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It Worries Me to Say (I've Never Felt This Way)

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“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Stiles cooed, reverently stroking his fingers over the cover of the three hundred year old book sitting innocently on Derek’s coffee table. He could feel the delicious magical energy rolling off of it, protecting it from time and the elements. He knew exactly what the book was even though it didn’t have a title, just a blank black cover. He’d been trying to find a copy for months but the only one he had found had cost a ridiculous amount and was being held for auction in Russia.

Because of the price and inconvenience he hadn’t been able to convince Derek to buy it for him. As much as Derek appreciated a good book he hadn’t thought a book of recipes was worth the exorbitant price. Not to mention the chance it could be a fake. Stiles would have had to inspect it before buying it and he didn’t exactly have the time to fly to Russia just to say if a magical book was actually magic or not.

Stiles knew he could have asked Peter. Peter liked books. Peter especially liked useful books and Stiles knew this was going to be a very useful book even if Derek didn’t agree. And it wouldn’t have taken Stiles any more effort to ask Peter as it did for him to ask Derek. In fact, it probably would have been easy to convince Peter to buy it. Peter could sense magic more strongly than Derek could, he definitely wouldn’t have minded taking a little break from the pack to fly to Russia for a few days. He could have even just taken the gamble and bid online like Derek must have done to have bought it.

The only reason Stiles hadn’t asked Peter instead of Derek was because Derek was the alpha and he got weirdly huffy whenever someone other than him tried to ‘provide for the pack’ in ways he could very easily do himself. Although he apparently didn’t think buying Stiles an incredibly old and expensive book that Stiles was going to use specifically to help the pack fell under his duties as alpha.

But Stiles wasn’t going to feel bitter about that because Derek had bought the book in the end.

He smiled at the little slip of paper sticking out of the top of the book. It had his name and a little note of encouragement on it. ‘ I’m sure you’ll make something delicious .’

He couldn’t wait for the meeting to be over so he could get home go through the recipes. He wanted to find the easiest to make first to prove that the book had been worth it.

He was so absorbed in his thoughts he hadn’t noticed Lydia coming into the loft or when she leaned over his shoulder to see what was so thoroughly holding his attention. She reached out of pick the book up and Stiles’ hand flew out without conscience thought. He caught and held her wrist to stop her from actually touching the book.

“Don’t be rude Stiles.” she said, sounding annoyed.

Stiles glared at her, strangely angry at the thought of her touching the book, reading it before he could. “ You don’t be rude. This is my book.”

Lydia’s eyes narrowed at his tone and she jerked her wrist away from him.

“It’s in Derek’s loft, why would it be yours ?” she asked snottily, reaching out to again try and pick the book up.

Stiles snatched the book up and pressed it to his chest protectively. He slipped the little piece of paper that had been sticking out of the top of the book and held it up to Lydia. “See,” he said smugly. “It’s got my name on it.”

Lydia glared at the paper and then at Stiles. “Fine,” she said, pointedly turning away from him, “I can wait for you to finish with it.”

Stiles tried to calm his oddly rankled nerves as he watched her walk out of the living room towards the kitchen. It didn’t make any sense for him to be possessive of the book. Derek had been the one who bought it, Stiles knew he couldn’t keep the book forever. There were other members of the pack that deserved to try their hand at the recipes in it. Even if none of the others were technically able to use magic and cast spells that didn’t mean that they couldn’t combined inherently magical foodstuffs to make at least a few of the things that had to be mentioned in the book. Stiles knew if anyone other than him could make something magical it was Boyd, who’s baked goods were amazing enough to be magic all on their own.

He was probably just caught up in the newness of it. No doubt once he was finished going over the book he wouldn’t mind the others using it too.

Derek stepped out of the kitchen holding his cellphone and frowning down at it. Stiles went over to him, wanting to thank him sooner rather than later.

“Hey, Derek.” Stiles said brightly.

Derek didn’t look up from his phone but his frown got deeper. “What.”

Stiles was a little taken aback by the shortness of his tone but he figured the problem the pack had been having with the gnomes was finally getting to him. Two weeks of chasing them from garden to garden was bound to put even an alpha werewolf in a bad mood.

