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Skeletons In The Closet

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Justice Jay and Maison Marie couldn't be more different, or better friends. They both had alliterative names, and their dads were both actors. That was where the similarities ended. JJ was eight months year younger, serious, studious and deliberate, with a model's looks (hardly surprising as both her parents had made that their profession at one time) and a passion for music. Maison was playful, messy and was most happy when she had a physical task, preferably up a mountain. They didn't get to see each other a whole bunch, the former living in Texas and the other up in the Pacific Northwest, but over the years they'd spent various vacations, holidays and events together, and always stayed in touch in between. It was hardly surprising that they were curled together on the oversized brown leather sofa, a bowl of M&Ms (Maison's favorite: they had her initial on them, after all) between them, and were messing about on JJ's tablet.

Across the room West and Tom were playing a video game, loudly declaring each other's ineptitude. Tom's little brother was sat behind them, pointing out both the older boy's failings and dodging the playful swats regularly directed his way. It was the younger Padalecki who noticed the girls had dissolved into fits of laughter.

"What's got you two all tickled?" Shepherd asked, his long sable colored hair falling into his eyes.

"Nothing special," JJ said, stifling her laughter for just long enough to bat her eyelids at Shep and flick her caramel colored braid over her shoulder. Maison shoved her hard, laughing harder.

"Don't tease him, Jay. After all, he has a right to know his own family history." It was common knowledge that Shep adored JJ, not that it was reciprocated in any way. JJ just thought of him as the deeply annoying baby brother she, fortunately, had never had.

"What do you mean, my 'family history'?" asked Shep, slightly indignantly. He had the knack of pulling the same wounded-puppy look that his dad was famous for, and turned it on the girls now.

"Don't get your panties in a twist, Shep," Maison took pity on him, "It's just some old videos we found online of your mom and dad".

"Lemme see." Shepherd wedged himself between the girls and grabbed at the tablet.

JJ queued up the scene again and delighted in the adorable shade of pink that Shepherd's cheeks turned as they rewatched the video.

"So what?" asked Shep when it was over, "we all know they met on the set of Supernatural. Sure it's weird watching my parents make out, but that's just acting."

JJ dissolved into giggles again. "I dunno, Shep. That looks a lot like 'method' acting to me!"

Shepherd scowled at her, and Maison buried her face in a throw cushion to muffle her own laughter.

By this point the older boys had finished the level they'd been playing through and wandered over to join the others. West immediately gathered what the they'd been watching, and started the video over as soon as he felt Tom's looming presence behind him.

A year and a half younger than West, Tom already had a couple of inches on him. Not that West was short. He delighted in rubbing it in Maison's face that he was taller than her again. He'd been devastated at 15, when his little sister was suddenly 5'8" and could beat him at just about everything. But three years on he was once more the superior human being, and could tuck her under his arm with ease again. Although now being around Tom kind of gave him a taste of how that must feel to Maison. Maybe was that was why he felt the need to twist the metaphorical knife the girls had made the initial stab with.

"Wow, Tom, your mom was hot." He knew he'd get an earful from Mais later about his derogatory attitude and objectifying comment, but it was worth it to see his friend's reaction.

Tom glared at him, but before he could respond, Maison piped in, "Jared's not half bad either, you know." She winked at West, letting him know she was wise to his plan.

Shepherd groaned, and even JJ grimaced.

"Ugh! I can't even think about Uncle Jared like that." she said.

"You sure you weren't conceived on film, Tom?" That dig earned Maison a high five from her brother.

West and Maison were so busy smirking with delight at the discomfort they'd engineered, that they didn't notice that Tom was holding the tablet and navigating to a different video.

Suddenly West's full attention was on the small screen.

JJ was watching too. "Oh. My. God. Is that....?"

"Dad," West finished for her.

"And Uncle Jensen." It was Tom's turn to look smug.

West watched the screen with rapt horror. This wasn't the show, he knew the ubiquitous trench coat that's his dad's character had worn for ninety percent of his scenes. Nope, this was just his dad, looking normal. Except the video showed him gazing longingly, touching delicately, embracing warmly, and all but making out with Jensen.

He looked over at JJ, whose expression mirrored his. Her mouth hung open incredulously.

"They did all that?" she asked.

"You guys didn't know about it? How all the fans were convinced 'Cockles' was a thing?"

