It was the perfect Sunday afternoon. Sam was at his side, the sun was shining, and the water was calm and empty as Sam guided the motorboat over soft waves. Dean couldn't have been more content. His brother was doing alright, he had a good job, he was relaxing, and he had a beer in his hand. Pushing his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose, he took a look around him. The sky and the ocean met in a dark line off in the distance and the water sparkled, glittering from the bright sunlight beaming down and kissing his skin with a warm hand. The sharp smell of saltwater tickled his nose. He'd probably get more freckles for his trouble, but that was alright with him. That just meant he'd had a good time this weekend.

Something splashed in the corner of his vision. He lowered his beer and turned to get a better look. It was somewhere off to the right of them; dolphins, probably, or whales, he didn't know. He'd seen the red and orange buoys scattered around, bobbing with the waves. It was probably a fish caught in someone's net.

But that was most definitely a tan arm flailing around. And that was definitely a fin—a large fin—slapping around nearby.

"Sam!" Dean dropped his beer to slap at his brother. "Dude! Someone's in the water!"

Sam only glanced the direction Dean was pointing before he gave a sharp turn. He revved the engine and they closed in quickly. The fin splashing about was dark blue, and once they neared Dean could see it was tattered and battle-warn. The hand still flailed about, slapping at the top of the water as if it were a ledge and the person could hoist themselves up that way. Sam cut the engine before they got too close. Dean had already shed his shirt and shoes and sunglasses and grabbed his knife in preparation, clad only in swim trunks and determination.

It was only a matter of seconds of Sam cutting off the engine before Dean dove in. He ignored his brother's cry of alarm, gripping the knife tight so it wouldn't slip out of his hand.

The first thing he saw was the thrashing fin. His eyes stung from the salt, but he ignored it to observe what was happening. He moved sluggishly out of the way, moving around to avoid being hit. He didn't want to slash at the fish and accidentally hurt the person inadvertently. He could just see a long arm, a hand caught in a net. So that's what the fuss was about. A bare, flat torso came next—

Connected to the fin? Was the... fish... eating him?

And then Dean saw the face. Short black hair swirled around bright blue eyes. Bubbles escaped and churned around him. And the dude was breathing. Underwater.

Dean kicked back up to the surface, gasping for breath. A mermaid? What?

But the creature was obviously panicked and hurt. Dean couldn't just leave it like that...

So he swallowed a large breath and sank back down beneath the surface. The creature finally stilled, watching Dean with wide, florescent eyes. They nearly glowed, reflecting the shadows of the tiny waves above them. The sun even sparkled off of them, too, not unlike the tiny waves and breaks on the surface.

When Dean moved forward with the knife, the creature started thrashing again. Even though the movements were frantic, it seemed like there was much less energy to exert than before. His lungs started to burn, so he kicked back up to the surface. He gulped several breaths, treading water and trying to figure out how to free the mermaid. Merman? Whatever. Either way it was in trouble and Dean wasn't about to leave it, no matter how freaky it was.

"Dean?" he heard Sam shout. The boat had drifted neared them, but was still a distance away. "What's going on? Are they okay?"

"Yeah!" he yelled back. "He's just caught in a net."

He dove back down after heaving in a few more breaths. He swam over slowly, one arm out in what he hoped was a peaceful gesture. The knife he kept in plain sight. When the creature started thrashing again, though with much less sharpness than before, Dean stopped and held up his hand. He pointed from the knife to the net, hoping his message was clear.

I just want to cut you free.

Several moments passed. Dean's lungs threatened to breathe in water to put out the fire that was starting to build inside his chest. Finally, the creature stilled, moving his captured hand towards Dean as much as he could.

Dean really needed another breath, but he didn't want to lose the merman's trust. He moved closer, watching the wide eyes of the merman. The creature's wide, daunting gaze did not leave him for a moment. Dean finally reached the rope and slowly grabbed it, trying not to startle the creature.

But the burning in his lungs was too much. Before he could make much headway with the rope, he kicked back up to the surface, dragged in several more gulps of air, then sucked in as much as his lungs would allow before dipping back below. The creature still eyed him, but his movements were sluggish and heavy. Dean made quick work of the rope, sawing at the rough material. It was slow going—perhaps it was new or was meant to hold larger prey or whatever—and it took another trip to the surface before he could cut away enough of the rope to free the merman. Once he was free, though, the merman moved to swim away.

Dean was quicker and grabbed the creature's arm. The rope was still bound to the wrist, painfully tight, it looked like. It wasn't something Dean could do under the water, that was for sure. But the touch sent the merman into another frenzy and he slapped at Dean with his fin. Even though it was heavy, there was not much power behind it.

It didn't take much to haul him back to the surface.

By that point Sam and the boat were almost on top of them. Dean tossed his knife up first, trusting Sam to dodge it. The next part was going to be tricky. Especially since the merman kept thrashing around, sluggish though it was.

"Sam," he croaked. He grabbed the merman with one arm under his armpits and dragged him closer.

Sam bent over the edge and grabbed Dean, pulling with all his might. It took a few heaves, but the three ended up in a heap squashed up next to the green and white cooler of beers. The merman continued to thrash in a frenzy, trying to escape but couldn't find much purchase.

"Hey, hey," Dean cooed, placing what he hoped was a calming hand on the merman's chest. "It's okay. I gotta cut the rope off."

"Dean."

"Shh," he whispered, ignoring his brother for now. The dude could have his freakout in a moment. Once there wasn't a hundred eighty pound hybrid thing threatening to squash them with a thrashing tail. He picked up the knife again, pushing away the salty water stinging his eyes with the other hand. He pointed back between the knife and the merman's wrist, hoping that it would be easily interpreted like last time. "I just wanna cut you loose. You're gonna lose your hand."

