It was an hour later when Cedric finally dashed into the Room of Requirement. Maggie didn't notice him at first, as she was perched delicately on pointe, on only one foot. She stood in a first arabesque, trying to lift her leg to 180 degrees as her upper body dipped forward only slightly. She focused and perspired as her leg reached not only 180, but easily 210 degrees and her upper body was still 40 degrees from the floor. She smiled triumphantly and rose back to a normal arabesque, as Cedric had been taught it was called, before closing her back leg in to pose in fifth position releve and roll down to flat. Cedric began clapping at that moment and she smiled running over to him. As she ran into his arms a thought occurred to her.
To become a professional dancer, you had to be trained in partnering—or pas de deux—as well as dancing by yourself. Previous summers she had begun partnering, but she was falling behind during the year because she was not practicing while the other students were. She had always used the excuse that she went to a scholar's academy to take advanced muggle coursework and that while she was there, she had a private tutor in ballet. Her teachers from her ballet academy would be suspicious and not let her dance with other dancers her age if she was not training. They did not know she trained on her own because she made sure that she worked diligently and slowly, as if a teacher were correcting every single mistake she made as she danced. She improved much faster than most of the other students in her class, but in pas de deux she fell behind without the proper rehearsal.
"Hey Cedric," she said hesitantly.
"What's the matter?" he asked, put on alarm by the nerves evident in her tone.
"It's nothing really. It's just that in order to successfully become a member of the American Ballet Theatre, you have to be able to pas de deux and I'm afraid I haven't been able to practice it very much since there isn't anyone to practice with," she hinted very subtly to what she was thinking.
Cedric was very relieved that she hadn't brought up his father because he'd been worried about another fight with her, but he still didn't understand why she was worrying.
"I practice with you every day," he said in a clearly confused tone.
"Not like that," she laughed. "A pas de deux is a dance of two. It's partnering. You know, the long slow dance you see when the boy and girl dance together? There are lifts and turns and they move as one. It's really quite beautiful," she smiled longingly. "It's always been my absolute favorite part of the ballet."
"I think I saw a very bad version of The Nutcracker once. Is there a pas de deux in that?" he asked. Maggie's eyes widened incredulously.
"Of course there is! Tchaikovsky's pas de deux music for that ballet is so beautiful. Oh I can't believe you don't know it!" she exclaimed, waiving her wand and conjuring the music, as she always had before Cedric played for her. She knew the choreography by heart, since she had watched it done many times and memorized the choreography so that she could envision it whenever she heard the music. She had never tried to dance it before because she'd never had a partner that was able. As the opening harps played, she got an idea. She quickly stopped the music and stared at him with a smile.
"Stop looking at me like that, it's your crazy face," he backed up a little, feigning fright.
"Dance with me, Ced!" she smiled, extending her hand. The fake fright turned to pure terror on his face as he realized what she was asking.
"Are you kidding?! Maggie, I've never danced in my entire life! Conjure someone to dance with you or something," he shooed her away as she inched closer to him, wand out.
"You can't conjure people silly. You don't even have to try. I'm going to try and do a very complicated bit of magic. I read about it one time. You know there are a lot of books on magic in ballets in the library. Apparently, a lot of famous artists and dancers and such were wizards and witches so some things they did that seemed impossible were done with magic and now muggles have found more difficult ways to do them. The first ballerina that danced en pointe did it with a simple feather weight charm on herself, but then all the muggle dancers forced themselves to dance on the tips of their toes by making hard shoes and hurting their feet. I do it the muggle way because it's more rewarding," she explained.
"Are you serious?" Cedric paused, laughing.
"Muggles really can't quit, can they?" he grinned, hoping she'd forgotten about making him dance. Suddenly she hit him with a nonverbal spell. He was dressed in the most ridiculous outfit, with tights and shorts on which barely counted as clothing. He blushed scarlet red as she giggled and pointed at herself, immediately dressed in a sparkling white tutu with diamonds and sparkling glittery makeup on her already dazzling face. Her hair, as usual, was in a tight bun, but she had adorned herself with a tiara and her arms had little sparkling sleeve things.
"You're lucky I put shorts on you. Most male dancers only wear their tights," she giggled as she poured more magic from her wand into him. He felt very strange, as if he suddenly had the urge to dance, but he knew nothing about dance whatsoever.
"Maggie, what are you doing to me?" he demanded, scared out of his wits.
