dedication: to mercury.
notes: wtf why are y'all all up on eggsy being galahad wrong eggsy is obviously arthur
notes2: there weren't enough ladies in this movie, so im gonna rectify that
notes3: GLEEFULLY PLAYS FAST AND LOOSE WITH ARTHURIAN LEGEND
title: historia regum brittaniae
summary: "Call me Morgana," she says. — Eggsy, Merlin, Amelia, Roxy.
"Arthur, I need an assistant."
Eggsy doesn't look up from where he's perusing the paper. For all the technology at the disposal of the Service, once in a while he wants to touch actual pages (if only to feel them crinkle in his grip when he clenches his fists). This morning is one of those mornings, and he's looking over the headlines the day after Lancelot walked Paris Fashion Week for Elie Saab to stop an assassination.
They say nothing about that, of course. Celebrity drivel, instead, a bit about Scotland's thorough thrashing of the Chelsea football team, and a picture of the Queen. All in all, it's looking to be a good morning.
"Arthur, are you listening," Merlin says, and it's not a question.
"Yeah, I dunno, mate, you askin' for permission or sommat?"
This is odd, if only because Merlin never asks for permission to do anything—the Kingsman's tech magician never asks for permission to do exactly as he pleases, especially in matters of tech personnel.
Eggsy handles the mattes of the Table; Merlin handles everyone else.
"I want to resurrect Morgana," Merlin says.
"Morgana?" Eggsy asks, and reaches for the tablet.
"Glasses, Arthur," sighs Merlin, sounding thoroughly put-upon, and flicks his fingers. The images that flash across the screen have Eggsy raising his eyebrows, and the more he reads, the higher the eyebrows go. They're probably up past his hairline when he finally tears his gaze away to stare at Merlin.
"You gone mad, then?" he says. "She did all of that with just a laptop? Is that even possible?"
"Our previous Morgana was… unstable. She had very good aim," Merlin graciously allows, and Eggsy goes back to reading over the articles.
"Was?" Eggsy catches the past-tense, and can't help that his eyebrows rise even further up his forehead.
Merlin's eyes flash behind his glasses. "Was," he repeats.
Eggsy doesn't push it further than that. There are still lines he can't cross with Merlin: lines that he will never be able to cross, because for all he respects the older man, they aren't friends. Instead, he taps his fingers against the lacquered wooden tabletop as he thinks it over.
Of course, there's a glaring question of why Merlin wants his approval.
"I thought you might want input," Merlin says drily, reading the look on Eggsy's face correctly. "Given the history of the title."
"You have someone in mind, then?"
Merlin makes a non-committal kind of noise, pushes his glasses up his nose. He's wearing a terrible sweater-vest, it's a wonder he allows himself out in public like that—but of course, Eggsy has no right to comment. Bespoke suit and all, some days he wishes he could run about in ratty jeans the way he used to; childhood's nagging call, even now. He's far too old for it.
"You may come in, now," Merlin says. Eggsy hadn't even realized he'd still been speaking.
A woman walks in. She's dark-coloured: brown skin, chestnut hair, eyes a rich unnameable russet colour behind thick-rimmed glasses, and she's wearing a close-fitting black skirt, a well-cut blazer. There's something familiar about her—
"Amelia?" Eggsy gets out, gaping unattractively.
"Call me Morgana," she says.
Merlin's thin lips curl up into a smile. Eggsy has to force himself not to bang his head against the table.
His life is going to get so much harder.
Roxy flops down on his couch with a bag of crisps and the remote control, his mum's spare set of slippers on her feet, and pulls her knees up to her chest. She's not Lancelot like this; right now, she's just his best mate, and she looks absolutely done with the entire world.
"You alright?" he asks, and reaches for the crisps as he sits next to her. This is a mistake. Roxy is mercenary about her crisps, and Eggsy nearly gets his fingers bit off for the offense.
(He does deserve it. He knows how she is about crisps; really, he brought this on himself.)
"Where's J.B.?" she asks, tosses her legs over his knees.
"Where's Pip?" he counters; with Roxy, the best answer to any question is another question, especially when dogs are involved. He doesn't aim for the crisps again, though he really wants to.
Roxy crunches down, looking sullen. Her teeth are a flash of white, greasy potatoes breaking around the sharp edges. Her eyes are very blue. "At my mum's. Of course she's there the one day I need to pet my dog. Today was awful."
"Aww, Rox, can't have been as bad as mine," Eggsy says, and slides an arm around her shoulders. There's tension all up her neck, originating somewhere at the base of her spine, probably. "Oi, you're gonna get a headache, stop clenchin' your jaw."
She purses her lips at him prissily, and ignores him entirely.
It almost makes him laugh.
But Roxy isn't given to flights of fancy, or even over-dramatization. If she says her day was awful, it was probably a nightmare. Roxy is clipped and cold about her assignments; nothing touches her.
