A/N: Well. This is it. We had a rocky start with this fic. Thanks those who stuck with me. A proper thank you and more notes at the end. Apologies for the delay. My wife had surgery. I had to wait until she was recovered a bit before giving this proper attention.
Fifteen Years Later
Hermione did one final check of her potions stores and did a sweep of the ward. The only patients currently were both suffering from Quidditch damage. Leisl Gudbrand took a bludger to the belly five minutes into the match and Rex Orkney was badly burned when he reached into a flagrante bush to pull out the snitch. Both were recovering nicely, but had to keep at opposite ends of the ward as Hermione had already broken up a ridiculous near-duel between the two, despite the fact that neither could effectively stand.
With a flick of her wand, she shut curtains around each of the sleeping teens and marched out of the hospital wing.
Upon shutting the door to the ward she leaned against the wall and ran a tired hand across her throbbing forehead. Since Madam Pomfrey had taken a year-long sabbatical, and Hermione had put in place a healer training program for the sixth and seventh years, she felt like she had been burning the candle at both ends all year. Minerva had been gone for a week and Filius had asked Hermione if she would take care of ten-o-clock rounds tonight. All she wanted was to fall into bed with a good book and sleep until Monday.
"Keep moving Hermione, you're almost done," she whispered to herself.
"Not if I have anything to say about it," a husky voice answered her unexpectedly from a dark alcove next to her. Before Hermione knew it a strong hand had wrapped around her wrist and pulled her into the shadows and against the cold stone wall.
Hermione gasped, reaching for her wand. "What the –?" She was cut off by earnest lips crashing against her own. Her fear and defensiveness melted away as familiar arms circled her waist and soft curves pressed her deeper against the stones. "Darling, you're home," she sighed as Minerva's lips descended to her neck, attempting to explore the spaces hidden by her robes. "I've missed you so."
Hermione laughed heartily. "Unhand me woman. I have to make rounds tonight. Put your libido on hold for an hour until I round up the errant teenagers and bring them to you for punishment. It will give you plenty of time to work up a good snit for giving out detentions."
"Nay lass. I must have you first, so I can be lenient on the heathens when you round them up." She went back to her activity and her next words were mumbled against Hermione's delectable neck. "You feel so good, Leannan. I hated being away so long." Her left hand began working Hermione's robes up around her waist while her right entwined with Hermione's left as the younger witch caught the firelight dancing across the green jasper set into the Celtic knot of her wedding ring. Instinctively, her free hand caught Minerva's matching jasper ring and brought it to her lips, before guiding it back down to continue its quest.
"Alright, darling, but make it quick. We wouldn't want to be caught shagging in the corridors like our charges, now would we." Her voice had gone breathy and her eyes lost their focus as Minerva's fingers found their promised land.
"Aye." Minerva responded and kissed Hermione deeply. The kiss deepened and continued as she brought her lover to a quick and quiet completion against the wall outside the hospital wing.
Hermione panted as she came back to herself and found Minerva's mossy green eyes. "Off, wicked Scot." She gave Minerva a final heated kiss and shoved her playfully. "I have a job to do. I'll repay the favor later." The glint in her eye made Minerva week in the knees as she watched Hermione saunter away.
Just before she turned the corner she stopped and spun around, remembering the reason for Minerva's trip. "Wait! Minerva. What of McLaggen? How did the hearing go?"
Minerva crossed to her so she didn't have to shout.
"Crazy as a Snorkack, Leannan. It's worse than five years ago. Once again, they can't release him from Antarctica because he can't even dress himself. The other inmates are relentless, and if my instincts serve, the guards aren't particularly kind either. We won't be seeing him for a good long time, my love. Rest easy."
Hermione breathed a grand sigh of relief and departed with a loving stroke to Minerva's soft cheek. "I'll be home soon."
Hermione felt a little wobbly as she moved up and down the corridors looking for misbehaving teens. Most nights, these evening patrols were uneventful; unnecessary, even. But, inevitably, the one night they chose to overlook them, would be the night something truly disastrous would happen. Tonight, it appeared, would not be one of those nights.
She yawned broadly as she clipped from the third to the second floor and wondered for the dozenth time why she wasn't, in fact, in bed with her wife. As she started down the second floor corridor a faint burning sensation on her sternum alerted her. She looked down to see the red jasper pendant glowing softly. She turned on her heel and back up the stairs, tearing at a dead run towards Gryffindor Tower. Her heart beat wildly in her chest and her booted heels clomped on the stones and she almost didn't hear the strangled shout coming from the classroom on her left.
