for takeout he joined Eggsy on the couch. Neither spoke, and while the silence wasn’t uncomfortable, Eggsy could feel every word that was left unspoken, as if it had taken congress with them. He reached across the cushion and set his hand on Harry’s knee. Harry turned to face Eggsy and the tension that had been steadily tightening slackened.

            “I suppose we should discuss a few things,” Harry said.

            “Yeah,” Eggsy agreed and tried to offer a reassuring smile. “Yeah, I think y’re right.”

            “This wasn’t exactly how I saw our first night going.” A small frown pinched Harry’s mouth. “But we can’t avoid it anymore, can we?”

            “No, not if we want this to work.” Eggsy ignored the queasiness growing in his stomach. “Where should we start?”

            “The beginning,” Harry said. He paused, considering, and then added in a hushed whisper, “I still relive that day.”

            Eggsy didn’t say anything. He got the sense that Harry needed to expel whatever it was that had been growing inside him.

            “I never meant to say those things, and I certainly hadn’t meant to leave things the way they were, and I can’t help but wonder if perhaps things would be different if I hadn’t let my anger get the best of me.”

            Eggsy drew his hand back and settled it in his lap. “Maybe, but then again, maybe not. Can’t change it though.”

            “No, but…”

            “I get it,” Eggsy said.

He did. He’d spent so long thinking back to that day, thinking back to those few short moments where the only thing he’d known was hurt. Harry had cut through Eggsy sharper than Gazelle’s blades, had broken him faster than Dean’s fists, had left him deserted more than Chester ever could have. But so had Eggsy. Eggsy had cut Harry just has deeply, hit him just as hard, and had left Harry as quickly as Harry had abandoned him.

            “Then when I came back… well, I was just so happy to have your forgiveness, I let my own fears hold me back. All I’ve ever wanted was your happiness. Even if I haven’t been the best at showing it.”

            Eggsy scooted closer and cupped Harry’s jaw. “I am happy.” Harry searched his face, but when he didn’t say anything, Eggsy continued, “I was mad, I was hurt… but I forgave y’. And I need y’ to forgive y’r self. Whatever happened in the past, it doesn’t matter no more. Y’ hear me?”

            “And what I did to you and Mark? Does that not matter? I have so many things I need to make an amend for.”

            “It was real shite wot y’ did, I ain’t going to lie, but… but we forgave y’, that’s why we’re doing this. Why we’re making it work. And it’s only going to work if y’ stop holding onto what happened.”

            Harry leaned down and pressed his forehead against Eggsy’s. “You’ve grown wiser than your years, darling.”

            “Always been the smart one,” Eggsy teased. “And the pretty one.”

            Harry snorted but didn’t return with a rejoinder. He kissed Eggsy gently and pulled back. “The takeout won’t be here for about forty-five minutes. What shall we do until then?”

            Eggsy tapped his chin in consideration, a small grin spreading across his mouth, and then said, “I can think of a few things.”

            Harry raised his eyebrows, a knowing look on his face, but he didn’t complain when Eggsy grabbed his hand and hauled him up the stairs. They converged halfway down the second-level hall, stumbling into the wall on their way to the bedroom, a mess of limbs and hot lips.

            Eggsy shoved at Harry’s shoulders, nudging him in the direction of the bedroom. After a bit of careful navigation, they found their way to Harry’s bed. Eggsy collapsed on the handmaid quilt, panting heavily. Harry loomed over him, lips swollen and red, his pupils two black pits. The rigorous mold his hair was usually gelled in had broken and a curly wisp fell across his forehead.

            “Fuck,” Eggsy whispered. How long had he waited for this? How long had he dreamed and pretended? He loved Mark, he did, and he was so happy with their arrangement—beyond happy, really—but to have a moment with just Harry, to be given everything he had ever hoped for, it was overwhelming.

            “God you look magnificent,” Harry whispered in awed reverence. He brushed the curly strand from his forehead, but it fell back into place. Harry leaned over Eggsy, slotting their bodies together and roughly dragging Eggsy’s hips up to meet his own. Eggsy arched into the touch with a long keen. Harry ghosted his lips up the length of Eggsy’s throat and murmured, “I’ve imagined you beneath me, just like this, so many times.”

            “Y-yeah?” Eggsy said, trying to sound saucy. He failed when Harry latched onto his pulse and started to suck. “Fuuck!

            Harry lifted his mouth only a few centimeters, his hot breath puffing against the damp skin. “I have. More than I’d like to admit.”

            Eggsy smirked. They were both idiots. Lovesick idiots who’d waited too long.

            “Well now y’ have it,” Eggsy murmured, tangling his hand in Harry’s hair and drawing his head back down. Harry took the silent command and latched his lips back onto Eggsy’s neck, working a path across his throat.

            As much as Eggsy wanted to draw out the foreplay, though, they were on a bit of a time constraint. He let go of Harry’s hair and moaned, “’Arry… nnnh, fuck, ‘arry, here get off for a ‘mo.”

            Harry lifted off him, looking down at Eggsy quizzically. Eggsy offered a small smile and shimmied out from under him. “Fucking trousers going to cut my blood off if I don’t remove ‘em,” he explained.

            Harry smirked and shifted on the bed so he was sitting up right, watching intently as Eggsy started to undo the buttons of his shirt. “By all means, undress then.”

            Eggsy huffed. “Pervy ol’ bastard. This is where y’ get naked too.”

            “Ah, but I don’t want to miss the show,” Harry teased.

            Eggsy arched a brow, but slowed down in unfastening his buttons. If Harry wanted a show, Harry would get a show.

            Eggsy let his shirt fall open, the fabric gliding off his shoulders and gathering at the bend of his arms. Harry’s breath hitched, his gaze transfixed on Eggsy’s chest. Pride spread through him as he toed out of his shoes and started to work on his belt.

            “Come here,” Harry whispered, already reaching for Eggsy.

            Eggsy complied, going to Harry, who drew him close and finished removing his belt. Harry pressed open mouthed kisses along the broad expanse of Eggsy’s chest, latching onto a nipple as he worked Eggsy’s trousers open. Eggsy grabbed fistfuls of Harry’s hair with both hands, crying out as Harry suckled, his tongue teasing the stiff nub clamped between his teeth.

            Harry shoved Eggsy’s trousers down, along with his pants, and took two fistfuls of his arse cheeks, drawing Eggsy between his knees. Precum dribbled from the tip of Eggsy’s cock. A shudder ran through him as the cold air hit his flushed prick. The tip of a finger teased his hole, barely glimpsing over the puckered entrance.

            “H-harry, the food.” Eggsy gasped. “Don’t got much time.”

            “Bugger the food,” Harry said, pulling off Eggsy’s nipple. “They’ll leave it on the doorstep.”

            When they finally fell onto the bed, naked and desperate, the only thing Eggsy was concerned with was making Harry come undone. The thick length of Harry’s cock dragged across Eggsy’s thigh as they shifted. Harry manhandled Eggsy until he had him rolled onto his stomach, his arse in the air.

            Eggsy parted his thighs, savoring the groan that escape Harry as his legs spread. Harry caressed his arse cheek, using his thumb to part his crack. “You have such a delightful hole.”

            Eggsy buried his face into the curve of his arm and whined, “Y’ can’t say shite like that ‘arry.”

            “And why not?” The wide flat pad of Harry’s thumb rubbed along Eggsy’s hole, the tip catching on the rim. Eggsy involuntarily rocked back, seeking more. “It’s the truth, I see no reason to deny it.”

            He released Eggsy’s arse cheek. The bed dipped as Harry reached over Eggsy for the nightstand. Eggsy turned his head and watched Harry root around a drawer, coming back with a bottle of lubricant.

After the first night, all three of them had sat down and discussed what they wanted out of the relationship, including sexual history. It was decided since they were each clean (both Harry and Eggsy issued regular tests after honeypot missions, though Mark didn’t know that) that condoms weren’t necessary.

            “I’ve envisioned you in this position so many times,” Harry said as he opened the bottle of lubricant.

            “Funny, I’ve imagined y’ in this position too,” Eggsy teased—though it wasn’t a lie.

            Harry dropped a kiss between his shoulders, a slicked finger gliding down the crease of his arse. “Well, then next time we’ll switch.”

            Eggsy’s breath caught in combination from the dip of Harry’s calloused finger breaching his hole and the vision of Harry wanton beneath him, legs spread wide. Eggsy groaned long and low, pressing back as Harry’s finger eased in.

            Eggsy wanted to say that they took their time, that Harry slowly plied him open until he garbling mess, but desperation drove them like two maddened animals, and Harry worked vigorously, until Eggsy was dribbling with lubricant. The squelch of Harry’s fingers mixed with Eggsy needful moans. Harry fucked Eggsy with his fingers, working his way up to two, then three, then four, and every time Eggsy pleaded more, more, more.

            “Greedy thing,” Harry chided without infliction, freckling Eggsy’s skin with more kisses. “Are you ready darling?”

            Eggsy reached between his legs and squeezed his cock, a pitchy cry escaping him at a rather sharp crook of Harry’s fingers. The pads of his digits thumped across his prostate, a matchhead skidding across flint.

            “Yes,” Eggsy groaned, trying to stave off his orgasm with tightly cinched fingers.

            Harry abruptly withdrew his hand, leaving Eggsy empty and wanting. He shivered and clenched his hole around the empty air.

            “Gorgeous,” Harry murmured, dipping both of his thumbs in one last time and stretching Eggsy wider, as if he were attempting to see inside. “You could still take so much more. One night, Mark and I will take our time working you open, preparing you for the both of us. Would you like that my love? To be filled by both of us, at once?”

            Eggsy pressed his face into the mattress and gave a consenting groan of approval. The idea of having both Mark and Harry stuffing him full nearly pushed him over the edge.

            Harry shifted behind Eggsy and the blunt head of his cock pressed against his fluttering hole. Eggsy pressed his hands into the mattress and said, “Wait.”

            Harry froze, immediately starting to withdraw. “What’s wrong?”

            “I want to see y’,” Eggsy said and rolled over on shaky limbs.

            Harry rolled his eyes, but a smile tugged at his lips. He slid his hands down Eggsy’s flank, taking him by the hips to draw him closer. Harry realigned himself, once more the wide crown of his cock pressing against Eggsy’s entrance.

            Eggsy tipped his head back, a sigh catching in his throat as Harry slid in. He was slightly wider than Mark, and Eggsy felt the burn of his girth as it stretched him further.

            “Fuck,” Eggsy groaned.

            Harry eased in, a slow give and take, until he was fully seated against Eggsy. They paused, neither speaking, neither daring to move. The reality of what was happening—of what they were—slammed into Eggsy and he threw his arms around Harry, hauling him against his chest.

            “Don’t leave,” Eggsy mumbled into the curve of Harry’s shoulder. An unspoken ever again lingered between them.

            Harry responded by holding Eggsy tighter and starting to move. His first few thrusts were gentle, testing the waters, but when Eggsy squeezed his thighs and clenched his arse, adding a rough, “I ain’t gonna break”, Harry increased his speed.

            Eggsy felt Harry deep in his gut. Each thrust seemed to reach higher, until Harry slammed into Eggsy without reserve. A wrecked cry escaped Eggsy, drawing ragged breath from the depths of his lungs. He scrambled to hold onto Harry, his nails scraping along his shoulders.

            At some point they shifted, Harry falling back to rest on his haunches, and he hauled Eggsy up so he was seated on his lap. Eggsy leaned back to better the angle, resting his weight on one hand while holding onto Harry’s shoulder with the other.

            “Oh fuck, oh fuck,” Eggsy stammered. Harry was so deep. He let out a shaky breath and asked, “Y’ ain’t going to throw out y’r back are y’?”

            Harry shot him an offended look and gave a punishing thrust in retort. Eggsy’s laughter broke into a ruined moan and he dropped his head back, losing himself in the fast drag of Harry’s cock. At the new angle each upwards thrust slammed the head of Harry’s cock across Eggsy’s prostate. It triggered detonations along his spine. He let go of Harry’s shoulder and took ahold of his dick. He didn’t need to do much, each merciless thrust from Harry drove Eggsy further and further into oblivion. There wasn’t any turning back.

            Eggsy gave himself a single squeeze and tug and came, his come painting Harry’s belly. Eggsy practically sobbed as his orgasm tore through him, briefly blinding him in a haze of milky white.

            Eggsy’s vision barely cleared before his back hit the bed and his knees were pressed around his ears. He groaned, lying pliant beneath Harry, and took everything Harry poured into him. Harry slammed into him one last time before burying himself to the root. Eggsy sobbed into the curve of his arm, his oversensitive nerves going haywire as Harry filled him with come.

            Neither moved. Neither made a sound beyond heavy panting. Eggsy turned his head slowly away from his arm, prying his eyes open, and looked up into Harry’s flushed face. Sweat dribbled down Harry’s nose, his damped curls clinging to his forehead. Eggsy reached for him.

            Harry leaned down, moving into Eggsy’s touch, and covered Eggsy’s body with his own. Their mouths met halfway. It was slow, not tinged by desperation and doubts, unbridled by fear. The hard, animalistic fucking had been cathartic, and now Harry kissed him as if they had forever.

            Eggsy felt treasured, and it was perfect.

            Until his stomach grumbled and ruined the moment.

            Harry lifted off him with a quirked eyebrow.

            “Wot?” Eggsy asked sheepishly and shoved at his shoulder. “Y’ were supposed to feed me first.”

            “How terribly rude of me,” Harry said and carefully pulled out of Eggsy.

            The sensation of come seeping out of his hole sent a shiver through Eggsy. Harry shifted off him and grabbed his cellphone, which rested on the night stand.

            “Calling the restaurant?” Eggsy asked, and started to ease his legs down. The muscles in his thighs screamed in protest. He’d feel that in the morning.

            A flash went off from Harry’s phone, just as Eggsy’s legs were spread in a wide v. “I thought Mark would like to see the vision you make.”

            Eggsy flushed and grabbed the pillow behind him, hurling it at Harry. “’Arry!” Eggsy whined. “Food.”

            A ding confirmed that Mark received the picture. “He says he wishes he was here to eat the come out of you,” Harry answered as he climbed off the bed. “I never knew he could be so crass.”

            Eggsy covered his face with the other pillow. “Fucking hell, wot did I get myself into? Y’ two will be the death of me.”

            “I can’t understand you when you mumble like that,” Harry scolded distantly. Eggsy lowered the pillow with a glare, though there was no real fire behind it. Harry returned from the bathroom, a damp flannel in hand. “I’ll clean you up and go check to see if the food arrived.”

            Harry left Eggsy in the bed after he fished wiping him down. To Eggsy’s surprise, instead of calling him down for supper, Harry brought a tray up.

            “I had to reheat it, but it’s still good,” Harry said.

            Eggsy didn’t complain. They ate in bed, and then went to sleep. A little after midnight Eggsy felt the bed shift. He cracked open one eye and watched Mark climb into bed, stripped down to his pants. Eggsy reached across the bed and drew him close.

            “Finished work?” Eggsy mumbled, words slightly slurred.

            “Yes,” Mark answered and kissed Eggsy’s forehead. “Go to sleep darling, sorry for waking you.”

            Eggsy hummed. Harry snuffled and shifted closer, molding his chest to Eggsy’s back, as Eggsy curved around Mark. He was contently warm.

Chapter Text

            Mark couldn’t think of the last time he was truly eager to get home. Even when he was married to Bridget he’d never been completely able to separate himself from his work. A part of a case always came home with him. His inability to leave work behind had helped drive Bridget into the arms of another man. And after Bridget? Well after, he had dreaded going home. It was quiet and cold at home. The warmth that Bridget had filled a room with had been leeched away after she left, and Mark couldn’t bear to return to reminders of his failure as a man and a husband.

            Then Eggsy strolled into his life and Mark started to have something to look forward to. And now? Now, unless absolutely necessary, Mark was out the office door at five o’clock heading either to his house or Harry’s flat.

            He couldn’t help but grin as he walked through the front door of Harry’s home at Stanhope Mews. He shook out his umbrella and collapsed it, announcing from the foyer, “I’m home.”

            Mark set the umbrella in the umbrella stand, next to Harry’s own black umbrella. Mark never understood why Harry insisted on carrying it around, even when it was a perfectly sunny day. One of Harry’s weird quirks, he supposed.

             Mark was greeted by the scrabbling of little claws on the hardwood and the jingle of a dog collar. JB bolted into the room, Harry following at a much more casual pace behind him. The tubby pug jumped and barked, small paws scratching at his legs as he strained to be petted.

            “Someone missed you,” Harry pointed out.

            Mark crouched and scratched JB behind the ear. “And I’ve missed him,” he assured. JB head butted his hand then turned three times in a circle before sprinting into the kitchen, chasing after the intoxicating scent of herbs and garlic. Mark straightened with a chuckle and turned to Harry, who dropped a kiss onto his lips.

            “How was your day?” Harry asked, helping Mark shed his raincoat.

            “Long,” Mark confessed, the day’s stress already starting to melt. It seemed so much easier now to let go of the day’s troubles when he was around Harry and Eggsy.

            “The best remedy for that is a glass of scotch. Care to join me?” Harry’s hands lingered on Mark’s shoulders, and Mark didn’t shy away from leaning into the touch.

            All their life Harry had always possessed the need to lay claim to things he owned. Casual touches and caresses in proclamation that this was his. As a child, it had annoyed Mark because it meant Harry always clung to him, always insisted on holding his hand, or draping an arm around his shoulder. But now that he had it back, after so many years of going without, Mark realized how much he missed the connection.

            “That sounds lovely. Where’s Eggsy?”

            “In here,” Eggsy called from the kitchen.

            Harry returned to the living room to fix their drinks while Mark wandered into the kitchen, finding Eggsy slicing zucchini. Mark kissed his cheek and asked, “How was your day, darling?”

            Eggsy turned his head, stealing a real kiss from Mark. When they parted, he said, “Good, busy. Y’rs?”

            “Much better now,” Mark answered with a hum. He wrapped his arms around Eggsy from behind, dropping his chin onto his shoulder so he could watch him work. “What are you fixing?”

            “Ratatouille.”

            “He’s been watching Pixar movies again with Daisy,” Harry said, appearing in the entryway brandishing two tumblers of scotch.

            “Hey, nufin wrong with Pixar,” Eggsy stated.

            Mark chuckled and dotted his cheek with another kiss—he couldn’t seem to keep himself away from Eggsy; or Harry, really. Whenever they were near, he was compelled to kiss or hug or even simply graze his fingers along the tops of their hands. Anything to remind himself that this was real, that he hadn’t been left behind or forgotten.

            Perhaps Harry wasn’t the only one that had a touching problem.

            Mark disentangled himself from Eggsy and accepted the glass of scotch. He took a sip, sighing as the smooth malty flavor slipped down his throat.

            “Why don’t y’ and Harry go take JB for a walk while I finish making dinner?” Eggsy suggested, nodding towards the rambunctious pup dancing around Eggsy’s feet.

            “Are you trying to get rid of us, darling?” Harry asked in mock-anguish.

            “No, of course not. Wot would ever give y’ that idea?” Each word dripped with playful sarcasm, accented by Eggsy’s exaggerated eye roll.

            Mark finished his scotch and set the glass down. “I do believe we’re being dismissed.”

            Harry took a leisure sip, his gaze locked with Eggsy’s. Mark watched the silent battle of wills for a few seconds before shaking his head and leaving to fetch the leash. JB scampered to the door at the sound of his leash jingling. He gave an aborted bark that turned into a wheezing huff and pranced around Mark’s feet.

            Harry strolled out of the room, absent his scotch, as Mark wrangled JB into his harness and clipped the leash on.

            “Come on old boy,” Mark said as he stood.

            “JB isn’t that old.”

            “I wasn’t talking to the dog.”

            “We’re the same age.” Harry huffed. They left and took a right at the end of the path, heading towards the park not far from home. While with Eggsy, Mark was free to hold his hand, but with Harry he was limited to their arms brushing as they strolled alongside one another.

            Neither spoke as JB led them down the sidewalk. When they reached the park, they took to the winding walkway. Clouds deepened the sky to a soft gray and a redolence stirred with a damp breeze. The light drizzle that had stalked Mark on the way home and dissipated, leaving a cool chill in the air. They came to a stop as JB sniffed at a wrought iron lamppost, and without much thought, Mark allowed himself to lean against Harry, their knuckles brushing.

            Soft lips warmed his forehead and Mark jerked his head up in surprise. Harry just smiled reassuringly, and after a quick glance around, he realized they were alone. His confidence bolstered by their solitude, Mark moved the leash to his other hand and intertwined his fingers with Harry’s.

            They returned fifteen minutes later. Eggsy had turned on music to a song Mark didn’t recognize. If he was being honest, he didn’t really know any of Eggsy’s music. Mark freed a squirming JB from his harness and leash and put them on the hook. Mark and Harry exchanged a look before drifting into the kitchen.

            Eggsy’s back was to them, his hips bobbing in time to the song as he sashayed across the kitchen floor. He cleaned the kitchen counter, signs of the ratatouille he’d been making gone.

            “I don’t want your body,” Eggsy sang, melodic voice harmonizing with the actual singer’s. “But I hate to think of you with somebody else.”

            Harry placed a finger to his lips and approached Eggsy cautiously. JB darted past him and barked. Eggsy turned, caught off guard by Harry, who swept him into a waltz. A grin split across Eggsy’s mouth and Mark laughed as Harry and Eggsy moved across the kitchen floor.

            Harry spun Eggsy, and Mark immediately moved to catch him. Eggsy looked up at him, cheeks flushed. Mark wasn’t quite the dancer Harry was, but he still considered himself rather skilled. He allowed his body to move in time with Eggsy’s, rocking together in tandem with the sensual beat of the song.

            JB skirted around them, and for once precarious moment Mark worried he’d step on the pug, but Harry set down some kibble and JB lost interest in them. The song ended and Mark released Eggsy.

            “Wot was all that for?” Eggsy asked, still grinning from ear to ear.

            “A gentleman should never dance alone,” Harry stated.

            Mark and Eggsy exchanged a look, and then in sequence, rolled their eyes.

****

            After dinner they retired to the living room. Eggsy sandwiched himself between Mark and Harry, propping his feet on Harry’s lap and lying his head on Mark’s. Mark carded his fingers through Eggsy’s hair absently as they watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

            Eggsy sighed contently, nearly lulled to sleep as he watched Audrey Hepburn. He jolted out of his daze when Mark’s phone went off. Harry paused the movie so he could answer it, but Mark waved his hand.

            “It’s only Bridget,” Mark said, sending the call to voice mail.

            “Wot she want?” Eggsy asked, craning his head back so he could get a better look at Mark

            “I’m not sure,” Mark confessed. “I’ve been dodging her calls, honestly. Usually this is when I start getting calls with her needing me to bail her out of some trouble.”

            “It could be important,” Harry pointed out.

            Mark’s relaxed expression turned pensive, and Eggsy reached up to cup his cheek. “Hey, we ain’t trying to tell y’ wot to do. But don’t feel like y’ have to dodge her calls because of us.”

            “Eggsy is right. While we all know how I feel about Bridget, you can’t deny that she’s an important figure in your life.”

            Mark looked between them, and Eggsy tried to gauge his expression. Mark nodded, a weak smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. “You’re right, thank you. But…”

            “But?” Eggsy prompted.

            “But right now is our time. I can call her tomorrow.” Mark stroked Eggsy’s cheek, outlining his bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “Now shall we continue with the movie?”

            “Or,” Eggsy suggested, earning an inquisitive look from both Harry and Mark.

            “Or?” Harry pressed.

            “Or…” Eggsy shifted off the couch and stood. “Y’ two can show me just how grateful y’ are for dinner tonight.”

            Eggsy surmised that he had about a ten second head start from the look Harry and Mark exchanged. He spun on his heels and raced for the stairs. Mark and Harry shot to their feet and barreled behind him, Harry at the lead and closing in fast. JB started to bark, and Eggsy wasn’t surprised when he appeared underfoot.

            Laughter bubbled inside Eggsy. He stumbled past JB, barely avoiding stepping on the precocious pug, and ordered, “JB, bed!”

            JB huffed despondently but turned back for the stairs.

            Harry caught Eggsy around the waist just as they spilled into his bedroom. Eggsy didn’t resist as he was lifted and spun. The rush of the spin made his head dizzy and a weightlessness fill him. It was the same giddy feeling he got when he’d been a little boy and he tried to see how fast he could go on the merry-go-round. Mark was there when Harry set Eggsy back down.

            “Naughty thing,” Mark reprimanded, his grin belying his scolding tone.

            “Wot’cha gonna do about it?” Eggsy asked with a quirked brow.

