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Conventional Wisdom

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"If Mulder and Scully were to go on a real live date, what do you think they'd do on that date?" It was the very first question they'd taken from the audience at the panel for the 20th Anniversary of The X-Files at San Diego Comic Con.

She opened her mouth and there it was. "SEX."

Then David's too casual reply, "And then maybe dinner."

She half wishes she hadn't said it.

"You know who they'll assume is having the sex, right?" he'd whispered to her a few beats later. Yeah, she knew.

She didn't regret doing the panel, or asking David to come, far from it.

He'd texted her from LA, asking if she wanted to get together while they were in San Diego, maybe get some dinner. She'd replied yes, of course, yes. When he'd shown up at her doorway, she'd known exactly what she was getting into. For the first time in nearly twenty years, they were both unattached.

The sex was just as good as she'd remembered: those long fingers of his sliding in and out of her cunt, hitting that spot, his thumb on her clit, his tongue down her throat, his thick cock...fuck, just thinking about it, about him...

It was after the second time; she was draped over his chest, her eyes half-closed, one of his hands tangled in her hair, the other tracing a slow path up the curve of her hip.

"I need to talk to you about something, Gillian," he began. She was sated at last, close to falling asleep in his arms.

"Yeah, okay," she replied, stifling a yawn. She didn't really do pillow talk.

"Look, I don't know how to put this. I'm not going to deny I care about you. I suspect you have feelings for me, too. But I don't want—this—to come between us or make things awkward."

This. What was he trying to say? Reluctantly, she moved off him and turned so she could see his face.

He looked worried, even sad, but was it all a little rehearsed? As he described the implosion of his marriage, she nodded, looking as sympathetic as she could, but she found herself wondering how often he'd told this same story, and to whom. Maybe she wasn't being fair. He hadn't been linked with anyone in the tabloids except that tennis instructor, which was clearly ridiculous, and Gillian herself.

"I couldn't make it work with Téa and we were living in the same fucking city. I loved her, still love her. I miss my kids. I still couldn't do it."

She wasn't sure what he wanted from her. She took his hand, gave it a squeeze. "I know how hard that must have been—how hard it still is."

He brought her hand to his lips. "Seeing you again has been great. You know you're the reason I agreed to do this gig."

Gillian snorted, and pulled her hand away.

"What?" He had the nerve to look offended.

"David. Come on. The 20th anniversary of The X-Files, appearing with Chris and Vince and the other writers, the TV Guide shoot. You seriously want me to believe your agent and publicist didn't have anything to do with you deciding to show up here."

At least he had the grace to look embarrassed.

"And I know you didn't come here for this," she said pointedly.

David was never going to have a problem getting women into his bed.

She took a deep breath. "Look, I don't want to seem...I mean, where are you going with this, exactly? You aren't going to move to London; I'm sure you realize I'm not moving to New York."

She wouldn't deny having thought about being with him. But she was a working actor, a single parent with three kids. She was juggling constantly, negotiating with Mark, making arrangements for the boys, trying to make time for her daughter. She was filming three different series in three different cities, on two different continents. She had no idea if she could make a long distance relationship work, let alone one with a man with this much baggage.

He looked troubled. "I don't know. We have a lot of history together, Gillian. I just don't want to fuck this up."

She should have known. This was David being David. She kissed him, long and lingering enough to make him think twice about his silly speeches. After breaking off the kiss, she turned over to reset the alarm. Settling back into her pillows, she kept her back to him, not wanting to risk meeting his eyes. "I agree," she said, keeping her tone light. "We both have a lot on our plates right now. It sounds like you still have some things to work out between you and Téa. Let's take it one day at a time. Just—please don't wake me if you need to go." With her eyes closed, she waited to see what he'd do.

He arranged himself around her, his body warmth soothing her, insulating her from the cold hotel air. "I'm not going anywhere," he murmured into her hair.

But you are. It could months or years before I see you again. She wanted to stay awake, to talk about the past and the future, make love again, to memorize his body with fingertips, tongue and teeth. Despite her best intentions, she found herself drifting off.

