This was written for Healer Pomfrey's Writing Challenge. The Challenge is:
Time: Autmn of Harry's first Hogwarts year
Content: Harry falls sick but, due to what he learnt at the Dursleys', tries to hide it from everyone. However, one person, either a teacher or a student, notices and helps him get better.
Conditions: The person must NOT be Snape! The following words MUST be used: cupboard, conjure, pink, house-elf, snow.
I hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think!
"You should eat something before Potions, its not healthy to skip two meals in a row" she stated firmly.
"Aw, leave him alone, Hermione. We are in school now, we should be old enough to eat without our mothers. C'mon Harry, lets head to Potions" Ron said, as he shoved on last spoonful of lunch into his mouth.
Harry sneezed rather violently just then, startling a poor Nelville.
"Bless you." Hermoine said.
"Yeah, sure. And Hermoine, thanks for looking out for me, but I really am fine. See you in Potions" Harry said, rather meekly in Hermoine's opinion.
'Good going, Hermoine, you won't be able to make any friends here if you keep trying to be their mothers' she thought to herself as she daintily finished her sandwich and gathered up her heavy book bag.
"Hey – Hermoine! Do you like my new pink scarf?" called Lavender, as Hermoine passed.
"Um, yes, Lavender, it looks very nice. But we should be going to Potions soon."
"Do you always have to be so sensible? I mean look at your hair, its positively frizzy."
Rather than respond, Hermoine chose to merely roll her eyes and keep on walking.
"Young Miss Granger seems to have a rather sound head on her shoulders for someone so young" Poppy commented to her best friend, Minerva, at the head table.
"If only she wasn't such a know it all, she might make a decent student," Severus commented, in his silky voice.
"Severus, give her a chance to settle in a bit, it is only the first month of school" the Headmaster warned from a few seats down.
"Of course, Headmaster. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a lesson to prepare" he responded politely, and then left with a billow of his robes.
"That young man! He isn't that much older than the students themselves" Hooch piped in.
"Actually, Rolanda, he is old enough to be their father. He was the same year as James and Lily and now young Harry is a first year" Poppy smiled as Rolanda rolled her eyes.
"Honestly mate, where does she get off telling you when you can and can't eat?" Ron asked as he plunked his book bag down onto the table.
"I dunno" Harry answered as he rummaged around in his book bag. Shortly before Professor Snape was due to make his grand entrance, Hermoine rushed in and found the open seat next to them.
"What took her so long? Bookbag too heavy to get down the stairs?" Ron said, not really caring if she heard him or not.
"Today we will be brewing a simple healing potion. Who can tell me how to cut the curus root for a fever reducer draft? Mr. Weasley, since you seem to have deemed yourself too good to listen in my class" Snape said in a deadly voice, from the doorway.
"Well, sir, I would imagine you would cut it with a knife."
"Idiot boy! Does anyone know the answer?" Professor Snape asked, pointedly ignoring Hermoine who was almost jumping out of her seat. "Very well, since no one besides Miss Granger knows the answer, Miss Granger please enlighten your classmates."
"Sir, the curus root must be sliced into 8 equal pieces before being gently cut in half. Then it must be added –"
"I did not ask for a complete lecture on how to prepare the potion, Miss Granger. You have sixty minutes remaining. Ingredients are in the cupboard and directions are on the board. Begin."
"Harry, you have to add the murkwood now or else your potion will explode" Hermoine hissed when she noticed that his potion began bubbling a dark green, when hers was a delicate blue.
"Uh, thanks," Harry said as he quickly added the murkwood. He sneezed again but was able to hide it from everyone.
Just then, Nelville's potion exploded behind Harry and covered Harry in a half-done fever reducer draft.
"10 points from Gryffindor for making a mess of my classroom. Mr. Potter, go shower and change before your next class. Be here at 7 tonight so you can finish your potion" Snape hissed as he conjured a sponge and handed it to Nelville "Mr. Longbottom, you can be here at 7 for your detention."
"Yes, sir" both boys chorused together.
"See you in History of Magic" Harry whispered to Ron as he grabbed his bookbag and left the classroom.
"Harry, Harry" someone said as he shook his shoulder.