“I just wanted to say thanks for the book.” Stiles said in a rush, barreling through Derek’s frowny face.

Derek finally looked up from his phone and stared at Stiles in confusion. “I didn-” he started but the loft door being slammed open by a furious and soaking wet Scott cut him off.

“Deaton gave me ten more raccoon traps!” Scott yelled.

Stiles took this to mean his and Peter’s suggestion to just poison the little shits still wasn’t being considered. Oh well, he and Peter would no doubt end up being on pick up duty. They could do it then, when Scott wasn’t around to give them the judgy and disappointed eyebrows.

Stiles looked around to see if Peter was in the loft, wanting to know if he was as annoyed with Scott’s inability to accept humane pest control alternatives as Stiles was. Peter was sitting in his usual spot on the spiral staircase, looking even more angry than Stiles was expecting. Stiles cocked his head in question at him. Their eyes met and Peter’s expression softened a little before he abruptly jumped to his feet and took a step towards Stiles. Before he could take another step someone grabbed the back of Stiles jacket and started pulling on him.

“Come on Stiles!” Scott said. “I’m going to catch these little tyrants if it’s the last thing I do.”

Stiles rolled his eyes and twisted to brake Scott’s hold on him. “If you just listened to me last week we wouldn’t still be-”

Scott growled and cut him off. “Murder is not an acceptable answer to every problem!”

“You won’t call a pest exterminator a murderer.” Stiles said in exasperation as he followed Scott towards the door.

“They’re human shaped Stiles!” Scott grumbled tiredly.

“They’re the supernatural world equivalent of rabbits.”

Scott turned his big puppy dog eyes on Stiles and whispered “They wear overalls and hats.”

Stiles had to admit that one was a bit harder to explain away and it was, honestly, a little creepy. He just shrugged in a ‘what can you do?’ gesture and closed the door to the loft, not noticing the absolute furious looks Peter and Derek were exchanging behind him.

***

Stiles practically bounced into the loft with his cheesecloth wrapped bread. He was literally vibrating with excitement - and possibly three different energy drinks - as he held the bread aloft and crowed “I finally made one that’s edible!”

His tiny kitchen looked like a flower bomb exploded in it but it was worth it for the… bored glances Derek, Isaac, and Allison shot him. Scott and Lydia didn’t even look up from the map they had spread over Derek’s table.

Stiles sighed deeply and stepped forward to put the bread down on the coffee table with the other neglected snacks.

Before he could reached the coffee table Peter was suddenly in front of him. He looked interested at least. Stiles knew Peter found him amusing most of the time, of course Peter would want to know what Stiles had brought.

“It smells delicious.” Peter said with a little smirk. “What is it?”

Stiles grinned and unwrapped the bread, holding the misshapen - and slightly crispy in places - loaf out to Peter. “It’s got cheese in it.” Stiles said in reverence.

Peter’s smirk turned into an actual smile and he said “Did you use one of the recipes from your new book?”

It was no surprise that Peter knew about Stiles new book. Derek might have talked about it with him, or more likely, he’d overheard Stiles talking about it. Peter very much enjoyed his eavesdropping.

“It’s not one of the poisoned ones is it?” Peter asked in amusement.

Stiles wondered if Peter had gotten his hands on the recipe book before Stiles had. As much as the thought of Lydia reading the book before him had rankled the thought of Peter reading it first was actually a bit reassuring. He would know better than Lydia or Stiles if there was a curse on the book, or something in it that was particularly dangerous.

Stiles pulled a fully cooked, but not crispy, piece off and popped it into his mouth. It was still warm and the cheese in it was wonderfully gooey. He moaned pointedly, making Peter chuckle.

“May I?” He asked, oh so politely.

Stiles nodded, knowing Peter would just frown at him disapprovingly if he said anything with his mouth full.

Peter pulled a small piece off, twisting his wrist to wrangle a strand of cheese into submission. Stiles fought back a giggle at the expiration of concentration on Peter’s face. Finally Peter ate the piece of bread and gave Stiles another smile. “It tastes very nice, is it your first one?”

Stiles snorted. “Yeah right. It took four freaking tries to get everything to work the way it should. The first one wouldn’t rise, the second one burnt, and the third literally exploded.”

