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Snow, Storms and Sterek

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‘Dude would you just sit still?’ asks Scott exasperatedly, shaking his head at Stiles. Stiles, who is contorted into an uncomfortable looking cross-legged position in an aeroplane seat that is far too small for his gangly legs, just drums his long fingers agitatedly against the plastic armrest between their chairs and hums The Funeral March at an increasingly frantic pace.
‘Look dude, I have told you a million times that flying is actually really safe’ continues Scott in yet another attempt to get Stiles to calm down. ‘You are way more likely to die in a car or even on a horse than you are on a plane.’

Stiles halts his erratic drumming to answer in a rushed and sarcastic tone: ‘Wow thanks Scott, so even if I make it off this plane alive - which is unlikely given that 9 flights from this airline have resulted in passenger deaths this year, not to mention we will be experiencing above-average turbulence over Michigan due to strong winds and heavy rain according to this weather app I found at midnight last night - *Scott rolls his eyes* - I may die on the coach from the airport to the ski lodge. Will that be due to black ice, lighting or wolves I wonder?’

Suddenly Stiles’ chair jerks back as two strong hands grab it from behind. An angry, frowning face that is 70% eyebrow and 30% cheekbone looms over Stiles menacingly.
‘You will be dying by my hand on this very plane if you don’t shut up for the rest of the flight’ it snarls before releasing the chair, sending Stiles flying into the TV screen of the chair in front. He grunts as his cheek smooshes against the faintly sticky plastic. He doesn’t think that Boyd even notices, too wrapped up is he in the free plane blanket that he is sharing with his girlfriend Erica. Great, Stiles thinks gloomily, he is doomed to spend his final few hours alive stuck between a lovesick puppy in front and Grumpy McGrumpster behind.

He turns around to see those unruly eyebrows raised sharply at him, in a universal ‘You understand?’ expression. Stiles hastily nods before slumping down in his seat and looking left at Scott.

‘Don’t mind Derek man, you know he always acts like he has swallowed a wasp’ says Scott.

‘Yeah, but only around me’ mutters Stiles. He is pretty sure that Derek hates him. Derek isn’t exactly friendly to everyone, but he seems to tolerate Scott and Isaac, and Stiles had even seen him laugh once at something that Erica said. That had probably been a highlight of Stiles’ life. He had had this intense feeling that he wanted to be the one to make Derek laugh, but whenever he tried – by way of a well-timed pun or sarcastic quip – Derek would only scowl and stalk away.

‘Yeah well, don’t let him ruin your trip. This is going to be the best week ever!’

Stiles smiles weakly at a beaming Scott, and lets out a huff of nervous laughter as the plane starts to move. Of course Scott would say that, the apparent natural that he is on skis despite only skiing a handful of times as a child before money got tight. Stiles on the other hand had been dry slope skiing once, caused the simple chairlift to be stopped seven times and only made it down the slope once without taking anyone out. It was going to be a miracle if he got through the week without a trip – or multiple – to the ER. But of course when Scott begged him to come on the ski trip with those puppy-dog eyes he had immediately said yes, and had spent the following months working extra shifts at the café to fund this ludicrous trip.

He sighs and tries not to get annoyed when Scott bumps his elbow of the armrest as he turns round to talk to Isaac behind him. Isaac is already wearing a woolly Fair Isle print scarf that somehow manages to look fashionable with his black Jack Wolfskin jacket and dark jeans. Stiles doesn’t need to look at Scott to know that the heart eyes are out in full force. Scott wouldn’t even notice if he skied into a ravine or got eaten by a bear, he thinks glumly. He will still be flirting Isaac at Stiles’ inevitable funeral.

Not that Stiles is jealous or anything. He has been best friends with Scott since before they could walk and they have grown up practically joined at the hip. He would do anything for Scott, and has already done quite a lot, especially in the wingman/dating department. That said, Scott has helped him out a fair bit when Stiles has come up with crazy ideas to break into the police department and look into his dad’s latest case, so Stiles can’t really complain. Still, just because he doesn’t like Scott in a romantic way, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like other guys. In fact, seeing all of those extreme-sports outdoorsy guys whizzing down the slopes with their good butts and sexy beards was probably going to be the only perk of this trip. Not that he would be getting any, because that would be impossible in a full body cast.

