AN: Here I go, starting ANOTHER new fic. I have plenty of reality-ignoring free time, and I'm focusing it here. I'm immensely glad for the support and feedback as I make my return to FFnet, I missed writing so much over the last eight months and I missed these fics most of all, and I'm glad you enjoy them so much! Anyway, here comes the first chapter of Ink and Blood, my latest fic. Hermione assumes that her career as a Healer at St. Mungo's is going to be fulfilling, hectic, and warm. Instead, for the first few months, she's stuck doing paperwork in file after file. On her day off before finally being promoted to doing actual Healing, she decides to venture out into the Muggle world, and ends up saving the life of one Draco Malfoy. In a stroke of chance, he's on a bed in her ward, and bothering her about her failing engagement to Ron every chance he gets. Hermione is stuck between healing him and cursing him so hard he lands back into the ICU. Dramione, through and through. Slight Ron bashing on Draco's part. Enjoy!
Crehan, Charlie. It was a thin folder, perhaps only a child. She opened it to find just a few papers, printouts from checkups and a writeup from when he'd broken an arm playing Quidditch with his brothers. He was eleven, being educated at home with his siblings, and he was the tallest eleven year old she'd ever seen. All of his brothers were tall though, she'd been through three of their files already. They were almost another set of Weasleys. She'd have met most of them if they'd gone to Hogwarts. She typed his name into the database, entered the file numbers of all of his reports, and set the file in the opposite basket, the pile inside was quickly rising.
"Abbot? Can you help me with this pile, please?" Hermione leaned back in her chair, making her back cry out in pain. She'd been sitting at this desk, save for her hour long lunch break, since eight this morning. Hannah Abbot bustled around the corner, greeted Hermione, and took the pile from her 'Complete' basket. Hermione turned to face forward again and continued.
This was not what she was hoping to get into, being a Healer. She thought about the summer after the war, about her career choices. She thought about returning to Hogwarts that fall with her classmates and taking N.E.W.T.s. At the time, she'd fully intended on going into Curse-breaking, or Historical studies. She'd intended to be doing work in a field, do be doing research. Hermione Grangers time was better spent doing actual work in the world and working to better it, than sitting behind this horribly uncomfortable desk in an artificially lit room in the basement of St. Mungo's. She'd been working here for nearly months now, and hadn't seen an injured patient herself, except in elevators or walking down hallways. She was itching to pull out her wand and fix something as simple as a papercut. She was almost tempted to send her pencil flying at someone and hope it drew a little blood...
She shook her head. Injuring people was not the intention of a Healer. She had to remind herself that her six month cap of working at St. Mungo's was almost here, at that they'd guaranteed her a spot upstairs when it came around. She just had a week left, that was it. She pulled the next file from the drawer, put the information into the computer, and continued on. Hermione had been out of school for two years now. She'd taken her N.E.W.T.s with her friends, scored exceptionally high (as expected) and was suggested, by McGonagall, to go into medicine.
"There aren't enough witches and wizards left like you, Hermione. Brilliantly smart, almost too much for their own good. Studious, with a thirst for knowledge. There are plenty of students who can wave a wand and break a curse. There are even plenty who can read books just as often as you like to. But I think, perhaps, that a career in medicine might suit you well."
"Honestly, McGonagall, I'd thought about it before. I do need a job where I'm doing something, all the time."
"You've always been one to sit behind a desk, dear, but you're smart enough to be tackling the problems of the wizarding world. Have you considered law?"
"Never. I just don't think I could do that."
"Then perhaps, Miss Granger, being a healer is something you should consider. Give them a call, tell them I personally referred you, if you wish. I doubt it'll be hard for you to get a good job anywhere, given the circumstances. And these test scores... I haven't seen scores this high since my own!"
She was going to visit Hogwarts one day, and seriously have a talk with McGonagall about 'forgetting' to tell her there would be six months of desk work and training before she'd get to do any real healing. Speaking of training, her supervisor walked into the room and crooked a finger at her. "Granger?"
She nearly jumped from her chair, walking quickly past Hannah Abbot and up the stairs. She was going to floor one - check in, general medicine, and storage. But then he lead her to the elevator. Inside, he explained the last bit of her training.
"Hermione, the board and I have spoken and we've decided that it's time for you to move upstairs. You've proven more than acceptable in all of our standards, and we're hoping that you'll complete your training today and be able to start working upstairs with the big boys and girls as soon as Monday. Think of this as a final test."
Good, Hermione thought. I love tests. She couldn't hide her excitement. Her foot was tapping before he even hit the button for level three - major trauma recovery, surgical center, and bone growing. This was perhaps her favorite floor, and she was perfectly ecstatic to be brought here.
"The Board has discussed it, and we think that you are best suited for caring for long term recovery patients. You seem to have the patience to deal with them." He laughed at his own joke, Hermione simply kept smiling. It was her second choice, but trauma took extra training, and she couldn't wait any longer. "We're short of staff up here anyway, and we've just received three new long term patients. As of today, we're short on our ratio - four patients to one doctor, in this particular ward - And this is why we've moved your cap up to next Monday. And your test. We're going to walk through a few rooms, I'm going to show you charts. Things will be missing - expected release date, treatment, and admittance date. I want you to tell me what you think those things could be, based on the state of the patient."
