Alice felt sick, physically sick as she sat upon the rock hard hospital bed awaiting her time to come. Danny was sat by her side reading the newspaper. She smiled slightly as she observed him - he was frowning ever so slightly as he scanned the pages, his green eyes changing slightly as he read different articles. Sometimes she could see shock, other times humour and then sometimes she'd sense disgust or elation. Alice sighed as she thought back to last night when they'd danced in the moonlight. She wondered if he knew how that little romantic gesture had helped her, inspired her even. He'd given her something to fight for whilst at the same time lifting her spirits. She felt ready to go into any battle.
"Penny for your thoughts." Danny whispered as he placed his newspaper down on the side.
"Was just thinking about you..." Alice replied, "How cute you look reading a newspaper." She added cheekily, squeezing his hand as he blushed slightly, looking down smirking.
"You feeling ok?" Danny enquired softly, rubbing his thumb over the top of her knuckles. His green eyes meeting hers.
"Yeh, bit nervous but I'm feeling ready. You really helped me you know last night... I can't tell you what it means. Thank you." Alice told him, her voice low and soft as she spoke to him.
"No thank you..." Danny told her passionately before both fell into a comfortable silence.
"You won't forget about Charlotte's guitar lesson will you?" Alice asked him breaking the silence that had consumed them for a few moments, "Or Robbie's routine. I mean, I wrote it on a post-it and stuck it on the fridge but I know you're gonna be busy and-"
"Alice..." Danny laughed taking her face into both of his large hands, "Relax, I've got it under control!" He chuckled as she blushed slightly, smiling sheepishly, "I also haven't forgotten about the school trip money... Seriously, everything will be fine."
"I know, I know," Alice smiled sheepishly, "I just wanted to make sure. Sorry... I know you'll be fine." She sighed as she took his hand, entwining them gently. "Will you do one thing for me though?" He nodded, placing his hand on top of hers. "Will you take Charlie's mind off it? Do something with her... I don't want her stewing on it all too much."
"Of course I will." Danny promised, "Everything will be ok."
At that moment the anesthesiologist walked in. Alice glanced to Danny, squeezing his hand as he stood up.
"I'll be here when you wake up..." Danny promised her before leaning down and kissing her deeply but with a hidden promise lying beneath it, "I love you... see you when you wake up." He whispered, kissing her once more.
"Love you too..." She whispered before both turned their attention to the woman in front of them. Danny held her hand, an unspoken promise he wouldn't leave until she was under. "Hey."
"Hello..." She began before quickly running through the procedure.
Danny ran a hand through his short hair as he left the hospital. He'd stayed with Alice until she'd gone to theatre and then he'd left, well aware that the time for picking up Charlotte from school and Robert from nursery was approaching. Once in the car, he rested his head on the steering wheel for a moment gathering his thoughts, before exhaling and starting the engine. He had to carry on now and let the doctors take care of his wife.
It only took him twenty minutes to get to Charlotte's school. His mind quickly drifted to Alice as he waited for her daughter to rush out and into the car. She was such a strong woman but that didn't mean she was invincible - not for one minute. She could put a front on, of course she could, she'd done it so many times before. In the past he may not have noticed but now he couldn't help but notice when she was pretending all was fine when in reality it was not.
His musings were broken as the car door opened and closed in quick succession. He turned and smiled at Charlotte, who before he could even greet her began to ask about her mum.
"She's ok, she was being really well cared for when I left." Danny assured her as he started the engine, "She'll be a hundred percent fine..."
"Good." Charlotte replied as he set off. She sighed and looked out of the window. It would be so weird without her Mum at home. She loved Danny, of course she did, but she was so used to having her Mum there to talk to she knew it would be strange without her.
"I was thinking Charlie..." Danny began after a few minutes of silence, "Your Uncle Rowan mentioned coming up to see Robbie. Do you want to go to the cinema and watch a movie?"
"Sure..." Charlotte replied smiling, "That'd be great." She enthused.
"Great." Danny grinned back, "We'll head down about six thirty. Any ideas on what you want to see?"
"Ted!" Charlotte grinned with enthusiasm.
"You aren't old enough love, it's a fifteen."
"You are so boring, you could so totally lie..."
"I could, but I won't." Danny laughed, "How about Brave?" He suggested as he pulled up outside the nursery.
"I'd rather watch Ice Age 4!" Charlotte replied as they both jumped out the car, she waited for Danny to lock it before continuing, "It looks well good."
"Ice Age it is." Danny confirmed as they walked into the nursery together.
Danny grinned as he saw Robert putting his building blocks in a tower on the floor. Upon hearing Charlotte greet one of the nursery teachers, Robert turned, shouting in his own language, a huge grin splitting across his face as he spotted his father and sister.
"Hello Robbie." Danny cooed, picking him up and kissing his forehead, "You had a nice day at nursery?" He sang as Robert laughed, grabbing hold of his dad's collar and hiding his face in his chest. "How's he been?" Danny directed at his nursery teacher, Anne.
"Excellent as usual." She smiled, "He's had all his usuals..."
"Great, see you tomorrow." Danny replied as he and Charlotte walked out with Robert. Danny quickly began to strap into the car, smiling as Robert stubbornly refused to put bend his arm. "You have Mummy's temper hmm?" He chuckled as his son scowled before finally bending his arm allowing himself to be fastened in.
The drive home wasn't a long one but it was a painful one. Robert cried the majority of the way home and even upon arriving home, he only let up his screams for ten minutes before he began again, obviously wanting Alice. Danny sighed as he walked around with him, trying to get him to settle. He was anxious that he'd promised Charlotte the trip to the cinema but equally he couldn't leave Rowan to deal with Robbie like this.
"Come on son, for Daddy..." Danny whispered as he bounced him, "Mummy won't be here for a few days so you'll have to put up with me..."
Robert continued regardless. Charlotte watched from the door, leaning her head on the frame. She knew now that Danny wouldn't be able to keep his promise to her. He'd probably forgotten by now. She smiled half heartedly as she noticed Danny turn. He smiled back softly.
"You look just like your Mum stood there..." Danny told her softly as Robert finally let up, clutching to his Dad's t-shirt.
"I wish I looked like Mum..." Charlotte replied with a slight laugh, "She's beautiful - to have her eyes."
"You are beautiful Charlotte." Danny insisted.
"You have to say that." Came her retort as she moved over to him, "You know, if Robert's being difficult then..."
"Charlotte. As soon as he's down and Rowan's here we are going to the cinema. I promised you. Besides, Rowan has had this visit planned long before we knew your Mum would be in hospital. From after today, I admit I'm going to be busy for the next six weeks and in particular the next few days, but I don't want you to suffer because of that." He stopped, "I'll try my best Charlie but he's a baby. He can't do anything for himself yet... he's going to take up a lot of my time and no matter how hard I try to be equal and fair, cutting the crap I won't be able to."
"I know..." Charlotte confessed, shocked by Danny's honesty. "I just thought, you know with him being yours and..."
"Charlotte." Danny said sternly stopping her in her tracks. "You are mine too."
"Don't say it." Danny replied, "You are mine in the ways that count. You are as much my daughter as if you'd have been my own."
"Thanks Danny." Charlotte grinned, hugging him tightly, being careful not to jostle a sleeping Robert who was content in his father's arms. "I'm glad Mum married you."
"I'm pretty pleased myself!" He laughed, "She'll be alright Charlie."
"I know she will." Charlotte answered, "She has you..."
A/N - Aww, Bit of bonding going on. So, Danny's on his own with Robert and Charlie. Question is will he be ok or will he struggle?