A/N: Okay, so here is another story of mine. It's going to be darker than "Branches" and probably a bit smuttier. Before we start with this Prologue, I want to thank MrBenzedrine, she is a brilliant writer and beta (check out Sex Ed, Bond, How to Train Your Auror 1&2 and the cooperation with WayMay: Empire) that pays the sweetest compliments and encourages me to no end. Same goes for Syltherinvillain7: I love to discuss my ideas with her and she gave precious input to some details (I can't yet tell which :))!
Disclaimer: All the wonderful characters and places aren't mine, they belong to J.K. Rowling. No profit is made with this work.
Trigger warning (for the entire story): Substance abuse (alcohol, drugs), addiction and smut.
Hermione sighed. "Okay, Mr. Billings, I'm going to explain it again: This," she held up a plant with her right hand, "Is wild ramson. The plant you were looking for, it tastes like garlic. This, on the other side," she showed the bald man before her another plant with her left hand, "Is lily of the valley. Poisonous, toxic, in other words: bad. They are easy mistaken for another, so the next time you want to collect wild ramson, take a botanical book with pictures with you, yes?"
The man nodded, solemnly. "I know, Dr. Granger, you already told me that last year. And the year before."
"And I haven't given up hope that you are going to listen to me once, Mr Billings!" With a mock exasperated huff, Hermione went to rant on, when the hospital speakers called out for her.
"Dr. Granger to Accident and Emergency, Dr. Granger required!"
Hermione said a hasty goodbye to Mr. Billings and rushed along the hospital's halls. When she was called to A&E, it meant there were toxic substances or severe neurological damages on a patient involved. Hermione Granger was one of Britain's top experts in these fields, often surprising her colleagues with unusual knowledge and facts.
She entered the room her emergency patients were usually brought to and slipped into a fresh pair of medicinal gloves.
"Jenny, what do we have here?" she addressed one of the nurses that hurried around.
"A woman in her twenties. She suddenly appeared at the backdoor of the hospital, unconscious. We called you immediately." Jenny stepped aside, giving Hermione access to the young woman on the bed. She started the examination and realised why Jenny had called for her. The dark haired patient possessed widely blown pupils, and her skin was radiating with heat. But she wasn't sweating like in a fever; instead the olive skin felt dry like sandpaper. Hermione looked at the monitors that showed the patient's vital signs.
"She shows first signs of a central anticholinergic syndrome, and has hot skin with dilated pupils. I suppose we have a case of atropine intoxication, perhaps experimentation with herbal drugs. We will try with physostigmine first."
What Hermione heard next made her stiffen in horror.
"I think a bezoar would be a better choice."
Spinning on her heel, Hermione turned around, instinctively reaching for her wand.
That wasn't its former place in her pocket. Hadn't been for years.
She looked into a face from her past. He stood there, dressed in dark slacks and a pale blue button-down shirt, leaning at the wall in an absolutely relaxed posture. His hair was still irritating platinum blond, and his eyes still a scrutinizing grey, and he still wore this damn, infuriating signature smirk. This man simply couldn't not look handsome, could he?
"Ladies, I want you to exit this room. Leave the gentleman and me alone, please." Hermione, used to giving the staff orders, controlled her voice.
"But-" Jenny started.
The nurses left the room, startled at Dr. Granger's unusual behaviour and strict tone.
Inside the room, Hermione breathed out slowly. Knowing the patient behind her wasn't in real danger, she demanded, "What do you want, Malfoy?"
Casually taking a bezoar out of his pocket and walking to the bed, the man held his smirk.
"I came to free you from this poor muggle existence Granger, and give you a task more worthy- even for you. Your talents are wasted here, and you are needed where you belong: The wizarding world you so, ungracefully, left."