Always There

Summary: "I will always be here for you, Jackie." It's Jack's first birthday after Evelyn died, and he's not really in the mood to celebrate. That is, until he gets an unexpected surprise from the most unexpected person.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the brothers or Evelyn. Darn…

A/N: Hey! I'm back again with another oneshot! I'm sorry to say that this one's not a funny one, though. It's kinda sad. I almost cried when I wrote part of it! Anyway, something in this story actually happened to my mom, so I give her credit. I'll tell you more about it in the ending author's note. I actually had this idea on my way to school this morning when my mom was talking to me about what had happened to her yesterday, since it was her birthday. So, enjoy!

Jack grudgingly looked at the calendar in his room, checking to see if it was really that day. It was. He sighed, running his hand through his hair. Why did it have to be that day so soon? Evelyn, someone he had thought he would have forever, had died just a few days ago. He didn't want to celebrate his birthday now.

Suddenly, there was a knock on his door and Bobby walked in. "Are you all right, you little fairy?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine." Jack answered, nodding to show that he was telling the truth. "I'm just wishing that today wasn't different than any other day…"

Bobby gave him a sympathetic look. "I know, man." he replied, setting his hand on his shoulder. "It'll be okay, though. You'll see."

Jack nodded again, relieved for his brother's support.

"Come on downstairs now." Bobby said. "We might as well treat this like an ordinary day. I don't want you cooped up in here."

"All right." Jack muttered, following his older brother out of the room and down the stairs into the kitchen. He stopped in surprise when he saw that there was a small plate of cookies and cupcakes on the table, balloons floating around the ceiling, and three wrapped boxes on the table. Angel and Jerry were standing on the other side of the table, smiling as Bobby joined them.

"Happy Birthday, Jackie!" they all shouted.

"Damn it, guys." Jack muttered, shaking his head as a small smile appeared on his face against his wishes. "How the hell did you pull this off?"

Bobby laughed. "Well, Angel and I called Jerry after you dozed off last night." he explained. "He came over after he had run to the store and bought the balloons, cookies, and cupcakes. We set up the kitchen and then wrapped your presents. It was pretty much an all night process. Oh, and don't worry. La Vida Loca ain't gonna' be here. It's just going to be us brothers."

Jack shook his head, but he laughed a little. "I don't know whether to call you incredibly stupid or the greatest brothers anyone could ever ask for." he told them.

"You should be thankful that we're not going to be singing to you like we used to do when we were kids." Jerry stated.

"A little bit of both then." Jack replied with a laugh.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Angel said. "Let's start opening these presents!" He grabbed a cupcake and looked at his youngest brother expectantly.

Jack sighed and sat down at the table, grabbing the top present from the pile. It was from Jerry. He slowly unwrapped the small package and saw a few of the CD's that he had wanted. He looked through them, and he smiled when he saw the last one. There was a picture of Danielle and Amelia, Jerry's daughters, taped to the case. Beneath it was a piece of paper, which read,

To our Uncle Jackie. Lots of Love,

Danielle and Amelia

"The girls thought that you would like that." Jerry said.

"Thank you, Jer." Jack replied, setting the CD's down. "Thank Camille, Danielle, and Amelia too."

Jerry nodded as he watched Jack pick up the next present. It was from Angel and Sofi. He took off the wrapping paper and saw a cardboard box. He opened it and saw that it was filled with a small stack of paper.

"It took us a while, but Sofi and I found bookings for different places for you to perform at, and even a couple of record deals." Angel explained as Jack flipped through the papers, awed. "I thought that I'd help my little bro out."

Jack took a deep breath as he set the papers neatly back in the box and set it safely aside. "Thank you very much, Angel." he told him. "This is great. Make sure to La Vida Loca for me too."

Angel smiled at him and grabbed a cookie. Jack then turned his attention to the final present on the table, knowing that it was from Bobby. The oldest Mercer watched his younger brother intently as he picked up the small gift. Jack unwrapped it and saw that it looked like a thin jewelry box that fit a small necklace. Expecting it to be some sort of wisecrack and have it really contain jewelry, Jack slowly lifted the lid.

