Back outside on the marble steps, they all separated.
Percy muttered vaguely about needing a new quill.
Fred and George had spotted their friend from Hogwarts, Lee Jordan.
Mrs. Weasley and Ginny were going to a secondhand robe shop.
Mr. Weasley was insisting on taking the Grangers off to the Leaky Cauldron for a drink.
"We'll all meet at Flourish and Blotts in an hour to buy your schoolbooks," said Mrs. Weasley, setting off with Ginny.
"And not one step down Knockturn Alley!" she shouted at the twins' retreating backs.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione strolled off along the winding, cobbled street.
The bag of gold, silver, and bronze jangling cheerfully in Harry's pocket was clamoring to be spent, so he bought three large strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice creams, which they slurped happily as they wandered up the alley, examining the fascinating shop windows. Ron gazed longingly at a full set of Chudley Cannon robes in the windows of Quality Quidditch Supplies until Hermione dragged them off to buy ink and parchment next door.
In Gambol and Japes Wizarding Joke Shop, they met Fred, George, and Lee Jordan, who were stocking up on Dr. Filibuster's Fabulous Wet-Start, No-Heat Fireworks, and in a tiny junk shop full of broken wands, lopsided brass scales, and old cloaks covered in potion stains they found Percy, deeply immersed in a small and deeply boring book called Prefects Who Gained Power.
"A study of Hogwarts prefects and their later careers," Ron read aloud off the back cover. "That sounds fascinating…"
"Go away," Percy snapped.
"'Course, he's very ambitious, Percy, he's got it all planned out… He wants to be Minister of Magic…" Ron told Harry and Hermione in an undertone as they left Percy to it.
An hour later, they headed for Flourish and Blotts.
They were by no means the only ones making their way to the bookshop.
As they approached it, they saw to their surprise a large crowd jostling outside the doors, trying to get in. The reason for this was proclaimed by a large banner stretched across the upper windows:
will be signing copies of his autobiography
today 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
"We can actually meet him!" Hermione squealed. "I mean, he's written almost the whole booklist!"
The crowd seemed to be made up mostly of witches around Mrs. Weasley's age. A harassed-looking wizard stood at the door, saying, "Calmly, please, ladies… Don't push, there… mind the books, now…"
Harry, Ron, Key, Makai, and Hermione squeezed inside.
A long line wound right to the back of the shop, where Gilderoy Lockhart was signing his books.
They each grabbed a copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2 and sneaked up the line to where the rest of the Weasleys were standing with Mr. and Mrs. Granger.
"Oh, there you are, good," said Mrs. Weasley.
Mrs. Weasley sounded breathless and kept patting her hair. "We'll be able to see him in a minute…"
Gilderoy Lockhart came slowly into view, seated at a table surrounded by large pictures of his own face, all winking and flashing dazzlingly white teeth at the crowd.
The real Lockhart was wearing robes of forget-me-not blue that exactly matched his eyes; his pointed wizard's hat was set at a jaunty angle on his wavy hair.
A short, irritable-looking man was dancing around taking photographs with a large black camera that emitted puffs of purple smoke with every blinding flash.
"Out of the way, there," he snarled at Ron, moving back to get a better shot. "This is for the Daily Prophet—"
"Hey watch it", said Key, then steps on the man's foot.
"Ow!" replies The man.
"Thank you", said Ron, rubbing his foot where the photographer had stepped on it.
Gilderoy Lockhart heard him. He looked up. He saw Ron—and then he saw Harry and Key. He stared. Then he leapt to his feet and positively shouted, "It can't be Harry Potter and Key Walker?"
The crowd parted, whispering excitedly; Lockhart dived forward, seized Harry and Key's arm, and pulled them to the front. The crowd burst into applause.
Harry and Key are shown shaking Lockhart's hands and the photographer is clicking away madly, wafting thick smoke over the Weasleys.
"Nice big smile, Harry and Key," said Lockhart, through his own gleaming teeth. "Together, you two and I are worth the front page."
"Ow!" complained Harry.
"Here", said Key.
Key heals Harry's hand.
"Awww!" replies the crowd.
Key and Harry tried to get back to the Weasleys and Makai, but Lockhart stopped them.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Lockhart said loudly, waving for quiet. "What an extraordinary moment this is! The perfect moment for me to make a little announcement I've been sitting on for some time! When young Harry and Key here stepped into Flourish and Blotts today, they only wanted to buy my autobiography—which I shall be happy to present them now, free of charge—"
The crowd applauded again.
"They had no idea," Lockhart continued, giving Harry a little shake that made his glasses slip to the end of his nose,
Lockhart shakes Key's hand as well.
