“Um…come in,” Hermione stuttered and allowed him in, leading him to the dining room. The others looked up curiously. Harry and Narcissa’s expressions were blank but Gabriella smiled warmly and stood up to greet Jasper.
“Jasper, I thought you’d be dropping by.” She smiled and kissed him once on the cheek. Comprehension dawned across Harry’s face.
“I had to welcome Hermione back.” Jasper replied with a breathtaking smile. The exact same flutter that had travelled round her body when she had first laid eyes on Jasper made a reappearance, only fainter.
“Harry, Narcissa, I’d like you to meet Jasper Lesair. He is the leading healer at the hospital where we work and a close friend of mine. Jasper, this is Harry Potter and Narcissa Malfoy,” Gabriella introduced.
He shook hands with Harry, “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr Potter. Gabriella never shuts up about you.” Harry looked taken aback somewhat but muttered a greeting in return. Jasper turned to Narcissa and suavely took her hand in his, raising it to his lips and muttering, “Surely, you’re not Draco’s mother? You could be his sister.”
Narcissa blushed (Jasper had the same effect on her as he did on Hermione) and replied with a smile, “I get that a lot Mr Lesair, but yes, I am Draco’s mother. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“No, the pleasure is all mine,” Jasper countered.
“Would you like to join us?” Narcissa asked, indicating the food.
“No thank you, I’ve come here on a full stomach, unfortunately. That does look delicious”
“Would you like to come in to the drawing room then? You guys finish dinner, I’ll eat later.” Hermione said and went into the drawing room, Jasper following close behind her. She awkwardly took a seat on the sofa and he sat close to her. Surveying him closely, she realized that, if possible, he seemed to have gotten even more handsome. His dark hair had grown a little and now hung about his mesmerizing sapphire eyes and his body seemed much more muscular underneath his clothes.
“Wow, you’re getting big,” he laughed, nodding at her stomach.
“I am. It’s great to see you.” She smiled.
“You too. I can’t believe it’s been almost eight months since the conference. It seems like a lifetime away.” He smiled that breathtaking smile again and Hermione had to remember to suck in oxygen. She’d forgotten how striking he was.
“It does,” she agreed breathlessly.
“I missed you.” His voice had turned low and husky and sincerity was pouring from every syllable.
“I missed you too,” she replied, her voice not as fully convinced as his. He stared at her, his eyes smouldering at her and he grimaced to himself before she saw his face inch closer to hers and then his lips were on hers, kissing her greedily, his tongue darting out to meet hers. It gave a whole new meaning to the term French kissing. Without realizing what she was doing, Hermione responded, her hands curling round the back of his neck to pull him closer. She moaned into his mouth as his hands gently trailed across her body, sending a shiver of pleasure down her spine. She’d forgotten how good he was at kissing as well.
His hands disappeared into her hair and hers ran underneath his shirt, tracing the contours of his chest lightly. His mouth left hers to trail kisses across her jaw and neck.
“Jasper,” she gasped, loving what he had evoked in her.
“Hermione,” he replied in a similar, husky voice. “Come with me, forget Draco. I can show you the world…”
Her conscience kicked back in tact and was screaming shrilly at her that what she was doing was wrong and she obeyed it and abruptly pulled back. Jasper’s lips remained at her neck, not wanting to desert her warmth and she pushed him back gently.
“No, this is wrong…” she whispered as realization at what she had just done hit her forcefully. Tears began to form in her eyes and she continued. “I can’t Jasper. I want you physically, but my heart belongs to Draco. I just can’t. I’m sorry.” She avoided his gaze and stared at her entwined fingers.
It had been almost eight months since she had been kissed and kissed back like that and this was not going to help. It was a reminder of what she could’ve had, had she chosen Jasper over Draco…how differently things could have turned out. But it also reminded her of Draco’s enticing kisses and it hurt her to remember and realize just how much she missed him.
“Hermione, please…” Jasper begged, his lips returning to hers for a soft, slow kiss. She forced herself to stay immobile and not respond but it was becoming excruciatingly difficult to resist his sweet, warm lips. The task was demanding enough in itself without him forcing the kiss to become more and more passionate with each second that passed. He could sense she was starting to crack and he smirked against her lips before his own lips returned to her sensitive spot, his hand reaching underneath her shirt to slowly and sensually rub her back in small circles.
