Word Count: 3,404 (this excerpt); 11,864 (all excerpts total)
Primary Pairings/Characters: Harry Hart/Eggsy Unwin
Content/Warnings (for entire story, not just excerpts): GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, RAPE/NON-CON (mentioned, not explicit), UNDERAGE (mentioned, not explicit)
A/N: These excerpts are all from my first EBB fic in the universe, they are in order but skip around through the fic’s chapters. Thanks to lanalucy for the beta. Enjoy!
Harry strolled nonchalantly into the tech department and approached his old friend, now second in command of all of the handlers. Looking over Morien’s shoulder, he could see the man was prepping for upcoming missions rather than being live as a handler at the moment.
“Good evening, Geoff.”
The Scot shot him a look. “Harry.”
“Are you at a pausing spot perchance? I thought I’d go for a pint. Maybe you’d like to come? I’d ask Percival but he’s in Italy right now.” Harry very carefully brushed nonexistent lint from the arm of his suit.
The wily Scot recognized the other man needed to talk but wanted to be in private. “Give me ten minutes, I’ll meet you at the tube.”
Harry nodded and wandered away, internally screaming and crying and jumping around in joy and confusion, none of it showing externally, his face an even more impenetrable mask than usual.
As Harry boarded the underground bullet train with one of his dearest friends, he still wasn’t sure how he felt or how to talk about it, but he knew himself well enough to be aware he needed a sounding board. And to know he didn’t want Arthur to have any inkling about any of it. The head of the table was truly an uptight bastard at times, and Harry knew that on this topic, as with many others, they did not see eye to eye in the least. And he simply felt keeping the situation private, at least for the time being, was for the best, not for the least for avoiding a lecture from the incredibly unromantic and blasé Chester King.
Harry and Geoff entered the pub they regularly went to when they wanted to be in public doing their drinking. It wasn’t too far from the tailor shop but it wasn’t so close as to be the watering hole for the rest of the agents and others. Here, at the Smiling Crown, they could be assured of relative privacy in public.
After getting their pints from the bar, the two men took seats in a corner booth, the noise from the other patrons providing a nice background hum. Geoff started the conversation, breaking the lengthy silence that had endured since they had boarded the bullet train.
“All right, then, out with it, Harry. What is bothering that curly head of yours now?”
Harry looked at the other man with a frown. “At least I don’t have to shave my head so no one can see how much hair I’ve lost, baldy.”
Geoff huffed. “Don’t evade me, Harry Hart. Don’t turn the subject or go off on a tangent. You came to me, remember? You’re the one looking to talk, so talk.”
Harry sat up straight. “I was in my office this afternoon, doing some paperwork -”
“From how long ago, Harry? You know your backlog is the worst of everyone. You’re late for everything, aren’t you? From meetings to reports.”
“Now who’s changing the subject and going off on tangents?”
Geoff nodded in silent acknowledgment and apology and Harry continued. “Regardless, I was in my office and working on mission reports and requisition forms when - God, Geoff - I - I felt tingling in my arms and hands and then my legs and feet. I nearly passed out from shock. I realized, I - I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed these past few years and in medical or just, I can’t recall a vision trance since I was twenty-eight. The one we drank to, the storm clouds. I’m thirty-two, Geoff! It’s been four years and I haven’t been conscious for my visions for the past three. The year after - after - when I was twenty-nine, I thought I might have a vision at the normal time but if you’ll recall, the day before my two weeks mandatory leave was scheduled, I was kidnapped by that Soviet spy and spent the time unconscious from my injuries after the rescue.”
Geoff nodded. That had been a bad mission. Harry had been in a very bad mental place for several years, taking chances he should not, cutting corners, and just generally not overly caring about his life. It was only within the past six months the fog had really started to lift and Galahad was no longer the most reckless and irresponsible knight in the agency. Granted, the insanity had brought them even closer, as Geoff became Harry’s permanent handler among his other duties; Harry had driven three other handlers into ulcers or nervous breakdowns with his antics. But still, it was a good thing he had become more careful and caring of his own life again.
