Author: Skinner Box
Title: All the Highborn Ladies
Status: Complete
Pairing: Spender/Krycek
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Requiem
Summary: Jeffrey Spender remembers his sister
Note: Thank you to Shael and drovar for much support and encouragement, and to Meir.
The title comes from the chorus of Phil Ochs' ballad 'When in Rome.'
Disclaimer: The X-Files, Jeffrey Spender, and Alex Krycek belong to Chris Carter and Fox Broadcasting. I play with them out of love and for no profit.

All the Highborn Ladies
by Skinner Box

I live with a murderer. Evenings, when he's home, we sprawl out on the sofa, in our snug book lined living room in our squat ugly house on Butter Road. Light and warmth dance out from the gas grate before us, and the murderer plays with my curls and croons Phil Ochs ballads, half to himself and half to me. And I'm cuddled and coddled and warm like I haven't been since years ago, childhood, before my father took my sister away.

She wasn't that much older, two years, maybe, and sick all the time, but she was the one who checked the closet for monsters and chased away my nightmares when they came anyway. We mostly played with each other. Not that the base wasn't swarming with kids, but they avoided us and we weren't encouraged to play with them. Something about our Dad being DOD brass.

We made up these creatures, my sister and me, called Tweedums. They were round and orange and soft, with curly fur like our hair, and terribly eloquent, though all they could say was, "tweedum."

We shared a bedroom- we were little kids, you know. Late at night we'd talk to each other- Tweedum talk. "Tweedum?" I'd whisper in the looming darkness, meaning, 'are you awake up there?'

"Tweedum," she'd answer, "tweedum?" meaning, 'of course. Are you okay?" And she'd climb down the ladder (I was afraid of the top bunk) and crawl in with me and sing me Tweedum lullabies until it was okay again and I could sleep.

Our Dad took her away before I was ten. What I mean is, our parents divorced and Mom and I moved off base and Tweedum Samantha stayed with him. I guessed (I don't remember anyone saying) because she was so sick and needed the doctors there. I know better now. Tweedum me never saw her again. Never another Tweedum word.

Until my murderer came back today. Not my murderer murderer- that would be Dad. The murderer who's mine. Gone for months and came back thinner and with lash marks, thin scars that wrap around his back to meet the ones where his left arm used to be. And news of one more murder in his string of many.

"I brought you something," he said, "from your father's effects."

It's a picture postcard, with a Victorville, CA postmark from 1979. It's faded and crumpled and the edges have all gone round, like someone's hands have held it often. Addressed to me, Jeffrey Spender. Just one word on it, besides the address, in a girlish, rounded hand: Tweedum.

The end