            Strong hands took him by the hips and squeezed. Eggsy tipped his head back to look at Harry, who pressed his lips close to Eggsy’s ear. “Teach you, darling, just what happens to naughty boys who don’t listen to their daddies.”

            Eggsy’s cock immediately thickened.

            Well fuck him right up.

            Eggsy bit his bottom lip to stifle a moan and melted between Harry’s and Mark’s chests. Mark’s hands slotted above Harry’s. Eggsy didn’t know where to tip his head, so he leaned back as either side was assaulted by soft lips and sharp teeth.

            “Fuck,” Eggsy whined. If they didn’t stop he didn’t know how long he’d last. His entire body felt alive, every brush of their lips and pull of their hands sending sparks scattering. He was a few seconds from nutting if Mark and Harry didn’t stop soon.

Dean naked. Dean wet and naked. Dean wet and naked and bent over.

“Bed,” Eggsy managed to say, wedging one arm between him and Mark to force the other man away. Harry, mercifully, lifted off at the command.

“Oh darling.” Harry chuckled, squeezing Eggsy’s hips. “Tonight you won’t be the one ordering.”

Eggsy shuddered. Oh. Oh he could definitely get use to this.

Harry patted his side and stepped back. “The bed please, sweet. Naked, if you’d be so kind.”

“Fuck Harry, only y’ would ask so politely.”

Harry grinned, and it was anything but gentlemanly.

Eggsy divested of his clothes hastily and climbed onto bed. His cock hung heavily between his legs, flushed red and hard. He took ahold of his shaft and gave a few languid strokes.

“None of that,” Harry tutted.

“Remember the commands love?” Mark asked.

“Brogues for stop, Oxfords for go.”

Harry dropped a kiss onto Eggsy’s forehead. “Good boy.”

Eggsy preened under the praise. He knew it was pathetic, but fuck he was a sucker for anytime Mark or Harry told him how good he was.

Eggsy squirmed on the bed, waiting for either Mark or Harry to start. But Harry turned to Mark and drew him close by his belt. Eggsy’s mouth went dry as he watched Harry devour Mark’s mouth. It wasn’t a gentle kiss, the sweet exchanges they shared between breakfast. It was tongue and teeth, Harry biting Mark’s bottom lip, and clinging to Harry like he was the only thing holding him together.

Eggsy squeezed his cock to keep from coming. Harry drew back, pressing his forehead to Mark’s as they caught their breath. Eggsy’s lungs burned and he realized he’d been holding his breath along with them.

Harry gave Mark one last kiss before turning to Eggsy. “Mark, fetch the lubricant.”

Harry stalked towards Eggsy, and all Eggsy could do was sit there. He was suddenly aware of every exposed inch of his skin. Of his pulse fluttering. Of the way Harry moved, even under his porridge cardigan, like a wolf on the prowl. And Eggsy wanted to be devoured. Christ, did he want to give all of himself to both of them.

Eggsy tipped his chin up and Harry cupped his face in both hands. From his peripheral, Eggsy could see Mark move towards the nightstand.

“We’re going to splay you out on the bed, darling, and we’re going to open you up,” Harry explained. Eggsy’s pulse quickened. Was this it? Would he finally get to feel them both moving in tandem inside him? He’d been dreaming about them fucking him at once. “Then we’re going to take turns fucking you until you’re a mess beneath us, until you don’t know who’s in you, and you beg for us to let you come. And only after we’ve both filled you, will you find release.”

It wasn’t double penetration, but Eggsy could certainly get behind this plan. He swallowed thickly.

“How does that sound?” Harry asked, and while his timber carried the same low sensual note as before, there was a seriousness in his gaze. If Eggsy wanted out, Harry would stop.

Eggsy nodded, nipping at Harry’s thumb when it passed over his lips. “Yes, fuck, yeah.” He paused a beat, considering, then added with a purr. “Daddy.”

He drew Harry’s thumb into his mouth, sucking gently. A wide-eyed hunger passed over Harry and Eggsy savored the look, the way Harry seemed lose his control for a moment. The exhilaration was doubled when Eggsy caught sight of Mark, lube bottle clenched in his fist, his eyes dilated and face flushed.

Eggsy released Harry’s thumb with a wet pop.

“Hands and knees,” Mark ordered. Eggsy turned at the command, sinking his shoulders into the mattress so his arse was in the air. He widened the stance of his knees, and at the appreciative groans from both Mark and Harry, gave a small shake of his rear.

A wide, calloused hand slid down his back. That was how Eggsy distinguished the differences between Harry and Mark. Harry’s hands, while soft in their own way, were hardened by guns and fighting. His fingers were slightly knobbier and the pads of his fingers more warn. While Mark’s hands were soft, unburdened by violence. His fingers were equally as long as Harry’s, but thicker and well cared for with expensive lotions.

Eggsy shuddered as both sets of hands were on him, caressing and kneading, finding kinks in his shoulders and working down to his arse.

“Look at you,” Harry whispered as he dotted Eggsy’s shoulder in kisses. “Already so pliant for us.”

Eggsy turned his head and Harry gave him a sloppy kiss that left him panting and rocking back encouragingly into Mark’s hand. Mark dribbled lubricant down his crack, rubbing the slick along his hole with his wide thumb.

“He’s already trying to suck my fingers in,” Mark commented, the tip of his finger catching on the lip of Eggsy’s hold and tugging it down. The burn of stretching muscles spread through Eggsy’s sternum. “I’ve been wondering how much he could take. Both of us. Maybe my cock and your fingers.” Eggsy groaned approvingly. Both ideas sounded splendid. “Or perhaps he could come on your fist, Harry.”

Eggsy’s gut clenched with want. He strained to look back at Mark as Harry migrated down the bed and stole a ferocious kiss from Mark. Mark sunk his thumb into Eggsy’s arsehole without warning, melting simultaneously into Harry’s embrace. Eggsy fucked back onto the digit, unable to tear his eyes away as Harry licked open Mark’s mouth and sucked on his tongue.

Harry parted, pressing his forehead to Mark’s, and whispered, “Perhaps you can come on my fist.”

The image flashed through Eggsy’s mind and he grabbed his balls and squeezed to keep from coming. He fucked back harder on Mark’s thumb, whimpering. “Fucking hell. More, fuck, please—add another finger dammit.”

Mark chuckled and withdrew his thumb. He rubbed along the rim of Eggsy’s hole, then slid a long finger inside. Eggsy pressed his cheek into the mattress and savored the feel of fingers opening him up. A second finger was added, and then a third—this one calloused, he realized—and a fourth. Both of Harry’s and Mark’s fingers were inside him, stretching and opening him. It wasn’t a smooth fuck of the digits, though Mark and Harry managed a few times to sync their thrusts.

A fifth finger probed at his stretched hole and he whined. He wanted more. Wanted them both. Wanted to be completely consumed by them until he lost himself.

“If only you could see your hole, darling. See how wonderfully you stretch around us,” Harry said, the words throaty and saturated with feral hunger.

Suddenly the fingers were gone and Eggsy was left empty. He clenched his arse, a sob bubbling in his throat.

“Fuck, don’t leave me like this,” Eggsy choked out.

“Don’t worry,” Mark assured, kissing his lower back.

Harry tugged him further down on the bed, till his knees were on the edge of the mattress. The blunt head of his cock pressed against his hole, slicked by lubricant. Eggsy sighed with relief as Harry slid in in one smooth glide.

In one motion Harry completely consumed Eggsy. He didn’t think he had anything left to give. Didn’t think he could give up anymore, but then Mark appeared, hands and lips creating constellations along his back, and Eggsy knew that he was both of theirs. Could never be anyone else’s.

Harry didn’t make love to him. He fucked him. Hard and fast. He was a force of nature, and Eggsy was left gasping as he felt each thrust punch through him. He rocked back, met each slam.

Eggsy clenched the comforter in his hands, his eyes fluttering closed. He was vaguely aware of the bed shifting, of a brief moment of emptiness, and then he was filled again. Eggsy opened his eyes and turned his head to look at Harry, whose slicked cock bobbed between his legs as he moved onto the bed.

Mark fucked into Eggsy just as hard, making sure Eggsy felt it in his gut. They were seeing to it that Eggsy was intrinsically theirs.

He couldn’t suck in enough air to even whine. Every breath was short and desperate, and he sobbed as Harry started an assault on his neck, finding the spot that made Eggsy’s bones turn to jelly.

Eggsy was close, so fucking close, and he started to reach for himself when Harry grabbed his hand. “Not yet, darling. Not until we have our fill.”

“Fuuuck,” Eggsy cried, tears prickling his eyes.

Mark pulled out and Harry took over. They kept going, kept switching, pounding harder until Eggsy until he lost all sense of time, lost sense of reality. His entire body buzzed as he became submerged in the sensation of being taken, of hands and lips, of fingers digging into his hips.

His vision blurred, grew gossamer. He was vaguely aware of the pathetic sounds escaping him, the desperate pleas to let him come.

He didn’t know how many times Mark and Harry took him, how they kept switching behind him. He didn’t care. He’d do whatever they wanted, let them keep taking. All he wanted was to be filled by them.

Hands tightened on him, and he couldn’t even tell if they were calloused or soft. They squeezed, no doubt leaving bruises, and whoever it was let out a low groan and filled Eggsy with come. The grip slackened, and no sooner he pulled out, another cock filled Eggsy, stopping the come from leaking out.

Eggsy whimpered, his sensitive walls screaming at the battering they took as Mark—or maybe it was Harry—finished off. Hands locked onto his hips, dug deeper bruises. Whoever it was—Eggsy was almost ninety-percent sure it was Mark—tensed behind him, and with a long moan, came.

“Oh god,” Eggsy cried, pitchy and desperate. Warmth spread through Eggsy as more come filled him, completely ensconced him. “So full, so fucking full,” he slurred.

The come gushed out around the cock filling him and dribbled down his quivering thighs. Whoever was in him pulled out and more come leaked from his abused hole. Eggsy whined, his own prick still achingly hard.

Hands soothed his back and petted his hair. He couldn’t even tell anymore where it was coming from. All he knew, all he could focus on, was the come dripping down his thighs and his throbbing member.

“Look at you, you splendid creature,” Mark whispered. “So perfect for us.”

Harry and Mark rolled him over and hauled him further down the bed. Suddenly a hot mouth swallowed his cock. It was all he needed to come. Harry tightened his lips around his shaft as Eggsy emptied down his throat.

It took Eggsy a few moments to return to reality. When his vision cleared, he was sandwiched securely between Mark and Harry, who were exchanging lazy kisses above his head.

Eggsy shifted, nuzzling Mark’s chest.

“Look who’s come back to us,” Harry murmured. He stroked Eggsy’s jaw. “How do you feel darling?”

Eggsy stretched, pulling at the tight muscles and melting languidly into them. “Mmm… we’re doing that again.”

Mark chuckled and kissed the top of his head. “Of course, my dear.”

Harry climbed off the bed and vanished into the adjoining ensuite. He returned a few moments later with a damp cloth, which he used to clean Eggsy off.

Later, after they’d begun to drift in and out of sleep, Eggsy whispered, “Today was perfect.”

He knew it was impossible, but he hoped it would always be like this.

Chapter Text

            Mark had been apprehensive when Bridget’s call came in that morning. He’d been ready to let it go to voicemail and pretend that he never received it when he remembered what Harry and Eggsy had said. After the fifth ring he picked up.

            Now he stood across the bustling street, staring into the panoramic window of the café, and the knot that had formed when he first saw Bridget’s name on his cellphone still hadn’t untangled. This was about the time Bridget ringed him up, when her loneliness or boredom got the best of her, and the fear that she’d find no one else rooted deep enough to compel her to pick up the phone.

            It was the same tired song and dance they’d been performing for the last few years, and before Mark would have succumbed to her charming quirkiness, but now he had something more, something better.

            Mark straightened his shoulders back and crossed the street, striding into the cafe. The knowledge that Harry and Eggsy were waiting for him at home bolstered his confidence and made it easier for him when he stopped in front of Bridget’s table and greeted her.

            “Hello Bridget,” Mark said.

            Bridget lowered her mug, a moustache of whip cream covering her upper lip. “Mark, hello,” She said, surprised.

            He couldn’t help the smile that twitched at the corners of his mouth and tapped a finger against his upper lip. Bridget blinked, her eyebrows pinched together, before realization dawned and she quickly wiped the whipped cream away with a flush.

            “I didn’t think you’d come,” Bridget admitted.

            “Well, it would have been rude,” Mark said, already hearing Harry in his head reprimanding, ‘a gentleman never stands up a lady’. Though, Harry would probably consider Bridget the exception. “You look well.”

            And she did. She positively glowed, quite honestly. She’d gained a little weight, visible in her cheeks, but Mark suspected that was probably from one too many nights of listening to Celine Dion and eating cupcakes, like she had a tendency to do in her fits of melancholy.

            “So do you,” Bridget said.

            Neither said anything else and Mark could feel the air around them thicken. Even now, months after their breakup, the memory of her clandestine affair with Cleaver lumbered between them like a circus elephant. The sting had faded, and the hurt that had replaced it was gone, but now there was a tender scar that reminded Mark about what happened every time he saw her.

            “I’m going to get a coffee,” Mark announced abruptly, startling her. He opened his mouth to say something else—though he didn’t know what—and then simply turned on his heels and retreated to the counter.

            He should have texted Harry or Eggsy about this meeting. He really needed their support right now.

            Mark ordered a black coffee and hovered near the counter, using the few extra moments of solitude to mentally prepare himself for whatever was to come. He hadn’t the foggiest idea why Bridget would want to see him, other than to possibly try and reconcile their relationship. He would have to make it very clear that he wouldn’t be returning to her ever again.

            “Mork,” The barrista called.

            Mark waited a beat, and then when no one stepped up, approached the counter. “Mark,” he corrected.

            “What?” The barrista asked, shoving the cup towards him.

            “My name is Mark.”

            She shrugged and said, “Oh,” before turning away.

            Mark huffed, but took the coffee and returned to the table. Bridget glanced up, and the fear he saw in her eyes made him pause.

            Was she afraid of him? Good heavens, why?

            He tried to school his expression into something less severe and took a seat. “Why did you call?” Mark asked, and then winced. Gentler, idiot. “I mean, you look well.” You already said that. Barely tamping down on a strangled groan, Mark tried, “I mean, how have you been?”

            Bridget smiled weakly. “No you didn’t, but thank you.”

            “No, I suppose I didn’t.”

            She turned her half-finished coffee mug between her hands and worried her bottom lip. When she didn’t say anything, Mark prompted, “Bridget, I’m a tad strapped for time.”

            “Right,” She said with a weak huff of laughter. “Right, sorry. It’s just, well…”

            He raised an eyebrow as she trailed off. “Yes?”

            Nothing.

            “Bridget,” Mark said, trying to contain his irritation. Whatever she wanted to discuss, it obviously was weighing on her.

            Bridget sighed, her entire body slumping, and she nodded. “Look, I don’t know how to say this without coming right out and doing it. It seems pointless to dance around the subject.”

            Mark’s stomach started to sink. Dear god, was this where she told him she’d contracted something from Cleaver and now he had to get tested? No that couldn’t be it. He got tested almost immediately after he found it about the two of them.

            “Mark, I’m pregnant,” Bridget announced.

            He froze, staring at her blankly.

            “Come again?” Mark said.

            Bridget’s grip on her coffee tightened. “I’m pregnant.”

            “I’m see someone,” Mark said. He didn’t know why he said it. He didn’t even really think about it. It just spilled out in a bad case of verbal diarrhea.

             “Oh,” Bridget said, blinking.

            Shit. That wasn’t what he meant to say. “I mean.” What? What did he mean? He couldn’t very well ask her, ‘are you sure’ now could he? “Pregnant?”

            “Yes.”

            “And it’s mine?”

            Bridget’s mouth pinched, a brief hesitation marred with irritation. “Well that would seem to be the case, yes.”

            “Sorry, I didn’t mean—it’s just… pregnant?”

            “Yes Mark, we’ve established I am pregnant.”

            Mark stared down at his black coffee, trying to wrap his head around the news. The idea that there was a baby, his baby, growing inside her seemed impossible. They’d even tried, briefly, but then Mark got swept up in work and thoughts of a family kind of fell to the wayside.

            “How far a long?”

            “About three months, give or take,” Bridget confessed.

            So when they had their final tryst.

            “Bridget, I...”

            “Look, I’m not telling you so I can get anything, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Bridget started.

            “No, I didn’t,” Mark cut her off. “But I’ll help, of course. I want to.”

            At least, it was the honorable thing to do. He couldn’t very well leave her to this alone, not when it took two people.

            “Okay, good. That’s good.” She paused, then added. “I have a doctor’s appointment coming up. Did you want to…?”

            “Yes, yes I suppose I should, shouldn’t I?” And he actually did mean it as a question. Did she even want him there?

            “I guess, yes. I mean, you should. Certainly.” Another pause. “So you’re seeing someone?”

            “I am. His name is Eggsy.”

            “He?” Her eyebrows shot up. She knew of his bisexuality, but his sexual history was mostly decorated with women.

            “Yes, he,” Mark said, bristling in defense. “He’s a coworker of Harry’s.”

            Her face soured at the mention of his brother. There would definitely be a problem in the future, especially when the baby came to stay with him. Mark would just deal with that later. One problem at a time.

            “Well,” Bridget said, forcing a smile. “I’m happy for you. Is it serious?”

            “Yes, very,” Mark said. “And thank you. Are you?”

            “No,” Bridget said quickly. “No, no I’m not. Not exactly a catch right now, right?”

            “Bridget, you’re lovely,” Mark said, honestly. “Anyone would be happy to have you.”

            “You weren’t,” She said, and Mark flinched.

            “That isn’t true, and you know it. I loved you,” Mark whispered. Very much so. And perhaps a part of him still did, but not in the way he used to. He loved her in the way one loved a memory, with a mixture of fondness and sadness, willing to recall those moments, but not wanting to relive them.

            “But now you’re with someone.”

            “I am, and I love him very much.”

            Loved both of them very much.

            “Love? Already?” Perhaps it was soon, the ink on their divorce papers was barely dry. Then again, Mark could have said the same about their marriage license before Bridget jumped into bed with Cleaver. Bridget swallowed and nodded. “Well I’m happy you found someone.”

            Mark checked his wristwatch. He still had time, but he didn’t know what else to say, or how to fill the awkward tension that had grown between them. So he lied. “I must be going; I have a meeting. Text me the information for the appointment, all right?”

            Bridget glanced up at him as he stood. “All right.” Mark hovered at his chair briefly, trying to think of something more to say. Bridget offered a small smile. “Thank you, Mark.”

            Mark returned the smile. “Bye, Bridget.”

            He grabbed his coffee—which he had thankfully requested to go—and left. He still couldn’t get his mind around the bomb she dropped. He didn’t even notice he was back in his office until his receptionist greeted him, “Welcome back, Mr. Darcy. Your brother called to confirm your dinner plans for this evening.”

            Mark froze midway to his office and a cold dread drenched him. What was he going to tell Harry and Eggsy? What would they say?

            Would this be too much for them?

            Their relationship was already complicated, now add a baby into the mix? Would this be the thing that pushed him away from them? They never mentioned ever wanting kids. Harry had once been very solid on the matter, stating he’d much rather live the prolific life of a bachelor. While he may have given up bachelorhood, that didn’t mean he was ready to become a father. And Eggsy, while he was good with his sister, may not want kids of his own, especially at his age. He and Harry did travel a lot, it made parenting hard.

            Would they do this with Mark?

            Did Mark even want to do this?

            “Mr. Darcy?” His receptionist queried.

            Mark swallowed thickly and said, “Okay, thank you.” He drifted into his office, closed the door, and sunk into his chair. He set his now cold coffee on the desk, forgotten. What was he supposed to do?

            He finally managed to pull together a life for himself and now it could all unravel. But he couldn’t blame Bridget on this one. He was just as equally at fault. If he had kept it in his pants that night, if he hadn’t drunk so much, maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation.

            But they were, and he couldn’t abandon her. Even if he wasn’t keen himself on a child.

            Though quite honestly he wasn’t sure what he felt on the matter.

            He didn’t even realize how long he’d been sitting there until a knock at the door jostled him from his ruminations. Rebecca’s head poked through a crack in the door. “Mark? The meetings going to start soon, are you coming?”

            “Oh, right,” Mark said, though he made no effort to get up.

            Rebecca frowned and slid into his office, closing the door behind her. “Is everything all right?”

            He considered not telling her. But the weight of what he just learned, of how his life was yet again about to drastically change and he had no control over it, and he found himself spilling everything.

            “Bridget is pregnant,” Mark confessed. “And the baby is mine.”

            Rebecca’s eyes widened. “Oh, wow.” She walked over to the wet bar Mark kept in his office and poured two glasses of scotch. She handed Mark one. He accepted it with a grateful smile and finished it in two gulps. Rebecca sipped at hers. “Is this a welcomed addition?”

            “A surprise one, to say the least.” After a moment of consideration, he added quickly, “Conceived before the divorce. I haven’t cheated on Eggsy.”

            Or Harry. I never could.

            “I know, I figured as much. Let me guess, you’re not sure how to tell Eggsy?”

            “No, not really. He didn’t exactly sign up for this.”

            “No, but from the few times I’ve met him, he’s a very loving person Mark. I’m sure he’ll be supportive, maybe even excited. The real question is: do you want this baby? Because it isn’t fair to Bridget to only be there partially, or flake out at the last minute.”

            Mark opened his mouth and Rebecca held up her hand. “I know you wouldn’t do that on purpose Mark, that it isn’t really you, but sometimes big life events—especially when it’s one after the other—can cause a person to act irrationally or differently. Talk to Eggsy, he might help you realize what you want. He’ll certainly support you.”

            Rebecca finished her drink and set the crystal glass on the bar. “Now come on, we have a meeting.”

            Mark smiled—weakly, but still smiled—and nodded. “I’m coming, and, thank you. I’m not sure I can ever repay you for our friendship.”

            Rebecca winked. “Find me a cute girlfriend and we’ll consider it repayment.”

            Mark shook his head with a snort of laughter and followed her out of his office.

Chapter Text

            “I don’t see why Arthur insists on subjecting me to these stodgy missions,” Harry complained as he poured himself a hefty glass of scotch. Eggsy arched a pointed eyebrow at him and Harry bit back a sigh, pouring some of the scotch back into the decanter.

            “Babe, she’s trying to ease you back into missions,” Eggsy said, nearly verbatim what Merlin had informed him for the hundredth time upon Harry’s complaint. Of course, Merlin hadn’t referred to Harry as ‘babe’.

            “And why are you so quick to defend her? I would think you’d be the first to point out her grievances since she holds so many against you,” Harry said, taking a seat on the couch and folding his left leg over his right knee. “I don’t need easing back in, what I need is a real mission, not another one of these bloody babysitting assignments. I didn’t come back from the dead to merely be cast in the role as nursemaid.”

            “But y’ did come back from the dead,” Eggsy pointed out, voice a touch softer. Harry paused in his diatribe and looked at Eggsy, immediately regretting his word choice. Leave it to him to callously open old wounds with the efficiency of a surgeon. There really should be an award for how many times he can insert his foot into his mouth.

Without a word Harry set his scotch down and held his hand out. Eggsy accepted it, allowing Harry to draw him onto his lap. “I know it seems like it was forever ago, but it wasn’t,” Eggsy murmured.

“I’m sorry,” Harry whispered, cupping the back of Eggsy’s neck to draw him closer. Their foreheads touched, their noses bumping against one another. “I didn’t mean to dredge up those memories. I know it’s hard.”

“I want y’ back in the field too, but I also don’t want y’ over extending y’rself. I know there’ll always be that possibility, but I don’t know wot I’d do if anything happened to y’.” Eggsy swallowed convulsively, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “If anything happened to both y’ and Mark, really.”

“I know darling.” Harry pressed his other hand against Eggsy’s cheek, stroking his thumb along his bottom lip. “And I promise that I’ll do everything in my power to come back to you and Mark. Always.”

Eggsy nodded. “Yeah, yeah I know.” He bit his bottom lip. Harry didn’t look away, couldn’t honestly. This close he could make out the gradient of Eggsy’s eyes, the swirls of teal overlapping prismatic violets and sapphires, layered with hints of green. Eggsy’s eyes were boundless skies and open prairies. It never failed to dawn on Harry how blessed he was to be allowed to stare into Eggsy’s gaze every morning. He could have so easily walked away, told Harry to sod off. Harry didn’t deserve Mark’s or Eggsy’s love and adoration after his deceit.

“Stop that,” Eggsy mumbled.

“Stop what, darling?” Harry asked with a wry smile.

“Y’re thinking bad things about y’r self again, and wotever it is, it isn’t true.”

