Stiles always liked winter best.
The chill in the air, the snow, the sharp glare of the sun. The biting cold of it. For some reason he felt at his best right then: his body energized and mind fast, heart full of incomprehensible joy.
He thought it might be because the low temperature didn’t affect him the way it did other people he knew. He never had to layer up more to stay warm, never caught colds from staying out playing in the snow and getting absolutely soaked.
Sure, he got sick later from Scott and they spent a week sniffling and being miserable, sometimes even holed up together to make it easier on their parents.
His hands are always cold.
It’s something he uses to his advantage when he sneaks up on somebody, suddenly touching his hand to his dad’s or Scott’s bare backs, or Melissa’s nape that one time (the startled ass kicking he got then made it so not worth the trouble), and laugh when they flinch away.
They don’t warm up even in the summer when the heat makes everyone agitated and drowsy, avoiding clothes and touching. In fact, Scott will always pull one of Stiles’ hands and put it on his neck or forehead and use Stiles to cool down like a pack of ice.
Things changed as he got older and got even more involved into the supernatural world, practically running head first into it after things calmed down a bit after the Alpha Pack and the Darach were dealt with.
Deaton claims it’s the exposure to magic and magical beings that has Stiles’ inherent Spark waking up. Stiles rolls his eyes and tries not to freak out.
The vet has him meditating, teaches him calming techniques much alike to the ones Stiles already knows thanks to his ADHD and panic attacks. He hands him one old tome after another to read and tells him to memorize runes.
Somehow it doesn’t do much in the way of help and Stiles still ends up freezing all liquid in the room whenever he’s very angry, scared or sad. Or even overjoyed. Basically any strong emotion he feels means that they have to deal with a lot of ice.
Erica and Isaac find it really amusing and try to rile him up every chance they get. Up until it causes Peter to chip his tooth on his frappucino.
The wolf grows his tooth back, but it does not stop his revenge.
What sort of punishment Peter has enacted Stiles isn’t sure he wants to know and he doesn’t really care to. All that matters is that the betas stopped playing games with him.
Stiles feels a bit like a character in Harry Potter, with how much time he spends on herbology books and studying runes, but it gives him that much more motivation to learn so he won’t let anybody take that away from him. Also, he’s learning magic, who’d ever complain about that?
There’s a lot of good points to this: learning how to protect his family and pack, being able to protect himself, actually managing to control his emotion enough so that his friends start drinking around him normally again. He feels calmer and stronger, and it boosts his mood a lot.
But in the end, it’s not spells or talismans, or perfect mountain ash circles that save him from freezing in the ice cold lake.
He ends up playing bait to their latest monstrous critter.
It’s not what they planned and prepared for, and most definitely not how Stiles wants to spend his winter break. But monsters can’t be expected to follow the rules, and the Wihwin certainly didn’t seem the kind to play nice with others.
What the horse-shaped creature seems to enjoy though is snapping his horrid teeth dangerously close to Stiles’ calves, making him shriek and push his body to run even faster.
Blind panic does not serve him well.
He doesn’t notice he took a wrong turn and is running over the surface of the lake until his feet start slipping on the snow-covered ice. And then the Wihwin neighs, -- if Stiles can call the distorted, grinding sound a neigh, -- and the solid ice separating Stiles from freezing water cracks.
One moment he’s still skidding forwards, the next he’s falling, fingers grabbing at the ice uselessly as he falls into the black, cold water.
For a moment all he can see is the grey of the sky right above him and the ridged edges of the ice, so distant yet seeming just within reach. He tries to grasp at it, kicking furiously with his legs to bring himself back towards the surface, but he doesn’t even get a hand out of the water before teeth clamp on his calf and pull .
Bubbles of air escape his mouth as he yells in pain, yells in terror and despair because he’s going to die.
He can’t die. His dad won’t make it without him, Scott won’t make it without him. Stiles only just started college! His pack needs him! And Peter--!
Stiles kicks hard with his free leg at where the Wihwin’s head should be. Kicks again, even if he can’t put much force behind it under water.
He feels a deep chill expand from within his chest, thinks it might finally be the cold that’s catching up to him, but the creature finally lets go and he doesn’t care. He’s free!
He’s free and all he needs is a bit of strength to push himself up towards the shrinking circle of white and grey.
