"Hey! You can't be mean to my Waddle Dees! Only I can be mean to my Waddle Dees!"
—King Dedede, Kirby's Epic Yarn
"Nobody sucks the life from my penguins except me!"
—The Ice King, Adventure Time
A subtrope of Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other, and/or Friendship Moment. Alice and Bob are going out, and Alice never misses a chance to call Bob a jackass. Then, one day, Bob screws up big time in front of Charlie, who calls Bob a jackass. Cue Unstoppable Rage from Alice.
May include an impassioned speech on what Alice will do to Charlie if he ever dares disrespect Bob again... before the payoff that it's not because she doesn't want Bob to be abused, it's because doing so is her job, dammit!
Alice and Bob don't need to be a couple for this trope, they can just be friends. Basically, this trope is about a character who frequently uses a certain insult on another character, but if anyone else who uses the same insult for that other character, well, they won't live long.
Frequently a sign of Belligerent Sexual Tension, Vitriolic Best Buds, or Tsundere. Also pretty much sums up the relationship between many siblings. Compare The Only One Allowed to Defeat You, where a character's enemy will come to his or her defense if anyone else attacks him/her.
Anime and Manga
- In Fruits Basket, Rin gets physical with Tohru and ever since their first meeting e.g. grabbing her by the collar, roughly rubbing her head, etc. The moment Kagura nails Tohru (and accidentally knocks her out) in frustration that she won't confess her feelings to Kyo so that Kagura wouldn't have to think about him anymore, Rin gets the angriest anyone has seen her in the story.
- In Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!, Kyousuke constantly jabs Manami about how normal and plain she is, but when Kirino offhandedly makes a similar remark about her, Kyousuke has this to say:
"I hate hearing someone other than me badmouthing her!"
- Shannon Casull teases his little sister Pacifica mercilessly in Scrapped Princess, but he literally swears to oppose god itself in her defense, even if it means the destruction of the world.
- In Psyren, Fredrica often bullies Marie. However, when someone else threatens her, targets her, and/or makes her cry, she goes ballistic.
- Inui, who cruelly beats his brother, Saburou, nearly constantly, claims the world is too cruel for his brother, spouting, "I'm the only one allowed to hurt him!" But since Inui is pretty much a Complete Monster, it comes out creepy as opposed to heartwarming...
- Skip Beat!! invokes this trope in chapter 88 of the manga. Sho and Kyouko were once friends, but no one could call their current relationship "friendly." Yet when Sho's position as a top musician is threatened by a new band, Kyouko lashes out at the face of the band, and yells "I am the only one allowed to defeat him!" He can fall to the darkest depths, sure, but she has to be the one to put him there.
- A rather dark version of this happens in X 1999. Despite murdering Subaru's beloved sister Hokuto as well as constantly trying to kill Subaru himself, Seishiro gives Subaru one of his eyes upon his death to replace the one he lost to Fuuma/Dark Kamui. The reason given is that he didn't want a mark left on Subaru that he himself didn't make.
- Ranma ½: Ranma and Akane are one of Rumiko Takahashi's most famous fictional couples, known for their Belligerent Sexual Tension, so it's no surprise that they've insulted each other more times than you can count. But when Kodachi's rival, Asuka, calls Ranma a fool, Akane gets pissed and actually has Ranma go out on a double date with Kodachi and Asuka to prove how handsome and cool he really is, despite being the jealous type. She even helps dress him up and follows them on the date to make sure everything goes smoothly! Which, of course, it doesn't.
- In Nabari no Ou, Raikou physically abuses Gau on a regular basis. When an unnamed mook hurts Gau, Raikou kills him and mutilates his dead body.
- In the later episodes of Hikaru no Go, Touya frequently employs this in regards to Shindou:
(heavy arguing between Touya and Shindou, Shindou storms off)
Customer: That Shindou really needs to learn his place. A mere first dan shouldn't argue against the young master.
Akira (enraged): No matter how good you are, you're a first dan when you start off. Don't look down upon Shindou just because he's a first-dan! (strides away indignantly)
Kei: Why did you help me back there?
Yui: Because the only one allowed to make fun of you is me!
- Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss normally is sarcastic, rude and highly critical of just about anything Nanami does. But should anyone else insult her and/or criticize her he is quick to come to her defense.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura's big brother Touya teases her quite often, but never lets anyone else tease her.
