prompt(s): Patient/Healer; Quidditch; "Fight me/Maybe later".

.

Bedside Manner

.

"Who the hell are you?"

Hermione sighed.

I should have stayed in bed, she thought. When she first arrived at St Mungo's, straight out of Salem's School for Healers, she expected to be thrust into the world of head-scratching surgeries and curses that had yet to be identified (let alone cured) but here she was – face-to-face with a half concussed Draco Malfoy straight from playing Quidditch of all things. Merlin is testing me, she internally groaned.

"Fight me." He squinted at her.

After being bludgeoned during a match with the Halifax Hurricanes, and then crashing through one of the stands during his failed attempt to avoid his fate, Draco wasn't in the mood to deal with one of St Mungo's characteristically inept interns.

Merlin knew the medical team available at Quidditch matches weren't much better, but he wasn't about to risk his life to be treated by an idiot, even if he could tell from his symptoms that he would probably require nothing more than forced pain potions and bed rest.

"Mr. Malfoy," she said, taking a noticeable breath in through her nose. "How many fingers am I holding up?"

"You've got an appalling bedside manner," he answered instead.

Her nostrils flared.

"How many fingers, Malfoy?" If this particular case wasn't worse than what a Healer student could do, the fact that Hermione had been on-call for almost fifteen hours today doing nothing more than effectively kissing boo-boos wasn't making her mood any better. Like hell she would be here longer than necessary, especially for him.

"Rude as ever," he sniffed as she picked the necessary potion from the tray at his side, measuring a dose and handing it to him.

"You're the one who decided to greet me with 'Who the hell are you?'"

"Forgive me," he drawled, "I thought for a moment I was talking to a bush of hair instead of a mediwitch. Apologies, Granger."

"It's Healer Granger to you Malfoy," she pointedly corrected. "And I'll let that slide since you got your head bashed in. Deserved as it was."

"Anything for the beautiful game," he said, making a face at the awful aftertaste that seemed to be crawling up his throat.

"The potion should start working in about twenty minutes. I've already called your mother."

His brows rose incredulously. "You called my mother?"

"As your next of kin, I had to. It's protocol," she informed him primly. Surely he'd know that, if the number of altercations he'd had in the past six months alone said anything. His medical file was noticeably thick. The last person she saw with a file that rivaled his was Harry's when they were still in school. Though she supposed, as a Quidditch player, it was probably expected.

Internally, Hermione was grateful that Harry hadn't pursued the sport professionally (not that being an Auror was any better...)

"Damn it Granger, why the hell would you-"

"Pro-to-col," she interjected, shooting him an unimpressed look. She was most certainly not in the mood for any tantrums tonight. "If you're concerned about her disapproval at your injury, or her smothering because of your injury, the potion will hopefully do its thing and you'll be out before she shows up."

"And if I'm not?"

"Hardly my problem, Malfoy, I'm just here to medicate." Not to mention deal with the endless paperwork, she thought, as she scanned through the documents that noted his blood-sugar levels and brain activity. The parchment stated everything was fine, but the way he was glaring at her, as if she cared about Narcissa Malfoy's reaction to her only child in St Mungo's, indicated otherwise.

His lips thinned. "As I said, your bedside manner is appalling."

"Go to sleep, Malfoy."

/

When he was discharged the morning after, Hermione finally clocked out, and they didn't see each other for a few weeks until Draco injured himself playing Quidditch...again.

Although he didn't remember being sent to St Mungo's, that's where he woke up with a familiar-looking person organizing a series of potions at his bedside.

Lying on his stomach, Draco furrowed his brow and mumbled through the haze of his drug-addled mind, "Who the hell are you?"

"Charming as ever," she murmured, half amused, half annoyed.

"Fight me."

Hermione rolled her eyes, the corner of her lips tugging into a slight smile. "In your current state, I'd rather not."

He winced briefly as he tried to roll himself onto his side. The pain of having to grow back his ulna after being in a collision with the considerably bulky Italian Chasers the day before, and then suffering the fall that came after, showed on his handsome features. "For someone brilliant, your talents are severely underused."

"You're definitely medicated," she retorted.

"You're arranging my potions," he pointed out flatly, forced to accept her help so he could lie on his back without hurting himself.

"Yes, and now I'm helping you lie down. It's part of the job description." Fluffing up the pillow at his neck, she asked, "How are you feeling?"

"Well enough."

"Are you just saying that so I don't give you another potion?"

The memory of that disguisting taste on his tongue made him grimace as he quickly replied, "Of course not."

"That was said a bit too fast, don't you think?"

When it was his turn to give her a look of annoyance she only offered her hand, swallowing the smile.

"What?"

"Give me your hand, I need to test the flexibility of your wrist to make sure your bone grew back alright."

Releasing a long-suffering sigh, he dropped his hand with a plop into hers.

She suppressed the snicker bubbling up her throat, arranging his hand so their palms were parallel to one another, and laced their fingers together. Hermione expected callouses and the roughened palms of an athlete, instead his hands were probably softer than hers! "I'm going to rotate your wrist slowly, if you feel any discomfort just tell me, okay?" He grunted in agreement. Using her other hand, she grasped his wrist and began to slowly move his hand around. "Feel anything?"