She banged through the door, brandishing her wand to find her son, floating in the air above the desks upside down. On the floor below stood James Potter and Colleen Finnegan, wands in hand, looking horrified.
"Mum!" Jasper yelled.
"Jasper Horatio Granger McGonagall, what in the bloody hell are you doing out of bed at this hour?"
"Auntie Hermione!" "Professor McGonagall!" "We can explain!" came the simultaneous pleas from all three guilty students.
Without letting Jasper down, she crossed her arms and leaned against a desk. "I'm waiting."
The three exchanged glances and Jasper sighed as James and Colleen found their shoes very interesting. "Fine," Jasper began, "maybe explain isn't the right word. Uncle George needed some help with research and development. He's giving each of us 10 galleons to help him perfect his bubble up potion, but we overdid the pixie wings and I got stuck on the ceiling. I think he tricked me."
"Oh, well spotted, son. A shocker that your Uncle George would trick you. That doesn't explain why you are out of the Tower and out of bed after curfew."
The children looked abashed. "There isn't another good place, or time. George said we had to keep it secret." He shrugged as much as he could while suspended upside down. "How did you find us?"
Hermione held up her jasper pendant.
"Bollocks, I hate that bloody necklace." He looked up at his own, dangling from his neck reaching towards the ground, still glowing faintly.
"Language, young man. And be glad you were wearing it," she scolded as she brought him down on his feet abruptly with a flick of her wand. "Would either of you have known how to counter the potion?" She looked at her son's comrades.
"No ma'am." They both confessed.
"Yes, well, see? You could have been stuck up there all night; and as it is Friday, probably much of the weekend too. Come, all three of you. We're going to see the Headmistress. Maybe you'll have a better explanation for her?"
Jasper perked up immediately. "Min's home? When did she get here?"
Hermione softened a little at Jasper's enthusiasm to see his mother. "Just a bit ago. She came to see me in the hospital wing before I started rounds. Now, march, the three of you. I'm still angry." But the curl at the corner of her mouth belied her feelings just a bit.
Upon arrival at the stone gargoyle, Hermione turned to James and Colleen. "Would the two of you wait out here for a few minutes? I'd like Jasper to have a word alone with his mother." She cast an alarm charm around them. "This charm will alert me immediately if you try to sneak off, so don't get any ideas, understood?"
They nodded and returned their gazes to their shoes.
"Wondrous Strange" Hermione spoke the password to the gargoyle and it whirled up, revealing its staircase. Jasper took the stairs two at a time as Hermione followed at a measured pace.
Upon reaching the door, Jasper knocked excitedly and bounced on his toes, looking far younger than his sixteen years.
"Enter." Minerva called, and Jasper opened the door.
Minerva smiled widely and opened her arms to her son. "Jasper! Whatever are you doing out of bed, lad? Dhomh do glac a teann."
Jasper sunk into his mother's arms. "Halo Màthair. Tha mi gad ionndrainn gu mòr."
"I've missed you to, prìseil." Mother and son basked in each other's presence for a moment before Minerva met Hermione's eye over Jasper's strong shoulder. The elder witch took in her wife's crossed arms and perturbed smirk and brought Jasper away to look into his cinnamon eyes. "I can only assume, since you are in my office at this ungodly hour, that you have gotten yourself into trouble again, aye mac?
Jasper blushed and looked ashamed. Minerva turned on her Headmistress persona. "Jasper, this can't keep happening. Just because you grew up in this castle does not make you exempt from the rules. You, more than anyone, must set an example for your housemates."
"How is that fair? Just because my mothers run this school, I can't have any fun!"
At this, Hermione stepped in. "Fun is one thing, Jas, breaking rules and cheeky backtalk is quite another."
"Oh come on, Mum, Uncle Harry and Uncle Ron say you three got into all sorts of mischief while you were in school. They both say you three drove Min nuts!"
Hermione fumed and turned crimson. "You will not compare my school experience to yours, Jasper McGonagall. It is because of that 'mischief' that you have a school, and a world, to get into trouble in. Ten points from Gryffindor for disrespecting those who fought and died during the war against Voldemort, and another five for reminding your mother how much older she is than me."
"All right, I take back the extra five. But know this, son, if my childhood escapades in this castle taught me anything, it is that you never know what may be hiding behind the next 'Alohamora'. The rules are in place for a reason, some of them because of me. So, you don't get a pass just because you're our son. Okay?"
"Yes, mum, but can I ask you both something?"
Minerva and Hermione exchanged glances and Hermione nodded slowly.
Jasper took a deep breath and dove in. "Can I stop wearing my pendant, at least in the castle?"
