Author's Note: This story is for SEAL Team Week for the prompt "Memory Loss." It is also part of the More Than Friends universe and takes place a few years after "Help From a Friend."


Jason lay still as he tried to find his bearings. He remembered the HVT lunging at him in a bid to escape, forcing him back against a concrete wall. Without his helmet on, he had taken it off while they were waiting for the sun to set, the hit must have knocked him out.

He wasn't lying flat though. A pillow supported his head, and he lay partially reclined. Soft sheets and blankets rested against his body. He must be in a bed at a hospital, maybe the medical center at the base in Kuwait. With this realization, he decided it was okay to open his eyes, slowly. He remembered his last concussion and how painful bright light could be.

Gradually he lifted his lashes, catching glimpses of the room. Nothing distinguished it from any other hospital room. Although the lighting was dim due to the closed blinds, he kept his eyelids partially closed.

Rustling coming from his right told him someone else was in the room. The lightness of the person's movements convinced him none of his teammates were sitting by his bed. Possibly Davis kept vigil by his bedside. Whoever sat there, he heard them sigh as they shifted in what was most likely an uncomfortable chair. All hospital chairs were uncomfortable.

Deciding there was no reason to keep his consciousness hidden any longer, he opened his eyes fully and gingerly turned his head to his visitor.

"Dad, you're awake." Emma stood and reached to press the call button for a nurse.

"Emma? What are you doing here?" Stunned by his daughter's presence, Jason squeezed his eyes shut again. He was unconscious long enough for them to bring him back stateside?

"Why wouldn't I be here? You're hurt." She patted his arm.

"I don't want you miss any school."

"School?" A bewildered expression crossed her face. "Dad, I haven't been in school for a while."

Before Jason could comment on that perplexing statement, a nurse entered the room.

Emma turned to the newcomer. "He's awake, but I think he's a little confused."

"Some confusion is perfectly normal." The nurse gave them both a reassuring look. "You took a pretty hard knock to your head, Mr. Hayes." She began checking his vitals and noting them on his chart. "How does your head feel?"

"I have a headache, but it's not bad."

She nodded. "On a scale of one to ten, how bad is it?"

"A three, maybe a four." Jason found the pain minimal compared to after the chopper crash.

Nodding, she noted that on his chart as well. "The doctor is on his way. Once he's checked you over, you can take something for the pain. I'll be back with him soon." She smiled and left the room.

Jason watched Emma as she fussed with his blankets. The thought of her not being in school anymore bothered him. Did she drop out? Did they have trouble finding the money to pay for it? He wracked his brain, but he couldn't come up with any memories of Emma leaving school. "You're not in school anymore?"

Her eyes troubled, Emma met his gaze. "Yes, I graduated."

"You graduated?" Try as he might, he could not remember his daughter graduating from college. Then another thought occurred to him. "And you're gainfully employed?"

She huffed out a soft breath. "Yes Dad, people actually pay me real money for my work in the music business."

Jason wanted to pursue the topic in more detail, but the door opened to admit the doctor along with the nurse from earlier.

"Mr. Hayes, I'm Dr. Jackson. I'm glad to see you've regained consciousness. Nurse Baker tells me you have a headache and some confusion." Dr. Jackson stood by Jason's bedside and pulled out his penlight.

"Yeah, the headache's not bad though. I've had worse."

The doctor glanced at the notes Nurse Baker had recently made on the chart. "Yes, I understand from your medical history you've experienced previous concussions. I believe while you were in the Navy."

"Was in the Navy? I'm in the Navy now." Jason frowned. What the hell was going on?

Dr. Jackson focused on Jason instead of the chart. "Ah, I believe this is the confusion Nurse Baker mentioned to me."

"My Dad retired from the Navy in 2023." Emma twisted the edge of the bed sheet in her hands.

"2023! But-" Jason snapped his head to look at Emma and immediately regretted it. The quick movement caused a sharp pain in his temple, cutting off his question. He squeezed his eyes shut and laid his head back against the pillow.

"Easy, Mr. Hayes." Dr. Jackson placed a hand on Jason's shoulder. "I'm sure you're upset by this memory lapse, but these types of things are not uncommon. Getting anxious and exerting yourself won't be helpful."

