If you don’t recognize those names, good. You shouldn’t because they’re from my and my friend’s NaNo novel, Becoming Brave . Not reall...

Shipping Saturday: Vil and Fedora/Becoming Brave

If you don’t recognize those names, good. You shouldn’t because they’re from my and my friend’s NaNo novel, Becoming Brave.

Not really a cover, but I'm not too good at photoshopping :p

Because I’ve got a short story, and I don’t want this post to go on too long, I’ll try to keep the introduction simple.

Basically, our story is about Cecil and Viliam Pembroke, two brothers in a dystopian society where all disabled people are taken away to be brainwashed, “upgraded,” and forced into military service. Cecil has a bad hand, so when their government discovers his secret, a bunch of things happen (sorry, it’s a long story), and the brothers end up hiding with the Forest People, a sort of mythical group who lives in the forest outside their community. There, they meet Fedora, the Forest People’s healer.

Being a healer, you’d think Fedora would be a sweet girl. She’s not. She’s snarky, sarcastic, and her go-to reaction is an eye-roll. Also, she has a horrible bedside manner, which made all injury scenes hysterical for everyone except the injured individual.

Being the older brother of our main protagonist, Vil is a bit protective. But he’s also funny, somewhat insecure, slightly macho, and he doesn’t always let his worries over Cecil get in the way of their lives. He’s in most ways your average 17-year-old boy – except for his occasional psychopathic tendencies, but it’s Valentine’s Day, so we won’t get into those.

And yes, we know a fedora is a hat and therefore a weird name. I was writing the scene when she first came on, and it was the first word that came to mind. We meant to change it later, but by the time the book was finished, the name had stuck and Fedora just couldn’t be anybody else. My excuse is it’s a dystopian, so people name their kids weird stuff.

Final random note before I shut up and let you read: Fedora nicknamed Cecil “Twig” because he’s tiny. Okay, I’m done now. Hope you enjoy!

I stopped at her door, feeling like the heart-shaped box in my arms was in my mouth instead. It was Valentine’s Day and, as anyone would expect, I’d gotten my girlfriend chocolates.

But then I realized I didn’t even know if the Forest People celebrated Valentine’s Day. If they didn’t, I had no clue how I’d explain randomly popping up at her door with candy. “Well, it’s this thing we do... to, um, show how much we care about, ahem, certain people...?”

Fedora would roll her eyes so hard she might pull something.

I also didn’t know if Fedora even liked chocolate. I mean, I assumed so, since that seemed like a girl thing, but I didn’t know for sure. And if she did, I didn’t know what kind of chocolates she liked, and I was really beginning to wish I’d thought of all of this before I snuck out of camp to buy the darn things.

Footsteps from behind made me whirl around, an excuse stampeding up my throat. When I saw Cecil, my brother, it halted just inside my mouth and exited as a quick exhale.

Cec paused, looking from my face to the box, then back again. A slight smile appeared on his face. “She likes chocolate,” was all he said as he stepped past me and into the Healer’s Hut, leaving the door open for me to follow when I was ready.

I was not ready. But I followed.

“Heya Twig, Twig’s Brother,” Fedora said as she headed towards her kitchen. Cecil waved a hand in response, then his eyes jumped to me. The slight grin--which was still on his face--turned into a larger one when he saw I was hiding the box of chocolates behind my back.

Luckily, Fedora didn’t notice. She just breezed past us, aiming that snarky smile in our general direction. I thought I managed something like a confident grin back, but as soon as she was gone, I turned to my younger brother.

“Help,” I whispered. “I can’t do this.”

Cecil coughed his quiet little laugh--which I’d never found annoying until this moment. “Just act normal. You guys are a couple. It’s Valentines Day. I’m pretty sure it’s okay for you to give Fedora a gift.”

“But do they know about it?” I hissed, jerking my head in Fedora’s direction. A footstep from the kitchen had me wheeling around again, but my girlfriend wasn’t paying us any attention.

