(Just a short little thing I came up with after wrapping gifts for my family. The baseball team reference is because I like the team, not because they hinted in any way that this team was a favorite of either of theirs.)

Detective Javier Esposito had never been any good at wrapping presents. In fact, anytime he had a gift he cared about, he'd bring it to the front desk of the store he was buying it from and see if they gift wrapped. That was part of why Esposito always bought his gifts around December- stores were more likely to wrap gifts in December. Having something wrapped nicely meant you cared was his thought on it. But what about something for someone you cared about so much you'd take a bullet for? You couldn't have someone else wrap that, now could you? So, he'd have to do this one all on his own, no matter how badly it might turn out.

Javier sat staring at the things on his home desk. He wasn't sure his gift would even be liked so adding crappy wrapping would be literally topping it with a big red bow of crap. He sighed and shifted in the chair and rubbed his eyes. Tomorrow (well today as it was 2:30 a.m.) was Christmas and Kevin Ryan had said he would come over about noon when he could escape his visiting sisters for a time.

Grabbing the box of chocolate covered cherries and the deep blue vest folded with the lighter blue button up, Javier sat it all in the middle of the wrapping paper. He sat staring again, wondering where to start with the wrapping. Fold the sides in first…He pulled up one side and found it too short. "Damn it," he breathed out. Pulling the other side over to meet the first in the middle he realized they overlapped perfectly. "Right, calm down, you're wrapping a damn gift." Javier shook his head at his nerves over something so trivial.

But it's for Kevin, he thought to himself as he put on finger on the two halves to keep them together and reached with his other hand for the tape. Pulling a piece off, it wrapped itself around his finger and became useless. A frustrated growl reverberated low in his throat as he let go of the wrapping paper to try and fix the piece of tape. This was proving disastrous. Setting everything down again, Javier pulled a few pieces of tape off of the roll and stuck one end to the edge of the table. Once he had a neat little row of pieces he refolded two sides of the wrapping paper together over the cherries, shirt and vest.

After only two more mishaps with the tape and one rip in the paper that he managed to hide under more of the paper Javier had the gifts all wrapped up. It looks terrible, Javier thought looking at the crinkled mound of gift held together with more tape than anyone present should have. He shook his head and grabbed the roll of gift wrap. Maybe he should try again. Maybe it would look better now that he'd gotten practice…

Javier ripped through the wrapping and pulled out the gifts from the mess of paper and tape. Just one more time. Then it would look okay and he could go to bed and try to get some sort of sleep. Rolling out another length of paper, Javier set the things on top of it and tried folding it from the other side this time and sticking on a smaller piece of tape than last time. So far so good.

Four times wrapped was a good number. He only went through the whole roll of paper that he'd bought. Yeah, it was worth it for Kevin. As Javier set the gift on the coffee table and got off the couch to put the tape, pen and trashed paper away he had a sudden thought. What if Kevin doesn't like the gifts? What if he doesn't like that color blue, or expected something cool, like the newest Madden… Javier froze in the middle of his kitchen and turned to look back through the doorway at the gift sitting on the table. Man was he going to feel lame when Kevin came in with the perfect gift and Javier only had…that. That mound of imperfect. Great way to tell a guy you like him, as if that much wasn't bad enough, look what he had to work with. It wasn't much. Javier didn't have a lot to offer Kevin.

"Are we thinking about the gift, or you?" he thought out loud. He shook his head, flung open the cupboard under the sink and stuffed the cardboard roll from the wrapping paper underneath. But what did Javier have to offer Kevin? He was a single guy with a definite bachelor pad, no great sense of style like Kevin had, cheap coffee every morning, a half-filled fridge taken up by take-out boxes and beer, and to top it off…well he was a guy. There was no way Kevin would go for this and Javier was stupid for even thinking something could happen between the two of them. He shook his head again and went for his bedroom, dropping his clothes on the floor and falling into the blankets in just his boxers.

