Through the night, they fly in the car.
"So. Abigail was right, that would explain why I still didn't get any letters after the party, I thought it was Errol", said Ron.
"Who's Errol?" asked Harry.
"Our owl. He's ancient. It wouldn't be the first time he'd collapsed on a delivery. So then I tried to borrow Hermes—" explained Ron.
"Who?" asked Harry.
"The owl Mum and Dad bought Percy when he was made prefect," said Fred from the front.
"But Percy wouldn't lend him to me," said Ron. "Said he needed him."
"Percy's been acting very oddly this summer," said George, frowning. "And he has been sending a lot of letters and spending a load of time shut up in his room… I mean, there's only so many times you can polish a prefect badge… You're driving too far west, Fred," he added, pointing at a compass on the dashboard. Fred twiddled the steering wheel.
"So, does your dad know you've got the car?" said Harry, guessing the answer.
"Er, no," said Ron, "he had to work tonight. Hopefully we'll be able to get it back in the garage without Mum noticing we flew it."
"What does your dad do at the Ministry of Magic, anyway?" asked Harry.
"He works in the most boring department," said Ron. "The Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office."
"The what?" asked Harry.
"It's all to do with bewitching things that are Muggle-made, you know, in case they end up back in a Muggle shop or house. Like, last year, some old witch died and her tea set was sold to an antiques shop. This Muggle woman bought it, took it home, and tried to serve her friends tea in it. It was a nightmare—Dad was working overtime for weeks." replied Ron.
"What happened?" wondered Harry.
"The teapot went berserk and squirted boiling tea all over the place and one man ended up in the hospital with the sugar tongs clamped to his nose. Dad was going frantic—it's only him and an old warlock called Perkins in the office—and they had to do Memory Charms and all sorts of stuff to cover it up—" Ron tells Harry.
"But your dad—this car—" stammered Harry.
Fred laughed. "Yeah, Dad's crazy about everything to do with Muggles; our shed's full of Muggle stuff. He takes it apart, puts spells on it, and puts it back together again. If he raided our house he'd have to put himself under arrest. It drives Mum mad."
"That's the main road," said George, peering down through the windshield. "We'll be there in ten minutes… Just as well, it's getting light…"
"We're almost there, Key", said Makai, flying lower after the car.
A faint pinkish glow was visible along the horizon to the east.
Fred brought the car lower, and Harry saw a dark patchwork of fields and clumps of trees.
"We're a little way outside the village," said George. "Ottery St. Catchpole."
Lower and lower went the flying car. The edge of a brilliant red sun was now gleaming through the trees.
"Touchdown!" said Fred as, with a slight bump, they hit the ground. They had landed next to a tumbledown garage in a small yard, and Harry looked out for the first time at Ron's house.
It looked as though it had once been a large stone pigpen, but extra rooms had been added here and there until it was several stories high and so crooked it looked as though it were held up by magic (which, Harry reminded himself, it probably was). Four or five chimneys were perched on top of the red roof. A lopsided sign stuck in the ground near the entrance read, THE BURROW. Around the front door lay a jumble of rubber boots and a very rusty cauldron. Several fat brown chickens were pecking their way around the yard.
"It's not much," said Ron.
"It's wonderful," said Harry happily, thinking of Privet Drive.
They got out of the car.
"Now, we'll go upstairs really quietly," said Fred, "and wait for Mum to call us for breakfast. Then, Ron, you come bounding downstairs going, 'Mum, look who turned up in the night!' and she'll be all pleased to see Harry and no one need ever know we flew the car."
"Right," said Ron. "Come on, Harry, I sleep at the—at the top—"
Ron had gone a nasty greenish color, his eyes fixed on the house. The other three wheeled around.
Makai walks through the door, holding Key.
Mrs. Weasley was marching across the yard, scattering chickens, and for a short, plump, kind-faced woman, it was remarkable how much she looked like a saber-toothed tiger.
"Ah," said Fred.
"Oh, dear," said George.
Mrs. Weasley came to a halt in front of them, her hands on her hips, staring from one guilty face to the next. She was wearing a flowered apron with a wand sticking out of the pocket.
"So," she said.
"'Morning, Mum," said George, in what he clearly thought was a jaunty, winning voice.
"Have you any idea how worried I've been?" said Mrs. Weasley in a deadly whisper.
"Sorry, Mum, but see, we had to—" Ron try to talk.
All three of Mrs. Weasley's sons were taller than she was, but they cowered as her rage broke over them.
"Beds empty! No note! Car gone—could have crashed—out of my mind with worry—did you care?—never, as long as I've lived—you wait until your father gets home, we never had trouble like this from Bill or Charlie or Percy—"
"Perfect Percy," muttered Fred.