"Hm?" Harry responded sleepily as he struggled to wake up.
"You have 10 minutes until you have to be in the Potions classroom" Ron impatiently explained.
"Sandwich? My brothers nicked it out of the kitchens for you."
"Huh? I just wanted to sit down for a few minutes before History of Magic."
"Don't worry about it, mate, Professor Binns didn't even notice that you were missing. But you should get moving, you only have 5 minutes until 7"
"Right, thanks for the sandwich" Harry said as he grabbed his bag and headed down the stair case.
"Where was he all afternoon?" Hermoine asked Ron, when he came back down to the common room.
"None of your business" Ron retorted.
As soon as Harry was out of the common room, he threw away the sandwich at the next rubbish bin and flew down the stairs.
"Ah, Harry, my boy. I wonder if you have a few minutes to chat?" Professor Dumbledore asked him, as he rushed towards the dungeons.
"Maybe later, Headmaster. Professor Snape is expecting me."
"I was just headed that way myself. I will walk you down there. How are you enjoying school so far? Settling in alright?"
"Yes, sir. I love it here."
"Good to hear, my boy. Ah, Severus, I was just coming to see you when I ran into Harry. I trust that the two of you haven't run into any problems, so early in the year?"
"No, Headmaster. Mr.. Potter is making up a potion that he was unable to complete earlier due to the fact that Mr. Longbottom covered him in a potion. Here is the potion you requested, Headmaster." Snape said, his demeanor never changing.
"Thank you, Severus. Good evening, Harry."
"Good evening, Headmaster" both Harry and Severus said together. Snape immediately glared at Harry.
Once Dumbldore was out of earshot, Snape hissed, "The Headmaster seems to have taking a liking to you. However, a celebrity status or Headmaster favorite will get you no where in my classroom."
"You know what to do, your potion is over there."
Unfortunately for Harry, he was not paying careful attention to his sleeve and he accidentally pushed extra green algae into his potion, causing it to explode.
'When will I ever get used to wearing these robes? Snape looks like he wants to expel me' Harry thought to himself as Snape billowed towards him.
"It looks like Mr. Longbottom will have company scrubbing out cauldrons tonight. 5 points from Gryffindor."
By the time Nelville and Harry got back to the tower, it was just after midnight and the only person left in the Common Room was Hermoine.
"Coming to bed, Harry?" Nelville asked, when he noticed that Harry was heading towards a table instead of the staircase.
"I haven't started the Transfiguration essay yet" Harry explained.
"Good luck, mate" Nelville said sympathetically before heading up the stairs.
"Hey, Hermoine. Would it bother you if I sat here?"
"Oh! No, go right ahead" she looked up from her book and smiled.
"Bless you. Surely making the potion didn't take that long."
"I screwed up and ended up in detention with Nelville."
"Oh. I'm sorry. What happened to you after Potions, anyways?"
"I would love to chat but I haven't started this essay for Transfiguration yet and I would kind of like some sleep tonight."
"Oh, alright. I have a couple of books here that might be useful, if you would like to use them – bless you again" she rummaged around in her bookbag as he sneezed again.
"Thanks" he responded in a congested voice.
"Are you sure you are okay? You sound hoarse."
"Really, I'm fine. These books are great" he said as he took out a piece of parchment. For the next hour, the only thing that could be heard was scratch of his quill and the turning of her pages.
Suddenly, he sneezed a couple of times and then he started coughing. She looked around frantically for a glass of water, but only found a strange looking creature in a plain sack that had the Hogwarts crest on it.
"Did Miss need something?" the creature asked as it bowed.
"A glass of water for my friend, please. I don't mean to be rude, but what are you?" she asked as he snapped his fingers and a glass of water popped into his hand.
"Thanks," she said as she took the glass.
"Humans never thank a house-elf, Miss" he explained before he disappeared.
"Here's some water." she said gently as she pressed the cold glass into his hand.
'His eyes are a bit glassy. I hadn't planned on staying up this late but I feel like I should keep an eye on him – wow, I do sound like my mother' Hermoine thought as she watched Harry try to regain control.
"Thanks," he said after a few minutes.
"No problem" she quietly responded, and returned to Hogwarts: A History.
