A shiver ran down Steve’s spine as soon as he stepped out of the car. The winter air was crisp, and he could feel his cheeks and nose turn red. He immediately regretted not wearing more layers. He just didn’t want to look like a walking marshmallow.
“I would gladly take being a marshmallow right now,” he muttered, rubbing his hands together in a desperate attempt to warm them up. He quickly approached the school building, sighing in relief as soon as he stepped inside the blanket of heat behind the double doors.
He took off his puffy coat, stuffing it into his locker. It was too fucking big. Being perpetually cold was a struggle. He grabbed his necessary text book and shut the door quickly. When it refused to latch, he rammed his shoulder into it. Every single winter. Every single winter held the same routine: put on a shit ton of clothing, ditch the outer layer when inside, bruise his shoulder while trying to shut his locker. And the shivering. It almost never stopped.
Steve turned away from his locker just as Billy Hargrove walked by. Steve narrowed his eyes at the blonde; he couldn’t possibly be warm enough in his denim jacket and T-shirt. Maybe it was a California thing? Billy looked Steve up and down, raising the corner of his pretty pink mouth in a sneer.
“Too cold for you, dipshit?” He kept walking, not waiting for a response. Steve hated him.
P.E. sucked. It was too fucking cold to be wearing a T-shirt and shorts. So what if they were inside? It was still winter. Steve noticed goosebumps covering every inch of exposed skin and inwardly groaned. Hargrove wasn’t wearing a shirt at all. And he was sweating. It just wasn’t fair. Steve grew up in Hawkins; he should be used to the cold! But this hot rod shows up from California, too hot, apparently, for winter to even phase him.
Billy was behind him, heat radiating off of him as he tried to steal the ball. Steve passed it to Tommy to get the guy off of him, but it didn’t fucking work. The blonde was in front of him now, arms spread, guarding him. Steve had to work extra hard to not press himself against Hargrove’s back. At one point, Billy stepped back without warning, his shoulder blades brushing against Steve’s chest. The point of contact was hot, a stark contrast to the rest of his cold body. His cheeks flushed, making him painfully aware of how cold his nose was.
“Damn, you’re cold,” the blonde muttered, throwing a glance over his shoulder at the shivering boy behind him. Steve flushed a little more.
“Not all of us are hot heads, Hargrove,” he griped. Was he imagining it or did Billy huff out a laugh?
He brought a blanket to school. His reputation was already ruined, he might as well stop giving a fuck. Huddled on a squeaky wooden chair in the library, his blanket wrapped tightly around his shoulders, he stared at his science textbook, trying to cram as much information into his head as possible.
His fingers were so cold. He wished there was a way to hold up the textbook with his hands in the blanket. He tried. And failed. He sighed, turning the page with a shaky hand, when he felt a warm presence to his left. He looked up. Billy Hargrove stood over him, an amused smile toying at his lips. Steve’s eyes lingered a little too long on those lips.
“Can I help you?” He asked, raising his gaze to meet Billy’s.
“You look cozy,” Billy’s tone was mocking, but not harsh.
“I fucking wish I were cozy,” Steve complained. “My hands are freezing.” Billy laughed quietly. He slid a chair next to Steve’s and sat.
“What are we studying?” He asked.
“Chem,” Steve responded, trying not to scoot towards the other boy.
Billy nodded, taking the book from Steve. “Put your hands in your blanket,” he instructed. He ignored the look of confusion on the brunette’s face. “I have no fucking clue what chemistry even is,” he muttered. Steve found himself giggling. His knee brushed Billy’s. Fuck, when did he scoot closer? Billy’s knee was warm though, so he didn’t move away. If the other boy minded, he didn’t say anything. They read together for an hour. For the most part, they stayed silent, only speaking to protest the turning of a page. Finally, long after the words started to swim off of the book, Billy closed the book.
“I have to pick up Maxine,” he said. “Stay warm, pretty boy.” He started to leave.
“Come over tonight?” Steve called out after him. “We can study some more?” Billy turned around to face him and winked. Steve nearly died.
“It’s a date,” he said, before turning around again and leaving.
Billy looked around the house, unimpressed. Steve was used to people staring in awe. Billy must’ve sensed his confusion, saying, “It looks fucking cold and empty.” Which. It was. Steve’s parents were almost never home, and when they were, they made sure to keep the house spotless.
Steve opened the door to his room, instantly hating himself for not cleaning it. Billy’s eyes scanned the room, a smile tugging at his lips. “Sorry for the mess,” Steve mumbled, hastily picking up dirty laundry off the floor.
“Don’t apologize,” Billy said, settling into Steve’s bed. “You can actually tell a human lives here. Leave the laundry, we have a test to study for.”
Steve dropped the shirt he was holding and sat next to Billy, leaving a good six inches between them. He pulled a blanket around his shoulders as Billy opened the textbook. Billy scooted closer to Steve so their thighs were touching. He took the blanket from Steve and draped it around the both of them. “Warm enough for you, princess?” He asked, tone soft but teasing.
Steve met his gaze, and felt himself leaning in. He pulled back almost immediately, breathing out a shaky “yeah.” Billy scooted even closer, his breath warm on Steve’s neck. Steve shivered.
“Obviously not,” Billy whispered, bringing his hands to Steve’s face. He brushed his lips against Steve’s, and the brunette responded almost immediately. He leaned impossibly closer, arms threading around Billy’s waist, chasing his warmth. Billy hummed into the kiss, deepening it, weaving his fingers through Steve’s hair.
When they broke apart, Steve rested his head on Billy’s shoulder and laced their fingers together.
“Shit, Harrington, your hand’s cold as fuck,” Billy muttered, tightening his grip on his hand. Steve just hummed in agreement, placing a gentle kiss on the blonde’s neck. Billy wrapped his arm around the other boy’s waist. He kissed his forehead and muttered, “I’ll warm you up.”