Jason opened his eyes and stared at the doctor in disbelief.

One side of the doctor's mouth lifted in a half-smile. "I realize that's easy for me to say, but I do need you to keep calm." He lifted the penlight. "I'm going to check your pupil reaction, and then I'm going to send you down for some tests. Right now I don't have any reason to think this situation is anything but temporary."

He proceeded to shine the light into each of Jason's eyes, nodding as he noted the results. "Now tell me, Mr. Hayes, what do you believe the date to be?"

"You can call me Jason, Doc." Blinking his eyes a few times, Jason thought for a moment. "It's sometime in early November 2019." He heard Emma draw in a sharp breath.

The doctor nodded. "Okay Jason, and what is the last thing you remember?"

"I was on a mission in…the Middle East…a prisoner jumped at me, trying to escape. I fell back and, I assume, hit my head." Jason remembered the events as if they happened yesterday. As far as he knew, they did happen yesterday.

Frowning, the doctor glanced at Emma. "Perhaps your daughter will tell us what truly happened."

Emma's eyes darted from the doctor to her father and then back. She swallowed hard before speaking. "Yes, my father was fixing a gutter. It had come loose in the storm the other day. When he came back down the ladder, he missed the last rung and fell. It wasn't far, but he hit his head and was knocked out."

Rubbing his chin, Jason searched his memories for any glimmer of a recollection of the events Emma had shared. There was none. He met Dr. Jackson's stare. "I got nothing, Doc."

A sympathetic expression flickered across the doctor's face. "Okay, here's what we're going to do next. I'm ordering some follow-up scans for you. We did some when you came in, but I'd like to make sure we didn't miss anything, such as swelling in your brain, that could be causing this." He turned to include Emma as he spoke. "It's very likely as time passes your memory will return. You may always experience some lack of recall around the specific events of this head trauma. That is not unusual. But I think with some rest you'll begin to recollect the things that happened since November 2019."

"Is it okay for us to tell him the things he can't remember?" Emma slipped her hand into her father's.

The doctor put his penlight back in his pocket while he considered Emma's question. "I wouldn't recommend a full information dump on him. It's okay to give him some broad strokes, such as earlier you mentioned he retired from the Navy, but leave out the details for now. Let's see if those start to return to him on their own in the next day or so."

Emma chewed on her lip and glanced down at her engagement and wedding rings.

Dr. Jackson paused as he waited for any other questions. When there were none, he continued. "Nurse Baker here is going to take you down for those tests. These will most likely take a while and tire you out, Jason." The doctor turned his gaze to Emma. "This is probably the best time for you take care of anything you need to do or get food. I expect your father to be gone for several hours and to sleep afterwards."

The nurse stepped forward, gaining Jason's attention. "I'm going to find an orderly to take you down to Radiology. It will probably be about ten or fifteen minutes." With a smile for them, she left.

"I'll come by after your tests." The doctor followed Nurse Baker out of the room.

"The Doc's right, Emma, you should get out of here while I'm having these tests." Jason was relieved to have the time to think over his situation without having to worry about his daughter's reaction as well.

"If you're sure."

"I am." He squeezed her hand that was holding his.

The noise of the door opening again drew their attention. Expecting the nurse or an orderly, Jason was surprised to see Naima enter the room holding a toddler.

"We heard you're going down to Radiology, and Lanie here wanted to visit you before you did. She's still a little upset about everything." Naima gave the little girl a shake. "Here's your Grandpa, baby. He's awake now."

Shocked, Jason looked from Naima to Emma to the tow-headed child lifting her head from Naima's shoulder. Naima referred to him as 'Grandpa.' If he was Grandpa, then Emma was… He glanced at his daughter, his gaze landing on the rings gracing her left hand.

Giving him a pleading look, Emma spoke quietly. "Lanie saw you fall, Dad, and was with me while we waited for the paramedics. The whole thing really scared her. I know you don't remember her, but she needs to see you're okay."

Jason studied the tear-stained face peering at him from familiar blue eyes. He found it painful to learn he had a granddaughter he couldn't recall. "Of course. Her name's Lanie?"