She whimpered and bit her lip, her hands curling into tight fists with the effort of resisting; her nails were digging painfully into her palms. His hand travelled up and he trailed a soft finger down her spine and she moaned, no longer able to control herself and kissed him back fiercely, her fingers trailing on the inside of his thigh. He groaned into her mouth, loving what she did to him and his hand travelled from her back to her chest, his nimble fingers trailing across the top of her breasts, eliciting a deep moan of pleasure from Hermione that drove him insane.
“Hermione, you don’t know how crazy you make me,” he muttered against her lips. Tears slipped from Hermione’s eyes and she pulled back, burying her face in her hands. “Hermione, please. I know it’s wrong but I can’t help myself.”
“I love what you do to me, Jasper but my heart belongs to Draco,” she sniffed. “But it’s wrong. So wrong! Draco and I are having a baby, I can’t do this. If things had turned out differently…” she trailed off leaving the rest to his imagination.
Jasper sighed and he put a hand gently on her shoulder. “I tried to forget, Hermione. I really did try to forget how you made me feel, but I just couldn’t. Draco is a lucky man.”
She looked up through her tear-stained eyes and said thickly, “I appreciate that you did but I’m waiting for Draco to come back.”
“I anticipated as much. It’s obvious you are madly in love with him. Are you still trying to prove his innocence?” he asked, pulling his hand away and shuffling to the corner of the couch. It was clear he was resisting her just as she had been resisting him just earlier.
“Not at the moment, no. After the baby comes, I will resume my investigation.” She said, her hands desperately trying to right her appearance.
“I could help you,” he offered quietly.
“What? I thought you hated Draco.”
“I do. I’m doing this for you, to see you happy.”
“You really don’t have…”
“I want to.” He interjected and she smiled gratefully before straightening her clothes, brushing her hair with her fingers and wiping away her tears, to erase all evidence of any intimate activity.
“Hermione! Hermione!” an excited voice was whispering in her ear. Unwillingly, Hermione opened her eyes and saw Gabriella above her, her smile wide, her expression radiant. She looked round; the place wasn’t familiar. “Hermione, congratulations! It’s a boy!”
Those last words shocked her into a state of alertness and she sat up –with difficulty- and looked at Gabriella with wide eyes. “It’s a boy?” she echoed hollowly.
“Yes. Yesterday, the twenty fourth of January you gave birth to a baby boy at eleven fifty six P.M.” Gabriella said, using numbers to make it official. She turned round and picked a small bundle of blue blankets from a small cot before handing it to a stunned Hermione. Speechless, Hermione stared down at the peachy sleeping baby. It had a small tuft of dark hair upon its head and the tiniest fingers curling around the edge of the blanket. Her heart melted and she gazed lovingly at the baby.
“What are you going to call him?” Gabriella asked softly.
“Alexander Emmett Malfoy,” she announced quietly. She’d had the name stuck in her head of quite a while now. “Welcome to the world, Alex,” she muttered softly to the sleeping baby.
“He’s gorgeous,” Gabriella gushed and stood up to leave.
“Where are you going?” Hermione asked anxiously.
“To get Narcissa, Harry and Ginny. They’ll be happy to know you’ve woken up.” She departed and Hermione was left to gaze at the baby cradled in her arms. He was beautiful. She couldn’t wait to write a letter to Draco and tell him and possibly attach a photo. He would be ecstatic. Footsteps could be heard and her head snapped up and she saw Narcissa and Ginny rushing towards her. Harry was walking with Gabriella, his arm around her waist and he was smiling happily.
“Congratulations, Hermione. Oh I can’t believe this, I’m a grandmother!” Narcissa said, her smile wide. “May I?” she asked, holding her arms out.
“Of course,” Hermione said and gently handed her Alex. She beamed down at him and a few tears escaped her eyes. Hermione turned to Ginny and smiled.
“I can’t believe you came all the way here to see me sweating and screaming,” she said, groaning at the mental image she made of herself. She must’ve looked awful.
“It was worth it to see this little prince. Have you chosen a name yet?” Ginny smiled.
“Yes. Alexander James Malfoy.”
“Oh, they’ll be so happy to hear back home. Do you want me to send a letter to your parents, telling them the good news?” Ginny offered.
