Title: Cerulean

Rating: R

Category: Het oneshot

Word Count: 2853

Characters: Dean/OFC, Sam

Spoilers: None

Summary: "…her nakedness, her sheer lack of shame and assumed dignity embarrass him. His words stutter and stumble before he turns his eyes away and asks her if she needs help."

Author's Notes: This is an idea that I've been playing around with for a rather long time now. Even though I've finally decided to write it, I'm still not sure how I feel about this in general. Happy Valentine's Day as well to all of you!

Disclaimer: The following characters and situations are used without permission of the creators, owners, and further affiliates of the television show, Supernatural, to whom they rightly belong. I claim only what is mine, and I make no money off what is theirs.

They find her on a beach as the sun sinks below the horizon. The waves are slippery purple, and the sky is hazy, shadowed pink. Sitting on the sand, she stares out at the ocean with her legs are drawn to her chest and arms wrapped tightly around her knees. It isn't until Sam speaks to her that she appears to notice them.

She looks up at Sam, and her nakedness, her sheer lack of shame and assumed dignity embarrass him. His words stutter and stumble before he turns his eyes away and asks her if she needs help.

She glances from Sam to Dean. Both men, both gone without a woman too long, both trying not to stare at her breasts, pale and full, and the dark crevice between her legs. Her face is round and innocent, but she is clearly not a girl.

Dean clears his throat. Sam offers his coat. She stands, hair tumbling down from where it had gathered on her shoulders, and she accepts the jacket. Under the heavy material, her body disappears when she shrugs into it; the sleeves dangle from her arms and the bottom falls just past the curve of her hips. She looks like a child.

Sam asks her where she's from and what's her name, how she got out here and if she's okay. Sam is the one talking to her, but he's not who she's watching.

Dean looks up from his feet and meets her stare.

- - - - -

She sleeps in the motel. They sleep in the car, Dean not willing to be in the same room with her and Sam not willing to be alone with her. So, Dean claims the front seat of the Impala while Sam squeezes into the back. They argue with the passenger side window rolled down; they can't agree on what to do with her. If they should take her to the police, try to get her to talk, or just let her stay with them. Their words bounce back and forth, colliding into each other without grace.

Sam mumbles, "Okay," even though they both know it's not, and he rolls on his other side, trying to get comfortable. His head hits the window dully, and he swears in a hiss.

Dean chuckles, imagining how Sam's twisted himself into a hundred different ways in an attempt to find sleep. "She stays then," Dean says, rubs his eyes and yawns. The warm air slips through the window and tickles the back of his neck. In the distance, the sound of traffic is a hushed whisper.

"She stays," Sam repeats. It's the closest to an agreement they'll get for tonight.

- - - - -

They give her their clothes the next day. Following a long moment of silence where Sam and Dean stare at her and she looks down at herself, she laughs and asks if they can go to a store to buy something that fits her. Neither brother knows what to say. It's the first they've heard her speak since they found her, and her normal request surprises both of them.

But, they take her to town anyway, her in the backseat of the car, feet tucked up beneath her, them in the front, and she doesn't say much during the ride. Small comments here and there. Things that most young women her age would say. Both Sam and Dean are holding Latin prayers on their tongues while they wait for her to start screaming, start cursing, start doing anything remotely abnormal. But, she doesn't.

"So, where are you from?" Sam asks her as they pull into the thrift store parking lot. He glances over his shoulder to look at her; the sunlight glows golden on her skin.

"Where I'm from?" she repeats and flicks her eyes away from the window to return his gaze.

"Yeah," Dean agrees, looking at her in his rearview mirror. "You just sort of fall out of the sky or something?"

She shakes her head and replies matter of factually, "I'm not from the sky."

- - - - -

With her in their lives, they don't search for new hunts. Sam goes to the police station, looking for any records about her, but finds nothing. Dean stays at the motel, scouring the Internet for her photo, but finds nothing. While Sam is away and Dean in the room, she sits cross-legged on a bed as he squints and pokes at the computer.

"You're still looking for me," she says without question. Out of their clothes, in normal feminine ones of soft pinks and tight denim, she almost looks pretty. But, Dean wouldn't admit that out loud.

"You are a tricky one to figure out," he admits with a short laugh. He scratches the side of his head and leans back in his chair, exhales heavily. "If you'd tell us about you, we could help you get back to where you need to be. Back to your family and friends."

"You think I need your help?"

He looks over at her, taken aback by her boldness, and sees that she's raised her eyebrow, smirk tugging at the corners of her lips. Her hair lies, frizzy and messy, in a thick braid against her back. In that moment, he sees her as more than a nice looking girl. Something more than a simple girl with no past.