"Tingling."

Her brows furrowed in confusion. "Tingling?"

"My stomach feels weird," he added, his brows also drawn together in equal befuddlement.

Shaking her head, she offered, "Maybe you're hungry?"

"Maybe," he said, doubtful. Though it wouldn't be surprising if it were. The last time he ate was the morning of the match, and ever since he'd been out like a light.

"You'll be fine," she insisted, releasing his hand and letting it rest onto the bed comfortably. "I'll get you something to eat before I go." Signing off on his documents, she turned to leave.

"Not that cafeteria crap I hope," he called.

She raised her brows. "Really, Malfoy?"

"Exactly. Malfoy. If you get me that cafeteria crap, I'll fight you."

Snorting, she retorted, "Maybe later."

/

"Later" didn't occur for several months, thanks to the Quidditch season ending. But, as the new season started, so did Draco's reappearances at St Mungo's.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Hello to you too, Malfoy," Hermione acknowledged with an exhausted nod. Another shift of almost twenty four hours and the witch was just about ready to leave when, of course, he decided to walk in. "What happened this time?"

"Are you looking at me?"

"I am."

"Then you can see what they did to my face," he growled. Fans were passionate about their teams so having them lose occasionally spelt doom for the opposing team, especially when it happened on home turf.

Such was the reason for his visit to the hospital this time around.

After winning, his team had been hit with hexes from an unruly crowd of upset Castleford Cats fans. They weren't fatal, from Granger's snickering, but it was embarrassing and honestly his vision had been compromised as a result. She really did only look like a bush of hair. A giggling bush of hair.

Dryly, he said, "I'm glad my pain causes you amusement."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she said, and he could vaguely see her wave a hand about as if to dispel her merriment. There was no way, he thought sourly, that this could be any more embarrassing. "It's just…Wow! And I thought the Amazing Bouncing Ferret was funny!"

Ugh. Never mind. "Granger!"

"Okay, okay! Sorry, stay still."

She murmured the counter-spell to undo the damage and the light that entered his eyes blinded him again, just as it had when he was hit with the hex. Fortunately, Granger had covered his eyes a second after and she now instructed, "Just breath slowly, in and out…"

As he was sitting atop the bed, and with his already tall stature, Hermione had to step between his legs to reach his eyes.

Hermione had to remind herself not to stare too long at the familiar, yet less pointy, features of her former school-tormentor-turned-regular patient despite his "shaggable good looks" (her colleagues' words, not hers! Definitely not hers!).

Being a famous Quidditch player had him plastered on walls, be it endorsing products or with his team. The Daily Prophet featured him constantly in the sports section, though equally he showed up in the society pages. He was frequently splashed across the covers of Witch Weekly, looking incredibly handsome, alongside everyone from famous models and socialites to business associates and prominent members of government. Hell, even next to Harry and Ron at his previous match against the Harpies (which his team had won without landing himself in the infirmary for once).

"How do your eyes feel?"

He inhaled the strange mixture of parchment and ink, along with the flowery aroma of gardenias that no doubt came from the witch before him, and exhaled slowly. Running his fingernails against the pants of his Quidditch uniform as he opened and closed his fist, he was all too aware of the heat emanating from where she stood between his legs. He murmured, "Fine."

"You sure?"

"I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to stay this close to me, Granger," he drawled, "but you've probably called my mother already and I highly doubt she'd find our position particularly conventional between patient and Healer."

Immediately she removed her hand and stepped away in one go. She was efficient like that.

"Actually, that wasn't necessary. After last time she insisted I Floo call her to rate the cause."

"Oh?"

Draco wasn't particularly surprised.

After several visits to St Mungo's already, with the Quidditch medical team still as incompetent as ever, he highly doubted his mother appreciated being called in after almost every other match. Her annoyance with his career choice notwithstanding, she had already expressed how it was very "when the boy cries werewolf". She lamented that, if there was ever a time that he landed himself at St Mungo's for a serious reason, she probably wouldn't think anything of it. Such was the power of desensitization.

"This was a three," Hermione informed.

"I was blind," he said indignantly.

"Temporarily," she said, "and now you just have your eyes closed."

"Don't be smart, Granger."

She snorted. "I'm always smart. Now open your eyes. I need to make sure you've got your vision back completely before I can see my next patient."

Complying with a smirk already in place, he paused for a second to watch as the light from the window filtered through, setting her dark curls afire in shades of gold and chocolate as she organized his documents. Absently she tucked a stray strand of curly hair behind her ear and then turned to him with a smile. "Better?"

"Better," he breathed. "Aren't you a sight for sore eyes?"

She snorted again. "You couldn't resist, could you?"

"There was an opening," he defended smoothly, "and I'm all about those, it's part of my trade."

"Mmmhmm," Hermione hummed. As she approached, she cast a Lumos and instructed, "Follow the light with your eyes for me."

Doing as told, he said, "We really do need to stop meeting like this, though."

