Cedric Diggory was many things. He was loved by his parents. He was popular. He was a good student. He followed rules. But Cedric Diggory had never been exceptionally observant. This he knew, and so he made up for it by trying to befriending some of the most observant and intelligent people he could. But his father had other plans. Cedric ended up being mates with some of the most ignorant and spoiled boys at Hogwarts. He was friends with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws alike, but sometimes he felt more like a Gryffindor. He would never tell his father that.
Amos Diggory was proud of his son. Good grades at Hogwarts, surrounded by friends and praised by teachers; yes, Cedric Diggory was the 'it' boy. But what Amos failed to realize that Cedric only did these things and acted this way to please his father. Truly, he would rather be more of a musician. The piano was his passion, though he enjoyed many musical styles. He played secretly in the Room of Requirement, ever since he'd discovered it in his third year. He always remembered the day…
With a sigh, he left the Hufflepuff common room. His friends were being idiots, as usual, and he had no desire to deal with their behavior. He wandered up to the third floor, and paced an empty corridor a few times, thinking about how much he desired a space to be alone and be himself. He was startled to look up and find a door where there most certainly hadn't been before. He glanced up and down the hallway quickly before dashing into the room, grateful for its presence. Inside he found a large room, lined with mirrors and horizontal, wooden bars. He blinked. It was a dance studio. Why would there be a dance studio here? For a moment, he thought he heard a small sneeze. He spun his head wildly, panicking that he was not alone. But after five silent minutes, he accepted that he was indeed alone in this strange room.
It was then that he noticed the black, grand piano sitting in the corner. Cedric had never played an instrument before, but as he observed the massive object, he found himself drawn to it. He sat down gingerly and placed his hands on the smooth, ivory keys. He pressed a few down, ever so lightly, as a strange, new warmth filled his entire body. A smile spread involuntarily on his face as he mimicked the few pianists he had seen in his lifetime. He winced as the sounds he produced became less than desirable. But before he left that day, he vowed to learn more and return.
And Cedric had kept that promise. Four years later, in his seventh year, he was an excellent pianist. He was self taught and only played during the school year, because he was afraid of disappointing his father by admitting he did not want to be a Ministry employee when he graduated. Though the odd thing he noticed about the room was that eventually, the dance studio became smaller and smaller, as if the room was closing in on him. Finally, when there was just enough room to comfortably fit the piano and himself, the room stopped shrinking. Cedric didn't think much of it. At some point, he had asked Professor Dumbledore why the castle had been built with a dance studio. The Professor had been confused and agreed to meet him at the room. When he saw the door, Albus Dumbledore smiled.
"You are one of the lucky few, Mr. Diggory, to have discovered the Room of Requirement. It is a secret room that presents itself to anyone in need of it. It becomes whatever it needs to be. I stumbled across it once when I was in desperate need of a restroom and couldn't seem to find one," he explained. Cedric shook his head firmly.
"But sir," he interrupted. "I don't dance. I don't use the room to dance. I use it to play the piano," he blushed only slightly.
"Then perhaps, my dear boy, you are unknowingly sharing the space with someone else," he winked and walked back down the hall, leaving a very mystified and slightly spooked Cedric behind. He continued to listen quietly and search for a second person each time he entered the room, but all he ever caught was the sound of a small sob or a sharp intake of breath. Eventually he dismissed the thought, assuming the room must be host to a saddened and shy ghost.
But Cedric was wrong. He was sharing the room. In fact, he had invaded the room that had been used since his first year, by a quiet Ravenclaw. Magdalene Walsh had never been good at communicating with her peers, or people in general. She never spoke in class, and it even got to the point where most teachers believed her to be a mute. She was brilliant in her own silent way, but her lack of communication skills worried her parents from the very beginning. So they sent her off to ballet class at two years old, hoping to spark her interest and get her to form friendships. They were partially successful. Maggie, as most called her, became fascinated with anything and everything ballet. She had natural talent and soaked up knowledge and critique like a sponge.
When her parents had given her the letter from Hogwarts on her eleventh birthday, she had burst into tears. Confused, they had asked her what the problem was. She had somberly replied that she did not want to quit ballet for magic. They laughed and promised that she would not have to. And so on the second day of school, before classes had commenced, the young red-headed witch clutched her precious dance bag to her chest and began to wander the halls. It was that day that she had stumbled upon her own private dance studio: The Room of Requirement. For three years, she had the room all to herself. Each day, she would dutifully practice her dancing for at least an hour, working on homework at the same time. She would charm her quill to write what she dictated as she danced around.
On a particularly challenging homework day during her third year, Maggie sat down in the corner of the room, near the portrait of Mikhail Baryshnikov. She needed to focus on her Astronomy assignment for just a few minutes. Suddenly, a male figure burst into the room and looked around. Maggie froze, thinking she would be in trouble for using the room. But she recognized the boy as a boy from her own class; a Hufflepuff named Cedric Diggory. How he found her room or why he was there, she could only speculate. She prayed for a way out and suddenly noticed the small gap between the portrait and the wall. She opened it and thankfully, the portrait was silent. As she settled herself into the small room behind the portrait, she sneezed from all the dust. The portrait worked like a one way mirror. She could see Cedric, but he could not see her. Smiling to herself, she began to work once more on her homework.
