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Save us from our fans...

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Interviewing witnesses at the con ended up being harder than either Ryan or Esposito expected.

"Man, *what* is with these fans?" Espo asked, after the fifth interviewee had been looking back and forth between the two detectives, as if expecting to see some kind of sparks flying between them.

"Simple: they're slash fans," Ryan said.

Esposito's eyes got big. "They're whut? Slash fans? What does *that* even mean? They want us to attack each other with chainsaws or somethin'?"

"That's slasher fan. Big difference," Ryan explained, trying not to smirk at his partner's confusion. "Guess you haven't trawled the fanfiction section on one of Castle's fanpages: these fans are all about the character relationships, seeing which character hooks up with which, and if it doesn't happen in the books, they write about it."

"So they think you and I are *gay* and they write about it?" Esposito asked, baffled.

Ryan's response was cut off by a loud, excited squeal from nearby. Several fans who were making the fire-alarm impersonations had gathered, some armed with digital cameras and camera-phones, were snapping pictures of a dishwater blond guy in a sweater over an Oxford shirt, accompanied by a bushy-haired person of indeterminate gender, clad in a long black coat with a grey knit scarf around their neck.

"Oooh! They're *PERFECT*!"--"Best Sherlock and Jawn *evar*."--"Can you guys kiss for us?" the fans babbled, running all over each other.

The pair looked at each other, perplexed, apparently staying in character as best as they could. "Why do these juveniles wish us to osculate in public?" the one in black grumbled.

"Sherlock, pay them no attention: they're just teenaged kids," his companion said, hurrying him along.

"At least we don't have it as bad as those guys, and they're just costumers," Ryan said.

"So why would the fan kids want us to hook up? It's creepy," Esposito said. "We're both straight: you married Jenny and I love the ladies."

"That's the thing: they don't see us as people, they see us as Those Two Guys from the Nikki Heat series," Ryan explained.

The crowd had turned their attention to Ryan and Espo. "Oooh! look! It's Raley and Ochoa!" -- "That's exactly how I'd thought they'd look!" -- Can we take pictures? Those costumes are *great*." -- "Could you guys hug for us?" -- "No, even better: could you hold each other's hands??"

Espo gave Ryan a "help, save me" look.

"I'm sorry, we're not really here for the convention," Ryan said, taking charge of the situation by showing his badge. "We're with the NYPD and we'd like to ask a few questions about Mia Fletcher."

"Oh, wasn't that awful about her?" -- "Cool! We get to *help* Raley and Ochoa!" -- "Eyes in your head: they just *look* like them."

After sharing what information they could about the murdered Misa Amane cosplayer -- and surreptitiously taking snaps of the two detectives -- the fankids moved on, gushing over being able to help, but disappointed at not getting any fanservice.

"No wonder Beckett got so mad about Castle putting all of us in his books," Esposito said. "Those kids are *creepy*."

"Some of them, anyway," Ryan said. "It's not really something Castle can do about anyway: every fandom has people like that. Fortunately, most of them are harmless: they just get excited."

"Mmmm, but fandom wouldn't be the *same* without the excitable ones. They keep things from growing too *dull*," mused an androgynous-looking person in a long crimson wig, with a red frock coat slipped down to the elbows; the figure flashed them a fanged grin before sashaying off.

Esposito shook his head, trying to clear it after all these weird encounters. "I could do without all the weird."

"Mmm, so could I, but the weird fans make the rest of them, the quieter ones, look better," Ryan said.