A.N. 20 August 2010:

So that's it, my version of the interval between seasons two and three of Castle. I would like to thank every single person who has read and reviewed – I've never written such a popular story before!

It all started because of a virtual conversation back in May with the DFTs (Deep Fried Twinkies, if you hadn't guessed), a group of like-minded Castle lovers who watch and on-line chat on a regular basis. We were bemoaning the lack of new episodes until September, and I suggested writing my own take on what was happening over the summer of 2010. Little did I know the task I was setting myself! BLOW THE MAN DOWN had to go on the back burner (normal service to be resumed shortly), and my muse more than once decided to go on vacation without leaving a forward address, but I knew I had to finish before the start of season three. Which I did – with time to spare!

Someone asked if I had outlined this all before I started – well, the answer is yes. And no. I wrote the opening chapter first, with the thought in my head that maybe that was all there was going to be. Then when I decided to continue I wrote the very end, with Rick deciding the rewrite the last paragraphs of Naked Heat in the hospital. It was filling in the rest that was the hard part. At that point I more or less had just the image of a jewel-coloured dress, a thirty year old crime, and Rick saving the day. Somehow.

I tend to write sectionally as inspiration hits, not chronologically, so for instance the daring rescue was written well before the involvement (or even creation) of Emma, while Ryan and Esposito insinuated themselves at more or less the last minute, and sometimes things went the way they wanted without any conscious intervention from my brain.

But it worked. I think.

Oh, and this was marked up as AU, and will stay that way, because now we know more about what's going to happen in the first couple of episodes, this is definitely an alternate reality. And for those of you who wanted Kate and Castle to fall into bed together … not yet. If I decide to continue this timeline, they're not going to be rushing into anything. But we'll see.

You may also have noticed a slight name change/alteration to 3x00 Summer Heat. No, it wasn't meant to make you think you hadn't read it (although please feel free to go back and read it again!) but following a comment that a better title might bring in more readers, I considered and agreed.

And that's a wrap!