This story was written for Max in The DG Forum Fic Exchange - Summer 2013.
For more details, visit The DG Forum.
The following has been rated M for language and innuendo, and it's probably rated a lot higher than it needs to be.
Please imagine that St Mungo's has two lifts, one for public use and one for staff use, and a stairwell. Because yes.
I wrote this very quickly at the last minute and as such, I am not very proud of it. It hasn't been edited since the original publication in August. I hope you enjoy anyway.
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
Friday, January 13th, 2006
Ginny Weasley slipped out of her lime-green robes, hanging it securely on the little iron hanger. With a relieved sigh, she grabbed her traveling cloak before closing her locker. She'd pulled her second double shift this week and was happy at the prospect of finally going home and sleeping for the extended weekend she'd managed to finagle.
She was halfway through the reception area when she made the mistake of walking past a senior Healer in the requisite green robes.
"Weasley! Before you leave, take this up to the fifth floor, ya?" the Healer demanded, pushing a small black box against her chest and sauntering off.
"Who am I giving it to exactly?" she yelled at the Healer's retreating form, but she was given no response as the Healer left the building.
With an exasperated growl, she stomped off toward the staff lift.
Of course, if she'd known what would happen at 8:41 AM that morning, she doubted she would have bothered changing out of her robes before trying to high-tail it out of the building.
"Healer Weasley! Pleasant to see you, as always. Aren't you supposed to be going home by now?" the witch who usually ran the gift shop register asked brightly as Ginny stepped into the lift. Judging by the witch's outerwear, she was either coming back from a break or getting in a bit late this morning.
"Hold the lift!" a male voice yelled. Ginny looked up to see Draco Malfoy rushing toward them, a small orange box in his hands and his green robes over his arm.
Unwilling to talk to the witch while she was in the elevator with Malfoy, Ginny instead looked away from both of the other occupants.
They stopped first at the third floor, where a pair of bickering Healers in Training stepped in, arguing over what floor they were supposed to be going to.
And then the lift stopped at the fourth floor, where one of the Trainees hopped off, glaring at the other.
Then they finally stopped at the fifth floor, and the lot of them slipped out.
The floor was relatively empty, but that was usual for this early on Friday mornings. Though visiting hours started promptly at 8:30, the visitor's tearoom didn't usually fill up until after 9.
She noticed a table against the wall covered in several small boxes of various colors, and with a shrug, she walked towards it.
A sudden and shrill cry ripped through the room.
Attention! The hospital is now under quarantine! Attention! L'hôpital est maintenant en quarantaine! Attenzione! L'ospedale è ora in quarantena! ¡Atención! El hospital está en cuarentena!
All staff report to Floor Heads promptly. Tout le personnel au sol dirige rapidement. Tutto rapporto al piano dirige prontamente. Todo informe de calificación de suelo se dirige rápidamente.
"Healer Weasley, where are your robes?" the Senior Healer on the floor asked, a look on his face that told her exactly what he thought of her clothing.
"Healer Smythe, I was-" Ginny tried, but the man silenced her with a look.
"Take Healer Malfoy with you to the Fifth Floor. They need help bringing up a couple of the long term patients. We're setting up the quarantine for those who are visibly infected on that floor up here."
"Well, stop staring! Get to it. And take the stairs, the lifts are needed for patient transfers."
Ginny groaned inwardly, but said nothing as she headed towards the stairs. Malfoy was behind her, she knew, but she tried to ignore him.
"Weasley, for fuck's sake, slow down will you?" the blond snarled, as she took the stairs nearly two at a time.
"For what, exactly?" she asked, stopping two steps up from the fifth floor door and turning sharply.
He was much closer than she'd expected. They'd nearly hit each other on the bloody staircase.
Time seemed to still as neither one of them moved, let alone spoke.
Two inches from her face was the middle of his chest. She stared at it, noting to herself for some inane sleep-deprived reason, that the gap between his untied robes framed his dark blue vest perfectly. And that stupid vest fit him very well.
