Chapter 1

"Hibbit!" Danny smiled in surprise as Nomsa showed the Trevanion's visitor into the living room one hot summer's morning. The vet was sitting with his leg propped up against the coffee table, his wife Sarah tucked under his arm where he'd wrapped her into a light and loving embrace. Her head was nestled into his chest. It had only been two weeks since Danny and Du Plessie had been discharged from the hospital after the recent lion attack, and although rare to find the vet taking advantage of such a moment of rest and relaxation, his injuries and bruising were still sore, and he'd been making more of an effort to find more time to take it easy. "This is a surprise." He smiled, as he got rather stiffly to his feet, and made his way over, hand extended in greeting.

"I hope you don't mind the interruption Danny." Hibbet smiled, accepting his outreached hand as he shook it, pleased to see his old friend looking so well under the circumstances. "I probably should have called before turning up." He explained. "But I heard about what happened and…"

"Don't mention it." Danny reassured him however. "You're welcome here anytime."

"Who's this?" Sarah asked as she came up beside her husband, wrapping her arm in a gesture of both affection and protection around his waist as she approached.

Danny faltered. "Sarah." He grinned. "This is Hibbet, an old friend!" He then turned back to their guest. "This is Sarah my wife." He explained.

"Pleased to meet you." Hibbet smiled and it was now their turn to shake hands, Sarah's smile an expression of immediate welcome and acceptance.

With this Nomsa quietly departed, not before managing to subtly catch Danny's attention however. "I'll bring in some iced tea and lemonade," She suggested, "and there's some fresh fruit buns cooling in the kitchen."

"Thanks Nomsa." Danny smiled. "That is unless you'd prefer something stronger?" He offered Hibbet.

"Iced tea would be just fine." The other man nodded, before adding a 'thank you' to Nomsa. It was a gesture of polite gratitude and the older woman nodded in acknowledgment before vacating the room.

"I'll just go and tell my mum we have visitor's." Sarah excused herself, before, as the two were left alone, Hibbet turned back to Danny again.

"I'm sorry." He apologised. "How are you?"

"Well, better than Du Plessie." Danny explained. "It was very touch and go for a while, but he's pulled through, the tough old mule. He'll be unable to work for months though. He bore the fullest brunt of the attack."

Hibbet's head bowed regretfully as he heard this. "I'm sorry." He sighed. "I heard he'd been ill, I hoped it wasn't anything too serious."

"Angina." Danny told him. "He didn't really stand a chance when Hobe attacked us. But he's a proud man, and he's doing much better now, making a nice steady recovery, the doctor's are very pleased with him."

"Hang on, Hobe?" Hibbet frowned. He'd heard that the two had been attacked by a lion, but it had never occurred to him that it might have been Hobe.

"Caroline, and you are?" The pair turned as they were suddenly interrupted by another, older, female voice.

"Caroline." Danny acknowledged her politely. "This is Hibbet, an old friend. Hibbet, this is Caroline, my mother-in-law. She's the one we have to thank for keeping a close eye on Du Plessie." He smiled.

"And it would be easier to keep tabs on a sick mule." She laughed.

Hibbet smiled. "Where is the old man?" He asked her.

"In bed." Caroline explained. "At least he was when I left him a moment ago."

"Can I see him?" Hibbet asked. "Is he up to visitors?"

"Of course." Danny nodded. "Caroline, could you show him to Du Plessie's room please?" He asked her.

She smiled, and nodded, before beckoning for Hibbet to follow her. "Come on, this way." She told him, and Danny followed behind them both as Caroline led Hibbet down the hall towards Du Plessie's room.