I was feeling blissfully calm – with a niggling feeling that there was something I really should remember – when I started to hear a sort of buzzing. It got louder, and as it did, I recognised it as voices.
"They'll wake them if they don't shut up!"
"What are they shouting about? Nothing else can have happened, can it?"
"That's Fudge's voice, and Minerva McGonagall's. But what are they arguing about?"
I opened my eyes then, blinking to try to clear my vision, and strained to hear the voices of Professor McGonagall and the Minister. Once I heard them, I wondered how I hadn't before, they were arguing so loudly.
"Regrettable, but all the same, Minerva-" I could hear Fudge saying loudly, but he was soon drowned out by the terrifying sound of a livid Professor McGonagall.
"You should never have brought it inside the castle! When Master Fung finds out-"
The door banged open and everyone turned to face the door, missing Rai and I jerking upright, all drowsiness evaporated.
Fudge, Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape came striding up the Hospital Wing, turning to Carla, who was nearest the door. "Where's Master Fung?"
"He's not here." Burst out Carla angrily. "This is a Hospital Wing, Minister, you-"
Master Fung appeared behind Fudge then. "What has happened?" He demanded sharply. "Why are you disturbing these people? Minerva, I'm surprised at you – I asked you to stand guard over Barty Crouch-"
"Well, there's no need to stand guard over him anymore!" She shrieked, angrier than I'd ever seen her. "The Minister has seen to that!"
While Snape was seen to get angry often – much of that time with us – I had never seen him truly angry before. At least, not when he wasn't simply angry over students. This cold fury rolling off him in waves was actually rather frightening.
"When we told Mr Fudge that we had caught the Death Eater responsible for tonight's events, he seemed to feel his personal safety was in question. He insisted on summoning a Dementor to accompany him into the castle." Snape spoke in a low voice. I felt a sort of dread creep over me, knowing what was coming next, and I glanced over at Rai, to see he had come to the same realisation. "He brought it up to the office where Barty Crouch-"
"I told him you wouldn't agree, Master Fung! I told him you would never allow Dementors to set foot inside the castle, but -"
"My dear woman!" roared Fudge, "as Minister of Magic, it is my decision whether I wish to bring protection with me when interviewing a possibly dangerous -"
But Professor McGonagall's voice drowned Fudge's.
"The moment that - that thing entered the room," she screamed, pointing at Fudge, trembling all over, "it swooped down on Crouch and - and -"
Professor McGonagall struggled to find words to describe what had happened, but she didn't need her to finish her sentence. Everyone knew what the Dementor must have done: administered its fatal kiss to Barty Crouch. I shuddered.
"By all accounts, he is no loss!" blustered Fudge. "It seems he has been responsible for several deaths'."
"But he cannot now give testimony, Cornelius," said Master Fung. "He cannot give evidence about why he killed those people."
"Why he killed them? Well, that's no mystery, is it?" laughed Fudge. "He was a raving lunatic! From what Minerva and Severus have told me, he seems to have thought he was doing it all on You-Know-Who's instructions!"
"Wuya was giving him instructions, Cornelius, along with Chase Young." Master Fung said. "Those peoples' deaths were mere by-products of a plan to restore Wuya to full strength again. The plan succeeded. Wuya has been restored to her body."
Fudge stood and simply stared, before he began to splutter. "You-Know-Who… returned? Preposterous. Come now, Master Fung…"
"As Minerva and Severus have doubtless told you," said Master Fung, "we heard Barty Crouch confess. Under the influence of Veritaserum, he told us how he was smuggled out of Azkaban, and how Wuya - learning of his continued existence from Bertha Jorkins - went to free him from his father and used him to capture Kimiko and Raimundo. The plan worked, I tell you. Crouch has helped Wuya to return."
"See here, Master Fung," said Fudge desperately, "you - you can't seriously believe that You-Know-Who - back? Come now, come now… certainly, Crouch may have believed himself to be acting upon You-Know-Who's orders - but to take the word of a lunatic like that, Master Fung…"
"When the four students touched the Triwizard Cup tonight, they were transported straight to Wuya and Chase," said Master Fung steadily. "Kimiko and Raimundo witnessed Wuya's rebirth. I will explain it all to you if you will step up to my office."
Master Fung noticed that Rai and I were awake, unlike the others. "I am afraid I cannot permit you to question them tonight."
Fudge followed Master Fung's gaze to us, looking back a moment later. "You are - er - prepared to take their word on this, are you, Master Fung?"