"YOU COULD DO WITH TAKING A LEAF OUT OF PERCY'S BOOK!" yelled Mrs. Weasley, prodding a finger in Fred's chest. "You could have died, you could have been seen, you could have lost your father his job—"
It seemed to go on for hours. Mrs. Weasley had shouted herself hoarse before she turned on Harry, who backed away.
"I'm very pleased to see you, Harry, dear," she said. "Come in and have some breakfast."
She turned and walked back into the house and Harry, after a nervous glance at Ron, who nodded encouragingly, followed her.
Mrs. Weasley noticed Key, and says "The poor dear, what happened?"
"She passed out, when we got there", said Makai, feeling sad.
Makai takes Key to her room, and heads back downstairs.
Harry looked around at the kitchen seeing it's small and rather cramped. There was a scrubbed wooden table and chairs in the middle, and Harry sat down on the edge of his seat, looking around. He had never been in a wizard house before.
The clock on the wall opposite him had only one hand and no numbers at all. Written around the edge were things like Time to make tea, Time to feed the chickens, and You're late. Books were stacked three deep on the mantelpiece, books with titles like Charm Your Own Cheese, Enchantment in Baking, and One Minute Feasts—It's Magic! And unless Harry's ears were deceiving him, the old radio next to the sink had just announced that coming up was "Witching Hour, with the popular singing sorceress, Celestina Warbeck."
Mrs. Weasley was clattering around, cooking breakfast a little haphazardly, throwing dirty looks at her sons as she threw sausages into the frying pan. Every now and then she muttered things like "don't know what you were thinking of," and "never would have believed it."
"I don't blame you, dear," she assured Harry, tipping eight or nine sausages onto his plate. "Arthur and I have been worried about you, too. Just last night we were saying we'd come and get you ourselves if you hadn't written back to Ron by Friday. But really" (she was now adding three fried eggs to his plate), "flying an illegal car halfway across the country—anyone could have seen you—"
Mrs. Weasley makes a plate for Makai and Key.
"You can take that up to Key, but you are eating with the family, i'm sorry, you had to get into this mischief", Mrs. Weasley told Makai.
Mrs. Weasley flicked her wand casually at the dishes in the sink, which began to clean themselves, clinking gently in the background.
"It was cloudy, Mum!" said Fred.
Makai finished her food quickly.
"You keep your mouth closed while you're eating!" Mrs. Weasley snapped.
"They were starving him, Mum!" said George.
"And you!" said Mrs. Weasley, but it was with a slightly softened expression that she started cutting Harry bread and buttering it for him.
At that moment, there was a diversion in the form of a small, redheaded figure in a long nightdress, who appeared in the kitchen, gave a small squeal, and ran out again.
"Ginny", said Ron in an undertone to Harry. "My sister. She's been talking about you all summer."
"Yeah, she'll be wanting your autograph, Harry," Fred said with a grin, but he caught his mother's eye and bent his face over his plate without another word. Nothing more was said until all four plates were clean, which took a surprisingly short time.
Makai takes Key's food upstairs with her.
In Makai's room, Makai sees Key opens her eyes, and she's surprised to see Makai.
Before Key could say anything, Makai hugged her tight, and says "I was so worried, I spent most of the night, carrying you, while flying, and that whole entire time, you were asleep".
"Whoa! Relax, is Harry alright? You didn't get in trouble trying to get Harry and I?" asked Key.
"I probably will get in trouble for sneaking out at night with Fred, George, and Ron", Makai spoke honestly.
"Thanks", said Key.
"Anytime, we're friends, Oh! By the way", said Makai.
"Makai!" called Mrs. Weasley.
"Oh! I have to go, stay here until you finish your breakfast, I don't want you to ware yourself out", said Makai.
Then she kisses Key on her cheek, and whispers "I don't want to see you like that again".
Key blushed, with a smile, as Makai walks out the door, and closes it behind.
Downstairs, Makai sees Mrs. Weasley still looking angry.
"Listen, I know your new to the family, so I must tell you, please don't come up with a plan to go out in the night", Mrs. Weasley tells Makai.
"Sorry, ma'am", Makai apologized.
"I forgive you, after all, your heart was in the right place, but next time, let's hope, there isn't a next time. Leave a note or wait until the morning so, Arthur and I can come with you", Mrs. Weasley informs them.
"So, am i in trouble?" asked Makai, nervous.
"Well, it was a good intention, but since you're apart of the house, I have to treat you like the rest. You will help Ron and Fred de-gnome the garden, just think of it as a chore", Mrs. Weasley spoke with a sweet voice.