- In Secret Wars, one of Marvel's first Crisis Crossovers, tensions rise between the X-Men and the other Marvel heroes out of distrust (though most of them have worked with the X-Men in the past at least once, so they really should have known better). When Hawkeye gets in Cyclops' face, Wolverine cuts in and says, "Cyclops might be a jerk, but he's our jerk!"
- A recurring trope for the Thing of the Fantastic Four — he will constantly threaten, shove around, fight with, and even beat up the Human Torch, but the moment anyone else lays a finger on him, Ben will exclaim "no one hits Matchstick but me!" and will not stop until the villain has been pummeled thoroughly. Johnny Storm reciprocates similarly — he is constantly making fun of and playing cruel pranks on the Thing while showing little to no sensitivity about his monstrous appearance, but will furiously leap to his defense if anyone else hurts Ben's feelings.
- Also, throughout most of the Fantastic Four's history, the Thing was harassed and teased by his former gang on Yancy Street who tended to call him a "sell out"; however, they often helped him and the rest of his team if a villain was giving them trouble on their turf, claiming "that's our job" on such occasions.
- In The Sandman, Cain goes absolutely berserk when The Kindly Ones kill Abel. It should be pointed out that Abel dies a lot of times in the series... always killed by Cain, of course.
- On the flip side, Abel also takes the event very badly judging by his last words. Mind you, it's not like he likes Cain killing him on a near-constant basis, but that's the way their story has always gone. When The Kindly Ones do it he gets upset, exclaiming that they don't even know him.
- In Money Train Wesley Snipes' character will be the first to call his adopted brother a fuck up... but god help anyone else who does it in front of him.
- Hell he won't even allow his adopted brother to say it about himself. He even angrily says to his adopted brother that he "keeps fucking up" rather than he "is a fuck up" when his adopted brother admits he is one.
- In Mean Girls:
Janis: This is Damian. He's almost too gay to function.
- Cady innocently repeats this to the Plastics, then follows it up by thinking "Uh-oh. Maybe it's only okay when Janis says that." And then later:
Damian:(outraged) Too gay to function?
Janis: It's only okay when I say that!
Otter: He can't do that to our pledges!
Boon: Only we can do that to our pledges.
- The picture book Julius the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes is built around this trope: the jealous older sister, Lily, comes to terms with her new baby brother when she hears her cousin insult him and springs to his defense.
- In the third Harry Potter book, Ron ends up getting detention from Professor Snape, after criticizing Snape for calling Hermione a know-it-all when she answers a question. It is mentioned that Ron calls Hermione a know-it-all about twice a week. The rest of the class is also shown to be annoyed at Snape for that, though unlike Ron it's less about Belligerent Sexual Tension, and more about just not liking Snape.
- In Ron's defense, it is a legitimately far more serious offense for a teacher to publicly use derogatory language towards one of their own students than it is for two schoolchildren to call each other names. The adult in a position of authority operates under a far different set of expectations.
- In the Witches series of Discworld, the members of the Ogg family really hate one another, but if one member ever hears a stranger badmouth a member of the family, then the Oggs will forget their differences and unite to punish the troublemaker.
- Another Discworld example:
Vimes: Detritus is not my property. If I don't need a passport, neither does he.
Detritus: You know, if it's gonna be a problem, I don't mind-
Vimes: Shut up, Detritus. You are a free citizen of Anhk-Morpork. That is an order.
- There's nothing hypocritical about that. Detritus is a free citizen, but he's also a member of the City Watch. Vimes ordering him to shut up has nothing to do with Detritus' species or citizenship status, and everything to do with the fact that Vimes is Detritus' commanding officer. Furthermore, Detritus was not drafted; he used his free citizen status to choose to enlist in the first place.
- Archchancellor Riddicully has a similar view to his people.
Ridicully: 'How dare you, sir! Continue, Mr. Collabone!'
