Disclaimer: I do not own any familiar characters. Believe me. I'm so far from owning them that I can't even IMAGINE owning them.

A/N: So, I wrote this last year but never had a chance to post it...mostly because I wrote it AFTER Christmas. It's just a little five part thing that burst forth between the hours of 12 - 3 AM, so I don't know what you'll think of it. And, with two weeks left until Christmas, I found this in my files and decided to upload it!

And, for those who are interested, I am still working on Ask, but with my crushingly restrictive schedule, I don't know how long it will be before I update again. Anyways, I hope you all have a very merry December and a wonderful start of January. Happy birthday, Val!


Age 5

Nancy Drew looked anxiously at her father. It was two days before Christmas and while they were supposed to be spending it with her Aunt Eloise in New York City, he had decided on a whim to stop by his colleague's Christmas party. He had told her that Fenton Hardy was a very well respected private detective, whom he had consulted with numerous times for business, as well as a very good friend and that it would only be polite to attend his party.

Nancy had agreed immediately. She was born and raised on politeness and if it was politeness that was craved, then it would be politeness that she would serve. Besides, she was very excited to be attending a grown-up party. She loved talking to grown-ups. They were always so nice to her, smiling and cooing and giving out compliments like candy. And of course, some of them actually had candy, which just made things ten times better.

"You look beautiful, Nancy," her father told her, gently grabbing her shoulders and twisting her around so he could retie her dress. She beamed at her father and pushed her blonde hair (just starting to darken to the same shade of strawberry blonde her mother's hair had been) out of her face with her hand. She had gone all out for the occasion, wearing her second best party dress (she was saving her first for Christmas), the one with the long, dark blue velvet sleeves and swishy tulle skirt, stopping at mid-calf so the world could get a good long look at her brand new Mary Jane's. Her hair was pushed back with black headband and her father had let her wear a pair of sparkly earrings that were solely for special occasions.

"Thank you," she smiled at him, taking his hand as he extended it to her. "You look very handsome, Daddy."

"Why, thank you, sweetheart," Carson replied, giving his daughter a kiss on the forehead. "Are you ready?"

Nancy nodded and pushed the doorbell, looking up at her father. He gave her a nod of approval and she felt herself smile as the front door opened, revealing a boy that couldn't be much older than her wearing a nice button down shirt and a clip-on tie. He would have looked like a perfect little gentleman, had his dark brown hair not been sticking up hazardously in every direction.

"Hello," he said, giving them a big smile. "May I take your coats?"

"Invite them in first, Frank!" a voice called from behind him. The little boy looked back and nodded, pushing the door open wider and extending his arm to gesture them in. Following her father hesitantly, Nancy stepped into the house and was immediately struck by the warmth of it. The room was filled with people, talking and laughing. There was music tinkling softly in the background and lights glowing just enough to make the room sparkle. As they stepped in, an elderly man—practically a spitting image of the young boy—stepped into view and extended his hand for Carson to shake.

"Fenton," Nancy's father said warmly, smiling as he shook the man's hand.

"I'm glad you both could make it," Fenton grinned, releasing Carson's hand and turning his eyes onto Nancy. "You must be Nancy." When Nancy nodded, he extended his hand to her as well. After a brief, questioning look to her father, Nancy reached out and shook it as briskly as she could. Fenton's grin grew even wider. "Your father has told me so much about you."

Nancy smiled politely. "I've heard a lot about you, too."

"Hopefully only good things," Fenton grinned, standing behind the boy and putting his hands on his shoulders. "Carson, Nancy, this is my oldest son Frank. He's around your age, Nancy."

Frank beamed brightly. "I'm going to be six in March!"

Nancy's eyes widened to the size of saucers. "Me too!"

"Really?" Frank gaped, looking at Nancy's father for confirmation. He nodded slightly and Frank extended his hand for Nancy to take. "Do you want to come meet my friends?"

Nancy looked at his hand shyly for a moment before he father nudged her. "Go on, Nancy. I'll just be in the living room if you need me."

"Okay," Nancy replied, taking Frank's hand and letting him pull her past the living room and into the family room, where a group of kids where running around and laughing.

"Hey!" Frank said in an authoritative voice. All of the other kids stopped and looked up at him with expectant faces. "Everyone, this is Nancy."

An explosion of voices rushed at her, everyone saying hello in various degrees of volume and intensity. She smiled and waved. It was at this point that Nancy realized she was still holding Frank's hand, but she didn't let go. She liked the warmth of his hand against her. It made her feel grown up, holding a boy's hand.

The group of kids assembled in the living room where all somewhere around her age. There were only about three of them, but they had a presence that made them seem like there were dozens.

"I'm Joe!" cried a small blond boy, his blue eyes wide and happy as he rushed up to her. Nancy stared at him curiously for a moment, wondering what he was going to do. For a second, she thought that he was going to hug her but instead he just stood there, smiling and blinking.

"Hi," she said softly, pushing her hair behind her ears. Joe beamed brightly.

"I'm Frank's little brother," he told her. He was practically jumping up and down with excitement and Nancy couldn't help but smile. He gestured behind him at the boy and girl behind him and smiled some more. "That's Iola and Chet. They my best friends!"

"They are your best friends," Frank corrected, letting go of Nancy's hand and making a gesture like he was going to give Joe a noogie. Joe let out a happy little shriek and dashed across the room, bouncing up and down again when he stopped.

"I like your dress," the girl said, walking up to Nancy and feeling the fabric. "Blue is my favourite colour. I like it because it's pretty like the sky. And your eyes! You're so lucky that you have blue eyes! My eyes are just green. But my mommy says they're pretty but grass is green and I don't like grass as much as I like the sky, but I guess that they're okay."

