Harry Potter, famed for finally defeating Voldemort, was on the list to be checked for suitability to be appointed as an Auror. In later years he sometimes went back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to help teach Defence against the Dark Arts. But before that, he went there during the summer holiday after the big battle against Voldemort to help in repairs and tidying matters. Hermione (née Granger) and her husband Ron Weasley came with him. Harry Apparated from his new address at 12 Grimmauld Place in London to Hogsmeade and walked to the school. Alistair MacAtholl, the current headmaster, came to meet him: Minerva McGonagall had acted as headmistress for a while, but had wanted to go back to being deputy head and teaching as soon as could be.
"I see you've got on well with repairing the damage caused by the big battle." Harry said. He already knew about the desperate emergency measures to run the end-of-year OWLS and NEWT examinations after the havoc of the occupation and battle; the students had had to be kept at school eleven days into their holidays, but the exams were all held, many of them in marquees in the grounds. Hermione planned to re-take her 6th and 7th school years, having missed most of them while she, with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, were doing what they could against Voldemort. Dumbledore could read minds: an ability called Legilimens: it detected many persistent bullyings by mind-reading bullied students who were too scared to tell a teacher what was being done, and thankfully let him stop them; the school was looking for a new teacher with Legilimens.
"All the dead have been taken away by their relatives for burial: except Voldemort:" Alistair said, "nobody'll admit to being related to him, and I don't want his grave to be a shrine for people trying to continue the Death Eaters under a new leader. In the end we'll likely have to burn his body and drop the ashes into the deep Atlantic Ocean. I'm letting any 6th and 7th years who got poor marks or failed because of the disruption, take the year again if they or their parents want it. I know you'd say it's not a good idea, but we had to keep the Elder Wand and not re-bury it with Dumbledore.
"We'll need its power to finish some of the heavy reconstruction before term starts, and we may need it to break into the Room of Requirement in its storage mode which caused so much trouble, and you're the only one who can use it properly, since it seems that you're its master. It had been Dumbledore's usual wand, and he was its master. That place'll need properly cleaning out: that Fiendfyre blaze had consumed much stored clutter, but nothing like all: after you and your two mates flew out and let the door shut, the room's storage mode became a "preserved alternate form" and the fire ran out of oxygen shut in there. Nine days after the battle someone went in there furtively to hide a wand before Priori Incantatem would have shown what he had used it for, and he suffocated. Luckily he'd left the room's door ajar propped open; two sixth-years had to go in with Bubblehead charms to rescue him. We had to leave the door propped wide open a long time to let the room ventilate, it made the school reek of burning, and authority saw at last what a clutter had accumulated in there, so we've kept the door propped wide open all the time after that. It's time that lot was cleared out and see what it all is, before it causes any more trouble, and I reckon that each current headmaster should have the power to inspect in there. Merlin alone knows what's in there that's accumulated down the centuries, judging by what people have seen so far. It was that transport cabinet that Draco Malfoy was working on hid in there that let the Death Eaters in.".
"OK, but that wand's trouble, and the sooner it's out of everybody's reach, the better. I'll use it as little as need be." said Harry.
This was being done, another job on top of many jobs. A conveyor-belt-type spell was steadily clearing everything out onto a lawn: the endlessly piled relics of matters hidden from teachers or from other students, or hidden by teachers, guilty secrets, furtive plots, damaged equipment that the culprit wanted to evade accusation for, personal property hidden from authorized confiscation or from theft by other students, or merely stored as surplus, including much school furniture surplus or awaiting repair or ridding of spells. Harry knew what he had been involved in, and about Draco Malfoy and the transport cabinet; how many more such matters had happened in the many centuries since the Four Wizards set up Hogwarts School on the site of an abandoned fort called Hoggvar-virki which a Viking shipboard-nicknamed Hoggvi and his men had built, or taken over and named, on a rock hill by a lake in Scotland?
With most of the objects, all parties in the matter were long dead and the matter was old history. A broken important-looking wooden chair: how had it been broken? Used as a weapon in a fight? Dropped out of a window? Jumped on too heavily? Magic? Or what? There was no way of knowing after so long. Dendrochronology may say when, unless the chair or its wood was already old when the damage happened; but its wood's very even regular grain pattern with all annual rings the same width showed that it was created by magic. Each object had to be checked for spells on them, and sorted into usable and rubbish and dangerous. Using the Elder Wand he found, and thankfully not the hard way, that one innocent-looking small book had a spell on it that imprinted a particular nasty image into its reader's brain, who then understood the meaning of nothing else that he saw after that; Harry summarily incinerated it; he wondered if there was a way to de-magic-ify some of the more twisted-minded people who make that sort of thing.
Snape's 'special' Potions textbook had survived. A table with a Cruciatus impact burn on it might have been evidence to incriminate culprits, if it had been found 250 years sooner. A bundle of five broomsticks: a scrap of Muggle-type paper tied round one of them showed that they were involved in a furtive trade a bit over four centuries ago. ("Muggle" in Harry Potter stories means "ordinary non-magical person".) A cardboard box of ancient songbird eggs: a furtive petty unauthorized collection; no magic was found on them, and a "How old?" spell said year 1813: sling them. A Charms textbook, safe to handle but 160 years out of date, with on its title page an invisible-ink message saying that it belonged to (derogatory nickname for some long-unidentified boy). Many items were part-burnt remains, as expected. A desk proved to have a spell that showed Potions information as blue words in the air, only if activated by a 17th-century boy named Peter Lilbourne, and only to his eyes; he needed the Elder Wand to find the details, but his own wand showed that there was some sort of information spell there; many such were found. A large wooden statue started running about grotesquely and lashing about at people with a stick, and proved able to block Incendio, but a teacher, having seen the fire-starting effect of Cruciatus hitting wood, used it to stop the statue for long enough for Harry to levitate it and throw it on a fire. The risk of the fire making Ashwinders was another intruding complication. And so on, until sleepiness forced bedtime; the job continued next day.
In the burnt-out area Alistair found calcined human bones: he swept them up and put them in a box and worked out how most comfortingly to word the inevitable distressing letter to Vincent Crabbe's parents: one copy with the next supplies and mail delivery to Azkaban, and one to Vincent's mother, who had not taken part in the action and was still free.
As Harry was stretching to get the kinks out of his back, he was approached by two young men who he recognized as Stephen Philp and Thomas Wild: they had been Hufflepuffs, a year before Harry. Stephen asked a query about supply of food to Hogwarts kitchens. Not the most convenient time, but they may as well be attended to then as later. During the discussion, Thomas mentioned the time needed to amass a food order and fetch it from Old Heathrow.
