“Patient’s airways are clear; breathing is weak, and slow. B/P levels are 80/ 40 and currently dropping. She lost consciousness half hour ago and hasn’t woken up since. Pulse is becoming more weaker. Before becoming unconscious we were able to access which parts of her body can and cannot move. Hands, feet, legs and one of her arms are fully functional. We detected no injury to the spinal cord or neck and there was no exit wound. In neither the lungs or shoulder wound. Bullets are still lodged in there and need removal immediately. First bullet was shot right below the right lung and it collapsed.”
"How's the internal bleeding?" Bruce demands rushing alongside the gurney holding his friend, a clipboard in his hands leading them to the room where Natasha would be operated on.
“We were able to temporarily stop the bleeding, but she-” One of the men replied only to have Bruce cut them off, nodding his head agreeing.
“Blood transfusion, yes. Thanks to Agent Barton and Mr. Stark, we have some available. You checked all the A, B, C, D, and E’s? You’ve accessed the five critical factors.”
“Everyone of them Dr. Banner.”
“What about her shoulder? Where exactly did the bullet hit?”
“Three to four inches down from the top surface of the shoulder and a few inches from the armpit. The subclavian artery and the brachial plexus wasn’t harmed or infected in anyway. If the bullet wound is exited safely, Agent Romanoff will still have full control of her arm functions and she will not have trouble using the affected limb after recovery.”
“Excellent, I’ll take it from here. Thank you.” Nodding at the men, they let go of the gurney which goes into a few nurses hands that steers it through two double doors. Bruce follows closely shutting the double doors behind him.
“Hear anything?” Tony asks walking into the waiting room with three cups of coffee. Thor and Clint look up at his arrival and the only answer Tony gets is a shake of the head.
“Nothing. She’s been in surgery for 3 hours. Bruce is trying to access damage done by the bullets” Clint explains, his eyes never leaving the floor. Pressing a heavy hand on his friend’s shoulder, Thor offers Clint a smile. “Do not worry my friend. Lady Romanoff will fight through this difficult time.” Clint nods along, his eyes not leaving the floor.
“I’m not worried about that, I know she'll be fine. It's just that... Natasha is a very difficult person when she's injured. Always wanting to do things herself despite the injury and won't ask for help. To prideful to ask for help. We fight every single time, you saw what happened last time." The two nod in agreement, Tony taking a seat right next to the archer. "Steve will always want Bruce, Pepper and Natasha to hold him or take care of him. Mostly Natasha. And since she's a sucker for kids, she'll do it. How can she if she's injured?"
"So what your saying is," Tony clarifies. "Widow won't be able to deny our adorable, pint sized Captain anything he wants while she's in recovery. Therefore probably making her own recovery even longer due to the usage of her injures which will infuriate her even more." Clint nods. "Well, here's a solution: Keep Steve away from her for the next couple of days. Don't let him come to the hospital. We'll each take turns watching after him at the Tower while the others stay with Natasha and make sure she follows doctor's orders. She'll have a fast recovery then."
Clint snorts, shaking his head. Thor looks at him confused, "You do not believe Lady Natasha will recover quickly?"
"No she will." Clint assures, "Stark your plan is great, just has one minor issue. You honestly believe she's going to listen to any one of us."
Tony smirks taking out a tablet and leaning back against his chair, propping his feet on the coffee table. "She'll listen. Trust me Barton, I can be twice as stubborn."
Rolling his eyes Clint mutters under his breath, "Probably even more stubborn." Clint busies himself in counting the hospital ceiling tiles while Thor flips through magazines, starring at it confusingly before letting out a huge laugh at whatever he reads.
The boys get comfortable considering they're gonna be there for a while.
Steve jumps awake with a sharp intake of breath, eyes wide and sweat running along his hairline. His hands ball into fists, taking as much as the blanket as his hands can hold. Pressing the blanket to his chest, Steve heaves heavily trying to suck in some much needed air as his chest tightens every passing seconds. He pants, the room starting to feel so small and suffocating that he cant help, but start panicking. Not just at the feeling of small confinement space, but at what little of the room he could see.
Darkness surrounds the entire room, except for the bed Steve sits upon. The moon being the only thing eliminating what little of the room Steve can see. At the sight of the darkness, his tiny body immediately erupts into shakes, tears running down his face. Whimpers escape him and he looks around furiously for anything familiar, anything that will help ground him. Only the room is too dark for him to see anything except the bed he's sitting upon. A shaking tiny hand rises to wipe the streaming tears, and his moist cheek only to have more tears take its place.
He opens his eyes mouth to say something, only to shut it as fast as he opened it.
Jumping from the sound, Steve practically falls off the bed, but catches himself before he can completely topple off the bed. He tries to hoist himself back on the bed, but fails immensely and ends up falling off anyway. Landing on his diapered bottom, Steve cant help the loud wails that escape his mouth. His booty may have been protected from the diaper covering his bottom, but the landing still sent a harsh pain up the small child’s back. Laying on his side, Steve cries out loudly hoping someone would come get him. He’s waiting for Bruce to come and get him like he always did when he heard Steve crying. Steve stays there for what felt like hours, but was only a couple of seconds before arms encircled him. He cling tightly to the arms around his body and as soon as he’s raised to rest against their chest.