She was ready for this. She was so, so ready for this.
Her supervisor had not only passed her with flying colors, he'd taken her with him to the board meeting that afternoon to have them deliver her Training Completion paperwork personally. She signed on all seven lines, dated it, and was told to report to her new ward Monday morning at nine sharp. She'd been halfway to dancing out of the building by the end of it. Maybe she wouldn't go back and scold McGonagall after all. Maybe she'd hug her. This was the best she'd felt since before the war started. She clasped her hands in front of her and felt the ring on her left hand, and was reminded of the only time she'd been happier.
She and Ron had continued to see each other after the war. When they were notified of being able to take their N.E.W.T.s at the end of the year with the students a year under them, he'd asked her to help him study - he wanted to be an Auror, with Harry. He wanted to continue the fight against dark magic everywhere. She was so proud of him, she cried that night. Ron had grown up, in her eyes, as of that moment. They studied nightly until the test, and they were both surprised at his results - he'd scored higher than Harry had.
When Ron and Harry had gone into Auror training, Hermione had taken six months to find her parents and settle her affairs. She flew to Australia, and she found her parents, surely. But the memory charm had been on for far too long. Things hadn't gone right. Hermione had returned home heartbroken, the minds of the Wilkins' restored. When she returned every two weeks during her quest, she was always greeted immediately by Ron. He was her number one supporter, her very best friend, and on top of it all, they'd fallen madly in love. She couldn't be happier. Until he proposed - it had been the happiest part of her life that Hermione could remember having. Ron had taken her out all day and completely exhausted and spoiled her. The next night he proposed at the Burrow, in front of family and friends gathered for his own birthday. She'd said yes, and he said it was the only present he'd really wanted.
Since then, things had gone... well. Her relationship with Ron had cooled down considerably: emotionally and physically. They rarely fought, they were relatively good at solving their problems. They planned to move in together by the end of the year. In the back of her head, Hermione had the nagging feeling that something was missing, but she chalked it up to not having her parents present for any of it, and for the depression she'd held on to since the beginning of the hunt for Horcruxes. She was, in a sense, absolutely a disaster. But she was happy, she supposed. And now, with this advancement at work, she felt good again. Definitely good. She phoned Ron to tell him the news, and they planned to meet for dinner at eight.
She went home, readied herself, and waited until nearly seven to begin her walk. She enjoyed walking more than driving a muggle car, that was sure. And as the restaurant Ron had specified was deep in Muggle London, she'd have to walk. Her feet ached when she reached the edge of the district, but she didn't care. After her early promotion, she wouldn't let something like uncomfortable shoes bother her.
What would bother her, however, would be the grunt she heard from an alleyway to her left. It was low, but not low enough that she couldn't hear it over the noise of the street. Usually, something as this would make her stare straight ahead and walk quickly past - the alleys in the city were full of danger. But this grunt wasn't angry - it sounded hurt. And as a healer, she was forced by her own heart to stop and look, muggle or wizard.
It was a wizard. His wand lay limply in his outstretched hand, teetering away from him. He was between laying on his side and his face, and every visible inch of him was covered in blood. His shirt was torn half off, his sunglasses had broken completely in half and cut deep into his face. He was bleeding much too quickly. His leg looked absolutely mangled, and his arm was twisted in suck a way... She was glad she'd stopped. And she was also glad she'd learned to apparate holding someone who couldn't hold themself up. She'd have blood on her favorite dress, but it was nothing she couldn't charm off anyway. With a crack, she was gone.
It was nearly three in the morning. She'd phoned Ron as soon as Healers had taken the man in and cancelled their plans - he'd understood, though she could hear his disappointment over the line - they hadn't seen each other in nearly a week, with his Auror work and her busy schedule. A healer came out of the operating room in front of her.
"He has injuries no degree of magic can help - he's going to be here for a while. We'll put him in the ICU over the weekend to restore the blood he lost and to mend anything we can. Where on earth did you find him?"
"In an alley, in the middle of muggle london. I usually don't stop for strange sounds in the alleys, but he sounded like he was in pain, and I saw a wand... and there was blood, everywhere."
"He's lost so much blood. He was near dying - if you hadn't stopped, or if you'd stalled even three minutes... he'd be gone. There would be nothing we could do, after that."
She shuddered. Her first day of her promotion, and she had already seen more blood than she ever intended on seeing. She was instantly glad she hadn't ended up in Trauma.
"After his stint in ICU, he'll move up to your ward. In fact, as you're the newest one in... he'll probably be a patient of yours. Unless you're uncomfortable with it."
"Multiple reasons, I suppose. You saw him at his worst, and he was bad. You did pick him up off the streets. And if our identification is right - and how could it be wrong, really - we're sure the two of you went to school together."
She thought of the faces she hadn't seen since they'd left - Seamus, Neville, any of the Weasleys, Harry even, anybody. "Who is it?"
"It's probably best that you see him anyway. Come with me." She followed him down a long hallway and into a room. He shut the door behind them, and the shock she felt when she saw his eyes watching her, when she saw his gaunt face resting over on the pillow supporting him, was enough to warrant her own room at St. Mungo's - somewhere in the mental illness ward.