"Oh, that explains where. I've been wondering where the food came from." said Ron, "Seems like someone had it imported to Terminal 1 there, paid for it, found a room where nobody was looking, and Disapparated with it to here. Or he found what he needed and belonging to someone, cast a Duplication spell, took a copy and left a copy, both copies are the same and as good, and everybody's happy. Magic can't make new food, but it can multiply existing food, if you know the spell, or so the textbooks seemed to say.".
"I've heard that name a few times." Harry said, "I had more to do than go into the details of school food catering, what with schoolwork and Quidditch and keeping track of Voldemort and the Malfoy gang and so on.".
"Unless there's somewhere else with the same name, same as there's a village in Kent called Leeds, as well as the usual Leeds." said Ron.
"It isn't any of those. We live there. We'll take you there later." Stephen said.
Harry was still a bit surprised at two wizards living on an airport, unless someone (probably an aeroplane enthusiast) had named his house after an airport. He had once sneaked a look in one of his cousin Dudley's books and in it read a science fiction story where spacemen on an alien planet hacked an airstrip out of alien semidesert bush and jocularly named it Heathrow, and the name had stuck. But Alistair MacAtholl came wanting his attention.
"That battle made a real mess in the Forest." Alistair said, "First we knew was when Minerva heard an Avada Kedavra from there: strangely, it was in Hagrid's voice and sounded not triumphant or casual but upset. She went and looked. The victim was a hopelessly deformed newborn unicorn foal that could never have walked: back kinked and too long, legs at wrong angles, head with great bone lumps on, no eyes. Hagrid said, nearly in tears, that it was a mercy-killing, the third such foal since the battle. The first time, he'd Transfigured it into a normal unicorn foal, but it grew on hopelessly wrong. One normal-looking unicorn foal was born meanwhile, but it grew three horns; he let it live. He'd also had to Imperius their mothers to make them go away for a while and not see what he was doing to their foals. He doesn't like people who cast Unforgivables, and he was in a shocked state at having to cast two of them himself. In the end someone found a broken magic jewel stone in the wood, and brought it to my office, and the trouble stopped. I reckon it's that bring-images-of-the-dead-back stone that Harry lost in the battle. It was trouble all along, and worse after Voldemort used it as a Horcrux.".
Harry's next job was helping to repair fallen parts of the castle's outside walls where giants and Death Eater spells had attacked it: that was mostly merely a very high-powered Reparo'ing job, and with the Elder Wand Harry got through the job in a day: massive fallen stones flew back up into their places. The four House points counters had to be repaired, starting with Accio'ing all the spilt precious stones that had fallen out of them. Only the Elder Wand proved able to repair the burn damage to the Sorting Hat, and it also repaired centuries of accumulated wear and tear, and the Hat looked nearly new afterwards, but it could still sort and talk when next term started in time as usual. The events were logged in the school's records, and gradually went back into history.
"Now that's over at last, thank God." said Stephen Philp to Harry at the start-of-term dinner. Thomas Wild sat next to him. We've time to fly back: the weather's hot and dry, and my car's in London. It should be safer than when you three rode that dragon from Gringott's to Scotland. We can take you to my house, it's called Heathrow Hall, in the west edge of London. Gringott's staff are still in a scared state, particularly after MacAtholl and Kingsley Shacklebolt (he's the new Minister) read the riot act to them about their customs about valuables. and the extra risks they caused Harry and Ron and Hermione getting Helga Hufflepuff's cup and not having Gryffindor's sword when they needed it.".
They flew to London and landed and got to Stephen's car, which was in the Ministry of Magic's garage in central London; The Ministry is underground and Muggles cannot find the lift down into it from a backstreet. They set off west, through the crowded western inner suburbs and onto the Bath Road and towards Heathrow Airport. The houses and shops and offices went on endlessly, but they at last got through Cranford and crossed the Crane river and reached the airport area. It looked far from attractive and far from magical, with the clutter that collects around airports: offices, hotels, car parks, service buildings, warehouses, and suchlike. As expected, some of them were called Heathrow this-or-that, even some unrelated to flying and some way from the airport, such as the Heathrow Garden Centre at the north end of Sipson village. Presumably Heathrow Hall was one of them, but it was not the best area for something needing secrecy and being away from Muggles.
Much of this part of west London had been built on some of the best farmland in Britain: soil that developed over a deposit called brickearth, because it is a mixture of silt and clay suitable for baking into bricks. Unfortunately that, and the underlying gravel (both derived from Ice Age melt washout deposits), attracted quarries, and the unstoppable metastasis spread of London steadily covered it in buildings. In 1944 the centre of what was left of the southwest Middlesex County market-gardening area was taken over on false excuse of war emergency and replaced by Heathrow Airport, bypassing the usual planning procedure for something that size. As another example, north of the Bath Road, some time after 1968 Sipson Farm, formerly very productive, lost its farm buildings area to mass housing and its fields were left to go back to the jungle.
A bit east of the main airport entry for cars, on the south side of the Bath Road, there is an old pub called The Three Magpies, a rare survival from the old days. An entry on its east side led to its car park. Harry saw that the entry was at an angle: unusual, with entries between closely-packed buildings. Stephen turned in. On its right was the pub's car park. At its end was a high wall and beyond that wall a jumble of car parks and airport service buildings, and a thundering noise of a jet engine being tested on the ground.
"Uhh?" Harry asked, "I wasn't planning to waste a day drinking in a Muggle pub?" Harry queried.
"Hang on." Stephen said, and slowed, and said something. A large airliner flew low over, distracting anyone watching with its speed and jet blast noise. Ahead the high wall seemed to open like a gate; he sensed a strong "do not notice" spell directed at any Muggles around. Stephen drove through. The city and plane noise stopped. He saw and heard no sign of airport or city or car park. On the left were some cottages, and fruit orchard around and behind them. On the right was a small lake with a wooded island, which had started as one of the several small pits where local people had dug brickearth and gravel for their own use, and behind it was more orchard. When the orchards stopped, fields stretched into the distance, except where his view was blocked by more fruit orchards, some with gooseberries or raspberries growing under the trees. He recognised ripening wheat and oats and several sorts of vegetable crops. A sign of the sort found on entering a village said "Heathrow". Ahead near on the right was an 18th-century two-storey brick farmhouse, with two front bay windows, and a big cedar tree near its northeast corner, and several old outbuildings behind it and past it. Chickens ran about. A sign in front of it said "Heathrow Hall" and its owner's name. Thomas stopped there and got out and went into the house. "I'll help get ready while you take Harry round. Dinner at six p.m." he called out of the door.
