Hello everyone *waves* - my first CM fic, so I'm just experimenting with the characters for now... This is set during season 3's 'Penelope'.

Disclaimer: they aren't mine. Characters suffer whenever I get hold of them!

They aren't as close as everybody thinks they are.

As he follows her into her apartment, his arms poised to catch her, she realises he's never been here before. She's never invited him; not through fear or shame or even a need to keep her space private, it's just that she's never opened her mouth to ask him over.

Maybe she's worried that the invite would be misconstrued, that he would think she was trying to elevate their connection beyond flirtatious banter – but no, she thinks as she hears his low chuckle, he wouldn't presume that. Profiler he may be, but one of his characteristics remains a basic acceptance of words for what they are. He told her once that he spent so much of his time analysing other people's behaviour that he tried hard not to scrutinise his 'outside' life.

So why? she wonders, as his eyes slide around the walls, taking in all the little touches she has introduced over the past few years. He fits here, into her purple surroundings, his body as relaxed as he can be for fear she will suddenly weaken. She can still see the slight twitch of his arms every time she moves, ready to halt her fall if she falters.

Maybe it's because he fits too well, she thinks, reluctantly. Maybe it's because it's too easy to imagine him here all the time, his long form stretched across her couch as they argue about who gets control of the television. She briefly thinks about his hand reaching out to tug her to her feet at bedtime and quickly squashes her wandering mind.

No, they're not as close as everybody thinks; because that's too big a risk to take right now.

It's been a while since I've written anything so short! I'd like to know what people think; I'm finding the humour of these two difficult to tap in to so I went with a slightly more thoughtful route.