The horrible stomach-wrenching feeling of the plane taking off interrupts Stiles’ musings. Once he has endured some of the most uncomfortable seconds of his life, he jams his headphones in and settles his head awkwardly against the most un-ergonomic headrest ever – seriously, who designed this thing?! – knowing full well that he would wake up with a cricked neck. If he ever gets to sleep, that is.

Chapter Text

Predictably, Stiles does not sleep. Not a wink, nada, zilch, zero. He drinks a lot of caffeinated drinks from the beverages trolley and watches The X Files – thank god for sci fi – until his vision goes fuzzy and warped when he looks away from the screen. Such is his sleep-deprived, caffeine-fuelled, alien-invaded state he doesn’t really register landing and it only occurs to him while wandering through the airport with the rest of his classmates that he survived the flight. He grins quietly to himself, only to realise when he reaches security that it probably looks a bit maniacal, especially when the officer gives him a funny look. He quickly attempts to reassemble his features into something more neutral and less suspicious, but is pretty sure that he fails judging by Scott’s concerned expression. Thankfully he makes it through security no questions asked, although the border control officer does do a bit of a double take at his full name on his passport. Asshole.

By the time they make it to the coach to take them to White Wolf Valley, Stiles might as well be a zombie. Dragging himself up the steps, he falls gracelessly into a seat and rests his head against the cool window. A severe lack of sleep and caffeine overdose were catching up with him, so much so that he wasn’t even tempted by the free Wi-Fi and phone charging outlets. He must be really tired to ignore such a good Wikipedia binge opportunity like that, he thinks to himself. The last thing he registers before blessedly falling asleep is Derek watching him broodily from across the aisle. Ah well, some of us need our beauty sleep, he thinks smugly.

-

‘Rise and shine powder puff!’

Coach Finnstock’s angry bark rips Stiles awake, making his arms and legs flail madly. He looks up to see Coach waking other students who were enjoying a travel-induced slumber, including Scott and Isaac who were cuddling under one of Isaac’s many scarves. He turns to look forward again, only to lock eyes with Derek across from him. Unsurprisingly, Derek looks like a fucking model with sexily mussed-up hair and a light dusting of stubble on his strong jaw. Stiles just knew that he would be the one looking like he got electrocuted with a trail of dried dribble on his chin.

‘You have spit on your chin.’

‘Oh thanks for telling me dude, how kind of you’ Stiles quips back, hastily scrubbing in the general area.

‘It’s disgusting’.

‘Well fuck you man, not all of us can look like models when we sleep.’

Derek raises those glorious eyebrows.

‘Well not that I was watching you sleep or anything because that would be weird and a little creepy and –‘

‘Of course Stilinski loves watching guys sleep, it’s probably his favourite past time’ a sneering voice interrupts. There is no surprise when Stiles looks up to see that it belongs to Jackson. Then again, he didn’t need to look at the face to know that it belonged to Jackson – being a dick to Stiles? Taking the piss out of his potential bisexuality? Of course it was Jackson.

‘Glad I’m not sharing a room with you Stilinski; Isaac and Scott better watch out.’ Jackson drawls before sauntering off of the bus. Danny gives Stiles a slightly apologetic but also suggestive look as he follows. Stiles frowns and looks away. Not that Danny isn’t hot or anything, but Stiles is still coming to terms with his sexuality, ok? After his failure of a crush on Lydia Martin and their subsequent friendship – which he values very highly – he had begun to feel other … things. For other people. Not necessarily of the female genre.

‘C’mon man, let’s go!’ Scott says eagerly, practically bouncing up and down in excitement. Stiles sighs and shakes his head, making his way towards the steps at the front. The clock at the front of the bus reads 23:30, which would usually be an early night for Stiles, but right now he wants nothing more than to grab his luggage and crash on a bed.

‘You assholes all better be up by 6:30 sharp tomorrow morning ready for breakfast at 7:00’ yells Coach. ‘We will meet the ski rep and then go to the hire place to get your gear. Do not be late Stilinski!’