"Yeah, it's short for Alana Rose."

They exchanged poignant smiles as they each recalled the woman who held the name Alana first.

Turning to Naima and Lanie, Emma reached out and took her daughter into her arms. The little girl clung to Emma, tucking her head under her mother's chin.

"You have to be gentle with Grandpa, okay? He hurt his head, and it's still sore." Emma rubbed her daughter's back as she spoke.

Lanie lifted her head and gave Jason a shy smile. "I kiss better."

He returned her smile. "That sounds like exactly what I need." Although he had no memories of spending time with Lanie, something about his interaction with her was completely familiar.

Emma bent forward and Lanie leaned in and kissed Jason's forehead.

"Much better." He reached up and gave one of the little girl's curls a tweak.

Lanie smiled, relieved her beloved grandfather was okay.

Jason held his arms out. "Do you want to sit with me? I could use a hug too."

Immediately, Lanie dove forward from Emma's arms to sit with Jason on the bed.

Tightening her grip on her daughter, Emma prevented Lanie from falling hard onto Jason's lap. "Careful, baby, Grandpa is still hurt. Sit here beside him." She placed Lanie on the bed, tucked into Jason's side.

Wrapping her arms around her grandfather's middle, Lanie hugged him. He ran his hand through her hair affectionately.

While Jason and Lanie interacted, Naima slipped over to Emma's side. "Did I hear you say he doesn't remember Lanie?" Her voice was hushed as she spoke, not to be overheard by the pair on the bed.

Emma regarded Naima with a sad face. "He doesn't remember anything after November 2019. When he woke up, he thought he had been injured on an op back then."

Oh, sweetie." Naima gripped Emma's arm.

"That's why they're doing these tests, to see if they missed anything physical that might be causing it." Emma placed her hand over Naima's where it rested on her arm. "We're not supposed to tell him everything at once, just the broad strokes, and let him recall the details. But Naima, he doesn't remember anything since 2019. That I'm married or to whom. 2019 was before Clay and I even dated."

Naima hugged the younger woman.

The door to the room opened, and the nurse entered followed by an orderly. "Time for those tests, Mr. Hayes."

The orderly began unstopping the brakes on the bed wheels, while the nurse made sure the rails were locked. Reaching down, Emma slid her arms around Lanie to lift her off the bed.

"No, Mommy." Whining, Lanie held on to her grandfather.

Jason put his finger under Lanie's chin, tilting her face up to look at his. "Grandpa has to go with the nurse. You go with Mommy, and I'll see you later."

Lanie's face crumpled as she began to cry. Emma picked her daughter up off the bed and held her close. "I'm sorry. She missed her nap."

"It's okay, Em. You take her home. There's nothing you can do here but sit around." Jason tried to reassure Emma, while the nurse rearranged his blankets, making sure he was fully covered.

"I'll be back later to find out how things went." Emma swayed gently, trying to comfort Lanie.

Naima reached out and patted Jason's leg. "Don't worry. I'm make sure they're fine."

"Thanks, Naima. I'll talk to you later, Emma." Taking a last glimpse of his daughter and granddaughter, Jason let the orderly roll his bed out the door.


The clattering sounds of his breakfast tray being taken away, roused Jason out of a light doze. He had been trying to get some decent sleep since he returned from his tests late yesterday afternoon. The nurses came by every hour or so to check on him, preventing any possibility of real rest. He understood they needed to do this because of his concussion, but he found the lack of solid sleep frustrating.

Every time the nurses woke him, he would dwell on his lack of memories, making it difficult to fall back asleep. He would try to force the memories to come back, which was exactly what Dr. Jackson had said not to do.

Last night the Doc came by Jason's room to discuss the test results. There were no obvious issues, such as swelling, causing his memory loss. Jason remembered the events since he woke up from his recent concussion, and Dr. Jackson called this a positive. He was confident Jason's amnesia was temporary, and his patient needed to rest and not stress over the situation. Finding that advice difficult to follow, Jason lay in bed and kept going over the few 'broad strokes' Emma had told him yesterday.

