Written for Madam Pomfrey's autumn challenge so if you find something similar this is why. Either that or I am very unoriginal!
Time: Autumn of Harry's first Hogwarts year
Place: Hogwarts
Format: One-shot
Content: Harry falls sick but, due to what he learnt at the Dursley's', 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.
Deadline: 30th of September, 2009.
Please don't forget to state clearly that you're writing for my challenge to avoid any problems provoked by possible similarities to other stories provided for the same challenge!

All characters belong to J K Rowling, not I.

A/N = Words written in italics are memories or flashbacks.

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An Act Of Charity.

By Ella

It was the last lesson of the day and Harry was more than relieved, well before lunch all he wanted to do was crawl into bed get away from everyone and everything and sleep for at least a week. His throat hurt, his head hurt in fact he just hurt all over and felt miserable.

"Harry? Harry?" Harry turned towards the person who was making so much noise, didn't they understand that his brain was currently trying to burst of his head? Ron was staring at him, waiting for an answer, but Harry had no idea what the question was.

"Harry get your stuff, lessons over let's go! Come on come on" Harry continued to stare at the red head.

"Merlin Harry what's got into you? It's Friday we have two days of freedom let's GO!" Ron finished with a shout. Harry got his bag and scooped everything that was left on the desk, not caring if the ink leaked or the parchment creased and followed Ron out of the classroom.

"Fred and George reckon they're going to catch the giant squid and stuff it in Snape's office want to go watch?" Harry could think of nothing worst that being outside in the cold listening to Fred and George.

"I'm just going to go back to the common room, you can tell me about it later"

"Come on Harry, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity they are sure to get expelled for this"

"I just don't feel like it"

"Why? Are you ill?" Ron questioned. Harry remembered what happened last time he was ill and suppressed a shudder.

"No of course not, just tired" Harry lied as his head continued to pound.

"Are you sure you look very pale"

"I'm sure mate, just tired. I'll come with you, I can lie in tomorrow" All the time wishing he could just crawl into bed right now.

"See that is what the weekend is for" Ron answered happily "Come on lets dump our stuff and go"

.

.

Even though it was only October it seemed was so cold outside that Harry was surprised that the ground wasn't covered in snow. Harry had dragged on extra jumpers and shirts under his cloak but he was still cold. Fred and George were stood at the side of the lake trying to summon the giant squid and really not getting very far. And then it started to rain.

"Ron I'm going in" Ron glanced over "Yeah I'll come with you mate, they're getting nowhere with this"

"OI RON CATCH!" Harry turned towards the shout just in time to get hit in the face with a huge chunk of pond weed. The shock of it caused Harry to stumble and slip on the wet grass, he fell down and hit his head hard on the ground. Harry laid on the grass waiting for the world to stop spinning and the black dots to fade. Perfect now his headache was even worse and he felt like he was going to throw up.

"Harry? HARRY! Fred you've really done it now, mum will flip. Harry mate you ok?" Ron was leaning over him, Harry wanted to say that he was fine but his brain couldn't seem to get his mouth to say it.

"Harry, come on say something" Fred or George was leaning over him now, maybe it was both, maybe it was just double vision.

"I'm fine just dazed" Harry forced himself to sit up and the world swayed dramatic, he nearly fell back to the ground but someone caught him and held him upright.

"Oh bugger it. Ron why did you move? It was supposed to hit you. Mum's gonna kill me for this"

"Well sorry for moving out the way of the chunk of pond scum"

"As long as you're sorry that's all I can ask little brother" Fred was laughing now

"Git! Why'd you throw it anyway?"

"For a laugh of course"

"Well does Harry look like he is laughing?" Ron was getting red in face and was yelling at Fred. Harry sat leant up George not caring who was saying what, he was more focused on trying to keep the contents of his stomach where it should be.

"No he looks like he is gonna throw up. Harry we're going to take you to Madam Pomfrey"

"NO! Sorry I mean no, I'm fine. Just help me up and the dizziness will go" Harry started to get to his feet.

"You sure? If you're hurt and we don't take you mum really will have my arse for this" Fred said, looking around to see if anyone else had witnessed the incident.

"Trust me I'm fine" Harry said, as he thought please not the hospital wing, please not there.

"Come on then let's go inside and get some dinner before all the best food has been mauled by those dirty first years. No offence you two" Fred added as an afterthought.

They started off towards the castle Fred and George either side of Harry to ensure he didn't fall again. They started to argue about the squid.

"Told you the squid was protected against magic"

"No you said I couldn't summon him"

"Same thing"

"Different thing Fred, I may not be able to conjure the squid, but magic does work on it"

"Like what? The spells bounced off"

"Accio bounced off it, but I could hit it with a tickling charm and cast a shield around it so maybe we can make a bubble round it and move it that way. Patience dear brother I will get that squid in Snape's office"

Harry stopped listening, with every foot step his head pounded, his vision had gone blurry at the edges, and his throat hurt so much more than it did earlier. It felt like he had swallowed sandpaper and when did the castle get so cold, Harry didn't think he had ever been so cold in all his life it felt like even his bones were ice cold. 'Just sit though dinner then you can go to bed', this thought was the only thing that kept Harry putting one foot in front of the other as they headed into the great hall.

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.

"Harry are you ok?" Harry looked up and saw Hermione staring at him.

"Yeah I'm fine"

"Why aren't you eating your dinner then?" Ron was now looking at Harry and had elbowed George to get his attention. Harry had to think fast before anyone suspected the truth.

"I ate alot at lunch, just not hungry"

"That's a lie you sat near me at lunch and you ate 4 spoons of potato. Now you're sat there with more clothes on than anyone and you are shivering. You're sick" Hermione stated.

