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The northern winds were cold, they whipped and whistled through the forest in a blast of icy air; the cold brought a feeling of home. Yifan adored the temperature fall in the winter, he always had. Yixing hated it with a vehemence that led to prolonged periods of whining while he was in his animal form and pouting when he wasn’t. However, in more recent months, Yifan had a reason to fear the icy licks of winter. He was aware of the little whimpers rising up from just behind his paws. The leaves on the ground were accented with small white daggers of frost and Yifan hoped that the smaller creatures plodded where his fleshy pads had melted the frozen dirt in the presses of his paws. He could feel Yixing’s nose ushering the odd straying pup back under Yifan’s warm body as he acted like a windbreak for them all.

The largest of the group of wolves guided them through the undergrowth, sticking to the thicker clutches of the forest in hopes that would ward off the worst of the snowy weather. He felt guilty that they were travelling so late in the season but there had been no other choice, they couldn’t move when the cubs were too small but waiting had taken them straight into the biting jaws of a storm.

climbFinding a pitiful, but out of the wind, cave had brought a relieved sigh from the smaller adult wolf and Yifan could only share the sentiment when he guided their pups through the entrance and into the air that was a few degrees warmer than it was outside. Yixing didn’t shift like he normally would when they would reach their makeshift homes but the younger wolf remained in his warmer furs, looking at Yifan expectantly. He dropped the bag he’d been carrying in his mouth, nudging it towards the elder of the two before returning his attention to their cubs.

Yifan understood the signal he had been given, the younger had wanted him to go searching for firewood in his human form in hopes of keeping their family warm while the storm passed. It wasn’t unusual for such things to happen but he could hear the soft vibrations of his children shivering, their small pointed teeth clattering in the cave and he longed to envelop them in his thick, black fur. He could warm them better than any fire could, especially if they shifted into their baby human forms, their bare skin gaining direct contact with his heavily insulated body. He observed his mate attempting to do what Yifan normally did for them all, his considerably smaller body produced far less heat and his fur didn’t quite fluff out like Yifan’s winter coat did.

So he shifted, dragged clothes over his limbs and ran out into the snowy blizzard, he raked through the snow and fallen leaves for dry wood. He knew he couldn’t return with anything less than a bundled armful, especially if it was to last them at least through the night. He scoured for miles, ignoring how his skin prickled with the cold and the wind blew through his unkempt hair, he placed his stubborn attitude into the vision of keeping his cubs warm through the wild climate.

There was nothing better than hearing the satisfying crackle of a fire, the pops of wood as it gave in to the pressure of heat and the flickering light cast everything in a hue of orange. The human had set the fire up and the flames were already climbing upwards and throwing out heat. Yifan’s skin gave its way to his dark pelt and almost immediately there were four wet noses pressing through his fur in search of more warmth than they were receiving from his mate. Yixing’s smaller form also sought comfort from Yifan, his quivering body shifting back to human as he bracketed their slowly changing children into Yifan’s hot stomach. The eldest of the six curled his oversized body around his family, his long tail reaching so far around that it managed to reach his own snout. It was a relief to feel all five bodies encapsulated by his own quickly still into sighing warmth as they gained warmth from each other and Yifan.

Yixing’s human face looked admiringly at Yifan, making the large wolf chuff out happily and Yixing tilted his face up to burrow his small nose into Yifan’s muzzle, taking in the raw animalistic scent that the wolf carried. Yifan pulled back, his black lipped mouth coming in line with the younger’s, pinked from the cold, facial features before delicately lapping at them with his hot tongue. It was a gesture Yixing had grown to love when he used to hate it; his mate’s way of displaying his adoring attitude and he readily accepted it, he even leant into it when heat rushed over where his skin was the coldest.