Instead, he gasped at what he saw.

It was a picture of Evelyn protected by a frame. She looked years younger, but still the same mother that he knew and loved. The sunlight filtering in through the window next to her hit her perfectly, making her look absolutely beautiful. She reminded him of an angel.

"That's the best picture of Ma that I have." Bobby muttered as Jack continued to stare at it. "I thought that you should have it."

"Bobby…" Jack said, his voice cracking a little as he tried to hand him the framed picture. "I couldn't possibly take this…"

Bobby smiled as he pushed the picture back towards him. "Happy Birthday, Jackie." he whispered.

Tears formed in Jack's eyes as he looked back down at the picture. Then, he sighed. "Thank you, Bobby." he replied quietly.

A silence hung in the kitchen as they all thought about the events of the past few days. Then, Jack got to his feet and carefully picked up all of the gifts he had received. "Thanks, guys." he addressed all of his brothers. "I appreciate this all very much."

Angel nodded. "You're welcome, Jackie." he said while Jerry smiled. Jack gave them a small smile back before he turned his back to them and walked into the living room.

Bobby looked after him with concern. He had seen the emotion his younger brother had been trying to hold in, the tears he was trying to hold back… He sighed as he got to his feet. "Hold on a minute, you little fairy." Bobby muttered.

Jack came back into the kitchen to give him a dark glare while Angel and Jerry looked up at him in confusion. Bobby looked around at the three of them, his normal playful grin returning. "In honor of Jackie's birthday, I say we play a game of hockey." he suggested. "Are you girls up for it or is the cold too much for you?"

"I'm fine with it, man." Jerry answered while Angel nodded. "But I think we should let the birthday boy decide."

"I like that idea." Bobby agreed, turning to face the youngest Mercer. "Jackie, what do you think, sweetheart?"

Jack laughed a little and nodded. "Sure." he said, blinking his tears away. "I'll go get my stick."

"I'll go with ya'." Bobby muttered, following his youngest brother up the stairs while Jerry and Angel went to the closet to get their equipment. Jack turned the light on in his room and walked in, but suddenly stopped. Bobby grunted in surprise when he walked into him.

"What the hell, Jackie…" he mumbled, looking into the young Mercer's face. He was surprised to see that Jack's expression was horrified as he stared into his room. "Jack?" Bobby asked, wondering what was wrong.

Jack merely pointed at his bed. Bobby followed his gaze and saw that a guitar case that he had never seen before was laying on top of it wit a boy tied neatly toward the top. There was only one person he knew that tied bows in that particular way…

"Jerry! Angel!" Bobby shouted, going out into the hall and standing at the top of the stairs. "You need to come here a minute! How did this get here?!"

Jack barely listened to him as he slowly walked over to his bed and sat down on it. He knew that his brothers couldn't have put the gift there since they were with him the entire time. It also hadn't been placed there before hand since he would have seen it when he woke up. So, how did it get there?

As he looked closer, he saw that there was an envelope attached to it. With shaking hands, Jack took it and slowly opened it, pulling the piece of paper out that was inside. In neatly written handwriting read:

Jackie,

I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I've been saving this for you for a few months after I had it specially crafted. I remember you were complaining that you needed a new guitar, and I figured this was a good a time as any to give it to you. I hope this one works well for you. Watch over the rest of your brothers during the difficult time ahead. I know you'll get through it together. But don't let this bring you down. Knowing Bobby, he'll probably want to have a hockey game. Go have fun and enjoy your birthday with your brothers. I love you all very much, and I always will. I will always be here for you, Jackie.

Love always,

Mom

Trying his hardest to keep back the tears that were threatening to fall, Jack looked at the date that was written in the top right hand corner. He was shocked to see that it was the day before Evelyn died… It was definitely her own handwriting, and he could almost hear her speaking the words as he quickly looked them over again.