“You don’t mind, do you?”
“Not at all,” and she stood up and stole a glance at Alex before leaving the room.
“Harry,” Hermione sighed with a smile. “You are just brilliant, I don’t know how I could live without you. Would you like to be godfather? And you Gabriella, How does the title ‘Godmother’ sound to you?”
“You’re asking me?” Gabriella was shocked. “Of course. I love it! Godmother to be Gabriella Laverne. Has a ring to it, don’t you think?” she joked and Harry laughed, pulling her closer to him.
“I’ll be happy to be godfather,” he smiled.
“Oh thank you, so much,” Hermione gushed. Narcissa was still staring at the baby in her arms and she gasped when he opened his eyes. They were the exact same shape and colour as Draco’s. She handed him back to Hermione and told her to look. She smiled a bittersweet smile as she saw his eyes. If only Draco was here to see this…
A tall figure appeared at the doorway and Hermione fell silent on catching sight of Jasper dressed in a healer’s uniform. She’d forgotten that this was the hospital where he and Gabriella worked.
“Congratulations, Hermione. I hear it’s a boy.” He smiled but the smile did not extend to his eyes.
“Thank you,” was all that would come out of Hermione’s mouth. He crossed over and watched the baby for a while.
“He has his father’s eyes, but everything else is yours,” he smiled and turned to stare at Hermione instead, his expression yearning and pained. “I have to get going, I have an appointment with a patient now. Gabriella, drop by later. I need to discuss some papers with you.” And he walked out.
Hermione did not dwell on his reaction for long for Alex had started screaming. Everyone winced; amazed that such a loud sound could come from such a small thing.
“God, he’s loud,” Harry muttered, his hands rising to cover his ears.
“Takes after his parents,” Gabriella grinned at Harry over the noise. “Come get coffee with me.” And she pulled him out of the room and towards the cafeteria. Hermione was clueless as to what to do. Thankfully, Narcissa had taken him in her arms again and his screaming quietened until it ceased and he fell back to sleep.
“He’s going to be a handful, this one.” Narcissa warned.
It was with a sigh of relief that Hermione finally sat down at her desk and began to write her letter to Draco. Alex had been crying for the past hour and her head had started to ache. He had just drifted off to sleep and Hermione was mercifully thanking the heavens.
She dipped her quill into some ink and began.
I suppose you can guess that I’m going to start the letter with good news, my love. We have a baby, Draco. We have a son and I have called him Alexander James Malfoy. I hope you like it. He never ceases to stop crying though and will only quieten when he is with your mother. He has your eyes and everything else is mine. Including a dark tuft of hair upon his head. It’s unbelievable that he has hair at this age already. I bet when he grows up, his hair will be one of his main priorities; a lot like you. I suppose that’s another thing he’s sure to have inherited from you. Ego.
I came back from the hospital almost two weeks ago and I do not plan on returning to work until Alex is at least six months. I will use the time to try and search for any evidence that proves your innocence. I had tried before to arrange some interviews with servants and people who worked with the Minister, but they all refused to come. Do you have any idea why? It’s extremely frustrating. We need at least one person who will defend your innocence.
I suppose there is no way of escaping it, but this letter will be completely about little Alex. I have chosen Harry and Gabriella as Godparents. I know you will be displeased at my choice of Harry, but he doesn’t believe you a murderer and he has helped me so much. Your mother is over the moon that she is finally a grandmother and I am simply over the moon about no longer waddling like a duck. I have attached a picture of Alex and me that I hope you will you enjoy. He looks like an angel but he behaves like he was spawned by the devil, or rather the Dragon: you. I remember you had a terrible attitude at Hogwarts. I bet he’s inherited that from you too. Perhaps I am being a bit unfair here, stating that he has inherited all your bad traits whereas with me, he only inherited the good traits. There could be some truth to it though, my love. I’m only joking. Come back to me. I love you.
She slipped the parchment into a ready envelope and attached the picture she had mentioned and left the envelope on the table, reminding herself to give it to Harry when he came round the next time. Yawning, she walked over to her bed, passing the cot along the way. He lay there sleeping, tranquil and unassuming and she gently stroked his velvety soft face with delicate fingers.
“Sweet dreams, Alex,” she muttered before falling onto her bed and falling into deep, blissful sleep.