Chapter One: Old Rivalry
Hermione Granger was never late. Ever. Yet today she found herself running to her desk, swiftly sweeping up her handbag and many files before shouting a quick goodbye to her colleagues and scurrying away. She was practically sprinting down the hallway in her heels, ignoring protests and calls for her as she did so, only wanting to reach that lift in time-
"-Granger, what the hell are you doing?"
Hermione groaned as the doors of the lifts shut, her eyes never leaving them. It took her a long moment to realise she was on the floor, with her papers scattered around her and that none other than Draco Malfoy was standing above her, a surprised yet intrigued expression on his pale face.
"Malfoy?" She exclaimed in shock, watching as his thin, blonde eyebrow rose delicately and his glowing grey eyes gazed into hers lazily.
"No, it's Potter." He replied sarcastically. She narrowed her eyes at him, starting to gather her things; slowly, he extended his hand causing her to feel taken aback, but accept it, allowing himself to be hauled upwards. He immediately dropped her hand before looking at her crumpled state. "But you didn't answer my question, Granger. What the hell are you doing?"
She rolled her eyes, "I need to get home. If you hadn't gotten in the way, I could've made that lift!"
He stared at her. "It's a lift, Granger. It comes by whenever you press that little button? I thought you were supposed to be the smartest witch in our year? Times seem to change." He ended with a satisfied smirk, watching as her cheeks coloured a delicate rose pink. She glared at him.
"Yes, but- Oh never mind. What are you doing here?"
"I'm here on business," Malfoy replied, smoothing down his robes in an elegant fashion. Hermione had to resist rolling her eyes again: Some people never change.
"Fascinating," She muttered to herself.
He smirked at her. "Oh isn't it. Sadly, I can't tell you other spectacular things I've been doing: I need to go, Granger."
"Your presence will be missed," She told him, not bothering to hide his sarcasm. "Now move out of the way, Malfoy. I'm late as it is too." He raised both his eyebrows at that, but stepped outside, watching as she scurried past him.
"To do what?" He called after her: he couldn't help but notice her. All of her. Especially her hour-glass figure, not hidden by the tight pencil skirt she wore with a crisp white shirt tucked in, and those high heels which showed her long, slim legs. She glanced over her shoulder and threw him a smirk, taking him by surprise.
"More work," She called back, before turning around and running to the lifts.
Malfoy chuckled quietly to himself. He should've known that the perfect little Hermione Granger would be the type to always be busy. He watched her go before continuing his journey, not quite understanding why he was still thinking of her.
"You work too much."
"Tell me something I don't know," Hermione murmured, running a finger down the scroll as she signed it, handing it to a fellow colleague. "Sister Hilda, has Mr Prass been discharged yet?"
"Not yet, Healer Granger. He's refusing to move."
"I thought as much," She sighed, before bending forwards to kiss Harry on the cheek. "Look, I'm sorry I can't come to dinner with you and the others tonight, but there's always next time. Now I have to go and see Mr Prass."
He mirrored her sigh, giving in. "Fine. But at least promise you won't work a night shift today."
"Harry, look at the time. Don't be so ridiculous, of course I'm working a night shift."
"I don't even understand why you have two jobs. It's not like you don't have a lot of pressure already as a Healer. Why do you need to be helping out the Ministry? They can pick someone else to sort out their crap can't they?"
Sister Hilda chuckled a little to herself. "Okay, Mr Potter, you've made your point. Although I agree with you, Healer Granger has a lot of patients to see and your language is not for the hospital. Out."
Hermione threw Sister Hilda an appreciative look before sticking her tongue out at Harry, picking up her clipboard. "Yeah, Potter, out."
"Okay, Mr Prass." Hermione put on a very cheerful, bright smile as she looked at the sulking man before her. "Everything's looking great. You can go home." She put the clipboard at the foot of his bed before waiting for his answer, her pleasant look never wavering. Mr Prass did not look as if he was ready to show the same maturity. He crossed his arms and looked out the window ignorantly.
"I don't feel any better."
"Well, what's wrong?"
A small phase of silence.
"My arm hurts."
"Show me," Hermione moved forwards attentively, lifting his arm up further and running her fingers up and down it. "It seems to be in order. Some pain medication will do the trick: just take the potion I'll subscribe to you every day at home-
"-I'm not going home."
"Really, Mr Prass, let's stop this now." Hermione was running out of patience. "We have limited beds. You know you are perfectly well, so what's stopping you from going home? If there are any problems you may always contact us or even come by. We'll be checking up on you monthly to see your progress, but whether you like it or not, you're leaving today and that's final. Your wife has been contacted and I'm not going to inform her that she has to travel all the way back home because her husband can't grow up a little. Goodnight."
And with that, she left; leaving a very irritated Mr Prass behind her.
"Don't you understand, it's fucking killing me!"
"Really, there's no need for language like that-
"-There is when my fucking head is pounding like hell! Where's a Healer? I need one now."