"I... I don't think it can understand you," Sam said quietly, putting a hand on Dean's shoulder.

Dean didn't dare take his eyes off the merman. He wanted to keep the tail in sight so he could dodge it if he needed to. "Why do you say that?"

"It's a... fish... man. Mermaid. Merman, whatever. I kinda doubt they speak English."

Huh. True enough, Dean supposed. Too bad all those movies and TV shows about people finding mermaids and communicating with them right away hadn't prepared him for this situation. Instead of letting that stop him, though, Dean pointed back from the knife to the rope, making a sawing motion in the air with the knife. He just hoped that the merman understood body language, at least. That had to account for something.

The thrashing slowed. Those eerie blue eyes focused intensely on him. The sparkle and shine was more pronounced up above the surface, dancing across the creature's eyes without remorse. The creature was squinting, as if unused to such bright light. His breath came in hurried, shallow bursts that wheezed in the salty air. He raised his unencumbered hand to push away dark hair, then lifted the captured hand. Dean noticed webbing between the fingers—mostly cream colored, but slightly green, too.

"Dean..." Sam warned in the background.

"Shuddup Sammy."

Dean carefully grasped the merman's hand and pulled it close. It was a tangled mess, and he wasn't quite sure how he was going to free him. He carefully set the knife aside and started tugging on parts of the rope. Okay, that wasn't working quite well, either. The material was too slick in his hands and too rough against each other. He picked up the knife again, cutting carefully into the knot. Hopefully the creature didn't startle and Dean wouldn't end up cutting half his hand off.

But eventually he cut it off. His wrist was red and raw underneath as the ropes fell away. There were even small, shallow cuts where the rope had rubbed too harshly against the bone. It had to have hurt, Dean thought. The merman cradled the injured limb to his chest, fingering it gently with long, light fingers that danced across shiny wet skin. Those bright blue eyes turned back to Dean, wide with fear as they landed on the knife he still grasped in his hand. The waves slapped at the side of the boat, rocking their little piece of the world floating in the middle of nothing.

"Let's get him back into the water," Sam said after a while, pulling Dean from his staring contest with the aquatic creature.

"Yeah..." Dean put the knife back into the sheath he had tossed aside and placed it on the cooler. He turned back to the merman. His tail twitched, but he made no other movements. "Come on, then, you," Dean muttered as he shuffled over. But the creature just looked so tired as it listed to one side. The tail was torn, too. What if he'd been attacked? Could he still protect himself, injured and tired as he was? "But Sam..."

"We saved it from the net." Sam wasn't trying to be harsh, Dean knew. He was just trying to be rational. "We can't take it on land. If someone saw it with us..."

Dean couldn't argue that point. He couldn't save the creature from a fishing net just to be tortured by scientists. So, he held his hand out, pointing first to the merman, then to the water. He hoped his question on if the merman wanted to go back in had been clear enough in those vague gestures.

The merman stared at him for a very long moment before he slowly nodded. Dean shuffled over as the creature tried to crawl to the side of the boat. It took a lot of effort to get the creature back over the side—dude was slippery, which Sam said was probably a defensive blah blah blah—but he eventually slipped over the grey side and landed with a splash that soaked both Sam and Dean.

Dean leaned over the side of the boat, hoping to catch one last sight of the creature. Or, at least making sure he didn't drown or sink or whatever. The deep blue water didn't give him any clues about the merman's fate, though. With a sigh, he sat back when the glittering waves became too much for his eyes.

Right before he stood to grab another beer, a shape rushed back to the surface and broke even with a splash. Dean stayed, frozen in a crouch. Those blue eyes were trained on him again, head cocked to one side. Slowly, the creature reached out to the boat and grabbed onto the ropes on the side and hoisted himself enough so he was less than a foot away from Dean. The boat tilted dangerously to one side. They swayed at the same time, just watching each other.

A hand slowly reached out. The webbed fingers brushed against Dean's cheek, long, sharp nails caressing his skin and sending shivers racing over his body and penetrating the marrow of his bones. There was the faint smell of fish, Dean noticed, though the crisp salt overpowered it still. The creature drew his lips back in a wide, gummy smile, showing off slightly pointed teeth that crookedly overlapped.

Huh. So fish men didn't have braces. Good to know.

And then the hand disappeared and the merman slipped back below the surface with hardly a trace.

It took much longer for Dean to stand up again. His brother was still sitting on the other side of the boat, hazel eyes wide and long hair ruffling in the wind. They sat in silence, letting the waves push and pull and rock and move their boat around with its will. The sun shone high overhead. A seagull cried. Beside him, Sam started laughing.

"Shuddup, Sammy."


It was the perfect Sunday afternoon. Sam was at his side, the sun was shining, and the water was calm and empty as Sam guided the motorboat over soft waves. Dean couldn't have been more content. His brother was doing alright, he had a good job, he was relaxing, and he had a beer in his hand. Pushing his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose, he took a look around him. The sky and the ocean met in a dark line off in the distance and the water sparkled, glittering from the bright sunlight beaming down and kissing his skin with a warm hand. The sharp smell of saltwater tickled his nose. He'd probably get more freckles for his trouble, but that was alright with him. That just meant he'd had a good time this weekend.

Something splashed in the corner of his vision. He lowered his beer and turned to get a better look. It was somewhere off to the right of them; dolphins, probably, or whales, he didn't know. But it was just one of the red and orange buoys scattered around, bobbing with the waves, making larger splashes against bigger waves that dotted the horizon.

There was no flash of a dark blue, battle-worn tail or tan arm or dark hair or bright blue eyes. Dean should probably lay off the alcohol, though he knew he wouldn't.