There was a moment's silence, which was broken by Sirius growling. His hackles were raised, and he was baring his teeth at Fudge. Lupin, without stopping glaring at Fudge himself, placed a hand on Sirius' – still in animagus form – back and pushed him down, silently warning him not to do anything.
"Certainly, I believe them," said Master Fung, his eyes were blazing now. "I heard Crouch's confession, and I heard Kimiko and Raimundo's account of what happened after they touched the Triwizard Cup; the two stories make sense, they explain everything that has happened since Bertha Jorkins disappeared last summer."
Fudge had a strange smile on his face when he glanced at us before answering Master Fung. "You are prepared to believe that Wuya has returned, on the word of a lunatic murderer, and two children who… well…"
Fudge shot us another look, and I suddenly understood.
I narrowed my eyes, glaring at Fudge, before I spoke up. "You've been reading Rita Skeeter, Mr. Fudge."
The Pedrosas, Aidan, Sishi, Keiko, Neko, Clay and Omi all jumped, realizing that we were awake.
Fudge reddened slightly, but a defiant and obstinate look came over his face.
"And if I have?" he said, looking at Master Fung. "If I have discovered that you've been keeping certain facts about the girl very quiet? Having funny turns all over the place -"
"I assume that you are referring to the pains Kimiko has been experiencing in her scar?" said Master Fung coolly. "The one Rita mentioned in her latest article?" That must've been the one Carla was talking about yesterday, the one I had missed while we were so busy practicing for the task.
"You admit that she has been having these pains, then?" said Fudge quickly. "Headaches? Nightmares? Possibly - hallucinations?"
"Listen to me, Cornelius," said Master Fung, taking a step toward Fudge. He seemed to radiate that indefinable sense of power. "Kimiko is as sane as you or I.
That scar upon her forehead has not addled her brains. I believe it hurts her when Wuya is close by, or feeling particularly murderous."
Fudge had taken half a step back from Master Fung, but he looked no less stubborn.
"You'll forgive me, Master Fung, but I've never heard of a curse scar acting as an alarm bell before…"
"Look, we saw Wuya come back!" Rai burst out angrily, obviously losing his patience, already worn thin by the night's events. He tried to get out of bed, but his mother forced him back. "We saw the Death Eaters! I can give you their names! Marcus Spicer -"
Snape made a sudden movement then, but as I looked at him, his eyes flew back to Fudge.
"Spicer was cleared!" said Fudge, visibly affronted. "A very old family - donations to excellent causes -"
"Macnair!" Rai continued defiantly.
"Also cleared! Now working for the Ministry!" Yeah, I thought, as an executioner. Not suspiciously bloodthirsty at all…
"Avery - Nott - Crabbe - Goyle -"
"You are merely repeating the names of those who were acquitted of being Death Eaters thirteen years ago!" said Fudge angrily. "You could have found those names in old reports of the trials! For heavens' sake, Master Fung - the children were full of some crackpot story at the end of last year too - their tales are getting taller, and you're still swallowing them – the amount of rubbish that comes out of their mouths, Master Fung, and you still think they're trustworthy?"
"You fool!" Professor McGonagall cried. "Cedric Diggory! Mr. Crouch! These deaths were not the random work of a lunatic!"
"I see no evidence to the contrary!" shouted Fudge. "It seems to me that you are all determined to start a panic that will destabilize everything we have worked for these last thirteen years!"
After that they devolved to arguing the politics – Fudge shooting down every plausible suggestion for fear of his precious career. It got to the point where Fudge had no further arguments and he just stared at Master Fung, almost pleadingly, for several moments. "She can't be back, Master Fung, she just can't be…"
Snape lost all patience then, storming up to Fudge and pulling back his sleeve, revealing his boldly printed Dark Mark. Fudge jumped back, uncertain of where to look, dumped a pouch on the table between mine and Rai's beds with a terse "Your winnings" before he practically fled from the room.
Master Fung sent Snape and Madame Pomfrey off after assigning tasks and locked the door as their footsteps died away. "Sirius, if you could resume your normal form? You have nothing to fear from those of us still present."
Sirius nodded and the black dog turned back into a man.
While Master Fung, Lupin, Clay, Omi, Rai and I didn't react, the rest certainly did. Keiko, Neko, Sishi and Maria gasped, covering their mouths and staring at Sirius; Aidan let out a strange choked noise; the Pedrosa boys stared and Carla leapt to her feet, pointing at Sirius and shrieking repeatedly. "Sirius Black!"
"Mum, shut up!" Rai finally yelled after nothing else would get her attention. She fell silent, whether in response or from shock I don't know. "It's OK!"
