Disclaimer: Four Brothers isn't mine.

Chapter One

Being at the Mercer's house meant there was always something going on. Evelyn Mercer, a kind (older by this time in the story) woman, always tried to help the community, especially the children within it. Se had, so far, adopted three children, all boys, that each came from one horrible situation or another. Even with the rowdy teenage boys eating her out of house and home, she was always prepared to help other children in the community, whether by giving them a meal or helping them get to a shelter. All of the children respected her and few would ever try to take advantage of her hospitality, fearing the three brothers inside her home.

Bobby Mercer, a headstrong eighteen-year-old, was the oldest of the Mercer boys and, by far, the toughest. He had been adopted by Evelyn when he was fifteen and had spent his time playing high school hockey. He was planning on going pro as soon as he graduated.

Jerry Mercer, fifteen years old, was tall and lanky for his age but not lacking in wits or street smart. That's how you grew up in Detroit. That's how you lived in Detroit. He was a smart student and had high hopes for being a businessman in the future.

Angel Mercer, the youngest of the three at the age of thirteen, was a medium sized boy. But being a Mercer and having to compete with Bobby meant you had to be up there strength wise. The stronger the better. Not that Bobby was violent, well, yeah, Bobby was violent. But he loved his brothers and his mother and protecting them was all that matter to him.

All of the Mercer brothers were known for being tough. Each had a reason. They all had known what it was like to not have a home, to not be wanted. They would do anything to keep the home that they had now. Evelyn had given them so much: a home, a name, a life. She was all they ever wanted and needed. And even though they were separated by skin and blood, they never let it bother them. After all, they were brothers.

It was a cold February day, and something was definitely going on in the Mercer's house. They were having a birthday party. It wasn't just any birthday party either. They were throwing six-year-old, Katy Stevenson, "the best birthday party ever," according to Katy later in her life.

Katy was the Mercer's neighbor. She was a young, but fairly mature girl with curly brown hair and thoughtful brown eyes. Eyes, that when you looked into them, you knew they had seen too much for her age. She lived with her grandmother, Donna Stevenson, because her mother had died two years ago and her father took off with her infant sister, Mary. Jeanne Stevenson had died in childbirth and for some unknown reason, Kirke Stevenson left one morning only two months after her death.

Having to care for Katy meant Donna had to work, and unfortunately she was unable to call off on her granddaughter's birthday. So, instead, Evelyn, being a friend of Donna's, promised she'd care for Katy that day and make sure she had a wonderful birthday.

"Aunt Evey, Aunt Evey!" cried Katy as she flew inside the house and right into the arms of Evelyn. Jerry entered the house behind her, chuckling at the young girl's excitement. "Guess what, Auntie Evey? I'm six today because it's my birthday," she exclaimed, holding seven fingers up in proof. Evelyn laughed as Bobby walked in.

"How's my little chica?" He picked her up and threw the squealing girl into the air. "I hear it's someone's birthday today," he said winking at his mom. "Jerry, is it your birthday?" he asked, glancing down at Katy who looked suddenly puzzled.

"No man, it's not my birthday. Where's Angel? I bet he knows whose birthday it is," Jerry said catching on to the joke.

Bobby felt something tug on his sleeve. He looked down. "Bobby, it's not Jerry's or Angel's birthdays. It's my birthday, and you forgot," she whimpered, her eyes fighting tears. Bobby felt a pang of guilt for the upset girl.

"Aw, no Kates, I didn't forget. None of us did. I was only teasing…don't cry. Its not every day you turn six, is it?" he asked, swinging her into his arms again. She clung to his neck, smiling into his shirt.

"You didn't forget Bobby! I love you," she said kissing his cheek. A peal of laughter escaped her mouth as he twirled her around.

"I love you, too, Kates." He let her down, and she ran to Jerry.

"I love you, Jerry," she said planting another kiss on his cheek.

"Love ya, Kate," he replied, smiling. She ran over to Angel who had just walked into the room.

"I love you, Angel." After the recovering from the shock of her running over to him and hugging his legs, he bent down and hugged her in his arms.

"Yeah, Katy, love you, too."

"By the way, Angel," she whispered into his ear, "it's my birthday and I'm six." He laughed and ruffled her hair.