"That he would shortly be getting much, much more than my book, Magical Me. Them and their schoolmates will, in fact, be getting the real magical me. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have great pleasure and pride in announcing that this September, I will be taking up the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!" Replies Lockhart.
The crowd cheered and clapped
Harry and Key have the entire works of Gilderoy Lockhart.
Makai uses her magic to make the books levitate.
Harry and Key stand by the Weasleys.
"Bet you loved that, didn't you, Potter and Walker?" said a voice Harry had no trouble recognizing.
Key and Harry sees Draco Malfoy.
"Famous Cousins making the front page, so annoying", said Veronica.
"Back off", said Makai.
"Well, look who it is", said Veronica.
Ginny is glaring at Malloy.
"Potter, you've got yourself a girlfriend!" drawled Malfoy.
Ginny went scarlet as Ron and Hermione fought their way over, both clutching stacks of Lockhart's books.
"Oh, it's you," said Ron, looking at Malfoy as if he were something unpleasant on the sole of his shoe. "Bet you're surprised to see Harry here, eh?"
"Not as surprised as I am to see you in a shop, Weasley," retorted Malfoy. "I suppose your parents will go hungry for a month to pay for all those."
Ron went as red as Ginny. He dropped his books into the cauldron, too, and started toward Malfoy, but Key put Ron in a bubble.
"Hey", said Ron.
"What is going on?" asked Mr. Weasley, struggling over with Fred and George. "What are you doing? It's too crowded in here, let's go outside."
"Well, well, well—Arthur Weasley."
It was Mr. Malfoy. He stood with his hand on Draco's shoulder, sneering in just the same way.
"Lucius," said Mr. Weasley, nodding coldly.
"Busy time at the Ministry, I hear," said Mr. Malfoy. "All those raids… I hope they're paying you overtime?"
He reached into Ginny's cauldron and extracted, from amid the glossy Lockhart books, a very old, very battered copy of A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration.
"Obviously not," Mr. Malfoy said. "Dear me, what's the use of being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don't even pay you well for it?"
Mr. Weasley flushed darker than either Ron or Ginny.
"We have a very different idea of what disgraces the name of wizard, Malfoy," he said.
"Clearly," said Mr. Malfoy, his pale eyes straying to Mr. and Mrs. Granger, who were watching apprehensively. "The company you keep, Weasley… and I thought your family could sink no lower—"
There was a thud of metal as Ginny's cauldron went flying; Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at Mr. Malfoy, knocking him backward into a bookshelf.
Dozens of heavy spellbooks came thundering down on all their heads; there was a yell of, "Get him, Dad!" from Fred or George;
Mrs. Weasley was shrieking, "No, Arthur, no!"; the crowd stampede backward, knocking more shelves over;
"Gentlemen, please—please!" cried the assistant, and then, louder than all—"
Key and Makai lift Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Weasley.
"Mr. Weasley, he's not worth it", said Makai.
Mr. Weasley takes a deep breath and says "Okay, please let down".
"And me as well", said Mr. Malfoy.
Makai put Mr. Weasley down, Key puts Mr. Malloy down, then makes him hit the bookcase.
"Oops! My finger slipped", Key laughed.
Fred, George, Ginny, and Ron laugh as well.
Mr. Malfoy was still holding Ginny's old Transfiguration book. He thrust it at her, his eyes glittering with malice.
"Here, girl—take your book—it's the best your father can give you—" said Mr. Malfoy.
Mr. Malfoy walks to Draco and goes out of the shop.
"Yeh should've ignored him, Arthur," said Hagrid.
"Thanks Key and Makai", said Mrs. Weasley.
"No problem", said Key.
"We didn't do much", said Makai.
The assistant looked as though he wanted to stop them from leaving, but he barely came up to Hagrid's waist and seemed to think better of it. They hurried up the street, the Grangers shaking with fright and Mrs. Weasley beside herself with fury.
"A fine example to set for your children… brawling in public… what Gilderoy Lockhart must've thought—" said Mrs. Weasley.
"He was pleased," said Fred. "Didn't you hear him as we were leaving? He was asking that bloke from the Daily Prophet if he'd be able to work the fight into his report—said it was all publicity—"
But it was a subdued group that headed back to the fireside in the Leaky Cauldron, where Harry, Key, Makai, the Weasleys, and all their shopping would be traveling back to the Burrow using Floo powder. They said good-bye to the Grangers, who were leaving the pub for the Muggle street on the other side; Mr. Weasley started to ask them how bus stops worked, but stopped quickly at the look on Mrs. Weasley's face.
Harry and Key took off their glasses before using floo powder.