After what felt like years, she noted that, despite the obvious expensive quality of the vest, the button at the bottom hung loose.
She resisted the urge to fix it there, in the stairwell. And she also had to quell the thoughts bouncing around in her head, screaming that it was just too bad she wasn't on the landing two steps down and facing his-no, damn it, she wanted to go home to her soft empty bed and sleep before more insane thoughts about Malfoy and his entire package assaulted her.
"Would you move it, stupid chit?" Malfoy finally spoke, waving a hand in front of her face.
Blushing, she turned and hurried to the door. But before she opened it, she yelled back at him.
"Your button is loose."
Tiredly, Ginny climbed up the stairs again. Malfoy had gotten to ride the lift with the last of the patients being moved. She was stuck taking the stairs for what felt like the eight hundredth time.
She sighed deeply, before opening the fifth floor door again.
And immediately wished she hadn't.
She was promptly plowed over by a giggling and very naked Gilderoy Lockhart.
For Merlin's sake, what in the world was in the water today?
With another long suffering sigh, she picked herself up off the floor and ran after the man heading to the roof access.
And thus, Ginny was faced, five minutes later, back against the roof access door, with a naked man between her and Malfoy, a look on his face that made her think fondly of her brother Fred.
That is, until he began to piss all over the floor, a stream of bright blue urine puddling at her feet.
With an undignified squeak, she pulled out her wand, totally prepared to magic the crazy man to a deep slumber.
"No! Don't!" Malfoy interrupted her. She blinked at him.
"I realise you're female, and thus have no idea what the fuck to do. But if you cast a spell on him now while you're upset that he ruined your shoes you'll probably magic his bits off while you're at it. Believe me, Weasley, no man wants that."
"I don't care about the shoes you dolt-"
"And asides, we're not supposed to use magic on or around the patients until the plague is identified and you know that."
Okay, so she had forgotten that. But considering that she was coming off a double shift before this all started and she hadn't eaten since lunch the day before and Malfoy was looking like a model for a robe catalog and Lockhart probably had the smallest-what the fuck was wrong with her today?!
It was bad enough that her conversations were full of blubbering incoherence today, but now her thoughts were run on sentences that kept turning back to sex.
God, she needed to sleep, eat, and get laid. Preferably in that order.
Maybe with Mal-no.
With her luck, she'd think that out loud.
Ginny shook her head, clearing her brain of all irrational and rational thoughts alike.
Apparently, Lockhart had passed out in his eerily coloured puddle. And Malfoy had probably been trying to get her attention for a while.
"Are we supposed to carry him like Muggles do?" She asked warily. The smirk on Malfoy's face answered her question.
After returning the sleeping man to his bed, and strapping him in, she was about ready to collapse. It had been, frankly, a long damn morning.
Any chances of her escaping to an empty room and having a rest were dashed when Healer Smythe cheerily informed them that the spread of the mysterious plague-including chest pain, the desire to run around naked, and blue urine-had taken most of the current patients and a good portion of the staff present. All rooms capable of holding a bed were filled with infected.
So that was why, some two or so hours after her long weekend was supposed to start, she was stuck taking patient diagnostics in the bloody tea room and groaning loudly and unprofessionally when yet another patient-this one in fact a Trainee from the third floor-ran around starkers singing one of the more apropos (and wildly inappropriate at the same time) songs the wireless spewed nowadays.
It wasn't long before the first fatality came to be, and the humour of the blue urine and naked dancing came crashing down.
Healer Wyatt, two years her senior and a quite pretty man to boot, was in fact, the first to die. It wasn't expected, since he'd apparently managed to quell his desire to strip and hadn't mentioned any of the other symptoms. Healer Brown had admitted during the all available staff meeting that he and Wyatt had both been pissing blue early that morning, but believed they were the victims of methylene blue poisoning, since they'd spent most of the evening at a muggle college bar that was known for pranks of that nature. Brown was immediately sequestered to a room of his own, extensive tests being done by the head of the third floor.
