Chapter 6

"Cedric you have to do something to stop those buttons," Maggie insisted as she stretched her legs and Cedric sat at the piano, playing soft warm-ups.

"They're just buttons Magdalene; they're not hurting anyone," he groaned. It wasn't that he hated Potter, but he was already shaky with his friends. He wasn't about to stand up for him.

"It's not fair to Harry! He didn't ask to be sabotaged. Does winning mean that much to you?" she stood, stretching her arms in a forceful, agitated manner.

"How do you know it was sabotage?" Cedric muttered. Maggie's face reddened and her eyes narrowed to slits.

"Cedric Diggory you are just as bad as your moronic mates," she glared.

"That's not true, Maggie. You don't know anything about my mates!" Cedric defended with a frown. He didn't want to fight with her, but he didn't want to fight with his friends either. He was torn, but he could hear his father's critical tone in his head, praising his friends.

"Whose fault is that? You've never introduced me! You're either ashamed of them or you're ashamed of me," the redhead fired back in retaliation.

"Well they don't understand you. The things they say…it would only hurt your feelings," he said gently, regretting each excuse as it passed through his lips. The comments from that first night on the train echoed in his ear. Mental…snobby…mute…

"I don't need protecting, Cedric Phillip Diggory!" she said coldly.

"I know that, Mags, but-

"Don't you 'Mags' me!" she shouted. "UGH, you are so infuriating!" she stomped her foot and fled the room, fully clothed in ballet attire. She muttered a spell to replace her clothes with her robes as she stormed down the corridors, contemplating where to go. She could find haven in the common room to study, but ever since that night with Amy and her 'gang', she hadn't wandered near any place where Ravenclaws congregated. That also ruled out the library. Suddenly, the idea came to her. There was a friend she hadn't seen in quite some time that could use a visit.

As Maggie rounded the corner to the hospital wing she brushed past none other than Harry Potter. He looked down at her, which was quite pathetic considering he was a fourth year not known for his height. Still his eyes were only slightly above hers as he smiled politely and turned to pass her. She wanted to say something, be supportive. She wanted to tell him that she knew what it felt like to hear the whispers and receive the glares. She even knew what it was like to be slapped in the face. But the words didn't sound right and didn't come to her mouth as they did with Cedric or Poppy. Instead, she gave him a kind smile and a soft squeeze on the arm.

As Harry left the corridor he glanced back at the small form leaving. He was extremely confused by the encounter with the Ravenclaw girl he'd never met before, but somehow he felt comforted by her actions. He thought he recalled seeing her with Cedric before, but she was pretty. Cedric couldn't have both her and Cho… that wasn't fair to the rest of the male population of Hogwarts. But then again, there were rumors that Cho would soon be going stead with Viktor Krum. Harry just couldn't catch a girl…

Poppy hustled out of her office as she headed to take care of whatever student had just walked through the door. It had been a relatively slow day, a miracle indeed, but she wasn't about to start slacking. As the doorway came into view, though, she slowed down and placed hands on her hips and gave a smug smile to her favorite student.

"Well, well Ms. Walsh. We've been a busy body, haven't we?" she laughed as Maggie came to sit in her office with her. She charmed some tea to make itself as she waited for Maggie to debrief, as she always did.

"I'm so sorry Poppy," Maggie bit her lip as they got settled. "I have no excuses for you," Maggie sighed and Poppy waved her hand dismissively. "I've been spending every moment rehearsing in the Room of Requirement… with Cedric," she admitted. "You see, the room sort of forced me into him and we started talking and practicing together and then after he got selected champion, he asked me to go steady with him so I said yes," she smiled.

"And you speak to him?" Poppy clarified.

"Oh yes, constantly," Maggie laughed.

"Well that makes more sense. Get that worried look of your face, girl, do you think I'm going to be upset that you are making more friends?"

"Honestly? I did think that," Magdalene's face lit in a blush almost as red as her bouncing curls.