Harry chuckled and squeezed the back of his neck. “Astute as always.”

“I’ll start working with y’, okay? Put in some more time at the gym and firing range. I’m sure once Arthur sees y’r numbers back to normal, she’ll let Merlin start assigning normal missions.”

Warmth spread through Harry’s lungs, leaving him tingling with breathlessness. “That would be lovely, my darling boy.”

Eggsy squirmed on his lap. Harry released him, and Eggsy slid off him. “I’m going to start dinner.”

Harry went back to drinking his scotch, picking up a book he had sitting on the end table, as Eggsy vanished into the kitchen. JB paced underfoot for a few seconds, panting and snuffling until Harry’s heartstrings were sufficiently pulled enough to let the pertinacious pug up into his lap. JB tucked his head into the divot between Harry’s side and the arm of the couch. Harry set his drink down and set his hand onto JB’s rump.

Fifteen minutes later the front door opened and JB vaulted out of Harry’s lap. Harry grunted at the impact.

“Welcome home,” Harry greeted Mark with a slight wheeze. He snapped his book closed and set it aside with his half-finished drink. He met Mark in the foyer, expecting a pleasant smile to be returned—especially considering the wonderful morning blow job Harry had given Mark before work—but was met instead by a furrowed brow and pinched smile.

Mark stripped out of his coat and hung it on the rack. “Eggsy home?”

“In the kitchen,” Harry said, dropping a kiss onto Mark’s cheek. “Everything all right?”

“Fine,” Mark assured, and Harry decided everything was not fine. Mark’s shoulders were tight, and there was the slightest tick in his jaw. Harry could make out the muscles in his neck working as Mark clenched and unclenched his teeth.

“Did something happen at work?” Harry asked. “Shall I fix you a drink?”

“No, no nothing happened at work. Why would you ask?” Mark said, a tad distracted. He shooed JB away instead of crouching to greet the pup. “Perhaps after dinner.”

“Welcome home!” Eggsy called from the kitchen, appearing in the doorway a few seconds later with an apron tied around his scrumptious waist. Harry made a mental note to have Eggsy wear nothing but said apron the next time he made breakfast.

“Hello darling,” Mark said. “I’m going to take a shower.”

He started for the stairs and Harry caught him by the elbow. “Mark, are you sure everything is all right?”

Mark shook Harry’s hand off. “Yes, of course.” He vanished up the stairs.

“Wot’s going on?” Eggsy asked.

“I’m not sure,” Harry mumbled, rubbing his jaw as he considered the possibilities. There wasn’t much that really got to Mark. Other than their parents—which if it had been them, Harry would know—the only other problem would be… Harry heaved a sigh. “Actually, I think I have an idea.”

Eggsy arched a brow, arms crossed over his chest. “Mind sharing with the class?”

“Bridget called the other night, and I’m sure Mark spoke to her about whatever it was she wanted,” Harry explained, walking over to Eggsy, JB at his feet.

Eggsy frowned. “So wot do we do about it?”

Harry pressed his thumb to the plush pillow of Eggsy’s bottom lip. “Nothing for right now. We have to let Mark come to us. He’ll talk when he’s ready, but we need to let him know we’re here for him.”

Eggsy nodded and nuzzled into Harry’s hand when he slid it up to cup Eggsy’s jaw. Eggsy kissed the inside of his thumb. “Okay. Till then, why don’t y’ go make sure he has a nice relaxing shower while I finish up dinner?”

“That’s a splendid idea darling,” Harry said, rewarding Eggsy with a peck.

Eggsy returned to the kitchen, calling JB with him while Harry headed upstairs. He toed off his shoes beside the bed and shrugged out of his suit jacket. Mark was already in the bathroom, the shower running. Harry didn’t doddle with his clothes, making quick work of divesting them before he entered the bathroom silently. Without a word he opened the door to the shower stall and slipped in.

“Harry?” Mark sputtered, turning around. Harry caught him by the hip before he could slip. “What are you doing?”

“Saving water?” Harry grinned and signaled for Mark to turn back around. “You seem tense, I’m here to help you relax. Now be a good boy and let your big brother do his job.”

A lovely pink flush spread from hairline down to Mark’s chest. It only made Harry’s grin widen. Wordlessly Mark turned around and handed Harry the soap he had been getting ready to use. Under his breath he grumbled, “You’re not the older one.”

Harry hummed in placation and started to scrub at Mark’s back, digging into the tight muscles along his shoulders. Harry skimmed his fingers along the curve of Mark’s shoulder, tracing water droplets across the milky skin. He dipped down, letting his hand slip lower into the curve of Mark’s back, and kissed his shoulder.

Mark melted beneath his hands, the tension that had been suspending him snapping so his entire body slumped like a puppet without strings. Harry smiled and nuzzled into his neck. He continued to lather Mark’s back and hips.

“I know you said nothing happened today,” Harry murmured, looping his hand around to wash at the hard definition of Mark’s abdomen and chest. “But if anything did—anything at all—Eggsy and I are here to listen.”

Mark leaned back against Harry, and Harry used it as an opportunity to trace his lips along Mark’s jaw. Mark didn’t respond, but he didn’t need to say anything for Harry to see the shift. He melted further, the anxiety spooling out and spiraling down the drain with the suds. Harry ran the bar of soap over Mark’s chest, thumb scraping over his nipples. Mark’s breath hitched and Harry chuckled.

“Lean forward, hands against the wall,” Harry instructed.

Mark did as he was commanded, craning his head around to look at Harry. He blinked against the shower spray. “Who put you in charge?”

“I’ve always been in charge,” Harry said. “You’ve just always been under the illusion that you were.”

Mark rolled his eyes but turned back to the wall, his head dropping between his shoulders. Harry lathered up his hands, getting them nice and sudsy, before he set the bar aside and took two handfuls of arse cheek. He squeezed and pressed Mark’s cheeks together, working the soap over the meaty globes, before plying them apart to reveal the rosy pink ring nestled between them. Mark shuddered, and Harry could see his cock thickening.

Harry’s own cock twitched with interest, but he hardened his resolve. Getting off wasn’t the focus right now. That would be later.

He continued to clean Mark, rubbing his fingers along the crack, and even dipping a finger inside. Mark groaned as Harry gave a few experimental thrusts, before withdrawing his hand and working downwards.

“Damn it Harry,” Mark groaned.

Harry chuckled and crouched down, his knees creaking in protest. He grabbed the soap and continued to wash Mark, signaling for him to turn when Harry was down. He scrubbed at his toes, up his ankles and calves, along his thighs, and came around to the straining cock. It was lovely, flushed red and dripping wet, beads of water caught along the dark curl of pubic hair like glimmering constellations. Harry suckled on the tip, earning a rapturous moan Mark. He wrapped a slicked hand around Mark’s cock, cupping his balls with the other soap-coated hand, and worked on cleaning both scrotum and shaft.

He was quick and efficient, only giving Mark a taste of what would come tonight. When he finished cleaning, he released Mark with a wet pop and stood.

“You’re a bastard,” Mark panted, glaring at Harry through the water.

Harry grinned and picked up the shampoo. “That’s no way to talk to your brother.”

Mark flushed, and Harry savored the hunger that sparked in his eyes. Harry washed Mark’s hair, taking his time to massage his scalp, working the last remaining tension out. When they finished, Harry turned off the water and got out first. He grabbed a large fluffy white towel and bundled Mark in it, drawing him into a leisure kiss. Mark didn’t resist as Harry licked his way into his mouth, taking his time to explore, tasting the tea and lemon and mint gum he had earlier that day.

“Eggsy and I love you, don’t forget that,” Harry whispered against his lips. Mark didn’t say anything, instead he searched Harry’s face. Harry could see his words taking root though, see the calm settling back over his eyes, the thunderclouds receding into the gold of his irises. Harry kissed his forehead. “Take your time drying off. Eggsy and I will be downstairs when you’re ready.”

Harry walked out, a towel wrapped around his waist. He closed the bathroom door behind him, giving Mark privacy, and made quick work of drying and changing into more casual clothes. When he finished, Mark was still in the bathroom, so Harry went downstairs to help Eggsy finish dinner.

* * * *

            Mark didn’t rush out of the bathroom. It took a few minutes to get control of his erection, and even after that he waited, concentrating on deep calming breaths. He should have known he couldn’t hide anything from Harry. But he wasn’t ready to go down there and tell them what he learned. It was silly, he realized, considering all they’d been through for this to be the thing that would break them.

            But history has a bad habit of repeating its self with him, and if Mark’s track record was anything to go off of, what little happiness he could hold on to would soon be stolen from him. After all, he had been so sure about Elizabeth and Bridget.

            Mark dried off and hung up his towel. He changed into a pair of jeans and thin t-shirt and regarded himself briefly in the mirror.

            This isn’t like Elizabeth or Bridget, though. For one, his own twin brother was involved. Harry couldn’t exactly walk away from this without facing the repercussions for the rest of his life. And besides, Harry would never hurt him like that. Nor Eggsy. Eggsy who had done nothing but love him unconditionally.

            History repeated its self, but it could also change. It could be rewritten.

            Bolstered by that fact, Mark headed downstairs. The air ripened with the scent of herbs du Provence, a lovely blend of thyme and lavender, accented by a hint of citrus. Mark’s mouth watered, his stomach giving an agreeable grumble, and he realized all he had today since breakfast was a cup of coffee and several cups of tea.

            Eggsy appeared in the door way, grinning brightly and looking ever the angel. Mark’s breath hitched in his throat and without even thinking about it he dipped down to steal a kiss. Eggsy sighed into his mouth.

            “Was wondering when I was gonna get my kiss,” Eggsy said when Mark pulled away. “Feeling better?”

            “Much,” Mark assured.

            “Good, dinner is ready then. Hope y’re hungry.”

            “I’m absolutely ravished.”

            Eggsy’s grin broadened. “So Harry told me,” he said with a chuckle.

            Mark rolled his eyes, biting back his own smile, and followed Eggsy into the dining room, where they all sat down for a lovely dinner of herb crusted chicken and seasoned potatoes. Eggsy picked up the conversation and valiantly kept it going, regaling Mark with his day— “Bruv, y’ should have seen the prick that walked into the shop, all hoity toity,”—and his lunch with Roxy, who had another awful date the night before.

            “She keeps going for the same kind of women, the ones that aren’t looking for more than one night,” Eggsy said and shook his head. “I’m going to find her someone.”

            “I don’t think Roxanne wants you meddling in her love life,” Harry admonished.

            “But she’s lonely,” Eggsy said. “And I hate seeing her like this.”

            Mark smiled, watching Harry and Eggsy continue to banter back and forth on Roxy’s marital status.

            “How was y’r day?” Eggsy asked him abruptly, and Mark blinked, realizing the conversation had shifted.

            “What? Oh, it was… it was fine.”

            Eggsy frowned and exchanged a look with Harry, but he didn’t push Mark to elaborate and the sudden weight that settled on his chest lifted slightly. They finished dinner and Mark and Harry cleaned the kitchen—it was only fair since Eggsy cooked—while Eggsy took JB for a walk. They retired to the living room when their chores were completed and Harry poured them each an after dinner brandy.

            Mark knew he was going to have to say something sooner or later, but he started to suspect he may get away with not bringing it up tonight.

            “So y’ going to talk to us about wot’s bothering y’ or are me and Harry going to have to fuck it out of y’?” Eggsy asked suddenly, sitting next to Mark on the couch.

            Mark choked on his brandy. “Pardon me?”

            “Y’ heard me,” Eggsy said and pointed a finger at Mark. “Y’ve been mopping about since y’ got home.”

            “I thought we were going to let him come to us,” Harry drawled beside Eggsy.

            “Bugger that. Wotever it is, it’s upsetting y’ Mark, and I’ll be damned if I sit here and let y’ work y’rself into some fit,” Eggsy said. He set his brandy down and shifted on the couch so he was facing Mark. He gathered Mark’s hands in his lap. “So wot is it? Y’ don’t have to hide from Harry and I, we won’t judge y’.”

            “I know,” Mark whispered, staring at their entwined hands. He sighed, letting go of the last few threads of hesitation. “I know you won’t. I’m sorry.”

            “You don’t need to apologize Mark; we aren’t scolding you. You’re allowed to feel what you feel. We just want to be there for you, so you don’t have to shoulder your burden alone. That’s what partners are for.”

            “Harry’s right. We’re all in this together, ta? So talk to us, let us help.” Mark didn’t respond right away, and Eggsy tucked a finger under Mark’s chin, lifting his head so Mark was compelled to finally look at him. “Please, babe.”

            At the hurt in Eggsy’s voice, Mark broke. He couldn’t bear to be a cause of pain for Eggsy.

            “I met Bridget today for lunch,” Mark said. Eggsy and Harry didn’t say anything, letting him continue, and he should have known they made the connection already. “She called me this morning and asked to see me. I honestly wasn’t too sure what she wanted—she has a pension for getting into trouble and needing me to bail her out. I suppose I’ve enabled that habit with how often I do rescue her.”

            And perhaps this was another instance of that situation, though Mark was also to blame for putting her in this position.

            Eggsy squeezed Mark’s hands when he paused. Mark drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly through his nose. “She’s pregnant,” Mark said. He didn’t know how else to say it without just saying it. “And it’s mine.”

            Mark dropped his gaze and waited for Eggsy to recoil. He waited for Harry to curse. He waited for the accusations to fling, mentally preparing his case. When they didn’t say anything, Mark launched into his defense anyways, rambling, “It happened before I met you Eggsy. I haven’t been with her since, I swear to you. It was stupid, we were both drunk and at a shower, and we made some poor decisions.”

            “Mark,” Eggsy said in a tender dulcet, repeating his name until Mark finally snapped his mouth shut. “Babe, it’s okay. Just breathe.”

            Mark obeyed, taking in a deep shuddering breath. Eggsy smiled. “There we go. It’s okay. Everything is okay.”

            “You’re sure about this Mark?” Harry asked.

            “Harry,” Eggsy snapped.

            “I’m not saying I don’t believe her, but I also don’t hold it above that woman to manipulate Mark in order to get him back. I don’t want to see him put through this turmoil and it all be a sham.”

            “I’m sure,” Mark said. “Bridget wouldn’t do that. She’s many things,” —both Harry and Eggsy snorted derisively— “but she wouldn’t lie about this.”

            “Okay then,” Harry said, clamping a hand on Eggsy’s shoulder. “Then we deal with it. This doesn’t change anything Mark.”

            “This changes everything,” Mark said. “She’s pregnant with my child.”

            “Do y’ want the baby?” Eggsy asked.

            Mark flinched and looked away. “I don’t know. I used to want one, but now… now I don’t know. I never wanted a child like this.”

            “But it happened,” Eggsy said. “And it isn’t fair of y’ to only be there halfway.”

            “You don’t think I know that?” Mark snapped. “And what about you two? How could you possibly want involved in this mess? Harry, you always said you never wanted children. You called them little terrors.”

            “I may have spoken a bit harshly. I still stand by my claim that most children are little terrors, but there are a few, like our Ms. Daisy, who are angels. But what I think Mark doesn’t matter. I love you, and if a child is part of the package deal, then it’s part of the package deal. I’m not walking away from either you or Eggsy because of this.”

            Mark sucked in a sharp breath, his throat closing around a lump of emotions. Eggsy took his face in both of his hands and whispered, “Mark, look at me.” Mark forced himself to meet Eggsy’s gaze. “Y’ don’t have to make any decisions right away. Y’ will have to decide what y’ want eventually, but y’ don’t have to do it tonight. Wotever y’ do decide though, whether it’s help raise the baby or to walk away, Harry and I are here for y’. We love y’ and we’ll support y’.”

            Mark choked on a sob. He hunched forward, pressing his forehead against Eggsy’s shoulder, and nodded. It still felt like a dream, as if all of this would soon slip away from him. After struggling so long to find someone to love him and now he had not only one person, but two, who adored him unconditionally.

            “Thank you,” Mark whispered. Eggsy wrapped his arms around him and hugged tightly.

            When Eggsy let go, Harry stood from the couch and said, “I think now would be a good time to help Mark get out of his mind, and to perhaps remind him how dearly we love him. Don’t you darling?”

            Eggsy smiled and nodded. “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.”

            The air crackled around them. Mark could feel the heat spreading across his skin as Harry and Eggsy fixed him with twin looks of both yearning and adoration. Mark didn’t fight Harry when he directed him upstairs into the bedroom, or when Harry stripped him down to nothing and stretched him out along the bed as if he were work of art being put on display.

            “Christ, still can’t believe how gorgeous the both of y’ are,” Eggsy murmured and climbed on the bed.

            “We could say the same thing, darling.” Harry chuckled.

            “Harry’s right,” Mark whispered, finally finding his voice. “I’d given up on the idea of finding love, couldn’t even find the audacity to hope for it, and then you strolled into my life. And you brought Harry back to me as well. It’s more than I could ever dream of.”

            Eggsy’s gaze softened and moved next to Mark, cupping his jaw with a reverent hand. “And we’ll never leave y’, do y’ hear me? It’s us three against the world.”

            Mark swallowed with a click of his throat and murmured, “Us three.”

            Eggsy kissed him, slow and gentle, easing open Mark’s mouth with his tongue as his fingers caressed the length of his neck. Mark lost track of time, lost track of himself, as he sunk into Eggsy. Even while his very atoms tried to merge with Eggsy’s, Mark was still aware of Harry moving around the room, sensing him in the same way one senses their own heart. He may not be able to see him, or actually feel him, but Mark knew he was there.

            The bed sunk and Mark was shuffled over, his head turned by another hand until his lips met Harry’s. Harry ravished him, never one to ease Mark into anything. Mark clung to his arms, choking back a moan as Harry plundered his mouth.

            It took Mark a few seconds to realize he was bare chest to bare chest with Harry, their hot skin nearly scalding. Mark’s cock thickened against his thigh as Harry pressed him into the bed and moved to leave a trail of tiny bites along his neck. Mark turned his head, watching with bleary eyes as he Eggsy stripped out of his clothes.

            “We’re going to make your daddy feel nice and good, aren’t we darling?” Harry said as he straightened. His lips were kiss-swollen and red, glistening with the spittle he smeared along Mark’s collar.

            Eggsy practically purred at the question. “Yes,” he moaned and tossed Harry a bottle of lubricant.

            “Roll over for us,” Harry instructed and patted Mark’s hip.

            It took a minute for Mark’s brain to connect the command with actual physical action. He rolled over, shifting on the bed so he rested comfortably on his hands and knees, a pillow tucked under his chest. Harry moved behind him, his wide palm settling against Mark’s lower back, and opened the bottle of lubricant with a snick. Eggsy moved to the other side, securing Mark between them both of them, and ran his hands down the curve of Mark’s buttock, taking a fistful of arsecheek.

            “Let’s see how nice and wide we can get you,” Harry said.

            Mark lurched forward at the sudden slick coldness that dribbled down his crack. Harry smeared it down the part, smudging it across Mark’s hole. Mark dropped his head against the mattress with a moan and lifted his arse higher.

            “You love having your hole played with, don’t you sweetheart?” Harry said. The tip of his thumb caught on the lip of his rim. He only pushed his thumb in a few centimeters and already the muscles started to burn at the stretch.

            “Fuck, ain’t that the most gorgeous think y’ve ever seen,” Eggsy said—practically cooed—as he pried Mark’s arsecheeks further apart. Mark helped by spreading his knees wider, giving a better view of not only his hole, but his heavy balls and cock as well.

            Harry withdrew his hand, but it wasn’t for long. A slicked finger circled Mark’s entrance, teasing the ring for a few seconds, before breaching the barrier. Mark groaned, willing his muscles to relax as Harry’s long dexterous digit slipped inside.

            “We’re going to stuff you full,” Harry said as he started to withdraw his finger, stopping when the tip threatened to pop out. “With my fingers and Eggsy’s. See how many we can make you take. Have you feel us both. And then when you’re nice and stretched, when you’re gaping,” —Harry punctuated the word by thrusting his finger back in— “We’re going to fill you up with cock from both ends. You’re going to show Eggsy how much his daddy loves cock.”

            Mark’s brain disconnected at some point during Harry’s monologue. Words were physically impossible. He moaned in agreement, and Harry rewarded him with another thrust of his finger.

            “Let me,” Eggsy said. Harry pulled his finger out, but Mark wasn’t empty long. Two more thicker fingers were stuffed back in the digit’s place.

            Mark double-fisted the comforter. Eggsy crooked his finger as he started to work Mark open, his knuckles bumping across Mark’s prostate in a teasing graze, sending small jolts rippling through his body.

            “Fuck,” Mark whimpered and rocked back against Eggsy’s hand. “Fuck, again, fuck.”

            “Is that anyway to ask?” Harry reprimanded, giving his arse a small slap. “Manners.”

            “Please,” Mark groaned. ‘Please, again, fuck.”

            He was rewarded with another finger, this one slender and knobby compared to the thicker ones already inside him. Mark realized Harry had begun to add his fingers and he gave an aborted thrust against the mattress.

            Harry and Eggsy worked him open, the first few thrusts off beat, but they quickly found tandem. Mark’s muscles burned with each stretch, his hole adjusting to accommodate the thickening girth. He thought that’s where they’d stop, especially when they started to strike his prostate with clinical precision, but then a fourth finger probed at his hole.

            “Nngh,” Mark slurred, his eyes nearly rolling into the back of his head as the fourth finger slipped in. He was stretched so wide, and he was pulled even wider when Harry and Eggsy started to tug at his hole, coaxing the muscles to relax.

            “Look at you, sucking us all in.” Harry chuckled and poured a bit more lubricant over his entrance. “You dirty boy, you’re loving this. You want your hole filled, don’t you?”

            Precum leaked from the tip of Mark’s cock, no doubt making a nice little pool on the comforter.

            “Wonder how much we could stuff in him. Do y’ want to try that one day, babe? See if we can get y’ nice and full.”

            The idea of Harry and Eggsy using him, filling him as they pleased, turning him into their toy, left him boneless and desperate. “Yes,” he moaned, the words garbled as he ground back on their hands.

            “Maybe one day I’ll strap both you and Eggsy down,” Harry drawled, each word punctuated with another fuck of their fingers. “And use you both to my delight. Leave you plugged and ready for me, continue to fill you with my cum.”

            Eggsy and Mark moaned in unison, and it was only more gratifying when Harry chuckled approvingly. “Such dirty little things you two are. Insatiable.”

            Suddenly the fingers were gone and Mark was left empty and wanting. He whined in the back of his throat, the sound starting deep from within his sternum. Harry patted his hip and the weight in the bed shifted as Harry climbed off.

            “Scoot down sweet,” Harry instructed.

            Mark managed to get his limbs to work as he moved down to the edge of the bed. Eggsy repositioned himself in front of Mark, standing on his knees so his proud cock dangled near Mark’s lips. Mark couldn’t help but flick his tongue out, chasing after the head hungrily.

            Mark rolled his eyes up so he could look at Eggsy as he opened his mouth wide. Almost in perfect synchronization, Harry and Eggsy slid into him. Eggsy’s heavy shaft slipped past Mark’s lips and along his tongue, the weight grounding as Harry’s cockhead bumped against his hole and pushed past the well-loosened ring.

            “Fuck,” Eggsy groaned, carding his fingers through Mark’s hair. He grabbed fistfuls and pulled Mark’s face closer, until his nose was buried in the soft bed of sandy brown curls. Mark choked at first, needing to adjust his breathing and relax his throat to accommodate the sudden intrusion, but he easily enough sunk into the pace.

            Like this, pinned between Harry and Eggsy, Mark could just stop. He didn’t have to think about anything but the feel of both of them moving inside him. Even his own leaking, flushed cock was a second thought to him. All that mattered was their pleasure and the calm it brought. He became a vessel for them to fill, his existence narrowed to that single purpose, and in knowing that, his mind cleared.

            Mark licked along the head of Eggsy’s cock when he could, but it quickly devolved into Eggsy taking what he wanted, fucking Mark’s throat until each breath was strained, and tears blurred his eyes. Mark squeezed his thighs to encourage him on. Spit dribbled down his chin with each muffled moan.

            Harry gripped his hips with a bruising hold and fucked into him at a brutal pace. It was as if their minds had linked and they knew exactly what Mark wanted, what he needed. To forget. To stop existing as Mark. To become nothing but a cluster of cells, a constellation of jittering atoms. To be their harbinger of pleasure. And they took, hard and violently, but for each cruel thrust, it was softened by note of love, a tender praise.

            “That’s it, you’re doing so well. Look at you sweetheart, taking my cock. I missed this, missed fucking you,” Harry stammered. He shifted, adjusting his angle so the head of his cock struck Mark’s prostate with laser focus.

