I like Coderra. I really do. So I've made up my mind to write a few one-shots to celebrate and expand upon it. This is the first. Enjoy, fellow enthusiasts of Cody and Sierra.

Disclaimer: Total Drama Island/Action/World Tour copyrighted Teletoon/Fresh TV/Cartoon Network.

...

Human relationships are like chemicals. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Sometimes, there's also explosions, but that also makes things more fun.

...

Every so often these days, Cody remembers what it was like when he didn't know Sierra and the idea is...off.

He can hardly remember a time when he didn't know her, this six foot and several inches tall girl that never leaves him alone; never quits bugging; always looming over him like a mountain in the shape of a girl and oblivious to so very many things that it's actually kind of cute...

It seems odd that, long ago, she scared him. Now, the idea of being away from her for long is a foriegn one, and unpleasant for reasons he's still not sure he understands.

Intelluctually, he knows why; it had been so very rare then for girls to even speak to him voluntarily (he still can count on one hand all the girls that even come close to letting him ask them out, and should he have a horrible accident with a buzzsaw his ability to do so will not be espicially hindered); it was only after he entered Total Drama that he got used to being around girls often, but dealing with them was a skill he had yet to acquire.

(He looks back at his crush on Gwen then, infautuation so strong he thought it was love, the kind twisting and deep like something alive inside him. Alive and moving and hurting so badly he could just cry himself to sleep on the worse days; now he can realize the irony and accept it.)

In retrospect, perhaps that was why he was thoroughly unprepared to deal with her.

A man who does not truly know of the ways of ordinary women is wholly unprepared for those of a woman so manic, so outrageous, so beyond the pale realms of assumed normality that those limits are destroyed by her mere proximity, turning such things into history briefly remembered. By her actions alone is change caused.

And perhaps that was simply the begining of Cody learning quite a few things about girls. The first, and currently most important to him from his present situation in life, is that he had absolutely no idea of how to understand and react to the very idea of a girl who was genuinely interested in him. Had he thought about it? Of course. Fantasized about it? Most certainly. Known what to do when it actually happened to him?

No. Not at all. When it finally happened to him, it was the romantic equvilant of a ball that hits you in the head from left field in the middle of a game with such force and unexpectedness that you are still reeling from it after it bounces off your head again. And then the team runs over you because they're sadistic bastards. Only the ball is a girl and left field is an Internet subculture he was barely aware of due to his low self-expectations and the team is the rest of the world that doesn't really pay any attention to you unless it's trying to chew on you for reasons unknown but probably contrived or engineered by Chris MacClaine, who is a cheating conniving bastardly bastard that does bastardly things for he is a bastard.

(Or something to that effect. Cody and metaphors have never looked well upon each other.)

So. When he finally did meet the overly-aggressive and hyper-affectionate girl of his dreams, he had no idea how to handle her. So, in the time honored tradition of all intelligently precautious young men everywhere, he handled it smoothly and diplomatically by freaking out and running like his doom approached and generally not doing a very good job of things at all. And, like all such things do, this was a miserable failure. Sierra was even more dogged and mired in infatuation than Cody was with Gwen. (Looking in retrospect, that was kind of ironic. Assuming this was the proper form of irony; a little mental Harold kept popping up and correcting him at inappropiate interludes like that.)

He did not welcome it then. And time did not do much to help his lack of enthusiasm. She was everywhere. Morning, noon and night; wherever he was, Sierra was there to follow. Combing his hair for parasites. (This was a good consideration on Chris' plane, really; blowing it up probably reduced the planet's filth ratio considerably.) Stealing his personal things and doing stuff with them. (The details were a mystery to him and he preferred it that way.) Doing all manner of apparently helpful things to and for him, occasionally while he was asleep. (All he knew was that during the World Tour he had a tendency to wake up feeling inexplicably more refreshed then he had a right to and wondered why no one ever said anything about what could have happened.) Combined with his dawning realization that he had issues with personal space, owing to no one ever really being there to violate it, this was not conducive to the relationship that Sierra wanted.

It was annoying. It was weird. It was, at times, scary. And yet...in spite of all that...

He got used to it.

Five little words, that's how it can be summerized. 'He got used to it'. He didn't quite mind it anymore, Sierra's irrepresible incomprehension of personal space or boundaries. When she flipped and cried after he tried to vote her off for the first time, it was actually unpleasant; a routine had been established, habit ingrained, and it wasn't there anymore and that was just wrong.

(Her crying wasn't good for him to hear. She didn't have an annoying cry, it wasn't painful to listen to, just hearing Sierra cry felt wrong too.)

She still annoyed him then. A lack of personal boundaries was a big concern for him, and her complete obliviousness to so many things was a hindrance to going beyond tolerating her. She stole his first kiss, and it was a bit irking that he had so little control over that.

But other things happen that force him to change his perspective, just a little. Sierra takes so many risks to help him, with little apparent interest in winning the money for herself. She took a cannonball to the chest for him. (That little 'thank you' is the only thing he can bear to say that day.)

Little by little, things change. Even the slightest transformation is irrevocable. Such is true in chemistry, and so is the bond between two human beings.

His perception of her changes utterly when she, alone of anybody in the world (even his own parents) remembers and celebrates his birthday. It's surprising, unexpected, and the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for him and...

And she's not just a hyper-crazed fan anymore. He can't look at her the same way after that, not after her usual unthinking habits nearly get her killed in a mighty explosion because of something she did for him.