"I'm giving you the magic of dance. I read about a spell in a book that wizards and witches used in dance to enchant their muggle partners to dance at their level so that they could be even. They wouldn't understand what happened, but they were filled with an overwhelming passion for dance and suddenly they were dancing beautifully without knowing how they improved. For you, you'll dance without knowing what you're doing, but you'll feel satisfied. Just enjoy it," she giggled starting the music once more.
She walked to the corner of the room, Cedric going to the opposite corner. They walked toward each other slowly, delicately and met each other at the center. Maggie rose to pointe as Cedric placed his hands on her waist. Resigning that he couldn't control the charm she'd placed on him, Cedric gave himself to the music and to the beautiful young woman in his arms. She smiled as she just enjoyed dancing with the boy she loved. Without quite knowing how, Cedric twirled her and held her waist as she went into an arabesque as she had earlier. He seemed amazed at the way he could dance by her side, leaping and running like a dancer. Maggie giggled, knowing that the best was yet to come, though Cedric had no clue. All the sudden Maggie was running toward him and he caught her and held her above his head as she bent her back and raised her arms. He walked a circle around the room, not knowing how in the world she was keeping her body positioned as he kept her in the air. She changed her form multiple times and marveled at herself in the mirror. She was doing it! She was partnering! Finally, he set her down and twirled her some more before she let him put her in the perfect fish dive lift, to finish. The two were breathing heavy after they finished.
She lifted the charm off him, which also took away the soreness from having danced a pas de deux and dressed him back in his robes. He looked grateful and stopped breathing heavy, sitting down at his piano bench and watching her as she did some cool down stretching.
"So that's a pas de deux, huh?" he asked finally, smiling.
"That's a pas de deux," she confirmed. "And if you were trained in dance at all, I would want you to be my partner forever. There's no one I trust more than you to dance with me," she told him.
"That's too bad that without that charm I'm completely useless and you can't charm me all the time," he shrugged and she shrugged as well, changing back into her robes with a tap of her wand.
"We should get to dinner, I'm sure everyone is wondering where the amazing Cedric Diggory is," she laughed and he nodded, heading toward the door with her. Even though he had shrugged it off, a seed had been planted in his head. Was there any way he could do what she wanted him to do? Could you even learn to dance in a year, let alone at a professional level? Maggie had been training her whole life to get where she was. Then again, she had trained the muggle way for the satisfaction. Maybe with a bit of help from his magic and lots of practice, he could do what she really wanted. And maybe then she would trust him enough to kiss him.
"They can wait a bit longer," Cedric murmured, grabbing her hand and pulling her back to him.
"Cedric," she giggled nervously. "Aren't you completely famished after the day you had? Defeating a dragon and then performing a pas de deux?" she teased, but with a sense of urgency in her voice. Cedric sighed inwardly. He didn't know why she was so hesitant and distrusting when it came to anything physical. He had never hurt her, had he?
"Yes, you're right. Let's go," he offered her his most sincere smile and his arm as they strolled out of the Room of Requirement. Maggie gnawed on her lip as they traveled in comfortable silence. It had happened again. Another awkward moment had passed when there could have been a kiss and there simply hadn't been. She honestly couldn't say why she couldn't bring herself to kiss Cedric. The thoughts were tangled in her head, which was very unusual considering she usually had everything sorted out. The emotions whirred and made her gut feel nauseous whenever she tried to think about it. So she placed it aside as an issue for another day and just enjoyed dinner with Cedric. As she suspected, there were dozens of people thronging to him to congratulate him. Even Harry seemed to be getting quite a bit of attention from his fellow Gryffindors and a few Ravenclaws. The Hufflepuffs and all of the Slytherins still sided with Cedric though. As Maggie observed the two other champions she felt a pang of pity. Viktor Krum—Cedric had taught her he was quite the celebrated Quidditch player—was quite skilled but had almost no supporters aside from the small group that had come from Durmstrang. Fleur Delacour had a throng of boys following her, but not for her magical accomplishments.