“I realized as I sat there waiting for what was coming that I hadn’t been, well, compos mentis would work, either during the former trance date nor during this new one since I lost my mate and had my storm trance. I was either in the medical wing, drugged and recovering from injuries, or drugged by an enemy (you remember that one, in the Alps), or knocked unconscious from an explosion (in Thailand) or in an induced coma after that mission to Toronto or well, frankly, this time last year I was in an alcoholic stupor and blacked out. It has been a year since we lost Reg and I didn’t handle it - in an altogether healthy manner last year. To lose both Reg and Arthur in a car accident of all things, black ice and an out of control lorry, and then have no real option for a new Arthur except Chester, since we all knew the only other runner for the spot would have been Reg. Everyone always knew Kay and Tristan were being groomed for the spot, as alternatives for us to choose from. And then to be left with Kay! And the godawful gloating smile on his face when he ascended to the head of the table - I just went home that night -” Geoff looked at Harry with a raised eyebrow, “very well, I went home that afternoon and got falling down, passing out, don’t recall anything or how I ended up sprawled on the floor in the conservatory, drunk. I may have had a vision and don’t recall it due to the alcoholic blackout or I may have been passed out from the alcohol and missed it entirely. I have no way of knowing. Or this might be the first year I have one if my mate was reborn in the year since that blackout. They could be anywhere from a year old (or less likely but statistically not impossible, a few months old) to four years or so.”
Geoff shook his head in disbelief. “So, you had a celebration vision trance with the rainbow colours and now you are fretting because while you know your mate has been reborn, you don’t know if it's been within the last year, or if you're incredible recklessness with your life led to you missing that first colour-filled vision. Only you, Harry. And though I know yer going to fret yourself raw about it, there really is no way to know, not until they reach puberty, at which point you could get a better idea of the age. All you know is they were conceived on this date sometime in the past four years or so. Which puts their birthday anywhere from say five months to eleven months from now. Granted, eight to ten months are more likely but medicine is doing wonders with premature births these days and some women are very late in delivery. Eleven months is highly improbable but possible.”
Harry downed the remains of his Guinness in one long swallow. “I don’t even know if they’re a boy or a girl, Geoff. I knew from my first vision my mate was male, but with a reborn mate, it could change. I have no idea.”
Geoff chuckled. “And you won’t, not until they hit puberty. Welcome to the land of uncertainty, Harry, my friend.”
Harry’s head hit the table with a thunk and a groan and his friend laughed.
September 1999, Ireland
Harry Hart sometimes hated his job. As he pushed through crowds of families and children, meeting the eyes of everyone under four feet tall, his bespoke suit covered in candy floss and popcorn, his Oxfords covered in mud and worse, he cursed the decision he had made thirteen years previously to become a knight.
“Excuse me,” the knight constantly murmured to children as he looked at them, searching for the information dealer who sold state secrets and troop movements to whoever paid the highest and sometimes selling the same information to multiple people who could meet his price. The man’s cover: the dwarf man in a circus that toured Europe and northern Africa. “Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me.”
October 1999, Paris, France
“All right, Galahad, just mingle with them; stay calm and don’t be condescending. We need this information and we have to figure out which one of them she passed the disk to. It is in one of them. We know that much, and that it will be picked up and passed on after the party. But all we have to go on is the voice print, no physical description, so you need to get them to talk. If possible, to say the words ‘Teddy’ and ‘lovely’.”
Harry nodded his head subtly, knowing the glasses would pick up the movement. He walked forward, inwardly grimacing, and sat next to the first potential mark. He looked at him and smiled. “I like your bear. Its outfit is very well made. What’s his name?”
The boy held up the bear to the agent and said, “Buzz. He’s a robot bear but looks real. He goes on adventures with a squid and a horse and they ride on motorcycles and fly planes because they’re superheroes and they don’t eat their vegetables because they think they are nasty, especially broccoli ‘cause they are deformed trees and should be torn down.”
Harry smiled even as he inwardly sighed, glancing around at the forty children in the ballroom holding teddy bears.