“Steve are you alright? Sweetie what happened? How did you fall?” Pepper’s concerned, soothing voice says softly rocking the sobbing Captain in her arms. Steve calms down slightly at the sound of her voice, but continues to cry the pain not entirely gone. His hold on Pepper tightens and he buries his face in her shoulder shaking his head.
“A’one.” Steve only says sniffling, his nose running from crying. Pepper cringes slightly only because of the sounds Steve is starting to make. The awful gagging sound that he makes just as he’s about to hyperventilate. Her heart breaks and she cant help, but quickly comfort him tightening her own grip on him.
“No, no, no Steve. Your not alone. I was here the whole time. I just stepped out so I can get your dinner ready. I was always here. I thought you were asleep.”
Shaking his head Steve answers, “Bad dweam,” in a small voice ducking his head further into Pepper’s body. “I wan Booce,” his muffled voice says from inside her shoulder.
“Bruce isn’t here right now. Remember I said he had to go to work, but he’ll be back tomorrow morning.”
“I wan him now.” Steve winces tears falling from his eyes as his grip on Pepper tightens. “I scared.” She cups the back of Steve’s head walking out of the room and into the hallway rocking him softly, shushing him. Walking into the kitchen, Pepper switches her hold on him and his position.
Sitting on her hip, Steve places his head back in the crook of her neck wrapping his arms around her neck. “Hey, hey look at me.” Pepper gives Steve’s shoulder a little nudge, but he doesn’t move an inch. “Steve, sweetie look at me. I’m here right here, and I’m not going anywhere.” It takes a while before two small blue eyes peek up at her from her his spot at her shoulder. She smiles at him before running a hand through his curly blonde locks. “What did you dream about?”
“… ‘Bout ‘Tasha. Dat she’d gots hurt nd I ca’t seed her .” Steve puts his head back in Pepper’s shoulder, but is forced to look back up when he feels the body beneath him suddenly still. Placing a hand on her cheek, he taps it gently. “Peggy.” He calls to the women whose skin pales drastically. “Peggy.” Steve’s voice rises slightly, his bottom lip starting to wobble. Pepper doesn’t respond, but her grip on him tightens slightly. Shaking her shoulder, Steve pulls back from her chest wincing softly from the harsh hold she has on him. “Peggy.” He winces, his bottom lip sticking out in a pout.
As soon as Steve starts fussing and complaining, Pepper shakes her head to clear her thoughts before centering them around the boy in her arms. “Um… it’s okay. It was… i-it was just a dream. It wasn’t real.” Pepper cooed. “Come on,” she changes subject quickly when Steve’s mouth opens to say more. “Are you hungry? I made you dinner?" Pepper smiles and places him in a booster seat. Turning back to the kitchen counter, Pepper finishes cutting up the fresh fruits and putting his small portion of spaghetti on a plate for him. Bring it back to the table she takes a seat beside him and watches as he picks at his food, taking tiny bites until only three mouthfuls were left and a few pieces of fruit.
Running a tired hand across his face, he lets out a long yawn before reaching his hands out to Pepper, eyelids dropping slightly. “Tired.” He mutters. Taking him in her arms, Pepper places Steve on her lap letting him rest his head on her chest.
Brushing her hand through his soft tiny curls, Pepper stands, “You want to go to bed?”
“No. Me wan you. No bed. I sweep wit you in your bed.” Biting her bottom lip Pepper’s about to object until Steve places a hand on her cheek, looking at her with big, blue, pleading eyes. “Pwease Peggy. I wan asweep wit you.” Pulling on her arm sleeve, Steve’s eyes fill with tears resting his head on her shoulder putting his thumb in his mouth. “Pwease…”
“… Okay. Come on, you can sleep with me.” Taking Steve to her bedroom, she places him under the covers before turning around to go get ready for bed. Steve’s hand instinctively reaches out and grabs whatever he can which happens to be her shirt. Looking back at him, Pepper can see the fear evident in his eyes. “I’m just going to the bathroom. I’ll be back, I promise.” Reaching his arms out to her, and no matter how much it killed her to do so, Pepper has to pry herself away from him. “I’ll be back in a minute. I swear.” She whispers to him walking into the bathroom trying to ignore the winces and whimpers coming out of the child in her bed.
Getting ready for bed, Pepper cant help, but notice how needy and clingy Steve is. Not that she’s complaining. She cant help, but wonder if all were babies like that? Or was Steve’s childhood nothing like the museum said it out to be? Was he always so needy and clingy because he was scared? Millions of questions run through her head, and by the time she opens the door she’s overwhelmed.
Instead of dwelling on them for much longer, she joins the exhausted child who had long stopped crying and had taken to sleeping. He is almost asleep by the time Pepper slides into bed with him and when he feels her beside him, he turns on his back and- like earlier that day- presses up against her chest. Unlike earlier that day, Pepper doesn’t hesitate to put her arm around his small waist and bring him closer, burying her face in his hair. “Go to sleep.” She murmurs softly, a smile spreading across her face when Steve presses a soft kiss to her wrist. Soon enough both are sound asleep wrapped in each other’s warmth and comfort.
It’s a couple hours later when the others see Bruce again. Clint jumps to his feet at the arrival of the doctor and Tony and Thor follow suit.
Clint starts immediately, “Bruce how is she? Is she okay?“
Holding a hand up to him, effectively cutting him off, Bruce walks closer into the room up to the three standing figures. He gives them a small smile, the smile seeming to take all the tension out of the room. The three men visibly relax and Tony plops back in his chair, rubbing his hands tiredly.