Chapter Text

It is nothing short of a miracle that Stiles wakes up at 6:27, wolfs five blueberry muffins by 7:02 and is in the ski hire shop by 7:19, with two matching mittens and his salopettes on the right way round. He still feels knackered, but is perking up by the minute at the prospect of a fun day on some easy slopes. Despite Scott being a far superior skier than him, Stiles managed to twist Coach’s arm so that Stiles moved up a group so they could ski together. Realistically, it was probably the prospect of Stiles being so far out of his depth that death was a significant possibility that convinced Coach to say yes, but those are just minor details.

Stiles looks around his classmates from his perch on a little wooden bench. People are having boots fitted, ski bindings altered and helmets handed to them. Of course, those with their own gear (cough, Derek Hale) sit broodingly in the corner while they suffer the hardship of waiting for the rest of the peasants.

Derek swings his dark eyes round to meet Stiles’, who may or may not have been staring. His lip twitches a little and he raises an eyebrow in passive aggressive question. Stiles chokes on his own breath and tears his eyes away, only to find Scott looking at him, grinning slightly.

‘You alright there Stiles?’ he asks.

‘What,’ Stiles splutters, ‘Of course I’m alright, why wouldn’t I be…ha…just waiting for my kit that’s all.’

‘Dude, you were staring at Derek. Again.’

Stiles is just about to enquire what exactly Scott means by ‘again’, when his number is called and he leaps up to get his boots. No more awkward conversations for him today, no
thank you.

~

So not that he wants to admit it, but Stiles may be in slightly over his head. By the end of the first two-hour session, Stiles is the only one in his group to have wiped out (four to everyone else’s zero) and had to have the same lift stopped twice, once when he got on and again when he reached the top. Chair lifts are complicated ok!? To make matters worse, the top group had to merge with the middle group due to their instructor being ill, so what was a nice group with Scott, Erica, Boyd and Isaac is now a scary fast group with Danny, Jackson, Cora, Allison, Lydia and Derek. Of course, the others all rise to the challenge now that they are surrounded by better skiers, leaving Stiles flailing and lagging behind. He is also seriously outnumbered when it comes to choosing slopes to go on, which is how he finds himself peering over the edge of a black run on the afternoon of his first day.

‘Now folks, this is one of the easier black runs here at White Wolf Valley’ enthuses their ski instructor, Brit. ‘Take it at your own pace and don’t just bomb it down to the bottom. I want to see some good, controlled turns. If you get into trouble, just put in a sudden hockey stop, like we practised.’

Ah, the hockey stops. Probably the primary reason for Stiles eating snow. He always seemed to jerk to a halt and fall over, his skis oversensitive or something. That must be it.

Well, he thinks to himself as the others take off hooting and hollering down the run, gotta go at some point. With a quick prayer to Jesus and Zeus for good measure, he pushes off for a gentle traverse of the slope. Nice and steady, don’t need to turn yet, everyone else is in front of him…..Oof! A solid mass crashes into him from up the slope and they both go tumbling down in a mess of limbs, skis and poles. Stiles is grateful for his helmet as his head bounces willy-nilly off the ice and this loser’s skis. Why the hell did he have to ruin Stiles’ best attempt at surviving this slope? The universe is so against him, he decides.

Eventually they skid to a stop somewhere near the bottom of the slope. Stile can’t see the rest of the group as he currently has his face buried in the other guy’s armpit – it is a guy, he has ascertained, due to the rather large bulge he found himself up close and personal with as he rocketed down the piste – but he can just imagine their faces. The sneer of Jackson, the concern slash amusement of Scott when he realises that Stiles is at least alive, the vague disinterest of Lydia and the deadpan expression of Boyd. However, nothing could prepare him for the look on Derek’s face, looming above Stiles. He reckons if steam could come out of peoples’ ears, the snow around them would be all melted within three seconds flat.

‘You are a fucking idiot!’ Derek practically roars at Stiles. In any other circumstances, Stiles would be pretty turned on being this close to Derek, but right now he genuinely fears for his life. Derek must see this in his eyes, as he sighs, snaps his visor up and pushes off Stiles, leaving him cold and wet in the snow. He watches as Derek angrily grabs their skis, which thankfully didn’t get left behind halfway up the slope, and snaps his boots back into the bindings after skittering Stiles’ skis towards him across the piste. Gingerly, Stiles extends all his limbs, only to find a gloved hand extended towards him.

