Mr. Weasley wakes everyone early and herds them out of the campsite. They get an early Portkey, land back on the hill, and walk toward the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley meets them in the lane in tears with a copy of the Daily Prophet article about "scenes of terror." She hugs Fred and George tightly and apologizes for her behavior the day before. When everyone is in the kitchen, Mr. Weasley scans the Prophet article, which was written by Rita Skeeter, and sees that she wrote about rumors of bodies. Annoyed, he notes that there were no bodies but now there will definitely be rumors. He and Percy leave for work at the Ministry.
Mr. Weasley's interpretation of what Rita Skeeter's article has done shows that he understands the power of the media to influence how people interpret events: because Skeeter is a known journalist writing in a well-known newspaper, she's able to shape reality by writing things like this that question what actually happened.
Harry asks Mrs. Weasley if Hedwig has arrived and when he learns she hasn't, he asks Hermione and Ron to accompany him upstairs. There, he tells them about his scar hurting a few nights ago, but leaves out that Voldemort is planning to kill him. Harry notes that this falls into line with Trelawney's prediction last year that Voldemort would return with the help of his servant, Wormtail. He says he's expecting a letter from Sirius and feels very worried. Ron suggests a game of Quidditch and Harry jumps at the chance.
Harry's questioning of whether he should take Trelawney seriously shows that he's beginning to expand his horizons and understand that a variety of different people have valuable things to say, even if those people don't seem particularly trustworthy from the outset.
Mr. Weasley and Percy are at work much of the next week. One evening, when Percy is home and Mr. Weasley is at work, Percy insinuates that Mr. Weasley has to work harder to make up for making an "unwise" public statement, but Bill calmly notes that Rita Skeeter would've made Mr. Weasley look bad in the paper no matter what he said. Mr. Weasley arrives home moments later and as he eats his dinner, he tells everyone that Skeeter has finally learned that Bertha Jorkins is missing and so is making trouble.
Percy's assessment of Mr. Weasley's statement shows that he's becoming more like Mr. Crouch than Mrs. Weasley would probably like him to be. This reinforces that young people, even when they're in their late teens like Percy is, are vulnerable to influence from all manner of individuals--and that that can be a bad thing, depending on who they're around.
Mr. Weasley notes that it's lucky Rita Skeeter hasn't found out what happened with Winky, which sparks an argument on house-elf welfare between Hermione and Percy. Mrs. Weasley breaks it up by sending everyone upstairs to pack. Harry worries out loud about Sirius as he packs underwear and his new books into his trunk. Ron unwraps a parcel containing what looks like a maroon velvet dress, complete with lace cuffs and collar. Mrs. Weasley arrives with more laundry and explains that the garment is dress robes. Harry opens his dress robes; they're the same style as his school robes but green. Ron is distraught and Mrs. Weasley shouts that she didn't have much choice, since Ron's robes are secondhand. Embarrassed, Harry looks away.
Percy's agreement with Mr. Crouch firing Winky shows that he's already bought into the idea that the way that house-elves live in Wizarding society is good and normal. Given what the reader has seen of house-elves at this point, Percy's acceptance of the system functions to make Hermione look more righteous and as though she has the right idea, while Percy looks like he's following along with the old guard. It is worth noting that given Percy's trajectory, he has no reason to question things: he could one day have a house-elf of his own if he's successful at the Ministry.