It's amazing how much time can pass by looking up at the ceiling thinking self-deprecating thoughts. Javier glanced at his clock and it read 6:00 a.m. right before the darkness of sleep overtook him. He slept too deep to remember the dreams he had; so deep he didn't remember turning off his alarm at 10:30. What did wake him up was the sound of Kevin's voice in the doorway to his bedroom.

Javier jolted upwards and blinked hard a few times waiting for the frame of Kevin Ryan to snap into focus. It didn't snap, rather smoothed into focus. "Kev?" he murmured in a sleep-rocked voice. He watched Kevin's eyebrow rise and a smile touch the corners of his lips.

"Morning Javi, rough night?" he asked looking from Javier to the clothes tossed around his room. His voice was a little off, but Javier pushed that aside as being too tired to read tone at this point in time.

"Hmm?" Javier kicked off the blankets and looked around for a pair of pants. He heard something off over by Kevin but didn't pay it any attention. He was too busy picking up a pair of jeans and looking to see if they counted as clean. Then something hit him and wrapped around his head. Dropping the jeans he reached up and picked a pair of clean dress pants off his head. "Oh," he murmured and stood pulling them on. He glanced over at Kevin who was standing there with an undershirt and a deep red button up. "Thanks," he said to his smirking partner. Javier frowned at his smirk but didn't question anything. Walking over to him he grabbed the undershirt, slipped it over his head and reached out for the button up. Kevin held it open for Javier to step into. Sliding one arm into it he turned so that Kevin could pull it the rest of the way on.

Kevin was warm, Javier noted, as they stood close together in the embrace of a shirt. Javier's fingers fumbled with the buttons and Kevin had to turn him around and nimbly button him up. "Thanks," Javier murmured again.

"No problem," Kevin replied and stepped back.

The heat dissipated slowly from Javier as they both moved from the bedroom into the living room. A second gift was sitting on the coffee table next to Javier's. It was bigger. Javier's throat caught. Yep, he'd been right earlier this morning, Kevin Ryan would have an awesome gift for him and all Javier had to offer was very little. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Javier sat on one end of the couch and he watched Kevin sit at the other end. "How are your sisters?" he asked Kevin.

He let out a laugh as the first response. "Oh, you know, pestering. I threatened to make lasagna if they didn't stop." He had a bright happy look in his blue eyes. "How was your night?" he asked in return.

"Uh…" Javier chuckled and blushed. "I'm terrible at wrapping, man. I was up most of the night trying to get it to look all right." He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the gifts on the table and felt terror strike his heart. Put it off. "You want something to eat?" he asked getting up and standing in front of the gifts, keeping them from sight and reach.

Kevin sat back, shot a quick look around Javier's legs, and then back up at him. "Yeah, sounds good. And your wrapping looks good, bro. I had my sisters do my wrapping," he chuckled. "I couldn't get it to cover, and then it was miles long."

Javier snickered and nodded his head towards the kitchen. "I'd have thought you would be a guy who could wrap. You've perfected everything else, aside from you know, your work style."

"Hey, I don't know how many times I have to say it, my system works. It only stops working when you come over and put your paws all over it." Kevin followed Javier into the kitchen and went right for the fridge. They'd been friends long enough that "help yourself" was a common practice and even encouraged.

Grabbing a glass, Javier sat it on the counter and moved up behind Kevin who was half-bent, looking for something edible. Javier reached around him and grabbed the cartoon of OJ. "There's bacon, sausage and eggs in there," he offered unscrewing the cap and pouring some juice into the cup.

"Mm," Kevin grabbed the items and plopped them on the counter. Next he went for a pan and non-stick spray. "All right, hope you're hungry then. I'm making breakfast. You got bread for toast, man?" he asked getting the other things set up and ready to go.

"Yeah, I'll get it," Javier said sipping from his juice then grabbing bread from the breadbox. He pulled the toaster out from a cupboard and plugged it in. "All set when you are. I'll get plates," Javier said setting the bread down next to the toaster and heading for the dish cabinet.

