Clint stared into Elizabeth’s room, thinking about how lucky he was that Elizabeth wasn’t dead, just injured.
Yes, both her legs were broken, but not so severely that she would never walk again. In fact, once her legs healed and she went through physical therapy, they expected her to make a full recovery. And, yes, she was horribly scraped up along her left side, stitches needed from just above her left eyebrow and up about half an inch into her hairline, down her jaw, and dancing in jagged lines down her left arm.
And, yes, she was wearing a hospital gown with irritatingly garish cartoony circus animals decorating it, but she was alive and breathing, and cuddling with her Nafu.
Clint ran a shaky hand over his face and let out a low sigh of relief.
It had been such a close call and Clint still hadn’t managed to his heart rate back to normal. He glanced over at the IVs that were feeding her some mild pain medication (they didn’t want to get her addicted to anything, or at least make it more difficult to) along with whatever else was put into IVs to keep someone from dying from dehydration or starvation.
He didn’t look up as he heard a stilted walk echo through the corridor and he felt Phil stop next to him. Clint glanced over at him, briefly, wincing at the way Phil leaned on a cane and hand his left arm in a cast, though his was plain white.
It made an odd picture, a plain t-shirt with a suit jacket half-on, because he couldn’t get his dress shirt back on, though Clint knew that Phil kept larger sizes of both pants and shirts in case he got injured (Clint thought he looked dead sexy in sweats and an old ratty t-shirt, but that was neither here nor there).
Clint’s eyes continued to travel along the breathing, unconscious, form of their only child, taking in the different injuries that he read in her file but cannot see (cracked ribs, a sprained wrist, bruised muscle and exhaustion that keeps her under).
However, despite all of this, he cannot bring himself to walk into the hospital room.
It doesn’t matter that that is the one place he wants to be, he just can’t.
“I can’t hold her,” Clint confessed softly and Phil gently pressed his head into Clint’s shoulder, wrapping his good arm around him tightly.
“I can’t either,” Phil answered and Clint clings to Phil, burying his head into Phil’s shoulder and breathing in the scent that was Phil deeply.
It filled his lungs, curled up there to rest and he held his breathe before slowly, hesitantly, letting it all out.
There was a reason Phil never became ‘Papa’ or another name for father over time, while Clint had always been ‘Daddy.’
Phil had never been a father, despite the gender.
No, Phil had always been Elizabeth’s ‘mama’, a different type of parental bond that stretched between Phil and Elizabeth then Clint’s own with Elizabeth. Different, but no less powerful then Phil’s.
Just different and Clint couldn’t begin to understand how Phil felt about that, with half their communication to their daughter cut off with his arm in a sling.
“The doctors said she would be groggy for awhile,” Clint stated and that is enough to get Phil in there.
Clint follows, because Clint will always follow Phil.
They sit by Elizabeth's bedside and work on various projects. Clint on making a quilting square and Phil on paperwork.
Elizabeth wakes only briefly, but it is enough to set them at ease.
After all, if she's starting to wake up, she's going to be fine, over-night observation or not.