Uncle Vernon's words rang though Harry's head from the last time he was ill. "If you're ill you can't do your chores, if you can't do them you can't earn your keep so you don't get to eat until you do. And if you make Dudley sick boy I swear you will regret it" Dudley did get sick and Harry did regret it and shivered harder at the thought of it, well that and also remembering the vile medicine Aunt Petunia forced him to swallow. The thought of being ill and having that done to him again was horrifying. What if he made his friends sick? Would they react in the same way as the Dursley's had?

"Bloody hell Hermione are you stalking Harry or what? He says he's fine so just leave him alone" Ron told her.

"Just because I'm concerned about him"

"Mothering him more like" Ron retorted

"Oh just shut up" Hermione said shrilly.

"As much as I hate to break up this lovely little domestic you two are having I think Hermione's right there is something wrong with Harry. Maybe he does have concussion or something. Best take him to the hospital wing Ron." Oh great Harry thought George now is involved, since when did everyone become so interested in his life.

"If Madam Pomfrey says anything about his head just say that the stairs moved and he fell, that way Hogwarts get's the blame not us." Fred added with a glance at Harry.

"Why would Harry have concussion? That's really serious if it's true" Hermione was now staring intently at Harry.

"Nothing to do with you" Ron replied.

"I was only asking. Maybe it has something to do with Professor McGonagall."

Ron took a sharp intake of breath "You wouldn't"

"If Harry needs help then yes I would" Hermione's voice was getting louder. This was too much for Harry they just wouldn't shut up. His head was pounding and if he didn't get away from this food there was a serious risk he would throw up.

"I'm going back to the common room guys" Hermione and Ron were still locked in their argument and didn't even notice him rise. Harry started to walk down the hall and he stumbled as the hall seemed to lurch under his feet. "HARRY!" He heard Fred or George call. Harry tried to right himself but his body seemed intent on hitting the floor, he didn't even raise his arms to stop himself, all he wanted to do was lie down and sleep. Harry hit the floor knees first with a loud thump and a second thump as his head hit the floor. Harry closed his eyes and the last thing he heard was Hermione saying "I told you there was something wrong" and the darkness surrounded him.

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Harry awoke in an unknown bed he looked around the room it was blurred as he didn't have his glass on but he could make out beds like his either side of him and across the other side of the room. He sighed he must be in the hospital wing. The one place he wanted to avoid, having detention with Snape would have been better. He started to sit up and spotted his glasses on a nearby table and put them on. They didn't help that much with the blurred vision, there was still a feint haze around everything but his head felt alot better than it did early at dinner. Harry groaned as he remember what had happened, he has collapsed in front of everyone at dinner it was so embarrassing maybe he should go back to the common room tell everyone it was because of Fred they would find it funny if no one found out he was sick they wouldn't turn against him. Plus the common room would be warmer who decided to make the hospital wing so cold? He pulled the blankets up around him while deciding what to do, he really needed a drink his throat was on fire, where was Madam Pomfrey, could he get away before she arrived? Harry decided that it was certainly worth a shot.

Harry shoved the blankets back and shivered as the cold air hit him, he saw his clothes on a nearby chair and suddenly wondered who on earth had dressed him in pyjamas. He crept over and pulled his clothes from the chair, unfortunately his cloak had caught on the chair and as Harry pulled his cloak he also pulled the chair over and it hit the floor with a loud bang that seemed to echo in the empty room.

A door at the far end of the room opened and a woman appeared,

"Mr Weasley if that is you again you are in severe trouble" she called as stormed down the room she saw Harry and stopped. Harry began to panic having no idea what would happen now he had been caught trying to escape.

"Oh Mr Potter you're awake I thought you would be asleep for much longer. Why are you out of bed? I sincerely hope you weren't thinking off escaping. Is Mr Weasley here to help you?" She stood awaiting an answer, looking like a younger but still stern Professor McGonagall with her dark hair pulled back into a tight bun and dark green robes.

"Err no Ron isn't here, I woke up felt fine and thought I would go back to the common room. Sorry I wasn't sure what to do, I was just getting my clothes."

"Well you aren't going anywhere until I say, please get back into the bed." She reached over to the chair put it back on all four legs and took the buddle of clothes from Harry. Harry stood there staring at her wondering if he should ask to go or just get into bed.

"Mr Potter into bed, don't make me have to call your head of house to enforce this, Professor McGonagall has already been here to remove and detain the Weasley brothers since they are unable to comprehend what no visitors means, I doubt she wants to be summoned again." She said firmly

Harry got back into bed feeling guilty that Ron and the twins had gotten into trouble because of him. Plus he was cold anyway and at least the bed would be a bit warmer. She followed him and pulled the blankets back up. "There was that so bad? Now I'm going to check you over"

"NO I'm fine really. I-fell-on-the-stairs-hit-my-head-but-it-doesn't-hurt-now-can-I-go?" Harry finished in a hurry. She looked at Harry "Please Madam Pomfrey can I just go?"

"Well first of all I'm not Madam Pomfrey I'm just covering for her. I really hope it is because of the knock to the head that you are saying I look 30 years old than I am?" she said with a fierce look. Harry blushed now she would never let him go

"Sorry I didn't know, I assumed because you were here" he trailed off not really sure what else to say.

"I was joking Mr Potter it's my fault I should have realised that you may have never seen Madam Pomfrey and you aren't in my class so you don't know me. I'm Charity Burbage Professor of Muggle Studies and I'm covering for Madam Pomfrey this weekend as she is doing a training course on Quidditch injuries at St Mungo's" Professor Burbage finished with a smile.

