My first shot at a semi-serious h/c - I dedicate this little effort to anyone who has ever suffered from the misery of sea-sickness!
Disclaimer: I own nothing except my own soppy mind!
"Freakin' Mermaids", groaned Dean, slumped miserably against the deck rails; Sam leaned close to his brother, rubbing his back in time with the boat's rhythmic sway, as it sat anchored at the spot where a number of sailors and divers had gone missing over recent weeks.
Another violent lurch forward had Sam grabbing his brother's shoulder to stop him toppling overboard.
"S'okay, Dean, I gotcha, you're ok" Sam repeated the words mindlessly, "you're OK Dean, take it easy bro".
"the Dramamine should kick in soon" soothed Sam, as much for his own benefit as Dean's.
"I don' think so" slurred Dean, pointing out across the water, "it floated off over there with the remains of my breakfast about half an hour ago".
A figure appeared in the doorway of the small cabin behind them.
"How's he doing?" asked Bobby,
"That good, huh?"
Dean leaned heavily against the rail, resting his head on his folded arms. "Why'd they hafta live in water Sammy?" he mumbled pitifully into the crook of his elbow.
"Sorta bit hard to live anywhere else when you're half fish," replied Sam, his hand circling Dean's heaving back. He felt the warm dampness radiating through Dean's shirt, and the heavy beat of his heart as his body began to succumb to the exhaustion of the relentless sickness. Sam removed his own overshirt and draped it over his brother's shoulders, pulling him close.
Dean turned his head with what seemed like momentous effort to look back into Sam's face, glassy green eyes wide and vacant against a sickly grey pallor. "Sammy, don' like boats".
"I had noticed" smiled Sam.
Bobby emerged from the doorway again carrying a small tumbler of dry ginger, and handed it to Sam. "Try him with this, it might settle his stomach".
"Hey" moaned Dean, "quit talking about me like I ain't here; I'm not dead yet."
Sam smiled at his brother's melodrama and handed him the drink. "Small sips" he said, before relinquishing his hold on the tumbler.
Dean glared at him, "and I haven't puked my brain out yet either, dude, so stop treatin' me like a friggin' cretin". He took the drink and stared at it briefly like it was lethally toxic before taking a couple of tentative sips.
"Jeez, son" said Bobby, scratching his head under his cap, "you're no traveller are you? You were heaving up before we left the harbour". Dean turned a heavy lidded glare onto Bobby. "I c'n travel" he slurred, "I just like to keep my feet on terra-terra - er - terra cotta".
Sam turned away and stifled a chuckle.
A chuckle which was abruptly interrupted when Sam felt his brother's body begin to convulse violently once again.
Dean gripped the rail as the dry ginger made a noisy and violent reappearance, Sam clutched his brother as his legs gave way.
"nnnnnuuuurrrrrgghhhhhhh-uuuuugggghhh - hhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagghh"
Sam knew that it was over when Dean went limp in his arms. He was utterly spent, panting loudly, each breath sounding like a strained sob.
"Sam?" he looked up at his brother, his face, parchment white, teary green eyes, a whole new definition of pitiful.
"What Dean?" Sam held his brother tight.
Sam smiled sadly, "no can do, bro'"
Bobby spoke up, "sun's going down, it's gonna start gettin' real cold - we need to get him downstairs." He was aware that Dean was shivering so hard against his brother, it was Sam's teeth he could hear chattering.
"No." gasped Dean through clenched teeth, "don' wan' go downstairs"
"why not?" Sam and Bobby asked in unison.
"I'll puke" Dean squeaked between convulsive swallows
Sam and Bobby looked at each other, "as opposed to what, boy?" asked Bobby
Dean had no time to answer before he launched into another impressive performance over the side.
By the end he was so weak, Sam's strong arms were the only thing stopping Dean from a catastrophic faceplant on the deck.
"Right, dude" announced Sam, authoritatively, "I am taking you into the cabin, you need to get some sleep, you might even find your sea-legs better down there." Dean tried to shake his head, but the motion made the nausea rise again, and he settled for an attempt at an angry glare.
"Don't pout" scolded Sam with a grin.
