Metal pauses, mission briefly forgotten. Instead he stares at the wall. From floor to ceiling, across its entire surface, the wall is covered in shelves. All the items are categorizes and sorted meticulously. From lightweight to heavyweights, top to bottom, and by color, left to right.
A message interrupts his observations.
"Quit your dawdling!" Starline. His voice and arrogance unmistakable. "Grab the lens and the tai–"
Metal mutes the message. Let Starline speak himself hoarse.
He turns his attention back to the wall. There's so many options and he doesn't want to think about why it feels like too many. Like it would be too easy to chose the wrong one.
He sets the lense down on a nearby table.
Red. Red is likely the best option—the safest option. She's always in red. Even the gift-ribbons she used are red.
He takes a few of different weights. He checks the tensile strength of each, they need to be durable. The lightweight ribbons break too easily. He discards those.
After some more deliberation, he settles on a two-inch heavyweight ribbon and a three-fourths inch medium weight ribbon.
He grabs the lense and decides to wait a few more minutes just to annoy Starline. He's about to head back when a rich green color catches his attention. It's only slightly lighter than the green chaos emerald. The satin finish of the ribbon makes it shine brighter. Instantly he knows that's the right color to choose.
He checks the weights of the ones he has and exchanges them for their green counterparts. His central processor's working faster and not even Starline's incessant nagging dampens his mood.
The rest of the mission goes by without a hitch and next thing he knows, he's standing in the "mail room" with Orbot. They've been stating at each other for at least five minutes. Logically Metal knew Orbot would be there—he handles all the mail—but actually running into him makes his processor stutter slightly.
Orbot sounds bemused when he finally speaks. "Do you need something?"
Metal lets out a sharp buzz of electricity.
Orbot is completely unfazed. Metal shifts slightly, not missing the way Orbot briefly focuses on the green ribbons in his hands. Wordlessly, Orbot turns to the piles of empty boxes. He pulls out a box just large enough to fit the ribbons in snugly.
Metal rips it from Orbot's grasp— probably a little harsher than he should have— and leaves without a spare glance.
"At least mail it from one of the lesser known front companies," Orbot says in a message a few hours later. "The last thing we need is Sonic and the others tracking us down."
Metal thinks of ignoring the message. What he's doing may be foolish but he's no fool. He doesn't even plan on listing himself as the sender.
In the end he follows Orbot's advice. If he sends it from the standard front company, she'll likely throw it away without even opening it. At least this way there's more of a chance of her opening the gift.
He tries to keep himself occupied while the package is in transit.
It gets harder to not constantly wonder what she thinks when he gets notified the package has been delivered.
In the end he has to wait two more months before their paths cross again. It's at an old base. Used mostly for storage, but Starline demands it be protected.
He's busy dealing with the annoying fox when he registers a familiar flash of color.
Near the edge of the facility, by the road leading out of the area, stands Amy Rose. She lines her shot and sends an old eggpawn crashing into three more, putting them all out of commission. Though that's not what catches his attention.
In place of her usual red headband is a green one. A green bow on its left side just under her ear. It fit her so well. The color makes her eyes shine brighter than usual. The fire and passion they hold on clearer display than ever.
Its so unexpected his coolants stall momentarily and his system's temperature spikes. Like before, his central processor kicks into high gear and he's left feeling giddy.
She liked it!
She liked the ribbons!
She liked his gift!
He's so focused on her, and the surprising feeling of happiness, that he stops acknowledging the fox. Not a good idea considering the situation, but he can't tear his focus from her.
His annoying copy is next to her briefly. A few words and a raised eyebrow leave her beaming as she readjusts the headband.
Starline and Master Eggman lecture him about his subpar performance in the battle. He outright ignores Starline and only half listens to Master Eggman. After an assurance that it won't happen again, he's dismissed.
Privately, he doesn't mind having lost that encounter. He's too pleased by the results of his gift, even if she doesn't know it was him.