the other sisters were jealous

Miscellaneous Ashley background/family headcanons, because I’m having a lot of Ashley feelings lately and why not.

  • Ashley’s father is from Virginia; his family was American for generations, but comes from mostly English, Welsh, and German ancestry. Her mother is from Argentina. Her parents met while working for the Alliance–her father was military, of course, and her mother was a civilian contractor, working on terraforming and planetary geology.
  • While her parents were dating, some of Ashley’s mother’s friends tried to convince her that it was a bad idea. “You know who his father is, right? You know they’ll never let him get anywhere, right?” Ashley’s mother’s private opinion was that anyone who thought that would dissuade her had no idea what love even was. (Ashley got her stubbornness from both parents, as it happens.)
  • Ashley and her sisters speak a little Spanish and can understand a bit more, but not all that well; certainly they aren’t fluent. Her mother tried to teach them (and her nona tried even harder on the rare and expensive visits between Sirona and Earth), but the problem is that Sirona didn’t have a lot of Spanish-speakers (English, French, and Filipino, yes, but not much Spanish) and so they didn’t get a chance to practice it. Ashley’s always regretted that a little.
  • Ashley knows how to ride a horse, since horses are one of the more romantic features of a human colony world. Her family didn’t have a farm, but many of her friends’ families did. Because she’s the kind of friend who always pitches in when there’s work to be done, she also knows how to deworm a sheep and the basics of field rotation.
  • Ashley’s religion is a Christian denomination that doesn’t exist yet in our world. It’s heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism, but isn’t Catholicism as we would know it. (For one thing, Ashley would consider prohibitions on homosexuality, birth control, etc., as laughably archaic.)
  • When her father was home from a deployment, he’d greet Ashley with a big hug, followed by, “Well, Ashley Madeleine, have you been taking good care of your sisters?” While some might consider this a heavy burden to place on a child or adolescent, for them it was a profound bond of trust. Responsibility doesn’t have to be a millstone, after all.
  • Each Williams sister had a kind of family role, which is sort of inevitable in a large and close-knit family. Abby, two and a half years younger than Ashley, with her corsets and floofy skirts and swordplay and odd hobbies, was “the weird one.” Lynn, six years younger than Ashley, an academic overachiever and a worrier, was “the anxious one.” Sarah, ten years younger than Ashley, was “the sweet one.”
  • Ashley never knew it, but her other sisters thought of her as “the responsible one.” And were a little jealous of her close relationship with her father. (Ashley was the only one with the patience to memorize her father’s favorite poems–and was the only one with any interest in joining the Alliance military; her sisters saw how the Alliance had unjustly sidelined their father and wanted nothing to do with it.)
  • Ashley’s still closest with Abby. Their extranet messages still begin with, “Hey, weirdo,” from Ashley, and, “Hey, sarge,” from Abby–referencing Ashley’s nickname as Sergeant Ashley from when they were kids and she was frequently left in charge of her sisters.
  • Ashley is both more comfortable and more paranoid than most people while planetside on new and/or incompletely-explored planets. More comfortable because she’s a colony girl, and worlds that are not yet entirely mapped, understood, tamed, and built on are completely homey to her. More paranoid, because she knows full well that even a totally welcoming garden planet might spring an unexpected chlorine marsh on you–so you’d better keep your helmet on, or at least close at hand, soldier.
  • Ashley still talks to her dad every night, telling him what she’s up to and asking him what he thinks she should do. Sometimes, when she dreams, she thinks she can hear him answering.
  • When all the Williams girls are together, they’re like the Koudelka girls from the Vorkosigan books: beautiful in their varied ways, more than a little intimidating, and brilliant in all senses of the word.