            Stars exploded behind Mark’s eyes, but he could barely moan around the cock driving down his throat. He watched Eggsy pant through a blurred vision.

            “Fuck, daddy, fuck. Y’re mouths so good,” Eggsy cried, his face delectably flushed. “Want y’ to do this to me. Want y’ to take my throat, use me.”

            The muscles of Eggsy’s thighs began to twitch and tighten, his pace growing more urgent. Harry dug his fingers in deeper, his nails biting into Mark’s skin.

            “Fuuuck,” Eggsy shouted as Harry dragged Mark against him. Cum flooded Mark’s mouth, sharp and salty, invading his senses. There was so much, and when Eggsy pulled out, some even splashed across his face. He tried to swallow it all, but cum dribbled down his chin.

            He gave another gurgled moan as Harry gave a few final aborted thrusts before burying deep inside him and filling him up. His trembling arms finally collapsed and Mark lay there, vaguely aware of the cum leaking from both ends.

            Someone—Mark honestly didn’t know who, his mind lost somewhere in the stratosphere—rolled him over. A hot mouth swallowed his cock. It only took a few strong sucks for him to go spilling down the hungry mouth.

            When he came too Eggsy was cleaning him off with a damp flannel. Mark blinked his eyes and looked around, searching for Harry.

            “He’s getting y’ some water and a granola bar,” Eggsy answered before Mark could even ask the question.

            “Than—” He coughed, his throat raw from the abuse it took.

Eggsy smiled and kissed his forehead. “Y’ don’t need to thank us.”

Eggsy set the damp flannel on the nightstand and adjusted himself against the pillows. He pulled Mark close, settling Mark’s head on his chest. His limbs were still rubbery and weightless, making moving hard.

“We weren’t kidding,” Eggsy murmured, idly playing with the curl of hair at the base of Mark’s neck. “Wotever y’ decide, we’ll support y’. Y’ and Harry are the best thing to ever happen to me. The only time I’ll walk away from this is the day y’ and Harry say y’re done.”

That got Mark moving. He bolted up, immediately regretting it when a pain lanced up his spine. Fuck, he forgot how hard it was to move after getting your arse pummeled. He swallowed back a grimace and looked at Eggsy, whispering earnestly, “That day will never come. We won’t abandon you.”

Eggsy smiled, his eyes crinkling, and said, “And we won’t abandon you.”

Mark blinked slowly, the realization dawning on him. He nodded and whispered, “Okay.” He laid his head back on Eggsy’s chest and repeated to himself, “Okay.”

Chapter Text

            Eggsy took Mark’s hand to stop him from tapping it against his knee. They were on their way to meet Bridget for her first OB appointment. The morning hadn’t gone off as smoothly as Eggsy would have liked. Considering the gravity of the day, Eggsy had aimed for a relatively calm morning ritual. He should have known Murphy’s Law would kick in.

            Harry woke up late—a regular occurrence Eggsy took concessions for—and spent the first half of the morning fumbling around with the start of a migraine. Mark, already wound tight with nerves, fretted about the flat like a chicken with his head cut off. It took Eggsy thirty minutes to calm Mark, usher Harry into bed, and make the appropriate phone calls to let Merlin know he’d be into work late and Harry was staying home for the day.

            “Babe,” Eggsy said, lifting Mark’s hand to kiss his knuckles. “Everything is going to be fine.”

            He didn’t let himself think about the fact that this was the first time he’d be meeting Bridget. This encounter would be a touchstone for all other exchanges he shared with Bridget. Any bias he had towards her—any residual ill-will he harbored due to her grievances against Mark—would have to be set aside. He would be a paragon of virtue and support.

            “I know,” Mark said, though he didn’t look too sure. Eggsy offered a smile and rubbed his thumb along the bumps of Mark’s knuckles. Mark turned his hand so his palm pressed flat against Eggsy’s and interlocked their fingers. “But what if—”

            “No, no ‘what if’s’,” Eggsy said, silencing Mark with a kiss. “It’s just a general checkup. We go, see how things are, talk to Bridget for a bit, and then go home. No decisions need to be made right now. This is a no pressure doctor’s visit, okay? When it’s over, we’ll pick up lunch and bring it back for to Harry. So relax.”

            Mark’s worried expression crumpled into a fond smile. He kissed Eggsy’s forehead and murmured, “What would I do without you darling?”

            “Fall into a black abyss of misery and doubt,” Eggsy stated matter-of-factly.

            “Should I be concerned that you were so quick to supply an answer for that?”

            “Of course not.” Eggsy chuckled. He didn’t let go of Mark’s hand, even as they pulled up to the doctor’s office.

            It was strange to think about how much his life had shifted, how not so long ago he never would have dreamed of being in this position. If Jamal had told him five years ago he’d be in a polygamous relationship with twin brothers and visiting an OBGYN office for his boyfriend’s baby mama, then Eggsy would have asked Jamal what kind of skunky arse weed he was smoking. Yet here he was, and he would do everything in his power to make this visit go smoothly, to help Mark come to a decision that would make him happy.

            Eggsy drew Mark to a stop in front of the office after they paid for the cab. “No decision today,” Eggsy repeated. A cool breeze whirled down the sidewalk, stirring leaves along the pavement. August was drawing towards an end, heralding in the fall, and Eggsy had a feeling it would be a frigid one. “We just go in, support Bridget, and see how the baby is doing. Okay?”

            Mark glanced up at the office sign, a shadow of apprehension falling over his face. He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Right. Okay, just support. No decisions.”

            “I love y’, y’ hear me?” Eggsy would repeat it, over and over again, every day for the rest of his life. Even if Mark didn’t need to hear it, Eggsy would say it because he never wanted Mark to forget. He never wanted Mark to ever think that he wasn’t loved. “Both Harry and I do.”

            “And I love you, my darling,” Mark said, warmth chasing away the fear in his eyes.

            They entered the office. Eggsy didn’t know what Bridget looked like, any pictures of her had been removed from Mark’s house long before Eggsy entered his life. He’s a little surprised though when Mark walks over to a lovely woman in a fur trimmed coat with blond hair. Eggsy had worked it into his mind that Bridget was a svelte Victoria Secrets model, and while Bridget was very pretty, she wasn’t what Eggsy had expected. He couldn’t deny though that there was a charming air about her. She stood next to a group of children playing on the floor, filling out paperwork on a clipboard.

            “Bridget,” Mark prompted as they approached.

            She turned to look at them, her gaze shifting immediately from Mark to Eggsy. Surprise briefly overcame her. Mark had said he told her about his bisexuality, but Eggsy supposed it was different to be told about it and seeing it firsthand.

            “Mark,” Bridget greeted with a forced smile. She moved to hug him and stepped right into a wire bead maze that one of the kids were playing with. “Oh shite,” she cursed and hopped on one foot.

            Eggsy grinaced and said, “Here, let me.”

            He crouched and helped her disentangle her foot. He passed the toy back to the disgruntled child.

            “Thanks,” Bridget said with a flush when Eggsy stood. “You must be Eggy.”

            “Eggsy,” Eggsy corrected.

            “I’m sorry?”

            “My name, it’s Eggsy.”

            Bridget blinked and bit her bottom lip. “Right, sorry. I—Eggsy, you must be Eggsy.”

            “I hope you don’t mind that he came,” Mark said. “I texted you…”

            “No, it’s fine,” Bridget said quickly, sounding very not fine with it. She offered another strained smile. “I saw. I, well…yes, it’s fine. Shall we wait?”

            They each took a seat in one of the chairs against the wall, Mark in the middle between Bridget and Eggsy. One of the kids sitting across from them looked up from his toy and stared at Bridget, unblinking.

            The stiff silence was broken up by the occasional key stroke from the receptionist and the low hum of the telly hung in the corner. Eggsy wasn’t sure if Mark would want to hold hands so he kept his tucked between his knees, looking between the talk show playing on the tube and the kids. Mark reached over the arm of their chairs and took his hand.

            Eggsy smiled and squeezed Mark’s hand.

            Out of the corner of his eye, Eggsy watched Bridget silently try to signal for the kid still staring at her to turn around. The boy wouldn’t, though. Eggsy bit back a laugh and finally asked, “So Mark said y’ work in television?”

            Bridget jumped, turning to Eggsy. “Yes. I mean, well technically I do.”

            “Technically?”

            “Production. I’m a producer. I produce,” She rambled, and before Eggsy could interject, she shot back at him, “And you’re a tailor?”

            “Yeah, I am.”

            “Bit young, aren’t you?” Bridget asked. “For a tailor, I mean.”

            Eggsy shrugged. “Suppose some people might see it that way. But age doesn’t define skill.”

            “No, I suppose it doesn’t,” Bridget conceded with a pinched frown. “Of course with age comes knowledge.”

            “But not always wisdom,” Eggsy countered, narrowing his eyes. Mark squeezed his hand.

            “But nothing says quality like someone who has been in the trade for a long time. You can’t deny the benefits of someone with years of experience.”

            Eggsy raised an eyebrow, reminded himself that he needed to be good, and said in a tone saturated with civility, “It does have its benefits, but it doesn’t trump everything. And in my experience those that have been in the field too long tend to be jaded and dried up, they make poor decisions because they fail to concede to progress.”

            “So how is your mother and father?” Mark interjected.

            Bridget snapped her mouth closed. It took her a few seconds to answer. “Fine,” She responded tersely. “They’re fine. Mum is organizing a charity event.”

            “Good,” Mark said. “That’s good.”

            Silence lapsed over once more, and Bridget went back to her stare down with the freckle-faced kid. Eggsy counted the seconds by how many times he could run his thumb over Mark’s knuckles.

            The door to the back opened and a nurse in scrubs walked out, calling, “Bridget Jones?”

            All three of them stood. “That’s me,” Bridget said.

            The nurse looked at them. “Only one can come back with you.”

            Eggsy let go of Mark’s hand. “I’ll just be out here,” he said. Mark glanced at him, apprehension creeping back into his gaze. Eggsy nudged him towards Bridget.

            They vanished behind the door, leaving Eggsy alone. He flopped back down in the stiff waiting room chair with a sigh. Well that could have definitely gone better. Eggsy fished out his cellphone and pulled up Harry’s number, shooting him a text to let him know what was going on.

            Eggsy fiddled on his phone as he waited, occupying his time with a game—he was determined to beat Merlin’s score on Candy Crush—and watching the trash telly playing in the lobby.

The front door swung open, drawing Eggsy’s attention away from his current game, and a man swaggered in, his tawny hair windswept. He whipped off a pair of sunglasses and leaned against the receptionist’s counter. “Hello, I’m looking for Bridget Jones.”

Eggsy frowned but kept quiet.

“I’m sorry sir, she’s with the doctor right now. I can let her know you’re here, mister…”

“Daniel Cleaver,” Daniel supplied with a rakish smile and a flirtatious wink that would have been more charming from a snake.

“Are y’ a friend of Bridget’s?” Eggsy asked, putting his phone away.

Daniel spared Eggsy a glance, his attention quickly drawn back to the receptionist, before he did a double take. Even if Eggsy hadn’t known the history between Mark and Cleaver, he had no doubt how much he’d hate the man. He was what Charlie would have become if he’d been given the chance—a walking arrogant cock.

Daniel walked over to Eggsy, the receptionist forgotten, and held out his hand. “I am. Do you know Bridget?”

“I do.” Eggsy didn’t shake his hand. “I’ve come to offer my support—I’m guessing y’re here for the same reason?”

Daniel’s smile broadened until his eyes crinkled. He took a seat next to Eggsy, leaning against the arm so his shoulder brushed Eggsy’s. His cologne circled around him like a smog, choking Eggsy.

“Yes,” Daniel drawled. “We’re very close. She never mentioned having such a cute friend—I wonder why she’s been keeping you all to herself.”

“I suspect the same reason she kept y’ a secret,” Eggsy said with a forced smile. He needed to get Daniel out of here, before Mark came back out.

“Well we’ll need to remedy that.” Daniel leaned it slightly closer. “Has anyone told you how beautiful your eyes are?”

“Yeah, my boyfriend.” Eggsy leaned away.

The confession didn’t seem to deter Daniel, who only grinned wider. “What a lucky man.”

“He is,” Eggsy agreed. “I can let Bridget know you stopped by.”

“Oh, I think I’ll wait,” Daniel said.

Eggsy bit back a sigh. Great, how was he supposed to fix this?

* * * *

            Bridget sat up on the examination table and adjusted her hospital gown. Mark still couldn’t take his eyes off the screen where the baby had been projected. That had been his child. His baby. He knew Bridget hadn’t been lying, but knowing and seeing were too entirely different things. Everything felt surreal and he didn’t know quite how to digest it.

            “Do you have any questions?” Dr. Rawlings asked. She was a sharp woman with a whip crack sense of humor.

            “No, thank you,” Bridget said.

            Dr. Rawlings nodded and left. Mark swallowed and glanced at Bridget, who fidgeted on the table.

            “Bridget, I…” He what? What was he even going to say? He sighed. “I’ll let you get changed.”

            “I didn’t plan this,” Bridget said. “Honestly. It wasn’t like I set out to get pregnant.”

            “I know that,” Mark snapped.

            “He’s nice.”

The abrupt change in topic gave Mark whiplash. “Pardon?”

“Eggsy, he’s nice. And young. Very young.”

“I’m not discussing his age with you,” Mark said. “Come out when you’re finished.”

Mark left before she could say anything else. Dr. Rawling wasn’t too far from the room, reading something on a chart. When she spotted Mark leave, she reentered the examination room. Mark headed for the waiting room, trying to quell his irritation. This was all a shock to Bridget, he needed to remind himself that. A lot of change all at once. And she didn’t have someone to support her like Mark did.

“Bridget will be out shortly,” Mark said as he entered the waiting room. He froze, door swinging shut behind him.

Daniel leaned across an armrest towards Eggsy, who seemed to be all but crawling over the other chair to get away. Eggsy slid out of his seat when he saw Mark and hurried over.

“Mark—”

“What is he doing here?” Mark demanded, pointing at Daniel. “You, get out. Now.”

“Mark, calm down,” Eggsy said, pressing a hand to Mark’s shoulder when he took a step towards Daniel.

Daniel stood, cocking an eyebrow. “I could ask you the same thing. I thought Bridge finally got rid of you.”

“I’m not with Bridget,” Mark snapped. Why was he defending himself? He owed Daniel nothing. “Leave, now.”

Daniel looked from Eggsy to Mark and Mark could see the connection in his eyes. “Traded her in for a younger, different model?”

“You son of a bitch,” Mark growled and rushed Daniel.

“Gentlemen!” The receptionist shouted.

Daniel leapt out of the way before Mark could wrap his hands around his neck. Mark was going to kill him.

“Stay away from Eggsy and stay away from Bridget!” Mark yelled.

“Damn it Mark, stop it!” Eggsy shouted, but Mark ignored him and took a fumbling swipe at Daniel.

Daniel luckily was blocked by a table and Mark struck him in the jaw.

“Owe, you bastard!” Daniel snarled, touching his bloody lip. He wiped it away and held his fists up, and Mark got a vague since of déjà vu. “All right, that’s it. Now you’re going to get it.”

“Gentlemen, you need to stop right now,” The receptionist ordered.

            “I’m going to do what I should have done long ago,” Mark said.

            “Enough!” Mark froze mid swing and turned to Dr. Rawling, who stood next to a horrified Bridget. “What in good heavens is going on? This is a doctor’s office.”

            Mark opened his mouth and then snapped it closed. “Yes, well…” He looked at his fists and dropped them. “I can explain.”

            “No, actually I think Bridget needs to explain,” Eggsy said, coming to stand next to Mark. “Bridget, why is Daniel here to see you?”

            “He’s here to see her?” Mark asked, glancing between Daniel and Bridget. He knew that on some level, why else would he be here, but having it vocalized just cemented the truth.

            Daniel tongued at his lip, wincing. “Well yes, she asked me to come.”

            “Why would she…” Mark turned to Bridget, who looked away guilty. Mark’s stomach dropped. “No.”

            “Mark, I was going to tell you,” Bridget said.

            “Is it his?” Mark demanded.

            Bridget grimaced, not meeting his gaze. He couldn’t believe this was happening again. He couldn’t believe that even after he divorced her, even after he walked away from Bridget and Daniel and all of that mess, he was still being dragged back in. It was a riptide he couldn’t break free from.

            “Right,” Mark said with a sniff. “Well, let’s go Eggsy.”

            “Mark, wait. It isn’t like that,” Bridget pleaded in that simpering manner that normally would have had Mark listening. But he was down bending to her will, caving in to her every whim. He supposed he was to blame for all this. He only enabled her bad habits by letting her get away with things.

            “No Bridget, it is. You were going to let me believe it was my baby,” Mark snapped.

            A hand slid into his and he looked at Eggsy. The feel of Eggsy’s palm against his own grounded him.

            “I don’t know whose it is,” Bridget confessed. “The night with you, we were drunk. And Daniel and I had right before. We weren’t together, you and I. And I was lonely and sad, and Daniel had comforted me. It isn’t an excuse I know, but… we haven’t since, I swear. I wasn’t sure how to tell you, especially since you always get so upset whenever Daniel is mentioned.”

            “I bloody well wonder why!” Mark roared. “Maybe because every time there’s something good in my life, Daniel fucking Cleaver sneaks in and leeches away any happiness I have.”

            “That seems a tad extreme,” Daniel grumbled.

            “Bruv if I was y’ I’d keep y’r mouth shut, less y’ want to be introduced to my fist too.”

            “Mark, I swear I didn’t mean for any of this to happen,” Bridget pleaded.

            “Ladies and gentlemen, as touching as this is, I’m going to have to ask you to take this outside. This is a doctor’s office, not a bloody tabloid show,” Dr. Rawling stated curtly.

            “Perhaps we should all just take a break, yeah? Talk after we’ve cooled off,” Eggsy suggested.

            “No, I’m done talking,” Mark said and turned to leave.

            “Mark—” Bridget called.

            “After the baby is born I want a paternity test. Then I’ll make my decisions. If the baby isn’t mine Bridget, I don’t want to hear from you ever again. Is that understood?”

            When Bridget didn’t answer right away, he turned and barked, “Is that understood?”

            She jumped, tears springing in her eyes. “Yes, I understand.”

            “Let’s go Eggsy.” Mark tugged on Eggsy’s hand and walked out of the office, shoving past Daniel.

            They didn’t say anything as Eggsy hailed a cab. Mark wasn’t sure what he could say. Once more his world was tipped upside down and Mark was left fumbling to catch the pieces.

            Soft lips brushed along his knuckles. Mark looked away from the window to Eggsy, who offered a small smile.

            At least this time he had someone to help him catch.

Chapter Text

            “Merlin has informed me about your request to have your mission levels increased,” Arthur said as he poured two cups of tea. He set the pot down on the table and passed Harry the cup and saucer, a delicate bone china with tiny flowers painted on it. It was the same set that Chester King himself served with when Harry would join him for elevenses.

            “Thank you,” Harry said as he accepted the tea and took a sip. “I think we can both agree my skills can be better put to use on more than surveillance missions.”

            His relationship with Arthur—formerly Caradoc—had always been a bit of a tense one. When Harry had entered Kingsman, Caradoc had been an agent already for ten years. At the time, he had seen Harry as a flashy showboat. To his credit, Harry did have a rebellious streak and a knack for flare, but Harry had also proven himself as a dedicated agent and one of Kingsman’s best. As the years went, his relationship with the former Caradoc oscillated between police resignation and competitive disdain.

            Harry always suspected Caradoc saw him as a threat—whether for the title of Arthur or just to his way of life in general, Harry wasn’t sure. It was his fortitude and skill though that had allowed him to rise above, surpassing even Caradoc in numbers as the leading agent.

            Now the paradigm had shifted, with Caradoc exalted into power and Harry at the mercy of his command. He wondered if all those years of goading Caradoc would come to bite him in the arse. Maybe he shouldn’t have insinuated during that one mission in Latvia that Caradoc had fucked a duck.

            “You’ve managed to bring your numbers up, surpassing even some of your former records,” Caradoc mused, picking through a selection of files fanned out in front of him on the table. “It seems that the great Galahad has once more risen from the dead, though I suppose in this case it’s the metaphorical grave. Nonetheless, I see no reason to bar you from harder missions. If you feel you’re capable of completing jobs, I’ll inform Merlin to lift the restriction.”

            “Thank you,” Harry said, and he truly met it. For months now he’d been feeling like he was in a state of half-life, only held together because of Eggsy and Mark. While he was grateful just to be alive and capable of returning to work, being forced into monotonous surveillance missions had left him without a sense of purpose. The missions could have been done by rookie officer in Scotland Yard.

            Harry hadn’t worked as hard as he did to regain control of his life only to be shunted out into the kiddie pool. He was Galahad, damn it. It wasn’t vanity that compelled him. He knew he wasn’t invincible—he above all others understood the fragility of mortality. But he would never start feeling whole again, never start feeling like himself, until he could return to his old work.

            Arthur selected a dossier and slid it across the mahogany table. “I think you’ll find your next assignment up to standard.”

            Harry picked up the folder and opened the file. He reviewed the details briefly, before snapping it closed and nodding. It wasn’t anything as complicated as dismantling a terrorist cell, but it was certainly better than hunkering down in a dank apartment in a small village in Slovenia for twelve hours with nothing to entertain him but a spider in the corner of the room.

            “While it may not be as exciting as you were hoping, I think you’ll find it better than what you were handling before. You’ll be leaving in two days. It should be enough time to gather what information you leave. Merlin will go over the details.”

            Harry stood, his tea only half finished, and tucked the dossier into his briefcase. “Good day Arthur,” Harry said and left. He still needed to go to the store to get supplies for dinner tonight. Hopefully it would be a good way to ease Eggsy into the idea of Harry working a bit more.

            As if summoned, Harry’s phone started to ring and he answered it without checking the ID. “Hello?”

            “Where are y’?” Eggsy demanded. “Y’re supposed to be home and resting.”

            Harry winced. He’d been in bed all morning recovering from a migraine, but after a two-hour nap and a heavy dose of medicine, he woke up feeling much better. Arthur had called him in shortly after he woke.

            “I needed to go into the office,” Harry said.

            “Damn it Haz, y’re supposed to take it easy.”

            Harry scrunched his nose at the name. “I wish you wouldn’t call me that.”

            “I wish y’ wouldn’t push y’rself,” Eggsy countered, sharper than what Harry thought was necessary.

            Harry paused and frowned. “I don’t believe it’s necessary to use that tone, darling. Arthur requested a meeting, I couldn’t very well deny him. I’m on my way home now.”

            Eggsy huffed, the tension bleeding from his voice as he mumbled, “Sorry babe, I didn’t mean to snap… I, well things didn’t go too well at the appointment. Guess I’m still just a bit riled up.”

            “Is Mark all right? The baby?” Harry asked, immediately on alert.

            “The baby is fine, and technically Mark is,” Eggsy said.

            “Technically?”

            “I think he should tell y’, but he could really use y’ right now. He says he’s fine, but he has that look in his eyes. That one he gets when he’s trying to shut himself out. He locked himself away in y’r office to get some work done, but I’m pretty sure he’s just drinking.”

            “What did Bridget do?” Harry would kill the woman. She constantly toyed with Mark, treating him no better than a child with a toy car. He wasn’t something to just be tossed around and abandoned. Mark should be treasured, he was meant to be cherished and adored.

            “Just get home, yeah?” Eggsy said.

            “I’m swinging by the store for dinner and then I’ll be home,” Harry assured. He left the tailor shop, a Kingsman taxi already waiting on him. “I’ll make it quick.”

            “Mmkay,” Eggsy said. “Love y’.”

            “I love you too, darling.” Harry hung up and slipped into the cab. He stopped at a Mark and Spencer, where he mostly grabbed the first thing he saw. He didn’t even realize what he bought until he was in the taxi gab on the way home and he discovered he picked up turnips, bib lettuce, salmon, and parsnips. He wasn’t sure what he planned on making, but he’d figure it out when he got hone.

* * * *

            Eggsy knocked on the door to Harry’s office, a tray of tea balanced in his other hand. He didn’t get an answer, and for a moment he considered turning around heading back downstairs. Harry texted to say he was on his way home, so maybe Eggsy should wait.

            But Mark was hurting, and even though a part of Eggsy told him to give Mark space, he couldn’t just stand there knowing he was suffering.

            Eggsy eased the door open and announced, “I brought y’ some tea.”

            Mark looked up from his laptop, a glass of scotch clutched in one hand, the other curled around a mouse. “I’m good.”

            Eggsy set the tea tray on the corner of the desk. “Babe…”

            “I don’t want to discuss it,” Mark cut him off sharply.