"Now let me check that head of yours Mr Potter"

"Call me Harry"

"Okay then Harry lay down on the bed please" Harry complied hoping that his magic had healed him whilst he slept and he could go.

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.

"So how did this happen? I know you collapsed in the great hall. Mr Weasley was saying something about stairs and you falling Miss Granger said something about you being ill at lunch and now having concussion or possible brain trauma because of something Mr Weasley was lying about so I would like your side."

"Err I was on the stairs and they moved, and I fell and hit my head but felt fine so went to dinner then I felt sick and I started to leave for the common room, then I woke up here." Harry decided that there was no denying the head injury so he may as well stick with Ron's lie, no need to get Fred in trouble.

"Unusual to fall backwards on the stairs" Professor Burbage inquired

"Well the stairs are unusual" She laughed

"Well yes that's true Harry. But why did Miss Granger think this was a lie? And were you ill at lunch?" She continued to wave her wand over Harry.

"No idea maybe why Hermione thinks that. I felt fine until I fell"

"Harry I am just going to check your eyes, follow my wand" Harry looked at the wand above his eyes when suddenly a harsh light came from the end of it causing him to gasp and close his eyes tightly as the pain in his head increased so much that Harry was sure his brain was trying to force his eyes from his skull. Professor Burbage sighed, she was nearly finished checking Harry over and had taken a seat next to his bed.

"Okay last thing open up, and hold the thermometer under your tongue" Harry did so but kept his eyes closed the whole time. Only when Professor Burbage removed it did Harry open his eyes and look at her.

"Harry if you don't tell me the truth I can't make you better." The Professor said as she was writing notes on a sheet of parchment.

"You already have, I feel fine" Harry felt worst than he did before he came here but all he wanted to do was go to his own bed instead on being asked question after question.

"Now you're lying to me. I suspect that you, Ronald Weasley and the Weasley twins are all lying about what happened to you and I want to know why. Harry I promise unless it is something really serious I won't tell anyone else what happened. Now tell me the truth"

Harry looked up and met her eyes. "I'm not lying"

"Yes you are, the back of your head where you hit the 'stairs' was covered in grass and mud before I cleaned it up and healed the cut. It looked as if it happened outside not inside the school. If you won't tell me I will have to call the headmaster and he will want to know why you are covering it up." She had moved her chair closer. Harry turned and stared at the ceiling knowing that it was pointless lying to her.

"I was at the lake with Ron and the twins. We were messing about and I got hit in the face with a chunk of pond weed I slipped on the wet grass fell and hit my head. That's the truth. I didn't want to get them in trouble"

Professor Burbage let out a chuckle "Sorry Harry I'm not laughing at you, I am just relieved I thought you had been attacked by another pupil or had been in the forbidden forest or something dangerous. I won't tell anyone else about this, it was just boys messing about, accidents happen.

Now on a more serious note I have examined you again now you've regained consciousness you and I think you are lying about being sick."

"I feel fine, I really do" Harry hoped she would believe him since he had just been truthful.

"I sincerely doubt that Harry. You have a serious throat infection which has caused your temperature to rise to 39.7c [103.f] and a severe migraine which I think you already had before you hit your head outside and bounced it on the great hall floor I am right?, thankfully you don't have concussion it was the combination of the fever and migraine that made you collapse"

Harry mentally cursed magic for revealing the truth. "Okay I did have a headache this morning but that's all. I can't have a fever as I'm cold not hot and I'm just thirsty that's why my throat is sore"

"Harry I have no idea why you are denying it, there is no shame in being sick, everyone gets sick"

"It's the rottenness inside you that is making you sick boy. Mark my words if you were better behaved this wouldn't have happened" His uncles voice echoed through his mind.

Harry remained silent he knew she was waiting for an answer but he had nothing to say to her. So he just laid staring at the ceiling again.

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.

"It's the fever that is making you cold" Professor Burbage continued, "you should be warm as those blankets are charmed to keep warm and the hospital wing is the only place in the whole castle that is draft free. If I could work in here all day trust me I would. No we have gotten to the bottom of what happened I can sort out what to give you. I'm going to fetch you a drink and I'll be back ok?" he strode away her robes trailing behind her.

Harry really didn't like the sound of 'what to give you' that sound like medicine, Harry wished that he had just gone to bed after lessons then none of this would have happened. Harry pulled the blankets up closer to his chin. Maybe he should just take whatever she gave him, his head was beginning to pound again and his vision was no better.

"Here you go Harry I've got you some pumpkin juice, Madam Pomfrey normally only gives people water but who honestly likes drinking water." Harry sat up as she passed him a goblet full of juice, Harry gulped it down

"Not so fast you'll be sick. Now I need you to take these potions" Harry froze.

"I really don't want them. I'll be alright once I've had a sleep" Professor Burbage sat down next to him again looking at him in concern.

"I have no idea why you are fighting me every step of the way Harry. I am trying to help you, not harm you. I know I'm not the normal school nurse but I am qualified."

Harry felt awful "No I didn't mean that I just meant that I normally just sleep it off when I feel like this, there's no need to fuss"

She smiled "Well thank heavens for that. I thought I was going to have to floo Madam Pomfrey for a second opinion. You can't sleep it off this time, your fever is dangerously high we need to get it back to normal so please just drink these"

Harry took the first phial from her, it was bubblegum pink

"This is for your throat infection" It tasted like strawberry so it actually wasn't that bad. The next was blood red.

"This one is for your temperature" Harry downed it in one and nearly spat it back out and he still grimacing as Professor Burbage passed him the final one.

"Finally this one is for your migraine and I promise it tastes better than the last one" She was right it just tasted of mint but he could still taste the fever reducer it was horrible.