"So does everyone else in this ward, Mr Malfoy, but as you can see: they've all waited patiently, like you'll need to."
Draco turned to spot none other than Hermione Granger, who was looking at him with both amusement and a little irritation.
"You don't need to yell," She rolled her eyes and took out her pen, moving towards him. "Honestly, I've had enough with men that cry over nothing."
"Over nothing?" He growled, extremely displeased. "Look at my fucking head!"
She glanced up towards the bloody stain at the side of his head. "I've seen worse," She informed him coolly, "Come with me."
"I thought I'd have to wait?" He demanded.
"You did, but seeing as your head wound will take me five seconds to look over and you'll give me a bloody headache if you don't shut up, I can see you now. It's my turn for a break anyway and I know what an annoying pest you can be, so I'm not leaving you here to cause trouble. Now come along." She turned on her heal, heading towards a private corner in a small room, waiting until he removed his traveling cloak and sat on the bed before pulling the curtains around them to conceal them.
"What happened?" She asked, pressing onto his wound gently, ignoring how he winced.
"I got into a fight." He informed her stiffly. She raised an eyebrow.
"What kind of fight?"
"It's none of your business."
"It is now. You're my patient, aren't you?"
"I suppose," He told her gruffly, trying not to pull away as she carried on prodding at his head. "I had a glass thrown at it."
She sighed. "Fine. We'll need to clean this, then look and make sure all the glass is out, and I'll close it up. Wait here."
"So this is what you meant by 'more work'?"
He yelped as she sprayed his wound with salty water, squeezing his eyes tightly as it stung him. She smirked a little. "Oh Malfoy, man up."
He opened his eyes to glare at her. "I'd like to see you with this bloody wound and handle it, Healer Granger."
"I wouldn't be stupid enough to get into a fight." She told him, tapping her wand so it lit up, allowing her to peer into the wound closely. He felt her warm breath tickling it and closed his eyes a little, comforted.
"I didn't mean to get into this one," He said softly. She was a little surprised by his gentle tone, moving away to look at him properly.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean my darling wife got berserk and decided to throw a glass at me."
Hermione moved back a little in shock, her mouth slightly open. She tried to say something useful, but the only thing she could was: "Oh."
He smirked at her. "Oh Granger, what a rare moment. Have I really shut you up? I must inform the Ministry and receive an award."
She ignored this. "You're married?"
He lost his smirk instantly, and she thought she spotted a little regret in his eyes. "Yes." He told her shortly. "Yes, I'm married. Now can you close this wound for me, Granger? I have a lot to do."
She did not respond to his change of tone: she was far too well trained for that. Instead, she did as he wanted, not noticing how he watched her. Tapping her wand on his wound, she waited as it swiftly healed, a brand new patch of skin stretching over it pleasingly. She moved away to write some notes on a clipboard and he watched her hesitantly.
"…Thank you." He said at last. She turned her head to smile at him.
"It was nothing Malfoy, but your welcome."
He was immediately intrigued by how her eyes sparkled cheekily and that beautiful grin she had: her features were delicate, causing her face to glow wonderfully. Her frizzy hair was no longer there, instead it was tamed into big, glossy chestnut brown curls. He swallowed a little and looked away, as if he had seen nothing of great importance. She finished writing and looked up at him, storing her pen away.
"You're free to go."
He nodded, picking up his robes to fasten them tightly around his neck. When a thought suddenly occurred to him, he turned to her.
"I'm sorry I kept you from your break."
"My my," Her smile widened a little. "Is the great Draco Malfoy apologizing to his deadly enemy? Maybe we need to take a closer look at that wound."
He rolled his eyes at her. "I've grown up, Granger. Just like everyone else. Could you just be normal and tell me it's fine?"
"Very well," She heaved a sigh. "It's fine, Malfoy. I'm a Healer: it's my job."
"I can see that." He finished fastening his robes and looked at her with interest for a moment, allowing himself to act on the spur of the moment. "Do Healers ever accept dates?"
She paused to look up at him in surprise, but recovered quickly. "No, I'm afraid they don't."
"Oh really?" He smirked at her, amused. "Now why don't I believe you?"
"I'm busy, Malfoy." She tore a piece of paper from the pad and handed it to him. "And you're married, remember?"
"Well, I'm divorcing her." He told her shortly. "And I just want to thank you. So meet with me."
She shook her head, before smiling. "I'll think about it. Now go pick up the potion from Sister Mary and go home, Malfoy. Goodnight."
He watched her leave, following to call to her. "Send me an owl."
She turned again; she couldn't help but laugh at him a little. "Maybe, Malfoy. Maybe."
A/N: And there we are, chapter one. Nothing amazing, but I hope I pull in some reviews. I've always found this pair particularly interesting- some people may be surprised at Malfoy's frankness and changed attitude towards Hermione, but that will be explored in the story.
I would really appreciate as many reviews as possible as this is my first Harry Potter fanfic so I confess I'm quite nervous. Thank you for taking the time to read this!