            Eggsy bit his bottom lip. He could strangle Bridget. If she’d just been honest from the beginning, maybe Mark wouldn’t have been so hurt. Instead she tried to pull the wool over their eyes with some convoluted plan, and now Eggsy was left to clean up the pieces of her mess.

            “Babe, I’m sure—”

            “No, Eggsy. I don’t want to discuss it,” Mark repeated, the words lashing against Eggsy.

            Eggsy grit his teeth, trying not to take offense to his abrasive tone, and said, “Okay. Just… have some tea. Bit early for drinking, innit?”

            Mark fixed him with a baleful look and Eggsy sucked on his teeth. “Fine, drink y’rself under the table. Seems to run through the fucking Darcy blood.”

            He left and headed downstairs. He shouldn’t be angry, Mark was hurting and trying to process everything that happened. He was simply misplacing his anger, which was really directed towards Bridget.

            “Fucking hell,” Eggsy grumbled. Bridget’s reach was wide. Even when she wasn’t here, her shadow stretched over them and created gulfs.

            All I can do is be patient. Mark will open up. He just needed to be understanding.

            With that thought secured in his mind, he gathered JB and took him for a walk around the block. When he got back, Harry was home and unloading his grocery bags.

            “Wot are y’ going to do with that?” Eggsy nodded to the turnip Harry was studying.

            “I have no clue,” Harry confessed.

            “Then why’d y’ buy it?”

            “I didn’t mean to?”

            Eggsy chuckled and removed JB’s harness. JB scampered over to Harry, circling his feet excitedly. Harry set the turnip onto the counter and crouched to pet him.

            “He’s still in y’r office, drinking himself into a stupor.”

            “Ah yes, the good ol’ Darcy remedy.”

            “I know,” Eggsy grumbled and busied himself with putting the rest of the groceries away.

            Harry slipped behind Eggsy, pressing against his back, and looped his arms around his waist. The solid wait helped ease the tension spooling in his chest.

            “He’ll be okay darling,” Harry said, lips pressed to the back of Eggsy’s head.

            “I don’t know… wot Bridget did, she…”

            “What?”

            “He really should tell y’. Why don’t y’ go talk to him?”

            Harry shook his head. “No, I know my brother. He needs some alone time. He’ll come down when he’s ready. Until then, would you like to help me fix dinner?”

            Eggsy settled a hand on Harry’s arm and squeezed. “Yeah, that’s good. Maybe we can figure out what to do with this turnip.”

            “Is that cheek?” Harry nipped at his collarbone. “Perhaps that’s all you’ll get tonight. A bowl of steamed turnips.”

            “I’d get my vitamin C,” Eggsy shot back.

            “Brat,” Harry huffed into his neck.

            They disentangled, and while Harry put away the rest of the groceries, Eggsy fed JB, who sat at their feet panting heavily. Harry turned on the radio he kept in the kitchen and Lee Morgan’s sultry trumpets came on.

            Working with Harry always came naturally for Eggsy. Whether it was out in the field or around the house, he was constantly aware of Harry’s position and movements, able to read what he’d do next. There wasn’t any awkward shuffling or toe-stepping as they maneuvered around the kitchen, listening to Since I Fell for You, and prepared dinner.

            Michelle had told Eggsy once that when his dad had been alive, she could feel his heartbeat, even when he wasn’t around. Eggsy had laughed at the declaration—that was some fairy tale bullshite, if Eggsy ever heard any—but now Eggsy understood. He sensed Harry’s heart over his, just as he sensed Mark’s up in the office.

            Every cell, every atom, was attuned to Harry’s and Mark’s whereabouts. Their souls played upon one another in the same way the trumpet and guitars and drums harmonized to great a smooth song.

            Harry passed Eggsy a knife, while he moved to place pans on the stove and start prepping the fish. Low, just under the song, Harry hummed along.

            Eggsy smiled and started to slice garlic and some Brussel sprouts they had in the fridge. Neither spoke as they worked—they didn’t need to—but Harry always knew when Eggsy needed something, and Eggsy knew when Harry needed him to move.

            Eggsy deposited the halved sprouts into a bowl and rinsed off his knife. Harry removed it from his hand wordlessly and took him into his arms, sweeping him into a dance as the song transitioned Joe Lovano’s Stella by Starlight.

            They swayed together, gliding across the kitchen with JB as audience. Laughter bubbled in Eggsy until it spilled out of him and he buried his face in Harry’s chest. “Idiot,” Eggsy mumbled with a smile.

            He could feel Harry’s own smile against his temple. “An idiot in love, perhaps,” Harry whispered into his ear.

            Eggsy’s stomach flipped and he could feel heat creeping up his neck. They stayed like that, swaying back and forth, not really doing much more, but perfectly content. Eggsy almost forgot about the world until he felt a pair of eyes on him and he turned to look at Mark, who leaned against the kitchen door frame, a half-finished glass of scotch in his hand.

            “Ah, Mark, excellent timing,” Harry said. “I need to finish dinner, but it would be a sin to abandon my dance partner. Perhaps you can relieve me?”

            Mark blinked, his eyes red from drink, and frowned. Eggsy feared he’d say no, and he almost started to pull away. Harry tightened his hold on Eggsy.

            “It would be terrible to let someone so lovely leave the dance floor, wouldn’t it?” Harry said.

            Mark sighed and set his glass down. Before Eggsy could process what happened, Harry spun him into Mark’s arms, which securely came around him. Eggsy cold smell the smoky scotch on Mark’s breath as he pressed close.

            “I’m sorry I snapped,” Mark whispered.

            Eggsy smiled and looped his arms around his neck. “Y’re fine, guv. It’s been a long day.”

            Mark’s expression wavered and nodded. Eggsy drew him close, and without another word, took the lead in the dance. At some point the music had changed to Kenny Dorham’s Alone Together, the soulful notes accented by the pop of oil as Harry seared the salmon and sautéed the turnips and Brussel sprouts.

            The kitchen filled with the aromatic scent of garlic and lemon, and soon Eggsy’s stomach was grumbling.

            “I’ll set the table,” Eggsy offered when the song ended.

* * * *

            Harry prepared pan seared salmon with a light lemon sauce, sautéed turnips in garlic, and charred Brussel sprouts with crispy bacon. Eggsy located a wine of good year and they settled around the table to eat. Usually the conversation flowed as easily as the wine, but tonight the only sound was the cutlery scraping against the china as they ate.

            Every now and then Harry looked up to meet Eggsy’s gaze, and they’d both glance at Mark, who focused on slicing his fish and chewing thoroughly. Mark had always been the one to mop around subject, locking himself into his room to fester over the problem, instead of addressing it head on. It was a nasty trait that had often lead to him being hurt. But while a little plying could urge Mark along, too much pushing would only cause Mark to further recede into himself.

            It was a waiting game, and lucky for Harry he was very good at waiting.

            “Mum asked me to watch Daisy this Saturday,” Eggsy announced after he swallowed a bite of salmon.

            “That’ll be nice,” Harry said.

            “I thought y’ and Mark could come with me? If y’ both wanted to I mean.”

            Harry smiled fondly. Of course he would like to watch Daisy. While Michelle didn’t quite know what was going on between her son and the Darcy men, she did know Eggsy was close to Harry. A permanent fixture in her son’s life. So Harry had gotten a chance to bond with the youngest Unwin, and he found her to be the perfect little princess. He never pictured himself as a father—as Mark had stated, he never wanted children—but he supposed if he ever did have kids, he would want a daughter like Daisy.

            “Of course I would like to.” No sooner he said it, he realized he couldn’t. “But I’m afraid I actually have to leave in two days for work.”

            Eggsy’s eyebrows shot up and he flicked his gaze to Mark, who mulishly picked at his food. “A client?”

            “Yes, afraid one requested my services. I leave in two days.”

            “Oh, I didn’t realize we had a client abroad. No one had mentioned anything,” Eggsy said, fixing Harry with a pointed look.

            “Yes, it was a surprise for everyone. I’m sure Mark would be interested in going with you though. Won’t you Mark?”

            “What?” Mark looked up from his plate, his food barely touched.

            “It’s all right, I can go myself,” Eggsy said. “How long are y’ going to be gone?”

            “Nonsense, Mark adores Daisy. And I’m not sure, I’m afraid.”

            “Is it just another fitting measurement?” Eggsy asked, using the code word they decided on when discussing the surveillance missions Harry frequented.

            Eventually they would have to tell Mark the truth. The lie they kept building on their careers was getting harder and harder, but Harry wasn’t sure how to approach the subject. Especially with everything going on with Bridget. Perhaps after things had settled with that, Harry could figure out the right way to broach the topic.

            “No, I’ll be flying in to make some corrections on a botched job from another tailor,” Harry said.

            Eggsy’s eyes widened and the air crackled around him. He opened his mouth, but whatever he wanted to say, he swallowed when looked at Mark.

            “It shouldn’t take too long,” Harry started, but went quiet when Eggsy wiped his mouth with his napkin and pushed away from the table.

            “Dinner was good Harry,” Eggsy said. “But I’m full.”

            “Eggsy—”

            “Excuse me,” he cut Harry off and picked up his plate.

            Before he could escape into the kitchen, Mark said suddenly, “The baby may not be mine.”

            Eggsy froze and Harry blinked, slowly processing what Mark said. “What do you mean the baby may not be yours?”

            Eggsy turned back around and returned to the table, setting his plate down. He slid his hand over Mark’s shoulder and squeezed.

            “Bridget slept with Daniel Cleaver around the same time she slept with me,” Mark explained, his glare fixed on the table. “And she isn’t sure who she got pregnant from.”

            A black, vicious anger opened inside Harry. He hated that wretched woman. He hated her for everything she did to Mark. He hated her for ever looking in his direction.

            “She told you this?”

            “Not quite…” Eggsy said vaguely.

            “What do you mean not quite? How did you find out?” Harry looked between them, and Mark finally met his gaze.

            “Daniel Cleaver showed up while I was back with Bridget in the examination room. He decided it would be appropriate to try and pick Eggsy up, and when we returned, everything just… spilled out.”

            “Daniel hit on it on you?” Harry looked at Eggsy, who winced and nodded. Harry clenched his hand around his knife.

            Time and time again Harry had watched Bridget take Mark apart. He had remained silent when she toyed with Mark’s heart during their early courtship. He’d bit his tongue when she hurled ironic and slanderous accusations without any credibility.  He’d done nothing when she tore Mark’s heart from his chest and stomped on it—something Harry still regretted—and he’d allowed this whole ordeal to slip by without so much as a single threat, all because he knew Mark wouldn’t want Harry interfering.

            But Harry was done watching Bridget, and by proxy Daniel, ravage what last bit of happiness Mark had. And he certainly wasn’t going to sit idly by as Daniel tried to creep in and snatch Eggsy away—though Harry didn’t doubt Eggsy’s fidelity, he also didn’t put it above Daniel to sink to nefarious devices to obtain what he wanted.

            “Excuse me,” Harry said and stood.

            “Sit back down,” Eggsy ordered with a pointed look.

            “I’ll only be a moment,” Harry assured. He was just going to make a phone call and have their problems completely wiped away.

            “No Harry,” Eggsy warned, pointing to his seat.

            Mark looked between them, his brows scrunched. “What are you two talking about?”

            “Nothing,” Eggsy assured and laid his hand over Mark’s. “Babe, look, wot ever happens with Bridget and the baby, we’ll get through this.”

            “And if it isn’t mine?” Mark asked.

            “Then we wash our hands of Bridget completely,” Harry said, still not sitting down. Honestly, he’d be happy if the baby wasn’t Mark’s and they could finally walk away from Bridget for good.

            “And if I don’t want to?” Mark murmured, looking up at Harry.

            Harry paused. Then what? The look Mark gave him gutted him. It was the same lost look he’d turn on Harry when their father started. Mark fixed Harry with a pleading gaze, a silent ‘save me’, and Harry tried to tamp down on his possessiveness. They weren’t boys again, Harry couldn’t just gather Mark into his arms and shield him from the world. As much as he wanted to erase Mark’s problems, Eggsy wouldn’t be very upset if he killed Daniel and Bridget.

            Harry sighed and said, “Follow me Mark.”

            Without looking back, Harry went to the living room and took a seat on the couch. Mark and Eggsy followed a moment later. Harry held his hand out. Mark hesitated for only a moment before taking Harry’s hand and allowing him to draw him in. He splayed Mark across his lap, hugging him close as he did when they were boys, and tucked Mark’s head against his shoulder.

            Eggsy took a seat beside them, allowing space, but remaining within reach.

            “We will support whatever decision you make, just as we had said before,” Harry said, resting his cheek against the top of Mark’s head. “Shall you choose to aid Bridget, even if the baby isn’t yours, then Eggsy and I will be there. Shall the baby be yours and you want to support her, then we will be with you every step of the way. And should you decide you wish to walk away from it all, then we will not judge you.”

            “Harry’s right,” Eggsy said and gathered Mark’s hands in his own. “It’s y’ and us, babe.”

            “And should Daniel prove to be more of a nuisance than he’s worth, I’ll get rid of him for us,” Harry stated, ignoring Eggsy’s glare.

            Mark snorted into his neck. “You make it sound as if you’ll kill him.”

            Harry sniffed. “Maybe not kill.”

            “Anyways,” Eggsy said. “All y’ need to know Mark is that we’re here for y’. Y’ aren’t alone anymore.”

            JB walked into the room with a huff and trotted over to the couch. He sat at Eggsy’s feet, looking up at them eagerly, and gave another huffing bark. His little but wagged as he gathered up his reserves to jump. JB hopped onto the couch and nosed his way between Eggsy and Harry.

            “See,” Harry said with a chuckle, “Even JB is here for you.”

            “Ridiculous pug,” Mark stated fondly and reached over to scratch him.

            Eggsy leaned against Harry, thoroughly pinning JB between them, and stretched Mark’s long legs across his lap. They remained there, cuddled together, and basked in the comfort of one another.

Chapter Text

            “Did y’ seriously baby proof the toilet?” Eggsy shouted from the hall bathroom, glaring at the contraption securing the toilet seat closed. He needed to piss like a motherfucker and the lid was bolted down with a white plastic deadbolt that Eggsy was sure even MacGyver wouldn’t be able to break.

            He tried lifting the lid, but it only opened a few centimeters before snapping shut. Eggsy kicked the porcelain bowl. “Fucking piece of shite.” He glanced at the toilet roll, which was covered in another white plastic contraption. “Oh come on! The toilet paper too?”

            He stormed out of the bathroom, finding Mark in his study, padding the corners of his desk. “Bruv, wot are y’ doing?”

            Mark glanced over his shoulder. “What does it look like? We have to make sure everything is safe for your sister.”

            Eggsy looked to the ceiling and prayed to whatever deity existed for patience. He’d be lying if he denied that his stomach didn’t flip at all the concern Mark was showing over Daisy. It was sweet, really, and it made Eggsy happy to know that Mark cared that much—but he really needed to pee, dammit.

            “Babe, I love y’, and it’s great that y’re taking such an initiative, but she’s three. She doesn’t need baby proofing.”

            Mark finished securing the last rubber pad on the corner of his desk and stood. “But the books said…”

            Eggsy smiled in exasperation and shook his head. Bless this man. With everything going on with Bridget, and now Harry gone on a mission (though Mark assumed he was just abroad on a tailoring job), Mark needed an outlet, and it seemed worrying over tonight’s babysitting job was where he was plying his energies. He took Mark’s face in his hands and kissed him.

            “Get that thing off the fucking toilet or y’ll be sleeping on the couch,” Eggsy warned severely. Mark blinked in surprise, but nodded. Eggsy kissed him again. “Thank y’ for caring so much. But everything will be fine. Dais knows how to act.”

            “Okay,” Mark murmured. “I just wanted… I…”

            He sighed and shrugged. Eggsy got it. He didn’t know what to do. And Eggsy would be more than happy to comfort him, after he went to the bathroom.

            “Toilet, now.”

            Mark vanished into the bathroom, returning a few minutes later with the lock in hand. Eggsy went pee, grumbling in relief. Mark was sitting on the couch when Eggsy returned. Eggsy took a seat next to him and patted his knee.

            “Babe, it’ll be okay. Just relax, yeah? We’ll play some games, feed her, and then put a movie in. Y’ want to make an impact? Offer her a cookie and y’ll be her favorite person for the night.”

            “That easy, is it?” Mark smiled and nipped at Eggsy’s thumb. “I believe that’s how I win you over too, isn’t it?”

            “Oh, y’ need something bigger to win me over.” He waggled his eyebrows, savoring the flush that spread across Mark’s cheeks.

            That was one of the difference between him and Harry that Eggsy loved. Harry was much harder to shake up. Usually he was the one getting Eggsy to squirm. Eggsy could count on one hand all the times he made Harry blush. But Mark was quick to fluster, shooting furtive smiles and ducking his head. Each time it happened, warmth spread through Eggsy’s chest, starting deep within the breastbone.

            A knock at the door broke them apart and Eggsy went to answer. JB pranced around his feet, huffing and whining. At the sight of Daisy, JB barked happily. Eggsy’s mum beamed at him, clutching a bag to her side with one hand, and holding onto Daisy with the other.

            “Thank y’ again love,” Michelle said in greeting.

            Eggsy dropped a kiss onto her cheek before accepting the bag of supplies. “Not a problem, mum. We’re happy to have Dais. I’ve missed my flower.”

            Eggsy crouched down to Daisy’s level and opened his arms, which she immediately delved into. He hauled her up with a mighty roar and swung her back and forth. “How’s my girl been?”

            Daisy giggled and snuggled closer, burrowing her face into his neck. Eggsy melted around her, inhaling the sweet strawberry scent of her hair. While he loved living with Mark and Harry (though his mum only thought he lived with Mark), there was still a part of him that ached for home. He missed seeing his mum in the morning and he missed holding Daisy a night.

            Their apartment back at the estates had been small, and Eggsy had to share a room with Daisy. Most boys his age would have complained about being forced to reside in the same space as their infant sibling, but not Eggsy. He preferred it. It allowed him to protect her, to watch over her when Dean was on a rampage. There were many nights, when Daisy wouldn’t stop crying, that Eggsy would bring her to bed with him and hold her close, singing soft reassurances until she fell asleep.

            Michelle smiled fondly at them. “I’ll be back around ten, I promise.”

            “No rush,” Eggsy assured her, settling Daisy on his hip. “I really appreciate y’ bringing her here instead. I know it’s a bit of a hassle.”

            “It was no problem babe.” Michelle looked past Eggsy and waved. “Hello Mark. Keeping my boy in line?”

            Eggsy turned to Mark, who hovered in the threshold of the living room. Mark smiled cordially at Michelle and assured, “He’s a delight every day.”

            “Charmer, this one.” Michelle chuckled and kissed both Daisy’s and Eggsy’s cheeks. “Y’ be good now love, okay? Mummy will see y’ tonight.”

            “Have fun with y’r friends,” Eggsy said, closing the door behind Michelle as she left. Daisy peeked over Eggsy’s shoulder and then curled in around him, hiding her face in the crux of his neck again. “Wot’s this? Are we being shy? Come on now, y’ know Mark.”

            “Hello Ms. Daisy,” Mark greeted, drifting closer. He reached out and took Daisy’s hand, bestowing a kiss on her knuckles. Daisy giggled in Eggsy’s ear and lifted her head. “You’re looking lovely today.”

            Deciding she was over her bought of nerves, Daisy reached over Eggsy for Mark. “Ark.”

            “Oh I see how it is. Soon as someone better comes along, y’r dear ol’ brother gets the boot?” Eggsy teased as he passed her over to Mark.

            Mark cradled her in his arms, bracing her with one arm tucked beneath her legs, his other hand wrapped around her side. Eggsy hadn’t thought it possible for his heart to swell any more than it already had, but the look Mark gave Daisy, as if she were the most precious gift, stole Eggsy’s breath. Mark stroked her arm in reverence and murmured gently to her, carrying her into the living room where the new toys they bought her were packed away in a chic cloth storage cube. JB scrambled to follow, circling around until he settled on a place to sit.

            Daisy giggled and babbled nonsense, and Mark agreed whole heartedly, as if he perfectly understood her gibberish. Eggsy leaned against the threshold with his arms crossed over his chest and watched.

            He knew it wasn’t his place to decide for Mark, but part of Eggsy couldn’t help but think how amazing Mark would be if he were a dad. Eggsy wished he could give that to Mark.

            Mark set Daisy down and sat beside her. Eggsy winced, knowing Mark’s knees wouldn’t forgive him later when he got back up. Mark proceeded to show Daisy the toys he bought. It was only a fraction of what had originally been in the cart when they went shopping. Mark was as bad as Harry when it came to spoiling Daisy, and if either Darcy brother had their way, they’d shower Daisy in gifts.

            Daisy grabbed the Duplo blocks and shook them out onto the floor with a gleeful squeal. “Castle,” she insisted.

            “Fitting for a princess,” Mark agreed and spread his legs out so he could start constructing a castle between his legs.

            Daisy selected the blocks and passed them to him, and when he put them where she didn’t want, she shook her head and said, “No, no.”

            Eggsy remained there for a good fifteen minutes, content to watch as they played. He fished his phone out of his pocket and snapped a quick picture to show Harry when he returned.

            “Can I join y’?” Eggsy asked, finally pushing off the door frame. Mark craned around to look at him, Daisy now sitting between his legs.

            “What do you say, Princess Daisy? Shall we let him join us?” Mark asked, mouth tipped up wryly.

            “Yes! Princess ‘Ggsy!”

            Eggsy raised an eyebrow, but he knew better than to argue with a three-year-old. He took a seat next Mark, stretching his legs out so they were pressed against the long length of Mark’s, and accepted the Duplo figure Daisy handed him.

            “And who’s Mark?” Eggsy asked.

            “Pony,” Daisy said and handed Mark a white horse, which JB sniffed at and made an attempt to steal.

            “I think JB wants to be the pony,” Eggsy laughed.

            “He is the size of one,” Mark said.

            “Are y’ calling my dog fat? I ain’t the one that sneaks him treats under the table.”

            “That’s Harry,” Mark said.

            Eggsy rolled his eyes, trying to hide his smile as he drew JB into his lap. Playing princesses consisted of Daisy’s princess rescuing Eggsy’s from the evil wizard who Eggsy named Merlin.

             “Why don’t y’ go fix dinner while I help Daisy clean?” Eggsy suggested when they finished playing.

            Mark stood with a groan, his knees creaking. Eggsy winced sympathetically. An old man joke popped into his head, but he decided best to save it for another time. Mark dipped down to steal a kiss, then vanished into the kitchen.

            Eggsy ended up on the couch after they finished putting the blocks away, Daisy curled in his lap and a book opened up. Eggsy read quietly to her, content to have her weight settled against his chest.

            Eggsy looked up halfway through the story and met Mark’s eyes. He leaned against the doorframe, the same spot Eggsy had observed him from, a content look upon his face.

            “Food is ready,” Mark said, hushed.

            “Ready to eat Daisy bug?” Eggsy asked, snapping the book closed.

            She slipped out of Eggsy’s lap and ran to Mark, who led her into the dining room and put her into the booster seat he bought the day before. She sat between them, allowing either to address her needs while they all ate.

            This was what he always wanted. Growing up, family dinners hadn’t existed. His mum tried, but with work it had been hard for her to eat with Eggsy. And then Dean had shown up and Eggsy hadn’t stayed in the apartment long enough to eat. Daisy wouldn’t have to know that struggle, though. She’d always know what it felt to be surrounded by love.

            Sauce smeared across Daisy’s face as she ate the spaghetti. It probably hadn’t been the best choice in dinner, but it was easy and Eggsy knew Daisy would eat it.

            “Stop hovering,” Eggsy chided with a chuckle. Mark barely touched his own food, his focus solely on Daisy as she chomped on chopped up noodles.

            “What if she starts choking?”

            “Babe, she knows how to eat. Don’t you Daisy bug? Say you’re a big girl.”

            “Big girl!” Daisy shouted, puffing out her chest proudly.

            “See, she’s a big girl. She eats like a proper lady.” Eggsy pointed at Mark’s full plate. “Now eat y’r supper, or there’s no pudding for y’.”

            Mark huffed, but ate, and after pudding—which ironically, was pudding—Eggsy had Mark help him give Daisy a bath. Daisy decided that she was the little mermaid and bathwater ended up all over Eggsy and Mark, a crown of bubbles resting on Mark’s head. Daisy shrieked with laughter and Eggsy just shook his head as the bubbles popped, one by one.

            “Alright flipper, out y’ go,” Eggsy said and wrangled Daisy into a towel. “Mark, her pajamas should be in the bag mum brought. Can y’ grab them for me?”

            Mark blinked and shook the bubbles from his hair. “Yes, of course.” He left and retrieved the floral-printed footie pajamas, which Daisy refused to put on.