December 1999, London, England
Harry crossed a tidy living room decorated for Christmas and squatted down in front of the child playing with a snow globe, the sobbing of the widow echoing behind him. He sighed as he looked at the young child, the child who would probably barely remember his father the hero, the hero who was dead because Harry had missed seeing the grenade and Lee had not.
“What’s your name, young man?”
The boy looked at him shyly and lisped the answer, “Eggsy.”
“Hello, Eggsy.” Harry smiled sadly at the boy in his Christmas sweater, surrounded by gifts his father had gotten for him he would never see him enjoy. “Can I see that?”
The boy held out the snow globe and Harry took it in his hand, swirling it around. He showed the young boy the medal his mother had refused to take. “You take care of this, Eggsy. All right?”
Eggsy nodded his head and reached for the symbol of Lee Unwin’s bravery and loss and Harry’s own fatal error. Harry glanced back at Lee’s widow and then again met the boy’s blue eyes. “And take care of your mum, too.”
The boy nodded solemnly once more. Harry sighed, placed the snow globe on a table, gripped the young boy’s shoulder in a show of silent support and shared grief and left the young family to its mourning.
February 2000, Scotland
“The tracker is pointing to the warehouse straight ahead,” Harry murmured over the comms. He crouched in the shadows of an alley and slipped on a pair of infrared goggles. “I read heat signatures of ten on the main floor, spread out, no more than three in close proximity to one another. There are at least four upstairs, all close together. None of the heat signatures are small enough to be Rebecca. Merlin, do the plans for the building show a basement? There’s too much solid rock for me to use the infrared.”
“Affirmative, Galahad. The structure has a large basement. It spans the entire stretch of the building according to the plans. Best idea is to go in stealth, take out as many as you can, silent approach. Then head downstairs. The goggles should work through the floorboards once you’re inside.”
Harry smiled. “I’ll do my best to keep it quiet, Merlin.”
The voice squawked loudly over the comms, “I mean it Harry. You go in guns blazing, they might kill the wee lass before you can find her. Break necks, amnesia darts, garrotes, slice throats, no guns! I’m not gonna be the one ta tell Gawaine his granddaughter died ‘cause Galahad was a showoff.”
Harry took a deep breath and nodded. “I know, Merlin. I’m perfectly capable of taking out the targets, silent and deadly. I’ll try to keep a few alive for interrogation but if it is a choice between keeping one of them alive and bringing Rebecca home to her family without having to use a body bag, I won’t take prisoners.”
“Understood and agreed, Galahad. Good luck.”
Harry proceeded into the warehouse, picking the locks on the closest door. He made his way carefully through the cavernous, yet maze-like space, slowly exterminating the guards, quiet and utterly deadly. After the first floor was clear, Harry ascended to the small second floor that took up one wall of the warehouse. He didn’t want to leave enemies behind him able to ambush him on his way out.
The four men were gathered around a computer monitor, seemingly transfixed by what they saw on the screen. It made it simple for Harry to shoot each in the neck with an amnesia knockout dart before any of them realized they were no longer alone. Harry looked at the screen and cursed as he realized what he was seeing, Merlin echoing and more in his ear. Harry slammed the goggles on and stared downward, now seeing the heat signatures in the basement of the warehouse.
“It wasn’t kidnap for pay or for revenge on Gawaine, Merlin. It was a fucking coincidence. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a fucking child sex ring! They’re kidnapping children to sell them into sexual slavery. Fuck, fuck, no way in hell!”
“Galahad! Galahad, I see it. Galahad, you need to - Harry - Harry, you need to - we - you’re going to scare the kids, stop, Harry, now was that really necessary, oh, bloody hell, in all fucking senses of the words, Galahad! Fuck, this is one hell of a mess, literally. Oh, now, that was poetic justice, right there. Nice. But really, get control, Galahad. Ooh, last one, decided to get artistic, did we?”
