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Deliberation

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Everyone knows about Taco Tuesday. Taco Tuesday is so last year. All the cool kids do Pizza Tuesday now, or at least that’s Stiles is telling himself as he stands in line at the grocery store balancing three bags of whole wheat pizza dough, a red pepper and a red onion.

The parking lot hadn’t been any busier than usual, or so he had thought until he walked in the doors to immediately be confronted by multiple floral displays, balloons, chocolate dipped strawberries, an overflowing bakery department in all the imaginable shades of pinks and reds and an actual crowd of people milling about the displays. He stopped short for a moment before he was nearly run down with a cart and had to keep going.

He had written the date on how many reports today? Somehow it had completely slipped his mind that Valentine’s Day was tomorrow and he had literally only stopped at the store on his way home from the station because he didn’t want to wait for dough to rise when he got home, he just wanted to make the pizza and pop it in the oven. This is what he gets for being lazy.

There are more men in the store than he has ever seen at one time, each with a varying combination of flowers, cards, and heart shaped chocolate boxes. The few women in the store were actually just doing normal grocery shopping or were soccer moms picking up cookies and cupcakes for school parties and were politely ignoring the harried looks of the men around them. If they had valentines, they clearly had that shit on lockdown and definitely had since further out than the day before. It’s the thought that counts, right? Not the timeline?

The checkout lines were exceedingly long and paved with more pink and red displays of cards and heart bedazzled tokens of affection. Stiles could see how six of the eight men ahead of him on the express lane were second-guessing their choices the longer they stood in front of the displays. Stiles was second-guessing himself and he was just there for pizza ingredients.

Not a moment beforehand, he had been smirking to himself about how he was lucky that all he needed to be happy was to go home after a good day at work and eat some delicious pizza and watch B99 while snuggled up on the couch. Love should be felt and shown every day of the year, not bribed each February with meaningless commercialized garbage. Pizza is where it’s at. Maybe he’ll make the pizza heart shaped. Heart heart or anatomical heart shaped? He definitely noticed some of the guys in the vicinity jealously eyeing his pizza dough and looking down sadly at their Russell Stover monstrosities.

The line moves up two steps. He grabs two bags of Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups from the display table next to his register, you just can’t say no to them. They don’t hold a candle to Isaac’s chocolatiering expertise at his bakery uptown but you can buy and inhale them by the pound much more readily. Stiles didn’t venture out near Isaac’s unless he was on a call or patrol which meant he couldn’t stop in. He only got such treats when he smurfed them from Derek’s stash at the pack house which is hard to do when basically everyone there can catch a scent and know who the guilty party is.

As he’s down to three people in front of him, the pop-up card racks on both sides of the aisle proclaim many sentiments and Stiles begins to feel uneasy as a few designs catch his eye. Should he get a card? Are they doing Valentine’s Day as “a thing” this year? He’s usually working, works every holiday but Christmas, so it’s never really come up. One or both of them are usually busy with life or work so they’re pretty flexible other than birthdays, which they always spend together.

He rearranges the chocolate, pizza dough and veggies into one arm, silently wishing he’d thought to grab a hand basket, and fishes his phone out of his back pocket.

He sees a text from Derek saying he beat him home and asking when he will be home. There’s a photo of the rest of the veggies already perfectly cut, some freshly shredded mozzarella in a bowl with a smaller bowl of Asiago next to it because Derek knows how much he likes it. You can’t get a real New York style veggie pie in Beacon Hills. It’s one of the things they both miss the most about living in New York, Derek when he’d been with Laura and Stiles when he’d gone for his Criminal Justice degree at John Jay, so they make their own when they’re craving it.

He taps back a response with his one free hand, apologizing for the delay and saying he’s almost done at the store but the lines are nuts. Normally Derek would shoot back a quick ’k’ but instead there are those little dots on the screen that indicate he’s typing and a loooong pause.

‘oh, right.’ which doesn’t seem to have accounted for such a long period of typing and is followed quickly by ‘Are we doing valentines stuff this year? Like did you have plans?’

Stiles has a brief moment of panic in which he thinks maybe he had this all wrong and pizza and hanging at home and then sleeping in tomorrow was not the sort of gesture Derek had been expecting or desiring. Before he could work himself up too much, as in literally a second after the last text, Derek’s next text comes through as ‘I don’t care, unless you made plans. I vote we just buy two bags of pb cups and eat them’

The line is down to just the one person in front of him and he’s able to put his purchases down on the belt. He texts Derek a quick shot of the Reese’s and a message saying, ‘already had that base covered’

He smiles a genuine smile at the thought that he and Derek were on the same wavelength about chilling and chocolate, granted it absolutely does not have to be Valentine’s Day for them to each eat an entire package of peanut butter cups but these ones do happen to have appropriately festive foil wrappers. A tightness that had started to form in his chest as he had waited in line unwound itself and disappeared entirely.

He fires off one last text before pocketing his phone to check out, ‘you’re getting a valentines bj and that’s all I had planned and by planned I mean just thought of it after zero deliberation sorry’

When he gets to the car with his purchases he sees a text on his lock screen when he pulls it back out of his pocket to plug it in. It's just a short text from Derek, ‘Perfect!’ He smiles again as he starts the engine and the five minute drive home because, yeah, he kinda thinks they are.