Disclaimer: The Mercer brothers and Evelyn aren't mine. It would be cool, but sadly, they are not.
A/N: Hey! I'm soooooo sorry that it took me so long to update! It took a long time for me to write this chapter, but fortunately, I'm finally able to get it up. Thanks for your patience! And, if you read this, Whilom, I think there's something in here that you'll find funny. Enjoy the final chapter!
"Don't you want somebody to love?
Don't you need somebody to love?
Wouldn't you love somebody to love?
You'd better find somebody to love…"
"All right. Are you ready?"
"Bobby, we're going to get in so much trouble…"
"Shut up, Jer. We have to be quiet. We don't want to be discovered by Ma."
"Yeah, but do we really have to go through the window? It's a long drop…"
"Don't worry, Angel. We'll be fine. We can't use the door since Ma will hear us. Okay, we got everybody? Jack? You here?"
"Good. Come on. Let's go."
Bobby moved over to the window in his room and lifted it as silently as he could, glancing behind him into the dark hallway to make sure that Evelyn hadn't heard. Then, he quietly climbed up onto the windowsill and jumped down, landing gracefully in the grass. He looked up and gestured for the next person to come down.
Jerry sighed and climbed onto the windowsill, jumping down and landing next to his brother. Angel followed and was steadied by Jerry. Then, they turned their expectant gazes up to the youngest Mercer.
Jack was on the windowsill, looking down at the ground warily. He never really liked heights, and the fall seemed to be farther than it actually was…
"Let's go, Jackie!" Bobby whispered up to him. "Let's go!"
"I… I can't…" Jack muttered, closing his eyes as he clung tightly to the side of the window. "I'm scared, Bobby…"
The oldest Mercer sighed. "Come on, Jack." Bobby said. "I'll catch you."
Jack looked down on him as if he was considering his words. Then, he inched farther out on the ledge, preparing to jump. But before he could, he lost his grip and fell.
Bobby raced forward and caught Jack before he hit the ground. He had been expecting the boy to jump forward, not straight down. It was a relief that he had been able to catch him… Jack shakily got to his feet with support from Bobby, shaken up from the sudden fall. He was relieved when he felt his brother's hand on his shoulder to continue supporting him.
"Everyone ready?" the oldest Mercer asked. When he didn't hear any objections, he started walking away from the house, pulling Jack along behind him.
The four brothers reached the basketball courts five minutes before nine. Jack stood behind Jerry and Angel, beginning to panic. He didn't want to see his oldest brother in a fight, and feeling that Jerry and Angel were also nervous didn't calm him down at all.
Bobby, on the other hand, was pacing almost impatiently as he waited. He kept glancing at his watch, watching as the hand inched closer to the twelve…
A few more minutes passed, and the oldest Mercer finally sighed when his watch struck nine. "They're late." Bobby muttered.
"Bobby, it's only nine now." Jerry said, looking down on his own watch. "I'm sure-!"
His sentence was cut off when someone came up from behind him and kicked him in the back of the knees. Angel watched his brother fall to the blacktop in horror, and then cried out in surprise when he was also roughly pushed down. Jack looked back and saw a couple of the boys that he recognized to be some of Eric's friends. His eyes growing even larger in terror, the youngest Mercer ran up and hugged his oldest brother tightly.
Bobby placed his hands on Jack's shoulders, angered yet shocked to see that Angel and Jerry were being held down on the ground. Where had they come from? "Jerry! Angel!" he shouted. Then, he heard the sound of laughter from behind him.
"You never said anything about bringing anyone other than you and Jack, Mercer!" John called as he walked toward them with Eric next to him.
"That's the thing you should have learned about the Mercers, John! If one goes, we all go!" Bobby replied loudly. "They weren't happy with the shit your brother was giving Jack, so they decided to tag along. But I wouldn't be talking, John. You brought some more people as well."
