The castle was buzzing with excitement. The week was almost over and so far, the Goblet had five names to choose from: two girls from Beauxbaton named Fleur Delacour and Mina Bordeaux, two Durmstrang boys named Viktor Krum and Pavel Baratoff, and Cedric Diggory. No other Hogwarts students had the desire to compete against Viktor Krum; he was idol to so many. Maggie was on pins and needles the entire week. She was so distracted that she couldn't perform a triple pirouette which was usually very simple for her. With her face contorted in determination, she tried again.
"Maggie, you're spinning your body on the tip of your toe. Isn't twice around impressive enough?" Cedric groaned, playing the same turning music again. Stubbornly, the little redhead ignored him and continued to try. Finally, without succeeding, Maggie stopped.
"I'm sorry Ced. I'm just so frustrated right now. I finally have the best guy in the world and tomorrow everyone is going to carry you off and sing 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow'" she rolled her eyes, sitting next to him on the piano bench.
"And I will drag you along with me," Cedric laughed, wrapping his arms around his beautiful girlfriend.
"Alright, I get the point," she laughed, putting her head on his shoulder as he played one of her melodies softly.
"You are so talented," she murmured, admiring his hands as they traveled up and down the piano.
"As are you, Ms. Walsh," he replied with a smirk and Maggie sighed contentedly.
"Why thank you Mr. Diggory," she patted his head as she stood up and dug through her schoolbag.
"Please don't take out what I think you're taking out," Cedric winced.
"Come on Cedric! I'm a Ravenclaw. I have to do my homework at some point!" she pouted, pulling out a few books and various quills.
"Yes, I understand, but as a Hufflepuff, I know that the smart thing to do is sometimes relax," Cedric stood up, attempting to seal her bag with magic, but Maggie had thought ahead and already cast a protective shield around it.
"Professor Snape will have your head on a platter if you don't do your work. Professor McGonagall will give you that absolutely stern and disappointed look, how could you stand that? Professor Flitwick would stand on his pile of books and look down at you the entire class, glaring. Professor Sprout would make sure you got the naughtiest plant in class the next day. Professor Moody would absolutely put a curse on you…why on Earth would you risk it?" she stared at him in disbelief as he continued to smirk.
"It's Friday, Magdalene. No work is due until Monday," he rolled his eyes, putting his hands on both of her arms and leading her back to their loveseat (an added addition to the room, as they both seemed to be distracted from the dance floor often).
"There's nothing wrong with getting a head start," Maggie blushed.
"That would be like me preparing for a task when I haven't even been chosen as the Champion yet," Cedric pointed out.
"Speaking of that, I've been thinking-
"Maggie," Cedric looked at her, putting a finger on her lips. She blushed profusely in return and nodded, vowing to keep her worries to herself.
"Good, how about we travel down to the Great Hall for dinner, then?" Maggie nodded in response and the pair traveled down to dinner, but when they reached the Great Hall, they were not alone. Amy, Micia, Christine, Greg, Henry and James followed silently behind, plotting their plan. The plan was going into action the following day. Micia was uncertain, but Christine would do anything to keep Greg in a good mood. Amy was the master mind and Henry was all for it. James just wanted his friend back. The plan was simple: separate the two of them and convince Cedric that Magdalene would make his father hate him and bully silent Magdalene to seal her lips for good.
"Amy, I'm just not sure this plan is the best idea you've had," Micia bit her lip as she pushed the food aimlessly around her plate. She saw Cedric and Maggie smiling at each other and holding hands under the table across the room. They sat at the Hufflepuff table while she and her friends huddled at the Ravenclaw table. The two of them looked so happy and Micia even swore she saw Maggie's lips moving. If they were happy and Cho wasn't crying her eyes out, why shouldn't they be together?
"Micia, I've already told you. Cho is just hiding her pain, she's actually incredibly torn up about this and as her good friends, we can't let some other girl steal her boyfriend," Amy rolled her eyes at the ditzy blonde.
"But Cedric was never going steady with Cho," James frowned. He didn't really like the sound of the plan either. It felt like they were taking advantage of Cedric's only weakness, something good friends wouldn't do to each other. Plus, Cedric was a smart boy and Maggie was an exceptionally brilliant girl. It wouldn't be hard for the two of them to figure out the plan and the players… and then James would lose his friendship for good.
"It doesn't matter," Amy snapped, and both the protesters quickly shut their mouths. It was better, they found, to remain on Amy's good side than to be on her bad side.
After dinner was over, Maggie and Cedric headed to the Ravenclaw tower as usual, but Cedric soon realized that he'd forgotten his bag in the Great Hall. With a smile and a soft embrace, the two separated for the first time in weeks. And that was exactly how they were found by Amy and her clan.
"Hello Magdalene," Amy tapped the girl on the shoulder as she walked up the staircase to the Ravenclaw Common Room. The Common Room itself would be too crowded with students, but the corridors were practically deserted. Maggie smiled. Amy was not one of her favorite people, but she was in a good mood.