            “No bed,” Daisy cried.

            “Come on now, be my big girl,” Eggsy grunted, struggling to slip Daisy’s chubby foot into the first leg.

            “Here, let me try,” Mark said, drawing Daisy away from Eggsy.

            She squirmed and repeated vehemently, “No bed!”

            Eggsy gave it another thirty seconds before the water works started.

            “You aren’t going to bed,” Mark assured in a coaxing dulcet. “We’re going to watch a nice movie, all right Ms. Daisy? But good little girls put their pajamas on.”

            Daisy stilled, her bottom lip wobbling. She glanced between Eggsy and Mark, but didn’t put up a fight when Mark put on her pajamas.

            “Good girl,” Mark praised and kissed the top of her head.

            Eggsy knees quaked. The simple gesture, the sight of Mark holding Daisy, shouldn’t have wrecked Eggsy as much as it did. He never knew it was possible to fall in love a second time, but Eggsy could feel his heart tumbling head-over-heels all over again.

            “I love y’,” Eggsy said, crossing the bathroom to take Mark’s face between his hands and kiss him.

            Daisy shoved at Eggsy’s chest, not liking being squished between them, and Eggsy pulled away with tender look. Mark chased after his mouth, and Eggsy would have been happy to melt back against him, but he didn’t think Daisy would appreciate it.

            “Come on, Frozen is calling us.” Eggsy shot Mark a maniacal look—he finally had someone to suffer with him.

            They piled onto the couch and Mark drew a blanket around them. He hugged Eggsy close and Daisy sat between them, half sprawled onto Mark’s lap. She jammed her thumb into her mouth as the movie started. Halfway through the movie Mark slumped against Eggsy, snoring lightly into his ear, while Daisy slept stretched out across their laps.

            The only thing that could have made it better was if Harry was there to warm Eggsy’s other side. Next time.

            Eggsy laid his head against Mark’s and drifted off into a light sleep. He woke when someone knocked on the door. He snapped his eyes open, wincing at the crick that formed in his neck. He straightened, rubbing at the sore tendons.

            “Mark,” Eggsy groused sleepily. He nudged Mark, who woke with an undistinguished snort. “Take Daisy.”

            Mark nodded and gathered her into his arms, his eyes already drooping back closed. Eggsy smiled and kissed both of their foreheads. He snapped a photo before he answered the door.

            “How was everything?” Michelle asked, stepping in.

            “Good, she’s asleep now.”

            Michelle followed him into the living room, immediately cooing at the sight of Mark and Daisy sleeping together.

            “Well isn’t that the most precious thing,” Michelle whispered. “Y’ sure did find a good one, Eggsy.”

            “I know,” Eggsy murmured. He somehow found two good ones.

            “Daisy love, time to go,” Michelle coaxed softly, gently taking Daisy from Mark. Mark woke again, blinking blearily at Michelle.

            “Oh, Michelle,” Mark croaked, voice rough with sleep. “That time already?”

            “Yes. Thank y’ so much,” Michelle said, hoisting Daisy up so she slept over her shoulder. Daisy made a whining sound and burrowed deeper into Michelle.

            “Did y’ have a good time mum?” Eggsy asked. He gathered Daisy’s things and shoved them into the bag Michelle brought.

            “Yeah, it was nice to see the girls.”

            “If you ever need to get out again, you only have to ask Michelle,” Mark said and dammit, Eggsy’s heart did another skip. He may have to go to a doctor if it kept making that motion.

            Michelle beamed at Mark, and Eggsy could already see wedding bells going off in her head. Eggsy ushered out of the flat before she started discussing dates and floral arrangements. He brought the bag out for her and kissed both Michelle and Daisy goodbye.

            Mark was waiting for him at the stairs when Eggsy came back in. Eggsy looped his arms loosely around his neck and said, “That wasn’t so bad.”

            “No, it was… it was nice,” Mark said, dipping down to press his forehead to Eggsy’s. “Thank you, for letting me help.”

            “Anytime babe,” Eggsy whispered and kissed Mark. “Now come on, let’s go to bed.”

            He took Mark’s hand and lead him up to their bed. Neither said anything as they settled in for the night, but Eggsy noticed how Mark held him a little tighter.

* * * *

            Harry returned three days later close to midnight. Eggsy threw his arms around Harry’s neck in greeting, while Mark offered a more reserved welcome home. It wasn’t sufficient enough, though, and Harry dragged Mark into a breathless kiss that left him trembling and clutching onto him.

            After a shower to wash away the travel, and a glass of scotch to ease his muscles, Harry let Mark and Eggsy coax him into the bedroom and show him just how much they missed him. Mark road Harry first, scoring his nails down Harry’s chest and over his nipples, leaving behind ribbons of angry red welts. His thighs burned as he bounced on Harry’s cock, guided by Eggsy’s firm grip on his hips.

            Mark then fucked Eggsy against Harry, who writhed beneath him and clutched onto Harry with desperate pulls and broken whines. Mark watched, mesmerized as Eggsy bent and turned his face into Harry. Harry whispered into his ear, filthy words that had Eggsy sobbing and quaking, spilling all over himself in a delicious mess that Mark lapped up.

            When they were all finished and sprawled out on the bed, Eggsy snug between Mark’s and Harry’s chest, Mark said, “If…”

            He paused, the words stuck in his throat.

            Harry looked at him over the top of Eggsy’s head. “What is it Mark?”

            Mark’s throat clicked closed. He’d been considering the possibilities since Daisy had been over. She’d been so soft in his arms; so delicate, but so alive. Her smiles and laughter, even the tears that had gathered in her eyes as she fought against her pajamas, were like small gifts Mark wanted to cherish.

            He wanted that. He wanted that today, tomorrow, ten years from now. He wanted to have that with Eggsy and Harry. He wanted to raise a child with them.

            The realization struck him and he looked between Eggsy and Harry, who watched him patiently.

            He wanted a family with them, and they could have that.

            “If the baby is mine,” Mark repeated, steadier. “I want to be a part of its life. Will you help me?”

            Harry reached across Eggsy and took Mark’s hand. Mark laced their fingers together, pressing his palm against Harry’s.

            “Of course we will.”

            “We’ll be with y’ every step of the way,” Eggsy promised.

            Mark absorbed the words. For the first time in his life he had a family to support him. And he knew that if they raised a baby, it would be the most loved child in the world.

Chapter Text

            Eggsy fiddled with his bowtie in the mirror. There was a knock at the door and then Harry stepped in, announcing, “Guests are arriving.”

            “I’ll be down in a minute,” Eggsy promised, even though that was what he said five minutes ago. He frowned at his reflection, undoing his bowtie and starting over.

            “Here let me,” Harry said and walked over to him.

            Eggsy sighed and turned so Harry could take over. It wasn’t fair how good Harry looked. He really could have been wearing a potato sack and the world would have declared it en vogue. The bespoke tux he donned highlighted his broad shoulders and long legs. It was like he’d stepped out of a Harrod’s catalogue, meanwhile Eggsy felt like an imposter.

            Harry effortlessly tied his bowtie and straightened it. He smoothed his hands over Eggsy’s shoulders, brushing off invisible dust. “You look handsome, darling.”

            Eggsy looked doubtfully at his reflection from the corner of his eye. It wasn’t like it was the first time he’d worn a tuxedo. It was a familiar suit of armor, but when Eggsy had to wear it before, it had been for Kingsman. He’d been facing strangers and he could hide behind a mask of bravado.

            The people downstairs were Mark’s colleagues, and the impression Eggsy left on them would change their opinion of Mark for better or worse. The pressure sat on Eggsy’s chest like a vest of chains. What if he slipped and said something stupid? What if they realized how young he was? Or what if they saw through his charade and realized he wasn’t anything but a chav impersonating a gentleman.

            What if Mark realized how mismatched they were?

            After all, these were men and women he had to work with, people of status who shaped his career.

            A broad hand cupped his jaw and Eggsy blinked up at Harry. It was easy for him. Harry and Mark were cut from the same cloth. No one would question Harry’s place in Mark’s house. But they’d see Eggsy, see his glaring inexperience and his rough edges, and they’d realize he’s an imposter.

            “You’ll be fine,” Harry said.

            “Yeah? And wot if I say something stupid or embarrass Mark?” Eggsy asked, doubt thinning his voice. His stomach felt like Bilbo’s pantry after the Company had ransacked it.

            “They’ll love you because you’re an absolute delight and perfectly charming,” Harry said, stroking his thumb along Eggsy’s bottom lip. “But if it would make it easier for you, pretend it’s a mission.”

            It wasn’t a bad idea.

            “Just a mission, ta? Will y’ be whispering in my ear the entire time?”

            “Only if you want to hear about all things Mark and I will be doing to you tonight.” Harry leaned down and slotted his mouth against Eggsy’s. He kissed him slow, pressing Eggsy’s bottom lip down with his thumb and flicking his tongue out until Eggsy opened against him. Harry slipped his hand along Eggsy’s jaw, gliding his fingers through his hair and cupping the back of his head. When he pulled away, he whispered, “But I’ll be with you the entire night.”

            Eggsy nodded, a tad breathless from the kiss, and murmured, “Yeah, okay. Come on, let’s get down there before Mark sends up the hounds to find us.”

            “The only hound we have is an overweight pug, and I don’t think he’ll be doing much from the office,” Harry said.

            Eggsy frowned. He felt a tad guilty locking JB up in the office, but Eggsy knew he’d get overwhelmed with all the guests. He stocked Mark’s office with all of JB’s favorite toys, and his blanket and bed, and there was plenty of food and water to keep him from getting hungry. Hopefully JB wouldn’t be too upset about missing out on the party.

            “I still think we should have gotten that tux for him,” Eggsy said as he followed Harry out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

            “We are not starting to dress him,” Harry said.

            “Aw, come on. Y’ know he’d be cute in one of them doggy sweaters. Or a little bespoke suit. Oi, y’ think we could get one made?”

            Harry shot Eggsy an incredulous glare. “We are not getting a suit made for JB.”

            “Spoil sport.”

            A waiter carrying a tray passed them, moving into the living room where the guests had started to gather. Eggsy vaguely recalled Mark explaining why he’d decided to host the dinner party, but he’d only been half listening as Mark informed him of his plans. It wasn’t Eggsy’s fault that he hadn’t fully paid attention—Mark did decide to tell him and Harry while he had his cock halfway down Eggsy’s throat.

            Mark stood surrounded by a few of his coworkers, holding a flute of champagne, which the waiters circled around the living room. He offered a reserved, but charming, smile as he nodded to what one of the people said.

            “He looks bored,” Eggsy whispered.

            “He hates these things,” Harry whispered back. “They’re terrible, after all.”

            “Then why’d he host it?” Eggsy raised his eyebrows.

            “It’s expected of him,” Harry explained with a shrug. He pressed a hand against Eggsy’s lower back and steered him into the room. “A man in his position is expected to host parties in order to progress in his field.”

            Sounded stupid to Eggsy, but he kept his mouth shut. Mark turned to him and his reserved smile erupted into a dimpled grin, and it was like watching a room go from the dim glow of florescent bulbs to brilliant sunlight.

            “Ah, Eggsy,” Mark said and held his hand out. Eggsy took it and let Mark draw him into the curve of his arm. “Gentleman, this is my partner Eggsy Unwin. Eggsy, this is Rufus Walden, Andrew Rutherford, and Gilbert Mulligan.”

            Eggsy shook each of their hands, managing to keep his shoulders straight and his gaze firm. “Pleasure, gentlemen.”

            “And you all know my brother, Harry,” Mark said, gesturing to Harry who stood close to Eggsy’s side.

            “Wonderful to see you gentlemen, as always,” Harry drawled.

            “We were just discussing a case Andrew is handling,” Gilbert informed them, selecting an hor d'oeuvre from a passing tray. He was a pudgy man with a round belly barely contained by his cummerbund. “A nasty divorce case—I’m sure you could relate, Mark. The wife was caught cheating, of course it was with a much younger man. The pool boy, to be exact.”

            “It should be a cut and dry case, there was a prenup set in place. But of course she’s fighting it,” Andrew said, voice a pinch nasally. His face was more nose than anything. “I would be too if I was her. She’ll be destitute without him.”

            “It’s what he gets,” Rufus said, in a similar conceited tone that Charlie had spoken with. “I mean the girl was from Harlesden after all.”

            “Wot does that have to do with anything?” Eggsy asked. “Sure she shouldn’t have cheated, but wot does that have to do with where she was born?”

            The three men shared a look, one Eggsy had seen most of his life. It was a mixture of pity and reservation, quintessentially superior. Charlie had looked at him that way. Chester had leered at him across the round table like that. Every person he passed on Savile Row when he wore his trackies and not his suits looked at him with the same affliction.

            His ears warmed.

            Not even ten minutes in and he already inserted his foot into his mouth.

            Mark squeezed Eggsy’s hip and said, “It doesn’t matter where she’s from. But some people don’t realize that it isn’t where you’re born that defines you as a person, but your actions.”

            Eggsy glanced up at Mark, but he was staring at his associates. It wasn’t necessarily a glare, though the withering look he fixed them with would have made Merlin proud.

            The three men shared another look with each other, all of them opening their mouths, but snapping them closed.

            “An astute observation, brother mine. Character comes from how we treat our fellow man.” Harry smiled pleasantly, but there was a sharpness to the tilt of his lips like razor wire. “It’s why most aristocrats have the emotional depth of a car manual. Ah, Eggsy, I do believe Ms. Morton has arrived. Excuse us gentlemen, Mark.”

            Eggsy kissed Mark’s cheek and went with Harry to greet Roxy, who stood in the foyer with Percival.

            “Roxy, Lane! Y’ made it,” Eggsy greeted, relieved to finally see someone he actually knew. He tried to convince Merlin to come, but Merlin had told him flat out that he’d rather douse himself in gasoline and light himself on fire. It was probably for the best, Merlin always looked like Blofeld when he wore a suit.

            Percival observed the room with detached interest. Roxy hugged Eggsy and asked, “How are you?”

            “Eh, Harry already insulted some of the guests.”

            Roxy raised an eyebrow at Harry, who shrugged. “It isn’t my fault Mark works with fools. I told him the only people that go into law were classless narcissists and sociopaths.”

            “Isn’t Mark a lawyer?” Roxy asked.

            “There’s always the exception, Ms. Morton,” Harry said.

            Roxy didn’t try to hide her smile.

            “Come on Rox, I want y’ to meet someone,” Eggsy said and grabbed her hand. “Y’ look great, by the way.”

            The black dress she wore accentuated her slim curves and showed off her strong arms. Her golden hair was gathered on top of her head with a shimmering clip, exposing the sharp lines of her face.

            “Will you be okay Uncle Lane?” Roxy asked.

            “I’ll keep the old boy entertained,” Harry assured. “Care for a class of scotch?”

            They left to find Mark’s scotch, while Eggsy dragged Roxy over to Rachel, who chatted with a few of the other guests.

            “Rachel,” Eggsy called, beaming at Mark’s assistant. Her green dress complimented her warm brown eyes. She smiled at Eggsy, but her gaze quickly slid past him to Roxy, her pupils dilating with a spark of interest.

            “Excuse me,” She told the women she was speaking with and turned to Eggsy. “Hello Eggsy.”

            Eggsy kissed her cheek before nudging Roxy forward. “This is my friend Roxy. Rox, this is Rachel. She works with Mark.”

            Eggsy could feel himself fading to the background as Rachel shook hand. He beamed, rocking back on his heels as he watched them drift closer and start to talk. He would have liked to stay longer and see how things turned out, but more guests coming in caught his attention. He turned to the door as Bridget entered.

            At five months pregnant, she had a nice size baby bump that even her black dress couldn’t hide. She still looked lovely, Eggsy thought. And while he knew it was the pregnancy that made her glow, she really was radiant.

             After Mark came to the conclusion that he did want to be in the baby’s life if it was his, he had reached out to Bridget. Eggsy still hadn’t quite forgiven her for what she’d done to Mark, but if Mark was willing to move past it, then Eggsy would support him.

            Besides, there was a certain charm to Bridget. While everyone had a few idiosyncrasies, Bridget had an entire armada of them. It meant there was never a dull moment when she was around. Eggsy had never met anyone capable of both making a fool of themselves while at the same time endearing themselves to all those around them.

            Eggsy crossed the room and greeted, “Hello Bridget.”

            There was still tension around Bridget’s smile, but it had slackened over the last month. “Hello Eggsy.”

            “Y’ look lovely. Can I get y’ a drink?”

            “I’m good, thanks. Where’s Mark?”

            Eggsy waved over his shoulder in Mark’s general direction. “Probably still talking to those idiots.”

            Bridget peered around Eggsy to Rufus, Andrew, and Gilbert. “Ah, yes. I call them the Three Stooges.”

            “That sounds fitting.” Eggsy chuckled.

            “These events are always dreadful, aren’t they?” This time when Bridget smiled, it was warmer.

            “Never been much for these kind of parties, to be quite honest.”

            “Mark and I attended a gala once where they hosted a quiz,” Bridget said, grimacing at the memory.

            “A quiz? Bloody hell, let me guess, it was all law questions?”

            “For the most part, yes. Not even all those years of trivial pursuit could help me. I sat there like an imbecile. But who hosts a quiz show at a gala? I didn’t know there’d be a test—I’d just been worried about getting into my bloody dress.”

            “Posh wankers, ta?”

            “Absolutely right. The only questions I got right were on pop culture.” She scrunched her nose in annoyance. “I still say I was right about that Madonna question. Lucky Star was her first UK single. Are those mini quiches? I love mini quiches.”

            “Oi, bruv! Bring those over here!” Eggsy hollered at the passing waiter, signaling him over. Several people, including Mark, turned to look at him. He winced, shooting Mark an apologetic look.

            “Thanks,” Bridget said, taking one and stuffing it in her mouth. The waiter started to turn and she reached for the tray. “Oh no, you can leave that here, thank you very much.”

            The waiter glanced at Eggsy in confusion—and maybe for help—but Eggsy just shrugged and said, “Do as the lady says.”

            He wasn’t stupid. He learned when his mum was pregnant with Daisy that you don’t come between a pregnant woman and one of her cravings. If Bridget wanted mini quiches, then Eggsy would get her mini quiches.

            Mark made his way over to where they stood. Eggsy held the tray while Bridget happily chomped on the hor d'oeuvres.

            “Bridget, glad you could make it,” Mark said. There was a moment where he hovered awkwardly, and he looked like he didn’t know if he should hug her or shake her hand, and then he settled on kissing her cheek. “You look lovely.”

            Bridget flushed and swallowed her mouthful. “I feel like a beached whale.”

            “Nonsense,” Mark admonished. “You’ve always been the loveliest woman in the room.”

            Bridget paused mid-bite, her cheeks dappled a brighter pink. Someone called Mark over and he left before Bridget could respond, kissing Eggsy’s cheek as he parted.

            “I forgot how charming he could be,” Bridget said, dusting crumbs off on her dress. “It makes it easy to fall in love, doesn’t it?”

            “It does.”

            Bridget glanced at him and bit her bottom lip. “I’m not saying I’m in love—well, I guess I never stopped, honestly, but I know that you two are...”

            “Bridget, it’s okay.” And it was. Eggsy trusted Mark, and Bridget was right, it was easy to fall in love with him. It was easy to fall in love with both of the Darcy men.

            She sighed through her nose. “You make it hard to not like you, you know that?”

            Eggsy chuckled and winked at her. “Helps that I’m easy on the eyes.”

            “It most certainly does.”

            Eggsy guffawed and held the trembling appetizer tray out. He wasn’t much for these parties, so he contented himself with stealing trays of appetizers for him and Bridget to munch on in the corner of the room. Harry returned at one point and fixed Bridget with a frigid look that could have turned the sun into a ball of ice. He addressed her with an equally icy tone until Eggsy elbowed him sharply in the side. Harry’s affliction didn’t thaw, but he spoke in sentences longer than two syllabi.

            “Harry, ba—” Eggsy caught himself before he called Harry ‘babe’. “Could y’ get us two drinks? Got me hands full right now.”

            “Of course.” Harry left and some of the tension in the air bleed away.

            “He’s never liked me.”

            “He’s protective of Mark. We both are.”

            “I never set out to hurt him,” Bridget said. She picked up a pastry puff. “I did—do—love Mark. But maybe we’re too different—He’s always been part of a different world.”

            Eggsy followed her gaze to Mark, who laughed with Roxy and Rachel. He could understand what Bridget met. Sometimes he felt like he was out of his depths with Harry and Mark. It’d been clear when he went with Mark to his parents’ home that Eggsy came from an entirely different world. But even though they were night and day to one another, Eggsy wouldn’t change a thing.

            “Don’t you feel out of place sometimes? Like you’re walking out on stage in the middle of play, and you don’t know your lines?”

            “Sometimes,” Eggsy confessed. “But I’ve always been good at winging it.”

            Bridget fixed him with an appraising look, chewing mulishly on her pastry puff. She swallowed and selected another. “It really isn’t fair how charming you are.”

            “And dashing? Don’t forget how dashing I am.”

            She rolled her eyes, but a smile twitched at the corners of her mouth. It reminded Eggsy of when his mum was trying to pretend that she was annoyed with something he just said, but he knew she found him irresistibly cute.

            “Bollocks,” Eggsy cursed and handed Bridget the tray. “Hold this love, I’ll be right back.”

            “What’s wrong?” She took the tray, turning as he marched for the door.

            Daniel Cleaver observed the party with cool satisfaction, his gaze jumping to Eggsy. “Hello darling.”

            “Don’t call me that,” Eggsy whispered harshly. He grabbed Daniel by the arm and hauled him towards the door before Mark could see him. “Wot the fuck are y’ doing here?”

            “Bridget tends to overshare on her Facebook, and I do believe she forgot we were friends,” Daniel said with a chuckle. “I’d thought I’d stop by. It’s time Mark and I buried the hatchet, for the baby’s sake.”

            “The baby’s sake?” Eggsy raised an eyebrow. He believed that about as much as he believed Chester King had the world’s best interest at heart when he agreed to Valentine’s scheme. “Get the fuck out now.”

            “Is that anyway to speak to your guest?” Daniel looked Eggsy up and down, his smirk broadening into an approving smile. “And might I add you look handsome tonight.”

            “Might I add that if y’ don’t leave now, I’m going to shove my foot so far up y’r arse, y’ll be cleaning my heel for a week with y’r tongue.”

            “Mark!” Daniel called, stepping around Eggsy.

            Mark turned, his jovial expression immediately shuttering closed. He glanced at Eggsy, who watched helplessly as Daniel crossed the room to talk with Mark.

            “Fuck,” Eggsy grumbled. He needed to get Daniel out of there before a scene erupted, and from the murderous stare Mark had fixed Daniel with, Eggsy surmised he had about five minutes before World War III broke out.

            “Mark, babe,” Eggsy said. “Help in the kitchen?”

            “I can assist, old chap. You stay with your guests,” Daniel said, patting Mark on the shoulder. Mark visibly flinched away.

            Eggsy shot Roxy a pleading look and mouthed ‘keep him busy’. She gave a small nod and touched Mark’s arm, drawing his attention back to her. Eggsy swept into the kitchen, briefly looking at a butcher knife in consideration—no, he couldn’t kill Daniel…yet—before turning sharply.

            “Leave, now,” Eggsy said and pointed to the back door. “I won’t ask y’ again, bruv.”

            Eggsy wouldn’t have Mark’s night ruined because of Daniel fucking Cleaver. He’d wrecked enough things for Mark. He was a plague, infecting everything within the vicinity. It was time to cut the sickness out.

            A waiter walked by carrying a gleaming tray of crab cakes. Daniel plucked one off. “Don’t you believe it’s time we all started to get along? We’ll be a family, after all.”

            “No, we won’t. Because the baby isn’t y’rs, and y’re going to leave us, including Bridget, alone. Y’ don’t even want the kid, so why don’t y just piss off?”

            Why men like Daniel and Dean existed, Eggsy would never know.

            “I’ve always appreciated a challenge,” Daniel said. “Especially when the rewards are so… appealing.

            Eggsy clenched his fist. He told himself he wouldn’t make a scene for Mark’s sake, but the longer Daniel spoke, the better Eggsy thought the idea of breaking his jaw sounded.

            “So this is Daniel?” Harry asked from behind Eggsy, the warmth of his body flushed against his back. “Tell me, have you heard the phrase, ‘manners maketh man’?”

            Daniel looked past Eggsy, confusion furrowing his brow. “What are you going on about, Darcy?”

            Even though Eggsy couldn’t see his face, he could hear the smile in Harry’s voice. “Men like you, who go through the world believing they’re entitled to everything because they possess a modicum of good looks and charm, are in dire need of an etiquette lesson. Luckily for you, I happen to be a very thorough teacher.”