"Try to finish the juice then I want you to lie back down, the potions together will probably make you tired so try to sleep and if your temperature is normal you may be able to go in morning. Anything else you need? More juice? Something to eat?"

Harry pulled the blankets back up to his chin

"Could I have another blanket I'm cold please" The teacher leant over and removed his glasses and placed them back on the bedside table

"I'm sorry Harry but you aren't cold, your hot it's just your body trying to fight the infection but can't cope with it. When the potions start to work you won't be cold anymore. Just try to sleep. If you need me I will be in the office just call and I can hear you, I will also instantly know if you leave the bed. Goodnight Harry"

"Goodnight Professor Burbage" Harry watched her walk away back to the office. He could feel the potions making him tired so he closed his eyes and let them work. They weren't that bad nothing like the medicine his Aunt and Uncle made him take and Professor Burbage had said nothing about it being his own fault and to stop complaining about it. Maybe this was what it was like for people who were cared for by people who loved them, not relatives who resented them and that was Harry's final thought as he drifted off to sleep.

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"BOY I told you if you made Dudley sick you would regret it. Now because Dudley is sick Petunia has to care for him so while she does that you will have to clean the whole house. And God help you if it isn't done probably – now get moving!" Harry scuttled away and started cleaning the bathroom, he still felt sick and the smell of the bathroom cleaner was making him feel worse. Harry sat on the floor waiting for the nausea to pass.

"I TOLD YOU TO CLEAN THE HOUSE! NOT SIT ON THE FLOOR" Uncle Vernon stormed into the bathroom and dragged Harry to his feet.

"Sorry Uncle I was feeling sick again"

"Sick? Sick? You're just saying that to get out of chores well I've had enough of this, if you are ill you can take some medicine" Vernon dragged Harry down the stairs to the kitchen and dumped him on a chair. He started looking through the cabinets for something. He turned on Harry with a bottle of dark liquid

"Here take some of this"

"Wait no, I'm feeling better, I'll go finish the bathroom now" Harry started to rise

"Oh no I'm not having you go up there and start all this again you take this right now" Harry gulped his Aunt had already made him take medicine and he had thrown it back up and got smacked across the legs and locked in his cupboard for it, no way did he want to take this one it looked worse and he knew Uncle Vernon would give him more than a slap across the back of the legs if he was sick in the kitchen.

Uncle Vernon had poured a huge spoonful of the thick brown liquid and was walking towards Harry.

"Open up boy"

Harry started to mumble that he was ok but Uncle Vernon was having none of it and he forced the spoon into Harry's mouth. It was worse that Harry imagined and it seemed to burn his mouth it was so thick that it coated his tongue.

"Swallow it!" He roared at Harry, but Harry just kept it in his mouth as soon as Uncle Vernon has left the kitchen Harry was going to spit it out. Vernon suddenly lunched at Harry and clamped his fingers over his nose,

"I said swallow it. You can't hold your breath for long"

Harry panicked as he struggled for breath he had no choice and swallowed and then gasped for breath, tears streamed down Harry's face from both the awful taste and being forced to swallow it in such a brutal way.

"Don't cry like a baby" Uncle Vernon dragged Harry to his feet and shoved him in the cupboard under the stairs

"This is what you deserve, look at what your freaky behaviour brings you!" and he slammed and locked the door. Harry lay on his small bed gasping for breath and crying wishing for just once he could just be cared for.

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Harry woke with a cry he could feel his Uncles hands covering his nose and he couldn't breathe there was something over his face his Uncle was going to suffocate him Harry screamed in terror.

"Harry, Harry! Ssshh sshhh its ok it's just the blanket. Its ok you're safe. Come on Harry deep breath that's it and another." Harry was aware that he could now breathe and that someone was talking to him.

"Harry are you ok?" Harry opened his eyes and looked around, he remembered now he was in the hospital wing not in the cupboard under the stairs at Privet Drive. Harry continued to take deep breaths.

"Yeah I'm ok just a bad dream" even though Harry was still shaking and gasping for breath, it had seemed so real that he could still feel where Uncle Vernon had squeezed his face and frantically looked about for the man, could he be over there in dark, waiting to strike again.

"Harry calm down, nothing else is in this room. Here have some more juice you need to drink plenty of fluids" Harry grateful accepted the drink as his throat hurt worst than ever and started to gulp it down.

"Steady Harry" Professor Burbage warned but it was too late, Harry's stomach churned as the juice went down. He started talking slow steady breathes trying to stop the nausea.

"Harry are you alright?" Harry nodded not daring to open his mouth but he started to gag.

"Here Harry" as she passed him a small bucket, Harry took it really hoping he wouldn't need it. But unfortunately he did, the juice he had just drunk and what remained of the potions all came back up. Harry held onto the bucket and tried to stop being sick, but there wasn't anything he could do. He retched until there was nothing left in his stomach. Harry started to panic the professor was surely bound to shout at him now maybe throw him out.

"I'm sorry, really sorry, you told me not the drink fast, but I thirsty, I'm sorry" Harry said frantically, fearing the worst was about to happen.

"Ssshh Harry it's alright, you're not the first and you certainly won't be the last. That's why we have these next to the bed. Really Harry it's not a problem." She looked at Harry and brushed his damp fringe from his eyes.

"Unfortunately these does mean you've got to take some more potions as they haven't had long enough to work probably" Harry put his hand to his mouth and coughed to clear his throat and was horrified by what he saw there – blood.

"Okay Harry I'm sure it's nothing to worry about" as she passed him a cloth to wipe his hand "I'm going to have a look and your throat and listen to your lungs to just make sure though." And with that she had walked back to the office, but it wasn't long until she returned with her hands full of strange looking objects and more phials filled with potions.