He thinks he sees someone up there, a shape distorted by the water. But his chest hurts, his head feels like it’s about to explode, and he can barely keep his eyes open.
Something catches his hands and he wants to struggle, wants to cry in anguish because he thought the creepy horse gave up. But there’s barely any strength left in him and he can’t do a thing as he’s being dragged in one direction or another.
He comes to wheezing, his throat constricting as he chokes on water until someone turns him to the side and he can puke it all out.
Stiles curls up as he coughs and coughs. His whole body hurts, especially his calf, but he’s just so glad to be alive and out of the water that the pain feels like relief. He’s certain he’ll change his mind in a minute, but right now he’s way more focused on breathing and the hand rubbing big, calming circles over his back.
Stiles blinks furiously, trying to clear lake water and tears from his eyes. It doesn’t do much though, so he tries to lever himself up. He grunts out a thank you when the person rubbing his back helps him sit up, keeping a hold on his shoulder to prop him, and hands him a handkerchief so he can clean up his face a bit.
When Stiles can finally see, just about the whole pack is there around him, in various states of hurt and distressed. And they’re all staring at him.
But it’s not their usual we were worried, you almost died kind of look. This one is something more.
“Stiles, are you okay?” Scott asks him again.
He’s kneeling at Stiles’ side, arms outstretched like he wants to reach for Stiles, but something is holding him back, and the way he looks at Stiles makes him feel like he’s not out of danger yet.
“What is it?” Stiles asks, coughs a few more times when the words come out a bit gruff, “Why are you all looking at me like that?”
“Look at your hands and feet,” the person holding him up suggests and Stiles finally realizes it’s Peter. The handkerchief should have clued him in.
He also should be a bit more surprised to see his arms and feet covered in thick, white fur, with white sharp claws at the ends, but he suddenly feels way too tired for that.
“Huh,” is all he says as he slumps against Peter, “I guess that explains why I’m not freezing cold right now.”
Deaton, as per usual, isn’t surprised at all by the turn of events.
He looks Stiles over, hums and I see ’s a lot as he checks over Stiles’ transformed limbs and flashes some light at Stiles’ eyes. Isaas already informed him that they’re pitch black and suggested exorcisms, but Boyd cuffed him over the head before he went too far.
Finally, Stiles has enough of the prodding and snaps.
“What’s the verdict, doc? Will I live?”
The look Deaton gives him is wholly unimpressed, but he steps away from Stiles, thankfully, and addresses the room at large.
“As far as I can tell you’re some sort of a winter-creature hybrid, though I can’t tell exactly which creatures would it be exactly. My guess would be Yeti, but their eyes aren’t black.”
Stiles snorts. Of course.
“That’s super helpful and all, but do you at least know how I get myself back to normal?”
“Just like any other shifter, Stiles,” Deaton tells him in a tone suggesting he about had it with him, “Find an anchor.”
Stiles glares at the vet as the man retreats to another room. Then looks back down to his arms and legs and huffs. At least his leg seems to have healed.
“I guess I wasn’t that far off when I told Matt that I was the abominable snowman,” he tells Scott.
He, Derek and Peter accompanied Stiles to the clinic while the rest of the pack was sent to the loft to wait for news on Stiles’ condition.
They all watched Deaton check up on Stiles, but Peter is the only one that seems amused by Stiles’ words. Derek is wearing his usual scowl and Scott is frowning, both of them obviously worried.
“C’mon guys,” Stiles sighs, “I’m all good, if a little hairy. Take me home so I can do some anchoring somewhere that doesn’t smell of cat piss.”
“Are you sure? All the others are at the loft now,” Scott asks him even as he helps him off the examination table.
Stiles need a bit of time to relearn how to operate his upgraded limbs.
Stiles slings one fur-covered arm over Scott’s shoulders and they amble towards the door that Derek is already holding open for them.
“Yeah, buddy. I’ve had enough poking for now. I need some peace and quiet to get rid of these,” he wiggles his claws for emphasis. “Besides, I think I should discuss our family tree with dad.”
His dad seems to be just as surprised as Stiles with the new state of his son’s body, and he’s unable to offer any sort of clue that might help them figure it out. They don’t really have any distant relatives they could turn to, all the close ones already dead. Stiles briefly wonders if his mother knew and shared the abilities, but he doesn’t remember her to ever being cold.