"I know, Kates. Happy birthday." A chorus of "happy birthdays" rang out from the other family members. Evelyn left the room for a moment and came back with an assortment of gifts. Bobby set a cake, decorated with six candles and the words "Happy Birthday Katy" in fancy letters, on the table and lit each of the candles. Katy ran over and climbed in the chair in front of the cake. Everyone sang to her and her eyes twinkled with the candlelight. She closed her eyes as the song ended and blew out her candles.

"Watcha wish for, Kates?" asked Bobby, picking the candles out of the cake. Katy ran her finger along the edge of the cake and stuck the glob of icing in her mouth.

"You know I can't tell you, Bobby," she said smiling. "My wish won't come true if I tell."

"Alright, you win. How 'bout we open those present now, Ma?"

Evelyn smiled and nodded. "Alright, open the gifts but wait until I run and get the camera." Once she returned, Jerry set the largest bag in front of Katy. The other family members gathered around in a semi-circle.

"From me, kiddo. Hope you like it," he smiled at her. When she opened it, she discovered he had gotten her a large stuffed horse, her favorite animal. She hugged Jerry and set the horse in the chair next to her. Angel set his present in front of her next. He had gotten her a jumbo coloring book with a new set of markers. The coloring book was all about horses. Evey ended up getting her some bracelets with little stars on each one. Finally, Bobby's present was the only one left. He set the small box in front of the impatient girl.

She opened it quickly, revealing a small, red heart pendant surrounded by small diamonds. She couldn't believe that he had given it to her. She jumped out of her seat and ran into his arms, squeezing his neck so hard he could feel his pulse thumping in his temple.

"Thank you," she whispered.

"Anything for my Kates," he said giving her a squeeze before putting her down.

Of course Evelyn had helped Bobby pay for the gift. He picked the necklace out and, because of his grades (all B's and C's), she offered to pay for half. He looked at the young girl, her eyes glowing with affection. He helped her clasp the necklace around her neck.

"I promise, Bobby, I'll never lose it. I'll never even take it off. I love you, Bobby." The other family members retreated to the living room, presumably to watch the hockey game. Bobby promised Evey that he'd wash the dishes and clean the kitchen up while she took a nap. He cleared the table and covered the cake. Katy's silence caught his attention. The girl was looking at him intently.

"What's up, kiddo?" he asked sitting down across from her.

"Bobby?" she asked solemnly. "Will you marry me?" His first instinct was to laugh but he swallowed his laughter after looking at her serious expression.

"Well, Katy, maybe one day…when you grow up," he said walking over to pick her up. She hugged him one last time and skipped into the living room to snuggle with Jerry and Angel on the couch.

Three hours later, Donna Stevenson showed up at the Mercer house to pick Katy up. Evelyn motioned to her to come in but to remain silent. Evey pointed toward the living room and whispered, "Go look." Donna walked in and smiled at the adorable scene. Bobby was splayed out over the couch, his head resting on the arm of the couch and his feet were lying across Jerry and Angel's laps. Katy was snuggled in between the couch and Bobby. Angel had his head resting on Jerry's shoulder.

Donna didn't want to wake them up, but it was too late. Bobby slowly opened his eyes and winced. He pulled the remote out from under his back. Jerry snored loudly, and Angel punched him in the ribs. Jerry, now awake, hit Angel in the groin…hard. Katy's eyes popped open for a second, but she just snuggled deeper into Bobby's side.

"Come on, chica," he said picking her up. "It's time you get home." Her head rolled around on his shoulder.

"Bobby…" she said sleepily, "…I wanna stay with you!"

"I know, Kates," he said, wrapping a blanket around her for the walk home. "Maybe you can come back soon."

"Mmkay," she muttered, eyes drooping closed again. Bobby walked back with Donna, the small girl bundled in his arms. He tucked her into her bed and turned off the light after making sure her nightlight was plugged in.

"Goodnight, Donna," he said walking back downstairs.

"Goodnight, Bobby, and thank you for taking care of her," she said smiling. She pulled out a twenty-dollar bill from her pocket. "Take this, you earned it." He pushed her hand away.

"You and Katy are both like family to me," he said shaking his head. "I don't take money from family…goodnight." With that, he walked out the door.

When he got home, only a few seconds later, considering the Stevenson's only lived diagonally from the Mercer's, he went up to his room to try to get some real sleep. His head barely hit the pillow before he was asleep.

A/N: My first Four Brothers fanfic! Hope you guys liked it. This chapter is shorter but I promise the next ones will be longer. Review!