With a sigh of relief, I looked back at Cecil, just in time to see his three-quarters grin turn to a full-blown one. “Ask Raymond,” he mumbled, before walking past me into the kitchen.

I’ll admit my brain momentarily short-circuited, since I thought Cec was going to say something to Fedora. But no. My brother wouldn’t do that to me. Would he?

I grumbled under my breath, but seeing no other options, I ducked out of the house and went to find Raymond, a close friend of ours and Fedora’s sort-of foster brother. I had to know what I was getting into with this giving-my-girlfriend-chocolates thing. That way, if she didn't know what the day was about, I’d at least be able to explain it rationally.

Hopefully, I'd be rational.

It took a bit for me to track Raymond down, due to his being out on patrol. By the time I found him, the box of chocolates was looking a tiny bit squashed, so I repositioned it under my arm.


He looked up, raising a hand in greeting. “Hello Vil.”

“Do you guys celebrate Valentine’s Day?” I asked.

For a moment, Raymond just looked confused, and I groaned mentally. Aw, great. Now I’d have to explain the gift, which would kind of ruin it.

Then he glanced at the heart-shaped, red-pink box in my arms and grinned. “Yeah, we do. It’s not that big of a deal for us primitive forest types, but some of us celebrate it.”

“Thanks!” I called, only half listening after “Yeah, we do.” I practically sprinted back to Fedora’s house, and by the time I reached her porch, was totally out of breath. Also, the box was a bit more squashed, so I shuffled it around again, put it behind my back, stopped panting like a dying dog, and stepped back inside.

“Fedora?” I called, looking around. 

She popped her head out of a patient’s room. “Yup?”

“Can I talk to you on your porch?” There was no way I'd give her the chocolates where Cec, who was standing in the living room, could watch. I loved my brother, but I also had a feeling I was going to flub this somehow.

Fedora raised an eyebrow. “Sure? Give me a minute to wash my hands. Ben went and got a flu, and I don't need it spreading.”


As I retreated to the porch, another thought struck me: what if the chocolates were melted or squashed? Should I check them? No, probably not. There was that stupid ribbon, and I’d never get it as nice as it was now. Gah!

The door opened, and Fedora stepped out, right as I whisked the box behind my back.

“What’s up, Twig’s Brother?” she asked, walking over to lean on the rail beside me.

“Um. Uhh...” Great work, brain. But could you come up with something a little more conversational?

Fedora glanced at me, the corner of her lips perking up, her eyes rolling heavenwards. “All right, there, Vil?”

I nodded, swallowed, nodded again, then swooped the box from behind my back and blocked my face with it. “HappyValentinesDay,” I rushed the words out, like saying them quickly would make them less embarrassing.

Since the box was between us, I couldn't see Fedora's face, but I guessed she was blinking in surprise. Also, grinning at my idiocy.

The box was lifted out of my hands, then Fedora was leaning towards me.

And then we were kissing.

I really don’t know how long that lasted, as my brain was utterly unoperational for the time being. All I know is that Cecil was the one who broke it up. Of course. Younger siblings, don’t you know?

My little brother stepped out on the porch, probably wondering what was taking us so long. Cec took one glance, then turned around, and was back inside faster than you could say "Happy V Day."

It wasn’t much, but it was just enough to end our kiss.

“I should probably look at how much you squished these now,” she said after a moment.

“Uhm, yeah,” was my super-smart reply.

Fedora shook her head, grinning as she untied the ribbon.

At that moment, I didn’t really care if she liked the chocolates or not, or if they were melted or squashed or whatever else. I knew she’d be happy with them, simply because I’d done something. Also because of the kiss.

Even if I hadn’t got her anything, I had a feeling that would be okay, too.

Because I was enough.

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  1. Aww, this was good! Vil sounds sweet, if somewhat awkward, but I love that!

    Also, your story sounds very interesting.

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! And yeah, Vil's a ton of fun :)


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