'I am most definitely sick. This is the first day I can remember not wanting to eat here plus my head is pounding. Hermoine certainly is nice but if I told her I was sick, she would think that I was a big baby. Besides, I have been through a lot worse at the Dursley's without saying a word to anyone so a little cold here should be able to go completely unnoticed by anyone' he thought as he played with his quill.
"Are you having trouble thinking of what to write?" she asked a little while later.
"Why do you ask?"
"You are staring out into space. I don't want to act like your guardian, but if you don't finish that essay soon, you won't finish it by morning."
"I am going to give up on it anyways. But thanks for all the help" he said as he clumsily tried to put away his papers.
"I could help you write it, I mean, if you would like, so it gets done," she offered.
"Really? That, uh, would be great. I am too tired to make sense of anything – achoo! Achoo!"
"Bless. Let me see what you have done so far." Hermoine gently took the papers out of his hands and then begin furiously crossing things out.
"Hey! I worked hard on that paragraph," Harry exclaimed when she crossed out the entire introduction.
"You said it yourself – you are too tired to make sense of anything and that paragraph was completely wrong."
"Oh, alright. Well, what should I put there instead?" he asked as he rubbed his eyes.
"Why don't you lie down on the couch for a few minutes while I outline the relevant research for you?"
"Thanks but I'd rather work on this so it gets done faster. What page did you say that quote was from?" he responded, mostly to distract her from focusing on the fact that he felt miserable.
"314. Here, this the information on the wand movements. Now, if you structure your paragraphs like this, your essay will flow more logically."
"Essays can flow?"
"If the arguments are set up in an logical and interesting manner, your reader will be able to follow your discussion more easily. I read about it in Writing a Perfect Essay."
"Uh, thanks. Now that I have an outline, I should be able to complete this on my own. Its half past two – you might want to get some sleep" he said.
"You're welcome. I want to finish this chapter first. Reading is one of my favorite activities," Hermoine said shyly, unaccustomed to telling people about her favorite hobby.
Harry merely smiled and turned back to his essay. Slowly and deliberately, he worked his way down the outline that Hermoine had made for him. About an hour later, he looked up from his work just as she put away her book for the night.
"All done?" she asked, gently but he started coughing again. Once his breathing was a little bit more in control and he had a sip of water, she came around the table and sat next to him.
"Are you sure you are alright? It sounds to me like you have a cold. I bet that if you go see Madam Pomfrey in the morning, she can give you a Pepper-Up potion and you will feel a lot better" she stated as she studied his face.
"I just had a little dust in my throat. No worries. Thanks for all of your help tonight, I would have never gotten this done without you. Friends?," he responded hoarsely but gave her a small smile as he put his hand out for her to shake.
"Sure, friends. See you in the morning" she took his hand before walking up the staircase to her dormitory. Harry packed away his quills and papers and also went to bed.
"Where is Harry? If he doesn't get down here soon, we will have go straight to Charms without breakfast" Ron complained the next morning as he and Nelville were waiting for Harry to appear.
"When we got back from detention, he said that he had to write his Transfiguration essay still so he probably stayed up all night. Give him a few more minutes. Morning, Hermoine," Nelville answered as Hermoine walked past them.
"Morning, Nelville. Why don't you two head down to breakfast? I can go wake Harry," she offered.
"Girls aren't allowed in the boys dormitory!" Ron exclaimed.
"Its not like anyone but Harry is in there. Go eat," she waved them off and sprinted up the stairs.
"Girls, mate, they are nuts," Ron explained while Nelville shrugged.
"Hey, Harry," she said, as she shook his shoulder.
"What--?" he sleepily mumbled before sneezing multiple times.
"You have to get up for Charms. C'mon."
"Hermoine? What are you doing in the boys dormitory?" he asked, his voice sounding very congested.
"Waking you up. You have like 15 minutes." she said as she sat down on Ron's bed.
Harry let out a couple of harsh coughs and then meekly asked, "Er, could you leave for a few minutes? I promise to be down in about 5 minutes."
"Oh! Alright," she blushed and sprinted back down the stairs.
