When Nephry was very young, she thought she was going to marry her brother. After all, Jade was an impressive eight years old, and little Nephry thought he could do no wrong. Passing adults, who secretly feared Jade's power and genius, couldn't help smiling at the tiny little girl dutifully following her brother through the snow.

As Nephry grew, she learned that brothers and sisters could not marry, and, choosing the next closest person to her, focused her attention on Saphir. Saphir, the clumsy boy constantly following Jade, had a sweet nature that appealed to Nephry.

"Saphir," she called one day. "Play with me." Jade chose that moment to conveniently disappear, so poor Saphir was left to fend for himself.

"Uh…OK, Nephry," Saphir said, resigning himself to play whatever Nephry wanted him to play.

"OK, Saphir," Nephry ordered. "You're the daddy, and I'm the mommy."

"W-wait! Why do I have to be the daddy?" Saphir whined.

"Because you're a boy." The four-year-old's logic was perfectly clear in her mind; boys become daddies, and girls became mommies.

Saphir pouted; he was older and didn't see why he had to give in to Nephry's demands, but then again, he didn't have anything better to do.

"OK, Nephry, but only for today."

Nephry held her doll, humming while rocking it back and forth.

"Shh…go to sleep, little Milly," she cooed to the doll before glaring at Saphir. "You're supposed to come home from work now."

"Huh? Oh!" Saphir pretended to walk in through an invisible door. "Nephry, I'm home," he said in a flat voice. I'm really too old to be playing games like this, he thought.

"Oh, hi, honey!" Nephry chirped. "Be quiet; the baby's asleep!"

Saphir stood there, waiting for further instructions.

"Saphir, you have to kiss me." The little boy balked.


"You have to kiss me; that's what daddies do when they come home." Nephry was adamant about the proper way to play house, and that way included kissing.

Saphir, meanwhile, was desperately trying to get out of the situation. He licked his lips, eyes darting back and forth as he thought quickly.

In the end, he resorted to his usual defense. His lower lip pushed out in an unmistakable pout.

"I don't wanna kiss you, Nephry," he whined. "I wanna play with Jade." He started walking back towards the Balfours' house.

Nephry was furious.

"Saphir, get back here!" she yelled. The boy began to scramble away from her just as Jade appeared in the doorway. There was no way Nephry could pry Saphir away from her brother now.

Nephry had a hard time getting either of them to play house with her, but it didn't matter so much when they began studying with Professor Nebilim. Jade and Saphir were so busy studying together that Nephry was hardly able to play with them at all.

Everything changed when Jade met Peony; slowly, the young prince joined their small group. Peony was plenty interested in everything that Jade did, but, much to Nephry's surprise, he was also very interested in her.

"Oi! Nephry!" he yelled one day. "Come and play with us!" Saphir flashed Peony a look of annoyance. In his childish mind, Peony was not part of the "us;" that was reserved only for Jade and Saphir.

Nephry hesitated; Peony was much louder than the other two, and she wasn't sure if she liked that.

"Nephry." Jade only had to speak her name, and she came running over obediently.

Anyone looking at the four children would have guessed that Peony was the leader. In reality, Jade was controlling everyone's actions; everything he said was obeyed instantly. Peony, however, was the creative enforcer of the rules; in a way, he was Jade's deputy. Saphir and Nephry loyally followed the orders, although Saphir never did anything Peony said without Jade having to use his authority.

It was because of one of those occasions that Peony and Nephry ended up playing alone. Peony had decided their next project was to build a snow fort with separate rooms. All four of the children had been diligently working with the snow, but Saphir was growing more and more frustrated. He was cold, his nose was running, and, worst of all, Jade wasn't paying him hardly any attention.

"Jade," he whined. "This is boring; let's go play inside." Jade ignored him, which only made Saphir's irritation grow.

"Jaaaaaaade…" By now, Nephry had stopped working to watch Saphir, who looked like he was on the verge of a tantrum. Jade stopped working too and grimaced.

"OK, Saphir," Jade sighed. "We can go back inside."

Peony frowned.

"Yeah, well, I'm going to stay out here," he said forcefully. "Nephry, stay out here with me."

Nephry was torn for a moment, wanting to follow her brother, but when Jade passively permitted her to stay by ignoring her, she gleefully returned to the task.

"So, Nephry," Peony asked, grinning. "What do you wanna play?"

"House," she whispered.

Within five minutes, Nephry was bossing Peony around the partially completed snow fort.

"Now, you go to work," she ordered. "I'll stay here and take care of the baby."

Peony immediately obliged then returned from "work" within a few seconds.

"Oh, welcome back, dear," Nephry said. "Be quiet; don't wake up the baby."

"OK," Peony said. "I'll be quiet." Then he leaned over and briefly touched his lips to hers. Nephry stared at him in shock while Peony grinned roguishly at her.

"I'm glad to be home," he said. "What's for dinner?"

Nephry answered, and they continued their play. When Jade and Saphir came back to resume work on the fort, Nephry stole a glance at Peony, who was literally pushing Saphir in an attempt to make him move faster.

She smiled to herself; Peony was very good at playing house. He would be a great daddy when he grew up.

Author's Notes: I adore PeonyxNephry SO FRIGGIN' MUCH!!! I wrote this a long time ago but didn't like the beginning (I still don't like it very much). Any critiques?