"Right first off all I need to you pull up your pyjama top so I can listen to your lungs. You live with muggles so I don't have to explain was a stethoscope is do I?"

"No I've seen them on TV"

She smiled "Well that's good then" She placed it on his back

"Deep breath in and hold it. And again deep breath in and hold it. Good Harry. Now let's look at that throat, Open up and I'm going to use a tongue depressor and shine a light at the back to see ok." Harry opened his mouth and tried not to gag as she pressed his tongue down.

"Alright Harry I'm all done. It's what I thought, your throat is really infected and with shouting as you awoke and being sick you have torn it and that is where the blood came from not from your lungs which it always good news. Any questions" She smiled reassuringly at Harry

"Not really I just wondered why you use them" Harry said gesturing to the muggle equipment "not that I mind I just thought that wizards used magic for everything"

"Well normally they do, but as muggle studies professor I like to use them and I trained as a muggle nurse so it's a hard habit to break"

"You trained as a muggle nurse?" Harry was surprised why anyone would want to use muggle equipment rather than magic.

"Yes it's a long story and one that really shouldn't be started at 3am. Now finally let me check your temperature again and then you can have the potions, how is your head? Any pain there?"

"No not really, I'm sorry for waking you." Harry said as he realised she was in a fluffy purple dressing gown and was looking alot less severe with her long brown hair down around her face. Harry sat waiting with the thermometer in his mouth.

"Harry don't be sorry it's what I'm here for. Unfortunately your temperature is a bit higher so I need to give you another dose of the fever reducer and the one for your throat. Best to take the fever one first then you can have the nice tasting one"

Professor Burbage smiled at Harry as she passed him two phials. Harry looked in dread at the blood red potion, he took a deep breath and swallowed it, it tasted worse than he remembered and he quickly swallowed the pink potion.

"Now try to get back to sleep and if you need me just call. Goodnight Harry"

"Night" and Harry fell back to sleep.

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When Harry next awoke bright sunlight was shining into the hospital wing he rolled over and groaned his throat still really hurt but at least his vision was normal, blurred but that was normal without his glasses on and thankfully the pain in his head had gone. He was just pushing the blankets back as he was now quite warm under them when he saw Professor Burbage walk out of the office still in her dressing gown.

"Morning Harry, I was thinking you would never wake up. I was beginning to wonder if I had given you too many potions"

"Sorry I guess I was tired" Harry mumbled eyes cast into his lap.

"Harry I was joking, it's good that you slept so well it gives your body chance to heal and more importantly I got a have a lie in, though I am sure Madam Pomfrey would throw a fit if I told her we both slept in until 10am, so it can be our secret. Right I'm going to check you over again Harry then we can decide what to do next. How are you feeling? And I don't want to hear 'fine'." She finished firmly but with a smile. Harry was beginning to get used to just how fast she spoke without taking a breath, it was like talking with Hermione.

"My headache has gone but my throat still hurts and I'm no longer cold"

"Well I've cured one thing at least. Let's check on to the other two."

Professor Burbage checked Harry's throat again and listened to his heart and lungs and ran her wand over his body so many times Harry wondered what on earth she could be looking for. She finally finished by taking Harry temperature, Harry watched as she stared intently at the thermometer "You weren't sick again after I left were you?"
"No why" Harry asked panicked wondering what he had done,
"Your fever is now 40.4c [105.f] but it should have gone down over night, I just wondered why the fever reducer has not worked. Well Harry it looks like you are going to be spending at least another night in my company."

"Sorry to ruin your weekend, I can go back to my dorm and sleep there"
"Harry you've never met Madam Pomfrey have you? Trust me if I let you leave just because I had plans for my weekend, which I don't by the way, she would curse me into next month. She takes her role very very seriously and trusted me to do the same. Plus teachers don't get weekends we spend them keeping all the students in check, the Weasley twins alone take up all of Professor McGonagall's time" Harry smiled at this comment knowing full well that it was true.

"Unfortunately this does mean more potions but I'd prefer you to eat some breakfast first so there's something else inside of you other than just potions. What would you like?"

"err I'm not really hungry, just some more juice please"
"Harry breakfast isn't really optional just try something, you can have absolute anything you like, what about porridge? I know it's a bit boring but you can add jam to it that's what I do."

"Ok I'll have porridge" Even though Harry could think of nothing worse than swallowing anything other than juice at the moment.

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.

Before Harry knew it a house-elf had appeared with a huge tray off food, there was a large bowl of porridge, three flavours of jam and chocolate spread, plus juice, tea and milk. Harry wondered just how much he was expected to eat, at that moment Professor Burbage came out of the office carry what looked like at least four phials of potions, Harry really hoped that they weren't all for him, but as the hospital wing was empty so he knew that they were.

"I see breakfast has arrived, erm not sure I ordered it quite right I think they have sent enough porridge for a full ward, oh well eat what you can Harry, Here I'll just put a few spoonfuls in a bowl to start with. What would you like on it?, oh look they do have chocolate spread last time I asked for it Professor Snape told me not to be so stupid as no one has chocolate porridge for breakfast, but what other time would anyone have chocolate porridge."

She shook her head "Sorry Harry I'm rambling what would you like?"

"Can I have chocolate? Unless there isn't enough"
"Of course you can Harry, just don't mention it to Professor Snape" She said with a laugh "Or Madam Pomfrey otherwise this will be the first and last time am I trusted to be the school nurse"

"I won't" She pulled an over the bed table towards Harry and put his bowl of porridge on it and a glass of milk.
"Milk might sit better than more juice"
Harry began to drink the milk, it felt wonderfully cold on his throat. He looked over at the Professor who was currently stirring a huge dollop of chocolate spread into her porridge, she caught Harry looking.