"Why ever name this place after the airport?" Harry asked.
"No, the airport was named after this place. This area is Heathrow as it was. Heathrow was a small farming and market-gardening village, very quiet and peaceful so near London. In 1944 the airport took its land and its name, and the contractors demolished every building and grubbed out every tree and bush and hedge. Except 24 smallholdings at the west end: Burrows Hill Close Estate and Bedfont Court Estate; the airport couldn't get at them because the sewage works was in the way, and that smelly but strong and solid protecter kept them safe for 57 years after the rest of Heathrow village was gone; but when the airport got hold of the sewage works and built Terminal 5 instead, that was the end of them also.". Stephen drove on, past other farms and cottages, mostly on the right of the road. "This road was once an edge of Hounslow Heath, and this is a row of farm houses, whence the name Heathrow." he said.
They passed Palmer's Farm on their right, and opposite it an old brickworks; likely most of the area's bricks were made in the area.
Soon after, a lane called Cain's Lane forked off to the left, past a plant nursery with greenhouses, and Heathrow Road curved to the right past more farms and cottages, some of them half-timbered;
view between the fork was blocked by a big closely-planted orchard with a thick undergrowth of soft fruit bushes and razor-wire-like big cultivated blackberries:
from memories of furtively reading his cousin Dudley's Tolkien books he was tempted to nickname it "Mirkwood the Great".
Harry wished that he could come back with a camera in fruit blossom time. A bit later, High Tree Lane joined from the left, with a wide junction with a triangle of grass inside.
"A man called Isaac Cane owned land there once, and someone couldn't spell." Stephen said, "Cain's Lane goes into Feltham, Muggle place. They only see its south end.
If they try to come here along it, it runs to a dead end against the Great South-West Road, and opposite is a locked airport back entry gate.
Wizards, if they know how, can get through the central crash-barrier and the gate and drive into Old Heathrow, like we did to get into Heathrow Road at the pub.
Same with Oaks Road in Stanwell: for Muggles it stops; for us it runs on, to Perry Oaks farm: that's ahead: we're coming to it. It's got many outbuildings.
Its main farmhouse was built in Elizabeth I's time.
The right fork here is Tithe Barn Lane: it goes north and comes out on the Bath Road, and Muggles can't find it. Those are the four ways into Old Heathrow.
In the Muggle old Heathrow, High Tree Lane came out on a road called Long Lane east of Stanwell, but four local entries are enough to have to keep secure.
*** For the real-world history of Heathrow before the airport came in 1944, see the Wikipedia page at this link.
"In the big war Voldemort tried to get in but couldn't. The Minister of Magic, it was Fudge then, sent a lot of Dementors here to try to help us defend the area, but he sent them without rations to eat and they got hungry and depressed us so badly "feeding" that they made the area feel like Azkaban and stopped us from thinking straight to defend the area. We pleaded with them to be careful when feeding, but they took no notice, so we had to chase them off, and they wandered about London making a load of fog and depression until Voldemort died.".
"How come this Old Heathrow's here now?" Harry asked.
Stephen explained: "Two of the main farming families here were the Philps and the Wilds. They had farmed in Heathrow for at least 300 years. One of the Philps and one of the Wilds were wizarding, both Muggle-born. When the contractors came to destroy Heathrow village and farms and replace it by an airport - the Air Minister 'misled the House', and also misled the Cabinet, to get the plan through in wartime, said it was for warplanes - Winston Churchill didn't like this usage of men's time and fuel in wartime in the run-up to D-Day, and the Minister of Agriculture didn't like losing all this good farmland, but they could only delay the airport plan, not stop it, and Churchill had many other things to do in the war, and they believed what the Air Minister said - and nothing else could stop it: those two wizards and others put all their magic together and made a copy of the area and put it aside from the Muggle world, somewhat like with Diagon Alley. It didn't copy any people who were on site: our magic can't do that, but it copied all buildings and property. (Another wizarding-only area that works a bit like this area, is the dragon reserve in Sweden between Arjeplog and Kopparberg.)
"Much food that British Wizards eat comes from here. Better than having to use their time getting Muggle money to buy food.
We made some changes in our copy of this area: Fairey Aviation's airfield west of Cain's Lane is back to farmland, but we kept their hangar as farm produce storage.;
Gamble's Farm and Lowe's Farm are now back being separate farms: Fairey Aviation had bought them.
We didn't copy the Perry Oaks sewage works, and the area is now partly back to orchard and partly farmland.
We copied Heathrow School in the village a bit east of Perry Oaks. The original was opened in 1877 on the north side of the Bath Road, it was NOT named after the airport.
We need a primary school for our children before they are old enough for Hogwarts.
We replaced the "Mission Room" in Cain's Lane by a proper church: it's quicker than going to Harmondsworth.
This is what John Wild (he was a Muggle) wrote in 1944 when the Air Ministry turned him out of Croft House farm on the north end of Cain's Lane with little warning:-
- (Authorship information: John Wild existed in reality and he wrote this poem, and I am merely quoting it: Author.)
LAMENT FOR HEATHROW 1944
We shall remember thee in days to come
Before the ruthless hand of man had spoiled
When sweet peace lingered on thy country brow,
The day when sound of plover lulled thee,
The night when screech owl loved thy lonely shade
We shall remember thee although the time
Of visitation great had come!
No longer is there peace within thy gates
That peace which was thy birthright. Now they come
They strip the wealth and riches from the soil
Although most fertile land in all the south,
But now the tyrant’s hand has claimed thee,
Cruel progress could not pass unheeding by.
Soon will be nought to mark thy hedges trim-
No hedge, no tree, no wayside flowerets fair-
Naught that is lovely left. Oh woe the day!
Long years have passed since Rome raised camp on thee,
And yet they passed and left thee undisturbed
Hadst thou a voice couldst tell us of thy past,
But now men want to rob of all thy grace
Full comely thou dost seem as we must go
And so "Goodbye" – a long last farewell.
For some short time the larks may still come home-
The weasel, mole and field mouse tunnel round;
Yet as the circling days go swiftly by
Soon will be gone all traces of the past
Save in our memories fond – we still
"In the Muggle world we'd be going through buildings down the east and south sides of the main terminals area. There's nothing left on the surface. What's left of Heathrow Hall's under grass and taxiways south of the north runway; after a hot dry period there's a few cropmarks on a grass patch there.".