"DID YOU HEAR ME?" Amy pronounced her words slowly and mockingly and Maggie frowned before nodding and continuing to walk.
"Then answer me," Amy said darkly, standing in front of Maggie and placing her hand on her collarbone.
"You heard her, mute, answer her," Christine glared, gripping Maggie's arm rather tightly. Micia bit her lip, but didn't show weakness. She also grabbed Maggie's other arm, though not anywhere near as tightly. Maggie glanced at them both nervously, before gaining a little bit of courage and ripping herself out of their grip.
Be the bigger person Magdalene, she chided to herself. Following her own good advice, she walked forward. The Ravenclaw girls displayed an incredibly Slytherin quality as they followed her, once again stepping in her path.
"No no, Magdalene. You see, it's simply not alright that you are teasing Cedric around. Cho… yes Cho would be a fantastic girlfriend for Cedric. But you, you little piece of nothing, you are just a fly on his radar. He pities you, you know? What do you think is going to happen, huh?" At this point, Amy had cornered Maggie at the edge of the hallway. Stuck wedged in the corner, there were three obstacles in Maggie's way and when she fled to her dormitory, the only place she would be safe was the Common Room or the bathroom.
In her head, she pictured a vision where she pushed all three girls aside and maybe even did a gran pas de basque that landed right in their faces. But in reality, all she did was cower and hide her eyes from them. She didn't look and she didn't speak. Perhaps they would get bored and walk away.
"When you're asked a question, you answer," Christine hissed, grabbing her face and forcing her face to point to them. Maggie's eyes stayed on the carpet, though her face was being held by Christine. The girls weren't all that strong, so it didn't physically hurt Maggie as much as it hurt her pride to stand there and be bullied because she could not tell them to stop and she could not pull herself away. If she wanted to, she probably could have overpowered the girls. She was strong, in all the right places for a ballerina, because she'd spent her whole life conditioning. But something about their words was eating at her. They were completely right. Cedric didn't see her the same way she saw him. How could he? Granted, she'd allowed him into the deepest part of herself and he had done the same for her. But was it all out of pity? Magdalene thought that was the most viable option and she clenched her jaw as a tear threatened to spill out of her eye.
"Bloody hell, I said answer me!" Amy shrieked, at a whisper level of course, and when she received no answer, she swung her palm across Magdalene's cheek.
Maggie brought her eyes up to stare at them in fury and shock. Finally, she gathered up a small amount of courage and shoved past them, walking all the way down the hallway and murmuring the answer to the riddle at the secret entrance before collapsing into a chair that faced the gigantic fireplace. The chair was big enough to hide her crumpled form from any curious onlookers and her tears were silent, just like her life.
Meanwhile in the Hufflepuff Common Room Cedric was being surrounded by all three of his mates, badgering him about how nice Cho had looked at dinner. He didn't respond well to their plans… in fact, he glared at them and announced he was going to bed early. With a sigh, Henry plopped onto the couch.
"I hope the girls had better luck with Magdalene, because Cedric is too stubborn… he's not going to listen to us until she starts pulling away," he said thoughtfully while the others nodded.
"Do you reckon it'll be easier after he's announced champion tomorrow?" Greg asked doubtfully.
"I'm sure it will," Henry replied, clapping him on the back.
Maggie was strangely quiet the next morning. It was a different kind of silence than Cedric was used to from his girlfriend. It was tense, nervous and secretive…he might even assume that it was a frightened silence. Cedric realized this, and he didn't like it one bit.
"I think our room could use a bit of use today, yeah?" he grinned, trying to ease the tension. He offered her his arm and she took it gratefully, willing to push all her worries down and forget about them.
They worked together for hours, working on their pieces for the following year, easing the tension slowly and helping forget what was to come that evening. Maggie had chosen to audition for the American Ballet Theater in New York City, while Cedric was auditioning to be admitted into Julliard University, the most prestigious music school in the United States. He was auditioning with his own compositions. Maggie had chosen three incredibly difficult classical variations as well as an original, contemporary ballet variation to Cedric's music.
She worked for a straight four hours until she allowed Cedric to practice his own pieces. She worked harder than she'd ever worked before because the second she stepped onto that floor, it was time for ballet. It was time for art. She forgot all thoughts of catty girls or dangerous tournaments. When she danced, all she saw was the beauty, the expression. And she heard the music that was so sweet.
After a simple afternoon in the Room of Requirement, Cedric led Maggie down to the fateful, foreboding Hall that awaited them.
"Dear Students! The time has come for the Goblet to choose our three champions. We ask that after the Champion is selected, he or she please enter this side room for information on the first task," Professor Dumbledore answered, a smile glowing on his face. The fire turned green and a slip of paper shot out of the Goblet.
"The Champion for Beauxbaton School of Magic is Miss Fleur Delacour!" he read as he tucked the paper away in his robes and the Goblet spurted another slip of paper.
"The Champion for Durmstrang Academy is Mr. Viktor Krum!" the entire male population in the room lit up with applause and cheers as Viktor Krum, the boy Maggie recognized from that first night at dinner, stood and made his way to the side room.