Merlin spends so much of his time correcting mistakes; Arthur can't make mistakes the way Eggsy does, isn't supposed to have his kind of dirty hands. At least the suit washes well.
Sometimes, Eggsy things she'd be a much better Arthur than he is.
He doesn't tell her this, of course. It would only embarrass her, and he needs her in top form. After the Valentine debacle, they're down to four Kingsmen—and he's not sure if he counts Urien, the man is an oddity among oddities.
Also, she'd probably kick him, and that would hurt.
(Eggsy isn't much for pain.)
"What happened, Rox? Something's eatin' you," he says, instead, tugs her into the crook of his body, and suddenly it's like they're in training again, sitting on their tiny beds facing each other with their knees knobbly and cold in the white fluorescent light. Sometimes, Eggsy forgets that it was only a year and a half ago. The world feels an awful lot more shit when you're saving the world and arranging funerals for dead mentors.
He never knew he could feel this old.
But he does feel old.
He feels so, so, so old.
(Mags is almost four, milk-teeth a bright gleam when she laughs. There's nothing of Dean in her little face: she's got his mother's nose and his mother's hair and his mother's smile. He looks at her, sometimes, when she's in the kitchen with his mum and dancing like it's easy, and he never wants anything to hurt her ever. She's so small, and he loves her desperately.)
"You know, my mum thinks I'm in London, for school," Roxy says, chuckling without humour. "She thinks I'm off getting this—education, and instead, today I put a bullet through one of the Queen's bodyguards. Right between the eyes."
"Rox—" Eggsy starts, but she cuts him off.
"I know we're not supposed to talk about it. I know. Sorry," she mutters the words out of the corner of her mouth, like resignation or burned rubber at the back of his throat. "It was just messy. That's all."
"S'always messy, Rox, brains are like that," he grins, but it's not a nice grin. "Looks like chicken fat, don' it?"
"Gross," Roxy scrunches her face up, nose wrinkling right in the middle so that her freckles wink. "On that happy note, how was your day?"
"Merlin wants an assistant," Eggsy says, tries to be cheerful about it, fails miserably at the look on her face.
"Who?" she asks.
"He calls her Morgana?"
He doesn't mention that she's Amelia. He doesn't mention that she's beautiful, sharp-dressed and smart and still alive even though he can still remember the blue tinge to her lips; drowning is such a horrible way to die, and he's been so very glad that she didn't. He doesn't mention that Merlin had watched him with knowing eyes, old but laughing, as though the entire world had been waiting for it.
He thinks Roxy might hear what he doesn't say, anyway, because she raises a delicate eyebrow at him.
"Morgana?" she says. "Morgana, as in, the Morgana who—?"
"With just a laptop," Eggsy says, shakes his head. "Boom."
"Wow," Roxy says, sits back with a furrowed brow. She shifts, hair brushing along her collar bone, hands twisting for lack of a cup of tea to curl them around. "Well, obviously it's not actually her, she's been dead for a decade—"
"Was I the only one who di'n't know 'bout her?"
"You're a bit thick," Roxy says graciously, and pats his cheek. "Not your fault, you are getting better."
Somehow, this is not reassuring. "Thanks Rox," he says, drily.
"You're very welcome," she says. She tilts the crisp bag towards him, and this is as good an apology as he needs.
Eggsy crunches down on, curls his palm companionably around her knee, crunches some more. They're very good, as crisps go; salt and vinegar thick on his tongue, rasping against his tongue in that stinging way crisps have. He chews, thoughtful, and tries to find the right way to word everything else he wants to say.
(The crisps have made him honest, drat her. For all Roxy is his favourite person, and has more stellar qualities than anyone else he's ever met, she is masterful at manipulation and guilt. She never shares unless she wants something—she must have known he was holding back.)
"It's Amelia," he says, at last.
"What?" she looks up at him, leaving off fishing through the remains of the crisps.
"It's Amelia," Eggsy repeats. "Morgana, she's Amelia. Our Amelia, the one who—"
"Didn't drown," Roxy finishes for him, and then she fixes him with a narrowed-eyed look that's so frighteningly reminiscent of his mum, Eggsy has to fight not to scramble away and hide all the incriminating evidence in his room. "How long have you known?"
"Known? Merlin only told me this morning, Rox, I had no idea—"
"I mean," she says, shakes her head impatiently so that her hair dances, "how long have you known Amelia is alive?"
"Er," he says.
"Don't lie, Eggsy," she says, unnecessarily, mouth pursed.
(As though he'd ever lie to her. She can see right through him, and they both know it—they've been friends too long for anything of the sort. At this rate, Eggsy is never going to be able to sneak anything past her, and gone will be the days of breaking heads of men who beat their wives. It will be a tragedy.)