Carla stared at Rai for a moment, sceptically. "But…"
"It really is okay." I spoke up and she turned her wary gaze to me. "He's my godfather. Well, one of them." I amended with a smile at Lupin. "We met him last year – they told us how it was really Pettigrew who…" I trailed off, unable to say the words after everything – it was just too much.
"Pettigrew was my rat." Clay added. "An animagus."
There was silence for a while whilst everyone processed what we had just said. Master Fung was the one to break it. "Alright, now that everyone's acquainted… Remus, Sirius, I have work for you. You'll have to set off at once. Alert the old crowd and then lie low at home for a while, I'll contact you there."
I cut in then. I didn't want them to go yet. It may be a little selfish, but they were the only family I had with me. I mean, yes, I do consider the Pedrosas as family, but…it just isn't the same, and since papa can't come… "But-"
Sirius and Lupin seemed to realise what I couldn't bring myself to say. "You'll see us again very soon, Kimiko, I promise you." Sirius said as he and Lupin moved closer.
"But we must do what we can; you understand, don't you?" Lupin soothed.
I nodded. "'Course." I hugged them both briefly before Sirius transformed again and they left the room. Master Fung left soon after.
Rai lay back down with a sigh, staring up at the ceiling. "He doesn't believe us." He stated flatly. No elaboration was needed – we all knew who he was talking about.
"I think he does." I said quietly as I lay back down. I saw Rai turn his head to face me and I did the same. "He knows we're telling the truth, that neither us nor Master Fung would lie about this. He just doesn't want to believe it." Rai hummed vaguely.
No one spoke for a while after that, until Carla reached for the potion and goblets on the table. "You have to take the rest of your potions, dears. You have a good long sleep." She remarked as she poured out the potion. "Try and think about something else for a while…think about what you're going to buy with your winnings."
I flinched at the mention of the winnings. "I don't want that gold." As I said it, I knew Rai wouldn't want it either, so I continued. "You have it. Anyone can have it. We shouldn't have won it. It should've been Cedric and Cho's." I could feel my eyes welling up, but I didn't really care. The full weight of what had happened after the spider in the maze finally hit me. Cedric and Cho had wanted us to take the cup by ourselves, and if we had…
"It wasn't your fault, Kimiko." Carla whispered, gripping my hand.
"No," Rai spoke up from his bed, once again staring at the ceiling. "It was mine. I told them to take the cup with us."
"We both did, Rai." I argued, but he shook his head.
"Yeah, but I was the one to convince them." I wanted to argue that, too; wanted to argue until he stopped blaming himself, but I had no argument for that, and I knew that nothing I could say would convince him, so I stayed silent.
Carla gave us both our potions before she pulled her son into a hard embrace, and he hugged her back just as fiercely. The moment was broken by Keiko, who made some sort of loud slamming noise by the window, before grinning apologetically with something clasped in her hand.
There didn't seem to be much else to say, so I took my potion and drifted off to sleep again.
After that, the rest of the year passed in a blur. We spoke with the Diggorys and the Changs, who didn't seem to blame us for what had happened, instead thanking us for bringing back the bodies and refusing the money when we offered.
The others told us that Master Fung made an announcement to the school about what had happened when we were still in the Hospital Wing. I was rather glad not to have been there when it happened.
The Leaving Feast, rather than being decorated in the colours of the winners of the House Cup, was decorated in black, in memory of Cedric and Cho, though thankfully Master Fung's speech was only brief.
It wasn't until we were on the train home that I found out what Keiko had had in her hand in the Hospital Wing. She was reading that morning's edition of the Daily Prophet, which I was eyeing suspiciously. "There's nothing in here." She said, noticing my wary stare. "Honestly. Look if you like. There was only a small announcement saying that you two had won the tournament; nothing about Cho and Cedric. If you ask me, Fudge's keeping them quiet."
Rai scoffed. "He'll never keep Rita Skeeter quiet. Not on something like this."
"Oh, Rita hasn't written anything at all since the third task." Keiko said innocently, though a smirk broke out on her face straight after. "As a matter of fact, Rita Skeeter isn't going to be writing anything at all for a while. Not unless she wants me to spill the beans on her."
"Alright, so you found out how she was getting her information about private conversations; now spill!"
Keiko grinned. "Bugging."
I frowned. "But electronic equipment doesn't work inside Hogwarts."
"Oh, not electronic bugs," Keiko kept grinning; shuffling in her bag until she pulled out a glass jar. "You see, Rita Skeeter is an unregistered animagus. She can turn into a beetle."
"No way!" Rai burst out.
