She wasn't sure when Ashley had become her protector and not the other way around. When she had gone from being a mother, to a woman with a bodyguard as her daughter. The transition had been seamless, from one into the other, she hadn't even noticed until she was saying they needed Ashley, until she was saying those words.
Her daughter was supposed to be with her for love, and company, but things were rarely that way now, ever since she could fire a weapon. Before perhaps, since she obtained her first belt in karate, it was a downward spiral in which Helen was twice as loved but somehow twice as lonely.
Sad really, a shame.
She couldn't hold onto her daughters life forever, but compared to her own life span, these twenty years seemed so insignificant in a way, because all the things she had gained out of this, she was losing again.
She had Henry but they had little in common beyond her own systems and technology, and her man servant, but he was no conversationalist. Long, long gone were the days when John was sane and she was in love. Long gone were the days when she had companionship like that, like they had once shared.
Though Will was settling in and surprising her no end. It was a joy, on occasion, to talk to him about the Sanctuary, the different patients she had treated over the past century. He didn't react with any particular enthusiasm, and she still wasn't sure if this was because of his past, loosing his mother the way he did, or because he was still trying to take everything in. It was there though, a little gleam in his eyes that bounced off the lenses of his glasses. It amused her, and gave her a strange sense of hope.
For what? She had no idea.
"I was an insomniac you know," Will said, sitting opposite her as she scribbled at her desk. She cocked an eyebrow and smiled.
"Was?" she said. "You're up awfully late for someone who was an insomniac."
He smiled back, and she liked it when he smiled, because she was getting through to him maybe and bringing him here had been as much about him as anything else. Anyone else.
"I was about to head home but I started reading."
"The 'monster manual'."
"Yeah," he said with a short huff of laughter.
The oddest things amused him, she realised, the strangest things confusing him. But her own perceptions of odd, strange and unusual had long been difference to that of everyone else. Except her fathers perhaps. He's always seen what she had seen.
"I sleep now. I don't know why."
"You could have a room here, there are plenty."
"I'll think about it," he said.
"Did you want something? Other than to tell me your insomnia has been cured?" she asked, amused.
"I have some answers now, it's cleared my head a little," he said, "I wanted to thank you for that."
"You are most welcome," she said with another smile.
"What do you need to sleep?" he asked. She sighed.
"More than answers I'm afraid."
He nodded, accepting her answer easily. Sometimes she made very good decisions about people.
"The west wing is mostly empty. You could have it to yourself."
"Mostly empty?" he asked. He was in his rights to be cautious, of course, and she nodded.
"I have some storage rooms up there, a lot of older books."
"I'll think about it."
"Very well. Sleep on it."
He smiled at that, a full smile that looked like it hurt a little, as he used old forgotten muscles in his face and she understood that feeling all too well.
"Goodnight Helen," he said, the name still sounding a little odd in his accent.
"Goodnight," she said, voice low and soft, and smiling.