"They were some of Eric's friends who had nothing else to do tonight." John told him as he stopped a few feet in front of the two brothers. "But we can make a deal now. Your brothers can't get involved and neither will mine and his friends. Agreed?"
Bobby thought about his proposal, looking down and seeing that Jack's wide eyes were fearfully looking back up at him as if to say, "Be careful, Bobby". The oldest Mercer gave him a slight smile as he placed his hand on top of the mass of hair. "I'll be fine, Jackie." Bobby whispered to him. "Now stand back so you don't get hurt."
Jack did as he was told and backed away, and then he watched his brother turn to John and say one word that sent dread coursing through him.
John grinned as he turned to his younger brother. "Move, Eric!" he snapped as he pushed him aside. "You'll only be in the way!"
Eric glared at Jack, fingering something hidden in his pocket before turning to face his brother. The youngest Mercer moved away from him, and then looked at Bobby with mounting fear.
Then, the brawl began.
John aimed a punch at Bobby's face, but the Mercer blocked it and landed a punch on his jaw. The other boy stumbled back a little, but then he moved forward and tried to kick him. His foot skimmed Bobby's knee, but he elbowed John in the shoulder back. After a few more blows were exchanged, it was clear that Bobby had the upper hand.
"I don't remember you being this tough, Mercer." John commented as he tried to hide his surprise, his fist flying toward Bobby's face.
"Last time, we were in school." Bobby retorted, blocking his blow and punching him forcefully in the stomach. "Last time, you weren't messing with my brother!" This time, the oldest Mercer's fist landed on the side of John's head. John stumbled back a little, but Bobby grabbed onto his arm and pulled him back toward him.
"And this time, I'm gonna break more than your noise!" he finished, landing a forceful blow to John's forehead. The boy fell back and hit the blacktop, unconscious.
Angel and Jerry threw up cheers of approval from behind their oldest brother as Jack ran over to Bobby and hugged him tightly again. Eric looked down on his unconscious brother in horror, something snapping in the back of his mind. He knew this wasn't over yet as he fingered the same object in his pocket…
"It's over, Jackie." Bobby told his youngest brother, getting to his knees in front of him so that he could look him in those big eyes he had. "I'll make sure that no one bothers you again."
Jack nodded in silent response, then threw his arms around Bobby's head in another hug. Bobby smiled a little as he hugged him back.
"Get the hell off me!" Jerry snapped, forcing the boy that had been holding him down in place away as he pulled Angel to his feet. "Come on, man. Let's get Bobby and Jack and head on home."
Bobby looked up and saw with fear that Eric had pulled out a handgun and was aiming it toward him and the youngest Mercer. Something was definitely wrong with this family… Jack let out a terrified whimper and dug his face into Bobby's chest, but Bobby pushed him away and slowly got to his feet with his hands up to show that he meant the boy no harm. Then, he pushed Jack behind him so that he could be out of harm's way.
"Eric, listen to me. Calm down, all right? You don't have to go to this extreme." Bobby muttered as he took a tentative step forward. "Put the gun down…"
"No! I'm finishing what my brother started!" Eric shouted, aiming the gun at Bobby. "I… I-!"
His sentence was cut off when he saw Jack slowly looking out from behind Bobby. The youngest Mercer gasped as their eyes met, and Eric turned the gun on him and fired.
"Jack!" Jerry cried while Angel screamed with a mixture of fear and anger.
But Jack was never hit. The youngest Mercer cautiously opened his eyes when he didn't feel the bullet hit him, and he gasped in horror at what he saw. Bobby had moved to the left just as the gun had been fired to protect him. Jack watched as his oldest brother collapsed to the ground, his hands at his side as he grimaced in pain.
"Bobby!" he screamed, dropping to his brother's side. "Bobby!"
