[Image description: Photocollage of a cheerful storefront with "Hale's Books & Toys," a Lego creation in the window;
Stiles, dressed in red and white striped Wiener Hut outfit in front of a hot dog menu; Lego Kaiju and Jaeger battling in a Lego city.]
Stiles rolls his eyes when Scott visits him at work for the first time and immeadiately bursts out laughing.
"Go on, get it out of your system," Stiles says.
"Say--the--thing," Scott gasps out between chortles.
"Absolutely not," Stiles hisses under his breath. "You know how many idiots I have had to put up with already today?" Out of the corner of his eye Stiles can see his manager moving towards the front counter from the kitchen and Stiles hopes fervently that Scott leaves. Soon.
Too much to hope for, since Scott has apparently pulled out his phone and snapped a picture when Stiles wasn't looking. Great. Now there's photographic evidence of Stiles' humiliation.
"Have you helped this customer yet, Stilinski?" Karen-The-Manager somehow managed to creep up next to Stiles, wearing her odious grin and creepy cougar smile.
Scott's eyes widen in delight and he immediately says, "Nope, not yet, ma'am, I just got here."
Karen smiles her too-wide smile at Scott, and then expectantly back at Stiles.
"Welcome to Wiener Hut, what would you like on your wiener?" Stiles asks, deadpan.
Scott doubles over laughing until he laughs himself into an asthma attack and now is coughing furiously, fumbling for his inhaler.
Not everyone can get paid to cuddle puppies ("Shut up, Stiles! I do a lot more than that, okay!") and Stiles' desperate need for extra income had led him to the Beacon Hills Shopping Centre, which for all its pretentious spelling and stupid sculptures should be just another mall filled with department stores and terrible mall food. But aside from the Macy's and the other obvious chain stores, there was one shop, a stubborn remnant of a bygone era, the perfect combination of whimsy and wonder that Stiles would have loved to work at.
Stiles sighs, sitting on a lone bench across the small indoor "street" looking in on the window display of HALE BOOKS AND TOYS. He picks idly at his hot dog that is his free lunch, trying not to stain his uniform as he eats. There's an elaborate display in the front window, with a moving model train huffing and puffing away in a surprisingly detailed Lego mountain landscape, complete with trees and shrubbery.
Stiles eats his hot dog slowly, mesmerized by the incredible detail, and also in particular, there's a hot bearded guy adding more Legos to the scene, including a crowd of Lego people at a train stop. Now Lego Hottie is adding what looks to be a custom built space ship to the train scene, and is affixing it to the ceiling with wire so it is flying above the train-- oh my God, Lego Hottie is building a scene from Firefly.
Stiles realizes he's dropped what's left of the hot dog, sloppy mustard, ketchup and all, right into the lap of his brand new and clean uniform pants, and he curses loudly, jumping up and accidentally knocking over the trash can next to him. He bends over to pick up the trash can, wincing at the tightness of the pants (Really, Karen, you own a hot dog stand at a mall, not a Hooters).
When Stiles is done fixing the trash can to rights and cleaning up the mess of his hot dog, he belatedly looks back at the window, where he meets the eyes of the Lego Hottie. The guy is staring at him and Stiles is vaguely aware of ketchup or something also on his face, in addition to wearing the ridiculous Wiener Hut outfit. Stiles tries to get the offending ketchup off with his tongue and then realizes he must look like an idiot to Lego Hottie, and promptly runs off in the other direction of the mall.
It's official. This is the worst summer ever. Stiles hates working at Wiener Hut, hates the snickers whenever he has to repeat that blasted line, hates the greasy perverted old men that actually try to pick him up with it. But a job is a job, and the cash inflow is desperately needed for the repairs for the Jeep, curly fries and maybe that new videogame Stiles had been eyeing. Stiles really couldn't afford to be too picky, since very few places are willing to hire a high school junior with no work experience.
Still, he can't help but wish that the beautiful but terrifying brunette at the Hale bookstore hadn't given him a sad smile and said they weren't hiring. He could have been building Lego masterpieces with Lego Hottie, but sadly, Stiles is here, doing this for the third time today:
"Welcome to Wiener Hut, what would you like on your wiener?"
The guy who must be pushing fifty, tilts his head and straight up leers at Stiles."What do you like on your wiener? Do you have any suggestions?"
Stiles has already had the lecture from Karen about "scaring away the customers" so he merely grits his teeth and says in a monotone, "You can try the classic. Or get the Southwest Fiesta Wiener if you're daring."
"Okay, that sounds good. I'll take the Southwest Fiesta Wiener, with an Extra Long Wiener, please. And make it extra hot and wet." The order is accomanied by a disgusting wink.
Stiles prepares the order, cursing the creators of Wiener Hut in his head. He's pretty sure they were aware of all the innuendos in their menu items and just decided to go with it, thinking it would be funny and not at all thinking about the poor people who would have to work for their chain. The food isn't terrible, just hot dogs with various toppings and soda and fries, and aside from the daily wiener jokes and the dorky uniform, Stiles is still gainfully employed.