"Sorry Harry I should have asked, do you mind if I join you for breakfast? Thought you might like some company"

"No I don't mind, I want you to stay" He then started to eat the porridge it was really nice with the chocolate in it but he couldn't eat much off it. He looked over at Professor Burbage she was sat cross legged on the bed next to his still in her purple robe with her empty porridge bowl balanced on her knee a large cup of tea was in one hand which had dripped down the side and was now dripping onto the white sheets of the bed and what looked like a muggle magazine spread over her over knee and she was turning the pages with her free hand. Harry had heard how stern Madam Pomfrey could be and he feared what her reaction would be if she walked in now and saw her replacement lounging around like a student. She glanced up and caught Harry looking and she flushed red.

"Sorry Harry I am doing an appalling job, it's my first time doing this I'm not sure what to do, it's not like being a professor as I have no lesson plan and it's not like being a nurse as there is just one patient. I just received the magazine this morning so I got a bit engrossed with it. Have you been waiting long? Are you finished?"

"Yes I'm done. Sorry I didn't mean to rush you"

"Harry stop apologising to me, you've done nothing wrong. Now I'm sure you want to freshen up, the bathroom is through there and there are more pyjamas in there as well if you would like a clean pair. Then I'll give you the potions."

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Harry made his way to the bathroom slowly as even though his head felt fine he still felt strange walking as if any moment the hospital floor was going to collapse beneath him. Professor Burbage walked at his side and informed him she would be waiting outside and to give her a shout him he needed her. Harry sincerely hoped that he didn't that would be too embarrassing.

Harry came out of the bathroom to discover that all the breakfast pots had vanished and his bed sheets had been changed.

"Hopefully that made you feel a bit better, now back into bed please Harry" Harry climbed back into bed beginning to dread what was coming.

"Harry don't give me that look, if it was up to me they would all taste of bubblegum but I don't make them – sorry. Now these two are both fever reducers, to try and get your temperature down I am doubling the dose"

Harry took them and drunk them down one after the other and then gulped down water to rid his mouth of the taste.

"Obviously they don't taste better the more you have, well here's the one for your throat"

Harry gratefully took the pink nice tasting potion

"and finally" she past Harry a purple potion Harry took it and drank it down surprised that it didn't taste too bad "this one will make you sleepy to give your body a chance to heal itself"

"Hey that's not fair you didn't tell me that before I took it"

Harry could already feel it taking affect. She smiled kindly

"I know, it may be my first weekend in charge but I'm not stupid, sleep tight".

She helped Harry lay down and took his glasses and pulled the blankets up. Harry wanted to thank her but found all he could do was lie there as he gently fell asleep.

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When Harry awoke Professor Burbage was once again sat cross legged on the bed next to his but this time she seemed to be marking papers but there was a pile of magazine's next to her Harry wondered just how long he had been sleeping if she had read that much.

Harry sat up and reached for his glasses.

"Good afternoon Harry. How are you feeling?" she put down her pen and the papers she was marking down and got off the bed. Harry couldn't help but notice his professor's appearance, yesterday she looked like a witch in her dark green robes but today she was in jeans, cardigan and trainers. She obviously took her muggle studies role very seriously.

"Better" she looked sharply at Harry "really I mean it, my throat is a bit sore but nothing like earlier and well I don't feel feverish"

She smiled and clapped her hands together

"Wonderful, but let me just check that. Did you sleep well?"

Harry sat waiting for the thermometer and the checks to begin.
"Yes really well"

Harry wasn't even upset that he had been forced to sleep he was just grateful to feel better.
"Well I'm surprised what with the amount of visitors that you had. First the youngest Mr Weasley and Miss Granger came to see you just before lunch but they started bickering so I sent them away. Then Professor McGonagall came after lunch to check on your recovery and to see if Fred Weasley had been here as he and his twin were supposed to be serving detention with her and had vanished from her classroom, I have no idea how he did that I remember her detentions she watches you like a hawk"

"Wait why are the twins in detention?" Harry began to panic surely Fred wasn't getting in trouble because of what had happened, had Hermione really told professor McGonagall?

"Relax Harry I promised that I wouldn't tell another professor and I haven't. Apparently early this morning the Weasley twins were trying to move a huge bubble of water from the black lake through the school, well it burst and flooded the entrance hall and the great hall. Breakfast had to be served in the common rooms, trust me their month of detentions has nothing to do with you. I am honestly so glad that neither of them chose Muggle studies, not sure I would have coped. Anyhow then you had another visitor I assume it was Fred Weasley, he asked how you were, so I told him that you were still sick but it was nothing to do with the fall on the stairs, he looked relieved until I told him Professor McGonagall was looking for him, then he left suddenly."

She took a depth breath "Anyway let me check your temperature again and then I will sort some lunch out for you".

Harry smiled as he thought about what the twins had done, obviously George really wanted to get the squid into Snape's office. Harry could imagine how Snape would react and assumed that George must have a death wish.

Professor Burbage repeated the process of checking his lungs, shining a light in his eyes and mouth and checking with temperature with a thermometer.

"Well your throat does look alot better still sore but not infected and your temperature is 38.1c not perfect but alot better than this morning. Now how about some soup for lunch, any flavour you really fancy?"

Harry thought about it after years of just eating whatever was forced upon him or whatever Dudley had left having to choose food was strange, even stranger was trying to think of a favourite no one ever cared to even ask him if he even liked the food he was given. He settled on tomato soup as he always enjoyed that when he had it at Mrs Figg's. They ate lunch together Professor Burbage once again sitting on the bed next to Harry's.

