Scarlett and Hermione broke apart and the air around them went back to normal. Hermione opened her purse and counted her coins.
"I've still got ten Galleons. It's my birthday in September, and Mum and Dad gave me some money to get myself an early birthday present."
"How about a nice book?" said Ron innocently.
"No, I don't think so," said Hermione composedly. "I really want an owl. I mean, Harry's got Hedwig, Arth has got Corvus and you've got Errol —"
"I haven't," said Ron. "Errol's a family owl. All I've got is Scabbers." He pulled his pet rat out of his pocket. "And I want to get him checked over," he added, placing Scabbers on the table in front of them. "I don't think Egypt agreed with him."
Scabbers was looking thinner than usual, and there was a definite droop to his whiskers.
"There's a magical creature shop just over there," said Arthur, "You could see if they've got anything for Scabbers, and Hermione can get her owl."
Harry, Hermione, and Ron went into the shop while Arth and Scarlett waited outside. Arth took out his Unfogging the Future book and read while Scarlett stared at the owls with a predatory gaze.
Soon, Harry and Ron came out chasing after Scabbers who disappeared almost instantly. A few minutes later, Hermione came out with a big ginger cat.
The cat's ginger fur was thick and fluffy, but it was definitely a bit bowlegged and its face looked grumpy and oddly squashed, as though it had run headlong into a brick wall.
It was oddly cute Arth thought. It was as if it was so ugly that it became adorable. Such as a mutt or another flat faced dog race.
"He's gorgeous, isn't he?" said Hermione, glowing.
"Yes it is... can I hold it?"
"Sure, it's name is Crookshanks by the way."
"What a very suitable name."
Ron and Harry finally came back from chasing Scabbers. At the sight of Crookshanks, Ron scowled.
"You bought that monster?" said Ron, his mouth hanging open. "Hermione, that thing nearly scalped me!" said Ron.
"He didn't mean to, did you, Crookshanks?" said Hermione.
"And what about Scabbers?" said Ron, pointing at the lump in his chest pocket. "He needs rest and relaxation! How's he going to get it with that thing around?"
"That reminds me, you forgot your rat tonic," said Hermione, slapping the small red bottle into Ron's hand. "And stop worrying, Crookshanks will be sleeping in my dormitory and Scabbers in yours, what's the problem? Poor Crookshanks, that witch said he'd been in there for ages; no one wanted him."
"I wonder why," said Ron sarcastically as they set off toward the Leaky Cauldron.
Dinner that night was a very enjoyable affair. Tom the innkeeper put four tables together in the parlor, and the seven Weasleys, four Kingscrowns, Harry, and Hermione ate their way through five delicious courses.
"How're we getting to King's Cross tomorrow, Dad?" asked Fred as they dug into a sumptuous chocolate pudding.
"The Ministry's providing a couple of cars," said Mr. Weasley. Everyone looked up at him.
"Why?" said Percy curiously.
"It's because of you, Perce," said George seriously. "And there'll be little flags on the hoods, with HB on them —"
"— for Humongous Bighead," said Fred.
Everyone except Percy and Mrs. Weasley snorted into their pudding.
"Why are the Ministry providing cars, Father?" Percy asked again, in a dignified voice.
"Well, as we have a pretty large group of people now, my car can't really fit all of in it can it?" said Mr. Weasley.
"And as I work there, they're doing me a favor."
Mr. Kingscrown raised an eyebrow.
"Did Cornelius assign this? He talked to me before about how he was going to assign some wizards to protect Harry."
Mr. Wesley went pale.
"Maxwell, now is not the time to be saying those things-"
"The boy has to know. It's about him after all." Replied Mr. Kingscrown coolly.
"I-I agree with you on that however the ministry-"
Mr. Kingscrown sighed wearily.
"Yes I know. I won't speak out of hand again."
There was awkward silence as Mr. Weasley attempted to fix the atmosphere.
"So yes, we have cars. They will come to pick us all up tomorrow morning."
"Good thing, too," said Mrs. Weasley briskly. "Do you realize how much luggage you've all got between you? A nice sight you'd be on the Muggle Underground. . . . You are all packed, aren't you?"
"Ron hasn't put all his new things in his trunk yet," said Percy, in a long-suffering voice. "He's dumped them on my bed."
"You'd better go and pack properly, Ron, because we won't have much time in the morning," Mrs. Weasley called down the table. Ron scowled at Percy before going upstairs to pack.
The next morning, they dragged their trunks out the leaky cauldron and got into five cars.
They somehow managed to squeeze all of their belongings into the tiny trunk compartments and set off to Kings Cross.
When they arrived, Mr. and Mrs. Kingscrown gave Scarlett and Arthur a big hug before waving them goodbye as they got on the train.