Stephen turned the car round in Perry Oaks's front drive and set off back. Up to 1944 Heathrow village had been part of the Muggle world, quiet and rural and away from railways and main roads, and it is on old Muggle maps. Back then, far fewer had cars, and most had to bicycle, and some used old-type motorcycles with slow-revving engines, to travel with personal transport faster than walking, which is why The Magpies pub near the south end of Hatton Road was renamed The Cyclist's Rest. Some of them "turned down at the Three Magpies", or went through Hatton and along Cain's Lane, and got to Heathrow and its rural peace and spread-out productive farms and market-gardens, but it is reckoned that from 1935 to 1939 more than half of the visitors to Heathrow were to the flying display and garden party that Fairey Aviation held once a year on their airfield.
Here, the old had been preserved; but Harry could see that this copy of it had changed since it became a wizards-only area, like Hogsmeade but bigger: prices of produce on roadside stalls were in Galleons and Sickles and Knuts; people used magic openly, such as Accio to get weeds out of land. The Plough and Harrow pub among the farms in the middle of the area now sold Butterbeer as well as usual drinks. As they stopped at Heathrow Hall someone with a Lancashire accent still using "thou" (which she pronounced "tha") in her speech Apparated in nearby to buy vegetables and eggs and a roasting chicken.
"This area has its limits:" Stephen continued, "The north edge is the north side of the Bath Road: what looks like more countryside past up to Harmondsworth and Sipson is an illusion, like the apparent open sky in the ceiling of the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Sorry about that, but there was a limit to what could be made at the time. This copy goes east to the river Crane, and roughly to the airport's south perimeter road and the river Colne. We made a new access road along the south perimeter. There's more than strictly Heathrow here: along Hatton Road they copied the north part of Hatton, and the part south of the Duke of Northumberland's River was in Stanwell parish, and there's some Longford territory in the northwest corner. Our Hatton Road is still complete, and the houses along it: The Limes, The Cedars, Hatton Gore, the Dog and Partridge, the Cyclist's Rest, the farms, they're still all there; in the Muggle copy these were pulled down in 1949 or before, and the north part runs bare across grass past the east end of the north runway, and the south part is now part of the service area internal road called Eastchurch Road; except a short stump at each end.
"After the big salvage, it left only those two to run our copy of the area, plus a few wizarding people who came in wanting a country life. The two each married a girl from a wizarding family, and they had many children here, and so did the incomers, but some of the land rather ran wild before their children got enough to keep the land tidy, but their magic helped a lot.".
"The airport's history talks about the job of pioneering on an empty site when they started, in the desolation that the bulldozers and digger-scrapers had left. After destroying so many good buildings, the airport's first departure lounge was a large khaki Army-type tent. We had to pioneer, also; we would have let any other people displaced from the old Muggle Heathrow come in here, but the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy didn't allow it. It was upsetting seeing all the personal possessions left in the houses and the airfield hangar, but we had to remind ourselves: 'This stuff is copies; the owners still have their originals.'. At least there's still Philps and Wilds in Heathrow village.".
"Four days ago I had a look back at Little Whinging." Harry said, "I went on my Firebolt: someone accio'ed it and kept it for me, and brought it back to me after the battle. The Dursleys have gone and there's new people at 4 Privet Drive now. Vernon Dursley worked for a firm called Grunnings: they make drills. I asked at Grunnings but they said they didn't know where he is.
"Sirius's motorcycle is working again and back to normal size. It's a 1959 Triumph 650 T 120 Bonneville, 649cc engine. I've got it at home. When Hagrid had it, to fit him he enlarged it to twice as big each way, that's 8 times the volume, that's about 5.2 liters, that's as big as some trucks."
"At that size I prefer not to think about the quantity of carbon-monoxidey gas that its exhaust pipe would phutphutphut backwards." someone said.
It was still over an hour to dinner, and Harry had a look around. A distant call of "Accio blackfly!" showed that someone had a poison-free answer to that bane of growing broad beans. Time passed. Birds sang. A kestrel flew down and sat on something on the ground and started to feed. As Old Heathrow was a limited enclosed area, it was easy to clear it of foxes and keep it clear, and chickens could scratch about and big domestic ducks could dredge about with one less major pest. In recent years an occasional urban fox followed a car or cart or wagon in, but was detected and caught before it could learn how to hunt and kill in countryside. The only rabbits were in hutches to eat old cabbage stems and suchlike to breed and make meat.
It was hot and dry, and a nearby wheat field was being harvested. Out of sight of Muggles, magic made the job much easier. A man standing on a big light blue plastic sheet called "Accio wheat seeds.", aiming in various directions, until all the wheat seeds (and no weed seeds) in range had come out of the ears and were on the sheet to be shoveled into sacks. The magic had to be quite strong to pull the seeds off their attachments in the ears. A horse harnessed to a cart stood grazing on understory vegetation growing under the wheat where he had already harvested. "Accio other seeds." cleared the area of all weed seeds, leaving none to grow into weed next year, without filling the soil with poisonous weedkiller. Secondary sorting would separate edible weed seed species (for his chickens and horse) from poisonous (for burning). The standing straw would be reaped later.
"Avada Kedavra!". The sound of the words burst into Harry's thoughts with memory of old battles and fears. He jumped up in alarm, drew his wand, and ran towards a man where he had heard it from; but on the ground lay dead merely a large part-Alsatian mongrel dog and a sheep whose throat was torn open by fangs. It was the man who had been harvesting, but he was now in another field. "Well I never, it's Harry Potter. What are you doing here? I shouldn't be showing that I can do that one." said the man, who Harry did not know, "I'm Derek Philp, Perrott's Farm. That's a Muggle town stray dog, likely it followed a car in, it started killing sheep. And, another of my sheep's missing, my daughter said it just vanished when that dog chased it. We don't need that sort of thing. Uncontrolled dogs are a £$%^&. People need reminding to be careful, at the next meeting. On top of, my son went to sleep in a field when he should have been watching the sheep for any starting to lamb: they're on three lambings each two years. When I woke him he said that he dreamed of luggage going past on moving belts, endlessly without stopping. He said that he didn't know that so much luggage could exist.".
After that anticlimax it was nearly time for dinner, and Harry went back to the Hall. Thomas Wild met him at the door. A delicious smell and sound of goose roasting drifted in from the kitchen. It was soon brought in, and carved fresh hot, and with it plenty of roast potato with their outsides properly crisp and brown, and boiled broad beans, and after it a large steamed pudding: just what is needed after a hard day on the farm. Outside, two Shire carthorses were tucking into a big feed of oats and chaff ready to haul a big delivery of vegetables to Fairey's.