"Stay here, Angel." Jerry commanded quietly, not minding his own safety with the boy with the gun as he rushed forward to be by his brothers. "Come on, Bobby. Hold on, man!" The second oldest Mercer inwardly kicked himself for not taking Bobby's car. He could have driven the oldest Mercer to the emergency room if they had…
Eric looked at the three brothers in horror, taking a few steps back as he dropped the gun. "Oh, God…" he muttered in a panic. "I didn't… I didn't mean to fire the gun. It just… It just happened…"
Suddenly, red and blue lights flared on, signaling that a police car was there. Jerry pulled Jack into his arms as Angel came up to them, and then he held both of them close to him as he looked up to study the scene. Four police cars were parked outside of the basketball courts, and armed policemen were running into the lit up area.
"I'm scared, Jerry." Jack muttered, snuggling closer to him.
"It's all right, Jack." Jerry replied, setting his chin down on top of his mass of hair as he watched Eric and his two friends trying to flee the scene. "We're not going to run because that will help show that we did nothin' wrong."
Jack knew that that was going to be almost impossible. His instinct was telling him to run, that whenever a policeman was around he should run. His father had beaten that lesson into him, and now he was fighting hard to fight that impulse. His squirming must have been noticeable because Jerry's arm tightened around him.
Then, one of the police officers approached them and Jerry got to his feet, setting Angel on the ground but picking up Jack into his arms. "Hello. I'm Jeremiah Mercer. You may know my mother, Evelyn Mercer?" he said, not able to see the officer's face. "Thank you for coming, officer."
The officer nodded. "I know you are, Jerry. I'm Lieutenant Daniel Green." he replied. "We arrived when the gun went off. We actually got a call from Evelyn telling us that her boys had disappeared."
The second oldest Mercer could not believe their luck. He was able to see the dark-skinned man clearly now, and he couldn't believe that he hadn't recognized him sooner. Daniel Green was the father of Thaddeus, one of Bobby's friends whom he played hockey with.
"Please, Daniel." Jerry muttered anxiously. "We need to get Bobby to the hospital. He was the one who was shot."
The worry was evident on the lieutenant's face as he looked down on the barely conscious Mercer. "I'm all right…" Bobby whispered, wincing as he tried to move.
Daniel sighed as he looked around the empty basketball courts, seeing that the three boys and the unconscious John were being led to the squad cars. "Come with me. I'll bring him there myself."
"Robert Mercer." Daniel said to the receptionist in the emergency room. "Eighteen years old. He's the son of a friend of mine who should be arriving shortly, so I don't know much of his medical information."
Jerry was sitting in one of the waiting room chairs, Jack curled up tightly in his arms as close to him as he could get. His eyes were closed tightly as sweat began to appear on his pale face. Angel was next to him, leaning his head against his older brother's shoulder in exhaustion. The oldest of the three brothers knew that this was going to be another long night…
"Jack, calm down, man." Jerry muttered, able to feel the young boy's racing heartbeat against his arm. "We're not even here for you!"
The youngest Mercer didn't answer. He only continued to snuggle closer to Jerry, his breath coming quickly.
"I'm sorry that took so long, boys." Daniel said as he walked over to them and sat down on the other side of Jerry. "They had to put Bobby into surgery immediately to remove the bullet, and they are just now wondering about his medical information. A little late if you ask me. He's already been in there for about twenty minutes, so it shouldn't be too much longer before we'll be able to see him."
Jerry was shocked. It had already been twenty minutes? It sure didn't feel like it!
Then, the lieutenant looked down on Jack, and his eyes softened in concern when he saw a tear leak out from behind his closed eyes. "Is he all right?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, Jack will be fine." Jerry answered, running his hand through his youngest brother's mass of hair. "He just doesn't like hospitals."
"I can tell." Daniel muttered, rubbing his hand on the young boy's back. "I just don't want to see two of the Mercer brothers in the hospital tonight."
Jack whimpered a little and curled up a little more upon hearing these words. Jerry sighed when he saw this action. "I think I'll take Jack outside for a little while to get him some air. It looks like he needs it… Could you stay with Angel?"
"Sure." Daniel replied as Jerry stood up with Jack in his arms, sitting in the seat that the Mercer had previously occupied. "I'll let you know when you can see Bobby."