Of course, by the time Ginny had been able to return to the fifth floor-apparently her quarantine assignment was to last the duration in the tea shop, with trips to the ward below-Brown's condition drastically dropped.
Why did some die without having all the symptoms, while others lived?
It had been a long time since the last major catastrophe of a plague. She feared what would happen if people outside the hospital were suffering in silence.
By noon, Ginny was several steps past tired. She hadn't eaten since the early morning hours, when Bill had dropped by with a plate of biscuits sent on from their mother. She hadn't slept in almost three days, and she couldn't risk another potion given the number she'd consumed in the past few days.
So, being asked to run down to the first floor and get a couple more packages of test strips was the last thing she wanted to do. And then Healer Smythe asked Malfoy to accompany her again and it was all Ginny could do not to quit right then and there.
Okay, so it was selfish of her to want to leave when there was some spreading epidemic killing people in the hospital. But she wasn't sure she was all that rational on so little sleep, and she was certainly glad that she wasn't one of the Healers assigned to do bodily fluid or status tests-just acting as courier and temperature taker for the most part.
Days like these-which, yeah, weren't exactly commonplace-reminded her why she'd been hesitant to commit to the job at first. She loved helping people, curing them or making them comfortable, bandaging limbs and reattaching others. But the exhaustion after a long shift, and the not knowing what to do to save someone? She hated that.
Malfoy was blissfully quiet as they walked down the long flights of stairs to the first floor, but the longer it took the more uneasy she felt.
He beat her to the first floor door, tugging hard on the door.
Which did not open.
A few minutes, numerous spells, and several curses later, Ginny and Malfoy sat on the steps just outside the first floor in frustrated silence.
That is, until the prat decided to open his mouth.
"If you didn't walk so slow, we might have made it before they quarantined the floor off from the rest."
"Oh, shove off you git. You weren't any faster until the last bloody step!" She retorted.
He stood up as he replied, "Weasley, shut up. You really don't have your usual skill with cutting remarks this afternoon. Do you think the second floor will be open at least?"
She really did lack witty retorts after a few days without sleep. But normally wouldn't he have told her with more bite and less, well, resignation? She got up and began to follow him back up the stairs.
"Oi, Malfoy! I'll have you know I'm perfectly witty and remarkable every day!" She replied, a sharp confidence in her tone she really didn't feel. But it was Malfoy, a man for whom she apparently had no filter.
He smirked at her.
"Keep telling yourself that, Weasley. Maybe it will get you out of Artefact Accidents in twenty years."
She didn't think, just pushed him against the second floor door and whispered, "Maybe I like accidents."
He didn't move, just looked at her. She felt that jarring "I'm in a bubble" feeling start to crawl up her throat when he looked at her like that.
Okay, so, she should probably never be around someone who had the propensity to make her angry with a few words when she was tired and hungry. It made her stupid. And yeah, she was a little close for it to feel like a real sarcastic remark and not an allusion to sex. Which it was-wasn't!
Damn it, she needed to get away from him.
"Does it open, Healer Malfoy?" She asked, super professionally. She took a step back. Maybe that would help the stirring in her gut feel more like cold hunger and less like butterflies-which she totally did not feel when he was around. Nope.
He turned abruptly, though she really should have realised he was going to, and opened the door.
And then he was gone.
The walk back up to the fifth floor was even quieter than the walk down. Her chest felt all tight, and she couldn't seem to form words.
They returned to Healer Smythe without another word to each other. He looked at them curiously, but took the proffered test strips. Malfoy made mention of the first floor's separate quarantine, and then said nothing else.
"Why don't the two of you take a short break. Get something to eat or take a rest. The Senior Healer staff room is open on the fourth floor." Healer Smythe said. It was worded like a question, but phrased like an order. Which meant, yay - more silent brooding.
So they headed back to the stairwell of weird.
Despite how tired she was, she sincerely doubted a nap was a good idea. She was not confident of waking up before several hours would have passed.
