There were loud voices in Helen Magnus's head that she fought against every day, voices echoing through time from critics that did all they could to discourage her. Her governess, radiating disapproval as Helen announced her plans for Oxford. Her mother's pinched face as her daughter rambled on about the day she had spent with her scientist father, not doing the needlepoint she had been asked to do. And the endless, endless line of people who criticized her work at the Sanctuary, who criticized her and more recently criticized her decision to bear her daughter.

But the voice in her head that was the only one capable of still giving her chills was the very man who fathered the daughter she was now rocking to sleep.

The worst thing about the John Druitt's low voice (that still rang in her head after so long) was that it did not criticize; it had supported her and loved her. But what distinguished it from the madman that had slashed the whore's throat in the alley way? And what would that madman think of the blond angel who had almost drifted off? Or what would her John think of his daughter?

Then there was her own self-doubt, a nagging worry that her daughter was not safe, that bringing into a world Helen had seen too much of was a mistake, and that somehow she would totally mess up her chance to mother the child that had loved her so readily.

But just before Ashley had nodded off to sleep, she whispered in a small voice

I love you mummy.

And her heart melted.

Sometimes the small voices drowned out the larger ones, and a whisper overpowered a yell.

A/N Last minute entry to the Diehard challenge 'Small Voices' done by the lurvly MiseryLovesSarah over at the WWDD forum. The slapdash fic was brought to you by the power of Kix cereal, background music by Coldplay, OneRepublic, Band of Horses, Britney Spears, and a spontaneous Computer restart to keep things interesting. The save button is your best friend readers. The review button is mine.