"You didn't…she's not…" I could feel a wide grin spreading across my face as I leant over to peer inside the jar, where Rita Skeeter – in beetle form – sat.
"Oh, yes." Keiko said gleefully. "When Sirius Black was in the Hospital Wing and you said about Peter Pettigrew being an animagus…then I saw this beetle and the markings around its eyes – don't they look just like those horrid glasses of hers? – and I figured, if Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were unregistered animagi, why not Rita Skeeter?"
"Keiko, you're a genius!"
Fernando and Ricardo appeared in the doorway then, looking for someone to play Exploding Snap with. In the middle of our third game, I remembered a whispered conversation I had overheard.
"So, are you going to tell us who you were blackmailing?"
They blinked at me. "How did you…?" Fernando started but Ricardo cut in.
"She knows everything…" I just raised my eyebrow and they shuddered jokingly. At least, I think it was a joke.
Fernando sighed before starting to tell us. "You remember that bet we had with him at the Quidditch World Cup? About how Ireland would win, but Krum would get the Snitch?" We all nodded, it wasn't something we would forget. "Well, the git paid us in leprechaun gold he'd caught from the Irish mascots."
"So it disappeared?" I asked.
"Yep. By next morning, it had gone!"
"But - it must've been an accident, mustn't it?" said Maria.
Fernando laughed very bitterly.
"Yeah, that's what we thought, at first. We thought if we just wrote to him, and told him he'd made a mistake, he'd cough up. But nothing doing. Ignored our letter. We kept trying to talk to him about it at Hogwarts, but he was always making some excuse to get away from us."
"In the end, he turned pretty nasty," said Ricardo. "Told us we were too young to gamble, and he wasn't giving us anything."
"So we asked for our money back," said Fernando glowering.
"He didn't refuse!"
"Right in one."
"But that was all your savings!" exclaimed Rai.
"Tell me about it," said Fernando. "'Course, we found out what was going on in the end. Lee Jordan's dad had had a bit of trouble getting money off Bagman as well. Turns out he's in big trouble with the goblins. Borrowed loads of gold off them. A gang of them cornered him in the woods after the World Cup and took all the gold he had, and it still wasn't enough to cover all his debts. They followed him all the way to Hogwarts to keep an eye on him. He's lost everything gambling. Hasn't got two Galleons to rub together. And you know how the idiot tried to pay the goblins back?"
"How?" said Rai.
"He put a bet on you two, mate," said Ricardo. "Put a big bet on the two of you to win the tournament. Bet against the goblins."
"So that's why he kept trying to help us win!" I said to Rai. "Well - we did win, didn't we? So he can pay you your gold!"
"Nope, the goblins play as dirty as him. They say you drew with Diggory and Cho, and Bagman was betting you'd win outright. So Bagman had to run for it. He did run for it right after the third task."
They turned back to their cards, but I caught Rai's eye. He nodded with a slight smile. I smiled back.
When the train finally came to a stop, Rai and I hung back as the others filtered out of the compartment, with Fernando and Ricardo leaving last. Before they could, though, Rai called out. "Hey, Fernando, Ricardo – wait a moment."
Another glance and I turned to my trunk to fish out the pouch of winnings, tossing it to the twins. "Take it."
They stared at us for a moment. "What?" They asked finally.
"Take it." I repeated, glancing at Rai. "We don't want it."
"You're mental." Fernando said faintly, trying to give it back.
"No, we're not." Rai insisted. "Take it and get inventing; it's for your joke shop."
"They are mental." Ricardo muttered, awestruck.
"Listen," said Rai firmly. "If you don't take it, I'm throwing it down the drain. We don't want it and we don't need it. But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I've got a feeling we're going to need them more than usual before long." Rai picked up his trunk and walked off the train to prevent them giving it back to us. I went to follow him but the twins stopped me.
"Kimiko," Fernando said weakly, weighing the pouch. "There's got to be a thousand galleons in here…"
I grinned. "Yeah, think what you could make with that. Just don't tell your mum how you got it. Although, come to think of it, she may not be so keen on you joining the Ministry anymore…"
"Kimiko…" Ricardo began, and that's when I had enough and held out my hand.
"Look, take it, or I'll light you on fire." Okay, a little harsh, but I was losing patience now. "Don't think I won't, and Rai tells me it hurts like hell. Just do me one favour, okay? Buy Rai some different dress robes and say they're from you."
I left before they could stop me again, but they caught up to me on the platform to say thanks.
Before I left with papa, I hugged everyone goodbye, hugging Rai especially tight. Everything had changed now, and I was afraid of what was going to happen now.