The door to the staff room was locked, apparently coded to Senior Healer wands, and neither one of them could find a Senior Healer on the floor. They begrudgingly agreed to head back up to ask Smythe to open it for them, and then returned to the disconcerting silence.
And then they were finally in the staff room, looking over what food the rest of the staff hadn't already eaten. She sat down on the fluffy armchair, eating some fruit that she probably wouldn't have normally chosen, and suddenly found herself being shaken awake.
Which is disorienting when you weren`t aware you had fallen asleep.
"So you let me sleep for a couple hours while you what, read a chapter on mating cycles of rats?"
"It was Healer Brown's copy of Of Mice and Men, and I couldn't get past the beginning. Sometimes Muggles write incredibly boring books."
"Why did you stay in here?"
"Because I could justify not watching naked wizards dance and piss to monitor you and ensure it was a natural sleep and not the disease?"
Ginny snorted at his response. It was certainly plausible. Then the gnawing guilt came back.
"So you were in here instead of trying to save lives?" she asked soberly.
He looked at her with that look in his eyes that she'd seen when they'd both been Trainees on rotation, that steely glint that screamed unspoken words and feelings. Things he would probably never say aloud. If it comes down to it, I will do all I can to save you. It was a look she'd never seen directed at anyone who wasn't in a serious state, clinging to life with broken fingers and wide-open fear.
She thought he might say something, but no words escaped his lips. He blinked oddly a few times and then his mask of cool indifference flipped back into place.
He was afraid, she realised then. They'd been paired together because that was how Healer Smythe did things-he wasn't in charge of the Fourth Floor for no small measure. But until right then, looking at Malfoy, she hadn't realised why.
They were in the middle of a quarantine, facing what could very well turn into an epidemic. They were removed from family and any outside contact and there were no answers yet.
Smythe had paired them together because their inherent rivalry would keep them from falling apart. One Weasley and one Malfoy must always one up the other. It was basically a part of their genetic code. And then Malfoy was faced with the real possibility that his only distraction from the seriousness of the situation was also sick.
"I was getting off a double this morning when one of the Senior Healers asked me to bring something to the tearoom. Just tired, Malfoy."
She said it quietly, unable to look at him. They sat quietly for a few moments, not watching each other. Then their eyes met again, and they left the room without another word.
"Weasley! Where is Malfoy?" Healer Smythe asked her, as he tested a vial of blue liquid.
"I haven't seen him since you sent him for the salve for his chest after what happened in Lockhart's last escape," Ginny admitted, wondering how long ago that had been. Ginny didn't know how the man kept getting out of his bed. Smythe just looked at her pointedly. She sighed and walked back towards the staircase.
When she reached the door to the fourth floor, she discovered it was locked. If Malfoy had gone to the fourth floor for the salve, it certainly explained why he hadn't returned. She sighed, heading back towards the fifth floor.
After a few minutes, she discovered that the fifth floor was locked as well.
Which made no sense to her, considering she'd just left it.
And then she caught sight of a blond head several floors below.
"Malfoy!" she yelled, taking the stairs several at a time, hoping she didn't trip and fall down them. She caught him just before the second floor, where he was trying in vain to open the door.
"Are all the levels locked?" she asked him.
"I haven't checked the basement yet," he admitted.
And so they went.
They cautiously opened the basement door. Sounds of laughter wafted through the door.
"What the fuck?" Malfoy muttered. Ginny didn't reply, considering she'd been about to say the same.
They peeked into the first door.
Healer Wyatt was playing poker with a couple of other wizards.
Who the staff had been informed was dead.
Was playing poker.
Ginny made to go inside when Malfoy pulled her back. She almost snapped at him, but stopped when he pointed to the next door.
She followed him in silence.
The next door was a bloody closet, and now they were stuck inside it.
"Brilliant idea, Malfoy. Instead of interrogating a dead man, we're enjoying the company of empty potion vials and a mop!" she said it with more venom than she intended. Realistically, checking the other rooms had been a good idea. He was looking for answers, too.
