Hermione stood in awe of the stadium in Vratsa. She held her handbag close, in a feeble attempt to exude strength and forced one foot in front of the other, to enter the grounds. She had completed her mediwitch training after the war, in need of income and purpose and had been thrust into this job rather quickly. She was not overly fond of quidditch, but it was popular and her skills could be put to good use. Her supervisor had placed her at the Liverpool team for all of a month before she had been called into a meeting with the World Quidditch Board of Directors.
"It is not that you have not done a satisfactory job at Liverpool, quite the opposite." The lead director had said to her.
"We have noticed that you speak Slavic languages and the Vratsa Vultures are on the road to champions again this year. Your expertise will be put to much better use in their facilities." She made no objection to the position in Bulgaria, but ever since she had been reassigned, her mind had been churning with malicious thoughts.
"Do you think he will be there?" Ginny had asked over coffee, rather excited that Hermione was finally going to have a social life.
"I do not know if Viktor Krum shall be there. But even if he is, we shall be work colleagues and nothing more." She had reassured Ginny, much to her dismay.
The Vratsa grounds put Liverpool to shame and Hermione thought she might have gotten lost were there not such strict signage posted around the building. Finally, she reached the office of Alexei Boyanov. She stood, taking a deep breath, in an attempt to compose herself before tapping her knuckles against the door.
"Come in!" A voice called loudly. Hermione pushed the door and entered, attempting to exude as much confidence as was possible. Alexei was exactly what Hermione had imagined of the coach of the Vratsa Vultures. He was large across the shoulders, with a stern face and impressive facial hair. He stood immediately, extending a hand towards her.
"I am Alexei Boyanov, head coach. You must be the new medivitch." Hermione smiled softly and took his hand, shaking it firmly.
"I am Hermione Granger, Sir. It is a pleasure to be here." She added, wanting to sound grateful for receiving a job she knew many had pined for.
Alexei asked her to sit. She is so young! He thought to himself. The board had warned him, but he had not expected a girl who looked like she had just graduated from school! She was kind on the eyes, he noticed. Her features were soft and her hair curled in a cloud around her face. Her body was healthy, he spotted through her light summer dress. The garment flared at the waist, accentuating her hips. Alexei had to take his eyes from her form, scolding himself for being so lecherous.
"Shall ve begin the tour?" He asked her, eager to get her well acquainted with their facilities and anxious to see her work, as he had been told she was the best the Board had to offer.
Hermione walked alongside the large man. He must have been almost a foot taller than her and must have weighed twice as much in muscle alone. He pointed out areas like the locker room and the cafeteria. As they walked out onto the pitch, Hermione's breath was knocked from her lungs in a gasp. She had never stood in a stadium of such size and the altitude of the goals took her breath away.
"Have you ever played?" Alexei caught her off guard by asking in Bulgarian. However, Hermione didn't miss a beat.
"No, I was never much one for sports. I was too busy with books and assignments." She replied in the foreign tongue. She looked over to Alexei and smiled, earning her an impressed nod.
The final destination on their tour was Hermione's office. It was high in the grounds, fit with a panoramic window so that she could see the game being played. She placed a hand up to the glass and peered out, looking upon the pitch.
"It is the best office ve have and I vant you to be comfortable." Alexei said quietly, stood at the threshold of the room.
"It is lovely. I can not thank you enough." Hermione replied, wanting to portray her gratitude. She sat at her new desk and peered down at the piece of paper that sat before her.
"This is a list of the players. The ones in green are on loan. They shall each come in for a physical throughout the morning." Alexei said. Hermione nodded and he soon left her, with the promise of returning soon with her first appointment.
Hermione perused the list, to gage how many appointments she would have. There were over a dozen players, but she had anticipated this. The names meant very little to her, until one stood out, glaring at her in green: Viktor Krum. She felt her body slip into conflict as she realised he was on loan. Part of her wanted to see him, to watch as he smiled that soft grin at her. But, then she remembered the letters that she had sent him after the war, half a dozen and not a single answer. A fraction of her wanted to confront him and ask him why he had not replied, or at least sent her letters back unopened. But, this would all have to wait as her first appointment was sticking his head into the office.
The all male team had provided a mixture of reactions. Some gawked at Hermione as she poked and prodded at them. Some appeared to have little to no knowledge of who she was and answered her questions happily. And a select few made it very clear that Hermione was going to have to watch the level of flirtation. They were all large, very large. Covered in muscles and several inches taller than her. Some had shaved heads, some had lots of hair and the skin tones and ages ranged amongst the players. One thing she did notice was that there were no female players present at the Vratsa Vultures. She felt uneasy with the lack of women, their presence being one thing she enjoyed so much about her time at Liverpool.
She sat and watched the game for the rest of the afternoon, in her plush office chair after eating her lunch there. She was not a massive fan of quidditch, but she could very well appreciate the prowess of the players on the field. Remembering back to all of the times she had watched Harry, Ron and another quidditch player that she didn't wish to think the name of play.