His daughter graduated from college, married, and gave birth. How could he not remember any of it? These were three huge events in Emma's life, and he had no memory of them. He must have walked Emma down the aisle. Did she look beautiful in her dress? Of course she did, but did she resemble her mother? He had no idea. How could he forget what his little girl looked like on her wedding day?

And his granddaughter… He had a granddaughter. He remembered holding his own children for the first time, but he had no memory of it for Lanie. It might as well have been yesterday afternoon because that was all he could recall.

His own children! Where was Mikey? Was his son in college? Or perhaps he had graduated at this point. Jason didn't know. What kind of father did that make him? Being a SEAL caused him to miss a lot in his kids' lives, but he always knew the important things. Now he knew nothing.

His head began to throb again as he fell down the rabbit hole of cataloging all the things he couldn't recollect. Every thought of a memory he was missing led to another. Maybe he should call Emma. When they spoke last night about his test results, she said she planned to come to the hospital this morning.

As his thoughts spiraled, the door to his room opened. Thinking another nurse had come by to check on him, he didn't bother to look up.

"Hey Jason. How are you feeling?" A familiar voice broke into his efforts to remember Emma in her cap and gown at her graduation from NYU.

Jason focused on the person standing in the doorway. At least he recognized him. "Clay, come in. Good to see you."

Clay hesitated just inside the room. "I'm not bothering you, am I? I can come back later."

"No, sit. You came at the perfect time. I need the distraction." Jason waved at the chair by his bedside. He was relieved to be diverted from trying to recall his life. "I assume you heard I've been having some memory issues."

"Uh, yeah, Emma told me." Clay let his hand with his wedding ring slide casually out of Jason's line of sight. "She mentioned it was only since 2019, that you seem to have no problem recalling things from before then."

"I remember your ugly mug."

"But do you remember Sonny's?" Clay grinned.

Jason chuckled, then frowned. "I do. He's good, right? And all the guys, everyone's…" He paused, not sure how to ask if anything had happened to any of them. "…good?"

"Yeah, we're all doing different things, but everyone's alright."

Letting his head drop back against the pillow, Jason closed his eyes for a second, then looked to Clay again. "I'm frustrated though. I have no idea what those different things are.

"Em said your doctor's pretty confident it will all come back to you though."

Jason let out an irritated breath. "Sure, but he's not the one sitting here with no memory of his granddaughter being born. I have a granddaughter! And Emma's married. But I can't remember any of it."


Clay sympathized with Jason's frustration. The thought of not being able to remember Lanie's first step or the first time she called him 'Dada' was incomprehensible to him. He doubted he would act as calmly as Jason was if his memories of his daughter had disappeared. "I can see how it would be hard."

"Listen, Clay, I need you to help me out." Jason gave Clay the same penetrating stare he used when he was Bravo One.

"Help you how?" Clay needed more details before he agreed to anything. When he returned to base this morning from his spin up, Emma gave him specific instructions on the phone about what he could and couldn't share with her father.

When operating with Jason as his team leader, Clay found there were times when he balanced what his boss wanted with not pissing off Emma. If Jason hadn't retired from the Navy, this would be one of those times. But he had, so for Clay there was no question. If saying anything would piss off Emma, he wasn't talking.

Unaware of Clay's internal debate, Jason elaborated. "The doc says it's okay to tell me the 'broad strokes' of what's happened, and I hate to keep questioning Emma. I think it worries her, and I don't want to stress her out any more than I already have. Can you tell me some of the things I don't remember?"

Clay frowned. He was entering a minefield. "What in particular do you want to know about?"

"Mikey. I have no idea where my son is and what he's up to."

Breathing an internal sigh of relief, Clay nodded. "Sure. He's in college in Boston."

Jason squeezed his eyes shut for a moment then opened them again. "Is he… Does he play hockey?"

"Yeah, he does." Clay gave Jason a hopeful look. "Is that something you remember?"

Pressing his fingers into his temples, Jason considered Clay's question. "Maybe? I feel like I can see him in a uniform I don't recognize, but it's not a stretch to assume Mikey would be playing hockey still and to think I remember it."

Clay rubbed his chin. "Yeah, that makes sense."

"Wait… Did Emma and I go watch him in a big game? We traveled somewhere…not Boston…" Jason's voice faded as he tried to grasp the thoughts drifting out of his reach.