Sam thought briefly; it was all very well him lecturing Dean on his lack of sea-legs, Sam wasn't sure if his own were up to carrying his 180 pound brother down a narrow cabin staircase in a rocking boat.
He eventually settled on coaxing Dean to his feet and manoeuvring his arm over his shoulder; he wrapped his other arm around Dean's waist.
"Wanna dance?" Sam grinned mischeviously.
Dean's legs were like chewed elastic, and it took all of Sam's strength and co-ordination to get himself and his brother down the steps in one piece.
Inside the cosy sleeping cabin, Sam set Dean down on one of the bunks while Bobby took no chances and placed a bucket on the floor beside him.
Dean looked up at the older man.
"appreciate the optimism, thanks."
Bobby shrugged apologetically. "Not my boat, son, I only borrowed it from a friend, sorry".
He trotted back up the ladder, and moments later, headed straight back down with a glass of water and another Dramamine tablet.
Sam was sat on the side of the bunk working Dean out of his sweat soaked T shirt. Leaning against his brother, Dean looked over Sam's shoulder at Bobby, "hey, I know it's a sight to behold, but no audience if you don't mind!"
Bobby shook his head with a laugh. "don't flatter yerself kid, you ain't my type!"
he climbed the steps out of the sleeping cabin, but cringed when he heard a familiar and distinctly unwelcome sound …
He could hear Sam whispering soft and increasingly desperate reassurances to his brother, and Bobby made a decision there and then.
He would abandon the hunt.
Sam folded Dean's jeans, and pulled the blanket up over his brother who was curled up on his side, looking so frail, it broke Sam's heart; Sam crouched down and placed his hand on Dean's head.
"Hey, bro, do you think you can keep down some water?"
Dean chewed his thumbnail and shook his head miserably.
This was no longer funny. Dean was becoming dangerously dehydrated and there was no sign of the sickness abating, not as long as Dean was trapped on this boat. His pallor had taken on a green tinge, and he looked just about as sick as Sam had ever seen him look. The fact that Bobby seemed to have started the boat's engine didn't help one bit. Sam would have to have a word.
He climbed up the steps to find Bobby standing at the back of the boat, hand on the rudder.
"Hey Bobby!" Sam strolled over to the older man.
"We're going back" said Bobby matter-of-factly.
Sam stopped in his tracks. "W-what about the Mermaid?"
Bobby shrugged. "I can send someone else, or go back some other time." He looked Sam directly in the eye. "I can't watch that boy suffer a moment longer".
Sam stared at the older man, and felt his eyes well up. "Bobby…" he whispered.
"what …?" Bobby saw the expression on Sam's face, "you ain't gonna go all mushy on me are ya?" He shifted the rudder, "You should get yer ass down that ladder, make sure your brother hasn't yakked up his gall bladder yet".
Sam smiled, and headed back to the cabin, the last thing he wanted to do was embarrass Bobby.
He stopped briefly, gazing out to the horizon. He considered a situation where that was his father at the rudder, not Bobby. Would his dad have made the same decision to abandon the hunt for Dean's welfare? He was forced to conclude that he would not.
He didn't know whether to be sad that he thought that of his dad, or happy that they had Bobby looking out for them now.
The following day, the three of them sat in a small diner on the quayside. Dean was in the process of putting away an impressive concoction of bacon, sausages, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, and more toast than Sam had ever seen on one table.
"Must've been something I ate" Dean announced around a chewed up mushroom.
Sam shook his head incredulously, "you were seasick, dude".
"I WAS SO NOT SEASICK!" Dean countered, he turned to Bobby, "I wasn't seasick Bobby, was I?"
Bobby smiled behind his hand, "well, for someone with a bad dose of gut rot, you certainly made a miraculous recovery as soon as your feet touched concrete."
"Anyway," he said, changing the subject, "what happened to the Mermaid?"
Sam looked at Bobby. "Got word she'd moved on, so I need to go back and do some more research" he said casually, stabbing a sausage with his fork.
Dean would never have to know they abandoned the hunt for his sake. He was his father's son.
Hope you like … let me know!