"Do you have them for your class?" Harry asked as he finished his soup. She looked at the muggle magazines that he was pointing too.

"Oh those, no. My husband sends them to me from home, I like to know what I'm missing in the muggleworld". She finished her soup and banished the bowls and trays away just leaving a jug of pumpkin juice for them both. Harry must have looked confused at her comment.

"Like I said earlier this morning it's a long story"

"I don't mind, I would like to hear it" Harry was really curious to know why a witch would read muggle magazines and use a stethoscope.

"Well it's nothing that I haven't told other students who have asked and I guess we have time as you aren't going anywhere just yet. Plus I am fed up of marking these papers" She moved the papers to the end of the bed and crossed her legs underneath herself again.

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"Well it started when I took Muggle Studies for my OWL's as I wanted to become a healer and I thought it would help and between you and me I wasn't really clever enough for ancient runes and Muggle Studies came with loads of free periods. From my first lesson I was hooked on the muggle way of life, they had some wonderful things, television, CD players and wonderful shoes. Telephones fascinated me as did ball point pens. The professor at the time brought some in for us to try and they are so much better than quills, I still use them now.

"I carried it onto my NEWT's and got higher grades than some of the actual muggleborn students did, much to my Dad's disappointment. As part of the NEWT classes we got to leave the school and do muggle activities we went to the cinema and I loved it, we had burgers and cola at McDonalds. I have no idea what people much have thought of this bunch of kids who were so excited over something so simple we must have stuck out." Professor Burbage smiled at the memory.

"After Hogwarts I was all set to start healer training but I just didn't want to do that anymore, I wanted to work with muggles instead. I looked at the ministry and there was nothing that I wanted to do so I did something which people thought I was mad to do, I enrolled in a muggle college to study A-Levels."

"Really how did you do that? You didn't have any muggle exams to get you in" Harry was wasn't sure what was more of shock choosing to stay at school or choosing not to be able to use magic at school.

"There is a little known office at the ministry that can create muggle exam results and letters from a fake muggle school. I was not the first to attend a muggle college and I sincerely hope that I won't be the last. I enrolled in a muggle college told them that I was 17 and had missed enrolling last year due to a broken leg. I basically lost alot of ties with the wizarding world as my friends didn't understand why I would do such a thing and my father was ready to disown me for moving into the muggle world."

"Why weren't they pleased for you?" Harry hadn't alot of experience with friends but he knew that he would never disown Ron or Hermione for leaving the magical world.

"Well my father wanted me to be a healer like him. My mother was killed in a car accident so he hated muggles and everything to do with them, he still believes that if a healer had been there to help rather than a muggle doctor she would have lived, which I don't believe."

"I'm sorry" Harry was shocked he knew exactly what it felt like to miss a parent.

"Don't be Harry it was an accident I was only three and I barely remember her. My house was Slytherin and none of my friends were muggleborn or had anything to do with the muggle world so they didn't understand and made no effort to try"

"You were in Slytherin?" Harry was shocked, she seemed so nice how could she come from that evil house?

"Now Harry don't be so prejudice we aren't all vicious or evil, I admit Professor Snape isn't the best person to show our good side but Slytherin's do have one. Not all Slytherin's are bad. Let's just say we have different priorities. Most of us are very ambitious to succeed in everything we try, we are seen as trying to look better than the other houses and we are hated for it. We are called devious or cunning but I believe we are more resourceful than devious."

"Yes some of the Slytherin's are arrogant, self-absorbed and conceited but there are people like that all over the world and very few of them are Slytherin. The other houses over look this with their own members but when a Slytherin shows it, it is pointed out and seen as a reason to call them dark and evil.

"We work hard to succeed at school and some are smarter than Ravenclaw's but for every award we win rumours of favouritism and cheating circulate and the rest of the school all we wish another house had won 'anything rather than Slytherin, give the House Cup to the giant squid' was one of the comments I used to hear.

"We try but it never seems to be enough for the other houses so Slytherin's stick together and shun everyone else, just as they are shunned in return. It really is a tragedy but old house rivalry is too hard to combat. Students are warned before they start to stay away from the Slytherin house no good will come of you but it simply isn't true. A few members of the house have became infamous over the years but as have people from other houses, even Gryffindor but all anyone ever remembers is that Slytherin's are evil and stay away from them. But we aren't here to debate the morals of Slytherin are we?" She finished with a sigh, as if remembering the torment she suffered from her own house and the other houses.

Harry really didn't know what to say, every word she said was true. He was told before he even got to school that Slytherin was the house for dark wizards, he even asked the sorting hat not to put him there, anywhere other than Slytherin. Would it have been that bad? Then he remembered Malfoy and Snape and realised that yes it would have been awful.

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"After college I thought of going back to do my healer training but the battle against You-Know-Who was getting intense and thought I could do more good in the muggle world so I decided to stick to the path I had chosen and I enrolled in a muggle School Of Nursing. Then after my four years of training I became a nurse and worked at a hospital in Manchester, which is why I still use some muggle methods of healing its hard habit to break."

"But how did you end up back at Hogwarts? And you know about the healing potions"

She sipped her juice and took a deep breath.

"Even though I was so happy in the muggle world I did miss the Wizarding world. It broke my heart when people died and it was something that I could have fixed if I was a healer but obviously I couldn't do a thing because of the ministry laws so I decided to change careers. I quit my nursing job and enrolled into healer training I only had to do 2 years as I was half qualified. But I never moved back into the wizarding world, I rented a flat in muggle London rather than Diagon Alley. I wanted to be near the cinemas, the bars and the shops. Basically I became what my father and former friends dreaded – a witch who wanted to be a muggle.

