Her smile slowly melted into a frown, which Cedric saw right away.
"Maggie, what is it? Maggie?"
His voice grew more distant as his image grew more blurry. Maggie realized she'd fallen completely to the ground, unable to move her body any longer. She knew this would happen. Cobra venom targets the central nervous system, Maggie, she chided herself. First it had affected her vision and senses, now it had moved onto paralysis and soon it would be coma and respiratory failure if she was not given antivenom. All she wanted to do was hug Cedric and kiss him and tell him she was so sorry for getting in the way, for messing everything up, but all she could do was let her eyes fall closed.
"Maggie? Mags? MAGDALENE?" Cedric sat himself up fully, feeling the panic rise in him as he felt her neck for a pulse. She had just been holding him, smiling at him. Sure she had looked pretty banged up, but she had been very much alive.
"Please Mr. Diggory you must let me do my job," Poppy all but wailed, shoving the boy off. Amos pulled him up and off the ground, wrapping his arms around the lanky boy.
"Cedric I was so worried. I'm sorry for pressuring you into this, I'm so sorry," he cried, pressing his cheek against his sons. He kept apologizing over and over, but Cedric could not find it in his heart to listen. He wasn't angry at his father. No one could have predicted The Dark Lord's involvement. Cedric's eyes did not leave Maggie's form as she was levitated into the hospital tent.
Madame Pomfrey set to work immediately cleaning up the blood and pouring essence of dittany into the deeper wounds. The shallow wounds would heal on their own and with the help of the dittany, the deeper ones shouldn't scar. Poppy breathed a sigh of relief, but it caught in her throat as she cleaned off the young witch's shoulder.
"Albus," she beckoned the Headmaster over. "This is a snake bite, most likely venomous. It's shutting down her body, but I don't know what snake it was. I can't prepare an antiserum without knowing what is in the venom," She took a deep breath, attempting to stay calm. She had been trained for emergencies, but had never been this emotionally invested nor unprepared in a situation. Her love for this young girl ran deep. Although Maggie had two loving parents to care for her, being at Hogwarts was almost like living a second life. Poppy had helped through all of it and Poppy could not imagine losing the brave girl she had come to love.
Cedric finally broke away from his father and shoved past the teachers guarding the hospital tent from the throng of terrified onlookers, among which was Maggie's mother. Her red curls stood out as she fought against the crowd. She had been seated in the back of the stands, having only been at the tournament to support Maggie. Maggie had begged and begged her to visit throughout the year to meet the boy Cedric she so often spoke of. Well Mrs. Walsh (or Siobhan as she liked to be called) ad finally managed to clear a spot in her schedule to come visit. She planned on surprising Maggie, but instead wound up witnessing her daughter almost get killed. She was pulling her new husband, Jeffrey, along with her. Jeffrey (despite being a pureblood wizard) was a lawyer in the Muggle world and assured his wife that he would take action against the school and the ministry if her daughter did not make a perfect recovery. Neither of them refused to think of the possibility that she may not survive. As she fought her way down the stands, Cedric pleaded with Dumbledore.
"Please Professor Dumbledore! She saved my life. There must be something you can do to save hers. I'll do anything it takes," Cedric grasped onto Maggie's hands, eyes locked with the blue orbs that peeked over the half-moon spectacles.
"Mr. Diggory I'm afraid there's not much we can do. I have only one option and I'm not sure it will work, but of course we will try," he spoke kindly, but with no sugar coating. Momentarily he let out a loud whistle. The beads of sweat on Maggie's forehead glistened as her breaths became more and more shallow. The seconds passed like years, but not more than a minute later Fawkes descended into the tent. She settled herself on Cedric's shoulder, aiming a few tear drops directly onto the snake bite. Silence held among the group of tense visitors until the wound began to close and the color returned to the girl's cheeks. Poppy let out a sigh of relief and Cedric released her hand, stroking her hair livingly instead.
"So she'll be alright then?" Cedric asked, eyeing Dumbledore warily.
"She will live. Mr. Diggory, I highly advise you to be cautious. We don't know what young Magdalene endured tonight. She may be just fine, but she may also retain some emotional trauma. I know the Cruciatus Curse was used several times this evening, but I have no way of knowing what Barty Jr. may have used in their duel, nor what she may have used to fight him. Let her rest and recover before pushing her to return to the way things were," Madame Pomfrey advised as she made preparations to move Maggie to the infirmary. As Dumbledore began to leave the tent, he was shoved into by a small woman with a fire in her eyes.