Collabone: 'I, I, I—'
Ridicully: 'That is an order, Dr. Collabone!'*
- The book series "Cut & Run" has main characters Ty and Zane insult and annoy each other and, as a trigger for beginning a romantic (but dysfunctional) relationship, attack each other in a full-blown physical brawl, Ty even attempting to break Zane's nose. The rest of the series involves the two defending each other from various antagonists while consistently pissing each other off.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga Miles and his cousin Ivan continually insult each other, not only to each other's faces but also behind their backs. Phrases such as 'you idiot' and 'hyperactive megalomaniac dwarf' fly back and forth between them so often that even their own parents don't bother noticing it any longer. At the same time, either Miles or Ivan would die for the other without hesitation, and any non-family member they overheard slanging the other one even half as badly as they did is likely to suffer a painful and humiliating revenge.
- This is fairly typical behavior for brothers, and while Miles and Ivan are genetically only second cousins they are effectively siblings because they were raised in the same household.
- In Firefly, Mal calls Inara a whore all the time. But he's also the first to defend her if anyone else calls her (or implies she is) a whore. He later states that that while he loathes and insults her job, he's not insulting the woman herself and actively tries to protect her professional reputation (just never to her face). On the other hand, the person who triggered his Hypocritical Heartwarming was treating Inara herself (instead of her job) like a whore, and even a slave. And mutually, their Volleying Insults could range from overprotectiveness, a defensive mechanism against rejection, or just an act to annoy each other.
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, McCoy is always trying to get an emotional rise out of Spock, but in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren," McCoy jumps to Spock's defense when powerful aliens force him to cry and to laugh. And in other episodes he's usually the first to jump to Spock's defense any time anyone attacks or insults him, possibly because his issues with Spock are more of a giant angry moral debate while other people tend to be full racism.
- The A-Team: Although it's never expressly stated, it's pretty obvious that B.A. is the only one who's allowed to be mean to Murdock and Face. He frequently verbally abuses them and threatens them with physical violence (Murdock is his main target, but Face gets quite a bit of this too, at times). And then you'll get a scene where the team is facing the slimeballs of the week; Murdock and Face, the physically weaker half of the team, frequently find themselves fighting a Mook who's too big for them to handle. Cue B.A., who proceeds to knock the sucka's lights out. Five minutes later he's back to insulting Murdock and Face and threatening to beat them up himself. Happens every few episodes.
- In Even Stevens Ren never hesitates to call Louis an idiot. However, after failing a band audition (big time) the guy judging it called Louis an idiot. Ren then told him that the only person allowed to call him an idiot is her.
- In an episode of Family Matters, Laura dumps a boyfriend because he starts making fun of her brother the same way she does.
- She also blasts anyone who dares to badmouth Urkel, despite the fact that she herself can't stand him most of the time.
- Borderline example. In Supernatural no one is allowed to call Sam 'Sammy' except for Dean.
- In That '70s Show, Hyde didn't like Jackie at all earlier into the series and would often insult her. But when a guy Jackie shows interest in to make Hyde jealous calls her a "bitch," Hyde punches the guy in the face.
- In Glee, Rachel is tricked by her boyfriend Jesse into getting egged by Vocal Adrenaline - genuinely upsetting for Rachel, since 1) she's a vegan and 2) Jesse took the opportunity to break up with her. The boys from New Directions immediately mobilize to go kick Vocal Adrenaline's asses - including Kurt, who angrily insists that "Rachel is one of us! We're the only ones who get to humiliate her."
- And then there's the moment when all the Glee guys, even the ones who used to bully Kurt, defends him in front of Karofsky.
- NCIS: Tony gets to insult McGee. You don't get to insult McGee. Tony does. Not you.
- Pretty much the whole team can be like this. It is part of what makes them a Nakama.
- On Blake's 7, despite claiming to despise Vila, when Avon finds out that Tarrant is likely to get him killed, Avon threatens to kill him.
- On The Vampire Diaries brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore may hate each other and mess with each other all the time, but woe betide anyone else who tries to hurt or kill the other.
- On Arrested Development, Michael gets this way when his new girlfriend/PR manager insults the other Bluths. Subverted in that he only defends her until she picks on his son, at which point he leaves her at the mercy of his sister and his mother.
- In one Bones episode, Booth is watching Cam argue with her sister. When the sister turns on him, he raises his voice at her, and Cam snaps at him and the two leave for lunch while Cam comments that he needs to calm down.
- Black Books has a half-dying Bernard (having had to look after himself for a whole day) snap out of it when he hears that Manny is being bullied by his new boss. "How DARE you? Don't you touch a hair on that boy's head! Have you no respect? He's mine! Get your own human plaything, you quartz-brained little cream puff!"