As they ate, Thomas explained matters: "One thing we miss here split off from the Muggle world, that my ancestors did before the airport came, is taking the produce to market in London: the 14-mile journey, took 6 hours at loaded 2-horse-wagon speed: load up and harness the horses when most men except poachers and gamekeepers were thinking of bed, set off at 10 o'clock at night in all weathers and whether or not there was enough moon to see by, past Heathrow Hall, right turn at the Three Magpies, past Harlington Corner, 4 miles to Hounslow, then Isleworth, Brentford, along the Thames for a bit, Gunnersbury, Hammersmith, Knightsbridge, all dark and silent and everybody in bed: all these were once country villages with farmland between, but every year there were more building sites and the houses started sooner, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly, and by back streets that we knew to Covent Garden vegetable and fruit market at last, and hope to be there when the market opened, to get the best prices and hope to sell well. And load up with city horse manure (cleaned off the roads and out of stables) for the farm in time to get home before dark: city cleansing was thankful to be rid of it. It was less travel to stop and sell at Brentford market, but the prices there weren't as good. Go north to West Drayton and take the goods by railway?: no, cost too much, trains at wrong times, won't let us ride in the railway wagon with the goods to guard them, and they've still got to be carted from Paddington Station or some goods station to Covent Garden; forget it. Easier with cattle and sheep for Smithfield in London: after 1868 there was a railway right into the place, and after a few pints bought for people the station staff at West Drayton (it was a village back then) stopped being balky about letting our men ride with their animals.
"Even Piccadilly was once the west edge of London, whence the name, some say. Someone in the 17th century wrote that a plant called the viper's bugloss [Echium vulgare] grew in the sandy lanes around Piccadilly - imagine that now!
"Lorries made it much quicker: at first slow steam-powered things, then petrol and diesel, they were faster, we could get part of a night's sleep in first. But all those cars and lorries on the roads meant much less horse manure for us; but they built the big sewage sludge works west of Perry Oaks. Perry Oaks farm lost a lot of orchard, but sewage sludge from there was good manure for us, right on our doorstep, and the horses bringing the wagons back from market could go unloaded so quicker and easier.
"But now we are 'in the realm of hidden things', only wizarding people can come, often to our doors to buy food direct, and big consignments go to the old Fairey's hangar and are delivered or collected in various ways. No point us routinely going out the exits and selling in Muggle towns around: if we come and go too much, after a while people'd start wondering who we are and where we come from and disappear to.".
After the meal they finished loading the wagon, and the sun was nearly set. Dense ominous ranks of mare's-tails clouds were coming over from the west, so they got the wagon under cover. The house had spare bedrooms; Harry had one of them. The house had television; the area saw Muggle television via a cable run out through the Oaks Road exit; their television sets had to be shielded against magic.
Harry slept comfortably on a bed well stuffed with feathers from some of the many roasting chickens and old hens and ducks which the farm had sold down the years, if the customer wanted it plucking first. After a while he was less comfortable, and he found himself lying exposed on open concrete being rained on. He got colder and colder and shivered hard. Some sort of immobilizing spell stopped him from getting up to look for shelter or calling for help. Vehicles and aeroplanes went past, their drivers well sheltered. Rain pelted down. A cold wind swept the shelterless wet expanse. An airliner taxied over him. As it started to get light, a police van went past with lights and siren, and stopped. But the siren changed tone, and became one of the Hall's cockerels crowing, and he was comfortably back in the warm bed in Heathrow Hall; rain was pelting the window. He dismissed it as a dream and went back to sleep.
In the morning they had an early breakfast and harnessed the horses to the wagon, and set off. It was a bit under two-thirds of a mile, southeast, back to the junction and along Cain's Lane. The plodding of the horses seemed like a return to another age. To his left, northeast, was a view across flat countryside, originally copied from its Muggle equivalent, at first real, then past the Boundary an illusion of land further as it had been in 1944, including four (apparent) miles away a once-well-known big gasometer in Southall. No vibrating exhausty engine. The old hangar still had a notice on its door saying that it belonged to Fairey Aviation. They drove in and found the place, left the wagon by three other wagons with supplies for Hogwarts, fed their horses, and finished helping to load up. Thomas Disapparated.
While waiting, Harry saw in a corner of the hangar something completely non-matching - a large bulldozer, with all-crushing jointed steel tracks, inexorable-looking concave front blade, wide upwards diesel exhaust pipe, and well-protected driver's seat. "It was in the original hangar. The contractors brought it early ready to destroy everything," said Thomas, "and it got copied along with the area. Arthur Weasley looked at it a few times down the years and got it working: he was always fascinated by Muggle mechanical stuff. Its original and others like it in the Muggle world made short work of our good fruit orchards, just piled the trees along with the hedges and fences and wooden sheds to dry out and let the contractors' men burn them. That was the end of that Heathrow, and it's now an airport. But this Heathrow still exists, with all its farms and fields. What people in England call JCB's weren't around yet: Joseph Cyril Bamford started his firm in October 1945. He invented the backhoe, and there were none before that; he made the first in 1953.".
One of the wagons belonged to Perry Oaks. Its driver said that dreaming most nights of people endlessly going past to get onto aeroplanes, was bad enough, without having to cope with Dementors around also.
Eleven minutes later, Thomas re-Apparated from Hogwarts with Alistair MacAtholl. Alistair paid for the food, after some haggling.
They were about to leave when a cold feeling came, in the air and deep in their minds. Harry looked around for what he had faced before, and saw it, some time after he thought that such risks were gone. Three tall figures in ragged black cloaks, with thin scabbed arms, and deep rattling breathing, and deep hoods over their faces, and a metal platform with legs and sides (some men call it a stillage) with sides labelled "Azkaban Property". He drew and aimed his wand and got ready.
Stephen Philp seemed less alarmed. "Azkaban want their food delivery." he said, "They don't like being kept waiting. Things are still in a mess there and they're still short of men after what's happened: this is the third time in a run they've sent those things scaring us and not a man.".
He walked towards one of them; it handed him a piece of paper written on in Muggle-type ballpoint, and money for the expected goods. He read the list, saw by the flattened tails of descending letters that it had been written against a hard straightedge, likely by something that could not see and was somewhat unhandy with English, and shivered. He assembled the listed supplies that he had and stacked them on the stillage, and then said: "Three old ewes, likeliest for stew for the prisoners. Two fat lambs, likeliest for the Aurors. The animals are in a field next along southeast. Ten reams of A4 paper and 50 black or blue ballpoint pens: that'll need Muggle money and a trip Out to Stanwell. The shop'll probably have that much paper in, but I may have to get the shop to order the pens in specially to be collected later. Can't send Harry: he doesn't know Old Heathrow's entry spell yet.", and thought hard about where and why, and hoped that the unhuman buying agent would read his mind as it seemed that they could. Something probed his mind and left him badly depressed, but also left an image of urgency and imminent bad weather at sea. He recognized this as a strong hint for him to go with them and help to transship the load; this had happened before. He, and Harry and another with him, went to the field, and back with the five sheep asked for; they led them onto the stillage and tethered them. Four people had come to see the load go: one of them went back to his horse, galloped it down Cain's Lane to Gamble's Farm, dismounted, shooed his horse into a paddock, quickly got into a red car, and drove it a a fair bit more than the Muggle town speed limit to Perry Oaks and turned left to the southwest exit and Muggle Stanwell. Best not to annoy Azkaban.
