"Out of the bloody question, Hermione. Absolutely out of the question." Ron stomped from the bedroom to the kitchen. As used to it as he was by then, Harry still absolutely hated hearing them row. It gave him such a headache. He was there to pick Rose up for an afternoon so Hermione could rest but as soon as he entered the flat, he wished he'd sent Ginny to collect their niece.
"But Ron, when you wanted to name Rosie after your grandmother – I didn't object!" Hermione came waddling after him. She was only a few weeks shy of delivering their second child.
"That's different! Completely different!" Ron said, raising his hands in the air, exasperated.
Harry turned from his friends and went into the living room where Rose was quietly playing with a doll. He crouched down on his knees next to Rose and kissed her temple.
"Daddy says Mummy wantsa' name my brudder affer her boyfriend." Rose explained to Harry without looking up. She pushed a baby bottle into the doll's mouth and rocked it seriously.
Harry nodded his head, suddenly understanding the big fuss Ron was making. Hermione could certainly choose her arguments.
"Harry – Harry will back me up on this one. Would you let Ginny name your son Dean?!" Ron said with a backward look at Hermione.
Before Harry could answer (and the answer was 'no') Hermione interjected:
"I suggested the name of an author – a genius - whose work I really admire. Because he happens to coincidentally have the same name as a boy I kissed once over thirteen bloody years ago Ron has turned into a green-eyed jealous monster." Hermione spat at him. "For crying out loud Ron, they don't even spell it the same way."
Harry found himself chuckling.
"We can name the baby after an author – just not that one, Hermione. End of discussion." Ron said, crossing his arms.
There was a large stack of books (even by Hermione's standards) next to the sofa. She'd been signed out of work by the Healers at St. Mungo's for a few weeks already. Rose's premature birth had everyone concerned that she'd deliver early again. She'd been told to sit and relax as much as possible.
Harry looked up the spines of the novels and recognized some of the titles:
Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula, Mansfield Park, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, Frankenstein.
It seemed like Hermione was quickly working her way through the entire Romantic literature movement. He shook his head.
"Ronald Weasley you are being completely pig-headed." Hermione crossed her arms over her chest.
"Hermione Granger, you are being ridiculous." Ron replied, mocking Hermione's tone. He gestured wide with his large hands accidentally knocking the stack of books over. Harry reached out just in time to keep a weighty tome from knocking into Rose.
Ron grumbled and knelt down to pick up the books as Hermione continued to talk.
"Don't go calling me 'Granger', Ronald. You know perfectly well what my name is." She scolded. "Victor is a classically dignified name. Victor Alastor Weasley – how do you not just love it?"
Ron's fist clenched as he picked up the last book from the floor. "Here, how about this book. You loved this one, you went on about it for weeks. Why not name the baby after this author?" He thrust the book in her direction and she scoffed.
"Well, Ronald – I had no idea you'd be ok with naming your son Mary." She rolled her eyes. "Why do you assume every author is a man? You assume a woman can't write a brilliant piece of literature?"
Sensing another feminist tangent, Harry cringed. He heard the argument continue while he tried to involve Rose in a puzzle but she wasn't interested.
"Fine. Mary Whatsherface-" Ron said dismissively.
"Wollstonecraft." Hermione corrected him.
"I'm sure she was bloody brilliant, Mione. Does the book have a male lead character?"
"It does." She replied.
"Done, then – let's name the baby after him."
Harry couldn't control the laugh that was fighting to get out. He held the stitch in his side and laughed until he cried.
"Somehow, I don't think you'll appreciate that name of the lead character of Frankenstein, Ron." Hermione said, laughing as well.
"Why? What is it? It has to be better than Quasi-fucking-modo…" Ron said flipping the book over and reading the synopsis outloud:
"Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's classic gothic novel reaches across time and for nearly two centuries readers have continued to discover the tale of one man's obsession with reanimating lifeless matter. Victor Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts…" Ron did a double-take. "Sodding hell is everyone named fucking Victor?"
Ron looked up from the book jacket to shoot Harry a glare but he saw that Hermione was also laughing. His expression softened and he plopped down on the sofa, resigned. Rose took her doll by the hand and crawled up on her father's lap. Ron stroked Rose's red hair and kissed her temple.
"Daddy used baffroom words. Mummy says no baffroom words, Daddy." Rose said in her scolding voice.
"I know, Rose. I know. I'm sorry." Ron said with his lopsided grin.
"So, realistically Hermione – do you expect Ron to be ok with that name? You've got to admit, it's a bit of a sore subject." Harry said.
Hermione's eyes widened and she looked at Harry with an expression of deep betrayal.
"Harry, whose side are you on?" She said, sounding hurt.
"I'm not trying to be on anyone's side but come on, Hermione. There are loads of boys' names out there – you'll find one you like more than Victor." He responded.
"Hugh-go" Rose suddenly said. The three adults all turned their complete attention to the small girl with the big voice.
"What, Rosie?" Hermione approached Rose and used the armrest of the sofa to leverage herself as she squatted down.
"Hugh-go, Mummy – look." Rose's delicate finger pointed to the old book with the tattered cover.
"Hugo? Hugo Alastor Weasley. Hmm." Ron considered.
"I kind of love that…"Hermione said running her hand over her belly, considering it.
Harry looked at Rose, she never failed to astonish him. Naturally any child of Ron and Hermione's would be advanced in many ways, but her intuitiveness, her ability to read people was way beyond her three years.
Harry helped Hermione from her squatted position on the floor to sit next to Ron and Rose on the sofa.
"That might just be the name, Ron. What do you think?" She said.
Ron smiled, put his palm flat on Hermione's belly and rubbed it gently. "How're you going in there, son? What do you think of the name Hugo?" He playfully asked.
Simultaneously, Harry saw Ron and Hermione jump. The baby had kicked.
"Is that a 'yes' then?" Harry said with a chuckle.
"Mummy, lemme see." Rose said pointing to her mother's stomach. Hermione lifted her top slightly, revealing her porcelain white skin. Rose pushed herself forward and placed her hands on Hermione and placed gentle kisses there.
"Luff you, rittle brudder." Rose said.