Harry stood in front of the full length mirror and sighed. He reached up and let his fingers trail over the scar that started just above his left eye and cut back towards his temple before disappearing into his hairline.
Lucky is what they'd called him, and he supposed he was. That bullet could have done so much worse. It could have ended his life right there. It could have gone into his brain and destroyed half his mind, leaving him a permanent invalid. But no, he had been lucky, because of Valentine's weak stomach, because he'd looked away and closed his eyes before firing the gun, it gave Harry a fraction of a second to react. To throw his head back to avoid the worst damage. It had still hit him, grazing along his forehead and spraying blood all over the hot asphalt. It hurt like hell and bled like a bitch, but it wasn't fatal. They'd walked away, leaving him laying there in the hot sun, his blood soaking into the ground. His last thought before the darkness took him was that he wished he'd been braver.
He'd woken up a month later in an American hospital. They'd told him how lucky he had been. They told him he had been the only one to survive the massacre in that church. They told him about the chaos that had ensued the day after and how lucky they'd all been because there was a strict no cell phone rule in this hospital. He'd asked if anyone had been looking for him. He tried not to show how frightened he was when he was told no.
He'd made his plan of escape then. It had taken little to no effort to get one of the nurses to bring him his personal effects. Apparently a posh London accent was all you needed in this country. He'd also convinced her to let him walk around a bit. That was how he'd been able to nick a lab coat from the laundry. A sudden coughing fit just as he was passing one of the doctors, who very helpfully brought him back to his room to rest, also very helpfully provided Harry with his hospital ID and wallet, though the poor doctor didn't realise that until much later. He'd hidden everything in his pillow and waited. Once the lights were out and all was quiet he'd dressed in his suit and the borrowed items and walked right out of the hospital and into the night.
Getting home had been a bit more of an ordeal. It had been years since he'd had to use his orienteering training. And even then he'd only been as far away from home as Cornwall. Air travel was out of the question. There was no way he's be able to get on a plane in this age of heightened awareness without a valid passport. He could try his luck with a cargo plane, but he didn't want to risk dying from a lack of cabin pressure after everything he'd survived so far. So that left sea travel. Thanks to the good doctor he now had some new clothes and a bit of cash so he bought a bus ticket to Florida. Once there he was able to get aboard a large cruise liner bound for England by getting a job as a dance host. Oh if Merlin could see him now. He'd probably laugh at him. He tried in vain to ignore the pain in his chest when he thought of the man.
Once back on English soil Harry felt like he could breathe a bit more. He slipped away from the ship and stole a car from long-term parking. His hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly they had turned white. The fear and panic that he'd been trying to stamp down ever since he'd woken up in that hospital and been told that no one had come for him was back in full force. He had to get to the shop. He had to know why. He had to know if….no, he would think that thought. That dark thought that would creep into his mind late at night when he was all alone.
He parked haphazardly outside the shop and jumped out, running inside. Someone he didn't recognize was behind the counter. That wasn't a good sign. He composed himself as best he could and approached the man. He pressed down on the contact of his ring before offering his hand. This guy really was green because he took it readily. Harry almost felt sorry for him as fell to the ground, still jerking from the electric shock.
Instead he stepped over him and took the stairs two at a time, going straight for the dining room. It was empty, but he'd already guessed it would be. He walked over to the far wall and pressed his hand against the wall. After a moment he heard the lock release and the wall slid back and away, revealing Arthur's private office. He went straight for the desk, picking up the phone. His heart was pounding so loud that he didn't hear the footsteps behind him nor the sound of the gun cocking before it was pressed to the back of his head. He froze, letting the phone drop from his hand. He opened his mouth to say something but the man with the gun beat him to it.
“You have three seconds to tell me who you are and how you got in here before I redecorate the walls with your brains.”
Harry nearly cried out in joy. That voice. The voice he'd been dreaming of. The voice he feared he'd never hear again. Deep and strong and alive. He was alive. Tears fell down Harry's cheeks and all he could do was let out a sob that took the form of the man's name.
There was a soft gasp behind him and the gun was taken away. Harry turned and looked into shocked hazel eyes. He reached out, needing to touch him. Needing to prove he was real. His hand traced over a strong jaw covered in day old stubble and then up over sharp cheekbones. A dull thud sounded in his peripheral, the gun dropping to the floor, and then there were hands on his face as well. Wiping away tears and drawing him closer.
“Is it really you?” He asked, voice barely more than a whisper. “Or have I finally lost my mind?”
Harry laughed. “You lost that years ago.”
“Oh aye, it's you. Only you could be so damn cheeky at a moment like this.”
Harry smiled and cupped his cheek.
“You wouldn't want me any other way.”
“You're right about that.”
Harry smiled up at him, his fingers tracing over his cheek and wiping away a tear.
“Ask me again”
For a moment Merlin just blinked, confused. Then realisation dawned on him.
“Harry….you don't have to..”
“Yes. Yes I do. It's all I've been able to think about. Even when I was laying there, thinking I was dying. All I could think of was how much of a coward I was. I was afraid. Afraid of messing this up. Of...of ...oh, a bunch of really stupid reasons that don't even matter because all that matters is that I love you, and you love me. So….ask me again. “
“Harry Hart, will you marry me?”
“Yes. Yes yes yes.”
Then he was pulled in for a kiss that made his toes curl and a fire ignite in his chest. He held on, clinging to him as Merlin pressed kisses over every inch of his face while whispering his name like the most reverent prayer.
Harry looked up, seeing Eggsy standing behind him in the doorway in the mirror’s reflection. He checked that his tie was straight before turning around to face the boy.
“Well, how do I look?”
“Great, as always. Now come on, you don't want to be late to your own wedding, do you?”
“No. I think I've kept him waiting long enough.”
And as Harry walked out of that room to go marry the man he'd loved for the last 30 years, he finally felt truly lucky.