By Any Other Name
"Well here he is, Fitzwilliam, your son and heir" Elizabeth smiled a tired but triumphant smile at her husband.
Darcy thought she had never looked so beautiful, despite the loose tendrils of hair plastered to her forehead by sweat; her eyes were as dark and luminous as he had ever seen them, and filled with joy that triumphed over the exhaustion. And in her arms lay the red and wrinkled efforts of her labouring, the little piece of perfection who had been grown with their love.
"We never actually got around to discussing names" said Darcy, cautiously "It's the family custom to call the firstborn boy by his mother's maiden name; which would be Bennet."
Elizabeth made a face.
"I can't say that it makes a fortuitous first name" she said. "It is a pet name of Benedict; and really to give the child the name of an austere medieval saint seems unkind. It is something Mary found out; it is the sort of thing Mary would inevitably find out" she added.
"I was thinking that we might have that as his official name and provide him with a name that he might use daily" suggested Darcy, tentatively.
"I would not wish to go against the tradition of your family" she said "It is an old and proud one and you have had to go against Lady Catherine already to marry me."
"Oh, such habits are not in the Fitzwilliam family" said Darcy "They have a small number of names that they re-use over and over; names like Ralph, Jasper, Joscelin, Geoffrey and Hugh. And a few others that slip my mind. Their women are Anne, like my mother, Catherine, Elinor, Elizabeth, Mary and Maud. Let it never be said that the Fitzwilliams have missed the opportunity to use any queen of England in their naming habits."
"Or, if I do not miss my guess, names of the nobles who came over with the Conqueror – my dear, is THAT the William from whom the preffix 'Fitz' derives?"
"I prefer not to hazard a guess" he said. "It would certainly be like my aunt to wish to trace her ancestry back to far. However, let us not mind the nomenclature of my cousins but concentrate instead on our son."
"The Colonel is your friend" said Elizabeth "But I am not sure that 'Jasper' for a baby is quite suitable; it is a little….ebullient."
"And thus suitable for a colonel" said Darcy. "But you are right."
"We could name him after Georgiana and call him George?" suggested Elizabeth, then her eyes widened as her husband's expression became cold of a sudden.
"Not George, no" said Darcy in a hard, bitter voice "Have you forgotten that it is Wickham's given name?"
"To be honest with you, yes" said Elizabeth "That man is not someone of whom I think if I can avoid it. Well what about a segment of your own name and call him William?"
"That might be well and good but for two reasons that militate against it" said Darcy.
"And what are they?" said Elizabeth, stroking the little tuft of dark hair on her infant's sleeping head.
"William Lucas; and William Collins" said Darcy "Either one of whom could decide he had been named after him; and if you wish to receive the epistolary efforts of the unspeakable Collins on the subject I certainly do not!"
"That would be an unfortunate occurrence" concurred Elizabeth. "Have you any suggestions?"
"It occurred to me that we might ask the Gardiners to be Godparents" said Darcy "They have been most excellent friends to us. What more natural than to name our firstborn after his Godfather and call him Bennet Edward?"
"Bennet Edward Darcy" said Elizabeth thoughtfully. "It has pet names from it that are not unreasonable too; he might be Ned, a good boy's name to play with his friends, Edward for everyday and Bennet to take out for special occasions. We can only hope that the initials do not encourage him to laze in the BED that they spell!"
"Somehow, my dear, I cannot see any child of ours being anything but active to the point of being in permanent trouble" said Darcy dryly. "My own energy and your vivacity must preclude that"
"Well you do have a point" said Elizabeth candidly. "You are right that we are neither of us indolent in any respect and it would be wonderful if we had a child who was not like us at all."
Darcy smiled on his beloved wife and thanked his Maker that she was not in the least like her mother.
"Welcome to Pemberley, Bennet Edward Darcy" he said softly to his son, touching the tiny hand with its minute, perfect fingernails; and as the little fist closed hard on his finger and the sleeping baby mouthed vaguely in his sleep, Fitzwilliam Darcy was overcome by a welling up of emotion that was as great as his feelings for Elizabeth!
There was no greater happiness; and nothing more important than to make sure that Bennet Edward – Ned – should be happy with his own name, a matter far more important than the continuation of family traditions; because his son was the family tradition.
He laughed in joy and sudden mirth.
"Fitzwilliam?" Elizabeth was puzzled.
"I was considering family pride and unbreakable traditions and thinking that I should break with the tradition soon enough had your surname been Pratt for example!" he said.
Elizabeth joined him in his laughter as little Ned slept on, unaware that his name was of so much moment.