"Okay", said Makai, being understandable.
But Harry, who felt wide awake, said quickly, "I'll help Ron. I've never seen a de-gnoming—"
"That's very sweet of you, dear, but it's dull work," said Mrs. Weasley. "Now, let's see what Lockhart's got to say on the subject—"
And she pulled a heavy book from the stack on the mantelpiece. George groaned.
"Mum, we know how to de-gnome a garden—"
Harry looked at the cover of Mrs. Weasley's book. Written across it in fancy gold letters were the words Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide to Household Pests. There was a big photograph on the front of a very good-looking wizard with wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes. As always in the wizarding world, the photograph was moving; the wizard, who Harry supposed was Gilderoy Lockhart, kept winking cheekily up at them all. Mrs. Weasley beamed down at him.
"Oh, he is marvelous," she said. "He knows his household pests, all right, it's a wonderful book…"
Makai gives a glare at the book, and thought "I don't like that guy, his aura is all wrong".
"Mum fancies him," said Fred, in a very audible whisper.
"Don't be so ridiculous, Fred," said Mrs. Weasley, her cheeks rather pink. "All right, if you think you know better than Lockhart, you can go and get on with it, and woe betide you if there's a single gnome in that garden when I come out to inspect it."
Yawning and grumbling, the Weasleys slouched outside with Harry and Makai behind them.
The garden was large, and in Harry's eyes, exactly what a garden should be. The Dursleys wouldn't have liked it—there were plenty of weeds, and the grass needed cutting—but there were gnarled trees all around the walls, plants Harry had never seen spilling from every flower bed, and a big green pond full of frogs.
"Muggles have garden gnomes, too, you know," Harry told Ron as they crossed the lawn.
"Yeah, I've seen those things they think are gnomes," said Ron, bent double with his head in a peony bush, "like fat little Santa Clauses with fishing rods…"
There was a violent scuffling noise, the peony bush shuddered, and Ron straightened up. "This is a gnome," he said grimly.
"Gerroff me! Gerroff me!" squealed the gnome.
Makai glares at the gnome, but it shows a sign of some fear.
"Strange, what's up with it?" asked Ron, stratching his head.
"I read some creatures fear faes", Makai remembered.
The gnome was certainly nothing like Santa Claus. It was small and leathery looking, with a large, knobby, bald head exactly like a potato.
Ron held the gnome at arm's length as it kicked out at him with its horny little feet; he grasped it around the ankles and turned it upside down.
"This is what you have to do," said Ron. He raised the gnome above his head ("Gerroff me!") and started to swing it in great circles like a lasso. Seeing the shocked look on Harry's face, Ron added, "It doesn't hurt them—you've just got to make them really dizzy so they can't find their way back to the gnomeholes."
Ron let's go of the gnome's ankles: It flew twenty feet into the air and landed with a thud in the field over the hedge.
"Pitiful," said Fred. "I bet I can get mine beyond that stump."
Harry learned quickly not to feel too sorry for the gnomes. He decided just to drop the first one he caught over the hedge, but the gnome, sensing weakness, sank its razor-sharp teeth into Harry's finger and he had a hard job shaking it off—until—
Makai didn't have a hard time either, since all the gnome had the same reaction around her, so she was able to throws gnomes in the air easily, when she sees Harry throw the gnomes higher.
"Wow, Harry—that must've been fifty feet…" gasped Makai.
The air was soon thick with flying gnomes.
"See, they're not too bright," said George, seizing five or six gnomes at once. "The moment they know the de-gnoming's going on they storm up to have a look. You'd think they'd have learned by now just to stay put."
Soon, the crowd of gnomes in the field started walking away in a straggling line, their little shoulders hunched.
"They'll be back," said Ron as they watched the gnomes disappear into the hedge on the other side of the field. "They love it here… Dad's too soft with them; he thinks they're funny…"
"I get why, we would think that", giggled Makai.
Just then, the front door slammed.
"He's back!" said George. "Dad's home!"
As the other Weasleys head back inside, Harry asks Makai, how's Key is doing.
"She's fine, just worn out, she probably thought you weren't getting to eat much, so ate only when she wanted to, which made her weak", Makai guessed.
"That sounds like her, always thinking of me", Harry sighed.
"Don't worry, some food and rest, and she'll be back to normal.
"Your probably right", Harry agreed.
"OF course, i am, come let's get inside", said Makai, taking Harry's hand, heading inside.
"She's definitely changed, since last year, she must like being with the Weasleys", thought Harry, as they head inside.