Tatters

Alice returns to Leopards Den with Robert three months after Danny decided to stay in Africa. When she see's Danny still having a good time like nothing has happened, Alice can't help but feel hurt and abandoned. The question is, is her tattered relationship with Danny fixable or will it all end?

A blur of golds, greens and blues were all she could see for miles around as the taxi driver sped down the road. The wildebeest were stood to the side of the sandy tracks and in the distance she could see Three and Tula stood together; the elephants she loved so much. She sighed and gently ran a finger over her sleeping son's cheek. He looked so much like his father. The same green eyes, the same jaw line, the same serious attitude. Her own jaw clenched as she thought of... she didn't even want to think of his name anymore. How bad was that? That she didn't want to say her son's father's name?

She'd needed him, needed him more than she'd ever needed him in her entire life, yet did he come? No! Instead he called her, two hours before he was due to arrive to tell her that he hadn't boarded the plane! Damn! He hadn't even left Leopards Den! The animals stopped him! She bit her lip looking out of the window as she remembered how she'd pretended it was ok... yeh until she put the phone down and burst into tears. She'd cried and cried and cried. Cried until her chest hurt, until her eyes were itchy, until her voice was broken. She'd made such an effort in preparation for his arrival... they all had. Charlotte had drawn him the most beautiful picture; a picture of Leopards Den, so he'd never be far away; except she hadn't been able to give it him because he chose Africa over her, over Charlotte but worse, over Robert. Charlotte had watched her cry. She'd tried to console her but Alice was beyond comfort. He couldn't put her first.

"Mum?" Charlotte spoke up as she noticed her mother's dark eyes and angered expression. Usually she'd be all loved up and happy when she was going to see Danny but today she seemed angry, tinged with annoyance. She was worried. Her Mum was deeply hurt by Danny's decision and had told him so just two weeks ago; at the same time she decided to go back and Charlotte couldn't help but fear that it was to hand over divorce papers and collect her things.

"What?" Alice asked softly keeping her eyes on the world outside.

"Are you ok?" Charlotte asked nervously.

"Never better." Alice replied emotionlessly. "I get to see Danny."

"Is that a good thing anymore?"

"Charlotte." Alice warned.

Charlotte shook her head and turned to look out the other window. She smiled as she saw the gate to Leopards Den, the driveway, the house! They were home... well... at Leopards Den.

"Great." Alice breathed as the taxi driver pulled up at the house. Alice quickly paid him before climbing out; taking Robert out of the car seat as she did so. He was getting so big, so quickly! She swallowed. He was nearly a year old and he'd not seen his father since he was a newborn. She felt anger bubble inside her. She'd always admired him as a father; more than she admired him as a vet but now? No. She hated him for this! He knew just as well as she did how it was not to have your father in your life yet was he in Robert's life? No!

"See you later." The driver smiled as he placed Alice's final suitcase on the veranda. Alice nodded her thanks before taking a deep breath. He hadn't even come out to meet her.

"Come on Charlotte." Alice said, her tone full of annoyance.

Charlotte swallowed, and followed her mother who had Robert in her arms. As they walked into the kitchen, Charlotte gasped at what she saw. Danny with Dup in a headlock, both laughing and joking with Rosie and Caroline sat with them laughing. Alice's face grew red with her fury and with one angry sigh she rushed forward.

"Hello Alice, how are you? How's Robert, you know my son who I haven't seen since he was a newborn? How's Charlotte? Good flight? I'm so happy to see you! I'm sorry I didn't meet you the airport but I'll meet you out of the taxi!" Alice shouted sarcastically as she walked away through the kitchen and towards her and Danny's bedroom.

The whole family turned and swallowed. Liv rushed through with Fatani, both looking around with confusion. They could hear Alice but they couldn't see her. Danny had released Dup and was already rushing after his wife. He checked his watch; she'd even been five minutes late.

"She's not happy..." Rosie murmured.

"Do you expect her to be?" Charlotte snapped angrily, "You didn't see her!"

"What do you mean?" Caroline asked softly, the greetings forgotten completely.

"She's broken. You know what? She cried her eyes out. No matter how hard anything ever got Mum never cried in front of me! Not properly! She didn't even try to shoo me away when I hugged her, she just cried." Charlotte spat, "I hate this place and I hate him." She yelled before storming off. Rosie and Caroline looked at one another and then back to Liv and Fatani. This was bad.

"Alice..." Danny breathed as he rushed into their room, "I'm sorry, we were carrying on and..."

"You forgot. Not like you to forget is it?" Alice snapped, her tone openly hostile.

"I am glad to see you." Danny emphasised moving forward, "I have missed you."

"And you know what Danny, I have missed you, my heart has ached with how much I've missed you but you know what, I'm not glad to see you." Alice sighed, "And that kills me."

"Not half as much as it kills me." Danny replied, "Anyway, how's Robert?"

"See for yourself." Alice spat angrily before walking out. Danny sighed and picked Robert up admiring him. Almost immediately Robert began to squirm and look in Alice's direction and in that moment Danny's heart shattered. His son didn't even know him.

A/N – I AM SO ANGRY AT THAT FINALE. WHAT KIND OF MORALS ARE THEY TRYING TO INSTILL?

So yeh... I am writing this fic (alongside the one where Danny has actually gone back) to rant :P

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