‘You haven’t broken anything.’ The gruff words sound more like a statement than a question.

‘No, but no thanks to you’ Stiles snaps. Nonetheless, he accepts Derek’s hand and hauls himself up, right into Derek’s personal space. He gulps and looks up at the stormy eyes above him.

‘I don’t know what I’d do if you were hurt Stiles. I’m glad you’re ok.’

The words shake Stiles to his core. He feels flushed and anxious, but at the same time exhilarated and alive. He could have stood there forever, feeling the heat pulsing out of Derek’s body, if it weren’t for the nine other teenagers stood sniggering and catcalling behind them.

They both jump guiltily away from each other and ski over to the rest of their group. Well, Derek carves beautifully while Stiles slides sideways, but still. He comes of a relatively composed halt next to Scott, who looks at him with wide, knowing eyes.

‘Aww c’mon, don’t give me that man’ Stiles groans, his cheeks blooming a deeper shade of red. His pride hadn’t just been wounded from his tumble down the slope; now the rest of the group were privy to his unrequited crush.

‘Alrighty team, I think it’s time to call it a day!’ chirps Brit, waving for them to follow her back to the hotel. For once, Stiles couldn’t agree more.

Chapter Text

Stiles emerges achy and sore from the pokey little beige bathroom, fully ready to immerse himself in CSI Miami repeats on the ancient brick on a television whilst studiously ignoring the pleas of Scott and Isaac to go down to the pool. He is therefore surprised to find them sat cross legged on their beds, staring solemnly at Stiles standing in the doorway with a towel round his waist.

Running a hand through his damp hair, he says ‘What?’ exasperatedly. He has a pretty good idea of where this is going.

Scott is the first to speak, as determined as ever to make Stiles feel better.

‘Bro, it’s ok to admit that you like Derek. We aren’t going to judge you for it. We’ll even support you, even if Derek isn’t our favourite person ever. Yet. That could change!’

Stiles slumps a little against the doorframe. He can’t decide what causes him more stress: the fact that he is destined for the hospital on this death-wish of a trip, or the fact that he has a fuck-off massive, super embarrassing and hella obvious crush on Derek Hale. The two combined are a force to be reckoned with. It would be ok if he was confident or flirty and could manipulate his wipe-outs to get sympathy and attention from Derek, but that is not who he is. And in all honesty, neither does he think it is what Derek wants. Well, God knows what Derek wants, with his cryptic comments and concern, but Stiles reckons it’s not a fake, whiny little bitch. But still, it would be good if he could at least handle being around Derek for more than five seconds without making a fool of himself and/or risking his life.

Seeing that Stiles hasn’t responded, Isaac pipes up, his speech slightly muffled by a large woollen scarf. 'You know, when you like someone, I think it is always best to just be yourself. In the beginning, treat them like you would treat a friend, because really your significant other should be your best friend too. If you can’t get along normally, then you don’t have a hope in hell of getting along romantically. Once you know a bit about each other, you can start seeing if you can take it to the next level.’

‘That’s the issue,’ points out Stiles, ‘We can’t get along normally.’

‘I don’t think you’ve really tried’ says Scott gently. ‘Have you actually gone up to him in a normal setting, like dinner or something, and just said hi and carried on from there? I think the issue is when you talk to him, you are either skiing – which really should have all your concentration the way you do it – or you are joking about and being sarcastic. And before you say it, I know sarcasm is one of your many charms and your only defence, but have you considered that maybe Derek just wants to see you? Without the bravado?’

There is a stunned silence while Stiles takes this all in. No matter how many times Scott gives him good, solid advice, it is still a shock. And as for Isaac actually being helpful, well – wonders never cease.

He mulls Scott’s words over in his mind, before picking up on something. ‘Hang on, are you suggesting that Derek wants to talk to me too?’

Scott and Isaac stare dumbfounded at Stiles for a moment, before Isaac is groaning and flopping back on the bed while Scott struggles to contain his incredulous laughter.

‘Dude, you must be blind to not see how into you Derek is. Granted, he shows it in a different way to most people, but it’s there. Like how he always sits near you, even though you annoy the hell out of him.’

Stiles thinks about the plane and Derek sat behind him. ‘Yeah but we had allocated seats.’