Peter’s confidence with Stiles’ nonexistent baking skills filled Stiles with more warmth than it really sure. Stiles didn’t need Peter’s approval but he had such exacting standards that when Stiles met them, or surpassed them, it made him happier than was advisable.

It probably said a lot about Stiles that he preferred to get actual feedback from a formerly psychotic serial killer than empty platitudes from his friends.

“Does this one do something special or were you just trying your hand at baking?” Peter asked, reaching out to take another piece.

Stiles made a mental note to make a tear-away loaf next time for easier sharing. Or he could make muffins next time. Actually, why hadn’t he just made muffins this time? Muffins were much easier to make, he’d made them before and they’d tasted alright. How much harder could magic muffins be to make?

His train of thought was cut off when Peter gently touched his shoulder. “Stiles?” he asked, a little frown on his face.

“Oh, it’s just the adrenaline setting in.” Stiles said with a grin. “For humans this is basically like eating an entire bag of chocolate in one sitting but in like a single bite and the crash is really really gradual compared to a sugar rush. I managed to get a bite of the second loaf and wrote three essays in an hour.” Stiles didn’t pause for breath once during his speech. Peter was now looking mildly concerned.

“What do you think it does for werewolves?” he asked.

“It should be just a bit of a pick-me-up because of your metabolism. I very much doubt you’ll get very hyped up.” he paused for a moment to imagine what a hyper Peter Hale would look like and burst out laughing. What would a hyper Peter even look like? Stiles was a little disappointed he wouldn’t get to see it. Stiles wiped at the tears in his eyes and said, breathlessly, “Although I’m sure that would be hilarious .”

He looked up to find Peter was staring at him with more intensity than Stiles was used to. For some reason Stiles felt himself start to blush under Peter’s stare and he quickly backed up, realizing that they were standing closer together than was probably socially polite. He turned to finally set the bread down onto the coffee table. Once he hands were free he turned back to Peter to ask him if he was feeling any different only to bump right into him.

“Stiles.” Peter said, his voice even more intense than his eyes. “I wanted to-”

“Stiles!” Scott yelled, cutting Peter off. Stiles jumped in surprise and turned to look at Scott, having completely forgotten that there were other people in the room other than just him and Peter.

“What?” Stiles asked. He was reeling a little and he wasn’t exactly sure why. He thought he heard Peter growling quietly behind him but when he glanced back Peter just looked his normal annoyed self. He lightly pressed his hand to the small of Stiles back before sauntering back to sit on the spiral staircase. His touch was so light in fact, that Stiles wasn’t even sure if Peter had touched him at all.

Stiles absently chewed his lip as he wandered over to a very frustrated looking Scott. No doubt he was slowly being worn down to accepting Stiles and Peter’s extreme pest control suggestions.

***

After three weeks of chasing around gnomes and trying - and failing - at catch them the pack had finally decided to take a vote on what to do. With a 6 to 5 vote in favor of just killing the terrible little beasts Scott finally relented and let Stiles whip up a batch of poisoned granola.

Because the granola didn’t smell the least bit poisoned, which was the entire point, Stiles wrote on the three ziplock bags of gnome bait: POISON YOU WILL DIE IF YOU EAT THIS . He then very pointedly did not bring any non-poisoned granola just to be on the safe side.

After reassuring Scott for the third time that the poison was specifically tailored to supernatural creatures so that any regular forest critter that got a hold of some wouldn’t die, Stiles and Peter, along with Derek, Cora, and Jackson - the ones who had voted in favor, except Erica, who had to work - set out into the preserve to spread the granola out around where they thought the gnomes main hidey hole was located.

45 minutes along a hiking trail and another 10 stumbling - on Stiles’ part - through the preserve they made it to the gnomes’ hideout. They spread the granola around and where just about to start back to the trail when a sudden wave of gnomes sprang out of the ground and threw themselves at them.

The wolves stared at the little monsters for a few seconds before glancing at each other and shrugging, realizing that Scott wasn’t there to yell at them started to tear the little shits to pieces, completely ignoring the blood spray and body parts flying around.

Stiles cursed in annoyance at himself for not bringing a leaf blower like he’d wanted to and jumped out of the way, letting the wolves deal with them. He did pull out his truncheon and snapped it open, just in case the little fucks got too close to him he could swat them away.