Clay's eyes widened. "You and Emma went to Wisconsin last year to watch Mikey play in the NCAA playoffs. It wasn't the championship game, but his team made the final four."

"The Frozen Four," Jason corrected. "They lost in sudden death overtime."

Sitting up in his chair, Clay grinned. "They did! Jase, you just remembered that."

Relaxing back against his pillows, Jason smiled. "Let's hope that means everything else is coming back to me."

The two sat quietly as they contemplated how quickly Jason's other memories might return. Clay hoped they came back sooner rather than later, as he didn't enjoy not being able to speak freely with his father-in-law. When Clay joined Bravo Team, he and Jason had become good friends, but once Clay and Emma married, his relationship with Jason had developed into more of a father-son connection. Although he understood Jason's memory loss wasn't personal, Clay was still bothered the man had no memory of their closer bond.

"Do you know him?" Jason's voice broke into Clay's thoughts.

"Who?"

"Emma's husband."

Swallowing hard, Clay glanced anywhere but at Jason. "Um, yeah, I guess you could say I do."

Jason leaned forward to catch Clay's eye. "Does he treat her well? Is she happy with him?"

"Yes, he treats her well." Clay held Jason's gaze and continued to stare him straight in the eye. "He always thinks of her and tries to do things to make her happy. He listens to her and supports her dreams. He really loves her. I mean, you know, I think." Realizing he probably sounded like he knew too much, Clay forced himself to stop talking.

Jason nodded thoughtfully. "And he's a good father to Lanie?"

"I, yeah, I think he is. But what do I know about being a good father?" Clay paused, trying to collect his thoughts. "I think he does the best he can, trying to figure it out as it comes."

Clay hoped he was a good father. He wanted to be one. Every day he thanked God Emma was his partner in raising their little girl, as his wife was definitely the expert in that area. His main child-raising plan was to think of what Ash would do in a situation and then do the opposite.

Running his hand through his hair, Jason frowned. "It's just, I got hurt fixing a gutter at their house, and I wonder why he couldn't take care of it himself."

That statement made Clay feel guilty. He knew Jason offered to take care of things around the house for Emma when she was on her own. Clay appreciated Jason's help with the upkeep, and he did feel better leaving on missions knowing Emma had her father close by. "He was out of town for work."

"Hmm…"

Clay waited on tenterhooks for Jason to ask what Emma's husband did for a job. There was no way he was going to lie. If it came to it, he would tell Jason exactly who his daughter was married to, but Clay hoped he could hold off at least until Emma arrived.

As if in an answer to a prayer, there was a scuffling sound from the corridor outside Jason's room.


Jason realized how hypocritical he was being about Emma's husband not being around to take care of the gutter, when he had often left Alana to get things fixed at their house while he went on missions. But this was his daughter, and granddaughter, so he expected more from his son-in-law, whoever he was.

Before he could press Clay for more information, there was a noise outside his room.

Lanie appeared in the doorway. "Grandpa! I make you picture."

He grinned at his granddaughter, who made an adorable sight with her curls sticking up from two ponytails. "I can't wait to see it." Lanie reminded him of Emma when she was small. He imagined his daughter had her hands full.

"Mommy bring it." Lanie looked from him to see Clay seated in the chair beside the bed. As Jason watched, her entire face lit up with joy. "Daddy!"

She bolted forward, throwing herself into Clay's lap. "Daddy, you here!"

With a wary glance at Jason, Clay caught Lanie in his arms and lifted her up. "Here's my girl."

Wrapping her arms around his neck, Lanie kissed Clay. "I miss you."

Returning her kiss, Clay settled the little girl on his lap. "I missed you too, baby."

Shocked, Jason could only stare at the pair. His granddaughter, Emma's daughter, called Clay Spenser daddy. That meant… Oh no, his mind wasn't going there. His head began to pound again. An image of Emma smiling up at him, her hair twisted up in some complicated style with pearls and crystals in it, floated in his mind's eye. Was it her wedding day?

"I see Lanie spilled the beans." Emma's voice cut across his tumbling thoughts.

"Spilled the beans?" Jason repeated as he looked from Clay and his granddaughter to Emma.

