Ancient Starlight
Author: Lycanthrophile (lycanthrophile@imadethis.org)
Fandom: The X-Files
Originally Published: February 15, 2000
Spoilers: Season 7
Disclaimer: They belong to to TenThirteen Productions, although I'd treat several characters better than CC does.
Rating: PG13 for language
Summary: Jeffrey Spender's thoughts at the end of "One Son."
Warnings: Character death
Word Count: 952
Archive: Please inform me.



That that which is born still lives and cannot be buried in the cold earth. But only waits to be born again at God's behest... - Mulder, Closure



This isn't how it's supposed to end.

I'm supposed to die in bed surrounded by my children and grandchildren after a long and successful tenure as an FBI agent. Or go out in a blaze of glory, giving my life in the line of duty and the protection of the innocent. I'm not supposed to bleed out on the Hoover Building basement floor, shot by my father. It's funny how family figures so differently in my fantasy and my reality, I'd laugh, but I can't seem to get enough air in my lungs.

I'm dying, killed by my 'father' after I struck back at him the only way I could. I called in every favor and kissed every ass I could to get Mulder and Scully reinstated to the X-Files. I got my share of weird looks while making this request, especially after how hard I was working to get him kicked out of the FBI. Let everybody else think that I've gone to pieces over my mother's death and need time away to get my head on straight. The old bastard knows the truth.

I'm cold.

My mother. I've been thinking about her. Well, actually I've been thinking about my mother's first name. Cassandra prophesied disaster to the Trojans. They thought she was crazy and look what happened to them and to her. Maybe with sight comes madness. Maybe we were the crazy ones, smug in our species' superiority that we don't want to acknowledge the possibility that we are babies peeking over the edge of a galactic crib. Too big a blow to our collective ego? And when one or two do get a glimpse of vision, we beat them down, discredit them, abduct them, kill them, anything to silence them.

I can't feel my body.

There is one thing I wish I had time to do. I had a foster sister. She disappeared one night and was never seen again. I haven't seen her since the night she came to me and told me she was running away. Father was always suspicious that I knew more than I told him, but I loved my surrogate sister and didn't want to see her hurt any more. Part of the reason I became a FBI agent was so I could look for her. But I never did. I concentrated on finding my mother instead, thinking her trail was fresher. I didn't look for her because I was afraid of what I would find. But I never gave up thinking I was going to find Samantha.

She was a little older than me. My father brought her home to April Air Force Base like he had brought me a new puppy. He paid about that much attention to her, unless he was taking her to see the doctors. Mom always treated her with special kindness, but sadness, like she knew something. I adored Samantha from almost the moment I met her. She was my friend and constant companion for five years. If I concentrate, I can see her and hear her voice.

"Jeffrey, you big goof! Get up!"

Big goof. I haven't had anyone call me that for years. Only one person ever called me that. "Samantha?" I manage to turn my head in the direction of the voice. It can't be her, but it is. And she's not that frightened teenager that came to my room to say goodbye before she disappeared. This is the Samantha I remember from one of happiest days of my childhood, before everything had gone wrong. It had been a warm spring day and the maintenance crews were repairing the tree damaged sidewalk in front of the house. As soon as the 'wet cement' signs were up and the crew had left, Samantha and I were there, pressing our palms into the damp gravel and writing our names. She had teased and laughed without a care in the world. She didn't smile much after that, and I don't think I ever heard her laugh again.

But here she is, still 11 years old, and grinning. "You gonna get up or you gonna lie there all night?" She pushed her long brown hair out of her eyes and offered her hand.

I grab it. It is warm and real. Despite the gunshot to the lung, I clamber to my feet. I go to sweep her up in a bear hug, but I realize I'm slightly shorter than her, like when I was 10. I don't stop to think about it; I'm too happy to see her. I don't care that it doesn't make any sense. I want to tell her how much I missed her, how sorry I am that I didn't search harder for her. But all I can do is hug her tight and feel all the tears I've denied myself, afraid to show weakness to my father, start to slip out.

Samantha breaks the hug only to wipe my eyes. "No more tears, Jeffrey. Not for me or you." Her eyes dance, laughter bubbling in them. "It's okay." That's all it takes to absolve me of my guilt. I grin, a little stiffly since it's been so long and look at the floor, a bit embarrassed that I've lost control of my emotions. That's when I get another shock. The face I've stared at in the mirror every morning of my adult life is down on the floor. I reach down to touch it when Samantha stops me. "You don't need that any more."

She's right. I don't need it anymore. Linking hands with her, we walk out of the cold basement to join the circle of the others basking in the ancient starlight.

The End