"Thank you, Room," she whispered quietly.
And so began her daily routine. She began to know a part of Cedric Diggory that no one else knew. Almost every day, especially days off, he would come into the room about an hour and a half before curfew and play for an hour. Maggie enjoyed his playing immensely. She enjoyed listening to him improve. And sometimes she liked to pretend that they were friends. Eventually, the room adjusted to the two sharing in private, her side room (behind the portrait) became larger and had more room to dance, with mirrors on three of the walls. The fourth wall remained a one-way window into the main room. And the room Cedric played in became smaller. Maggie danced as Cedric played. But only Maggie knew.
So in their seventh year, Maggie knew she had to do something, say something to him. It was their final year at Hogwarts and Maggie had already been invited to audition for several ballets in Europe, though she was hoping to star in an American ballet company. Her parents were divorced, and had been since she was twelve. Her father stayed in Ireland, where she was from, though her mother moved to New York. Maggie liked the thought of being a Prima Ballerina in the American Ballet Theatre. And she knew, from what she heard around school that Cedric would be working at the Ministry of Magic. She was about to lose her only friend, and he didn't even know she existed.
"Cedric! Nice to see you mate, how was your holiday?" James, one of his closest classmates, clapped him on the back and sat next to him in the compartment.
"It was fine, and yours?" Cedric replied politely. In reality, his holiday had NOT been fine. He had tried to bring the subject of music up to his father, who had not taken it well. He had been grounded the majority of the summer for even trying to 'destroy' the plan. The only time his father had lightened up was when they attended the Quidditch World Cup, purely so that he could brag about Cedric to the Weasley family and anyone else who would listen. Cedric was annoyed at his father's behavior. And the Quidditch World Cup, though he got to briefly meet Harry Potter, was a disaster in its own. He was horrified at the treatment of the muggles, but he wouldn't say anything. It was not his place. Let Harry Potter or Arthur Weasley stand for the muggles. Cedric knew he was a Hufflepuff because of his lack of bravery to stand for what he thought was wrong. And he had accepted that.
"Alright, I suppose. Broke it off with Kelly, though. Turns out, she was horrible at snogging," he sneered in disgust and kept chattering away until a few other boys clamored into the compartment. They all exchanged generic greetings and began chatting wildly to each other about their final year at Hogwarts.
A small cough interrupted their chatter as they all looked up into a pair of deep green eyes, the color of emeralds. Suddenly, Magdalene lost all her courage. Her already pink face blushed violently red and her red curls bounced as she ran away. She had almost spoken to him, until he had given her that look of utter confusion. She scolded herself mentally for even trying before finding an empty compartment to sit in. She had nowhere else to go.
"Mental that one is," a fellow Hufflepuff named Henry chimed in.
"I'm sorry?" Cedric choked on his water.
"Magdalene Walsh. We've been in classes with her since first year and she's never spoken a word. Ever. I heard she's mute," James shrugged.
"I think she's just full of herself," Henry snorted.
"I think she's hot," Greg grinned.
"That's disgusting, Greg. You can't like a mental girl," James retorted. Cedric rolled his eyes and got up, muttering something about his Prefect duties.
"What's got his panties in a twist?" Henry glared at Cedric's retreating form.
Cedric ignored him and continued to the Prefects car, where he collected his new badge and met with the other Prefects for a quick meeting. He was assigned to the back of the train, making sure everyone was in compliance and reminding people to dress for the banquet. He started at the very back, running across Potter and his friends. He smiled politely, doing his job and moving on. In the very first compartment of the last car, he saw a bundle of robes, shaking lightly and facing the windows. Concerned, he let himself in the car. A face popped up out of the black robes, alarmed.
"Are you alright, miss?" he asked, sitting down across from her as he slid the door shut. The emerald eyes widened in return, as her mouth formed a perfect "o". He recognized the vibrant red hair and green eyes. This was the girl that had just approached their compartment. What had her name been? Magdalene. That was it.
"Magdalene?" he asked with a gentle smile. She nodded slightly, paralyzed with fear. "Do you mind if I sit here?" he gestured to the seat he had already taken. He could see very plainly that she wasn't going to speak. Whether or not she could, he didn't know, but he wanted to offer her comfort the only way he knew how: with kindness and companionship.
Ever-so-slowly, she shook her head and he sighed pleasantly, relaxing. His prefect duties were over with anyhow and he did not feel like returning to his friends. The ride was silent, but in a comfortable way. Maggie read a book as Cedric simply stared out the window or dozed off. Finally, nearing the end of the journey, Maggie looked up. Cedric smiled in return. He peaked at her book: Ballet through the Years.
"Ballet, huh?" he grinned, thinking immediately of the dance studio but not making any connections. "I bet you make a wicked dancer," he commented. She blushed violently, though he did not miss the sparkle in her eyes at the mention of ballet. The train came to a stop.
"Well, I better go get my things. Maybe I'll see you at the Welcome Back Feast… or in class, who knows?" he gave a slight wave as he stood to leave. Realizing it was now or never, Maggie placed a small hand on his shoulder. She searched for words as he turned expectantly. She didn't use them often, but she wanted to use them right.
"Why?" she choked out. She did a mental face-palm. She was sure he wouldn't even understand what she meant; not to mention he would think she was an idiot. But Cedric surprised her. He smiled and shrugged.