After several minutes of pure carnage and Stiles putting gnomes back into the fray like large golf balls they finally fell back to their little gnome holes.

The wolves were all breathing deeper than usual and Stiles was panting from exertion. He was about to congratulate them on their massacre skills when there was a sudden sharp stinging pain in his ankle. He shrieked and stumbled forward, turning to glare down at the gnome digging it’s needle sharp fangs into his skin. He was about to bat the pest away when Peter stepped forward, prying the things jaws open and then ripping it in half.

“Sit down.” Peter said through his fangs, wrapping his arms around Stiles’ waist to help him sit on a convenient root.

Stiles slipped his backpack off his shoulders and held it out for Peter to pull out the first aid kit Stiles always took with him when he went into the Preserve.

Peter pulled out water bottles, wet wipes, a bag of granola bars that had NOT POISON (probably) written on it - because Peter thought he was so funny - and the first aid kit out before setting to work cleaning, disinfecting and bandaging Stiles’ ankle.

Stiles watched him hands, fascinated at the juxtaposition of them. Peter had literally just torn a living creature in half but now he was being so gentle with Stiles. He was vaguely aware of Derek hovering over Stiles’ shoulder while Cora and Jackson were eating the granola bars and drinking water, looking over the battlefield with satisfied looks on their faces.

“We could have had this whole thing cleared up three weeks ago.” Cora grouched with her mouth full.

Jackson nodded in agreement. “That was fun, too bad Erica wasn’t here, she would have loved it.”

Derek growled softly. “No one tell Scott. We’ll never hear the end of it.”

There was murmurs of agreement before the clearing fell silent except for the sound of chewing.

Finally Peter had finished wrapping Stiles ankle. He reached out for Stiles’ hand and helped him stand. Stiles tried putting weight on both his feet but his knees instantly buckled. He would have fallen except Peter easily caught and held him up. Obviously the irritant from the gnomes’ fangs was affecting him, making his ankle swell. He glared at Peter in annoyance at being the only one affected by it.

Peter sent him a little amused smile before scooping Stiles up into a bridal carry. Stiles squeaked in surprise and wrapped his arms around Peter’s neck to hold on tight. Peter gave him a knowing smirk.

“I wouldn’t drop you, Darling.” He purred in Stiles’ ear.

Stiles fought back a gasp and shiver at Peter whispering endearments right in his ear. He heard laughter and looked over to see Cora and Jackson leaning against each heads thrown back and arms around their stomachs as they laughed at him.

He felt Peter’s chest vibrating as he growled deeply and heard Derek growling from behind him.

Cora and Jackson quickly straighten up before Cora yelled “First one back gets all the hot water!”

She took off with Jackson one step behind her.

“No fair!” Stiles whined just because he could and it would amuse her.

“You don’t even have any blood on you!” Cora yelled over her shoulder.

“It’s the principle of the matter!” Stiles yelled back, but she was already gone.

He felt Peter breath against his cheek as Peter said, “You know my house is closer than Derek’s loft...”

Stiles turned his head to look at Peter and there noses brushed. Stiles’ eyes widened at how close together their faces were.

Someone pointedly cleared their throat and Stiles twitched away from Peter in surprise. Peter growled again, but this time Stiles couldn’t hear it, only feel it in Peter’s chest.

Stiles looked at Derek and raised a pointed eyebrow. “Yes Derek? Can we help you with something.”

Peter chuckled and lightly trailed his nose across Stiles’ cheekbone. This time Stiles definitely shivered.

Derek was glaring at them. “I’ll take you back to the loft.” he said, reaching out for Stiles.

Stiles tightened his grip on Peter’s neck and Peter said, “There’s no need nephew. I’m perfectly capable of carrying Stiles.”

“Yeah,” Stiles chimed in. “I barely weigh anything to him.”

“Just a couple of grapes, really.” Peter said, completely deadpan and straight-faced.

Stiles whipped around to glare suspiciously at him, but Peter had what was no doubt supposed to be an innocent expression on his face. Of course, on Peter it didn’t look at all innocent.