West's head snapped up at his sister's words.

"You've seen this before?" he asked her.

"Of course," she said, "Cockles. Co-llins, A-ckles. It's what the fans called the relationship Dad had with Jensen."

JJ made a choking sound, and her voice came out squeaky. "Relationship?!"

Tom and Shepherd looked between their friends, Tom wearing a smug and knowing grin clearly loving every minute of their discomfort, Shep with brow wrinkled and eyes wide trying desperately to keep up with what was happening here.

"You all seriously didn't know?" Maison asked again.

"Tom obviously did," West bit out sourly.

"Sure, it was common knowledge. Both your moms knew, and Misha and Uncle Jensen did all but admit to it publicly." Tom acknowledged.

"You really didn't know, Westy?" Maison reached to lay her hand on her brother's arm. "I asked Dad about it a couple years back, and he told me that he and Jensen had been really close back then. I think his term was 'special and intense friendship.'" She made the quotation marks in the air with her fingers. Everyone was listening intently to Maison now.

"He said that there would always be something between him and Jensen, but that he never stopped loving Mom, or us, and never wanted his life to be any different than it was."

She shrugged. "I think it's kind of beautiful. And when you think about it, we're all really lucky that Supernatural happened: it's how your mom and dad met," she nodded to Shep reassuringly, "and made your dads practically brothers, and we wouldn't all be here and friends if it hadn't been for the show." She hugged JJ to her affectionately.

Tom wasn't smirking anymore, just looking thoughtfully at his friends.

Maison met West's eyes and her brother smiled at her. Clever Maison. Trust her to diffuse the bomb Tom had set. Plus she was right, he thought begrudgingly. As much as Tom infuriated him, he still loved hanging out with the other Supernatural kids, as he thought of them. It would be strange next year when he was off at college. Would he still come back to see them all for occasions like this?

They'd all spent Halloween together for as long as he could remember, a 'Supernatural tradition', their dads joked. As he looked around the circle of teenagers he realized he wasn't at all ready to let that go.

"Come on," West said, breaking the silence that had fallen over the group, "let's start the movie and pool what's left of the candy."

Everyone could agree on that and they settled down; Tom at one end of the big sofa, with Maison and JJ at the other, JJ's legs stretched across the giant boy's legs. West sat on the floor, leaning back against them, pushing Maison's legs out the way to make space, but not retaliating when she poked him in the rib with a toe. Shepherd had the bean bag pulled right into the middle of the floor and had to be yelled at for blocking the others view several times before he finally settled on his belly allowing the others to see clearly.

"What are we watching this year?" Tom asked, slightly hesitantly. JJ always picked out the movie, seems as she was the Horror fan.

"A classic," came her gleeful reply, "I got us Cabin In The Woods!"

"Should Shepherd really be watching this? I mean, he's not even 15 yet," said West, suddenly playing the role of the legal adult he now was.

"I've seen loads of scary stuff! I'm not gonna get nightmares or anything." Shep retaliated, and then laughed. "Anway, what's gonna be more disturbing than those fan videos JJ and Tom showed us earlier, right?"

They all laughed at that, and quickly settled in to watch the movie. JJ had chosen well, it really was a classic.

"You know," said West, as credits rolled and the suspenseful music swelled on the sound system, "I think maybe it's kinda great to have... What was the phrase, Mais?"

"Special and intense friendship," she supplied.

"Special and intense friendships," he finished, and smiled across at Tom. The older Padalecki nodded, smiling, and kneaded JJ's feet which were still across his lap.

"Yeah," he said, "it is kinda great."

"Cockles!" JJ laughed, and placed an exaggerated kiss on Maison's cheek. That was when Shepherd turned around to see what all the fuss was about, and was suddenly bombarded with throw cushions.

"Hey!" he said. "Just coz I'm the youngest, doesn't mean y'all gotta..."

But he never got to finish as the other four leapt of the couch to hug him.

~~~

Misha, Jensen and Jared poked their heads around the door to the den, expecting to see mayhem. Instead they found all five of their collective offspring curled up on the rug, fast asleep in front of the TV, the BluRay disc menu looping on the screen.

Jensen put his arms round the shoulders of his two friends. "Yeah, we done good, guys. We done good."

They turned off the TV, and quietly crept back upstairs to join their wives.