Scott knows what he is referring to and scoffs in response. ‘You know as well as I do that everyone moves around so they can sit with their friends. And besides, what about how he is always looking out for you on the slopes and helps you when you fall over?’

‘He doesn’t do a very good job of it’ grumbles Stiles.

‘Nonetheless, he is trying. In his weird, socially awkward way, he is trying’ supplies Isaac. ‘Really it’s a wonder that you two don’t get on better considering that you are both a bit odd.’

Nope, he takes back his earlier comment about Isaac being helpful. Walking over to his bed, he sits down slowly and rests his chin on his hands. Perhaps he does need to try to be a bit more natural around Derek. The idea of Derek being into him is farfetched and frankly ridiculous in his mind, but what’s the harm in finding out? It’s not like he has any dignity left to lose.

His mind made up, he cracks his knuckles and says ‘Right, I think we need a plan.’

Chapter Text

In his mind, the plan was simple, easy even: 1) Approach Derek casually at breakfast 2) Make polite conversation 3) Ask Derek to help him ski during their free ski session. It wasn’t a particularly complicated plan, and was not a patch on some of the schemes him and Scott had come up with to break into evidence at the police station, but nonetheless Stiles was nervous. If there was even a slight chance that Derek was into him too, he didn’t want to mess this up.

He jumps as Isaac coughs suddenly, and then Scott and Isaac hurry away as Derek approaches the juice machine. Stiles is left standing with a cup of tropical juice in his hand, looking a bit startled as Derek stops abruptly in front of him.

‘Hi dude.’ Stiles attempts what he thinks is a smile.

‘Stiles’ Derek says tersely, in a way that acknowledges the presence of a person but does not convey any warm emotion. He moves to get a glass and fills it with orange juice.

‘Ah, the good old OJ’ Stiles jokes, ‘More of a tropical kind of guy myself, if you know what I mean.’ He says the last bit with a wink, and immediately regrets it. So much for polite conversation.

‘Orange juice is a classic. I like the simplicity and tartness of it’ says Derek defensively, ignoring Stiles’ wink.

‘Oh no dude, I’m not bashing your choice of drink! Not at all! Just two dudes, talking about juice....’ Stiles trails off, at a loss of things to say.

A small smiles tugs at the edge of Derek’s mouth. ‘Do you know, I think that this is the first conversation we’ve had where you haven’t taken the piss out of me?’

Stiles snorts loudly. ‘That really says something about how well we know each other, doesn’t it?’

Derek nods in agreement, before looking back over at his table. Danny and Jackson are waiting for him, looking a bit confused as to why Derek is talking to Stiles.

‘Anyway, we ought to go eat. It’s a long day today, with lessons then free ski.’

This is Stiles’ chance. ‘Um, actually I was wondering if you would mind helping me out a bit during free ski? I’m having a few control issues and well, you seem like the best person to ask. Don’t worry if you don’t want to, you’re not obliged or anything-‘

‘No I’d love to.’ Derek flushes as he says this, probably realising how keen he sounds. Stiles grins, and is rewarded with a smile from Derek.

‘Great, I’ll see you outside the Alpha Lodge at two o’clock after lunch then?’

‘Sounds like a date!’ says Isaac as he sneaks up behind them and claps them both on the shoulder. They both jump guiltily, but Stiles feels warm all over when Derek shoots Stiles little hopeful glances throughout breakfast.

***
Stiles shouldn’t be surprised, he really shouldn’t be. Of course Derek was a fucking amazing instructor – patient, clear, encouraging, attentive – who managed to improve Stiles’ skiing tenfold in only an hour. He even made it down a black run without dying! (Not a double black diamond however, that would have been pushing his luck). But in all honesty, that wasn’t what surprised him most, oh no. What surprised him most was when Derek asked Stiles if he wanted to hang out in the hot tub this evening.

‘You want to hang out...with me?’

‘Yes Stiles!’ An exasperated breath escapes Derek. ‘Look if you don’t want to, just say so. It’s fine.’ Derek moves to ski away, just as Stiles grabs his arm.

‘No dude, I’d love to! I’m just surprised, that’s all.’

A tiny smile graces Derek’s features. ‘Pleasantly surprised?’

Seriously this guy is such a sweetheart. ‘Pleasantly surprised’ he says firmly.

