This story is Livia's fault. Almost entirely. She was telling me that she had an idea for a story where Fraser and Ray had adopted a lot of kids, and something in my head went boing, because I 'd had a floating scene (the one between RayK and Robbie about the zebra) that I'd already decided would be condemned to oblivion because I couldn't think of a larger story in which to use it. When Livia said she was abandoning this particular plot bunny, I asked if I could have it. She said "yes, BUT"--there were certain things she wanted to see in the story. One of which was that she wanted them to have a troubled teenaged daughter. No problem--I can do that. She also wanted a scene with a baby and a barefooted Ray in front of a fire, but this I regretfully turned down--I can't see them either with babies or barefoot in the Arctic Circle. So if you want to see that, and I think I do, go pester Livia about it. <g>
Of course (waving wearily to Laura JV pre-emptively) I had to go and make it a scrambled AU that went to the end of the series. (Okay, Laura? Okay? You gonna give me grief about this?) But it seemed to me entirely logical that if the brief was to give Fraser and Ray a mass of kids--then why not SIX kids, and then why not scramble the entire ending? So it becomes this switcheroo, where everyone gets someone else's ending. Sort of like the lottery switch in Good For The Soul.
Enough dispensing of blame; time for credit. As always, Mia, for fantastic beta and support. Resonant also helped a lot, offering not only encouragements but a lot of fantastic voice-nitpicks for which I'm very grateful. Linda is the typo queen this time around (all typos left are my own damn fault) and, as always, Cin is my rabbit consultant. (Key, since they're turning out to be a feature.) Thanks, ladies.