Disclaimer: I don´t own the rights of or anything else related to "Castle" and am only borrowing the characters. I am not making any money by doing so. Rats.

Author´s note: I finally got to submit a story, and it´s admittedly a short one. It started out as a drabble but, as these things go, soon was too long for that. I´m a huge shipper of Ryan and Esposito; somehow, I don´t see them as a couple, but I understand if people do, since they´re so adorable together. There´s a solid amount of bromance in here, but feel free to squint and read a little more into it.

Enjoy!

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Goes Without Saying

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No one was allowed to call him Javi. Even in elementary school he had made it absolutely clear that no one would ever call him that unless they wanted to have the shit beaten out of them. Javier Esposito had always been quite straightforward in that regard; there were situations in which words just weren´t sufficient, but where a set of solid fists much more efficiently taught people not to mess with you once and for all. The only person he had not been able to argue out of babying him was his mom, and she still did, with an astonishing commitment at that. His sisters however had given up mocking him with the accursed nickname once he had taken out his revenge on their Barbie dolls at the age of seven. Okay, so one person was officially allowed to call him Javi, but that was it.

Until Ryan came along. Ryan, who looked so innocent and ingenous that it could drive you mad, but who was made out of much sterner stuff than you would believe. Surprisingly enough, Esposito and he had hit it off pretty quickly after they had become a team, letting Javier realize that there was much more to his new partner than met the eye. And he was a good laugh, too; they actually had fun together, which on some days was the only reason why their job was bearable. When Ryan first called Esposito Javi, the other man did not even notice. Only in hindsight did it strike him, and strangely enough he did not really bother. It was Ryan after all, and he did not use the name to mock his partner, or baby him, but because their relationship had reached a level where he could. Esposito himself would not have known how and never felt the need to use any terms of endearment regarding his partner, or so he thought.

Yet when Ryan was pushed off a flight of emergency stairs during a chase, Esposito did so, without consciously registering it. While Beckett was calling for an ambulance, he knelt down next to his partner and bent over him, heart beating wildly: "Kevin? Kevin, bro, come on, talk to me."

At first it seemed that Ryan would not respond, but eventually he took a ragged breath and blinked his eyes open. He looked afraid and in pain and was not fully conscious, and Esposito, who had already been a tough guy when he was six, found himself desperately trying to comfort his partner: "It´s okay, bro, I´m here. Javi´s here..."

Neither of them remembered those moments later on, but they did not have to; they knew how solid their friendship had grown and what they meant to each other.

So, yes, only one person in the world was officially allowed to call Esposito Javi. The other one simply did not need his permission.

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Fin