And that is how Stiles finds himself sat in a blessedly ungrotty hot tub back at the hotel, with Derek Hale. Let’s just take a moment to focus on the important part here: with Derek. Frickin’. Hale. It’s all of Stiles’ fantasies rolled into one: Shirtless Derek, Derek in a pair of swimming trunks, Wet Derek (wet with water, just to clarify), Relaxed, happy Derek (this one was even better in real life).

Derek lifts himself out of the water and leans back on his elbows. Water streams gloriously down chiselled abs and for the first time in his life Stiles wishes he were a droplet of water. Derek sees Stiles’ eyes straying and smirks.

‘My eyes are up here Stiles.’

Stiles jumps guiltily and flushes red. ‘Sorry man, it’s just that you are ripped. You must work out a lot.’ He scratches the back of his neck and wills the red colour creeping down his torso to stop.

‘I run every morning and lift four times a week. I’m also on the baseball team.’

Ha, as if Derek needed to tell Stiles that. Stiles turned up to pretty much every game and every practice he could just to see Derek play.

‘Yeah well, your hard work is clearly paying off. I keep thinking I should workout more and get fit, but thinking about doing it and actually doing it are two very different things.’

Derek slips back down into the water and drifts towards Stiles, whose heart rate goes up a notch at the proximity. ‘You don’t look like you don’t work out.’ Stiles preens a little inside at the compliment.

‘Well, I am technically on the lacrosse team, but I do more bench warming than actual playing.’

‘I’m not sure about that’ says Derek, who is rather close to Stiles now. ‘I’ve seen you play some of the important games this season.’

Hang on a minute. Stiles turns his head towards Derek, so close that their noses are almost brushing. ‘You come to lacrosse games? You’ve seen us play?’

Derek looks a little shy as he says: ‘I’ve seen you play, Stiles. I only watch you.’
Well this is a development. Turns out both of them have been sneaking around trying to catch glimpses of the other. If only they had just spoken to each other before! Bolstered by the revelation that his feelings are most likely not one-sided, he leans in close to Derek. Derek sucks in a sharp breathe, before ever so gently snagging Stiles’ bottom lip between his.

‘HOT TUB PARRTTAYYYY!!’ shrieks Isaac as he, Erica, Scott and Allison barrel into the room and jump into the hot tub. Stiles and Derek jerk apart, the moment gone. Quick as a flash, Derek is out of the hot tub and disappearing out of the door.

Scott glances around and spots a rather shell-shocked Stiles. Seemingly oblivious, he says ‘Where’d Derek go?’

Stiles just groans in frustration, and sinks below the water to avoid answering the question. He thinks his silence speaks volumes anyway.

Chapter Text

The final day comes round pretty quick really. Stiles doesn’t know how, but he hasn’t ended up in hospital and his skiing has actually improved loads! The only trouble is, Derek hasn’t spoken to him since the other evening in the hot tub and seems to be going out of his way to avoid him. As much as this pains Stiles, he can’t really blame the dude. He doesn’t know how to deal with all these feelings either.

It’s kinda chilly when they head out onto the slopes, the kind of biting cold that attacks any bare bit of skin. Stiles pulls his snood further up over his nose as he eyes the grey clouds swirling ahead mistrustfully. Talk about typical.

‘Alright guys, so you might’ve noticed the weather already. We are due a blizzard at some point this afternoon, but that shouldn’t be an issue for y’all as y’all are leaving after lunch to get ready to go home! Ya’ll have an awesome last day!’ Stiles cringes internally at the use of ‘y’all’ and tries not to get irritated at Britt’s perpetual perkiness.

The morning goes surprisingly well – he skies smoothly, avoids hitting any children, doesn’t wipe out once and makes it on and off all lifts without any mishaps. Scott and Isaac clap him on the back and whoop as they fly down the slopes together, closely chased by Boyd and Erica. Stiles’ heart feels full and alive, despite the constant black shadow hovering over his shoulder. Literally. Derek is like a dark storm cloud, always close to Stiles but never close enough to talk. Guaranteed Derek is on the chair lift behind him, or following his tracks down the slope. But whenever Stiles turns to say something, Derek zips past or hangs back to talk to Danny and Jackson. The guy could not be any more socially awkward if he tried.

