countdown*

To say that Harry had no idea whatsoever how he ended up in his current position would have been a complete and utter lie. You see, there is a perfectly logical explanation as to why Eggsy Unwin was currently curled half on top of him in Harry’s bed, in Harry’s house. (At least, that’s what Hart will tell Merlin when he sees the telltale smirk on his friend’s face the next time he goes in to the office.)

He could, of course, provide the drawn out tale that included explosions, a sword fight, and a splintered femur, but the long and short of it is that Gary “Eggsy” Unwin was by far the worst hospital patient to grace the halls of Kingsman since its establishment. Whining and complaining to any medical staff in his immediate vicinity, consistently stating that he was “just fine, honest, I can get out of this stupid bed, I’m already drowning in paperwork and being cooped up here isn’t doing anything to help that.” Any attempt at escape, no matter how proficient he may be at it, was thwarted and he was ushered quietly, if irate, back to bed.

Merlin had finally had enough.

And when Merlin has enough, he gets vindictive. In repayment for at least half a head of hair’s worth of stress and suffering through his friend’s antisocial tendencies for thirty-odd years (can one count thirteen months thinking their best friend is dead as stress or antisocialism?), he had given in and signed the poor boy’s release papers, on one condition: Eggsy had to stay with Harry until his rehabilitation was completed, as he couldn’t exactly go to his own empty house, or ask his mother for assistance (the questions that would raise; how does one splinter their femur if they work in a tailor shop?) The end of the day, regardless, saw Harry and Eggsy off together, both agents struggling with barely concealed excitement and trepidation. Merlin smirked to himself, and hoped that perhaps his favourite pair of idiots might actually open their eyes before he simply bashed their heads together and physically made them see what was right in front of them.

Everything ran smoothly, as expected, until the evening. Sitting on the couch with one of your best mates watching a movie until late was one thing. Sitting on the couch with one of your best mates who you also happened to be in love with was another animal entirely, especially when the only way to comfortably situate all of your limbs was to sit very, very close (at least, that’s what Harry had told himself while trying to get Eggsy to stop squirming). Despite the awkwardness - or at least, awkwardness created by the idea of the fact that your feelings were completely inappropriate and unwanted and unreciprocated - the movie rolled on through until the end of the credits when Eggsy began to nod off, and both came to the conclusion that he should take his meds before he gets too tired, and then they would tackle the stairs.

A lot of heavy leaning and insistences that “yes, Harry, I can stand on my own long enough to get ready for bed, I’m fine; no you knob I’ll take the guest bed; you aren’t sleeping downstairs, you’re far too tall for the couch and you’ll only be a grump in the morning,” toiletries were taken care of and fresh sheets on the bed in the spare room.

“Yes, Harry, I’m sure I’m fine, I’ve got this, I’m not a child”. Eggsy yawned as he attempted to pull his sleep shirt on over his head - backwards - and thus missed the wounded look that flashed across Harry’s face at being denied the ability to assist.

“Well I was only trying to help, dearest, but since you’re so keen on being obstinate then you can figure it out on your own.” Switching off the light and leaving Eggsy to wrangle his shirt in the dark, Harry turned to make his exit. “I’ll be across the hall should you finally decide to stop being petulant.”

“Harry, wait.” Eggsy sighed, managing at last to get his head through the correct hole. “I’m - I’m sorry. It’s really good of you to put me up like this.”

Not that he had made it very far to being with, but Harry turned around and crossed the short distance towards his housemate for the near future, finding a seat on the nightstand next to a lamp.

“It’s quite alright, Eggsy. You’re in a lot of pain. You’re allowed to be upset, and you would be regardless. Emotions are what make us human, darling; you can let yourself feel them.” Beckoning Eggsy over to him until he had managed to place himself nearly inside the space of Harry’s thighs, Harry continued. “You don’t have to shut yourself down whenever you feel something. We weren’t made to bottle things inside us. Emotions were designed to be shared with the people we care about. Never apologize for how you feel. For what you feel.” He finished softly.

“But what if the person I want to share certain things with, don’t want ‘em?” Eggsy asked, and Harry could tell that the drugs were beginning to kick in.

“Well, then they would have to be the most insolent, thick-skulled human being to grace the modern era to deny the beauty offering himself to them.” Eggsy fixed him with a look and really, in hindsight, he should have known. “Oh.” Some spy he was. Praying to whatever higher power watched over them that he was reading this correctly and not simply projecting, Harry took Eggsy by the hand and, after switching off the light a second time, led him across the hall to the master bedroom and ushered him into bed before slipping in himself.

No sooner had he got himself settled had Eggsy rolled over and on top of him like some sort of octopus, took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and nuzzled his head into the juncture of Harry’s neck and shoulder.

“Goodnight, darling.”

“G'nigh, H'rry.” Eggsy breathed slowly. “Love you.”

Harry was quiet for a moment but, after turning to place a kiss to Eggsy’s forehead after he was sure the younger man was nearly asleep, whispered “I love you too, my darling boy.”
Harry could almost feel the smile pressed against his skin.

10.
First drink
a toast to you
in all your dismissive glory
The bitter fire
goes down smooth
like the angle of your lips
when you mouth the word
fucker

9.
Neil Young could best
describe your beauty
in naively sexist detail but
the Pixies sure knew
when to sing
and when to shut up


8.
Fourth drink
masochistically reading
all your letters
before I consign them
to the dung heap


7.
I wonder who
invented the paper shredder
and if, wherever they are
alive or dead
they can feel
my tender love


6.
Ninth drink
with a letter opener
and a Bic lighter
I might be able to
condition myself
against further humiliation
in love


5.
Everything I’ve said
is lies except
about the paradise
of your eyes


4.
Thirteenth drink
for good
luck


3.
Poetry is torture
when the letters on the keyboard
are dancing, laughing manikins
dressed like the happy clowns
in John Wayne Gacy
paintings


2.
Eighteenth drink
Fuck you
I’m sorry
I love you
Fuck you


1.
What was your name
again?

— 

Max Mundan, Countdown

© David Rutter 2016

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