My Little Teddy Bear
“Do you always carry that around?”
Mike turned his head to stare at the other boy, surprised at his question. After having stared out the window for so long, being taken out of the scenery so suddenly put him off. Though, of course, the question was bound to have been asked at some point.
Mike lifted up the cuddly little teddy bear he had clutched in his hand.
“Yeah,” Mike answered, bringing the bear close to his chest. “New places scare me. The different smells all scare me. That’s why I bring Nanaba with me to places I’ve never gone to.”
Erwin stared at the bear with enthusiasm, the same way he gazed upon fish at the aquarium during their last field trip. “That’s it’s name? Nanaba?” he asked, moving closer to Mike on the bus seat.
Mike, though a bit uncomfortable now that Erwin was in his personal bubble, ignored the feelings he had. “Yeah,” Mike responded, his voice quiet and low.
“Can I hold?” Erwin asked, now turning his eyes on Mike.
Mike looked down at Nanaba and answered, “I’m scared that once you touch her, she’ll smell like you. She has a special smell and–”
“Do you not like how I smell?”
Mike immediately glanced up at Erwin, his eyes wide as he stared at the other boy, who now had his head tilted to one side like a curious dog.
“N-no,” he stammered, shaking his head, “that’s not what I meant! I like how you smell! It’s just… um…”
Mike was adorable like this; fumbling as he tried to find the right words with his face flushed. But, Erwin didn’t want him to wreck himself too hard. “It’s okay,” Erwin interrupted, stopping Mike right in his tracks. “Can I hold?” Erwin had his hands open this time when he asked.
Mike’s eyes went from Erwin to Nanaba a few times before they finally settled on Nanaba. It seemed as if he made his decision.
“Okay,” Mike whispered, slowly and hesitantly handing Nanaba over to Erwin.
Erwin smiled, holding Nanaba by her big, soft torso tight in his hands. “She’s cute,” Erwin commented.
Mike exhaled through his nose. “Yeah,” he agreed, a tiny smirk creeping onto his lips.
After staring at Nanaba for a few seconds, Erwin then looked at Mike. Suddenly, Erwin stood and plopped himself right next to the other boy.
“I can be your teddy bear too!”
It was silent between them for a moment; the both of them were still processing what just happened. It didn’t take long for Mike to come to terms with the situation, and once he did, he let out a small yelp of shock. “What?” he whispered, his voice extremely hoarse.
“O-oh,” Erwin stuttered, his face now as red as Mike’s was only a minute ago, “I thought… oh. I’m sorry. Sorry!”
“No, it’s okay,” Mike assured him, “but…”
Mike considered his next words carefully. As carefully as a 7-year-old could.
“Okay,” Mike said.
Erwin, though he now had covered his face with his hands, stared at Mike through the gaps between his fingers.
“O-okay,” Erwin repeated, still very unsure.
Erwin didn’t quite think this through, but, he had to follow it up. He said it for a reason, after all. So, he gradually began to lean off to the right, planning to rest his head on Mike’s shoulder. Once his head was nested on Mike’s shoulder, Erwin began to try and move even closer towards Mike.
The other boy hadn’t been saying anything during this entire action, but, Erwin took that as a wordless beckoning. Eventually, both boys were very close to one another.
To top it all off, Erwin placed Nanaba in Mike’s lap, and wrapped his arms around Mike’s waist. Erwin moved his head, placing his chin on Mike’s shoulder to stare at Mike’s face and determine whether or not this was okay for him to do.
When Erwin went to do this, he didn’t expect Mike’s eyes to already be on him. They were probably on him the entire time.
“I-is this okay?” Erwin asked, lowering his gaze out of embarrassment.
Much to Erwin’s surprise, Mike responded, “Yeah.”
Erwin’s blue, beady eyes flicked back over to Mike’s face. Then, Erwin smiled.
“Yay,” Erwin whispered.