A/N: It's called Four Brothers and it's about four adopted brothers…but how did they come into Evelyn Mercer's hand. And what about Jack's past has got him so traumatized and Bobby so protective? Readd!


"Boy you look at me when I'm talking to you!" Dave Rhoden screamed angrily as he decked the small five year old sending him sprawling on the other side of the room.

The shouts coming from the house deafened the silent street as snow fell freely from the sky. Even the wind, which was howling erotically, wasn't loud enough to deafen the shouts. Bobby Mercer shivered involuntarily as he flipped his collar up walking faster down the abandoned sidewalk.

The sound of the man's angry shouts stopped Bobby dead in his tracks. His heard that voice too many times before. It was a sound of a drunken bastard who beat his wife and son half to death every other night. Immideately flashbacks of his past came rushing to him making him shake his head refusing to relive anything.

The sound of a sickening yelp brought Bobby back to his senses. The blinds were opened and looking up the window he felt sick to his stomach as he saw the man's foot connect with a lifeless body on the floor. Bobby winced.

"ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME BOY?" the man's voice bellowed.

Bobby felt his fingers clench into his fist and felt his blood boiling. He spotted a small woman off to the side watching the man with a sickening grin on her face. She caught Bobby looking into the window straight at the boy and strutted towards the window. She glared at Bobby who in turn flicked her off before she closed the blinds shut.

Bobby shook his head angry and shoved his hands deep into his pocket staring at the closed blinds, seeing only his reflection against the window. It was dark out, and by now the snow was coming down too thickly to see past the street.

"Bobby Phillip Mercer!" Bobby's head snapped up at the sound of his name in time to see his mom walking towards him, his coat tucked under one arm, and his younger brother next to her.

"Hey ma…" Bobby took one last look at the house and sighed inwardly promising himself to investigate tomorrow before he headed towards the pair.

"Bobby! What on earth are you thinking walking around Detroit with only that!" she poked him hard grabbing at his thin t shirt disgustidly. "I have half the mind to leave you walking home with just that. And to think your curfew is when we eat dinner on a school night!" She was ranting by then, a clear sign that he was in trouble when they got home.

"Ma, ma, MOM!" Bobby said stopping her as she started bringing in pneumonia into her little rant. He took her hands out of the air for her and gently took the coat from under her arm a contagious smile on his face. "I'm ok ma. Besides let's go home before Jerry's black skin freezes off."

Evelyn Mercer took the opportunity to smack her oldest child on top of the head. "Respect your brother!"

Bobby rubbed the back of his head looking down frowning at the lady who stood in front of her. She was small, 5'3 at the tallest, and was graying around the front. He never understood where she got her energy as she started once again scolding him. She had looped her arm on either boys taking advantage of their body heat all the while talking over the howling wind.

"I don't even know where you went Bobby. What are you thinking? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" She droned on and on.

"So Jerry!" Bobby cut short. He ignored the cross look his mother was giving him and looked past her head into his younger brother's eyes. "You're birthday on coming up. What are we doing?"

"Hockey?" Jerry suggested a grin on his face.

"Hockey!" Bobby agreed a similar grin on his face.

--- ------

Later

"Hey, Bobby," it was night and after a lot of begging Bobby had gotten off on extra chores and no television but he was still allowed out of the house, on probation for the next month.

"What's up Jerry?" Bobby shifted in his bed to drop his head down to look at his younger brother.

"Me and mom saw you looking into the Rhoden house. It was like you were in a trance or something. What was in it?"

Bobby ran his fingers through his hair. He studied Jerry for a moment in the dark. He was already a good inch taller than Bobby and both him and his mom knew that he was going to be at least three inches taller by the time he was done growing. Jerry's light chocolate skin tone glowing in the light of the moon while Bobby's own skin looked paler. The adoption never seemed more obvious than when they had been side by side each holding their mother's hand when they were younger. Most people used to whisper as they passed, much to both their horror.

They both were in the foster system for as long as they could remember, only finding permanent homes ten years ago with Evelyn Mercer.

"Nothing," Bobby decided not to tell Jerry. "well nothing for you to worry about."

Jerry nodded knowing that was the best he was going to get from Bobby. "Well," he decided to change the subject. "there's a party at West's, want to go? Mom's most likely asleep by now."

Bobby grinned and shook off his covers revealing a fully dressed self. He jumped from his bunk landing on Jerry's and quietly opened the door and tiptoed over to his mom's room. She was snoring lightly meaning she was probably going to be asleep the rest of the night.

Bobby tip toed back into the room in time to see Jerry grab a bag of weed and stuff it in his pocket. Bobby didn't say anything as he grabbed his shoes and looked out the window. The snow made a nice little cushion to catch their falls. He tried ignoring the weed in Jerry's pocket knowing that he couldn't tell his brother to stop selling. It wasn't a subject he could talk about with Jerry. They both grew up in the same places and deep inside Bobby knew that this was probably the only way Jerry was going to ever get money.

"I'll meet you outside. Hurry," Bobby whispered exiting through the window first.

He landed with a small plop in the snow and looked up to see his brother right behind him. He barely had time to move to the side before Jerry came down with a plop as well.

"Jeez! Try not to kill me Jeremiah huh?" Bobby whispered annoyed getting up and flipping his coat collar up.

"You forgot your jacket again?" Jeremiah asked indecorously. "Wasn't ma's ranting enough for you to remember it? It's like fifty below!"

"Don't you start on me too Jerry," Bobby muttered starting the walk to the familiar house about four blocks away.

The boys walked in silence knowing that it was best not to make any noise. A couple cars drove past them slowly each time both boys tensed fingering the heater they had each stuffed in their pockets. As the Rhoden house came closer into view Bobby felt intrigued to investigate.

He stopped right in front of the house and looked up into the window only to see his and Jeremiah's reflection and nothing else. Jerry looked at him confused before trying to push him to continue.

"Come on Bobby!" Jerry urged.

Bobby looked at Jerry and then the house and frowned. Movement from within the house caught both boys' attention.

"Come on Bobby!" Jerry said louder pushing his older brother forward.

"There's something happening in that fucking house and I don't like it," Bobby told Jerry turning back one last time.

"You can't do nothing about it though," Jerry warned him. He looked at Bobby and his eyes widened seeing the determined look on Bobby's face. "You can't do nothing! Bobby, you've got a good thing going on with mom. If you do anything mom might not want you no more and it's back to the system."

Bobby made a face at Jerry and scoffed. "Mom's not putting you or me back in the system little brother. She adopted us meaning she's stuck with us."

"But if you pull some stupid stunt you might end up in juvi, and mom can't save your ass with community service this time. Damn Bobby use your head!"

Bobby frowned. It was true. Last time he and his friends went out and trashed the school he had gotten away with thirty six hours of community service thanks to his mother who had somehow convinced the judge and the school that Bobby was sorry and that he just mixed in with the wrong crowd, even though everyone knew better.

"If I don't do something Jerry, there's a kid in there who's going to die!" Bobby told him.

"So what Bobby, you going to play hero now or something? Remember you're not going to get tried for juvi no more. You're 16 if anything you're going to jail once you fail. Come on just let it goo" Jerry nearly whined now stopping to face his older brother.

Bobby looked straight into his eyes and looked back into the house. "If I have to play hero...then I will. Listen Jerry, you know how bad it is. You've seen just as much as me so you know god damn well it aint right we let it slip when we could do something bout the fucker."


A/N: we need to know their past. This story is about their past and how Angel and eventually Jack will come into the Mercer family.

-liz