"You silly girl! All I've ever wanted is for you to open up. I want the world to know about the beautiful young woman I have come to know and love," Poppy laughed lightly as she watched the small girl before her. She had grown from a trembling, twig-like first year into a lovely young woman with a fair face and a body shape that most women envied. She wasn't a little girl anymore. Poppy stalled tears that threatened to spill over her eyes at the thought that in a few short months, the girl before her would leave the halls of Hogwarts forever to begin her life, outside of school. Perhaps she would start a family with this Diggory boy, or perhaps she would find a new boy who captured her envied affections. Either way, Poppy knew she would be dancing in a spotlight for the next decade of her lifetime. Magdalene would do anything she set her mind to.

"Oh Poppy, I know. It's just that, ever since Cedric came along, I've been completely obsessed with spending time with him. I think we've just about had enough of each other. I don't want to fight with him, but he doesn't understand. Poppy, he won't stand up for Harry! Those horrible buttons that are around school saying 'Potter Stinks!' and such, it's just awful! But he won't do anything about it because he's too scared to stand up to his own friends," the word seethed out of Maggie's lips with absolute disgust. She simply couldn't understand how such horrid boys could have befriended a person as caring and wholesome as Cedric.

"Maggie, dear, I think it's time for you to do a little understanding of your own," Poppy said quietly, observing the creases on the redhead's forehead, as her eyes furrowed in confusion.

"You say you are upset with Cedric, for not understand you. But you are refusing to understand him. Surely there must be a reason for Cedric's undying loyalty to his friends. Remember, that he was sorted into Hufflepuff for a reason," the older woman stated wisely. Maggie pursed her lips in thought and was silent for a few peaceful moments. After that, their conversation continued on as it normally would. Maggie chatted with Poppy for a good hour before the latter was called to work by a fourth year Gryffindor named Seamus, who seemed to have blown something up. Maggie departed with a smile and a wave as she made her way toward the common room. The chat with Poppy seemed to have all thoughts of bullies out of her mind. She had purposely thrown it in the back of her mind so as not to bring it up with the adult. And now as she navigated the halls toward the Ravenclaw tower, Amy found an opportunity she simply couldn't pass up. She was alone in the hall, reading a book on her way to class when she saw a familiar head of red hair approaching. Though she didn't have the rest of her 'gang' with her, she knew just what to say to put Magdalene Walsh back into her invisible place.

"Hello Magdalene," she said utterly sweetly, falling in to step. The redhead, who had been completely absorbed in her thoughts, glared up before quickening her pace. Amy had quickly realized that physical bullying would not be affective. She hadn't intended to slap Magdalene the first time, it was just frustrating that she wouldn't speak or cry at least. However, the frail girl was a lot stronger than she appeared so Amy had rethought her tactics and created a new plan.

"I was just wondering if you'd seen Cedric around," she said. She observed as Maggie faltered in step, just slightly before hardening her glare once more and continuing on.

"I'll take that as a no. I was just looking for him because he seems to have left something with Cho from last year," Amy said her words slowly, watching how the words affected her. "Oh didn't you know, Magdalene? Cho and Cedric had a bit of a fling last year. Of course, she doesn't fancy him much anymore, but they use to snog all the time," she lied with her most convincing tone. It wasn't a complete lie, in fact. On a Hogwarts visit once the previous year, Cedric and Cho had shared one, timid kiss. It was something neither enjoyed very much, though they didn't dislike it either. It was that kiss that made Cedric unsure of going steady with Cho Chang. He hadn't enjoyed the slobbering minute they'd spent together and despite all her alluring qualities, he hadn't felt the same about her since.

"Let me know if you see him!" Amy trilled before walking away. Her work was done. She had planted the seed and now she just had to wait until it bothered the girl enough that she left Cedric alone for good.

Maggie watched her form retreat. Could her words be true? Had Cedric been attracted to Cho? Was he still pining over her? If he

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