"And finally, the Champion for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is Cedric Diggory!" the majority of the seventh and sixth years, even a few of the younger students, began cheering wildly. A wave of relief washed over Cedric, though his eyes swept past his cheering classmates to find the one pair of eyes knit in worry. To his surprise, Maggie's features were arranged in a smile and her hands were clapping wildly. He could tell there was an air of worry hidden behind that, but it meant the world to him that the girl he loved supported him. As he entered the room, a troubled voice shouted against the chatter.
"LOOK AT THE GOBLET!" it shouted, just as another piece of paper shot out of the Goblet's fire.
"Harry Potter…." Professor Dumbledore read in an extremely troubled, solemn tone. As was often the case when situations involved Harry Potter, the entire Great Hall became dead silent while waiting for Professor Dumbledore's judgment. However, none came. His face was a mask as usual, though it was frozen in a mask of utter disappointment and confusion. Harry was shoved up and people began booing as he slowly made his way to the front of the hall, eyes downcast and face red (whether in anger or embarrassment, Maggie couldn't say).
Her eyes tracked him across the room, troubled by the look of shock on his face. Surely, he had to have entered his name into the cup? It didn't make sense as the wheels of her brain began to turn. She was confident that no one could surpass the age line that Professor Dumbledore had created, not even Harry Potter. He was only a fourth year student, no matter how much raw power he had. It took knowledge and skill to perform advanced magic that would be required to trick Professor Dumbledore's spell. The man hadn't earned his reputation by being a charming humanitarian; he had some serious magical skills. And yet, Harry's name had ended up in the cup and had been chosen after all three Champions—the predetermined number—had been chosen. The Cup, from the extensive research Maggie had done, was an ancient magical artifact that had incredibly strong magic. It would have taken someone cunning and skilled to trick it. The only logical explanation was than a third party was involved in the exchange. Yes, that was it; Maggie realized that a very skilled and mature wizard or witch must be involved. He or she must have entered Harry's name into the cup under a fake school. To Maggie, it was evidently only a matter of who and why.
At the same time, Cedric tried very hard to hold his temper as he listened to Mr. Crouch, Professor Dumbledore and the other adults bicker over the rules and Potter's involvement. He wanted to punch Potter in the face. The little twerp was meddling where he didn't belong. Cedric needed to win the tournament, his father's approval was depending on it. For a moment, though, he watched Harry quiver with nervousness. The look on his face was not of smugness or confidence—many seventh years believed him to be a snarky little arse—in fact, the look on his face was that of pure terror and absolute confusion. How was a fourth year going to survive in this competition that even trained seventh years had been killed in? His mind flickered to Maggie…her small form would have been made up for by her magical strength and massive intelligence, but Harry Potter had proved to be just average at everything except Quidditch. Cedric could practically hear Maggie chastising him for not supporting Harry. "You're a Hufflepuff, where's your famous tolerance?" she would lecture with an annoyed huff. And then Cedric would sigh and agree with her.
"Professor," he interrupted and the adults snapped their heads toward him in obvious annoyance. "We can't reverse whatever happened so can we please continue with the rules and head to bed?" he suggested, as politely as possible. Viktor Krum grunted in agreement and Fleur Delacour waved her hand dismissively.
"Yes well the first task could be anything, so please prepare accordingly. Do some reading on the history of the tournament and practice a range of protective and offensive charms and spells to use. On the day of the task you will have your wand weighed by Mr. Ollivander so don't tamper with it. It will be your only tool so treat it wisely. Above all, students, compete with honor and courage. Represent your own school with integrity and intelligence," Ludo Bagman instructed. All four champions nodded and began to make their way out. Cedric felt a gentle tap on his shoulder and he turned, looking down at Harry Potter, the famous boy-who-lived.
"Listen, Cedric, I really didn't put my name in that cup and thank you for making them stop arguing," he murmured.
"Don't worry about it…" Cedric said. "You don't stand a chance anyway," he teased rather smugly. As Cedric exited the now deserted Great Hall, he saw his girl sitting on the steps, waiting patiently as she tapped her feet.
"Congratulations," she smiled, rushing into his open arms. He murmured his thanks. "And I know you didn't harass Harry," she said in a warning tone Cedric smiled before he was interrupted by a deep voice.
"So you do speak," Viktor Krum said, with a hint of a smile on his face. Maggie blushed and nodded. Cedric wrapped his arm around her partially for reassurance and partially to make it clear that Maggie was his, though Maggie clearly didn't mind the slight possessiveness. Now if he began glaring at every male as they passed through the halls, then Maggie would say something. "Hey relax, champ, just wanted to wish you good luck. You're going to need it," he winked at Cedric before walking away. Maggie let out a burst of uncontrollable laughter which Cedric joined in as they turned to head for the stairs.
"You two had better be getting back to your dormitories before curfew," Professor Dumbledore smiled as he walked past them, giving Maggie a knowing look. The pair nodded before the giggles set in once more and they hurried to their respective dorms before getting caught a third time.