“Stiles-” Derek tried but Stiles cut him off, not at all interested in dealing with Derek’s alpha posturing or manpain.

“Really Derek, I’m fine. Peter can drive me to my jeep, or drive me home. Right Peter?”

“It would be no trouble, sweetheart.” Peter said.

Stiles whipped around to look at him through narrowed eyes. Two endearments in 10 minutes was very odd.

“Stiles-” Derek tried again but this time Stiles wasn’t having it at all.

“Derek go .” Stiles growled.

Derek took a step back in surprise at Stiles’ anger. “Fine.” he spit out and turned on his heel, disappearing between the trees.

Peter hummed a “Nice job.” but Stiles ignored him. He wiggled around a little in Peter’s arms, trying to get comfortable in his slightly twisted position. He finally settled with his chest pressed against Peter’s chest and his chin resting on Peter’s shoulder, one arm wrapped around Peter’s neck and the other across Peter’s back. A bit like he was giving Peter a very long hug.

The walk to Peter’s house was 15 minutes shorter than the walk to the loft. They were both quiet during it, each lost in their own thoughts.

Stiles was actually almost asleep by the time they got to Peter’s house. Peter’s steady gait and warmth lulling into a light doze. Between work, classes, baking, and chasing after gnomes he hadn’t gotten much sleep the past three weeks.

“We’re here.” Peter rumbled quietly.

Stiles hummed sleepily. Peter shifted his grip on Stiles a little to open his front door and Stiles’ chin lost it’s perch on Peter’s shoulder. Stiles tiredly buried his face into Peter’s collarbone.

Peter chuckled softly. “Tired?” he asked.

Stiles grumbled nonsensically and Peter chuckled again. “Alright, give me a minute.” he murmured.

Stiles felt Peter going up a staircase before Peter tried to sit Stiles down onto something. Stiles clung onto his werewolf heater. Peter gently cupped the back of Stiles’ neck and whispered “Stiles, I’m covered in blood.”

Stiles sighed in annoyance, forced to let go in the face of Peter’s logic.

“I’m going to get you some pajamas. Once you change you can get into bed and sleep, alright sweetheart?” Peter asked, voice low and rumbly.

Stiles opened his eyes and squinted at Peter, taking in his bloody cloths, soft expression, and the weight of his hand on Stiles’ neck. “Okay.” he agreed quietly.

Peter squeezed the back of Stiles’ neck gently before letting go and moving over to a dresser on the other side of the large bedroom.

Stiles had actually never been in Peter’s house before, let alone his bedroom. If he wasn’t so exhausted he’d be poking his nose into everything. As it was he settled for taking in a slightly blurry cursory look. Dark hardwood floors, soft tan carpet under an even softer king sized bed, a large window with a window seat and three different doors, probably leading to a walk in, an en suite, and the hallway. It was done in all soft dark colors. It was cozy. It felt like a den . The thought that Peter had let Stiles so deeply into his home so easily woke Stiles up a bit.

Over the years they’d gotten comfortable with each other, calm in each other’s space. It was usually them against Scott and Derek with the rest of the pack waffling around depending on the subject. Being in Peter’s room, in Peter’s bed made him feel safe and special in a way he couldn’t quite decipher. He just knew not many people, if any, got to take such liberties with Peter and his space that Stiles got.

Peter came back over to Stiles with a small pile of clothes. He handed some to Stiles before saying, “I’m going to take a shower, there’s another bathroom down the hall if you want to clean up too.”

Stiles blinked up at Peter in surprise. He was going to let Stiles wander around his house unsupervised ?

Peter smiled at Stiles’ expression and gently stroked his hand through Stiles’ hair. “If you’re hungry there’s food in the kitchen.” he said before walking off to supposedly the en suite.

Stiles felt a little dazed but considerably more awake. He picked up his pile of clothes and stood up, carefully putting some weight on his ankle to check he could actually walk on his own before he made his way out of Peter’s bedroom. He wondered down the hall, opening doors as he came to them. One spare bedroom later he found the guest bathroom. He tidied himself up, washed his face and hands, checked his ankle and saw that the swelling had already gone down. The medical section of his recipe book was just as helpful as the cooking section.