'He sounds worse than he did last night. If he isn't doing a bit better by lunch and he is still reluctant to go to the Hospital Wing, I guess I will have to tell Professor McGonagall' she thought to herself.
As they walked to Charms, Hermoine reluctantly commented, "Harry, I can't help but notice that you are sick. I really think that you should go to the Hospital Wing."
"Hermoine, I know you are just looking out for me – and I appreciate that. However, its nothing," Harry responded, while desperately trying to hold back his cough.
"If you say so," she sighed, as she walked into the Charms classroom.
Through out the lesson, she discretely tried to watch Harry as she also took as many notes as possible. His eyes seemed unusually unfocused and he quietly hid his coughs.
'He hides his illness very well' Hermoine mused as she wrote down a sentence about correct wand movements and their importance.
"Finally! Charms is over. Now all I have to stay awake through is Transfiguration and then its lunch. Definitely drinking a lot of tea at lunch to give me some caffeine or History of Magic will just be nap time. I bet a snow-cone would help my sore throat" Harry thought when the bell rang.
"Where were you this morning, mate?" Ron asked, as they followed their classmates out and into the Transfiguration courtyard.
"I overslept because I stayed up writing that essay."
"You must be starving! You didn't eat dinner either – how can you go that long without eating?" Ron asked in amazement. Harry merely shrugged but turned away when he caught Hermoine glancing at his face, again.
Transfiguration was a practical lesson, which was good for Harry because he was able to stay awake the whole time. He did not have any luck hiding his coughs or sneezes from Hermoine, however. The class was attempting to turn match sticks into a box but neither Harry or Ron had any success. Hermoine, of course, managed to accomplish it on the second attempt.
"10 points to Gryffindor, Miss Granger, for being the first person to accomplish the transfiguration. Put your essays on my desk, Class dismissed," Professor McGonagall smiled at Hermoine and then walked back towards the front of the classroom.
Hermoine pretended to being searching for her essay until everyone else was gone and then she approached the professor's desk.
"Professor McGonagall?" she called, hesitantly.
"Yes, Miss Granger?"
"I was wondering if you had a few minutes to help me with a small problem I am having," Hermoine said as she chewed her lip.
"Of course, come into my office and we can chat over a cuppa tea"
"Now, Hermoine, what is this small problem you are having?" the Professor asked kindly once they were settled in with their tea.
"Have you noticed anything off about Harry today?"
"Miss Granger, I do not discuss other students performances."
"I understand that, but he is ill and refuses to go see Madam Pomfrey. He hasn't eaten in over twenty-four hours and he falls asleep every time he sits down for more than a few minutes. I was wondering if I should drag him to see her or if I should just mind my own business. I mean, I want to be a good friend but I am not sure if a good friend forces him to get help or doesn't bug him about it," Hermoine explained in a very rushed fashion.
After a few minutes, Professor McGonagall came up with an idea; "Let's go to lunch and if Harry appears ill to me, I will get him to Madam Pomfrey. You are a good friend by getting him the help he needs – without telling everybody."
"Sounds like a wonderful plan, thank you."
"Then I shall see you at lunch, Miss Granger."
Hermoine walked into the Great Hall and spotted a group of first year Gryffindors at the end of the long table.
"Hi guys," she said as she sat down and began choosing her lunch.
"What took you so long?" Harry asked, his plate suspiciously clean in Hermoine's opinion.
Before she could answer him, however, he started coughing and was unable to hide it very well. Hermoine gave him a pointed look before noticing that Professor McGonagall was standing directly behind Harry.
"Mr. Potter, a word" the Professor said barely above a whisper.
"Now, Professor?" he answered hoarsely.
"Since you appear to be done with your lunch, now" she ordered. Harry shrugged towards Ron and got up, following the Professor into the small ante-chamber off to the side of Great Hall.
"Are you feeling alright, Mr. Potter?" she questioned, once they were out of earshot of the student body.
"I'm fine, Professor. Why do you ask?" the small boy stated firmly but his voice was scratchy.
She gave him a doubtful look before continuing, "Your cough just now seemed very harsh and you were unusually uninterested in my lesson today."
"I apologize for not paying attention but --" he started to say but ended up in another coughing fit.