"JUST WHAT KIND OF ESTABLISHMENT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE RUNNING HERE?" she shouted. A tall, burly man with neat brown hair and a suit and tie on followed behind her, taking a gentle hold of her shoulders, yet sending Dumbledore a threatening glance.
"I'm sorry Madame, but we'll have to take this business outside. This is a place of healing-
"LIKE HELL I'M LEAVING MY DAUGHER!"
"Siobhan, please, let the Headmaster explain himself," her husband pleaded softly, but a sharp look from her shut his mouth immediately.
"You must be Siobhan Walsh, Magdalene's mother," Madame Pomfrey interrupted the conversation, holding her hand out. "My name is Poppy Pomfrey. I'm the nurse here at school and have come to know your daughter well. Despite our attempts to restrict her, Magdalene ran into the maze tonight after the Champions. She knew it broke many rules, put in place for the safety of our students, but she was convinced that something was not right tonight. We are all fools to have doubted such a brilliant girl. She was not following a hunch, but a well thought out and researched hypothesis. She was right and we owe her and all our parents and students a great apology. We are very lucky that no one was greatly wounded or worse," at that she sombered and looked at the ground. Siobhan held back a sob, going to her daughter on the cot who rested peacefully.
"She will make a full recovery, medically speaking. We're not sure how she will feel emotionally when she wakes, but physically she is healing already and should be back to normal in a few days time," Poppy murmured softly, placing a comforting hand on the mother's shoulder.
Jeffrey took this time to pull Dumbledore outside of the tent and discuss the liability his school and the entire UK Ministry was in. Amos joined them to threated Dumbledore with a petition to have him removed as Headmaster. He had allowed this Tournament to take place and it almost cost both of them their children (to which Jeffrey corrected "step-daughter".)
"Excuse me, you're Maggie's mum?" Cedric approached the woman carefully. Red hair and green eyes aside, he would have known it was Mrs. Walsh by her temper and the way she shouted. It was the same way Maggie shouted when she was feeling particularly worked up. Her face would turn pink and her arms would flail. He found it adorable on Maggie, but absolutely terrifying on her mother. Siobhan sucked in a breath, having thought she was alone, before turning to observe the boy.
"You must be Cedric," she whispered, recognizing the hair that her daughter had so carefully described in her letters.
"How did you know?" Cedric rubbed a hand behind his neck, sending her a shy half-smile. Maggie's mother returned his grin full force.
"She writes to me almost daily and she's been writing about you all year. I think I'd recognize your tossled chestnut hair anywhere," she teased him, mocking her daughter's words. Cedric's face burned as he chuckled lightly.
"I care about your daughter very much. I'm so sorry there wasn't more I could do to protect her. I never expected her to run in the maze after me. I tried to tell her that I couldn't opt out of the competition. It's a bind created when you are selected by the cup, no breaking it-
"Cedric, it's alright. I don't blame you and I know my daughter doesn't either. You're just children. It's the school's responsibility to keep you safe and healthy. Look at you both, scratched up with memories no seventeen year old should experience," Siobhan chided the school, while trying to keep her temper cool around the young wizard.
"All due respect, Mrs. Walsh, we're not children. We'll be graduated in a month and Maggie and I fully intend to follow our passions. She believes they'll lead us to the United States when fall comes around. I've arranged for us to audition for an American university…Julliard I think? There are a surprising number of magical folk on the admissions board there, so I think we have a good shot of getting in," Cedric explained. Siobhan sighed, rolling her eyes as she twirled one of Maggie's curls in her fingers.
"Maggie always knew she wouldn't be around here long. I just never expected her to go through with it. I figured she wouldn't be able to go without someone else to go with. My ex-husband's over there, but he's never been that close with Maggie. She visits, but never spends any time with him. He's just busy and not very emotionally invested. I guess you can imagine why we didn't stay married," Mrs. Walsh rambled on. Cedric assumed it was because she was stressed and relieved at the same time and just looking for someone to talk to. Siobhan knew if she stopped talking, she would start crying, and she did not want to look weak in front of Dumbledore.
"Anyway I guess I should thank you for loving her enough to go with her. It's a huge move and I'm sure your father wasn't happy about it. I just know how miserable she'd be staying around here, and how miserable she would be going out there alone. This way, she won't be alone or stuck here," Siobhan gave Cedric a nod of gratitude before turning her full attention back toward her daughter, who now looked peaceful in her slumber, a small smile resting on her lips.