Once he was satisfied with his cleanliness he pulled off his dirty clothes and tossed them into the hamper before pulling on the clean clothes, Peter’s clothes . The pair of black drawstring sweatpants and soft wine red henley were nice enough but what really caught Stiles’ attention was the ridiculous soft gray sweater. It was like he was holding a rain cloud and it smelled amazing.

Stiles frowned as he realized he’d seen the sweater before, and not just because it was Peter’s sweater. Peter had been wearing it the day before and it did not look like a sweater that could be washed in a washer. He absently pressed the sweater to his nose as he thought. Peter had very deliberately given Stiles this sweater to wear. Why had he given Stiles this one? Was it so he could scent mark him? Peter did sometimes scent mark him, they were pack after all, but usually he was much more subtle about it. A brush of his hand here, a shoulder bump there. They shared a blanket on the few times they managed to be at pack movie night at the same time, and even when there was only one of them there they still had their own blanket.

Sudden realization hit Stiles and he sat down heavily on the closed toilet lid. They shared a specific blanket. No one else in the pack used it. It was fleece with little galaxies on it. Stiles had no idea where Peter had gotten it but it was warm and soft and it smelled like both of them.

It smelled like both of them and Peter had given Stiles a sweater saturated with Peter’s scent so Stiles would smell like Peter even more than he already did.

Stiles’ heart was pounding at the implications of his thoughts. But it was just speculation on Stiles’ part. He had to be sure, he had to-

Food. Wolves liked to provide for each other. Stiles couldn’t go out and chaise down a deer for him and Peter to eat but he could make dinner.

He quickly finished getting dressed before hurrying down to the kitchen to start making something for them both to eat. Something delicious.

Stiles skidded to a stop at the top of the stairs as he suddenly remembered the note that had been in his book when he’d first been given it-

No, when he found it sitting on the coffee table.

Stiles facepalmed. God, he was such a fucking idiot. Derek hadn’t been the one to get him the book.

Stiles’ determination grew as he raced carefully down the stairs and through the downstairs of Peter’s house looking for the kitchen. Stiles knew Peter would be in the shower for a while yet, perfection that he was, so he wasn’t too worried about his plan being foiled by Peter trying to cook for him.

Stiles paused through his search of Peter’s pantry as he realized that whenever Peter made anything at Derek’s loft he only made enough for two and always gave Stiles the second plate. Stiles was so oblivious it was seriously embarrassing.

***

Stiles managed to set the hamburgers onto the table just as Peter walked into the kitchen.

Peter gave Stiles a very deliberate once over and Stiles’ heart skipped a beat. He cleared his throat and gestured awkwardly to the kitchen table. “I made some dinner...” He glanced up at Peter and chewed his lip nervously.

Peter stared at him for a long moment before prowling over to Stiles in a few long strides. He cupped Stiles’ face in his big hands, chest rumbling in a growl, and gently brushed a kiss against Stiles’ lips.

Stiles sighed in relief and easily kissed back, keeping the kiss chaste but still actively participating.

Stiles carefully pulled away and whispered, “I’m an idiot. I can’t believe I thought Derek got me that book.”

Peter, smug bastard that he was, smirked at him. “I can’t either.”

Stiles glared at him but easily moved closer when Peter pressed a hand to the small of his back.

“It certainly took you long enough to figure it out.” Peter said, nipping lightly at Stiles’ bottom lip.

“Do not push your luck.” Stiles said threateningly.

Peter just hummed and kissed Stiles again.

Stiles knew they should probably have a discussion about proper communication at some point but he was far too distracted by the feeling of Peter’s tongue slipping into his mouth to care.

Suddenly remembering something Stiles pulled back to ask, “Wait, did Derek know you liked me before I did?”

Peter growled softly and rolled his eyes. “Yes, for once my nephew was quicker on the uptake than you were. Let’s not make it a habit.”

Stiles shuddered at the very suggestion. “I promise I’ll pay more attention next time you try to show me affection.”

Peter chuckled darkly and whispered in Stiles’ ear, “Oh baby boy, I promise you won’t be paying attention to anything but me when I show you affection.”

Stiles was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be getting any sleep any time soon, if the way Peter’s hand was sliding possessively down his back to cup his ass was anything to go by.