"Hey, I just work here, you're the one who keeps dropping by," she said, amused.

"What if I just came to see you?"

"I sincerely hope not. Your mother isn't the only one getting annoyed that you keep landing yourself here. Honestly, for half this stuff, your team's medical staff really needs to do better."

"Maybe," he baited, "I just request you."

"You better not," she retorted, whispering nox and adding with a smirk. "Or I'll fight you."

He snickered. "Maybe later."

/

Three Quidditch World Cups and several promotions later, they found themselves in their familiar positions. Sort of.

"Who the hell are you?"

Ignoring the rude response, Healer Roberts repeated, "How does your head feel? How many fingers am I holding up?"

"I don't know," the man in question sarcastically said, "why don't I shove them up your arsehole and you can tell me?"

"Sir, please answer the question," a mediwitch said, sticking her fingers around his eye in order to flash a light in it.

Merlin's balls, I do not have time for this. He shook both of them off. "What in the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Checking you for any signs of concussion, sir. Please stay still and let us help you—"

"Where the hell is Granger?" he demanded.

"Sir?"

Impatiently, though less aggravated it seemed, he repeated, "Granger, Hermione Granger—where is she?"

The Healer and mediwitch glanced at each other in wonderment, and the mediwitch clarified, "Healer Granger, the Head Healer?"

"Yes." He rolled his eyes. Of course it would be. "That Granger. I demand her."

Healer Roberts spluttered, "You can't just demand her, sir. She's the Head Healer!"

"I'm Draco Malfoy," he sneered.

Still looking at each other nervously, Healer Roberts finally broke under the platinum-haired man's glare, and demanded that the mediwitch do as their patient bid.

There was no point trying to talk him out of it after all.

Famous Quidditch players were terribly temperamental and Merlin knew the bad publicity St Mungo's would receive for not treating the man. Besides, Draco Malfoy played for England and Roberts had money on Bulgaria. It wouldn't be a bad thing at all if they lost their Number 3 for tomorrow's match...

"Malfoy! You cannot be calling me in the middle of the day whenever you... What on earth happened to you?"

"What do you think?" he grumbled. As his requested Healer had arrived, Healer Roberts departed, patting the shoulder of his department's fearless leader as he did so and adding quietly, "Good luck". The fact that Draco would perhaps need it more than she was another story for another day, though with the irritated look on Hermione's face, Healer Roberts might have spared the Quidditch player some sympathy.

"Did you bait Viktor again?"

"Hermione, I literally just existed and he was pissed," he said flatly. The press conference to take promo pictures and get statements out before the match usually went off without a hitch. His role as haughty antagonist was well known to everyone, public included, so to have someone actually take him seriously was rather irregular. Considering it was Viktor Krum though, he really shouldn't have been surprised.

Taking an ice pack and pressing it gently to the side of his face where a giant bruise was forming, she asked, "What happened, really?"

"Your lug of an ex-boyfriend decided to have a problem with our arrangement."

"Well, I'm starting to have a problem with it too—you constantly calling me whenever you get injured can't happen! I'm the head of the department for Merlin's sake!"

"If you recall," he drawled, "the last time I didn't call you, you were hovering at the door making that intern nervous and then you ended up doing it yourself so really I was just kind enough to skip a step."

She huffed. "I'm serious, Draco."

"So am I, despite my charming veneer."

Rolling her eyes, she raised her fingers. "How many?"

He scanned the presented digits, lingering with a smirk on the platinum band charmed to never come off her middle finger. "Four, and you're in need of a manicure."

"I'll keep that in mind you prat," she retorted. Reaching over to hold his chin and turn his face slightly to the side to view the damage. "You'll need something to fix that mug of yours. Did they get enough photographs before you got hit?"

"Obviously not, but it can't be helped with the level of attractiveness I possess."

"Your head cannot possibly get bigger, even if Viktor had an hour to punch you," Hermione declared, rolling her eyes again. "Why can't you play nice with him? You and Ron do fine together, and he has an actual reason to dislike you."

"It truly is unfortunate when Weasley can be more mature compared to anyone over the age of three. I really am concerned with your taste in men."

Exhaling, she reached behind his neck to soothe that familiar spot where she knew tension tended to hide and said, "Trust me, most people are."

"You could just dump me," he said casually, closing his eyes to enjoy the light scrape of her fingernails against the nape of his neck. "Date someone nice and pleasant, which would be a travesty in all honesty."

"And why would that be?"

"You'd get bored," he informed in a matter of fact way.

"True."

"And he'd never be as good as me."

She raised her eyebrows in feigned surprise. "In what way?"

"In all the ways, obviously. You deserve the best."

"And you're the best?" Hermione asked humorously.

"Don't sound so shocked—it's hurting my feelings."

"You have feelings?" she asked with a gasp.

As she was already standing between his legs, he secured his arm around her, lowering his forehead until it touched hers. "I do, fight me."

Smiling, Hermione said, "Always."


A/n: Special thanks to Rachel for helping get this story out!

Thank you for reading, your thoughts as always are appreciated!