            Eggsy stepped out of the way just as the Harry’s fist flew past. He struck Daniel in the nose.

            “Fooking hell!” Daniel shouted and attempted to stave off the gushing blood with his hands.

            “That was for showing up uninvited,” Harry said, following the statement with a right that sent Daniel crashing into the wall. “And that was for your deplorable behavior at the doctor’s office.”

            A crowd gathered outside the kitchen, Mark standing at the front with wide eyes. Harry really didn’t understand what highest level of discretion meant, but Eggsy couldn’t fault him tonight. Harry grabbed Daniel by the collar and slammed his fist into his stomach.

            “That is for your behavior towards Eggsy,” Harry said. Daniel hunched forward with a groan, globs of blood dripping onto the hardwood floor. Harry slammed his fist into his temple, sending Daniel sprawling on the floor unconscious. “And that, my dear man, is for all the shite you put Mark through.”

            “Don’t think he heard that last one, Harry,” Eggsy said.

            Harry straightened his tuxedo jacket and smoothed out his hair. “Yes, well, I believe the lesson still got across.” He turned to face the crowd, offering an apologetic smile. “Sorry for the disturbance ladies and gentleman. I’ll just be taking out this trash.”

            Mark opened his mouth, then closed it. Bridget was next to him, her face ashen.

            “I think dinner is ready,” Eggsy said, jumping into action. “Why don’t we all go to the dining room?”

            Mark blinked, snapping out of his daze. “Y-yes, yes. To the dining room, please.”

            The crowd lingered, but one by one they drifted off to the dining room, leaving only Bridget and Mark behind.

            “Is he…” Bridget whispered.

            “Dead? Good heavens no. But he shall be sore come the morning,” Harry said. He looked at Mark. “I suppose I owe you an apology for disrupting your party.”

            Mark took a step towards Harry, but he caught himself last minute and spared Bridget a glance. Eggsy didn’t miss the look of gratitude and hunger that passed through Mark’s eyes, though, and warmth pooled in his stomach. Harry would be getting a sound thank you when the evening was over.

            “I’ll help you move him,” Mark said instead.

            “So will I,” Eggsy offered. “Bridget, would you mind supervising the guests?”

            “Yeah, yeah I can do that,” Bridget said.

            As soon as she was gone, Mark crossed the room and hauled Harry into a heady kiss. Harry looped an arm around Mark’s waist, tugging him closer, and cupped the back of his neck with his other hand. Eggsy caught a glimpse of tongue before he turned around and called for a Kingsman cab.

            They arranged for Daniel to be dropped off in a seedier part of town. Mark and Harry hauled him out to the cab when it arrived, and Eggsy had someone pick up Daniel’s car and deliver it to the same location Daniel was left.

            They returned to the dinner party, Eggsy and Harry taking a seat on either side of Mark. Rachel and Roxy sat together, shooting each other private smiles. Bridget glanced every now and then at Mark and Harry, but Percival kept her company.

            Despite the hiccup with Daniel, Eggsy thought the evening went better than could have been expected.

Chapter Text

Eggsy sat on a silver yoga ball, surrounded by six other pregnant women and their significant others. Every so often the ball rolled back. The brightly lit room dripped in pastels, one giant wall was opened with windows, while the rest were plastered with informative posters on birthing. Eggsy struggled to keep his gaze from focusing on one particularly detailed diagram of a uterus

Bridget sat next to Mark, her stomach now the size of a heavily inflated beach ball. At seven months, she was enormous, but Eggsy assured her every time he saw her that she was lovely—he wasn’t a fool.

Their instructor was a middle aged man in yoga-pants with a paisley scarf around his neck and his brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. Eggsy glanced at Mark, who shared a similar expression of ‘what the fuck’, but neither said anything as the man introduced himself, “Hello class, I’m your instructor Dakota. Let’s start by having everyone introduce themselves.”

“Oh you can’t be serious,” Harry says into Eggsy’s ear.

It’d been agreed Eggsy would go with Mark, since it would be strange for Harry to attend the class. When Mark wasn’t in the room, Eggsy offered to wear his glasses so Harry could at least see what the class was like. Eggsy now regretted opening his mouth, because Harry was going to be unbearable, he just knew it.

“Hi, I’m John, and this is my wife Beverly,” The first couple said. John had his arm around his very pregnant wife, who waved happily at the class.

“They look like Barbie and Ken—where did Bridget find this class?”

“No comments from the peanut gallery,” Eggsy whispered.

“What was that Eggsy?” Mark asked.

Eggsy winced and said, “I, uh, said they look like they peanut gallery?”

“Very clever. One wouldn’t even think you were a spy.”

Mark raised an eyebrow at Eggsy, but smiled, so Eggsy took that as a win. One by one the couples introduced themselves. There was one same sex couple, two married women who were expecting their first child.

“And who are you?” Andrew asked, smiling at Bridget with a rather matronly expression.

            “I’m Bridget,” She introduced, rolling slightly on her own ball. She gestured to Mark. “This is Mark.” She paused. Thirteen pairs of eyes turned to Eggsy. “And this is, uh…”

            “Eggsy,” He said.

            “Excellent!” Andrew cheered. “You’re our second same sex couple. So that makes you the surrogate Bridget?”

            “Well he isn’t completely wrong,” Harry said with a chuckle.

            “The surrogate?” Bridget repeated, and Andrew nodded with an encouraging smile. “Oh, yes. I’m the surrogate. I just want to help answer… these two men’s dreams.”

            “Oh yes, I’m sure she does. That’s exactly what she was thinking when she slept with Mark.”

            Eggsy grit his teeth to keep from commenting.

            “Don’t be nervous,” Andrew said to Eggsy. “This is a welcoming and loving environment. We support all family structures here.”

            “No, you see—” Mark started, trying to correct Andrew, but Bridget grabbed his arm and squeezed. Mark snapped his mouth shut with an eye roll.

            “Now, we’ll start by discussing the first healthy birth practice,” Andrew said, clapping his hands together. The bangles adorning his wrists jingled and glinted beneath the overhead lights. “Letting the labor process begin naturally.”

            One birthing video, one detailed pamphlet, and thirty minutes of breathing exercises later, and the class was finished. That was an hour of Eggsy’s life he wouldn’t get back, and he still had to come back next week.

            “Well that was certainly an interesting view of Bridget,” Harry said. Eggsy wasn’t letting him peek in next week.

            Mark struggled to help Bridget off the floor. She cupped her lower back with a hiss and said, “Crap, I need to pee again.” She frowned. “Do you think there’s somewhere near by that serves chips?”

            “Yeah, I know a place. Go to the bathroom and then we’ll get lunch,” Eggsy said.

            As soon as she left, two of the couples descended on them. “I think it’s quite brave what you’re doing,” Beverly said. “Especially at your ages.”

            “Excuse me?” Eggsy blinked.

            “Perhaps etiquette is one of the lessons these classes should pick up.”

            “How did you two meet?” Another woman—Eggsy was fairly sure her names was Amber—asked.

            Eggsy raised his eyebrows and answered straight-faced, “On a street corner.”

            Mark started coughing and hissed, “Eggsy,” while Harry laughed raucously in his ear.

            The two women blanched at him, while the men shared dubious looks. Eggsy shrugged and continued with a grin, “I saw him standing there, and I knew I just had to take him home.”

            They all turned their surprised expressions on Mark, curiosity leading the women’s gazes down the length of Mark’s body. Eggsy wrapped an arm around his waist and steered him towards the exit. “If y’ll excuse us.”

            Once they were out of earshot, Mark broke away and scolded, “You shouldn’t have said that. Now they’ll be looking at me funny in the next class.”

            Eggsy grinned toothily and wrapped his hand around Mark’s tie, drawing him close. “Eh, let them have an eyeful, luv. It’s really none of their business, innit? Besides, it wasn’t like I was lying.”

            “You’re incorrigible,” Mark huffed, but he leaned down to kiss Eggsy. His mouth slotted against Eggsy’s softly, and Eggsy let go of his tie to loop his arms around Mark’s neck.

            “He’s right, you know. You are a naughty little thing. Perhaps Mark and I should punish you tonight for that smart comment.”

            The suggestion sent a shiver down Eggsy’s spine and caused fire to bloom in his belly. He nipped at Mark’s bottom lip cupping his hand against the back of his neck to hold him in place longer. He only let go when he saw Bridget approach out of the corner of his eye.

            “The strangest thing just happened in the bathroom,” Bridget said, casting a queer look over her shoulder towards the door. “Beverly just asked me how much Mark charges.”

            “I’m afraid he’s above her pay grade.”

            “Odd,” Eggsy said, trying to smother his smile. “Lunch?”

            Bridget nodded and they left, heading to a tavern not far from the Lamaze classes. Eggsy and Mark split their food, with Eggsy evenly portioning out the salad served first, and then the chips and battered fish. He’d learned heavy greasy foods just didn’t agree with Mark, so it was better to half their order instead of eating a full one.

            Bridget watched with a mixed expression—Eggsy couldn’t place exactly what it was, almost bemused, but at the same time wishful and sad. Mark kissed the top of Eggsy’s head in gratitude when he finished splitting the food and Bridget’s expression flickered into a longing smile.

            “You two are like an old married couple,” Bridget said.

            Luckily Harry had signed off and missed the comment, because otherwise Eggsy knew he’d be in for a world of teasing later.

            “Mark,” Bridget said, dunking a chip into her ketchup. “It wasn’t all bad, was it?”

            Eggsy didn’t say anything, he wasn’t sure if it was his place to say anything. He quietly ate, watching as Mark shook his head. “No… it wasn’t.”

            Bridget didn’t say anything further, but the comfortable silence that circled them before grew heavy. Eggsy feared Bridget would start crying at any moment and offered her most of his chips to stave off the tears that prickled her eyes.

            “Mark came up with some names,” Eggsy announced, elbowing Mark.

            He swallowed his mouthful and wiped his face with his napkin. “Oh, yes. I did. Names.”

            Bridget shoved a ketchup soaked chip into her mouth. After she swallowed, she asked with a sniff, “What are they?”

            “Well, Eggsy suggested Orchid or Poppy for a girl and if it’s a boy, Alder or Sage. Harry of course suggested Harold for a boy.” Bridget curled her nose and immediately shook her head. Mark chuckled and speared a piece of fish with his fork. “Yes, I didn’t think that one would pass. But he did come up with Odette for a girl.”

            “And you? What were you thinking?”

            “Well I’ve always been partial to the name William, after my grandfather, or Violet, after my aunt.”

            “Violet,” Bridget repeated. “I like that name.”

            “It’s a lovely name,” Eggsy agreed with a small breath of relief, any signs of tears gone from Bridget’s eyes.

            They lapsed back into silence, nearly halfway through their lunch, when Bridget announced. “I met someone.”

            Eggsy’s eyebrows shot up. He peeked at Mark, whose mouth hung open at the confession. Mark managed to unhinge his jaw and ask, “You’ve met someone? Who? How? When? Is that really an appropriate—” Eggsy elbowed him in the side and Mark coughed. “I mean, that’s wonderful. Who is he?”

            “His name is Jack,” Bridget said. “We met while I was on a job for work.”

            Eggsy got a sense that there was more to the story, especially when Bridget’s cheeks dappled with pink, but he kept his mouth shut. As long as she was happy, that was all that mattered. Besides, he could look into the guy later, make sure Bridget wasn’t following in the footsteps of his own mum.

            “Good,” Mark said, a bit strained. “That’s good.”

            Eggsy reached under the table and patted Mark’s knee. He’s sure Mark was considering every worst case scenario possible with this guy, but little did Mark know Eggsy would already be on it. Neither Eggsy nor Harry would let anything happen to Bridget and the baby.

* * * *

            “She’s met someone?” Harry repeated as he removed his tie and stripped out of his suit jacket. “Well, isn’t that auspicious news. Maybe she’ll stop darkening our doorway now.”

            “Harry,” Eggsy warned.

            “What? She’s been over quite a bit lately, and I’ve honestly started to question whether or not she was up to something. I full admit to being wrong, because it seems she’s moved on.” Harry undid his cuffs and removed his cufflinks. “What did you say his name was? Jack Qwant? Odd name.”

            “American,” Eggsy offered.

            “Oh bloody hell, of course she’d fall for an American.”

            “Harry,” Eggsy whispered harshly, throwing a glance at Mark, who sat on the bed glumly. His distant mood had set Eggsy slightly on edge all day, but he swallowed down his own anxieties and tried to soldier on for Mark.

            “I mean,” Harry quickly amended, “Americans are delightful people. That is, as long as he isn’t from Kentucky.”

            “Mark,” Eggsy murmured.

            Mark finally looked up and blinked at Eggsy, his tie half undone and hanging limply around his neck.

            Eggsy’s throat closed around his question as he considered the possibilities to Mark’s maudlin mood. “Wot is it?” Eggsy finally managed to get out. “Are y’ upset that Bridget found someone else?”

            “What?” Mark blinked again, startled, and realization dawned in his eyes. “Oh. Oh, darling, no. No, it isn’t that.”

            He held out a hand for Eggsy, and Eggsy took it, letting Mark draw him onto his lap. Mark cupped the back of Eggsy’s head and drew him down so their foreheads touched.

            “I’m happy Bridget is moving on, truly. I’m just worried because Bridget is notorious for her taste in men, if Cleaver is anything to go off of. What if this Jack fellow isn’t the savoriest type? The thought of the baby…”

            “Don’t worry,” Harry assured, his words laced with steel. “Eggsy and I will see that nothing happens to the baby. If this Jack isn’t up to snuff, we’ll take care of it.”

            Mark scoffed, turning to look at Harry. “Oh? And what will you do, make him an ill-fitting suit?”

            “Don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted suit, brother mine. The suit is a modern gentleman’s armor.”

            Mark rolled his eyes good-naturedly and shared a smile with Eggsy.

            “Harry is right,” Eggsy said, his arms draped loosely around Mark’s shoulders. “Harry and I won’t let anything happen, and I know y’ won’t either.”

            “Thank you,” Mark said, “To both of you.”

            “Y’ know we’re always here for y’ babe.”

            “It amazes me how lucky I got finding you. You’ve been so wonderful through this entire thing. You’ve even been kind to Bridget, and you’ve helped out so much.” Mark cupped Eggsy’s cheek, stroking the like of his jaw with his thumb. “I don’t know how I could ever repay you.”

            Harry stepped up behind Eggsy and dropped a kiss onto the top of his head. “Perhaps we should show our darling how we reward good little boys.”

            Eggsy shivered against Mark and turned his face into Mark’s palm. “Yeah?” He asked breathlessly.

            “Go get shower sweet boy, get nice and clean for me and Mark,” Harry ordered, and Mark nudged Eggsy off his lap.

            Eggsy stole a kiss from Harry, hunger burning hot through his veins. He vanished into the bathroom, intent on having a thorough shower.

* * * *

            Harry took a seat next to Mark, who turned to face him. “Everything will be fine,” Harry assured. “I will take care of everything.”

            “As you always do?”

            Harry hummed and cupped Mark’s cheek, drawing him into a slow kiss. “Yes, as I always do,” he mumbled against Mark’s mouth. “And as I always will. You and Eggsy never have to worry.”

            Mark smiled, and the tension that had been crinkling around his eyes all through dinner slackened. Harry kissed his forehead and instructed, “Now, go help Eggsy wash. See that he gets thoroughly clean for us. I’ve already bathed at the office, so I’m going to go make a quick phone call.”

            As soon as Mark was in the bathroom, Harry slipped on his glasses and exited the bedroom, going to his office.

            “Merlin,” Harry said. “I need a favor.”

            “We need to work on yer bedside manners. Is that anyway to ask?”

            Ignoring him, Harry continued, “Do a background search for a Jack Qwant.”

            “Is this mission related?”

            “No, he’s an American who met Bridget at an Ed Sheeran concert. Seems Bridget is a bit taken with him, but Mark is concerned about the baby.”

            “Ye know, it’s quite a surprise to see how your opinion of Mark has changed so drastically. I vaguely remember ye swearing vengeances upon him in my office not too long ago, and now ye and Eggsy are closer than ever, and ye are asking me to look out for Mark. I would think him being concerned for Bridget would work in yer favor.”

            “I don’t know what you mean, I don’t recall ever swearing vengeances. Perhaps you’re getting senile in your old age. Shall I speak with Arthur about retirement? Or maybe it’s time to take a vacation, get away from those computers for a while. That is, if you can unplug for longer than an hour.”

            Merlin snorted. “Right, of course. I must be thinking of the dark verse Harry.”

            Harry suspected Merlin knew what was going on. Nothing got by him. Merlin was their own Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, presiding over their land of ash, recording all of their virtues and sins. Neither outright acknowledged, though, Harry’s relationship with Eggsy, nor his suddenly close relationship with Mark. They’d agreed unspoken to adhere to America’s own DADA, feigning instead that Harry’s heart had grown three sizes.

            “It must have. Now, can you do the check for me or not?”

            “Aye, I can do it. Dependent upon if ye can ask nicely, cupcake.”

            Harry grimaced. “Don’t call me that.”

            While Merlin didn’t say anything, Harry swore he could hear Merlin’s eyebrow raising in expectation. With a heavy sigh Harry asked, “Could you please do a background check?”

            “Aye, I’ll get it to ye within the hour.”

            “Thank you, sweetheart.

            Merlin disconnected, but not before Harry could make out the crackling sound of his teeth grating. Harry returned to the bedroom and put his glasses away. He then turned down the comforter and got out the supplies for Eggsy’s reward, setting out a hefty bottle of lube on the bedside table. Harry took JB for a quick walk down the street, then filled his dishes with fresh food and water. He sent JB to bed with a treat. By the time Harry returned upstairs, the shower had shut off.

            He finished stripping out of his clothes and putting them away as Eggsy and Mark stepped out of the bathroom, a waft of steam escaping with them.

            “Well that’s a lovely sight,” Eggsy said with a toothy grin.

            “I can think of one much lovelier,” Harry said and gestured to the bed. “Go ahead and lie down poppet.”

            Eggsy unabashedly dropped his towel. Water droplets still clung to his pubic hair like captured stars and dripped down his flaccid cock in gleaming rivulets. Harry considered dropping to his knees right there in worship, taking Eggsy’s prick in his mouth, and humming benedictions until Eggsy spilled down his throat. But while the idea of sucking Eggsy off had Harry’s mouth salivating, he had much better plans in mind that would have a greater reward.

            Eggsy climbed onto the bed, pausing a moment to give Harry and Mark a good view of his arse, which he shook encouragingly.

            “Tart,” Harry chastised and swatted Eggsy’s bottom as he turned around.

            Mark settled on the bed behind Eggsy, hoisting him up so he leaned against his chest. He walked his fingers down Eggsy’s chest, stopping to tweak his nipple. Eggsy’s breath hitched at the sharp tug and he turned his face into Mark’s arm with a groan. His cock stirred, thickening with interest.

            “Just lie back darling,” Mark said, petting Eggsy’s hair with his other hand. “And let Harry and I take care of you.”

            “A boy could get use to this,” Eggsy mumbled, already sounding drunk on euphoria. “Keep it up and I may never want to leave this bed.”

            “And what a travesty that would be,” Harry said. He grabbed the bottle of lubricant and tucked himself between Eggsy’s thighs.

            Eggsy spread his legs wide. Harry pressed his lips to the side of Eggsy’s knee, inhaling the clean scent of soap on his freshly scrubbed skin. He was still pink from the shower, and it was absolutely lovely to look down at him, flushed and wide-eyed, his half-hard cock sprawled on his belly with a small dribble of precum. Something dark and possessive grew in Harry, and he wanted to break Eggsy, to make him weep and spill, to shatter him between his and Mark’s hands.

            Harry burned a path of kisses down Eggsy’s thigh and nibbled at the tender flesh at the junction of his leg. He flattened his hand over the top of Eggsy’s cock. A pitchy moan escaped Eggsy and Harry looked up as Mark claimed Eggsy’s neck with a scoring of his teeth.

            “Look at you,” Harry mused. “All ready a mess.”

            He dipped his head and sucked on the tight flesh of his bollocks, lathing the sacks with his tongue until they dripped with saliva. Eggsy maneuvered his legs over Harry’s shoulders and dug his heels into his back.

            Harry snatched the lube and poured some over his fingers. He rolled the gel between his fingers to warm it, then reached down and traced a path over his perineum. Eggsy hiked his hips up, crunching his abs so he could give Harry better access to his hole. Harry thumbed the puckered ring, a sweet rosy color. It begged to be sucked and teased. He leaned forward and tasted Eggsy, sucking at his taint until Eggsy nearly squealed.

            “Harry,” he cried.

            “Shh, easy darling,” Mark cooed.

            Harry lifted his head long enough to watch Mark draw Eggsy into a kiss. He dropped back down, sliding the tip of his index finger past the tight barrier of his entrance. Working Eggsy open was one of his favorite things. He could be content to spend the evening working his digits inside Eggsy, watching as Eggsy unspooled around him. He was lovely when he was desperate, all red and wanting, fucking himself on Harry’s hand like the neediest of whores. And the sounds he made, the pitchy cries and throaty moans, it was orgasmic and salacious, and if Harry could bottle a sound, he would have captured Eggsy’s pleas a long time ago.

            He ground against the mattress before he could stop himself, his own cock aching. Luckily he’s had years to practice control, because he would have to exert every ounce of it tonight.

            As Mark worked Eggsy’s nipples, plucking at them the same way a harpist pulled on the delicate threads of their instrument, Harry worked Eggsy open. He’d need to be extra loose tonight. Three fingers wouldn’t be enough. He worked his way to four, mesmerized by the way Eggsy sucked down all four fingers to the third knuckle. A part of Harry was curious to see what would happen if he added his thumb and fucked Eggsy with his fist—what kind of sounds would he make then?

            He ran his thumb along the stretched ring of Eggsy’s hole, toying with the lip in contemplation.

            “Fuck, Harry,” Eggsy sobbed against Mark. He clung to Mark, nails biting into his forearms. His hips pistoned up and down, trying to push Harry deeper inside him.

            “Yes darling?” Harry asked casually. He kissed the underside of his cock and licked a stripe to the tip. Eggsy yowled, the sound breaking into a hiccupped groan. “Listen to you, already so gone, and Mark and I haven’t even fucked you yet. Shall we stop here darling? Perhaps I just let you come like this, and then I can take Mark apart.”

            Eggsy’s chest rose and fell in short breaths. Harry smiled, and it might have been a tad cruel, but he oh so did love teasing his sweet boy.

            “Or Mark and I can fuck you, together. Fill you completely with both of our cocks. Would you like that my sweetling? To have both of us in you, stretching you and filling your belly with come?”

            “Oh god,” Eggsy sobbed. “You can’t say that. You can’t say shit like that Harry, I’m gonna come.”

            “Good, then let go.” Harry ordered and sucked Eggsy’s down to the root.

            Eggsy grabbed the back of his head and fisted his hair. His hips didn’t know where to go, whether to rock back against Harry’s hand or into his mouth. It didn’t take long to coax Eggsy into his first orgasm, he was already so sensitive. With Mark sucking on his neck and Harry torturing him with duel penetration and sucking, Eggsy was powerless beneath their hands.

            He arched his spine with a shout, spilling down Harry’s throat. Harry sucked hard, the saltiness bursting across his tongue. He slammed his fingers into Eggsy, crooking them to strike his prostate, and Eggsy’s shout broke into a dragged out moan.

            When the last of his orgasm tapered off, Harry lifted off him with a slurp and withdrew his fingers. His hole was gaping and wet, coated in a fine sheen of lubricant.

            Eggsy slumped against Mark, turning to nuzzle his neck with a contented mewl.

            “Are you too tired for us darling?” Mark asked, petting Eggsy’s hair.

            “No,” Eggsy whispered hoarsely.

            “That’s my good boy,” Harry praised, patted his thigh. The praise had him preening. Harry gave him a few seconds to recover, before ordering, “I need you to get off Mark darling.”

            Eggsy groaned but listened, climbing off him so Mark could lie flat on the bed. His cock protruded up, flushed with excitement and looking just as delicious. Harry’s appetite hadn’t been sated and he was tempted to steal a taste from Mark.

            “Here we go, sit on top of him,” Harry instructed, helping guide Eggsy as he sat on Mark. His limbs were malleable, his entire body slack and lethargic from his climax. Harry bent him forward and guided Mark’s cock to his gaping entrance. Mark grabbed Eggsy’s hips to aid Harry.

            A long groan escaped Mark as he slipped into the nearly scalding heat of Eggsy’s entrance.

