My first Modern Family fic, so don't be too harsh, please :) I know it's a bit serious for the show, but I love Phil, and wanted to use him in this a lot!

Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine!

Reviews, as always, are greatly appreciated. Let me know what you think!

Everyone thought that Phil was the hero that day.

The rock.

The reassurance.

Without him, the family would have fallen apart.

Because when Luke got sick, no one knew what to do.

No one except for Phil.

First, of course, it was Claire who was sick with worry. She was the one who drove him to the hospital after he had passed out. His cheeks were pale, his lips blue. Throughout the car ride, all she could think of was her baby, the baby of the family, being gone. She paced outside the hospital room, her voice squeaking with every word she spoke as she explained the situation to her family. Her eyes had dark circles underneath them, her blonde hair sticking up in every direction. But when Phil came, a little part of her relaxed. She collapsed around his neck, breathing him in, willing herself to believe him when he said everything would be all right.

In fact, Phil was the one who everyone breathed in. His daughters came to him, calling him "Daddy," tears in their eyes. It reminded him of when they were little. He looked at Hailey, standing in the waiting room in sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt. He couldn't remember the last time she wasn't wearing high-heels and a low-cut tank top. And here she was, hugging him like she did when she was a little girl. And when he turned around, there Alex would be, books and homework forgotten, hugging him just as tightly as Hailey did. Even though his girls were back, nothing made Phil happier than seeing his two girls together again, nodding off on each other's shoulders, being friends. Just friends.

Jay, Gloria, and Manny were the next to come to the hospital. Gloria took her place next to Claire, while Jay sat down shakily in a chair. He kept himself far away from the girls, from Manny, even from his wife. Phil passed him, not expecting Jay to reach out like he did. When Phil sat down next to him, the two sat in silence for a long, long time. When Jay finally spoke, he was angry; like Phil expected. He said, "This is the reason I don't like you today. You marry my little girl, and then you give me this little grandson that I am worrying about now. You give me this grandson that I love, and he may be taken away from me." And then Jay is suppressing tears and Phil gets him a cup of coffee, and everything is understood. There is no anger between the two; just a shared fear for the same little boy.

Cam and Mitchell arrive moments later. Lily holds Cam's hand tightly. Cam is beside himself with worry, and Mitchell, who tries to stay so strong, is on the verge of tears. The men come to Phil separately; Cam tells Phil that he wants to stay strong for Mitchell. Mitchell wants to be strong for Cam. Phil suggest that they just…be there for each other. Each time, Phil gives a reassuring smile and a pat on the back.

The family later sits together in the waiting room. Alex and Hailey listen to the same iPod while listening to their family's conversation. They talk, they laugh nervously, they sit in comfortable silences, listening to the buzz of the hospital around them. Only Phil is missing.

Only Phil, the rock, the comfort, the reassurance, is missing.

He is in Luke's room, sitting by his son's bed, holding Luke's little hand tightly in his own. Luke is barely awake, drowsy after medication that the doctors gave him. He laughs at his dad's jokes, not noticing how weak his smile is. How shaky his laugh is. How his eyes are brighter than usual, glazed over. Luke doesn't notice, and he doesn't need to. His dad is his reassurance, and that's all he needs right now.

Moments later, the doctor comes back into the room. Luke's eyes are half-closed. The doctor pauses, surveying the room.

"Where'd everyone go?" The doctor asks, smiling slightly. Phil laughs.

"They're never far away." He is sick with anticipation. His stomach is in knots. The hand that holds his son's is completely numb.

"He's going to be all right," The doctor smiles at Phil, and for the the first time in that hospital, Phil cries. And that cry awakens the waiting room down the hall.

First, of course, is Claire. She runs into the room, fearing the worst. Gloria follows closely behind, followed by Jay and Manny. Cam and Mitchell enter hesitantly, tears already in Cam's eyes and Mitchell squeezing Lily tightly to him. Hailey and Alex come in, almost certain that they will be losing a brother.

"Phil, honey…" Claire's voice is hoarse and cracks. Phil just keeps his head down, shoulders shaking.

After the doctor explains, Claire falls against the wall and sinks to the floor. Cam and Mitchell breathe heavy sighs of relief, and Jay bends down, hands on his knees, to steady himself. The doctor had left, the family remained. Nothing seemed to draw them together so much as a near-death experience. When Luke leaned forward to ask his dad why everyone was crying, Phil only managed a watery smile. He told Luke the truth, the reason he had been able to smile all day. The reason he hoped, he hoped so much that it hurt, that Luke would be all right.

"Because you're the hero, buddy."