The wolves leave for their respective homes, after Derek made Stiles promise he’d inform them of any change, and his dad gives him a long, Stilinski-famous hug, before he retreats for the night.
But only after telling Stiles not to shed on the couch.
“Love you too, dad,” Stiles yells back after him and goes up to his own room to do some breathing.
At least all the training and meditation exercises Deaton put him through will come in handy.
He shreds what remains of his pants with his claws and falls back on his bed, starfishing over the sheets. It would be better to sit cross-legged, that’s for sure, but Stiles thinks he might end up tearing his Iron Man covers that way and it’s too great a risk to take.
Besides, he’s way too tired to sit.
He closes his eyes and regulates his breathing. It comes easy now - emptying his head, clearing out all stray thought. The exhaustion actually helps him focus this time and he finds his core within seconds.
He always imagined it as a group of squiggles twisted together into a ball. It’s always in motion much like him, wiggling around no matter how it was bound. He’d see it as a tight, black ball that he’d focus on untangling until it would be looser with warm, yellow light shining through.
This time as he relaxes and unwinds, the light is pale blue.
He finds it fitting.
It’s not-- Stiles doesn’t suddenly start sprouting fur at random occasions. Doesn’t yeti-up, the way Scott has come to call it.
He gets his share of bigfoot jokes in revenge for all the wolf and dog ones he’s made over the years, but otherwise for the most part things remain the same.
Though some of them Stiles sees in a new light.
Peter always has an excuse to hang around Stiles these days. To a point where he seems almost drawn to him. Like a moth to a flame, which is quite an unfortunate comparison. Even if there’s truth there.
Stiles likes to think of himself as an observant guy, but it still takes him weeks to notice. Maybe months. He’d push the blame on Peter and how sneaky the wolf can be when he wants to. But if he’s honest, Stiles was too busy enjoying it to put much thought behind the reason for it.
They’re always touching.
It’s all innocent and tame: a guiding hand on Stiles’ back, a brush of Peter’s fingers over Stiles’ nape, their shoulders pressed together when they’re looking over a book or sitting on the couch during a pack night. The other wolves are just as tactile with Stiles, there’s no doubt about it, he’s been victim to his own share of impromptu puppy piles.
But Peter only ever touches him.
And Stiles is flattered, really, who wouldn’t want to have a man like Peter Hale on them. But the more attention he pays to their closeness the more he notices the pattern.
Peter never allows others to crowd around him, box him in in tight places. And that could be explained with Peter planning something nefarious or the lack of trust between him and the pack, but they’ve all came a long way over the years.
Yet he’s always on the outskirts.
But he’s further away the hotter it gets and it doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. Especially when Stiles watches closely how Peter behaves around fire.
The conclusion Stiles comes to is so devastatingly sad that the next time Stiles sees Peter he almost goes in for a hug. Instead though, he starts training a bit harder and works on controlling his powers.
Then he goes for a hug anyways, just to see the look on Peter's face.
He’s more than a little surprised when, after the initial shock, Peter simply goes with it and hugs him back. And it’s not a short, awkward kind of embrace. It’s a full on hug that lasts and they both kind of melt into it. Stiles laughs, giddy, when he feels Peter tuck his nose into his neck and snuffle.
But then again, Stiles picked a really hot day to force the hug on Peter. He should have expected it to end like this.
It's a full-body, chest-to-hip, knees touching contact that lasts more than the recommended twenty seconds, and when they finally part Peter’s skin feels cooler, and Stiles is drunk on the way it felt.
After that he becomes something of an addict and instead of just enjoying Peter hanging around him, he searches the man out himself. It’s pretty intoxicating, witnessing Peter’s softer side. It’s dizzying and empowering to be trusted like that by the werewolf.
Because it is trust: Peter touching Stiles to chase away the flames licking at his skin and having confidence that Stiles will do just that. And won’t use it against him.
It’s what hooks Stiles in and he starts paying closer attention to the temperature around them. Watches for the moments when the heat is too much for Peter to stand, when he sees his jaw clench and his hands twitch, his stance widen until he can stand it no longer.
Sometimes Peter is too stubborn for his own good and fights not to show weakness in front of the pack and Stiles has to go to him. Has to jostle their shoulders, stand close enough to hide the hand that seeks out Peter’s wrist to send a chill up his spine. He acts playful with him, swatting at the werewolf or poking at his sides, fake-tickling him to watch Peter’s face flash between annoyance and relief.