Stephen got on the stillage with the consignment and the Dementors, and it Disapparated with him, to a hidden-to-Muggles boat pier on the north Yorkshire coast. The Muggles in the area sometimes call the place Devil's Cove, detecting sometimes that something comes there. One of Azkaban's work boats was there, and he helped to load it. The boat's steersman was thankfully human, an Azkaban Auror, this time. Stephen got in the boat and endured the voyage: the boat went silently without motor noise, and stayed remarkably level in the waves. Some sort of waterproofing spell kept waves from getting in the boat, as if it had a transparent roof. In the endless grey cold sea the feared prison island of endless hopeless life in a cell appeared vaguely and small and soon became nearer and clearer, until the boat went under the prison wall into a covered boat dock. Many condemned in trials in the Ministry had endured this voyage with dread and little hope that they would ever travel the reverse voyage and see the island shrink and fade behind them. Stephen helped to unload, his mind fighting through a morass of hopelessness and cold, and other thoughts, but he finished. The Auror took him back out in the boat to outside Azkaban's anti-Apparation shield, and Stephen Apparated back to Fairey's, thankful to have finished another routine Azkaban delivery undamaged.
Meanwhile, the Hogwarts delivery set off, with the usual irregular clopping of carthorses getting underway, north to the village lane junction, left, past farms, and left into High Tree Lane. Harry recognised Gillyweed growing in a greenhouse. A distant call of "Accio partridge!." showed what someone would be having for dinner. Somebody in the distance away to the north called "Accio paper and litter!", and Harry wondered what had happened there. They came to the Duke of Northumberland's River: up to 1944 there was a ford there, locally called High Tree River, but in wizarding times a bridge was built there. Deprived of its source west of Stanwell it was only a series of ponds except after heavy rain.
They stopped by the bridge to get water for the horses. Big white domestic ducks sailed about, dredging for food. One of them surfaced holding a large squirming frog by its left leg, turned it headfirst, and efficiently swallowed it. Its trailing finned legs like a miniature scuba diver's vanished behind the duck's closing jaws and a bulge passed down the duck's throat. The domestic duck is much bigger than its wild ancestor the mallard and is an all too efficient land-and-water anti-frog patroller.
The wagon drivers gee-up'ed their horses again, and they drove on. Thomas's left horse reached for grass in passing. A horse shied a bit as a pheasant objected and flew up. They reached the south edge of that area. Beyond an invisible impenetrable barrier, through the image of more countryside, when close up they could start to faintly see the roads and airport service buildings of the east part of modern Stanwell. The road went into a hole in that barrier. Beyond, it was dark. A bit further, the road came into light - out of a hillside near Hogsmeade. "Somewhat like those transport cabinets that Malfoy was working on." Harry thought, "They kept this route a secret from us when I was a student.".
They went to Hogwarts's road gate. Hagrid was there to meet them. Noise showed that a Quidditch match was on. A look at the banners over the Quidditch pitch showed that it was Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw; he wondered who was his House's Seeker now and how good a player. One of the banner poles swayed visibly as a Bludger hit it near its top. Still, he was out of school and thus out of his school's teams: he would have to find another team to join. Hagrid said that they had finished destroying the condemned items sorted out of the clutter cleaned out of the storage Room of Requirement.
A house elf came to meet them. It led them through a side goods door to Hogwarts kitchens. Harry and Hagrid helped to unload. They exchanged news and queries. Harry realized that Hogwarts was a nest that he had now fledged from and there would be no returning to it as a student, but perhaps as a teacher. Student life was going on there, but he was no part of it any more.
"Where's MacAtholl?" Thomas asked, and was told that he was unavailable.
"Why are you asking?" said Hagrid.
"Tell him: 'People in Old Heathrow have been having airport dreams again. And something came through: someone found a lot of airport litter blowing about on the fields around the middle of Pease Path. And ditto a day before a bit northwest of Perry Oaks. And other stuff other times recently.'.".
Everybody there had work elsewhere. They set off back to the place in the hillside. The solid-looking rock slope let them into the tunnel and back to Old Heathrow.
On the way back, someone came out on a bicycle along the south perimeter road that had been made in wizarding times soon after 1944, from Eglantine Cottage farm south of the Duke of Northumberland's River wanting a sick cow looking at. The cow proved to have only cowpox, not foot-and-mouth disease as feared. In the Muggle world that farm long ago vanished under the airport's goods terminal, but in the wizarding copy it still grew food. They got back to the village area, and split, and each wagon's driver took his wagon and horses home. Thomas went back to Fairey's.
Stephen Philp Apparated back from Azkaban soon after, thankful to be away from the place, although he got a good price for the supplies. "That place again." he said, "That's at least four times that one with the 5-inch Y-shaped mended tear in his left front cloak tail has come. I reckon he's being used as a secretary by the Aurors. Easy to see they're short of men. It's taking them much longer than expected to get back to normal, and not till that's finished can they change over to all human guards and no Dementors as Kingsley Shacklebolt planned. They're having great trouble finding enough men reliable as guards, after several that they thought before were reliable turned out to be Death Eaters, like that Macnair. I got mind images from the Dementors there about 'It won't work - didn't work that time in the 1820's - wands made in secret - furtive magic-teaching' and suchlike. Ye gods what a horrible place. Last time, the boatman was a Dementor, and the weather blew up while I was unloading and I was weatherbound there four days - who's that on the road?".
It was a man in a darkish blue two-piece uniform and a uniform hat, running along Cain's Lane away from Heathrow Road, looking around much of the time. As he got nearer, they saw that he was something that definitely did not belong there - an airliner pilot, looking startled and confused.