            “How is that?” Harry asked with a lecherous grin and Mark flushed. “Oh look at you, you’re as bad as he is. Perhaps we’ll do the same to you soon. Split you open with our cocks.”

            “Harry,” Mark whined and canted into Eggsy.

            “It’s okay, I got both of you,” Harry assured, stroking Eggsy’s lower back.

            He bent him forward, bearing his stretched entrance for Harry to take. He lined up his own cock and eased himself forward. Eggsy made a broken sound, scrabbling to hold onto Mark.

            “Nnn, Harry. Fuck, it’s so big.”

            “Are you okay darling?” Harry asked, kissing his shoulder. He’d stop if Eggsy couldn’t take it, but he so hoped Eggsy could.

            “Fine,” Eggsy panted. “Keep going.”

            “That’s my boy,” Harry murmured and continued to ease in. It was a queer sensation, the nearly unbearable tight squeeze of Eggsy’s walls coupled with the pressure of Mark’s cock flushed against his own. He added more lube, dribbling it down Eggsy’s crack as he worked himself in until he reached his root.

            When they were both seated in Eggsy, his ring stretched around them and white from the pull, Harry paused to give Eggsy a moment to adjust.

            Harry dropped his forehead against the back of Eggsy’s sweaty neck and stabilized his own breathing. It be hard for Mark to thrust, so Harry lead the pacing, rocking into Eggsy shallowly. Eggsy scraped his nails down Mark’s chest, his head hanging between his shoulders.

            “Oh Christ,” Eggsy slurred, spit dripping from his lips.

            Mark cupped Eggsy’s cheek. “You’re doing so wonderfully for us sweetheart.”

            “Yes, you’re such a good boy. So perfect for us.” Harry increased his speed, aided by Mark’s own aborted attempts to thrust.

            Eggsy’s thighs trembled as he lifted himself, meeting the thrusts with choppy rolls of his hips.

            Harry wrapped his arms around Eggsy’s waist, holding tight as he fucked into him. Each thrust sent him gliding over Mark. He’d never been so intrinsically tied to two people. It was like he was melding his own fibers to theirs. He didn’t care what the world saw. Let them cast their stones. As long as he had Mark and Eggsy, as long as he could keep on feelings this infinite grandness, he wouldn’t stop loving them.

            “I love you,” Harry said, and while he didn’t specify who you was, he knew they both knew. You wasn’t singular. It never would be again. You encompassed so much more. You had transcended into them and us and we. Never again would they be a single entity, never again would they be alone.

            Pressure coiled in the base of Harry’s gut. He breathed harshly against Eggsy’s shoulder, tightening his arms with each thrust.

            Mark came first, his face contorting and his spine arching. Hot come rushed around Harry, filling Eggsy up, and the sensation of fluid sent a shiver down Harry’s spine. He squeezed Eggsy and sank his teeth into his shoulder to muffle his own cry, coming hard.

            They held their position, suspended briefly in time. It took Harry a moment to come down. When his vision cleared, he eased out of Eggsy. He sat back on his haunches and helped Eggsy ease off Mark, who slumped against the bed with heavy pants.

            A gush of come escaped Eggsy, pearlescent fluid spilling down his thighs in a glorious mess. Harry kissed his lower back and ordered gently, “Lie down on your stomach darling. I’ll clean you.”

            Eggsy groaned but obeyed, snuggling into Mark. Harry took his time cleaning both of them, and then himself, savoring the small shivers that escaped Eggsy as Harry ran the damp flannel over his sensitive skin.

            When they were finally snuggled under the blankets, Eggsy between them, and Mark already in a nearly comatose slumber, Harry wondered, how did I get so lucky?

Chapter Text

            “Psst,” Eggsy whispered to Mark in the dark theatre, already reaching across his lap for the box of snow caps Mark had picked prior to the film. “Let me have some.”

            “I thought you didn’t like these,” Mark said with a pointed look that screamed ‘I told you so’.

            “I didn’t say that,” Eggsy said. “I said I didn’t want any.”

            Mark’s eyebrow rose higher.

            “Aww, come on bruv,” Eggsy whined, slightly louder than intended. The person behind them shushed them.

            Mark handed Eggsy the candy box with an eye roll and said, “The things I do for you. Hand over your box.”

            Eggsy handed Mark his snack and shook out a few snow caps into his hand, the white candy balls clinging to the chocolate scattering on his lap. He brushed off the stray bits and shoved the chocolate into his mouth. Mark slung his arm over Eggsy’s arm and drew him closer. By the time the film was over, they were both heavily sated on candy and popcorn.

            “I wish Harry could have come,” Eggsy said.

            “I didn’t realize the shop worked such late hours. It’s the second night in a row he’s had to stay after closing.”

            Eggsy squeezed Mark’s hand. He couldn’t very well tell Mark that the reason Harry was staying late wasn’t because of some persnickety customer with a bloated ego, but rather because Arthur had assigned Harry a new mission that would likely send him out of country in the coming weeks. Eggsy didn’t know how much longer they could keep up the ruse. Eventually Mark would figure out that they’d been lying to him. The betrayal left a sour taste in his mouth and gave him a bad case of indigestion—the latter could have been from the extra-large popcorn he devoured.

            “Let’s see if he’s done,” Eggsy said and fished out his cellphone. He turned the volume back on and a succession of dings immediately went off. They paused outside the cinema as Eggsy scrolled through the series of messages, ranging from texts from Harry giving them a status update, to several voice mails from Bridget.

            “Mark, check y’r phone,” Eggsy instructed as he accessed his voicemail.

            Mark looked at his phone. “Good heavens, Bridget left ten voice mails… oh god.”

            Slow horror spread across Mark’s face as the realization dawned on him. Eggsy quickly came to the same conclusion once he heard the first panicked voicemail.

            “Taxi!” Mark shouted and waved his arm to signal for a cab.

            “I’ll call her now,” Eggsy said.

            “She can’t be going into labor, she’s a week early,” Mark said. Over the last couple weeks, she’d suffered through a few Braxton Hicks contractions, so it was always a possibility that it was another false call, but something in Eggsy’s gut told him otherwise.

            “Maybe she reached Daniel,” Eggsy said. The cab pulled to the curb and they piled in. Mark shot him a dubious look and Eggsy nodded. “Right, dumb thought.”

            Daniel hadn’t been around since the dinner party, when Harry sent him sprawling on his back. Honestly it was for the best, Eggsy had decided. Daniel was going to be forced out of the picture one way or another, better for him to do it voluntarily, instead of Harry and Eggsy doing it for him.

            Mark told the driver Bridget’s address and Eggsy called Bridget. She answered the phone screaming. “Where the bloody hell are you?”

            “Bridge, love, we’re so sorry. We’re on our way,” Eggsy said. “We were in a movie.”

            “I don’t care—get here now!” She broke off into a pained grown and practiced breathing.

            “We’re coming,” Eggsy assured, holding the phone slightly away from his ear. To the driver, Eggsy called, “Hey bruv? Think y’ can speed up? An extra twenty pounds is in it for y’.”

            “Here, let me speak with her,” Mark said and reached for the phone. Eggsy handed it over, taking Mark’s from him so he could send Harry a text.

            “Bridget?” Mark asked. Eggsy could make out muffled shouting from Bridget’s in. “We’re coming, we’re almost there. Just breathe, in and out. Just like in the Lamaze classes.”

            “Don’t tell me to breathe! I am breathing!”

            Eggsy winced. He heard that one loud and clear.

            “How far along are the contractions?” Mark asked. Eggsy couldn’t hear what Bridget said, but relief flooded Mark’s eyes. “If it’s more than five minutes we’re doing okay. Nothing to worry—”

            “I’ll bloody worry if I want too!” Bridget yelled.

            Luckily the cab turned on her street and pulled in front of her apartment. “Wait here,” Eggsy instructed the driver and bundled out of the car behind Mark.

             “We’re here Bridge, buzz us in.”

            The door buzzed and Mark went inside. They took the steps two at a time, bounding up to Bridget’s apartment. She threw open the door, clutching her stomach and breathing quickly. Mark froze as soon as he saw her. This wasn’t Eggsy’s first pregnancy. He’d been the only one there for his mum when Daisy was born, so he knew the drill. While Mark stood in the doorway, Eggsy rushed to Bridget and said, “We got y’ love.”

            Bridget grabbed onto his arm and squeezed, her nails biting little divots into his forearm. “Get this thing out of me now.”

            His mum had said the same thing. He grimaced at the needling pain from her nails and walked her toward the door, barking, “Mark! Bag!”

            Mark jumped into action. “R-right! Of course.”

            He grabbed the bag by the door and they went back down to the cab. The driver looked at Bridget with a horrified expression. “She isn’t going to go into labor is she?”

            “Wot do y’ think she’s doing, mate?” Eggsy snapped.

            Bridget grabbed onto the car and clutched her stomach. “Another contraction—they’re getting closer.” She groaned.

            “Okay, okay. We got this. In y’ go. Mark, front seat.”

            Mark hesitated only a moment before slipping into the front with the driver. Once they were all in the cab, Eggsy ordered him to the hospital. “Y’ get us there in under fifteen minutes bruv and I’ll fucking tip y’ a hundred.”

            That got the driver’s foot on the gas. At least, until they hit a dead standstill. “What’s going on? Why aren’t we moving?” Bridget shouted.

            “There was an accident,” The driver said, “No one is moving.”

            “Shite.” Mark opened his door and took a look out. “We aren’t that far from the hospital, I think we could make it on foot.”

            “I can’t walk,” Bridget said.

            “Y’re going to have to, come on. We got this,” Eggsy said and coaxed her out of the cab. He threw the driver some money, more than enough to cover the fair and tip. “Thanks again.”

            “Good luck!” He shouted as Eggsy and Mark helped Bridget to the pavement.

            Bridget collapsed against a wall, letting out another long cry. “Fuuuuck—they’re getting closer!”

            “Should we call an ambulance?” Mark asked.

            “Do y’ honestly think they’ll get through this?” Eggsy gestured to the gridlocked cars. “Come on, hospital is only a couple blocks away. Just hold on Bridge.”

            “If one more person tells me to hold on,” She seethed.

            Eggsy and Mark hooked their arms under Bridget’s to help her stand straight. They made it down the street before her legs gave out again.

            “Let me carry her,” Eggsy said.

            “No, I can,” Mark argued and went to pick her up. He nearly dropped her when he gasped in pain. “Shite, my back.”

            “That’s why I said let me.” Eggsy huffed. He knew Mark wanted to be the hero—but for once Eggsy’s youth had him at an advantage.

            “Just someone take me,” Bridget cried.

            With a grunt Eggsy hoisted Bridget into his arms. His muscles bunched, a sharp burn radiating up his arms as he struggled to carry her weight. She was much heavier than he expected. But if he could carry an unconscious Percival out of a burning building bridal style, he can surely carry Bridget.

            Bridget draped her arms around his neck and clung on as Eggsy staggered his way down the street. Mark dashed ahead when the hospital came into view. Eggsy could hear him even before he reached the doors, “We need help!”

            Eggsy didn’t know how his arms didn’t give out as he stumbled into the waiting room.

            “Sir, I need you to calm down,” The nurse said.

            “Oi,” Eggsy called, “A little help?”

            The nurse looked over to Eggsy and her eyes widened. A wheel chair was brought over and Eggsy deposited Bridget into it with a sigh of relief. He was pretty sure his arms had turned to noodles. He sagged against the receptionist’s desk to catch his breath and signaled for Mark to go ahead, huffing, “I’ll catch up.”

            Mark kissed his cheek and squeezed his shoulder before he followed close behind Bridget and the nurse.

* * * *

            Mark couldn’t believe it. Cradled in Bridget’s arm squirming and cooing, was his baby. She was so small, a tiny bundle of pink wrapped in soft blankets. Bridget rested against her pillows, her hair clinging to her flushed face.

            “She’s beautiful,” Mark whispered, tracing a finger down the soft cherubic cheek of the baby’s scrunched face.

            “Isn’t she?” Bridget whispered, voice wobbly. She drew in a deep, shuddering breath. “I can’t believe she’s finally here.”

            “What shall we call her?” He couldn’t look away from her. Their daughter. It still felt like a dream.

            Bridget adjusted her grip and hummed thoughtfully. “Violet,” Bridget whispered. “Violet Ann.”

            “Perfect,” Mark whispered.

            A knock at the door drew Mark’s attention away from Violet. Eggsy peeked in and whispered, “Can we see?”

            “Come in,” Bridget said.

            Eggsy opened the door the rest of the way and walked in, Harry close behind with a stuffed rabbit tucked under his arm and a cluster of balloons clutched in his fist.

            “Look at her,” Eggsy murmured, his eyes glazed over. It was the same adoring expression Eggsy got when he looked at Daisy, and Mark’s heart soared knowing that both Eggsy and Harry would love Violet as much as him.

            “Do you want to hold her?” Bridget asked.

            “Can I?” Even as he asked, Eggsy was already reaching out for her. He gathered Violet into his arms and cradled her close, bracing her head with one hand. He rocked her gently back and forth, cooing, “Y’ are absolutely beautiful, y’ know that? And y’re going to be so loved.”

            Eggsy turned to Harry and asked, “Do y’ want to hold her?”

            “I can take those,” Mark offered when Harry hesitated.

            Harry eyed Violet, and Mark tried not to smile at the panic that filled Harry’s eyes. “Of course,” Harry said, though he didn’t sound so sure about his decision. Mark took the gifts. Harry accepted Violet into his arms, and Eggsy helped position his hands so he supported her head.

            Harry’s gaze widened once he had her in his arms and his panicked expression crumpled into a smile.

            “Mark,” Bridget said, and they all three turned to face her. “I… I want to list you as the father.”

            “You do?” Mark asked.

            He didn’t know why it surprised him. He’d already decided that Violet was theirs, but hearing Bridget, having that confirmation, cemented the fact. This was their daughter, his family.

            “I do. We can still do the paternity test, if you want,” Bridget said, “But… but if anyone should be her father, it should be you.”

            “Okay,” Mark said without hesitation. “But you don’t need to do the test.”

            “I don’t?” Bridget bit her bottom lip.

            Mark turned to Violet, still cradled in Harry’s arms, and shook his head. “No, you don’t,” he said.

* * * *

            Eventually Bridget needed rest. Violet was taken back to the nursery. Mark promised to contact Jack and let him know what was going on before they left Bridget to sleep. He also assured her that he’d be back tomorrow.

            When they were back home at Harry’s house, Mark collapsed onto the couch between Eggsy and Harry. Harry poured them a scotch, but the drinks remained untouched on the coffee table.

            “I’m a father,” Mark whispered.

            Harry wrapped an arm around Mark and drew him close. “I’m very proud of you.”

            “Yeah?” Mark looked at Harry. “Why?”

            “I just am,” Harry said with a smile.

            He kissed Mark slowly, and Mark sunk into the embrace, happiness swelling in his chest. Even before Eggsy touched him, he felt the presence of his body, the weight of his soul moving against theirs. Mark turned and kissed Eggsy, licking his way into his mouth.

            They were too exhausted for sex, but that didn’t stop them from exploring each other. Eventually they ended sprawled across the couch, limbs tangled, JB snoring in Eggsy’s lap.

            It was well past midnight, approaching dawn. Through the window behind them, the gossamer light of twilight filtered into the room. The lights were turned down, casting the room in cool shadows that softened Harry’s and Eggsy’s features.

            “So this is it?” Mark asked.

            “This is what?” Eggsy whispered back.

            “Happiness,” Mark said.

            Harry squeezed Mark’s hand. “It is.”

Chapter Text

            “What’s your location Bors?” Harry asked.

            “I’m five minutes away,” Eggsy said.

            “I don’t know if I can last that long,” Harry admitted, the panic in his voice urging Eggsy faster.

            “Don’t y’ give up on me now,” Eggsy said. “I’m closing in.”

            “I’m in over my head.” The confession was followed by a crash and a string of curses. “I shouldn’t have agreed this.”

            “Y’ got this Galahad. We got this.” He broke into a run. “I’m around the corner.”

            He burst through the front door and dropped the shopping bags in the foyer, his arms leaden from hauling six bags by himself.

            Harry came out of the kitchen, his normally perfectly coiffed hair loose and curling against his forehead. A white spot that looked suspiciously like breast milk was on his cheek.

            “What took you so long?” Harry said.

            Violet cried from the living room with high pitched wails of hunger. Eggsy smiled and walked over to Harry, wiping his cheek with the sleeve of his hoodie. “Sorry babe, I tried to hurry. Mark is on his way home; he should be here any minute. I’ll feed Vivi, you put the nappies away, ta?”

            “Thank you,” Harry said with a sigh of relief.

            Eggsy stepped around Harry and scanned the kitchen. The pool of breast milk on the floor explained the crash Eggsy heard. He grabbed a dishtowel and threw it over the puddle to soak up, then grabbed the second bottle Harry was warming. Eggsy released the air bubbles and then tested the milk on his wrist.

            “I’m coming,” Eggsy called to Violet. He headed into the living room, where Violet sat in a baby rocker. Eggsy unbuckled her. “Shh, I got’cha sweetheart.”

            Violet’s face was red and flustered, little tears clinging to the corners of her eyes. Her scrunched expression smoothed when Eggsy lifted her. Eggsy adjusted his grip so her head was supported against his arm and took a seat on the couch.

            “There’s a good girl,” Eggsy murmured and started to feed her.

            Harry returned, shooting Eggsy an amazed look. “How do you do that?”

            “What?” Eggsy asked.

            “Get her to stop crying. She’s been at it since you left.” Harry frowned at Violet. “She hates me.”

            Eggsy laughed abruptly, and Violet jumped in his arms. He quickly soothed her. Who would have thought Harry would be so concerned with the opinion of an infant? Harry took his role as uncle very seriously, but he hadn’t realized yet that he couldn’t buy a baby’s affections. Mark had acquired a wardrobe that could rival Princess Charlotte’s, and Violet had enough toys thanks to Harry to stock an entire toy store. Eggsy had a sneaking suspicion that Harry actually had bought out an entire toy store.

            “She doesn’t hate you,” Eggsy said. “She adores you. But she can sense your panic.”

            “What if I hurt her?” Harry asked and took a seat next to Eggsy.

            “I never thought I’d see the day when the great and mighty Galahad didn’t know what to do,” Eggsy teased.

            “Great and mighty? I do like the sound of that.”

            Eggsy rolled his eyes. “Great, another thing to inflate y’r ego.”

            “You’ve been hanging around Merlin too much.”

            “Do y’ want to try feeding her?”

            Eggsy removed the nipple from Violet’s mouth and she whined, breast milk dribbling from her little pink mouth. Eggsy transferred Violet into Harry’s arms before he could complain and handed him the bottle.

            The front door opened and Mark called, “I’m home.”

            “In here.” Eggsy met Mark at the threshold, kissing his cheek in greeting. “Hey babe.”

            “I’m sorry about that,” Mark said with a sigh, dropping his briefcase down. He shrugged out of his coat and Eggsy took it, hanging it on the hook by the door. “I didn’t think that meeting would take so long.”

            “It was no problem,” Eggsy assured. “Not like we were doing much, ya?”

            “Bridget called, said she’d be by around seven to pick her up. Harry, are you feeding Violet?” Mark walked around to the couch and Eggsy tried to hide his snicker at Mark’s bewildered expression.

            While Harry dotted on Violet, he hadn’t taken quite as well to the messier aspects of her care. The first time he changed her diaper, Eggsy had fallen to the floor laughing.

            “Not all of us are as familiar with child rearing,” Harry had grumbled when Eggsy finally calmed down long enough to sit up.

            “Bruv, you’re changing a nappie, not diffusing a dirty bomb,” Eggsy had shot back.

            “She’s might as well be one, with this explosive mess. What is she eating?” Harry had said, but he let Eggsy help him.

            “Can y’ burp her?” Eggsy asked. He grabbed a burping cloth. “Or do you want me to do it?”

            “I think I can manage,” Harry said with a sniff.

            “Y’ sure? She may puke on y’r suit.”

            “I can do it,” Mark said.

            “No, let me. I need to do this,” Harry insisted. Mark and Eggsy shared a dubious look. Harry scowled and held his hand out, giving a shake for emphasis. “If you’d be so kind to hand me the cloth.”

            Eggsy shrugged and handed it to Harry, who placed it over his shoulder. He set the empty bottle down and turned Violet against her shoulder, lightly giving her pat.

            “How was work?” Harry asked.

            “Fine—long. Rachel says hello, by the way,” Mark said. “She has another date with Roxanne tonight.”

            “I knew those two would be a perfect match,” Eggsy said with a grin.

He rocked back on the balls of his heels and looked expectantly at Mark, who heaved a heavy sigh and said, “Yes, you were right.”

“That’s all I want to hear.”

“We spoil you,” Mark said, but he was grinning so Eggsy didn’t take it to heart. Eggsy leaned forward for another kiss.

“I’ll start dinner,” Eggsy announced. He headed into the kitchen, leaving Violet in Mark’s and Harry’s care.

* * * *

            Mark took a seat beside Harry, who continued to pat Violet’s bottom, giving her a slight bounce.

            “Did you ever think you’d be in this position?” Mark asked. He’d dreamed of a baby for so long, had imagined a life where he and Bridget had a house full of them. He’d been so sure those dreams had been crushed when Bridget chose Daniel over him. And while that betrayal had hurt, he had long since decided he preferred this future over the other.

            “No, though I’ve learned that life is never what you prepare for,” Harry said, frowning down at Violet. “Why isn’t she burping?”

            “Give it time,” Mark said, stroking a finger down Violet’s back.

            “I went to Harrods today,” Harry said.

            “You didn’t buy her anything else, did you?” Mark didn’t have any more room for clothes. Violet had more than she could possibly need, especially at the rate she was growing.

            “I only bought a few things. There was a lovely jacket,” Harry said. “I’ve already arranged for—”

            “We are not getting her a suit Harry, she’s a baby,” Mark stated.

            “There is nothing wrong with her having a suit. Kingsman is the finest tailor,” Harry insisted. “And I’ll be making it.”

            Mark chuckled. It’d been an argument they’d been having well before Violet was born, and Mark had long since given up. He leaned forward and Harry met him halfway, their mouths slotting together in a relaxed kiss that warmed through him. While he would never get enough of Harry’s heady, sensual embraces, which always sent a fire curling through Mark’s belly, there was something comforting in the small domestic touches they shared.

            Blargh.

            Violet burped, spitting up a bit of her food.

            Harry drew back with a grimace. “Well, at least she got it on the burping cloth.”

            Mark laughed.

* * * *

            Bridget and Jack picked up Violet after dinner. Eggsy didn’t want to admit it, but he felt the withdraws as soon as they were gone. The house just seemed emptier without Violet’s giggles.

            “Come on darling, don’t make that face,” Harry said as he tugged Eggsy onto the couch beside him.

Eggsy turned into his side and sighed. “I forgot wot it was like having a babe around. Reminds me of when Daisy was just a little thing.”

He loved having Daisy sleep on his chest. It’d been comforting for both Daisy and himself, especially when Dean was on his rampage and banging around in the living room. The weight of Daisy grounded him, just as his arms protected her.

Now with Violet he could hold a baby again. Coming home to her smiling face after an especially hard mission had helped Eggsy forget the horrors he’d committed. Mark didn’t know why Eggsy had held Violet so close that night—as far as he knew Eggsy had simply been gone on a tailoring job—but he’d simply held Eggsy in return.

“She’ll be back love,” Mark said.

“I know,” Eggsy grumbled. “But still…”

JB trotted over to the couch, pacing back and forth, before finally jumping on and snuffling into Eggsy’s lap. Eggsy smiled and scratched him behind the ear.

“Come on,” Mark coaxed. “Let’s go to bed.”

JB grunted when Eggsy uncurled his legs. He’d just gotten comfortable. Harry took him out for one last walk while Eggsy and Mark turned down the bed and changed into their pajamas.

It was their first night alone, sans baby, in three days. He expected Harry or Mark to jump at the chance for some uninterrupted sex, but in the end they settled into bed, Eggsy sandwiched between them. Eggsy rested his head on Harry’s chest, while Mark hugged him from behind, molding his chest to Eggsy’s back. JB, much to Harry’s chagrin, slept at their feet.

“Do you hear that?” Harry whispered.

“Hear what?”

“Silence,” Harry said.

Eggsy snorted. “You miss her too.”

Harry squeezed his shoulder. “I do, though I appreciate a good night’s sleep, as well.”

“Thank you,” Mark mumbled against Eggsy’s bare shoulder.

“For what?” Eggsy asked.

Mark squeezed his arms. “For being there, both of you.”

Eggsy and Harry both set their hand on top of Mark’s, and Eggsy whispered, “We’ll always be there for you, Mark. Now and forever.”