On his lunch break, Stiles' favorite part of the day, he wanders over to the other side of the mall to Hale's Books and Toys to eat his allotted free hot dog. Today's special is covered in grilled bell peppers and onions, which makes for a messy meal to eat while walking, but Stiles manages anyways because if he hurries, he might catch Lego Hottie at work.
It must be Stiles' lucky day because Lego Hottie is indeed building away, immersed in constructing in what seems to be an extremely accurate replication of the battle at Helm's Deep. Stiles watches in avid fascination as Lego Hottle wrangles a handful of Lego Uruk-Hais into scaling the fortress walls. He's not sure what's more spectacular: the avid geekiness of the Lego sculture or those muscled arms flexing as Lego Hottie adds more bricks to the towers of Lego fortress.
Stiles usually doesn't catch the guy building; its a rare treat when he does. Since he first got hired at Wiener Hut, Stiles comes by the bookstore everyday at his lunch break to check out the window display. They change by the week, and there is usually a finished model on display in one window and something mid-construction in the other. Stiles loves watching the display grow with time; already he's seen a detailed reconstruction of the Chamber of Secrets, complete with a basilisk and a "ghost" Tom Riddle, an epic battle between Ishmael and Moby Dick, and a ridiculous "floating" Death Star with a minature Luke Skywalker heroically flying in on his ship.
Today Lego Hottie is meticulously building away, adding bricks here and there to Helm's Deep, neatly arranging Rohirrim soldiers in neat formations. Stiles sighs a little in appreciation at both the attention to Middle Earth detail and also, Lego Hottie's eyes. Damn. What color even are those? Green? Brown? Some shifting spectrum between found only in dreams?
Stiles slurps the remaining onions and peppers, and realizing the soggy bun is now unappetizing, drops it in a nearby trashcan and holds the rest of the hot dog in his mouth. He watches with avid fascination, chewing idly, as a Lego version of Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn are placed on the scene.
Lego Hottie stands up, giving his masterpiece a satisfied look, and then looks up, meeting Stiles' eyes through the window.
Stiles freezes and the guy's mouth falls open a little bit in what Stiles presumes must be abject confusion. Of course Stiles is standing right up against the window with a hot dog hanging out of his mouth like an idiot. Of course, Stiles has plenty of experience playing off his embarrassment for the amusement of others, so he just gives up even the pretense of looking cool in front of this guy and just waggles his eyebrows a little bit and then slurps down the rest of his hot dog. Stiles even throws in an exaggerated wink and some extraordinary cheesy finger pointing and then ducks out of view.
He mentally curses himself all the way back to Wiener Hut.
Stiles is too embarrassed to go back to Hale's Books and Toys the next day, or the next. Instead, he takes his lunch over by the carousel and watches; kids clamoring over the gilded horses, couples holding hands, people shopping and going their way. It's not as fun as watching Lego masterpieces being built before his eyes, but Stiles makes do.
That afternoon Stiles is counting the minutes until his shift is over when a familiar terrifying brunette comes up to the counter.
"Welcome to Wiener Hut, what would you like on your wiener?" Stiles asks.
She doesn't even blink, just looks Stiles up and down and then raises an eyebrow and laughs a little. "It's you, isn't it," she states.
"Um." Stiles isn't sure how to react. "Are you going to order something?"
"I'm Laura Hale," she says, extending her hand.
Stiles shakes it and says, "Stiles Stilinski."
"You came into my store and asked if we were hiring a few weeks ago," Laura says, grinning wildly. "I remember you."
"Did you come by to say there's a position open or something?" Stiles asks, brightening.
"Nope," Laura says, popping the 'p' and leaning over the counter.
Stiles feels strange, like he's being scrutinized for some reason. "Then order something or get out of my line, o-crusher-of-dreams."
Laura laughs. "I like you," she states and then tilts her head. "How old are you?"
Stiles narrows his eyes. "Are you hitting on me? Because I'd like to say I'm flattered, but I'm not really interested."
Laura snorts and Stiles relaxes a bit in relief. "You're still in high school, aren't you?" she asks, grinning and eyes sparkling with merriment.
Stiles has a strong feeling he's being made fun of. "I'll be a senior this fall. Are you asking about the job, is that it?"
"Sure," Laura says, and then promptly orders a soda and leaves.
Stiles shakes his head, watching her leave. Not the strangest thing that had ever happened to Stiles, but it was up there.
A few days later Stiles on his way out of leaving the mall, bone-tired and walking swiftly for the parking lot. He's already taken off the dorky red hat and is now loosening the dorky red tie he has to wear when his phone rings.
"What's up, Scott?" Stiles asks.
"Oh my god," Scott says in a panicked tone. "Please tell me you haven't left the mall yet."
"I haven't. What's going on?"
"I got a date with Allison tonight," Scott says, breathless.
"Really? Good for you, buddy--"
"It's like a study date, we're gonna go over the summer reading texts for AP English together."
"I need a copy of the Euripides book, like rightaway, can you get me one from that bookstore?"
Stiles groans. "I thought you already had a copy! We bought ours at the same time, remember!"
