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Agent Phil Coulson isn’t sure if he should be irritated that he’s been captured, again, to, probably, be tortured for information (last time he had used his photographic memory and recited the Rosetta Stone, even translating it into modern French, which had taken considerable time and all of his concentration, leaving him with only phantom pain) and then rescued, spend less then he should, but enough to recover, in physical therapy to make sure everything was fine and get a psych evaluation before getting back to work, or…no, he’s just irritated.

Clint still hasn’t gotten over the last time (four broken fingers, a cracked rib cage, bruised jaw, snapped wrist, and a bruised kidney, but not severe enough to result in permanent damage) and after this, Clint is going to be a mother-hen.

Phil doesn’t mind, but Clint has a habit of shooting people who even aggravate Phil the smallest bit and has a habit of hiding Phil’s paperwork when he’s worried, which he will be when Phil has time to catalogue the new injuries.

However, he is not used to the situation he has found himself in, unless this is going to be a new form of torture.

The room is sterile and, as Phil glances around, he realizes that it is a lab. He’s strapped down tight and there is an IV of…something. It is clear and there are multiples of them, and he’s not sure if he wants to know what he’s being hooked up to.

The straps are padded enough that they’ll keep him from cutting himself on the leather should he struggle, but not enough that they won’t leave marks and, if he’s honest, he won’t want to yank his wrist out anyway; ripping out IVs is not a good thing and he wouldn’t be able to get far, more out of embarrassment then actual lack of being able to move, even if he managed to get his wrist free and pull his IV lines through to undo the strap on his other wrist before running.

He was in scrubs and nothing else, which was disturbing on so many levels since he, had, been wearing a suit when caught originally.

He stared as a masked and gloved man with hair covered by a hair cover. Eyes were brown, skin tan, and he could have been any one of thousands in the world. Average in every way, though his hair was hidden under the cap.

And then he fiddled with the IV and pulled out a needle. He tapped it, careful and precise, before he injected it into the tube.

And the minute it entered Phil’s bloodstream, it started like a fire and began to spread. For a moment, he was in agony. It climbed slowly, spreading through his body, and his eyes rolled back into his head before he passed out from the sheer agony.

Phil considered that pretty impressive, considering that his pain tolerance included walking like normal with a broken leg.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When Phil next awoke, it was to the soft beeping of medical equipment and the view of SHIELD’s medical wing.

He knew it was SHIELD because Clint was perched in the rafter above him. “How long?” he asked, his voice sounding soft and strained, even in his ears.

Clint was down and smiling at him in record time. Phil moved slowly, not wanting to tug out any helpful IVs as he carefully reached up, gently cupping Clint’s face. “Two days,” Clint answered and Phil gave a weak nod.

“The doctors need to check you over, but other than a foreign substance being injected into your blood stream, you’ve been good as gold,” Clint stated and Phil let out a low grunt.

“Sorry. Good as Captain America,” Clint corrected and Phil flushed lightly but didn’t make a noise of protest at that. Clint grinned and gently leaned down, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips.

“That’s enough Agent Barton,” Fury’s voice cut through and Clint actually rolled his eyes a bit before backing away from Phil and Phil let out a low sigh, before he began to slowly try to sit up.

The minute he moved, he let out a gasp of pain and he heard the spike in beeping to confirm he was in agony. His entire body felt like it was on fire and his vision was swimming. He felt like his innards were spilling out, except they weren’t and he knew It, and Clint’s voice was far away. He shook lightly as he realized he was sitting up and Clint was staring at him, face impassive except for the eyes, which were terrified.

“I’m okay,” Phil stated, even as his voice cracked slightly upon saying it, as it always did when he lied to Clint.

The archer let out a humorless laughed and Phil managed not to flinch when Clint gripped his shoulders. “You’re not, but I’ll take it,” Clint answered and released Phil.

Phil gave him a quirk of his lips that could be a smile and Clint stood to the side to allow the doctors to swarm over Phil. The agent continued to sit there calmly, though it was obviously trying not to twitch or glower at them.

Phil hated doctors. He hated being in the medical wing and he hated the fact they were so amazed about how it took so much until he was actually in pain. He settled through, and let them poke and prod. They had already drawn blood and, in the end, he was free to go…tomorrow.