“My apologies, Merlin,” Harry replied as he smoothed down his suit coat and ran his hand through his hair and straightened his glasses. He looked around at the pedophiles lying on the ground around him. There were the remains of over a dozen men, though it would take some work to determine that with some of the bodies literally severed into multiple pieces. Bodies were cut open, many with their insides lying on the floor, others missing limbs, and nearly all with significant injuries to their groins. The last killed was pinned to the ground with several knives through his shoulders and into the concrete floor and his penis was missing, until one looked into his mouth. “I’m afraid I let my temper get the best of me for a minute there.”
“Indeed. That’s what we’ll call it, shall we? At least you left the ones in the office alive. They’re the one most likely ta have the info we need to take care of the wider ring. Now find somewhere to clean up a bit before you get those children free. The clean up team is ETA four minutes.”
Harry nodded, though frankly, based on the little faces peering out of the cages around the room, it was a moot point. But the smiles on those faces made it clear they weren’t afraid of him, no matter his brutal treatment of their captors.
August 2000, London, England
Harry sat slumped in a very ungentlemanly posture on the armchair in his den. Mr. Pickles sprawled on the floor at his feet, head on his slipper-clad foot. Across the room, Geoff, now know as Merlin and fully in charge of the tech and handler divisions, and Percival, now a senior knight, sat in their own armchairs. Each man had a glass of whiskey in hand.
Percival sat forward and verbally prodded his old friend. “All right, Harry, spit it out. You practically begged us to come over tonight and we both know you got out of lockdown just before you came to see us. Did you finally see a vision? It seems a little early, but puberty can come early, and by the timeline you’ve figured out over the years, your mate could be ten, which isn’t overly early.”
Harry shook his head. “No, no vision.”
“Then why the urgency, Harry?” Merlin inquired. “Percy’s right. When you invited me over, you were nearly vibrating with tension. Well, at least to someone who knows you as well as I do.”
“I told you. Straight out, I said it. No vision.”
Percival was the first to understand. “You mean, you didn’t even have a rainbow vision? No vision at all? But they let you come home, your lockdown is over, so -”
“Damn it, Harry, you didn’t lie about it?”
“No, Merlin. I had the tingles and pain, then after half an hour, there was no vision. No vision of any kind. At all.”
“Oh, holy fuck! Only you, Harry Hart. You felt the pull and warmth, didn’t ye? You met yer soul mate during the past year but they aren’t in puberty yet so you met but couldn’t bond.”
“Exactly! And I still have no clue how to find them! I don’t know their gender and will now never have a vision giving me a clue. All I’ll have is a geographical pull and the warmth of the love in the bond.”
Percival took a deep drink from his tumbler. “And you can’t even follow the pull because you’ll be locked down at HQ whenever it happens.”
“Thank you for stating the obvious, Percival.”
“But, well, Harry, you aren’t exactly known for being around children and your mate is under 11 and over 7. How many children have you interacted with since your last vision in that bracket?”
Geoff laughed aloud as he understood, being Harry’s handler.
“That’s the problem. This past year my missions have been filled with damned children fucking everywhere!” Harry took a deep breath. “I never interacted with so many children as I have in the past year in my entire life. I mean, two months ago there was the trafficking ring that Gawaine’s granddaughter got pulled into and before that was the spy who slipped a stuffed bear with a disk inside it to a child at a teddy bear party and then there was the damned circus! I had to look those kids in the eye to make sure one of them wasn’t the damned circus dwarf man, hiding. I - and those - they were just random public children at the circus with their families. There is absolutely no way to track any of them down. Assuming it was one of them. And leaving out that mission, the other two had me talking to or at least interacting in some way with over seventy children. Adding the circus crowds could put the number over 100, probably more. I truly think Fate hates me. Any other year and it would be simple. But this year had to be the year of children. Damn it, I’ll never find them again.”
“Take heart, you may be unable to follow the pull due to Kingsman policies, Harry,” PErcival rationally pointed out, “but once your mate hits puberty or adulthood, at least, they can follow it from their end to find you.”
“Assuming Harry isn’t out of the country during their trances,” Merlin pointed out.
Harry threw a pillow at the Scot’s head for that particular pointed reference before he sighed and poured himself another drink, determined to drink his worries away, at least for the night, safe among friends.