"I just thought—" he begins, returning his attention to the laptop.

She shrugs absently. "Maybe I just wanted a vacation from my home for a while. I'll go back when I'm ready to go back." Standing, she crosses the room and leans against the table where he's working and faces him. He stops typing and stares up at her. "Do you want me to go back?"

He doesn't answer. Slowly, slow enough that he has time to move if he wants, she leans down and claps his face in her hands. She kisses him. When she pulls away, her large eyes so close to his, she whispers, "Do you want me to go back?"

He swallows, tries to shake his head, but can't seem to move his body. His silence is enough for her, and she grins and says, "I'll take that as a no, then."

- - - - -

The following week, it's sticky and hot, air saturated with water that won't fall from the clouds. They're outside, trying to escape the stifling heat, but no relief can be found. Sam is in town or at the library, just not here. He's been leaving them alone together more and more, sensing something beginning that Dean and she are still too blind to see for themselves.

With the sun high in the sky, they walk through a field on the outskirts of town, dotted with pinks and yellows, blues and purples of wildflowers. Gathering the flowers in the sweaty clutch of her fist, she picks them carefully, one by fragile one.

"Do they have flowers like this where you're from?" Dean asks her, hands in his pockets, casting only sidelined glances at her, unable to face her directly. Like looking into the sun.

Picking another, a daisy with a butter yellow middle, she shakes her head. "Not like this."

"You ever going to tell me where you're from?"

"Oh Dean," she answers, giggles like there's something humorous in his question. "You never stop trying, do you?"

He shrugs. "I'm a stubborn sort of guy."

"Really, though, would it make any difference if you knew? About my home?"

"Just might help fill in the missing pieces. Why you're so…" He stops before he can say it. "Never mind," he mumbles and bows his head to stare at the ground. His black boots move through the dense grass that scratches against his jeans.

"Different? You can say it," she says, offering. "I guess I could ask you the same thing. Where are you from? Why are you so different? Where's your home?"

He stops walking and lifts his eyes from the ground to look at her. With the sun behind her, he has to squint, and he feels foolish when he grimaces at her. "No home. Just here and there."

"All right," she agrees. "Same here. No home. Just here and there."

- - - - -

Sam calls that afternoon to say that he'll be late coming back to the motel. He thinks he found a story about a hellhound a couple hundred miles north of here. Maybe they can leave tomorrow morning? Dean tells him to take his time, and Sam snorts, amused by Dean's words. "You just like being alone with her," he snickers. Dean swears and snaps the phone shut on Sam's laughter.

In the field, she lies down, pulls him with her. He rests on his elbows, stomach against the heated earth, looking over at her as she lies on her back. Side by side, skin barely touching, they rest beneath the slowly setting sun. The bugs flit and flutter in the sky. "Do you want to kiss me again?" she asks, not timid, bold as she has been since the day he found her.

He smiles, soft and private. "Is that really a question?"

His lips meet hers just as she starts to laugh again. Beneath her shirt, he touches her skin, smooth and warm, and he pushes the clothing aside to mouth his way down her stomach. Her hands stroke his neck; her fingers slip through his short and bristled hair. Above them, the wildflowers sway soundlessly, bright heads dancing in the mild breeze.

He pushes aside the skirt she's wearing today, runs his fingers up her legs, past the hot crease behind her knees, and to the curve of her thighs. When she breathes a little shakily, he realizes this might be the first time that he has seen her even slightly unsure, and he meets her eyes. Behind them, in her, he sees only want, only desire, only yes, and that is enough for him. He undoes his pants as she watches.

She gasps sharply when he enters her; she curls into him so that her breasts press against his chest. Just to catch his breath for a moment, he rests his cheek against hers. "Dean," she whispers, hot and wet in his ear, enough to make him shiver under his skin as he gasps. "Dean, please."

Afterwards, they lie together. Pulling herself close to him, she rests her head on his chest and plucks petals from a flower just to keep her hands busy. She's always moving. Like a nervous bird that can't stay still. "We have to go back," she tells him. "It'll be night soon."

He nods. He knows, but he doesn't want to return just yet.

- - - - -

They stay like this, wrapped in a happiness Dean never expected to have, for days. At least, Dean thinks it's days. It seems longer, like months or even years, but he knows that he would remember such an amount of time passing. Even Sam, ending all talk about hunts and monsters, has come to accept her without ever saying so. Accept her and Dean.

While Sam and Dean are in town buying supplies, Sam shuts the refrigerator door where the milk is stored and asks, "You going to marry her or something?" She's back at the motel, and Dean's thankful that she's not around for the moment.