There are moments when Stiles can’t disguise contact between them as picking at each other, as something completely casual. All he can do is crowd against Peter and sneak a hand beneath his shirt and out of view, splay his fingers over the small of his back and concentrate. Slowly cool Peter down. Peter always relaxes when he does that; Stiles can feel the tense muscles relax, the tension melting away as Peter falls into him a little. He’s always a bit gentler, after, less snippy and more prone to help.
It’s easier when they’re alone and Peter can just… slump against him. Press their sides together or rest his face in the crook of Stiles’ neck. Grab Stiles’ hand and drag it over to his forehead or nape in the hope of cooling down. If he sometimes takes a moment to let Stiles’ palm rest against his cheek, his lip lingering on the inside of Stiles’ wrist and Stiles’ heart flutters in his chest like a caged bird, neither of them comments on it.
In the summer, Peter can be rarely seen outside in daylight, and Stiles gets away with calling him a vampire because his snowman powers stop Peter from going on a killing rampage. When Peter isn’t confining himself to his air-conditioned apartment, he’s making like a fish in the public pool. Or stalking Stiles until he gives in and blows cold air on him leaving him frosted over for a bit.
Peter suggests another sort of blowing, but backs out when Stiles smirks and black glints in his eyes. He doesn’t seem fond of frostbite on his dick.
In winter, Derek likes to have the heating on as high as he can stand it, which is frankly odd for a werewolf that runs warmer than your average human, and it sets the blood under Peter's skin on fire. If they’re over at Derek's, he always makes sure to stay near Stiles. Stiles never minds.
Though if Peter gets too snarky Stiles doesn't hold back from freezing his eyebrows, and -- in extreme cases -- his coffee. He isn’t cruel enough to ban Peter, no matter how angry he sometimes gets at the wolf. He’ll go overboard to make him pay for being mean, but he’ll never take the chill away.
They’re both assholes and they both sometimes go too far with their sarcasm and biting comments. But as vindictive as Stiles can be he’ll always relent and brush his wrist against Peter’s or card his fingers through Peter’s hair.
It's... nice being allowed to touch Peter like that. Nice being depended on and trusted to help. It's so nice actually that Stiles sometimes gets lost in it and the air around them cools until their breath fogs up. So nice that sometimes frost runs from his fingers and he turns strands of Peter's hair white.
Which is all well and amusing because Peter will run his fingers through his hair every so often and make the most ridiculous face when he encounters the frost and ice there. The scowl is Stiles's favourite.
To the rest of the pack, it's weird, but innocuous enough that they don't comment.
It's very much just a them thing. The pack doesn't get to see this side of Peter. It's just for Stiles. Conversely, Stiles doesn't quite act like this with anyone else. It's not just something he does casually.
It carries on like that: innocent touches, amused smiles, not-quite-cuddling. It's good for both of them and doesn't really have to lead to more, not just yet even if they know it could.
But then the ifrits happen.
Stiles is, quite obviously, their main defence as well as attack force, but he can only do so much against three of them.
The ground is between frozen, muddy, and charred in places. The air stifling no matter which side you're on.
Stiles is bone tired and dropping after a long, drawn out fight, but there's only one more fire demon left. They can manage, he can manage. But his focus slips and he staggers, and Peter moves to catch him.
And he’s in the line of fire.
His pained scream makes something in Stiles break and open wide, and it feels like a gust of freezing air is coming from within and his eyes turn white.
With a flick of his wrist he puts a sheen of ice over Peter, waits until Derek and Lydia pull him away before he turns to the ifrit.
He opens his mouth as if to scream.
But it's not his voice that comes, but a blizzard that covers up the demon so fast that it steams almost viciously. When the cloud and rain subside all that's left is a giant puddle, delicately covered by ice.
Stiles doesn’t even get a chance to check on Peter before he collapses.
He wakes up not long after, in the big tub in Peter’s bathroom, both of them stripped to their boxers and submerged to their shoulders in lukewarm water. It’s pretty much to kill two birds with one stone because Stiles is too tired to keep his body from chilling the air around them, and Peter needs to cool down.