When she awoke, she could hear the water running in the shower. She glanced over at the clock. In less than an hour and a half, she would be expected to arrive looking like glamorous actor Gillian Anderson, not like a woman who'd just been fucked—twice—by her former co-star.

"Hey," he said, coming out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped loosely around his hips, his hair curling a little from the damp. "What do you think? Should I shave again before the panel?" he asked, rubbing his hand over his stubble.

"Come here. Let me see," she coaxed. She scooted over and rolled onto her side, patting the space next to her.

He walked to the bed, and after a moment of hesitation, dropped the towel before lying down next to her. She ran her hand over his face and jaw, then her thumb over his lower lip.

"I think you look just fine," she said, before taking his hands and putting them on her breasts.

"God, Gillian," he groaned, as she opened her legs and pulled him down. David was a gifted and generous lover. If occasional sex was all he could offer, she might as well make the best of it.

The quickie left no time to catch her breath, let alone take a shower. She washed up quickly, brushed out her hair and redid her make-up. David was already dressed, looking rumpled but gorgeous. Men had it so damned easy.

"I'll meet you there," he said.

"Fine." She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Great sex did wonders for her complexion.

"Maybe we can get some dinner later."

"That sounds great," she said automatically.


The hour long panel was nearly over. "I don't have it in my notes here. It's something amazing for the twentieth anniversary from X-Box..." The moderator from TV Guide was suddenly struggling a bit.

Gillian laughed out loud. He'd seemed so well-prepared, too.

"It's that missing sex scene," Chris Carter offered.

She laughed again. "Audience interactive." She immediately shook her head, mouthing "not really." David smiled awkwardly. Strange, since the mention of sex didn't usually faze him.

"Thank you everyone for attending this panel. The twentieth anniversary of The X-Files!" The thumping music started up to signal people to get moving.

"I've got to go," David said abruptly. He'd been looking surreptitiously at his cell phone toward the end of the panel.

She didn't change her expression. "You do. Okay." There were some press photographers massed over by the podium who were expecting them.

"Yeah, I have to be heading back." He stood up and walked to the curtained backdrop. Gillian caught his eye and motioned to the podium. Seeing his mistake, he followed her over toward the life-size cardboard Mulder and Scully for their last photo ops.

She moved automatically to his side, as his arm fell into its accustomed place. They smiled for the cameras, waved and smiled again, as the flashing lights went off over and over. Finally, it was done. David walked back again to the curtain, looking at his phone, texting...someone.

She stood by the podium, pretending to be looking for something while David chatted briefly with Chris and John and the other writers. He wouldn't leave without saying goodbye.

She wanted to kiss him but knew it wasn't going to happen here, not in front of an array of professional photographers and an audience of fans who all owned smart phones. She settled for a quick hug and standing a little closer than necessary.

Finally he turned back to her. "I left stuff in my hotel room? Walk with me?"

She had another panel to attend but not for another two hours. She'd been careful, insisting they give her some time to refuel. "Sure." They headed offstage, with him leading the way through a maze of back corridors.

They hadn't gone far when he pulled her into an alcove.

"Rumor has it you're doing another one of these junkets in New York." he said, looking around quickly, then taking her hand.

She felt her heart soften at the press of his fingers. How could he still do this to her? "Yes. In October. If I'm not filming, I'll be there all three days." She'd told him about her commitment. A year of cons, as many as she could manage, for the anniversary. For the fans.

"I live there, you know," he said slyly, playing with her fingers.

"So I've heard," she replied, giving him just a hint of Scully eyebrow, which made him smile.

"And London's not that far away," he mused.

"I've heard that, too," she said lightly.

"We'll take it slow." He put his arms around her, drew her in close. Twenty years wasn't slow enough?

"Is that a threat or a promise?" she said, her voice muffled by emotion. No other's embrace made her feel this way, so tender and unsettled, yet utterly right.

His reply was to kiss her thoroughly.

Finally he pulled away, though with noticeable regret, she was happy to see. "I really do have to go."

Gillian nodded. He would text her—or he wouldn't. His people would call her people. Maybe he would even call her. They had never done things the conventional way. No matter how long it took, she knew he would be worth the wait.

"I'll see you in New York," she and David said in unison.

They would be worth the wait.