The fact he couldn’t move without agony filling his body was enough of a reason to keep him there overnight. Clint stayed next to him, instead of going back to his perch, and waited until Phil slipped back to sleep.

When it was obvious that the agent wouldn’t, Clint gave a tiny smile. “Try?” he asked softly.

“Only when you do,” Phil answered quietly.

Clint shook his head, but made his way back up to his perch.

And Phil immediately fell back to sleep. Clint shook his head again and relaxed on the beam, before settling so he wouldn’t fall and…fell asleep too.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Phil had still been in agony every time he moved, but the doctors had released him, since he covered it up this time. Clint isn’t surprised and it is a week before Phil can move without wanting to scream. They still haven’t found out what they injected him with, but it doesn’t matter in a way, because it seems to have passed. He fills out what he remembers, gets debriefed by Fury, and is finally allowed to return to fully return to work.

Clint is not pleased with this and hovers. Phil puts up with it for about a month before he decides that enough is enough. He reminds Clint, in a very pleasant manner that Clint never complains about, that he is fine and dandy, even with being injected with a substance that they still can’t identify. And, after about a week, Clint returned the favor in accepting a six month mission.

Phil shook his head a bit at that and, for the next eight, maybe nine, weeks, Phil continued on. He was a bit more tired than usual, but other than that, he was fine.

Well, and he gained quite a few pounds in that time, but not so much that he was worried. He was just too exhausted to put aside time to work out and then…

It was eight, maybe nine, weeks since Clint had gone off and Phil was throwing up. He could hold down light food, saltines and ginger ale were his best friends, and…

If he was female, he would be ready to swear up and down he was pregnant. So, he ignored the vomiting and focused on getting through work, suddenly thankful he had a bathroom attached to his office. He ignored the fatigue that clung to everything, the fact that he was sick every day, all day, and his constant weight gain. He was clinging to the toilet, coughing and trying so hard to think about what it could be when he heard someone enter his bathroom.

He shifted, moving to say it was the flu, when he felt Clint settle next to him.

Clint looked weary and tired, but clean. He ran his hand over Phil’s back and said, “You need to go to the medical wing.”

Phil didn’t have time to protest before he was throwing up again.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Pregnant.

Phil was still trying to wrap his head around it and Clint is just holding him, being the rock instead of clinging to the support for the first time in a while. Phil is trying to wrap his head around it and clinging tightly to Clint’s arms. There are forms, two, both filled out in full by Fury.

One is to keep the child, the other is to give the child up for adoption.

He suspects that Clint will destroy that second one, his hatred and disgust for orphanages and the foster system stemming from his own time there as a child before he ran away to the circus.

It is too far along for the reason for Pro-Choice, which Phil, when cornered for it, always said that it was the woman’s body, they could decide what they wanted to do.

It doesn’t matter, because Phil wouldn’t anyway but…

It takes a week before he can fully understand and accept.

He’s put on bed rest a week later because he’s too exhausted and too stressed not to, IVs carefully slipped in that have extra nutrients, extra hormones which make him feel even more ill then before, to keep him and the baby alive.

Clint brings him paperwork when he can and is gentle. He doesn’t tease and Phil signs off on the paper that will change everything, more than being pregnant and male had.

“Really?” Clint asks, soft and low as he stares at the paper.

“Really,” Phil reassures and Clint pulls him up, gently, and kisses him, tears of joy slipping down his face, the paper to keep the child signed by Phil.

It just needs Clint’s name now.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

They’ve made it through the first trimester and Phil wonders how anyone does this more than once.

It is during that second week of the second trimester that he feels the thrum of rage coming from Clint. Phil doesn’t want to ask because, vomiting as he is (even though it is supposed to be stopping now, but he’s not built to do this and he’s pretty sure that means that things aren’t going to be the same, but still…he hopes this part is over soon), the weight he is gaining, with the fact that Clint can’t go to the range for as long as he wants anymore, can’t spend twelve hours just shooting…well, he’s afraid to ask.