From what Stiles can see, the burns on Peter’s side and face, the places the ifrit caught with his flame, are already mostly healed, the skin pink and new. But when he skims his fingers down Peter’s arm the werewolf feels too hot to the touch.
Stiles uses what little energy he has to move Peter around, so that when Peter finally comes to, its with his back plastered to Stiles's chest, their legs tangled together and his chest being groped by Stiles, running broad sweeps up and down from his pecs to his bellybutton and back.
The heat must be slowly dropping away, the cloudy haze of pain and terror clearing from his mind as Stiles continues his ministrations, quiet for once. He knows that Peter's back to being in control again, but he keeps his silence. Lets Peter come down on his own, waits for him to speak first.
Peter doesn't speak for a long moment, just sinks into the touch and relishes in it.
It makes Stiles huff a laugh against Peter's temple, wrap his arms tight around Peter's chest and presses his forehead to Peter's shoulder.
“For someone who always claims to be the smartest out of us all, you're such a fucking idiot,” Stiles tells him, not even trying to hide the quiver in his voice.
“I'm smart, not masochistic,” Peter replies, his head lolling back against Stiles' shoulder, staring at the ceiling and nothing at all. “If I didn't have you around, I might actually be forced to treat Derek like my equal.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, jostling his shoulder playfully.
“What a tragedy that would be. I can't imagine the horror,” he replies, tone droll.
Peter hums, catches Stiles' hands when Stiles loosens his hold and keeps them wrapped at his chest. “Mm, spend a day with him, you'll understand the pain.”
Stiles stays silent for a moment, rubbing his thumb over Peter's chest where his heart is.
“We should get out of the tub,” he finally says, “You're starting to prune.”
Peter hums like he's thinking about it. Says, “But I like having you at my mercy.”
Stiles huffs out a laugh, pinching Peter's nipple in reprimand.
“I don't know if it counts as being at your mercy if the only reason I can't do anything is because you're sitting on me.”
“Kinky,” Peter comments, completely ignoring what Stiles just said. “If I knew you were into nipple play, I would have spent a lot more time shirtless.”
Instead of responding, Stiles pokes him in the chest.
“I don't know about you, but I don't pull looking like a ninety year old off well. If you aren't getting out, at least let me.”
“You're so demanding," Peter sighs, but does get up and out of the tub. He sways a bit, still somewhat weak, but steadies himself soon enough.
Stiles follows, much steadier on his feet, taking a moment to appreciate the way the wet material of his underwear clings to Peter’s ass. He’s allowed to, he thinks, they’ve been possyfooting around this enough.
Which is why by the time Peter turns to hand Stiles one of the towels, Stiles has already pushed his wet boxers down and off.
Peter stands stock still for a moment, just staring at Stiles as he towels off completely unbothered by the way the werewolf looks at him.
Stiles isn’t a blushing virgin and college was good to him. He learned just how sexy confidence can be, how it can make people burn in pleasurable ways. Peter seems to appreciate it, the fact that Stiles isn’t shying away from him.
His blue eyes are hungry and intent, and Stiles knows Peter wants him just as much as Stiles does. And if he had more strength, he'd be all up on that.
As it is, though, he settles for shuffling closer and draping the towel over Peter’s chest, smiling coyly at him, “Need help drying off?"
He relishes in the way Peter laughs at that, in the freedom of running the towel over Peter’s body. In the way Peter’s hands feel on his hips, they way those fingers fit the curves of his body.
He also takes great pleasure in rubbing the towel over Peter's head, leaving his hair ruffled and disheveled like he's never seen before.
Peter isn't amused.
He huffs and puffs so much that Stiles actually compares him to the big, bad wolf, then dutifully finger-combs it back into some semblance of what it normally looks like.
“I can freeze it into your usual, if you want,” he suggests, laughs when Peter makes a face, placates him with a soft, chaste kiss.
Then he just grabs Peter's arm and pulls him towards Peter's bedroom and into bed. Wraps himself around Peter tightly.
"You're making good on that promise of nipple play tomorrow," he tells Peter, yawns, and nuzzles close.
Peter seems unable to help the quiet little laugh as he settles against Stiles' chest. Or the way he stretches his neck to plant a kiss to the corner of Stiles' mouth before he presses his nose to Stiles' jaw.
Stiles lets himself fall asleep to the sound of Peter’s breathing.