Jerry nodded as he walked toward the door, his shirt getting a little wet from his younger brother's tears. He shifted Jack to one arm as he reached for the door, but he stepped back in surprise when it swung out at him.
"Jeremiah!" Evelyn exclaimed, hugging him tightly. "Are you all right?"
"I am." Jerry replied. "But I can't speak for Bobby…"
"I know, dear." Evelyn muttered, successfully hiding her fear from her boys. "I left as soon as Daniel called me."
At the sound of Evelyn's voice, Jack opened his eyes and reached his arms out toward her. Evelyn looked at the young boy sadly and took him from Jerry, holding him close to her. "Mom…" the youngest Mercer muttered, snuggling close to her.
Evelyn couldn't stop her soft gasp of shock. Jack must have been terrified. This was the first time that he had ever called her "mom"…
Then, the doctor that had taken care of Bobby countless times before came into the waiting room with a clipboard in his hand. "Evelyn Mercer?"
"How is he?" Evelyn asked anxiously, rushing over to him as Jack put his arms around her neck.
The doctor nodded to her in recognition as he looked down on the sheet on his clipboard. "The surgery went over well and the bullet has been removed." he answered as he looked back up at her. "Your son was lucky, Miss Evelyn. The bullet missed a couple of vital organs by mere inches. He will be in a lot of pain for a while, but that will be the extent of the damage. He is resting now if you would like to see him."
Evelyn nodded, but turned behind her to the waiting room. She saw that Angel had fallen asleep against the lieutenant and Jerry was trying to hide his own tiredness. She sighed, nodding to the officer. "Would you take the boy's home, Daniel?" she said, handing him her house key. "I'll be home in the morning if you could possibly stay with them."
"Sure, Evelyn." Daniel replied, picking up Angel as he led Jerry toward the door. "Let me know if there's any news on Bobby."
"I will." Evelyn told him, looking down on her youngest son in her arms. "Jackie, do you want to go home or stay with me?"
Jack tightened his arms around the woman's neck and snuggled close to her, his actions answering for him.
"All right." Evelyn whispered as she rubbed his back. "Let's go see your brother."
Bobby slowly opened his eyes and looked around, seeing with irritation that he was in a hospital room. It was dark except for the moonlight coming in through the window. Then, his heart quickened when he saw that something was lying curled up next to him on the bed, recognizing the small form immediately.
"Jack…" Bobby muttered anxiously as he quickly sat up, wincing when his side protested painfully to his sudden movements.
"He's fine. Just sleeping. You can rest easily, love."
The oldest Mercer looked in the direction that the gentle voice had come from, and he saw Evelyn looking back at him with a kind smile on her face. "Ma?" Bobby said quietly as he carefully lowered himself back to his pillow. "What happened?"
"Well, the boys that you met with at the basketball courts all went to jail." Evelyn explained. "You would have gone there too when you were released from the hospital if Daniel hadn't convinced the police force that you were only acting in self defense."
Bobby nodded as he sighed with relief, looking down on Jack's sleeping form. He looked so peaceful while he slept… Evelyn followed his gaze and smiled. "Our little Jackie wouldn't leave your side, even though we're in a hospital. He's really been coming out of his shell when you're around. I think he's growing attached to you."
"You think so, Ma?" Bobby asked. He had grown fond of the boy over the past couple of days.
Evelyn nodded in answer. "I know so. I think he'll be fine in the Mercer household."
Bobby smiled as he looked at his youngest brother again. He ran his hand through his mop of hair, thinking about how much he must have meant to the newest Mercer. Jack had had a hard life before Evelyn had taken him in, which is what had caused him to close up. But he was away from that life now; he was safe. And Bobby was now glad that the young boy had become a part of the Mercer household. After all, everyone needed somebody to love.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! My next story in this series will be "A Night Alone", which will take place on the weekend after this story happens. Keep an eye out for it! Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!