"Ernst! Gwen's going to have kittens!" Anna yelled. Ernst looked up from his book for a second before the news got to his brain. He had been studying a little too hard, it seemed.
"Our kitty? Goodness! How did it happen!" Ernst asked.
"Georg has a stray that met up with our little Gwenny, that's how…" Anna replied.
Georg stepped out of the shadows, "Anna and I are gonna be grandparents."
"I am too! I helped pick Gwenny out!" Ernst replied, standing up and taking Anna's hands, "I'm so excited! How's she doing?"
Georg was about to slink off, dejected from the conversation, when Anna ran to him and took his hand, "It's your stray, Georg… come check on his lover with us, will you?"
Georg simply blushed, and Ernst simply smiled, "Yes, yes, Georg… you should adopt the lad! Name him and feed him…"
"Mama already places food out for him…"
"Then let's name him!" Anna cried, dragging the bespectacled boy toward her barn. Ernst giggled slightly at the sight, but followed closely behind.
"Well… do you have any ideas, Anna?" Georg asked, red from all the attention he was getting from the brunette girl. Anna paused for a minute as she opened the door for the boys.
"Well… I think it would honor Moritz's death if we called him… called him Moritz…" she finally said.
There was a moment of silence between the three, "All right… it's settled then," Georg finally said. The newly-Christened Moritz and Gwen looked up from their nuzzling to gaze at their owners. The three slowly crept up to them and Anna started petting Gwen.
Ernst noticed that food and water had been laid out for the lovers, and he smiled, leaning his hand toward both cats, "Hi Moritz… hello Gwenny… how are you doing, little girl? This is your first batch of kittens, isn't it?"
The young female nuzzled the young boy's hand. Her nose felt wet and leathery against Ernst's warm skin. He smiled and began to pet her.
"She seems to be doing fine," Georg said.
"Our strong little girl," Anna cooed.
Everyday Ernst and Anna watched over Gwen. Georg would come maybe once or twice a week. Moritz was there everyday, as well, watching over the mother of his kittens. One day, however, close to the day the animal doctor had predicted Gwen would have her kittens, Anna was called in by her mama to help with chores. Georg was at a piano lesson. Ernst sat in the musty barn by himself. Moritz seemed a little more put out this day, and actually began to pace like a human father would when his wife is in the hospital giving birth. Gwen began to mew as she lay on her side.
"Anna? Georg! Gwenny's having her kittens!" Ernst shouted.
"Ernst, is that you?" Hanschen asked, opening the door slightly. He came up to the younger boy and stared at the spectacle. Ernst grabbed for Hanschen's hand, "Gwenny's having her kittens! Moritz was giving me signs all afternoon!"
"I… I'll go get Anna, if you wish…" Hanschen said, blushing slightly as Ernst's warm fingers entangled in his.
"Yes, yes! Quickly, Hanschen! Please!" Ernst replied.
Hanschen darted out the door. A few minutes later, Anna and Georg came rushing in, followed by Hanschen. He stayed by the door as Georg and Anna knelt by Gwen. Ernst pushed them back, "Give her some space, guys!"
Anna grabbed Georg's hand and held it tightly. Georg smiled and squeezed her hand. Three kittens had been born so far, and it looked like there were more to come. Hanschen finally strode over and knelt next to Ernst. He grabbed the younger boy's hand and squeezed it. Ernst smiled up at the blonde boy, then back at Gwen and her four kittens.
"That was the last one, I think," Anna said after a few minutes of nothing. Gwen was licking her kittens, and Moritz was licking her. Ernst sighed heavily and leaned against Hanschen.
"Good job, Gwen," Georg said.
"Yes, good job, little girl," Ernst said, smiling.
Anna nodded, "Yes, yes. Your first batch of kittens, four in all… Hey! We all get to name one!" she cried. She pointed to the first one, "That's a boy… we'll name him… Georg, after his Papa's Papa," she said, smiling at Georg. He smiled back.
"Georg… you're turn…" Ernst said.
"That one's also a boy… umm… How about Moritz Jr. named for his Papa… and for the boy his Papa was named after…"
There was another moment of silence. Ernst finally spoke, "That one's a girl… we'll name her… Anna! After her Grandmother!" he said smiling.
Hanschen's turn was next, but no one said anything. Hanschen was deep in thought. Finally, he said, "That last one is a girl as well. Why don't we name her Wendla?"
There was yet another moment of silence, "All right… beautiful names, boys," Anna said. She got up, "Let's let the family rest…"
Georg stood up next, "Shall we tell the others?"
Ernst stood with Hanschen, "Yes!" he cried, "I'm sure Thea and Martha will want to hear this!"
Hanschen smiled and let the younger boy lead him out of the barn. He never knew that naming kittens would be so… fun. But with Ernst, he guessed, things were a little different than… without Ernst. He took one more look behind him at the kittens, and then shook his head as he followed the other three out into the sunshine.