Baby Names

"A baby." Ron flung himself down next to Hermione on the sofa and took another gulp of wine as if it would help him get over the shock. He sat facing her with one leg bent up underneath the other and an arm slung over the back of the sofa.

Across from them, Luna was telling an amused Dean about hunting for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. Fleur was playing with her wedding band and gazing off into space with a slight smile on her face.

"Yes, you've said that a number of times." Hermione laughed. "In a family as big as yours, I would have thought news like that wouldn't be such a shock. Still, it's wonderful. I've never seen Remus look so happy!"

"Or Harry so shocked," Ron snorted. "Did you see his face when Remus asked him? Priceless." He paused. "Guess we were wrong, then."

"About what?"

"You know, back at Grimmauld Place. We told him he shouldn't have yelled at Remus. I'd say we were wrong."

Hermione looked through the door Harry had exited with Bill. "Yes, I'd say we were too."

There was a pause. "Sorry, could you repeat that? Did you just admit you were wrong about something?"

"Not quite," she corrected swiftly. "I admitted that we were wrong about something. You get fifty percent of the credit."

"Good enough for me," he said with a grin and Hermione poked him in the leg. They lapsed into a comfortable silence. Luna was now telling Dean in an animated manner about Erumpant sightings in Nova Scotia. Ron saw Hermione shake her head out of the corner of his eye but he was occupied with more important things to goad her about it.

"…Ted Lupin. Teddy Lupin. Teddy."

"Ron, what are you doing?"

"I'm trying his name out," he answered, as if it were obvious. "Dad said Bill used to do this when all of us were born. Think about it, it's a whole new person. The name has to feel right." He nodded his head conclusively. Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Well, I suppose I'll just have to wait for my opportunity to try out baby names, seeing as how I'm an only child and I'm hardly a mum yet."

"Well, you will be eventually, who says you have to wait?" Ron's ears immediately turned bright red. Hastily, he added, "I mean, you could always think of names now. You know, prepare ahead of time."

Hermione gave him a look. It was challenging, and almost…coy? She shifted over a fraction of an inch so that her leg was touching his. "Well, what would you suggest?"

"Huh?" his voice cracked on the word.

"I asked, what would you suggest?"

Ron's ears flushed red as he stammered, "Oh – I dunno – I mean – you know – blokes don't usually think about stuff like that, Hermione."

"Oh." For whatever reason, she looked mildly disappointed.

Ron had a brief internal struggle. "But for a girl, I was thinking maybe Rose," he mumbled quickly under his breath.

"Rose?" She looked at him curiously. "Really?"

"Well, what's wrong with it? It's a good name." Ron shot defensively.

"Nothing's wrong with it at all. I think it's lovely." Hermione sat back on the sofa. "Rose Weasley. Rosie Weasley. Rosie." She had unconsciously adopted his practice of testing baby names and Ron was about to call her on it but something made him stop. Hermione's eyes had unfocused and a slight smile played across her lips, similar to the one Fleur had had. Her head was resting on the arm that Ron had flung over the back of the sofa and Ron was feeling the most wonderful bolts of heat shoot through him. His heart gave a particularly loud thump.

"What about—what about you?" His voice was low, almost cautious.

Hermione started, her daydream seemed to pop. She lifted her head, breaking contact with his arm. He wished he hadn't opened his mouth.

"I—let's see, I've never really thought about it." She fell silent, thoughtful. Then her eyes lit up.

"What do you think about the name Hugo for a boy, Ron?"

"Hugo?"

"Yes. It was my grandfather's name. It means 'bright in mind and spirit.'"

"Like mother, like child?" He grinned at her but he was only half-joking. Hermione beamed at him.

Ron grew thoughtful as if he'd spotted a problem. "But you'll need a surname to test it with, won't you?"

As soon as he spoke, Ron cringed inside and cursed his mouth for not consulting his brain before it spoke. He raised his eyes to Hermione's hesitantly to see if she thought he was as much of a bumbling idiot as he felt, but as soon as their eyes met, they locked and something electric passed between them.

Ron was hurled forward years in time: he saw Hermione holding a little baby Hugo, himself lifting up their daughter Rose so she could see her little brother properly, all of them smiling, happy. Hermione, who had been watching her children, looked up at him, brown eyes shining, and Ron fell into them, thrown back in time to the present, where he found those same brown eyes still locked on his. Hermione looked about as dazed as he felt. And from her slightly parted lips and something else he couldn't quite identify, he knew that in those few seconds, she had taken the same incredible journey that he had.

"I've got an idea," she whispered.