The girl has an ice-carved look, her features all in sharp shades of blue and white, a cold drowning depth to the shadows and hollows of her face. Tragic eyes and a thin white nightgown that would make Dean shiver to look at her if he weren't already as cold as he's ever been.
"Snegurochka," Dean says, clicking out the final syllable with relish, and her eyes widen. Tiny flecks of ice fall from her lashes and Dean has to remind himself to breathe; the air is thin and unsatisfying. "Why couldn't you have been like the legends, huh? Fall in love, love melts your heart, you melt away. Simple."
But, in line with Dean's luck lately, far too good to be true. So instead he got three frozen corpses and two hours in Starbucks flirting with the blonde at the next table while Sam did research and tried in vain to stop Dean from stealing his gingerbread latte. (Girly coffee doesn't count if it's someone else's. That's the rule.)
"I'm so cold." Her voice is soft -- not quite rasping, but almost -- and her breath does not fog up between them as she reaches out towards him. "So cold. Will you warm me up?"
"Uh-uh." He steps sideways, but the tip of her finger grazes his arm and the chill slices inwards, breathtakingly sudden, seeking his heart. Dean listens to the ta-thump ta-thump of his pulse and visualises warm blood, sluicing, dissolving the cold; a stupid psychology trick but it's what saved the only survivor they talked to, the man with black fingers and haunted eyes but a life, a life, and Dean may not have much of a life left but he's holding on damn tight to what remains and any crazy ice-harpy can damn well keep her hands to herself, her small grasping ricepaper hands --
"Hold me," she whispers, and Dean slaps the side of his own face, finding clarity in the sting. Blood. Warmth. Focus.
"Nice try, sweetheart, but my brains don't muddle that easily." Footsteps in the snow outside, but he doesn't move his gaze. The splintered corner of a table bumps his hip; he's running out of space, and she's still reaching.
"Duck." Sam's yell carries in the cold air and grabs hold of Dean's body by the tendons, throwing him to the floor as something bright and smouldering comes through the naked, glassless window. He can smell copper and cloves and fire, and hear crackling sounds that resolve into a high weird shriek as the snegurochka burns.
And then silence, and then a low whistle that Dean would know anywhere, and his brother pulling him upwards from the frozen floor.
"Christ." Dean slumps against the wall and lifts his hands to inspect them: white and pinched and numbed. "Good timing there, Sammy."
"Hey." Sam half-frowns and Dean almost says something smart about how it's a good thing the hot one of them was the one playing bait, ha ha, but then Sam's warm hands close over his and he doesn't have to visualise the warmth because he can feel it, tingles and jabs that are almost painful; his blood and Sam's rushing towards the skin-border from both sides, and connecting.