"What's happening? Where am I?" he said as he came near, "I flew a 747 in from New York, and I went to Terminal 1 pilots' area loo, but as I stepped into the loo, thankful to be about to dump an over-urgent -er load-, I was suddenly here. At first I thought I was dreaming again: last four times I fell asleep in any of Heathrow's pilots' rest areas I dreamed of countryside, always the same bit of countryside for each rest area, and so have some others. I know where I seem to be: it's just like old maps of the Heathrow area before the war when it was still country, that I saw a few times: Perry Oaks, Plough and Harrow pub, Heathrow Hall, the farms, the roads, everything's in the right places!".
"They'll find you a meal in the old hangar, and somewhere to sit down. I'll fetch someone." said Harry, feeling alarmed and wishing that at Hogwarts he had been more persistent trying to find Kingsley Shacklebolt or MacAtholl.
"That's Fairey's old hangar! It was demolished in 1964! What the %^%$^ is going on!?" the pilot asked, "I found myself in a field, and I went to the nearest house, it's called Palmer's Farm, and a woman there told me to come here. I've enough to cope with already, what with them trying to get me sacked for being a year too old for some rule and leave me 'flying a desk' as the RAF called it. It's not my fault that time passes.".
The red car came back; its driver had managed to buy all the paper and all the pens needed in Stanwell. He also brought back some Muggle newspapers; one local paper front-paged an article which said that flights were suspended for 12 minutes on the airport's south runway while a stray sheep was rounded up: it had appeared with no clue or sign where it came from, and the airport's Animals Handling area were not missing anything. He had heard about what may have been the dog that chased it: six days before, a similar dog chased one motorcycle too many, in Oaks Road in Stanwell, and the rider kicked it hard sideways, to stop it from getting under his front wheel fetching him off. It ran off ki-yi-ing in pain, got in the way of traffic, seemed to be run over, but its body was not there afterwards.
The Dementor with the Y-shaped cloak repair was already back, and impatient: luckily the Muggle pilot could not see it.
Meanwhile Thomas had written an account of recent events, and had waved his wand over it to duplicate it. He was thoroughly alarmed: previous reports of images getting through into dreams had been ignored, but objects and now a man coming through were serious: the wizarding Old Heathrow and the Muggle airport occupied the same places in space and time, but were separated in some magical extra dimension that a few in the Ministry of Magic knew about better than him. If the barrier between those two world-areas wore any thinner ...
"Airport dreams have happened sometimes, but not this often!" he said, "Never mind queueing it in with routine reports and petty crimes. This needs top priority! Now objects have been coming or going through, which has rarely happened before (litter, toilet flushings, and a bag of 3 pounds of white powder), and then a sheep, and perhaps that dog, and now a man! When the barrier gets this thin, even some Muggles or even animals can activate it enough to let him or objects through, if he gets it right. We need a high-powered team from the Ministry, fast, to put it right. We don't want to see the old farming Heathrow destroyed a second time, and we lose a main food supply. What does it need to electric-prod officialdom off its fat arse and make it act??". He took the bag of powder out. An "identify" spell said "cocaine". "That stuff!!," he exclaimed sharply, "likely jettisoned by some scared smuggler in the airport, and it 'fell through', like that litter round Pease Path. I know what do to with that stuff.", put it on the ground, aimed his wand at it, and said "Incendio!". Bag and contents burnt and evaporated in a bright white flash.
"I can send a Patronus." Harry said.
"It would remember my message properly, and say it to the recipient, but I don't trust the recipient to remember it and all its importance all in one listening at the other end. The message needs to be sent written.".
Harry, having no owl on him or in reach, thought of approaching the Dementor as the only other option to get the messages sent in time, as it would likely want to help here, as Azkaban would lose its food supply source if Old Heathrow collapsed, but decided not to, and his thoughts were interrupted by approaching galloping hooves.
"I've brought two owls from home." said the horse's rider, "No need to be that desperate. 'Old Y-Front' may be fine with messages and goods to and from Azkaban, but not all over the country.".
They tied the two messages to the owls' legs and told them where to go: one to the Minister in person, and the other to MacAtholl in person, even if he is in conference, not to some secretary. The owls flew off.
While the pilot was distracted watching Harry, Stephen handed the reams of paper and the pens to 'Y-Front', who paid for them, put them in a backpack, and flew off, like the owls, to the Three Magpies entrance, and was gone.
"Phew, thank Merlin they've gone. Those things still give me the shivers. At least that place pays well and promptly." said Stephen, "At least I can trust 'Y-Front' better than others, and at least he can keep under control any small bunch of them that he brings here. Azkaban needs more human staff.".
Stephen and Thomas drove the pilot in their car to the Three Magpies entrance, and a little way through, and in the quiet of the pub's east side drive (the last remaining stump of the old rural Heathrow Road) Obliviated him starting at when he 'fell through' from Terminal 1's pilots area, inserted replacement memories of a short illness, drove him into the airport's main entrance and to a quiet place among buildings, and left him. He was accepted back into service as a pilot. But the leaking barrier between the two Heathrows was still getting more urgent.
The next Muggle penetration happened sooner then expected. Later that afternoon two men, of 21 and 22, of Middle Eastern appearance, came by Underground Railway to Heathrow Airport, and wandered about casually, but full of grievance about the fate of some of their co-nationals in the Middle East. Such things had happened before, but this time with another outcome. Police wanted to check them and find who they were. They were being watched too closely to dump some incriminating objects. The two tried to casually mooch away. Police followed. A chase started. They ran in between two big wheeled rubbish skips, pulled out one each of the objects, and awaited the police, who looked about, including between those skips, but did not find the two.
The two suddenly found themselves in countryside unknown to them, back of Perrott's Farm. They approached the farmhouse, found a man in a boilersuit working weeding a market-gardening plot, and ordered him at gunpoint for supplies, and for information where they were, and for transport. But the farmer had fought against Voldemort in the big battle at Hogwarts and well knew what do to: a quick "Expelliarmus!" sent the two pistols flying, and afterwards they proved to be replicas altered so they could fire. The two, enraged by being thwarted by what they thought was some fancy bit of technology which their cause could make good use of if captured, drew knives and charged. A stun spell finished the matter. Stephen Philp and Thomas Wild heard the noise, came, loaded them up, Obliviated the last three hours of their memories, searched them, disarmed them, drove Out, and dumped them in a back street in Sipson to wake up. Next day the two were punished severely for bungling a job and losing two guns, but that did not involve Old Heathrow or anyone magical.
It started to get colder as the sun got low in the northwest. They were walking back to Heathrow Hall when it got colder in another sense. Thomas looked back. "It's 'Y-Front' yet again." he said somewhat dismayed, "And one of their four house-elves with him, on one of their goods stillages. I better go see what he wants this time.".