The dark clouds roil ominously overhead and sleet bites viciously into strips of exposed skin. The whole group is shivering and on the verge of a blood-sugar meltdown, so they decide to do one last run and call it quits. Stiles could have told everyone from the start that going down Skull Crusher was a terrible idea, but since when has anyone ever listened to Stiles? The route is intense: a steep downhill rush with twists and turns concealed behind groaning trees. Stiles elects to go last down this particular one; he doesn’t want to hold anyone up as he tries not to deck it on the last run of the week.

They set off down the slope. His classmates are a blur in front of him – the snow is coming down so heavily that visibility is seriously reduced. Stiles tries to concentrate on his technique and skiing as smoothly as possible to minimise his chances of a wipe-out, but before he knows it he has taken a wrong turn or two and is completely alone. Skidding to a stop, he looks around and sees that all exits are boarded off, with ‘Danger! Risk of death’ banners snapping in the wind. He is utterly alone, in a dense blizzard, with no way of getting help. Well shit, thinks Stiles. Fucking typical.

A strong gloved hand wraps itself around Stiles’ arm, causing his heart to throw itself out of his mouth. As if he needed anymore shock in this situation!

‘Stiles! Let’s go!’ the black figure is shouting at him, and tugging him hastily towards a hut at the edge of the piste. Its only once they are inside and the lights are on that he realises his rescuer is Derek.

‘Did you see where the others went?’ asks Derek. When Stiles doesn’t respond, he says ‘I have a phone; hopefully I can get service and call for a rescue team to pick us up.’

Stiles just nods dumbly from when he is sat on the floor in the corner, trying not to hyperventilate. Derek strides quickly over to him and huddles close, sharing his body heat.

‘Listen to me Stiles, we’re going to be alright. The others will have finished the run by now and will be sending people to come and get us asap. We’ll be out of here in no time.’

Stiles appreciates Derek’s concern and optimistic attitude, he really does. But for some reason all he can think about is how Derek wouldn’t speak to him all of today, after the hot tub incident.

‘Dude, why wouldn’t you speak to me this morning? You know, after last night?’ Stiles twists in Derek’s arms to watch the emotions play over his face.

A whine escapes Derek’s lips. ‘Stiles...’

‘It’s ok man. I get that it was awkward for you. I do. Being crushed on by me, a complete loser, must have been pretty mortifying. Hell, I even thought that you liked me back, but you were probably just trying to let me down gently.’ Stiles shakes his head at his own stupidity and tries to shuffle away from Derek. But Derek only holds onto him tighter and grabs his chin, forcing Stiles to look him in the eye.

‘You’re not a complete loser Stiles.’ The feeling of disbelief must be clear in his eyes, because Derek scoffs and rolls his eyes. ‘Ok well maybe you’re a bit of a loser, but that’s part of your charm. You’re different, and unapologetically true to yourself. You don’t care what others think and that’s why everyone loves you – you’re not trying to be like anyone else. You’re smart, sarcastic and loyal, but apparently terrible at reading what other people want.’

A frown creases Stiles’ brow. ‘How so?’

‘You thought I didn’t like you back. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted you.’

A breath hitches in Stiles throat as Derek’s fingers tighten their grip on his jaw. Haltingly, they lean into each other for a devastatingly slow and shaking kiss. Derek keens loudly, causing Stiles to scramble hurriedly into his lap, where he can better lick into Derek’s mouth. Derek’s now gloveless hands ruck up Stiles clothing as he attempts to find skin. The ice cold contact causes Stiles to gasp into the kiss and arch his body into Derek’s. Their thick clothing is just getting in the way, so they both strip off their outer layers despite the cold – Stiles is flushed all over and doesn’t even register the loss of insulation. Derek’s stubble rubs a deep red carpet down Stiles’ neck as he kisses the glowing white skin, leaving stark bruises as he goes. Stiles just cards his hands through Derek’s hair and tilts his head back to allow Derek better access. Getting impatient, he nudges Derek’s lips back up to meet his own and kisses him deeply, trying to convey just how much Derek means to him.

When the rescue team finally arrive an hour later, they find a fairly ravaged-looking Stiles asleep in the arms of Derek Hale, who is smiling goofily and blushing from his swollen lips to the tips of his messed up hair.