"Since I, er, didn't shoot J.B.?" he says it like a question, and waits for the inevitable fallout.
It doesn't come.
Instead, Roxy nods like she'd expected that answer. "Just as long as I have, then. Good. We can get on with it, then."
"Get on with it?" Eggsy asks, suddenly dreading her answer.
The smile that blooms across her face is lovely, and all the more terrible for it. He's never in his life wanted to kiss her less, and this is saying something because he has, in fact, held her hair back from her face while she expelled her guts into the toilet after a particularly rowdy night at the pub. Her fingers find the one spot on his side that he's actually ticklish, and jam in hard enough that he's almost crying.
(Roxy is merciless.)
"Yes," she replies, after she's had her fun, and he's gasping for air. "We get on with it. What does Merlin want her to do?"
Eggsy, tears gathered at the corner of his eyes, looks at her with respect.
"You know," he says, blinking, "I actually 'ave no idea."
"It's a pretty standard algorithm," Amelia—Morgana—says. She pushes her glasses up, the bridge of her nose wrinkling when she makes a face. "It should give us possible candidates. Good ones, even."
Because of course Merlin is going to rebuild the Kingsmen. Of course he's found the one girl in all of England who's better-versed in mathematical probabilities than he is to find other almost-adults to kill people with. Of course, she also happens to be the prettiest girl Eggsy's ever set eyes on. Of course.
(Roxy is never going to let him live it down.)
Eggsy watches Amelia watches Merlin watches Eggsy: they go round and round in circles, watching each other, waiting for someone to break.
Amelia, it turns out, is very good at not breaking. She waits, right leg crossed over her left, and doesn't say a word until Merlin chuckles and nods.
"Very good, Morgana," he says. "Run it, if you would."
Her fingers move like lightning, a blur of flesh and bone across a slick metallic keyboard. There's a sizzling to her, a kind of buzzing that Eggsy doesn't really have a name for though he thinks it might be related to hunger and ambition. Amelia has something to prove, though who she's trying to prove it to is a mystery.
Eggsy doesn't ask, because he figures Merlin's already asked every question he would ever ask, and then some. They're equal, here, and she is without a doubt smarter than he is.
Besides. He let her die. He probably owes her one (or two, or three).
And then, of course, Roxy appears.
And that is the word for what she does—one minute she's not there, and then she is, all perfect hair and tidy suit, spine ramrod straight, glasses perched on her nose. Eggsy valiantly does not flail. He doesn't even twitch.
"Do they all have to be so… noble?" Roxy asks, waving her hand vaguely at the profiles hanging in midair. It takes him a minute to realize she's not talking to him at all, but rather to Amelia and Merlin, and she's not even being mean about it. "I mean… look at them. They all have weak chins."
Harry said that. Eggsy watched the footage. He tries not to think about it, most days.
"That's inbreeding, that is," Eggsy says, and isn't a little smug when Roxy's elbow silently finds its way into his ribs.
"You know, I hadn't thought of that," Amelia murmurs. She tips her head so that dark hair falls across her eyes, and she squints, just a little. The crease is back. It is still undeniably cute. Eggsy feels stupid just looking at her. "Inbreeding… hm. Right, hold on, let me try something else."
The images flicker for a minute as the new information feeds through the computers, and the faces change.
Eggsy still does not recognize a single one.
There's something a little less wishy-washy about these faces. He appreciates that. Roxy breathes out at his side, a tiny little smile curling across her face.
"What d'you think?" she asks.
"I think it's a good place to start," Eggsy says. "Amelia—"
"Morgana," Amelia corrects, pleasantly.
"Morgana," Eggsy repeats, tries to apply the name and the stories Roxy had told him to her, fails, "after we pick our candidates, we might go for drinks. D'you want t'come? After you, uh—I mean, when we were in training, we—"
"Oh. Um. I don't think—" Amelia says, her blush staining her dark skin even darker.
"Inappropriate," Roxy hisses in his ear. She's probably going to kick him later.
"Is that all, then?" Merlin asks, and he sounds amused. There's something entirely unnerving about a bald man in horn-rimmed glasses and a beige sweater-vest chuckling. "Arthur, if you have time to harass my apprentice, you have time to fill out those forms I left on your desk. Yes?"
"I didn't mean—wait, no, I'm—"
"I'm sorry, he's hopeless," Roxy smiles brightly at Merlin and Amelia. "I'll make sure he doesn't drown himself after you've left. Morgana, are you hungry?"
Eggsy is quietly horrified, and resigns himself to three weeks of paperwork. Merlin is the devil, there is no escaping this, and Roxy is somehow worse.
But Amelia is looking at him after she's pulled her glasses off while Roxy chatters at her, and she really is as pretty as he thought, and. Well. It could be worse.
Paperwork or nothing.
She didn't say no.