Guys thank you so much for your reviews and support x To everyone who only reads, many thanks to you too for taking the time to come along on this little ride with me.

Last chapter, but as these guys are so great together there's another story in the works!

Enjoy!


Javier grabbed his cuffs, roughly pulling the witness turned suspect onto his front as he secured his hands behind his back. He made light work of incapacitating the scumbag.

His focus now entirely on his injured partner.

Kevin was laid on his side, arms wrapped tight around his ribs, his breath came in short, sharp bursts. His skin had taken on the colour of snow, glistening in the late afternoon sun.

Javier knelt beside him and tried to pry his friend's hand away from his side. Ryan kept his eyes squeezed shut as he shook his head.

"No." He breathed out. "Don't."

"Sorry, bro. I gotta." Esposito hated causing his partner more pain, but he needed to know how bad the breaks were. Kevin finally acquiesced and allowed his hands to be moved. Javier gently rolled the injured man onto his back, stretching his legs out. He pulled aside the suit jacket and ran his hands down the previously uninjured side of Ryan's body first. When that elicited no reaction he gave no pause for thought as he repeated the action on the other side. Kevin cried out in pain as Javier's hands brushed against the once cracked ribs.

"Broken, bro."

"No…shit….bro." Ryan replied breathlessly.

Javier leant over his friend. "Open you eyes, man. Come on, open them for me." As much as Ryan wanted to ignore the request, that would also mean ignoring his friend. Something he would never, ever do. His eyes opened to mere slits. The pain within the blue depths poured over Javier as he gripped his partner's arm, more so to give himself the support than Ryan.

"You need to calm your breathing down, partner."

Kevin nodded, tried to squeeze his eyes shut but Javier wouldn't allow him.

"Open your eyes. Listen to me, listen to my voice. You gotta calm your breathing. The sooner you do that the quicker you can get the pain under control. You understand?"

"If….I….say…..no…..you…..leave…..me….alone?"

"Hell no, never gonna happen, bro." Javier began rubbing Kevin's chest, setting up a rhythm for the injured man to follow with his inhales and exhales. After what seemed like an eternity his breathing began to slow. A small amount of colour returning to his cheeks.

Kevin closed his eyes in relief as oxygen flowed freely into deprived lungs. His chest expanded with every careful breath. His mind fighting his body's need to pant. The less he moved the quicker the pain would subside. He focused on the feel of his partners hand, gently rubbing his sternum. As Javier's hand rose toward Kevin's neck, he inhaled, as the hand fell toward his belly, he exhaled. With each arduous response to his partner's ministrations, Kevin felt the pain recede. The shock of the attack, the exertion of the run, added to his body still recovering from the morning's adventures, had wiped him out. His eyes, mere slits, sought out his friend. He smiled reassuringly. Giving the signal Javier had been looking for since finding his friend collapsed on the ground.

"Better?" Asked Esposito.

Kevin didn't trust his voice, nor did he want to expel anymore valuable air, so he nodded. Attempted a smile. Settled for winking toward the other man.

"You had me worried there, bro." Said Javier as he pulled out his phone. "Hey Beckett, our witness is the lookout. Yep, we got him here. Gonna need some blues to come pick him up, I need to get Ryan back to the hospital. No, no. he's not shot. Just our suspect gave chase. Ryan saved my life, but manage to break his ribs in the process."

Kevin frowned up at his friend, he was about to protest that it wasn't him that broke the ribs when Javier patted his shoulder in understanding.

"Yeah, no that's ok. I'll call you from the hospital. No don't worry, he won't be back at the precinct today. I'll make sure of that. What's that? Oh yeah! Ok, I'll tell him."

Esposito stood to check on their downed suspect. Satisfied the other man wasn't about to move anytime soon, he went back to his injured partner's side.

"Beckett says hey."

Ryan smiled, although it appeared more a grimace.

"She says to go home after this."

Ryan nodded.

"She says if you even attempt to come back to the precinct after this, she'll shoot you."

Ryan frowned.

For the second time in one day, Detective Kevin Ryan found himself sat on a hospital gurney, being checked out by a very disappointed Doctor.

"So, Detective Ryan. My warnings from this morning about cracked ribs appear to have fell on deaf ears."

Kevin opened his mouth to protest, the Doctor tapped his pen on the chart in his hands in a way that suggested the Detective better shut up and listen. Or else.

"Broken ribs mean no work. But then again so did cracked ribs so I don't know why I'm bothering to tell you this."

Kevin looked toward his partner, standing in the corner of the room. Detective Esposito was attempting, poorly, to hide his amusement at his friend's predicament.

