Author's notes:

Original posting date: Sat, 01 Aug 1998 11:48:00 -0700

Class: Vignette, Mulder Rating: G

Notes: This is one of two pieces that have evolved slowly, the second is a Scully short to be posted in a few minutes. Short and sweet. You know how your mind latches on to something and then just hashes it out for a bit? Well, that's what our Mulder is going through at the moment. No great angst, just some thoughts... Feedback is a wonderful thing!

Archiving: You know, it occurs to me that I'm asking people to notify me regarding archiving of work that I've created using characters I don't own without permission. How audacious is that! Archive where you will, let me know if you feel like it, otherwise, just enjoy the thing!

Disclaimer Dance: Don't own them (cha cha CHA), never will (step, two, three, four), please don't sue me (hop, skip, step, together), 'cause I have nil (big finish!!).

Enjoy!

First Line of Defense

--

Mulder watched as Scully stepped through the doorway, his hand resting in the small of her back as his other hand held the door open. He wasn't being overly chivalrous, her hands were full of their lunch, and he just hated picking carpet lint out of his cheese fries.

He did that a lot, he knew. Not picking lint out of his food, but putting his hand on her back. When did it start? He didn't remember doing it in Oregon, on their first case together. OK, so he did put his hands on her back, but it was a naked back at the time. OK, so that didn't come out right. Where was he? Oh yeah. Scully's back.

Why did he do it? Sometimes the profiler/psychologist in him demanded these in-depth evaluations of tiny actions and it looked like his mind had latched onto this detail to chew on. Mulder knew better than to fight the urge, it was easier to just give in and let his mind wander once in a while.

Scully's back. He'd heard others, women mostly, comment (sometimes snidely) about his 'gentlemanly habit' of guiding her with his hand. It wasn't gentlemanly at all.

He didn't think even she realized the real underlying purpose of their positioning. Scully is my strength, my armor. Mulder snorted softly, picturing her reaction if she ever heard him say that. She's a shield of sorts against a sometimes cruel world. A man places his shield where it'll do the most good. In front of him. Scully is my first line of defense.

How funny is that? A tall, 'damned good-looking man' with a 5'2 scrap of a woman as his first line of defense? Damn right. I don't 'usher' Scully through doors, I hold her before me as, what... protection? I certainly am not pushing her through first as a target, but... what? What was that song he'd heard recently... "Walking After You" How appropriate.

Mulder didn't listen to the radio much, but the title of that song had really stuck with him. Now, each time he heard it, he thought of Scully. He wondered if she had a song that reminded her of him. Probably something like, "Uninvited." Humph.

Sometimes he felt as if he were her partner in a dance where only the two of them heard the music. His guiding hand leading her through the intricate steps that were required for successful completion of the set. Other times he just needed the contact with her, the warmth of her felt through the thin silk of her blouse.

Whatever the reason behind it, be it chivalrous, noble or just plain self preservation, Mulder didn't intend to stop any time soon. One doesn't abandon his first line of defense easily.