When he recovered, he reluctantly admitted, "Professor, I don't know where the Hospital Wing is but I am fine, really."
"We will let Madam Pomfrey be the judge of that, Mr Potter. I will walk you to the Hospital Wing," she said sternly but motherly.
"Thank you," he whispered, finally admitting to himself that he could no longer hide his illness from his professor.
As they walked up the Grand Staircase, Professor McGonagall carefully watched her young charge.
'I hope it is nothing more serious than a cold but his cough sounds awful. It is a good thing that Miss Granger brought this to my attention, he would have not gone to get the help he needs" the Transfiguration teacher thought as she watched Harry cough again.
"Uh, Professor, I don't know much about magical healing. Is it much different than Muggle methods?" Harry reluctantly asked.
"I imagine that it is quite different but I have never been treated by a muggle doctor. When Madam Pomfrey first sees you, she will wave her wand over you to do a diagnostic charm, which tells her your basic vital signs like temperature and blood pressure. Are you nervous?" she responded, curious about his question.
"A little. I have never been to a school nurse because I was sick before," he answered quietly.
"Don't worry, as your Head of House, I can stay for the whole examination if you wish," she said, just as quietly.
"Professor, that's very kind of you but I am sure that you have classes to teach."
"Actually, I have a free period. And if you are worried about feeling like a little kid, no one else has to know. It is your choice, however."
"I guess I would appreciate it if I wasn't alone"
"Not a problem, Here we are" she gently smiled as they stopped in front of the large oak doors. They opened automatically when she put her hand to the door.
"Poppy?" the Transfiguration teacher called when they entered the large, sunny room.
"One second, Minerva!" a friendly female voice called from the back room.
"Why don't you go sit on the edge of that bed?" the Professor said, as she gently guided the first year to the bed.
"Minerva, you didn't mention that you had a student with you" a plump, cheery looking woman, dressed completely in white robes, came out, her hands on her hips. "I'm Madam Pomfrey, you must be Harry Potter. What can I do for you today?"
"I brought Mr. Potter in because he appears to have a cold and didn't know where the Hospital Wing was," the teacher patiently explained to her friend.
"I see" the Healer said as she whipped out her wand and carefully performed a basic diagnostic charm. Harry sat in amazement as green letters appeared in front of the Healer.
"Well, Mr. Potter, you have a fever of 102 F (38.8 C). That's too high to be just a cold so I am going to listen to your lungs for a minute."
"That's a muggle stethoscope" Harry exclaimed when she brought it out of a drawer next to the bed.
"Why, yes it is. Sometimes the Muggle methods work just as well or better than the magical ones."
"That is a very important lesson to remember, Mr. Potter. Just because we might live our lives differently than the Muggles does not mean that our methods are better," the Transfiguration teacher chimed in.
For the next few minutes, the Healer examined Harry, using both Muggle and magical methods.
"Well, Mr. Potter, you appear to be developing a bad case of bronchitis from a cold. Even though I have a potion which should help you feel a lot better, I would feel more comfortable if you stayed here overnight so I could monitor you. Let me get you a set of pjamas." the Healer explained to Harry when she was finished.
"Thanks, Madam Pomfrey," he called hoarsely.
"Professor, do you think you could pass on a message to Hermoine that she can come visit me tonight, if she has time?" Harry asked quietly when the Healer was out of sight.
"Of course, Mr. Potter. I hope you feel better soon. Let this be a lesson to you – if you need help, don't be afraid to ask someone for it. "
"Thank you, Professor" he responded quietly.
"Harry? Are you awake?" Hermoine whispered later on in the evening.
"Yeah. You probably figured out by now that I told Professor McGonagall that you were ill. I'm sorry, you just wanted to be left alone,' the girl explained, nervously.
"No apologies necessary, Hermoine. In fact, I wanted to thank you for doing it, you're a good friend. I feel a lot better now because of Madam Pomfrey's potions. She says that I will be released in the morning," Harry answered, and then smiled at his new friend.
"I'm glad you are feeling better. I should probably go before she kicks me out though. Night Harry," Hermoine smiled back.
'It feels so good to have friends who care about me' Harry thought lazily as he drifted off to sleep.
Thank you for reading. Reviews always make the author's day.