- On Home Improvement, Brad and Randy say that anyone who calls Mark a dork for wearing glasses will have to answer to them, because they are the only ones allowed to call him a dork.
- While Frasier Crane will happily mock, belittle and humiliate his little brother Niles all day long, he hates Niles's wife Maris with a burning passion because of her abusive treatment of her husband. Occasionally expressed by Frasier encouraging Niles to stand up for himself, and then yelling at him and bossing him around while telling him precisely how to do so.
- In the pilot episode of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, the fiery, sarcastic Detective Sergeant Havers - who doesn't even like her partner DI Lynley at this point - immediately takes offense at the accusations leveled against him by an old partner of Lynley's, with whom he had parted on rather unfriendly terms. And she does this while conveniently ignoring the fact that, just hours earlier, she had been levelling those same accusations at him! This is an excellent indicator of their future relationship.
- In Absolutely Fabulous Edwina and Patsy constantly belittle Edwina's daughter Saffron. Patsy goes as far as wishing Edwina had an abortion. But Edwina is often a bitch to Saffy. however when Saffy revealed that the man who was coming onto her was married and she didn't want his attention. Edwina decked the man and yelled "STAY AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER"
- Leverage features this with Vitriolic Best Buds Eliot and Hardison. When the Villain of the Week tries to throw Hardison off the roof:
Eliot: Nobody throws Hardison off a roof. Except maybe me.
Mycroft: Oh, shut up, Mrs. Hudson.
John and Sherlock: *outraged* Mycroft!
Mrs. Hudson: Thank you.
Sherlock: Though do in fact shut up.
- In the Scrubs episode "My New Suit", Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso have a brief moment of camaraderie, and then Kelso hates Cox more than ever. Dr. Cox can't understand what happened.
Cox: All I remember is we were both making fun of our kids, and bam, he stuck me with Ted.
Jordan: No, you made fun of your kid, he made fun of his kid ... and then you made fun of his kid.
- Also, while Cox is always insulting and belittling JD and Elliot, he smacks down any strangers who try to do the same thing, and consistently defends them against Kelso. However, he doesn't care when their other superiors torment them (or in JD's case, the Janitor).
- In Community, Jeff declares that "Greendale is our toilet, and no one craps in it but us!" at one point to get the rest of the study group riled up to save the day. Also, the study group declaring Britta "the worst" or otherwise making fun of her is very common, but when Mr. Rad, the glee club teacher, yells it at her, the entire group snaps out of their gleeful musical haze to defend her.
Troy: You do not get to call Britta the worst!
- An old strip of Garfield had Garfield smack into next week a cat that beat up on Odie, claiming "No one beats up Odie but me!"
- In an early strip of For Better or For Worse, Michael roughs up a friend of his who made Elizabeth cry, saying, "No one makes my baby sister cry except me!"
- Inverted: When Beetle Bailey hears that Sergeant Snorkel has beaten up a private from another company, he becomes outraged and tries to report him for infidelity.
- Andy Capp once heard his friend Chalkie tell Andy's wife, "Shaddup, woman, yer don't know what yer talkin' about." He promptly ran to confront Chalkie, telling him, "Don't you talk t' my wife like that, mate — she's entitled to 'er ridiculous opinion!"
- In Blondie nobody except Dagwood's Mean Boss Mr. Dithers is allowed to yell at, kick, fire, or otherwise abuse Dagwood, period. Dithers has been known to resort to violence to enforce that rule.
- In Fire Emblem The Sacred Stones, Colm repeatedly tells his childhood best friend she's useless and getting in the way on the battlefield, causing her to cry. Which is something nobody else is allowed to do, only he is allowed to make her cry.
- In Costume Quest, your character doesn't exactly agree that their twin is their best friend. But when that twin is kidnapped by monsters, you go straight after them(admittedly, part of that is not wanting to be grounded), and at one point declare that your sibling is, while smelly, annoying, and wearing an embarrassing costume, "MINE to terrorize, not yours!"
- Portal 2 has GlaDOS frequently calling Chell fat and mocking on the fact that she seems to be an orphan - but when they team up against Wheatley and he uses the same insults, GlaDOS responds with: "What exactly is wrong with being adopted? [...] Also, look at her you moron. She's not fat." Subverted a few seconds later when she whispers to Chell that she is adopted and that's terrible, and that she's only defending Chell to annoy Wheatley, because his insults, while technically the same thing, are just crude compared to hers - "Fatty Fatty No Parents".