"Look, Mommy! Daddy here!" Delight sounded in Lanie's voice.

"I see." Emma walked the rest of the way into the room, and Jason gaped in disbelief as his daughter leaned over and kissed Clay.

"Welcome home." Resting her hand on Clay's shoulder, Emma turned back to Jason. "Dad, I wanted to tell you myself and not have you find out this way that Clay and I are married." She paused and bit her lip. "Actually, I hoped you'd remember on your own."

Jason blinked. He had no idea what to say in response. Emma gave him an expectant look while Clay smiled tentatively at him.

Completely unaware of the tension in the room, Lanie reached for the bag hanging over her mother's shoulder. "Mommy, where Grandpa's picture?"

Breaking her gaze from her father, Emma opened the bag and pulled out a piece of paper. "Here you go."

Lanie slid down from Clay's lap and gripped the railing on the side of the bed with one hand while holding her picture in the other. Seeing his daughter trying to pull herself up, Clay boosted her onto the bed by Jason.

"Look, Grandpa. I make for you." She laid the drawing on his lap and leaned into his side.

With half his mind still confounded by this most recent revelation, Jason studied the picture. "Who is this?" He pointed to the biggest figure on the page.

"That you, Grandpa."

Next to the very tall, thin representation of him was another shape, about half the size. "And who is this?"

"That me. We hold hands." Lanie pointed to some lines connecting the two figures.

"Of course, and then who is this?" Jason couldn't decide who, or what, the third smaller shape could be.

"That Cerb'us, my doggie."

Brows raised, Jason glanced over to Emma and Clay. The pair were involved in their own conversation. Observing the two, Jason tried to recall any memories of them together. He couldn't, but watching them, he could tell how in sync they were. Emma sat on the arm of the recliner with her arm resting across Clay's shoulder and his around her waist. Clay's other hand squeezed Emma's knee as he explained something to her.

When Clay finished speaking, Emma turned to her father with an excited expression. "Dad, Clay says you remembered us going to see Mikey play hockey last winter."

"Yeah, I did."

"But that's great! I'm sure you'll remember more soon."

"I hope so, kiddo." Not quite as confident as Emma, he gestured to his granddaughter's artwork. "Cerberus is Lanie's dog?"

"We adopted him when he retired from the Navy, not long after you did," Clay explained.

"Grandpa." Tugging on Jason's hospital gown, Lanie tilted her head back to see his face. "Do you like my picture?"

"Yes, I do. It's very nice." Looking down into Lanie's face, he received another surprise. Lanie's eyes weren't familiar to him because they were blue like Emma's. He recognized them because they were Clay's. Clay Spenser's eyes looked at him out of his granddaughter's face. How did he not notice that before?

Smiling up at him, Lanie slid her arm around his middle and squeezed him in a hug. "I love you."

"I love you too, baby girl." He leaned down and gave her a kiss on her forehead. As he lifted his head, an image flashed through his mind. It was Emma in Clay's arms, the two of them dancing with the ocean in the background. Emma wore a white dress, the skirt fluttering in the breeze.

His brow wrinkled as he tried to place the scene. "You got married on the beach."

"Yes!" Emma reached out and touched his hand.

"You wore your mother's jewelry." The more he tried to bring the memories into focus the more they slipped away. "I think."

She nodded excitedly. "I did."

Reaching into his back pocket, Clay took out his wallet. He pulled a photo from inside and handed it to Jason. With Lanie leaning in to look as well, Jason studied the photo. Physically the paper was creased and worn. There was a photographer's logo in the bottom corner. Emma and Clay were posed on a beach, with his arm around her. They both wore huge smiles, and their happiness was obvious.

Lanie traced Emma's dress with her finger. "Mommy a princess."

Clay smiled and kissed Emma's temple. "She is."

Emma rolled her eyes and gave Clay a kiss on the cheek.

"This picture has been through the wringer." Jason handed it back Clay.

"Yeah, I used to keep it in my helmet. Now I have one with Lanie and Emma." Clay replaced the photo in his wallet.

Emma shook her head. "I had a stack of those pictures to put in the thank you notes after the wedding, and somebody took one. It was a good thing I had extras."