Dean snorts, picks up the paper as they walk by and thumbs to the obituary section. "Yeah, sure. Marry her. The girl we don't even know. Me."

"Way to avoid eye contact, dude," Sam points out, causing Dean to glare up at him.

As the kid at the cash register rings up their lunch and coffee, Dean drops the paper on the counter with a smack. "It can't last forever," he says to the back of Sam's head. "You and I both know that."

"Maybe we do, but what about her?"

Dean rolls his eyes and refuses to answer.

When they arrive at the motel, they drop their bags on the beds with a crinkle of plastic and take off their coats. Although they don't see her, the bathroom door is cracked open, and Dean knocks on it with the back of his knuckles. "Hey?" he calls. "You in there?"

He hears a splash, followed by a startled cry and then the sound of a body falling to the ground. Immediately, he throws open the door, expecting the worst. Expecting a monster, a spirit, a demon. Expecting to see her being held prisoner, bleeding on the floor, even burning on the ceiling. He cannot stop such thoughts.

When he swings the door open, Sam not far behind him, all he sees is her lying on the floor. But he freezes in the doorframe, hand turning white where it grips the knob too tightly, and his mouth open and closes in a series of confused chokes.

Sam, watching over Dean's shoulder, says nothing.

She is sprawled on the yellow tile, naked and wet, and there are tears in her eyes when she finally looks at them. She brings her arms up to conceal herself, but she cannot hide all of her body. Her tail, a large fin of glistening blue scales from her waist down, twitches slowly against the rug. The water sloshes over the side of the bathtub until the waves ebb in slow drips. Without her legs, she cannot run, cannot escape their stares, so she merely bows her head and covers her face with her hands.

- - - - -

Leaving her alone in the bathroom and closing the door behind them, they go outside. "All this time," Sam says, pacing over the gravel that crunches with his every step. He sighs, laces his fingers on the top of his head. "Now what are we supposed to do with her?"

"We don't have to do anything with her." The bugs, fat and black, are already starting to gather around the parking lot light, and they buzz noisily, interrupting his thoughts.

"Dean, in case you haven't noticed," Sam replies, stopping to look pointedly at his brother, "your girlfriend? Is a mermaid."

"Look, just let me talk to her or something."

"And what? We can't change this. It's who she is. What can you do about it?"

"I don't know," Dean snaps harsher than he means. He sighs, softens his tone. "I don't know. You think we would've been expecting something like this."

Sam shakes his head. "I've been expecting something like this since we picked her up. You just haven't been able to see it."

- - - - -

Sam waits at the table, pretending to busy himself with the laptop while Dean enters the bathroom and closes the door behind him. She's dressed now, dried and with two legs that she's brought to her chest as she sits on the toilet, looking out the small window.

"Hey," Dean tries as he leans back against the door.

"Hey," she answers nonchalantly.

The silence immediately sinks in between them, and she doesn't move to look at him. Her hair is wet against her back and has formed a dark damp spot where it rests against her shirt.

"Look," he says, clears his throat and reattempts it. "Look, about earlier…"

"There's nothing to be said, Dean. I'm leaving tonight."

"You don't—"

Finally, she lifts her head and turns to look at him. Her eyes are large and focused in the dwindling light. "It was nice while it lasted, but did you really think it would have lasted forever? I mean, your job…and now? That you know?" She glances away from him again and says blankly, "You've killed better things than me." He doesn't try to deny her statement when they both know the truth.

Slowly, she slides off the closed seat of the toilet and walks to him. Her fingers are cold against his face in her touch, and he can only stare down at her. The lump in his throat is thick and heavy with the knowledge that he'll never see her again.

"Now," she says before she kisses him, "it's time for me to go home."

- - - - -

They drive her to the ocean at sunset. She steps out of the car, says good-bye to Sam and kisses Dean on the cheek. "I might see you around," she whispers in his ear, "if you're ever in the area."

"Maybe," he replies half-heartedly.

She unbraids her hair and walks away from them. They watch as she removes her clothing before walking into the water. With the first white break of a wave, she disappears under, and then resurfaces with a flick of her tail to the sinking sun. After that, she is gone, and Dean sighs raggedly. "We'll see her again," Sam reassures him as they return to the car, moving slowly across the sand. "We can always come back again."

"Yeah," Dean whispers, more to himself than Sam. "Yeah, I know." He looks over his shoulder, hoping to see her for one last time, wishing that she will have risen from the water to return to him again. But he only sees her fading footprints, small and dark on the sand, to show that she existed at all.