"Now Detective, I trust that these next words won't be so easily forgotten. I am prescribing you pain meds of the drowsy family. You will not drive."

Kevin nodded his head sincerely.

"You will not go to work tomorrow, or the next day."

Kevin again, nodded his head in understanding. He pursed his lips. Knowing there was no way he could convince his partner to go against the doctor's wishes again. He frowned when he noticed just how much said partner was enjoying his telling off.

"You will not move, unless absolutely positively necessary."

"No, doc."

"And you will not do anything to bring you back here to my ER again. Understood?"

Kevin looked up to answer but stopped dead as the doctor held up the biggest looking syringe he'd ever seen. Even the grin on Esposito's face vanished at the sight of what they both classed as a serious weapon.

"Understood." Kevin whispered. He cleared his throat, and answered again, more strongly this time. "Understood."

"Good. Glad that we understand each other." The doctor turned, handing Javier the prescription sheet, glaring at him to further emphasise his point and left.

Kevin hung his head. He hurt, he was tired, but they'd caught their guy. Somehow though, without being able to see the guy take a walk to booking, it just didn't seem as great a victory.

"What if there's no evidence?" He asked Esposito as the other man helped him put his coat back on. "What if all we end up having is video of him taking a break outside the store?"

"Bro, you need to stop thinking like that. Beckett'll break him."

"And if she doesn't?"

"Then we'll find more evidence. You know we will. We already got him for assaulting two officers. Won't take much to get him for the rest. Come on, time to go home."

"Man I'm wiped."

"Can't think why." Teased Javier as he helped his friend off the bed. Kevin wobbled slightly as his feet hit the floor but his partner was there to balance him. When he was ready he nodded, the two made slow progress out of the hospital.

As he finally eased himself onto his comfortable red couch, Kevin was ready to call it a day, close his eyes and be done with it. He listened to Esposito fuss in the kitchen. Heard the older man grumble about the lack of food in the place. The pills he'd been forced to take were working their magic. The pain in his side giving way to a dull ache. Kevin closed his eyes. Letting the sounds, no matter how irate, of his friend wash over him. Even the banging of the refrigerator door did nothing more than remind Kevin that he wasn't alone. His partner was here, taking care of everything so he didn't have to.

His mind drifted further. He heard soft footfalls. A blanket fell in place over him. Someone removed his shoes. He smiled as a hand landed on the top of his head, a whispered "Sleep well, bro." Sending off on the waves of slumber, safe in the knowledge that, for today anyway, no one was going to break any more of his ribs.

His wave caught, mid flow, as a knock at the door pulled him back from the arms of sleep. He was still too far out to sea to awaken, but close enough to shore to be aware.

"Hey, Beckett. Castle."

"Hey, Esposito." Greeted Kate Beckett.

"Hey man, brought you guys some dinner." Said Castle as he handed the Detective a bag of take out.

"Ah man, Castle you are a mind reader."

"Among my many and varied talents, yes." Smiled Castle. He ignored Kate as she rolled her eyes. "How's he doing?"

"Asleep on the couch." Answered Esposito as he led the two into Ryan's kitchen. "The doc has given him some pretty strong painkillers."

"At least he's not in pain then." Said Kate, as she made her way toward her injured detective.

"Nope, no pain. I think the doc did it more so to keep the idiot resting than to really help manage the pain."

"Well if that's what it takes." Said Kate quietly as she pulled the blanket further around Kevin. He was aware of her standing so close, aware of the others in the kitchen. He smiled, alerting her to the fact he was still relatively awake.

"Hey, Ryan." She whispered so only he could hear. "Good job today."

"Beckett broke your witness turned suspect." Castle announced, causing Kevin to force his mind further awake. His eyes opened slightly, he frowned up at Kate who smiled and nodded.

"He was drafted as the lookout, he was waiting for his pay day and then he'd be quitting his job and getting the hell out of the city. Only he didn't expect these guys to kill the manager. Plus, he may have been given the impression that they'd tried to blame him for the whole thing."

"I swear," Defended Castle, "It was never my intention to imply such a thing. It just came out that way."

"So its over, Ryan." Kate said to the barely awake detective. "Time to sleep." He smiled drunkenly as the drugs once again pulled him out to sea.

As his mind let go of all thought and all hold on the remains of the day, voices drifted with him in his subconscious. His friends, making themselves at home, keeping a watchful eye on the injured man. At the end of the couch he felt his legs being moved slightly. A weight settled on the couch, a hand rested on his ankle. His partner stayed close, always there, watching his back, like all good partners do.

Fin


Well there it is, my first Castle fic. Hope you enjoyed. See ya at the next!