"I completed my healer training and started at St Mungo's but the opposite happened, I grew bored of it. It was never really a challenge, obviously I was glad that fewer people died, but so many people knew potions that we were kind of obsolete. There were others than felt the same as I did and we approached the ministry and a division was started to look into ways that our healing could be used to help muggles but without their knowledge, we had the gift to save lives why couldn't we share it? Every life is worth the same whether it be magical or muggle. We did quite well, found ways to hide what we were doing and saved lives but then some ministry workers started to realise what we were doing and we were opposed, wizards from all over the country were complaining that we were wasting our talents on muggles, eventually the minster gave in and we were stopped."

"That's really not fair, you were saving lives"

"I know Harry, but this world isn't fair. I wish it wasn't true but it is. I left the ministry and vowed never to go back. My father had turned his back on me so I went back to the muggle world as it was always easier to fit in there. Got a job in a bar near my flat, made friends, fell in love with one of them. Eventually I had to tell him the truth and it was him who persuaded me to find a job I really wanted to do. I wanted the wizarding world to know how wrong their beliefs are.

"So I contacted my friends who I had worked at the ministry with and two of them still worked there and they commented that a few of the departments work closely with the muggle world like the office of misuse of muggle artefacts but had never stepped foot into the muggle world, now how could they do their job if they had no idea what that muggle item was? So an idea was born we opened a training school separate to the ministry to teach basic muggle studies to witches and wizards who had left school, obviously we didn't have exams but we taught basically the same but over 6 a shorter time as well. I never expected it to work but we had loads of people wanting to learn.

"After about a year I was invited by the Daily Prophet to do a weekly column on what muggles do for fun and just general stories about muggles. Again this went well until some witches and wizards took offence to their paper suddenly supporting muggles and after complaints were made against me and bribes used I was fired.

Around the same time Professor Dumbledore approached me and offered me the Muggle Studies job to replace Professor Quirrel as he was moving on to Defence Against The Dark Arts, he wanted someone who was passionate about muggles and would show that the two worlds though divided are in essence the same, we are all just people. I took it because I did want to teach the next generation this so they didn't grow up as bigoted as their parents but also because the person who protested the loudest to get me fired from the ministry and the Daily Prophet is on the board of Governors here and I really wanted to get back at him." Professor Burbage sighed deeply and looked out of the window.

"Do you miss it now?" Harry asked softly.

Professor Burbage was silent for a few moments

"Yes I miss my friends and my husband but everyone gets homesick. I miss my clothes, robes are so dull and impractical I prefer trousers. But most off all I miss the cinema, I love the cinema I will watch anything I loved Edward Scissorhands. I miss the bar near my flat, they have live bands every weekend , they even had Pulp and Blur before they became more well known. And the food, my husband sends me muggle snacks like wispas and malteasers but oh what I would do for some cherry coke or even lemonade I had forgotten how dull pumpkin juice can get. Sorry Harry you asked a simple question and I have bored you with my life story."

"I enjoyed it" Harry honestly had. Professor Burbage was the first adult to ever really talk to him like a friend, she had never gotten cross with him, yes she had been harsh when he first got here but he now understood it was just her way of being professional and taking charge. Harry was even beginning to enjoy his time in the hospital wing. She was like none of his other teachers, he doubted that Hogwarts had ever had a Professor like her in his history.

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"Well it's one way to pass the time, let me check your temperature again" Harry opened his mouth and held the thermometer under his tongue.

"37.8.c [100f] which is nearly back to normal but I'm going to keep you here until after dinner just to make sure. Then if it is still going down you have two options you can either escape to the Gryffindor tower but you must come back in the morning for a full check up. Or my preferred option you stay for one more night and you can go in the morning provided that all is well. I doubt Madam Pomfrey would give you a choice, but you've been so well behaved and listened to me rambling on and I know how much you want to leave, so the choice is yours."

Harry thought about it, being sick at Hogwarts was nothing like being sick at the Dursley's for the first time in his life Harry was being cared for properly and even though it meant potions he had enjoyed her kindness and her weird habits.

"I'll stay tonight, Neville snores and I'm really tired"

"Good choice Harry. Plus we can have porridge and chocolate spread for breakfast again."

They both smiled at the thought.

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Mischief Managed!

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"Professor Burbage taught the children of witches and wizards all about Muggles...... how they are not so different from us...." – Lord Voldemort, Deathly Hallows.

I never meant it to be this long but I got the idea of using Charity and before I knew it I had given her a longer back story than I ever anticipated, which did kind of lead me off track with the sick fic idea a little bit but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. I chose Charity Burbage as I honestly believe that if she was important enough for to have a death scene she is important enough to have fanfiction written about her, and I have always wondered what she was like since I first read Deathly Hallows. I also love any excuse to show Slytherin's in a nicer light, their true light in my opinion. Oh and of course a chance to show the Weasley twins causing chaos.

This is my first fanfic so I appreciate all comments and advice, if no one tells me what I have done wrong or I need to improve on I will never get it right. Any grammar mistakes can be blamed on the fact that I last did any creative writing at secondary school and let's just say that it was a few years ago.

Apologies to Healer Pomfrey for the pathetic use of the word snow, but I really could not think of another way to get it in.

Oh and just to add to what I said at the beginning I did not steal this story but if it does sound familiar then you may have attended school with me. Just to state my case again, was totally not my fault, I wanted to use buckets to move the fish and pond water, not plastic bags we all know who's idea that was and 3 weeks of detention was really unfair.

Thanks for reading,

Ella x

[Updated 25th October]