Cody actually felt a little stupid just standing there, not being able to think of anything to say, so he just gulped and held his hands out, his gift big enough that he couldn't hold it in his hands but had to support it up. "Here," He said, grinning what he just knew was a big and dumb grin. "I, uh, this is for you."
Sierra blinked down at him (and she was so big, and just plain tall, that Cody felt nervous just approaching her no matter how much she had been sweet and adorable, she was just so obliviously intimidating to him sometimes; he was small, and she was seriously...not small). She looked bewildered for a moment, her mouth parting in a bemused quirk for a moment before she put her hands over Cody's hands...or rather, the gift. "A hat?" she said. "You bought me a hat?"
Cody's heart sunk a little, and about a dozen brief mental scenes of all the many many times he'd tried to win Gwen over and had failed miserably (and it was easy to joke about it, easy to lie to himself about how character-building it was, but it wore on a man, brought him down and low and it hurt seeing her being happy with his friend or his enemy but she was happy so that made it okay in a way but that wasn't supposed to happen with Sierra). Then his brain caught up with his tendency to automatically evaluate a situation and come to the wrong conclusion, and he realized that Sierra wasn't disappointed or confused or didn't like the gift; she was just surprised, her lips (and a slight pinkish her lips were today, his brain commented brightly, a new brand of lipstick constrasting wonderfully with her brown skin) quirked and her cheeks puffed out, the scraggly remnants of eyebrows knotting together in thought.
She stood up to her full height for a moment, pulling up out of her slight slouch with a pained hiss and a slight pop, putting a hand to a spot right above where her backside met her legs. Cody's interest in watching that particular part of her without feeling awkward about it immediately switched to concern; it had been weeks since she had been able to leave the wheelchair (Sierra was all kinds of crazy leves of tough, and it honestly made him feel like swooning a little bit, that was pretty awesome), but she was still having a bit of pain in her back sometimes.
Cody felt a need to explain himself, and still wondering why she hadn't just taken the hat once she'd heard that it was a present from him for her, he proffered the large red cap he was holding. "Um, er...uh...I was just coming to see you a bit ago, and I saw this in a store, you know, like a hat store except they didn't just have hats, they had one of those singing fish and a barbeque stand in the shape of a monkey's head and a parrot, I think maybe it was the owner's pet or it was the owner, hah, that'd be pretty cool..."
"Oh, wow, I know," Sierra said, evidentally pleased to contribute. "I, like, parrots. They're cool, huh? But maybe a bit creepy, like, the way they just repeat things, I never know if they're just repeating or if they understand it or they know we think they're just repeating words so they're planning like evil schemes like this thing with a peanut butter sandwich and-"
Cody coughed, meaningfully. "Um, Sierra? I think we're getting off-track."
Sierra nodded meekly, ducking her head a bit. She looked down at him, and for a woman who was still recovering from a moderate case of exploding planes, she skipped and bounced in place with amazing dexterity. Cody squirmed and wiggled, blushing at the sight, and a persistent thought of 'holy stuff on a plate, she's so beautiful' and similar sentiments kept interrupting his thoughts.
Eventually he managed to get them on track. "I saw this, and I thought you might like it," he said, suddenly forcing himself to look away from her dark eyes and big bright grin (and past her slightly pointed chin and amazing curves and lovably big hips and impossibly adorable standing stance and again Cody kept thinking 'holy stuff, why is a girl like THIS so into ME?') and stared at the floor, shaking and twisting some more. "I mean, um, if you like it..."
'Please please please like it', he thought desperately, a horrible feeling of complete inadequacy hammering into him like a particularily and unreasonably vengeful deity. He just failed at girls, no matter what he did; he just knew that Sierra was going to hate it, like maybe she didn't like red at all or it looked like a hat her great-great-grandcousin had been wearing before he exploded because of a killer penguin or something, and then that would just end this whole relationship thing he was starting to try with her...
And that would be the final proof that he was totally hopeless at anything with a girl, and he couldn't even have a relationship with a stalker girlfriend (even though she was really getting better about that) and then he honestly couldn't figure out if she was his girlfriend or his best friend and he definitely wished he'd met her like years before even though that'd be fairly weird because he was pretty sure she was a few years older than him though she never said anything about it, and by this point Cody was aware that even his brain was rambling.
And he noticed that Sierra was giving him an odd look, and was giggling uncontrollably. "What?" Cody asked nervously.
Sierra made a noise that sounded a lot like 'pffft!'. "It's not that big a deal that I'm maybe older than you, is it? If it was a few years ago, yeah, dorky jerks would make a big deal about it, but not now! Maybe. Kind of. Sort of. Depends on the province we're in, I guess."
Cody's expression went very carefully blank. "...I didn't really just say all that stuff I was thinking about out loud, did I?"
Sierra patted him on the head, her fingers tapping gently through his hair and onto his scalp. "You kinda did."
Cody endeavored to keep his expression blank. "I...see," He said slowly. "If I had a complete nervous breakdown right now, would that be a big deal?"
"Aww, silly, you're being goofy." Sierra giggled and bent over, kissing him right on the bridge of his nose and between his eyes. Cody, dearly unused to a kiss of any kind, had the pleasant sensation of his brain drowning in a sea of warm pink goofyness, stumbling back and making a noise best approximated as 'Blerah?', a half-smile firmly on his face. He went slack, and Sierra giggled again; with one hand, she grabbed him by the shoulder and pressed him into herself in a big half-hug, and with the other she tugged the hat from his hand. She beamed at it, and without another word, happily put it on her head, absently unaware that it was backwards.
She patted it down, and deciding with total sincerity that any gift from Cody would automatically look absolutely perfect in any situation ever until the universe exploded (and probably after that, too), she hugged him again even harder (fortunately, due to the great constrast of their respective heights, her immense strength didn't hurt Cody so much due to his head presently being cushioned by her bust as usual). "Thank you, Cody! I love it! I'll love it even more when I see what it actually looks like on me! Whee!"
"Heee," Cody said faintly, grinning like a complete dork from somewhere between her navel and cleavage.
She let him go, and he got a good look at her, looking up and seeing his gift perched happily upon her hair; set backwards and crammed onto hair that had regrown nicely, the cap's red constrasting wonderfully with the rich purple of her hair (and he was meaning to ask her if she dyed her hair all the time or if her family had some really strange genetics), like a really nice cabin on top of a lovely mountain, and now he realized that he was standing so close to Sierra that it was hard to actually see the hat properly, and concluded that this was because he'd taken a step forward while he'd been looking at her.
"Cody?" Sierra said, looking concerned. "What are-" Cody stepped forward, and having absolutely no idea what he was doing, wrapped his arms around her belly and squeezed her in a tight hug. Sierra uttered the absolutely cutest squeal he'd ever heard, and then her arms found purchase around his head and shoulders and squeezed him again, and there was much softness and warmth to cushion him.
A warmth beating against the side of his face, plush softness that was the equal of her whole personality. Against Sierra's murmuring and mostly wordless expressions of gratitude, Cody grinned and wondered why it had taken him this long to just go and be with her.
And that, as he might have said later, was the story of where her hat had come from.