The idea attached to the name Sierra has changed for him; not a nuisance, but a friend. Best friend, really; uttered in haste and mild panic, but true, nonetheless.

She talks the eagerness and drive back into him. He remembers who he used to be, back before he gave up on trying and never stopping back in the first season. But Sierra knows even better than him, perhaps it's only an idea of what she thinks he is, but it's a good idea all the same.

He tries. He doesn't win, but in the end, none of them won, so it evened out in the end. (Also, Alejandro was put in a robot. The exact reason for that escapes him, but he suspects it's because Chris is, when you get down to it, a jerkass, as Sierra eloquently puts it these days. She's working on getting her mother to come around to the same thing. In her family, it's hard to break a crush.)

But perhaps he did win a bit in the end, he thinks while sitting next to the girl in question on a bench, in a park. He did get a friend out of it, honest and true and sweet.

It has been months after the World Tour; Sierra's recovered from her injuries with ease (she's had expertise in this matter, judging from the insane stories she likes to tell; he's heard it joked that Sierra is a bizarre clone of Izzy and sometimes he really can't arguge the validity of that) and she's grown some of her hair back, but not as fast as she would like. It barely reaches past her ears, not the varied-tone of purples she'd dyed it back then but her natural hair color, a lustrous shade of black.

(She's told him that it's a bit easier this way; she'd been growing her hair for years but it was always so much work keeping it nice and shiny and in good health. It's easier keeping it this way, she says, and he tells her it looks nice this way.)

Cody likes being around her, now that she's learned to respect his boundaries just enough to keep his reservations away and indulging her own manic delight in holding him, touching him, hugging him. (He doesn't mind so much anymore.)

Sierra, it has transpired, is almost indecently fun to be around. She's such a manic ball of exuberence that it rubs off; a portion of her cheerfulness has rubbed his world-view into a pleasantly rosy lens and the view's quite lovely. Hardly a day goes by that she doesn't have something fun and unexpected and interesting to do (where she gets the time to do all this and keep up her veritable encyclopedias of blogs, Cody doesn't know, but he suspects she's had her need to sleep surgically removed somehow); her latest project is, for her own reasons, finding the various contestants of Total Drama and healing the rifts between them all. It's an intrigung idea, Cody admits, and the idea of them all being friends is cool. Impractical, unlikely, unrealistic...but cool.

She's a great girl, really. Unlike him in many ways (big where he's small, unrestrained where he is cautious, energetic when he is merely driven) but they are alike in so many others. Both of them are fanatical about the things they truly care about, devoted to the friends they do have (it is a small pool for Sierra, most just him and Izzy and Noah after he was brought around and the Drama Brothers after some impassioned insistence), absolutely fascinated by all manner of seemingly obscure things, posessed of similar levels of narrowly focused determination and, when you really must analyze how they are not so different, they both can't help but obsess on their crushes.

Crushes.

It's a curious thing, but the thought of Gwen doesn't make him as, well, obsessed as it used to. He still likes her, of course, cares for her, but somehow his crush has faded. Cody doesn't really understand it, but, evidentally, Gwen's more than a little relieved. That hurts, but it's a bit harder to care now.

(Sierra has a different situation. The crush has not faded or gone away, but deepened, evolved, become something deeper and more meaningful. Infautation fades away, but it may yet be the foundation of greater bonds.)

So, from the days when he panicked when she hugged him, things have changed to the point that when she quietly intertwines her fingers into his until the palms of their hands line up oh-so-neatly, he does not pull away or protest. It feels nice and warm and it's good to hold hands. After all, they're just friends.

Her hugs are no less frequent. He's no taller (but he could swear that she is, even if only by a matter of mere inches) so this results in a very soft embrace where his face is concerned, but the extreme close-contact is not a problem now. It's good to be so close to a girl, to feel a heartbeat almost move in synchronity. He hugs her back now, and it feels so very good to have someone to do so with. A hug between friends, or so he says. Warm, secure, safe.

Yes, Sierra is, in her own strange way, safe. She's certainly not as flightly deep down; she has set her sights on Cody, and he has no fear of her ever leaving on a whim. It's a happy thought.

Happy enough that when she kisses him, perhaps a warm brush on the cheek or a surprise peck on the top of his head, lips on his scalp, he does not mind. He's even come to look forward to such occasions. Cody doesn't question why, or really care. He assumes that sometimes, girls kiss friends that are boys and may not mean anything more behind it.

Things have, indeed, changed enough that when she, almost shyly, asks him permission, he does not say no, though he's embarrased and a bit scared. He allows her to tilt his head up with her fingers on his chin, up so that his eyes look into her's squarely, blue meeting dark eyes, his almost childishly round face blushing at the sly little grin on her more exotic features.

Her hand sneaks over his, as Sierra often does now. Her fingers moves between his and allowing him to grab her hand, gently and firmly, her thumb tucked just over the base of his own, dark skin brilliant against his pale complexion.

She scoots over a bit closer, wide hips nudging his smaller body, and gently but enthusiastically pressed her lips to his own in what is the second true kiss from her, but it is the first honest kiss; a real kiss, after all, requires participation from both partners. This time, Cody is not merely a recipent or unwilling victim, but one half of an equation.

He leans into it, and kisses her back. He thinks nothing of it. They are, after all, just friends.

That is what he tells people, anyway. He's not so sure anymore, and that thought is, as so many others concerning Sierra, a strangely pleasant one.