All this and more Maggie thought about as she quietly picked at her dinner. Cedric, however, did not. For once he didn't worry about Maggie or his mates or anything like that. He just allowed himself to bask in the glory of his accomplishments for a short while. He knew that in Hogsmeade, his father sat in the Three Broomsticks bragging and for once he was glad that he had lived up to his father's bragging. Now if only he could live up to Maggie's view of him…
The next morning Maggie woke up early, anxious to spend the day with Cedric in the Room of Requirement. She rushed through her morning routine, only being able to think of an entire free day with Cedric. She wanted to get a lot of rehearsing in, but she knew it was more important that they start solving the riddle in his egg. As she left the common room, however, Cedric was not outside waiting. Knowing he liked to sleep in, she decided to meet him outside his dormitories instead. With a smile and a soft sigh she headed in the direction of the Hufflepuff den. However, on her way down the stairs she saw Harry Potter being harassed by Draco Malfoy—the infamous fourth year with a temper and rich father. Maggie rolled her eyes and prepared to pass them, but something Draco was saying made her ears perk.
"Just Potter, playing the hero again. How far will you go to get attention? Thinking you can beat Cedric Diggory and Viktor Krum in a tournament for seventh years! Well, Potter?!" Draco sneered as his two goonie-like friends cracked their knuckles. Harry didn't seem hurt, just annoyed, but still Magdalene had had quite enough of all this business of picking on Harry who was clearly under enough stress having to survive the tournament. Still, what could Maggie even do? She turned to walk away again and saw Cedric at the end of the hall. She gave him a smile and he waved, but frowned as he noticed the situation she had been observing.
"Malfoy, stop being a git. I've got things to do," Harry tried to walk past him, but Draco had one of his mountain troll friends give Harry a shove.
"Not so fast Potter," Draco said as the other mountain troll friend punched Harry in the stomach. Maggie's blood boiled, remembering her encounter with Amy and her friends. Maggie hadn't been strong enough to protect herself, but she sure wasn't going to let a different set of bullies hurt anyone else, especially someone who had done nothing wrong. Maggie was so enraged she didn't register that Cedric had just yelled something at Draco or that he was coming over to stop the situation. All she could see was red. She marched up to Draco Malfoy and punched him in the jaw. Then she stomped on both his friends' toes with an evil glint in her eye. There was the slightest moment of shocked silence while everyone observed the little redhead. A small girl with piercing green eyes, which were now sparkling in rage, no one had ever noticed had inserted herself into a situation she knew nothing about.
"How dare you, you little-
"How dare YOU!" Maggie shouted, causing more shock, especially on the part of Cedric Diggory who stood at the end of the hallway, watching because he was too confused to do anything else. "You little prat! You bully! You, you, you cotton-headed-ninny-muggins!" She fumbled for insults. She knew it wasn't her finest verbal moment, but she had never insulted anyone before. "How dare you treat another person like that, especially one so superior to you! I suggest you leave at once and stop bothering him before I do much worse things than tap your jaw," Maggie smirked, knowing that the strength of her ballet training was finally paying off.
"My father will hear about this," Draco attempted to threaten, though his face was turning hot from embarrassment and anger.
"Yes, I'm sure you're father will be thrilled to know that you got your arse handed to you by a girl half your size. And if you'd like to take the issue up with Professor Dumbledore, there's a Prefect right behind you who could report it," Maggie smirked as Draco's attention was turned to Cedric. By now, Cedric had composed himself and was enjoying the situation all to much.
"Yes of course, Mr. Malfoy. I am technically obligated to report this incident, though all I saw was you and your friends bullying Mr. Potter. I don't seem to recall what occurred after that as I was too busy laughing," Cedric replied. Draco, clearly beaten, glared at both of them for a few moments before he huffed.
"Crabbe, Goyle, let's go," he turned and stomped away. Harry looked a bit humiliated and altogether quite confused. A few other students who were headed to breakfast had caught sight of the incident and began to whisper furiously, rushing past.
"Er, thank you miss, but that really wasn't necessary," Harry mumbled, rubbing the back of his neck as a rosy blush filled his cheeks. Maggie pursed her lips for a moment, contemplating the best answer. She didn't want to offend Harry or make it seem like he couldn't fight his own battles.
"Oh yes, I know. But what better time to show everyone that I am capable of speaking than embarrassing Draco Malfoy?" she winked in a very confident manner and patted Harry on the shoulder before turning to walk away. As she reached the end of the hallway she shot Cedric a look and he cleared his throat awkwardly.
Maggie glared at him.
"I mean Harry, you did a good job yesterday. Good luck with the riddle," he admitted.
Maggie nodded her head in satisfaction.