The next morning Maggie awoke in the familiar Infirmary. As she blinked slowly, she took in the white curtains and her end table, covered in beautiful flowers and a few cards. Her mother slept in a chair beside her. With a squeak of surprise, she woke her mother. She had gotten so wrapped up in the adventure and danger of this year, she'd forgotten what it was like to be with her mother.
"Oh my sweetheart!" her mother exclaimed, embracing her in a warm hug. As Maggie smelled her mum's jumper, her face lit with joy. She still smelled like warm milk and ginger snaps. It was a scent that always reminded Maggie of Christmas, her favorite holiday. Her mother smelled like Christmas all year round.
"Baby, I thought I'd never see you again. Don't you dare ever do anything stupid like that again! You're my smart daughter, remember?" her mother half-teased.
"I'm your only daughter," Maggie giggled, leaning her head against her mother's shoulder. Despite some overall soreness and a sharp pain in her shoulder, Maggie felt fine and wondered how long they would keep her.
"Now about this boy I'm supposed to approve of?" a sneaky smile slid onto Siobhan's face. Maggie panicked, her brows knotting up in worry.
"Cedric? Is he alright, where is he?" she moved to get out of bed, but Poppy appeared and gently pushed her back down.
"Magdalene please! Stay in bed. You've undergone so much and you're still healing. You must rest here for at least one more night. Cedric is fine. He's having breakfast with his father after we practically forced him to go clean up and eat something before returning. He should be back any moment, probably chomping at the bit to return to your side," Poppy smiled. She didn't need a grand reunion with Maggie. Maggie gave her a strong hug before nodding her agreement and settling back into the bed.
"Anyway…I think he is a kind young man. I hope you know how dangerous it is to plan a life with someone so young, though," a touch of worry met Siobhan's eyes as she took her daughter's hand gently. "Learn from my mistakes, eh love?"
"Of course Mum," Maggie nodded, relaxing back into her pillow as the curtains parted to reveal a freshly showered, but anxious Cedric. His eyes scanned the bed quickly, finding Maggie's and locking on. Once again, brown met emerald and his face lit up like a child on Christmas morning.
"Oh Maggie! Thank god you're alright," he rushed to the chair on the other side of her bed, taking one hand in both of his and placing a kiss on it gently.
"Didn't think you could get rid of me that easy, did ya?" Maggie smiled back, leaning forward to place a kiss on his lips instead. His grin widened, scooting closer to her and leaning his forehead against her.
"Don't scare me like that again!" he whispered fiercely.
"Did you talk to my mother? She said the exact same thing!"
"I promise Cedric. But you have to promise the same. I thought I lost you back there," she whispered. He nodded wordlessly and kissed her firmly once more, to remind himself that she was there. Siobhan had excused herself to give the two a private reunion, but their comfortable silence didn't last long as Amos wandered into the area.
"Young Maggie…there are no words to express my gratitude to you. You single handedly saved my boy's life," he placed a hand on her shoulder, taking the seat that her mother had previously occupied.
"No words needed, sir. I would do it over again even knowing the consequences. I couldn't live without him," she told him solemnly.
"There will be no again," Amos said firmly. "Your step father and I have made certain that the Tri-Wizard Tournament is forever banned from this jurisdiction. We could not control the other schools, but urged their parents to follow suit. No students will be put in this level of danger again. School is a place for learning, not fighting for your life."
"Thank you, Mr. Diggory," Maggie smiled gratefully.
"None of this formal nonsense!" Amos waved his arms dismissively. "Please call me Dad." Maggie froze, looking back and forth between Cedric and his father. Cedric looked shocked, but after a moment to compose himself, smiled widely at his father. With that, Maggie grinned as well.
"Thank you, Dad."
"I will be proud to call you my daughter in-law," he pressed a kiss to her cheek before leaving the two young adults alone.
"So you told him about New York?"
"Yes," Cedric confirmed, tracing circles around the back of Maggie's hand with his thumb. "And Maggie?"
"Your Julliard audition is in 2 weeks. The day after mine. After that we'll have to wait a few weeks to hear whether we were accepted or not, and then we can move forward," Cedric told her. He watched the delight travel from her mouth to her eyes.
"You arranged all that?!" she exclaimed.
"It was supposed to be a graduation gift, but I decided that I don't like secrets, even if they're meant to be pleasant surprises."
"Thank you," Maggie murmured. "And you're right. No more secrets and no more silence," she vowed. Her silence had been filled by his music and continued to be forevermore.
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