Then, Jack set the paper down and carefully opened the lid to the case after he took the bow off. His eyes widened when he saw the guitar that lay inside, never seeing one like it before. Its body was a shining black, the name "Mercer" written diagonally across it in white lettering. He slowly took it out and played a couple of notes to try to tune it, but he was shocked to see that it was already perfectly tuned. Jack looked more into the case and found a new guitar pick as well. It was a blue and green marbled pattern that shone brightly when it caught the light. As he looked even farther into the case, the youngest Mercer saw a picture lying at the bottom. Picking it up, he saw that it was a photograph of Evelyn and all four of her sons on Jack's first birthday with them. That was so many years ago…

That's when the tears fell, no matter how hard Jack tried to hold them in.

At that moment, Bobby, Angel, and Jerry entered the room. "Jack!" the oldest Mercer exclaimed, rushing to the bed and sitting down next to his brother. "Are you all right?"

Jack nodded, but the tears were still coming from his eyes. Bobby sighed and put his arm around his shoulders.

Angel whistled when he saw the new guitar sitting in its case. "Wow. Beautiful." he muttered, admiring it. "Who's it from?"

Jack silently held out the paper with the message on it in a form of answer. Angel took it and began to read it out loud, his voice faltering as he made his way through the message. By the end, the three older brothers also had tears in their eyes.

"When is the note dated, Angel?" Bobby asked, blinking away his tears while Jack silently continued to cry next to him. "Ma always dated her notes."

Angel swallowed and looked for a date. "It says November-!" he began, but stopped in surprise.

Bobby looked at him in confusion. "What's wrong, Angel?" he said. "What does it say?"

"It's dated the day before Mom died." Jack suddenly muttered, looking up at his older brother.

Bobby was shocked when he heard this. Did Evelyn know that something was going to happen to her the day before she died?

Jerry looked into the guitar case and saw the photograph. He picked it up and smiled when he saw what it was of. "I remember this day, Jackie." he said, fondly thinking about it. "It was your first birthday with us. That was so much fun." Then, he passed it on to Angel to look at.

Jack watched as the oldest Mercer looked at the photograph, the memory coming back to him as he kept his emotions at bay. After a moment, he asked, "Can we just go play hockey now?" He didn't want to be in the room any longer than he had to be.

Bobby looked down on his brother, tightening his arm around him. "Sure thing, you little fairy." he answered. "Do you want to be on my team again?"

Jack nodded as he and Bobby got to their feet, shortly followed by Jerry and Angel. The youngest Mercer set all of his gifts close together on the bed, looking at it for a moment. When he had first woken up, he didn't even want to have a birthday. Now, the people he loved most in the world had given him the best birthday of his life…

He jumped when he was prodded in the back by a hockey stick. "Come on, sweetheart. I got your equipment for ya'." Bobby told him, handing it over to Jack. "Now let's go before you change your mind."

The four brothers left Jack's room, Bobby quickly running to his room to get his stuff. They then hurried down the stairs into the living room and were about to walk out the front door when the phone rang.

"I got it." Jack muttered since he was closest, setting his things down on the couch before running to get the phone when it rang again. "Hello?" he asked when he quickly picked it up.

No one answered.

"Hello?" Jack repeated, slightly frustrated now.

Still, he got no response.

The youngest Mercer sighed, thinking that someone had the wrong number. But normally when it was a wrong number, the person on the other end would hang up. No one was hanging up now…

Suddenly, a feeling of warmness came over Jack, and he remembered a line of the message that Evelyn had written him…

"I will always be here for you, Jackie…"

Jack smiled as he let out the deep breath that he hadn't realized that he had been holding. "Thank you, Mom." he whispered before he hung up. Then, he grabbed his hockey equipment and ran out the door after his brothers, feeling happier about his birthday than he had all day.

The End

A/N: I hoped you liked it! It's not funny like "Fortune Cookie", but I think you'll still like it. Now, what happened to my mom on her birthday was the phone thing. She picked it up and no one was there, but no one hung up, either. It was really weird. She also felt that feeling of warmness come over her, so she is starting to think that it was my grandma, who died this past summer, trying to tell her "Happy Birthday". When she told me this, I got the idea for this story, and I wanted Evelyn to do the same for Jack for his birthday. So, thanks for letting me use this experience, Mom! Lol! Anyway, reviews are much appreciated. Thanks!