Hermione gasped, hurt, and Jasper continued quickly.
"It's not that I don't appreciate its importance, mum, or what it symbolizes, but it's kinda… cramping my style," he said lamely and looked to his Min for help. "Even you have to admit it's a little hyperactive. It activates anytime I'm working with a delicate potions ingredient and it burns through most of Care of Magical Creatures class. The other day, I waded into the Black Lake to try to get a picture of the Giant Squid and half the school laughed at me because my 'baby monitor' was glowing. It also burned a hole in my quidditch uniform last week! The thing was glowing so bright through the whole match that Ringold thought it was the snitch at one point. Surely you felt it too!" By this point Jasper was pacing back and forth, flailing his hands about, much like Hermione did when she got worked up. "The bloody thing's a menace, Mum. Please. I'm just asking if I can keep it in my bedside drawer."
Through this final exchange, Hermione and Minerva had been having a silent conversation with their eyes, and Hermione knew, despite her better judgement, what their answer had to be. Her eyes filled with silent tears and she waved in Minerva's general direction, indicating that she could be the one to break the news.
"Alright, mac. If that's what you really want, we'll let you go without it, at least for a time. But only if you promise to curb the post-curfew excursions and provided you stay safe and keep up with your studies. Understood?"
Jasper threw himself back into Minerva's arms. "Thank you, Min! Thank you. Mòran taing! I'll be a model student, I swear."
Minerva patted Jasper's head and peered past him at Hermione who was attempting to dry her tears and regain her composure. She took his face in her hands and whispered her next words so only Jasper could hear them. "Now, lad, you need to go hug your mother and tell her you love her. She's having a 'my baby boy is growing up too fast' moment and she needs to know that you still need her on some level, aye?"
Jasper nodded. "Tha mo ghion ort, Min"
"I love you too, gràidhean."
Jasper crossed to Hermione and gathered her smaller frame in his strong arms. "I didn't mean to upset you, Mum. I love you so much." He pulled back from her and pulled her pendant and held it up next to his. "I will always treasure this connection to you and what it's meant to us. And just because you can't feel me anymore, doesn't mean I'm not here. Besides," he continued. "these work both ways. So, if you ever leave this castle to parts unknown, I will once again lay this close to my heart, so that someday, if you require it, I may come to your rescue for once, aye?"
Hermione could no longer keep her tears from escaping her eyes and running down her cheeks. "You sweet, gallant boy." She gushed. "You've picked up your mother's romantic streak, I see." She took his face in her hands. "I love you, Jasper. I'm so proud of you." They smiled identical toothy smiles.
Hermione cleared her throat and pitched an exasperated smile at her wife across the room.
"Now, I'm going to get your comrades and the three of you will face this together. No arguments, and no cheek. Agreed?"
Jasper nodded. "Aontaichte, Mum."
Outside of Minerva's office, Hermione released the alarm charm and looked at James Potter intently. "Hand it over Mr. Potter." With a sad sigh he pulled a spare bit of parchment out of his pocket and passed it to Hermione. "Your Uncle Ron once called me 'brilliant but scary'. Harry is about to be reminded why." And she tucked the Marauder's Map into her robes. "Come along. The Headmistress will see you now," and she followed the son of Harry Potter and daughter of Seamus Finnegan up the gargoyle stairs.
As they entered the office and James and Colleen joined Jasper in front of Minerva's desk, the overworked witch removed her reading glasses, pinched the bridge of her nose and lifted her eyes to the heavens, gathering strength from the ancient Goddesses of Avalon before meeting each of their eyes. "Why is it always you three?"
Final A/N: Thank you all so very much for coming on this journey with me. Thank you for your feedback in the form of reviews, follows and favorites. I cherish each and every one. I squeal a little inside each time I get a review from an author I am a fan of, or when someone compares my work to those I consider masterpieces or when an author tells me they have been inspired by my work. There is no greater compliment. This may be the end of this particular story, but there is much in this little "world" to explore. I intend to jump around in space and time here and explore some things I may have touched on in Jasper. So, if you notice plot holes or are wondering why I left something out, it may be that I just intend to explore it in more depth in a different story. That said, please tell me the pitfalls and plot holes you've seen or pieces of the story you would like to see more of. You may have seen something I haven't and I may be inspired by it! As always, your feedback is vital.
A few words on stories going forward. Not all of my future stories will take place in the Jasper universe, and not all of them will be Minerva/Hermione. My main mission here is to bring Hermione the love of a good woman. And if some of my other characters are revealed to be lovers of women along the way, so much the better.
Thank you for the welcome into this little niche community in the HPFF world. I look forward to more fun together.