“Stiles this is so dumb,” Derek repeated for the fifth time within the hour.
Stiles rolled his eyes and huffed. He shook their intertwined hands as he spoke. “No, it’s not, it’s a genius idea. I start college in three months. We’ll have the entire summer to saturate these bears with each other’s scent. That way the distance won’t be so bad.”
“You just want to see me cuddle a stuffed animal, don’t you?” Derek inquired, eyes narrowing.
Stiles shrugged. “It’s a cute image, I can’t lie. But you know how great of an idea this is. Clothes swapping is only so good.” Stiles turned towards Derek, halting their footsteps in the middle of the mall, and held his other hand. People streamed around them, but the couple ignored them.
Stiles gave him a serious look. “It would mean a lot to me if you gave me a bear that smelled like you so that when I start missing you, I can hug the bear and call you and almost get the real experience.”
If Derek hadn’t already been okay with it, that would have sold him. “Okay,” he spoke softly before pecking his boyfriend’s lips.
Stiles grinned widely and tugged Derek into the large Build-A-Bear store that was at the epicenter of the Beacon Hills Mall. An employee immediately noticed them, which wasn’t hard to do considering they were taller than the average customer.
“How can I help you guys today?” the too-peppy girl asked, grin fake.
Stiles hugged Derek’s arm and gave her a genuine smile. “My man and I are looking to make some bears today.”
The girl looked up at Derek, noticed his blank expression, and bit back a laugh. “Well I can certainly help with that. We can start off by picking out your buddies.”
Derek scowled at the ridiculousness of the store but easily followed when Stiles tugged him towards the wall of unstuffed animal skins. Thankfully, Stiles had been conscious and brought them at a quieter time of the day so that he wasn’t assaulted with the high-pitched noise of children squealing. Still, the place had a few kids and parents running around which was enough to keep his hackles raised.
A mom and her daughter were picking out animals as well, and she smirked in Derek’s direction. He growled at her, maybe flashed his eyes, and she diverted her attention quickly. Yes this was stupid, but he was not about to let Stiles get picked on for missing his boyfriend while at college by some middle-aged divorcee.
Stiles picked out identical light-furred bears for them, and the employee promptly lead them over to the stuffing machine where a family of three had just finished up. She read them the whole spiel about the hearts and putting all their belief into them. Stiles watcher her attentively as she spoke, and Derek watched as his boyfriend’s face softened when he was handed the two felt red hearts.
Derek took his when it was offered and with his eyes locked on Stiles’, pressed his lips against the fabric in a soft kiss. Stiles gasped softly, a fond shine in his eyes, before he did the same.
Now stone-faced, Derek turned back to the employee and handed his heart back. The girl’s face was slack with surprise, and she fumbled slightly as she stuffed the bear before patching it up. She handed Derek his while she started on Stiles’.
Derek noticed a younger boy sitting and waiting his turn to pick out an outfit, and Derek waved at him using the bear’s hand. They boy grinned widely and waved back with his bunny’s.
Stiles nudged him when he noticed the exchange and Derek shrugged in response when Stiles arched an eyebrow in question.
Once Stiles’ bear was all patched up, the girl moved them over to the clothing and accessories and informed them that their bears came with one shirt and pants combo or one outfit. Anything else would be extra. From there she left them alone, and Derek sighed in relief.
“Her perfume was strong,” Stiles commented, voice low, before leading Derek over to the tiny clothes.
Once Stiles spotted it, Derek knew he would have no choice but to adorn his bear with it.
“Derek, Derek!” He found it. “Tiny leather jacket! And you can pair it with this white shirt and jeans!”
“Aren’t I supposed to be dressing my own bear?” Derek asked, amused.
“Fine, you can do mine then,” Stiles conceded, and Derek smirked. He reached out for the same pair of jeans before scanning the rows with his eyes searching for- yep.
“I haven’t worn plaid in a year!” Stiles protested as Derek pulled down from above a red plaid shirt. Derek arched an eyebrow at his boyfriend. “Okay, a few months. But I’ve grown since then.”
“Plaid reminds me of you,” was Derek’s response, and Stiles softened. He poked Derek’s nose with his bear’s nose before taking the outfit from Derek and passing him the one he picked out. Derek scrunched up his face, eyes crossing to look down at his nose, and Stiles laughed at his expression.
The line at the register was longer than Derek was comfortable with, but Stiles kept up a steady chatter which allowed him to relax. Stiles’ hand in his helped that as well.
The same peppy employee was grinning at them once they finally got up to the register, but thankfully she quickly got the bears into their miniature cardboard homes. Derek paid for them without protest from Stiles for once, after his boyfriend noticed the price and winced. Derek gave the girl an short smile when she passed the bag holding the bear boxes over to him, and she looked taken aback but then grinned widely. “Have a great day!” she called after them.
Once out of the mall, Derek could finally breathe and felt himself relax fully. When they got to his car, Stiles stopped them just before they got in and demanded they swap bears right then.
Derek tossed the empty bag into the backseat before passing the box holding Derek’s bear to Stiles. Stiles grinned through the window of the box, and Derek couldn’t help but press Stiles against the car and steal a kiss. Or seven.
“This was a good idea,” Derek admitted begrudgingly on the drive home.
Stiles wiggled in his seat, the box held safely between his legs. Stiles’ bear was safely sitting on the backseat, buckled in and everything.
“I’m gonna name him Der-Bear!”
Derek rolled his eyes. “Well, I’m going to name mine Myz--”
“Nope!” Stiles shouted, cutting Derek off, and Derek threw his head back and laughed, a wide grin stretching his face for the rest of the drive home.