"Did you hear that?" a muffled voice asked. Ginny looked at the other Healer in surprise.
"Knock it off, Wyatt. The basement isn't haunted."
Ginny and Malfoy shared another look. They could hear the men playing poker. The two of them shifted in the small closet to move closer to the wall.
"Have they sent anyone else to die lately?" another voice asked.
"Pye said they expect that Smythe will figure it out soon. And then we can all go home and let the next shift finally come in."
"Are they still letting emergency patients in at the ground floor with what's left of last night's Senior shift?"
"Of course they are you idiot! All the healers that handed off the boxes to get the junior healers to stay long enough for the quarantine to start came back in as soon as the thing started."
Her head felt fuzzy as she remembered the small box that she'd been handed when she intended to leave.
And then she remembered Malfoy's.
"I don't think the plague is real," Malfoy said to her quietly. She murmured an affirmation in reply.
"Did they poison half the hospital with that blue stuff Brown was talking about?"
"Probably," she responded. Personally, she thought that the entire situation was convoluted as fuck.
They discussed what they had overheard in whispers, always listening for more information. The discussion in the room next to them had turned to witches and wives, so she didn't hold out much hope.
The sudden loud sound of a door slamming jolted them both out of their quiet conversations.
Ginny looked at Malfoy, who was gripping her arms with his hands. When had he started to touch her? Was it when they'd moved closer to the wall or when she'd jumped when the door startled her?
She could hear Healer Smythe's voice, but the words faded from her head. She felt light headed again, with Malfoy's hands still on her.
"Weasley. . ." he said in a low voice. She caught his eyes, and she felt the butterflies in her stomach suddenly erupt again. They were so close to each other and it had been such a long day and he made her feel bubbly when he looked at her like that.
"It's Ginny, Draco," she said, without thinking about it. And then she kissed him.
Of course, the moment in the closet with their kiss (and the slightly more frantic snog that followed) did not last long.
"Where are Weasley and Malfoy?!" Smythe's voice rang in her ears. The man sounded livid. She shared a glance with Draco, and then both of them were pounding on the closet door.
"In here!" she yelled, kicking the door rather hard. Her toes hurt immediately afterward.
Then the door suddenly swung open and the two of them found themselves splayed on the floor.
She was sitting next to Draco on a bed on the ground floor, waiting for an Auror to come and question them about what had happened.
As it turned out, the supposed emergency preparation exercise that the head of the hospital had started some twelve hours before was, in fact, not approved by the Ministry. The head of the hospital had been arrested and was facing some serious charges, even though no one had actually died. In the interim, the Ministry had appointed Smythe in charge of the hospital.
With a blush, Ginny carefully applied the salve on Draco's chest. Draco had not been seriously injured by his tussle with Lockhart earlier that day, but when they'd fallen out of the closet, his chest injury had started hurting all over again.
"Like what you see, Weasley?" Ginny let out a laugh.
"You're quite full of yourself, aren't you?" she asked him.
He smirked and took her hand.
They still annoyed the hell out of each other. Their families still hated each other. She was still without a filter for her mouth and he was still a selfish prat, but she quite liked him anyway.
Basic premise: Trapped at St. Mungo's during a quarantine, Healer Ginny Weasley expects a lot of crazy things to happen. Falling in love with Draco Malfoy is not one of them.
Must haves: Draco as a fellow Healer. And despised rival, of course. A mysterious illness. Times of suspense, but also some humor (as much as appropriate). Ginny treating a shirtless Draco.
No-no's: Ginny or Draco dying from said mysterious illness. OOC-ness.
Rating range: Any, but preferably, T and above.
Bonus points: A race against time. Draco and Ginny sent to chase down Gilderoy Lockhart after he escapes (and even more bonus points if he's naked). A conspiracy. Ginny locked in a supply closet with Draco and unresolved sexual tension.