Grinning, Clay shrugged. "I'm sure I appreciated it more than anyone who got a thank you note."

Emma laughed quietly, but before she replied Dr. Jackson entered the room.

"Jason, how are you doing today? How's the head feeling?" He came to stand by Jason's bed.

"Not bad, doc. Hurts once in a while, but nothing too serious." Nodding, Dr. Jackson picked up Jason's chart.

"My father's started remembering things."

"That's perfect. Exactly what we want to hear. I'm going to check your pupil reaction again." Putting down the chart, the doctor pulled his penlight out and checked Jason's eyes.

Fascinated, Lanie observed him work. "Grandpa fall down and hurt his head. He have boo boo."

"That's true, young lady, but his boo boo is much better now." Dr. Jackson smiled at Lanie and then turned to Jason, Emma, and Clay. "I think as long as you keep improving like this, we can talk about you being discharged later today or tomorrow morning."

"Sounds good, doc. I'm ready to get out of here."

"You will need to have someone with you for the first few days though. You shouldn't be on your own."

"He can stay with us," Emma interjected.

Putting away his penlight, the doctor nodded. "That should work. I'll check in on you again later this afternoon, Jason, and see how you're doing." Looking to Emma and Clay, Dr. Jackson continued. "I suggest you let your father rest now to speed his recovery."

"Of course, doctor." Emma leaned forward to pick Lanie up off the bed.

"I'll see you later, Jason." Dr. Jackson departed, leaving silence in his wake.

"We shouldn't have stayed so long." Lifting her daughter up, Emma gave her father an apologetic look.

Jason reached up and patted Emma's arm. "It's fine. I wouldn't have remembered so much without you all."

"Okay, Dad. Call if you need anything. We'll check in later." Emma bent forward and kissed him, then Lanie did the same.

Clay stepped up beside the bed as well. "Get some rest. You'll need it if you stay with us." He tilted his head to Lanie with a knowing look.

Jason chuckled. "Alright, get going. I'll call you once I see the doc again."

Emma grabbed her bag from the floor by the chair, and the three of them headed for the door. Leaning over her mother's shoulder, Lanie fluttered her fingers at him. "Bye, Grandpa."

"Bye, Lanie." Jason waved in response. "Wait, Clay."

Clay looked back, and Jason motioned for his son-in-law to return.

When Clay reached the bedside again, Jason grinned at him. "So, you could say you know Emma's husband?"

Sighing, Clay shrugged. "Emma told me not to tell, and I didn't lie exactly. I was hoping you'd forget about that."

Jason laughed. "Maybe on my next concussion. But don't worry, since you do treat her well and make her happy, I won't hold it against you."

"You remember enough to know that?"

"Yeah, and I know that if you didn't, I'd have made good on the promise I made when you asked permission to date her. I said I'd… What was it? End you if you hurt her?" Jason smirked.

"That's what you said." Clay smiled. "I took you at your word on it."

"Smart thinking." Jason paused and gave Clay a stern look. "And Clay, you are a good father."

"Maybe." Clay's eyes dropped down to stare at the blankets on the bed.

Jason frowned at hearing the doubt in Clay's voice. "No maybe about it. I remember enough to know that too, and even if I didn't, the look of joy on Lanie's face when she realized you were here told me everything I needed to know."

"Yeah?" Clay met Jason's gaze with an encouraged expression.

"Yeah." Jason's response was firm in an effort to convince his son-in-law. "I know you think because Ash was a terrible father, that you'll be one too, but that's not true. You've already proven you're a better man than him in every way that counts, including being a father."

"I…" Clay swallowed and took a deep breath. "Thanks, Jase. It means a lot coming from you."

"Just telling the truth." Jason cleared his throat. Concussions always made him sentimental. "You should probably catch up with those two before they get into some kind of trouble."

Clay laughed. "Yeah, okay. We'll talk to you later. Get some rest." Turning, he headed out the door.

Nodding, Jason watched his son-in-law go. Once alone, Jason closed his eyes and settled back into his pillows. Now he could get some sleep.

AN 2: I don't have a story for tomorrow's prompt, but I'll be back on Wednesday.