"Yeah, digital versions, Stiles! It's not the same. And Allison doesn't have a copy, and I said I'd bring mine, and you know the ambiance is totally different than two people hunched over a computer at a desk than you know, two people hunched over a book on a bed..."
"Okay, bro, I got you," Stiles says, quickly turning. He hears Scott yelp in delight and a tinny "I owe you big time!" as he hangs up the phone, sprinting in the opposite direction of the mall.
Stiles runs and he can see the sign for HALE'S BOOKS AND TOYS flicker and then blink out. He skids to a halt, nearly falling over. "No no no no no no," Stiles mutters. He can see Laura step out the front and start to pull the metal grille down in front of the shop.
"I just need to buy one book," Stiles splutters, a little out of breath. "Please."
"Oh?" she asks. Stiles launches into a quick and hurried explanation of Scott's plight, which seems to amuse Laura, who quirks her head at the door. "Go on then," Laura says. "There should be someone still inside to ring you up."
"Thank you so much!" Stiles calls, racing into the store.
He hurriedly makes a beeline for the Greek tragedy section and finds a copy of the book. Stiles pulls it out of the shelf and then rushes to the counter, where he plops the book down.
Stiles looks about anxiously, but he doesn't see anyone around, let alone the other employee Laura mentioned. He taps the bell on the counter impatiently, looking towards the back of the store, and then the front.
Stiles' jaw drops. He completely missed the new window display earlier in his rush into the store, but there is no mistaking it now. It is probably the most fantastic thing Stiles has ever seen, because there is no way Lego came out with a set for Pacific Rim already. There's a Kaiju demolishing the Golden Gate Bridge on one side, and on the other side are not one, but two Jaegers built brilliantly out of Legos doing battle with another Kaiju.
Stiles' phone rings again, and he picks it up to hear Scott's frantic, "Did you get it? Stiles? The website for the store says its already closed--"
"Calm down, Scott, I got your book," Stiles says. "I'm getting it ringed up right now."
Scott breathes a sigh of relief over the phone.
"I have to tell you something though," Stiles says dreamily, looking at the Lego masterpiece in front of him. "I think I'm in love."
"No, seriously, Scott. I'm in love with this guy. He builds like the most epic Lego dioramas possible, and he just made one for Pacific Rim, dude! He built a custom Cherno Alpha completely out of Legos! He is fucking amazing, okay," Stiles sighs, turning back to the counter to see Lego Hottie staring at him. "Gotta go!" he says quickly, hanging up on Scott.
Stiles can feel his cheeks burning with embarrassment when the guy says calmly, "That will be 27.95."
Time seems to slow to a still, dragging on uneccessarily while Stiles pays for the book and Lego Hottie puts it in a bag for him. As soon as its in his hands and he is handed the receipt Stiles squeaks out a meek "thank you" and fumbles for the door, accidentally knocking over a display of cookbooks. "Oh my God!" Stiles says, trying to set them back up and then just gives up. "I--I'll just--" he stutters, and then flees.
On Monday Stiles has decided to put the past behind him. He's never going to go back to that bookstore again. It's one thing to be caught awkwardly staring at someone, and it's another to make a declaration of love to to them.
The day ticks by wearily, and luckily not one penis joke is made.
Stiles finishes ringing up a complicated multiple-combo order for a order for a large family. When they disperse, he can see Lego Hottie has been standing behind them.
Stiles can feel the blush returning with surprising force, running through his cheeks and down his neck as Lego Hottie approaches the counter. He looks amazing, wearing a leather jacket over a white t-shirt and jeans.
"Welcome to Wiener Hut, would you like me on your wiener?" Stiles asks. It's not until Lego Hottie's eyes widen when Stiles realizes what he just said. Stiles clasps his hands to his mouth and then splutters, "I mean, what would you like on your wiener?"
"I don't want to order anything," Lego Hottie says, and Stiles does his best not to quiver. His voice is deep and smooth, like caramel. "I just wanted to say thank you. For appreciating my display art. You're the only one who got the Pacific Rim reference."
"Oh my god, that was the most brilliant one! The way you got those details on the Jaegers!" Stiles says excitedly. "I could practically kiss you!" The words are out of his mouth before he realizes. "Oh my God, I mean--"
Stiles is saved from further embarrassing himself when Karen bumps him aside from the cash register. "If you're not going to take their orders, Stilinski, you can go work the fry machine," she hisses, then turns to Lego Hottie. In a syrupy voice, she says, "Welcome to Wiener Hut, what would you like on your wiener?"
Lego Hottie frowns. "Actually, Stiles is working on my wiener right now," he says with a straight face. Stiles is briefly shocked that Lego Hottie knows his name and then remembers he is wearing a name tag.
Stiles jumps up and prepares a hot dog quickly even though Lego Hottie didn't order. "Here you go, one hot extra long for--"
"Derek." Lego Hottie--no, Derek-- smiles at Stiles and takes the hot dog. He leans in close, pushing a piece of paper across the counter at Stiles and then whispers in Stiles' ear, "Just so you know, I don't kiss on the first date."
On the slip of paper are the words "Derek Hale" hastily scrawled and a phone number written underneath it.
Stiles has changed his mind. This is the best summer ever.