Breakfast was eaten in the kitchen, as far from the gifts as Javier could get them. But once the plates were in the sink, the rest of the food was put away, and Kevin had washed his hands there was no putting off the gift exchange.

"Ready?" Kevin asked with a big smile that lightly squinted his amazing blue eyes.

Javier swallowed. "Now or never," he muttered.

"Hmm?" Kevin asked moving into the living room.

"Yeah, totally," Javier said louder and offered a tense smile. They took up their regular seats again and grabbed the gifts that were meant for them. Slowly pulling the paper apart, Javier found an unmarked box. He glanced sidelong towards Kevin, and found his partner yanking the paper excitedly. The contents spilled onto his laps and he picked up the box of cherries.

"Hey, thanks, Javi. They're my favorite!" he grinned, popping open the top to grab a cherry or two.

Javier smiled and pulled out his pocket knife to cut the tape off of the box in his own lap. He flipped the top open and paused again to look over as Kevin held up the shirt and vest. "Oh wow, Javier this is…" he looked at the tag. "Javi!" he growled and looked over at the man. "Armani?"

He offered a shrug to Kevin and looked at it. "Well, it was the best I could find. So it was a little expensive…Castle helped me to find-" Kevin leaned across the space and engulfed Javier in a hug.

"Thanks man, you really shouldn't have done that." Kevin pulled back and the smile on his face was big, happy, and his eyes were so bright.

Yeah, Javier thought, to see that look on your face, I definitely should have. He smiled as he looked at Kevin, trying to catch his breath from the sudden hug and close contact. God did Kevin smell good, that cologne suited him. "You're welcome," he said and then remembered the gift in his own lap. Looking back down into the box he found it held a baseball glove, a baseball, and a jersey. Pulling out the glove and ball he looked over at Kevin. "So when are we playing?" he asked with a grin.

"Check out the jersey," Kevin said turning slightly and looking excitedly into the box. He even snatched the glove and ball from Esposito to free his hands.

Javier laughed at his excitement and pulled out the jersey. He saw two pieces of paper flutter to the bottom of the box and would have looked immediately if he hadn't been holding a Mets' jersey with the name "Reyes" plastered across the back. "Kev," Javier looked over at him. "You shouldn't have." Looking back into the box he saw two long strips of paper. Reaching in, he pulled out two tickets to a Mets' game. "You're kidding me, right?" he asked in disbelief.

Kevin shook his head. "Nope, it's on our day off in two weeks." Kevin paused and looked down. "I mean, take who you want. I didn't mean to suggest you had to take me, it was just, that just came out wrong about days off-"

Javier Esposito watched his cute, amazing partner stumbling nervously over his words and wasn't sure where the courage was hiding that had suddenly sprung into Javier but he cut off the words with a kiss. He dropped the tickets and jersey to reach a hand behind Kevin's neck and pull him close. His other hand rest on Kevin's side and Javier shifted closer, kissing harder. He opened his eyes a little to see Kevin's falling shut. Kevin's hands moved to find Javier's chest, pulling him even closer and it was Kevin's tongue that ran along Javier's lips. When they pulled back finally, both men were out of breath.

"Who else would I bring with me, Kev?" Javier asked rubbing his thumb along Kevin's cheekbone.

A smile spread across Javier's partner's face again. "Well, you've got the friend in the drug unit who likes baseball, that chick from the bar who has a thing for Beltran…" Kevin was stopped with a light punch.

"Shut up, Ryan, and let's talk more about that kiss we just shared, hmm?" Javier asked feeling much more confident than he had at 2:30 this morning.

(ALSO, for any questions on my rating- Slash, in my mind, is age appropriate so the kiss they shared puts my work at T. An advanced thank you for not bitching about this. Depending on following, I may follow this up with a couple chapters about Christmas parties at Castle's and the precinct.)