Ashley was very grateful for her father's arm around her waist. It kept her upright as the world reformed in front of her eyes to show an Entrance Hall that was fuller than she had ever seen it. Every one of the sentient abnormals was there, including some of them who still lived out in the world. And yet others she recognised from Sanctuaries around the world, she knew they were only there because their homes had been destroyed. But she deliberately pushed the thought of why those residents were homeless from her mind, today was a happy day. She'd think about that sort of thing tomorrow. Hung between the two staircases was a banner saying 'Welcome Home Ashley', it looked to have been made out of a bed sheet and Ashley really hoped it wasn't one of her mother's best Egyptian cotton sheets
As they appeared a cheer went through the assembled abnormals and Ashley found herself been quickly pulled from her parents and into a series of hugs. It felt like she was hugged by everyone in the room at least twice, Henry told her that the mermaid was expecting a visit from her at some point in the very near future and promised that he'd been keeping an eye on the Nubbins.
When she finally got a moment to breathe, and it seemed as if the welcoming committee had been turned into a party since someone had brought out food and drinks, Ashley spotted an Indian woman who was hanging back from her. A very familiar Indian woman, though the last time Ashley had seen her it had been from the business end of a rocket launcher.
Making her way over, Ashley decided to introduce herself. "Hey I'm Ashley, I don't think I know your name."
"I'm Kate Freelander and in case you can't remember I'm the one who shot you with a rocker launcher."
"You stopped me killing my mom so that makes us even." Ashley said holding out her hand, Kate took it a little hesitantly. "So you planning on sticking around?"
"I don't know if I'll be allowed to." Kate admitted.
"Do you want to?" Ashley asked.
"Well I haven't got anywhere else to go." Kate told her, slightly hesitantly. She didn't usually like revealing her weaknesses to other people.
"That's the point of the Sanctuary." Ashley told her, "A place for people with no where else to go. Besides I think Will is sick of been the odd one out."
"Huh?" Kate asked, not getting it.
"In case you haven't noticed, Will is the only human in the room." Ashley said with a grin, "Come on, lets get something to eat." Ashley grabbed Kate's arm and pulled her towards where the Big Guy had set up some tables to hold all of the food, "Have you met the Nubbins yet?"
Helen looked around happily at all the people who had assembled to welcome Ashley home. Her daughter had grown up with many of them and for others she had been a part of the Sanctuary as long as they had known of it. She was pleased to see Ashley go over to Kate and then after talking for a few minutes she hauled the other woman over to he buffet table.
"What are you going to do about Kate?" Will asked as he appeared at her side.
"She did pretty good with the baby steno." Helen said, "And Ashley seems to be getting on with her, it'll be good for her to have a female friend."
"So she's staying?" Will asked.
Helen nodded, "If she likes, I'll offer her a place on a trail basis in the morning, we'll see how it goes from there." Helen continued decided not to interrupt the rather animated conversation the two women seemed to be having, from the gestures Helen was almost scared to imagine what they were talking about. "What about you John?" She asked sensing that he was behind her even without seeing him, "Will you stay?"
"For the moment." He told her, "Ashley needs me to help her control her teleporting."
"And after that?" Helen hated the way her voice caught.
"There's no place here for me Helen, this is a place of peace and I am a killer. But I will always be available to you, I will always come when you or Ashley call me." He gave her the only promise he could even as he knew that he might not be able to keep it. The rage inside of him was fighting to be free and he might not be able to hold it forever. Still he would take the time with her and Ashley that he could and then he would count on Harkness to put him out of his misery.
Ashley finally escaped all her well wishers and climbed the stairs up to the permanent staff accommodation. Her feet remembered the familiar path to her room almost without direction and she was at her door before she even realised that was where she was going. Placing her hand on the door knob she suddenly realised that it might not be her room anymore, that someone might have packed up all her stuff.
But she needn't have worried. When she opened the door she found everything just as she had left it, right down to the clothes in her closet. Smiling Ashley changed into her pyjamas and snuggled down in her own bed for the first time in almost two months. Sighing happily to herself she closed her eyes and quickly fell asleep.
There would be no nightmares that night, they would come over the following days, weeks and months as Ashley started to heal the mental injuries caused by her captivity and enslavement. But she would eventually recover and become that happy daughter that her mother remembered.
AN: So that's the end of Survival Instinct. Thanks to everyone for reading. There will be a sequel (another Torchwood/Sanctuary crossover) because I wasn't very fond of the ending of Haunted either and since I've just saved Ashley I think I'll now save Druitt. Unfortunatly that won't be posted until mid-June because I am working abroad until then (full details are on my profile).
Bye for now