- When Pram tries bullying Mickey in Makai Kingdom, Volvagia's two other heads quickly butt in and defend him, noting that the only people who get to bully Mickey are them.
- King Dedede in Kirby's Epic Yarn, as seen in the page quote.
- In Ar Tonelico Qoga, Aoto claims no one can bully Finnel except him.
- It might be more out of jealousy, but Bowser is the only one allowed to kidnap Peach if he has anything to say about it. If someone else does it - like Grodus does in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - he's going to try to rescue her himself.
- Most of the core cast of Something*Positive do this at some point, especially Davan, Aubrey and PeeJee.
- El Goonish Shive: Ellen's typical approach to Elliot, largely because she used to 'be' Elliot. Elliot actually feels worse when Ellen doesn't tease him because he counts on it to help him through the craziness that has taken over his life (as in "It can't be that bad if we're joking about it.")
- In Narbonic, Helen fears Titus is going to tell Dave he's a mad genius, and tells him NOBODY. TOUCHES. DAVE. BUT. ME.
- In Cheap Thrills, Jeordie is angry that Bruce's little brother threw a rock at his little brother, since if anyone's going to throw rocks at Faris it'd better be him.
- Schlock Mercenary has Elf correcting a reference to her "mad scientist boyfriend" here. Granted, there's the whole "Elf struggles to keep it professional" aspect... but then, there's also the whole "Elf is being tsundere with 'Pipsqueak' too" aspect.
- In A Very Potter Musical, Draco insults Ginny, causing Ron to say "She may be a pain in the ass, but she's my pain in the ass."
- Michael Buckly, in his web series What the Buck, said something of this nature after reading harsh criticisms of Selena Gomez.
- From Red vs. Blue Season 2:
Church: From now on, if anyone makes my girlfriend cranky and psychotic, it's going to be me.
Tex: Aww, that's sweet.
Church: Shut up, bitch.
- In There Will Be Brawl, Captain Falcon gets an epic moment when Pit is harmed. He says something similar to, "The only hand allowed to harm my angel's face is mine!" Cue Falcon Punch.
- "I may have held mercy for you, but there is only one fist that may bruise the face of my angel."
- Rugrats: "Nobody messes with my dumb babies 'cept me!"
- South Park: Shelley agrees to protect Stan and his friends from Trent Boyette, claiming that "no juvenile hall turd is going to kill you, that's my job."
- Ben 10: "You can't treat my cousin like that!" "Thanks." "Only I can treat my cousin like that!"
- In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy's Big Picture Show, the Kanker Sisters drag Eddy's brother into his trailer to give him some of their infamous attention for beating the crap out of the Eds. They were also outright disgusted at him for beating on them in the first place.
- In Hey Arnold!, we have the Pataki sisters. Helga may not always like her sister Olga and take some pleasure in her sufferings at times, but when push comes to shove Helga will protect her big sister.
- Bart and Lisa Simpson have occasionally invoked this when anyone else goes after the other.
- And, of course, Homer Simpson once told a bunch of rampaging robots "Nobody ruins my vacation except me! And maybe the boy!"
- One moment in Dexter's Laboratory, when a gang of villains smashes inside of a mall and a small piece of debris bounces off Dee Dee's head, mildly distracting her.
Dexter: Huh? Nobody clonks my sister but me!
(Dexter promptly dispatches the mooks with his superhero gear)
- A common plot device in Tom and Jerry cartoons; Tom is the only one allowed to chase Jerry, while Jerry is the only one allowed to annoy or torment Tom. Anyone else does it to one of them, the other will make him regret it.
- No matter how abusive a sibling relationship is, if you bully someone's little sibling and the older sibling gets wind of it, they will beat the living crap out of you. Often saying that "Only I'm a allowed to beat up/insult her/him."
- This is probably because most siblings, no matter how much they try to hide it, really do genuinely love each other, and all their teasing/brawling/backstabbery is just them 'messing around'. Take the love out, and the same actions become much more hurtful.
- Archchancellor Ridcully was a great believer in retaliation by promotion. You couldn’t have civilians criticizing one of his wizards. That was his job.