"Green is a nice colour," Nancy smiled at Iola, who beamed as the ribbon holding back her dark hair slipped down her face. She pushed it back impatiently and skipped towards Joe, throwing her arms around him when she reached him. The boy, who had been standing beside her, Chet, covered his eyes dramatically at this.

"Iola," he sighed, puffing out his chubby cheeks and shaking his head. "Mommy told you not to bug Joe."

"I'm not buggin' him," Iola insisted, squeezing Joe tightly. Joe squirmed wildly, his face twisted into a grimace.

"Iolaaaaa," Joe whined, blowing his bangs out of his eyes. "Let me go!"

"I'm not buggin' you, Joe!" Iola cried, furrowing her brows. "I just love you, that's all!" She turned to Nancy and smiled. "Joe n' I are getting married!" Joe looked horrified.

"No, we aren't!" Joe cried, worming his way out of her grasp. "I'm not ever getting married."

Chet puffed out his chest and put his hands on his hips. "Not to my sister, you aren't!"

Nancy watched the scene with unabashed curiosity. She was an only child and the relationship between siblings always intrigued her. Her mom had died before she had a chance to have more kids, leaving Nancy with just her father. She had never really cared about it before—her friends were always complaining about their brothers and sisters—but seeing Frank with Joe and Iola with Chet was making her sad for some reason. She didn't know these kids and it would have been nice to have someone to share the experience with.

"Do you got a brother or sister, Nancy?" Joe asked, bounding up to her and looking at her with wide eyes. She got the impression that he had been reading her mind.

"No," Nancy said softly, sitting down on the floor and covering her eyes. She didn't know why she felt like crying, but she did.

"Why not?" Iola asked, sitting down next to her. "Didn't your momma and daddy have more kids?"

"I don't have a mom," Nancy told her, sniffling a little. The kids in the room all gaped curiously.

"Then how were you borned?" Joe asked, his eyes even wider than they were before. Frank frowned at his brother and sat on the floor with Iola and Nancy.

"You're makin' her cry, Joey," Frank told him. "Nancy, do you want me to get your daddy?"

"No," Nancy whimpered, wiping her eyes. "And I had a mom, but she died!"

"That's so sad," Iola spoke, her lips trembling. Nancy nodded and looked up, pushing back her hair.

"S 'okay," Nancy told them, jutting out her chin in defiance. "I don't need a brother or a sister. Or a mommy. I can take care of myself!"

"Well," Frank spoke so softly that Nancy almost didn't hear him. "I'll be your brother, Nancy."

Nancy blinked in surprise. "Really?"

"Hey!" Joe cried, putting his hands on his hips and pouting. "You're my brother, not hers!"

"Remember what Mommy said," Frank told Joe, whispering it in his ear. "We gotta share." Joe nodded in understanding.

"And maybe we can share our Mommy with her, too?" Joe suggested, looking at Nancy. The young girl was watching them curiously, her tears forgotten.

"Good idea!" Frank cried, turning to Nancy. "Nancy, you can share our Mommy, okay?"

Nancy smiled beatifically. "Thank you. Thank you so much!"

"You're welcome," Joe grinned toothily while Frank smiled sweetly.

"And I'll be your sister!" Iola cried with joy, clasping her hands together in front of her chest and beaming. Chet nodded his agreement to this and Nancy tucked her hair behind her ears. Finally, she would have brothers and sisters like all of her friends! Looking around her new friends, she felt a feeling of unmistakable warmth. She may have been young, but she knew that these people would treat her like family.

Carson crept silently into the family room to check on Nancy. The room had been quiet for some time now and the overprotective father in him was practically worried to death. He stood silently around the corner for a moment, straining his ears for some tell-tale noise that indicated that the kids were alive, but none came. Finally, after a moment of agony, he tiptoed around the corner and peered into the living room.

As he stared down at the children, he felt his breath become stolen. His lips curled upwards into a grin and his features softened. It was one of those moments he wished he could have shared with his wife, Elizabeth; a moment where they could wrap their arms around each other, sigh and smile.

The five kids were lying in a huddle on the floor; arms on top of arms and legs on top of legs. All of their mouths were open and their breathing was steady, their chests rising and falling slowly and evenly. The chubby little boy on the edge was snoring softly, a sticky smear of juice around his lips. He was curled around a small, dark haired girl whose thumb had found its way into her mouth and whose cheeks were flushed. Fenton's youngest son, Joe, was lying underneath her feet, his blond curls mussed. He was sleeping on his back and Carson was sure that an explosion wouldn't have woken him up. Next to him was Frank, sleeping soundly on his side, his arm wrapped protectively around his brother. And in the middle was Nancy, his Nancy, surrounded on all sides as she slept on her stomach. Her dress was riding up and her shoes had mysteriously vanished, but Carson didn't care. The only thing he saw in that moment was his daughter's hand wrapped around Frank Hardy's, squeezing it like it was the only thing tethering her to the ground.

Carson let out a content sigh and was surprised to hear it echoed back to him. He turned and saw Fenton and Laura Hardy, their arms wrapped around each other and smiling. Laura's eyes looked a little misty and she swiped at them with the back of her hand.

"That's just adorable," she smiled, looking back and forth from Fenton to Carson. "I'm going to get the camera."

Fenton grinned at his wife's retreating figure and then turned to Carson. "She's a sentimental fool." Carson grinned at this and turned back to the children. Despite the volume at which they were speaking, not one of them had moved a single inch.

Shaking his head, Carson looked at the floor. He hadn't seen Nancy look so happy in a very long time. He sincerely hoped that these kids would continue to make her feel like this for a very long time. He hoped that they treated her like family.

A/N: So, thoughts?