It doesn’t take Clint long to figure it out. He is walking back in from a two hour archery range and he stops short, before quickly setting his things to the side before he walked over. He wrapped his arms tight around Phil and whispered, soft and gentle, “It is not you. It is not you and it is not the baby, I swear to you. It is the fact that thesemonsters decided to turn your body into a playground. They treated you like a guinea pig and they hurt you. As much as I love the fact we’re having a child together, I don’t think it was worth you going through this and you…you could have died while I was gone, if your body hadn’t accepted this happening and I’m not sure if I could have handled that if I had come back and been told you were dead.”

Phil blames the hormones for his own tears in response to this.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Phil is seventeen weeks along when Clint is called away, which means that Phil gets to be moved into the medical wing. Within two days, he has the entire staff assigned to him, except one nurse (Lillian Roth), terrified out of their little minds and cowed before his gaze.

Nurse Roth (“Lillian, please,” she argues every time he greets her, blue eyes twinkling with something as old as the stars), however, brings a crochet hook and yarn and teaches him how to crochet. In turn, she makes the upcoming baby a crochet dragon in beautiful primary colors, with wings that can’t be easily yanked off and with no loose ties. It is the safest damn thing Phil has ever seen and he accepts it with thanks and she smiles.

He manages to make a baby blanket and Lillian gets the privilege of touching Phil’s pregnancy belly. He learns more, but he gets far too excited and sad when he feels the baby moving after receiving the dragon from Lillian.

Lillian shares his excitement and admits to having a child of her own, though in not so many words, but her reactions say everything. Phil wonders what happened to her child (she looks far too young to have a child, but that means nothing, in all honesty) and Phil finds that his large pregnancy belly makes it now, officially, impossible for him to go anywhere without being hidden by an army of people, all of whom need to know he is pregnant first.

He enters the final trimester alone as, one day, Lillian leaves and doesn’t return. He manages to threaten a nurse into bringing her file (he knows she existed because of the dragon still sitting at his bedside table and the fact that others acknowledged her) to him.

He is depressed to learn she died in an attack, trying to get people out. A healer till the end and he is confused to find no mention of a child, anywhere, in her file, and he rereads it a few times before deciding that maybe he was wrong.

When Clint returns, he is surprised to see how much Phil has changed, but he is eager to catch up. He lets out a surprised laugh and immediately begins to chatter to their child and Phil smiles, and laughs, honestly laughs, as Clint gets kicked in the mouth by their child.

“The baby moved! The baby moved!” Clint squeals, honest to god squeals, and Phil smiles.

“Our baby knows daddy when he comes home,” Phil stated and Clint kisses him.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

            They aren’t sure, beyond doing a C-section, because, again, he’s not built for this and he is slightly frightened. It is getting closer and the baby is prepped to go where there is nothing. However, they learn quickly that his body reacts as if he does have a birth canal.

He does have contractions, which they discovered early, and much to Phil and Clint’s shock.

Phil was better at hiding it, but it doesn’t help the soreness from stopping.

His muscles protest because they are not used to such treatment and he wishes he could reassure his body that this will never happen again, because it won’t.

They figured out what it was that they injected him with; an experimental drug to test to see if a male could hold and carry a child of their ‘own creation.’

He has no clue how Clint’s genetics managed to get there (he doesn’t know the gender of the baby, but from the start when the doctor was looking, it tells him that the baby is probably a girl and not his clone), but they managed to discover it would give him a one-shot chance of having a child. Him and anyone else they injected and if they survived, meaning they had planned on putting him through the entire process and that is enough to get Clint’s hands twitching and snarling.

Phil decides not to point out that they could have injected him with something else to give him another’s child and feels that this would make Clint angrier. As it did not happen, Phil is going to let Clint be angry for both.

He can’t be right now, so he accepts the ‘what ifs’ and relishes in the ‘now.’

His contractions start four days before the actual birth.

On June 30th, through c-section, and a few other quick surgeries and then injecting him with the ‘fix-it’ to make sure that his body gets cleared out of the damage that is done (but puts him through fiery agony, again), at 7:24 am, Elizabeth Alison Barton-Coulson (they never could decide on a last name and decided that she was theirs and would let her last name reflect that) was born.

Despite the agony Phil is in, he can’t think of a time he was happier.

            Clint agrees.