Thay approached. Again the coldness and depression, and the old bad memories trying to come back, but less than with Dementors met in his school years. The house elf's rather poor command of English said merely that extra free-human-type food was needed there for a meeting: mostly, ingredients for the sorts of snacks that accompany a meeting of several people, presumably buffet-type food. But he also he had a note in an envelope.
"Too busy again to send a man. What's going on there!?" Stephen exclaimed, "Two notes in the envelope. One about food: lucky we know that late-night supermarket in Harlington, but I'm not breaking the Muggle speed limit again: if I have to cast 'ignore us' at cops, or 'priority to us' at traffic lights, many more times, they'll start to notice that we're unusual. The other's from Shacklebolt! He says he started to get something going about the leaks here, but he got dragged to a meeting and fact-finding tour at Azkaban about the situation there; he says that some of the people that he needs to see about the leaks here, are on that tour. Let's hope that this is something being done and not merely delay or committees's findings being discussed by other committees forever.".
Stephen visualized hard the area's geography between there and Muggle Harlington, and the roads and likely traffic, and such things, and he was understood. "We'll go with him, to help keep the matter on track.".
"I'll go also, that place or not, if Shacklebolt's there." said Harry. All three got in Stephen's car. Another journey when they thought that they were finished for the day: "The trail and the packhorse again." Rudyard Kipling once wrote about having to travel yet again. North past Heathrow Hall and its big cedar tree. Past Doghurst Cottages on the right. The magic gate in the wall, and back to the Muggle world. The Three Magpies. Turning right onto the Bath Road was impossible due to a central barrier, so turn left and through a maze of airport internal roads and the big access roundabout to get onto the Bath Road eastbound. About a mile east along the Bath Road. Left turn into Harlington High Street, which long ago was a quiet country lane. They had to stop, as the road was blocked outside a pub by a large rowdy crowd of drunks, some fighting, some singing. It went cold again, including inside them.
"I never thought I'd be thankful to see one of those in action." Harry thought as the Dementor, who had followed them to check what they were doing, sucked up the drunken overhappiness and left the crowd well "downed" and flat-feeling. The crowd wondered what had happened and, muttering, started to disperse, seeing no hope any more - at least of any more rowdy celebrating that night; being Muggles, they could not see the cause. Harry got his usual wand out and quietly cast a spell that he had learned: "Vinumadaquam", changing all the alcohol in the crowd's bodies and on their persons into harmless water. Drunken merriment, starting to recover, was suddenly dropped down to stone-cold soberness. The crowd complained and dispersed. The police saw nothing needing doing and went back to base. The three got to the supermarket and bought the goods quickly without much queueing, as that and other rowdyness had kept customers away. They went back where they had come, west along the Bath Road, through the Gate, and to Fairey's hangar, where they stacked the goods and themselves on the ominous black stillage.
With a house-elf doing the Apparating, they went straight to Azkaban's office area, and no need for transshipping at Devil's Cove and the feared boat journey with an unhuman steerer, making those with a classical education think of Charon's dreaded boat taking the Greek dead to Hades. They (including 'Y-Front') unloaded the goods and stacked them. The Azbakan Head Auror paid them. Kingsley Shacklebolt was there, with a large group of official-looking people. The Dementor went back to his people in the guards' area, and shut the door, and the air became warmer, and thinking became clearer. In other parts and levels of the prison was endless chill and hollowly-echoing noise, lack of any happy emotion, and prisoners enduring hopelessly endlessly, but the Aurors kept their area comfortable.
This was Harry's first time there, and he was worse than scared, but the other two had often come with goods being delivered. "I'm sorry this has been inflicted on you," said Kingsley, "a Dementor sent instead of a man, and telling you to come here of all places to do docker's work, and you haven't been sentenced for anything.".
"We've had men ill: new prisoners bring diseases with them." said the Head Auror, "And some were killed in the battle at Hogwarts.".
"It seems they're badly short of men since the battle: Macnair and several others turned out to be Death Eaters." said Harry, "I sympathize with their problems. Long ago I heard my uncle Vernon Dursley saying what it was like keeping his drill factory running properly with flu running through the area sending half his staff and workmen to bed ill.".
"That one we call 'Y-Front' due to the mended tear in his left front cloak tail, seems fairly safe to be near while he's contacting us." said Thomas.
"Correctly, he's Az197." Kingsley said, "I knew before I came here that's what we'd get mostly is: 'We need more men.'. Men have to start as young boys, get through Hogwarts or some other good school of magic, sort out those suitable as Aurors, and from among them those suitable as prison guards. And that takes time.".
"We know." said the Head Auror, "And replacing all the Dementors by men'll need even more men, including a fair amount of Legilimenses to keep track of what the prisoners are doing and plotting. The Dementors can read minds, but if they aren't here any more, it'll be much less safe - such as that big prisoner revolt in the 1820's.".
"Our records say there was only a disease epidemic then, and the usual petty incidents." said Kingsley.
"Nothing like it. Staff at the Ministry covered-up. Here's a copy of a full report on it that Az197 wrote: he was here then, they live much longer than men. Whatever faults they have, they don't tell lies, their minds are too open to each other for that. And I don't trust using magic-trained prisoners as 'trusties' to do work outside the cells.".
"Uhh, let me read it ... he writes better sense than some humans whose blah and issue-dodging and excuse-making I have had to wade through ... nothing that can read minds so harder to supervise ... no depressive effect so easier to plot trouble ... magic-teaching in secret ... visitors smuggling wand core materials in ... I can tell it was written by someone or something whose first language isn't English ... big revolt and took the place over ... 97 dead in the revolt and the cleanup, and Dementors had to be brought back in ... If there's been this cover-up, how many more? This'll rewrite the History of Magic textbooks somewhat. OK, OK, I get the picture. OK, Ministry's still recovering from Voldemort's occupation. I've brought two young Aurors with me, John Warburton and Richard Fletcher, see if they're any use to you. And likely you two came in person with the meeting food because you felt so urgent that you came here to bother me about those Old Heathrow incidents.".
"They are serious and getting worse." Stephen Philp said, and described them, "Including three men coming through: an airliner pilot, and two Middle Eastern undesirables with guns and knives. And when I go to the edge of the area, people can faintly see modern Muggle land through the edge: that shouldn't happen, it didn't used to happen. If Old Heathrow collapses, the British wizarding community loses much of its food supply. Twice a week in termtime we send four wagonloads of food to Hogwarts. And Azkaban gets much of its supplies from us. We live in Old Heathrow: we reckon it'll collapse in about three weeks to a month if nothing's done about it. The signs have been building up for the last year: that's when people in Old Heathrow started having many airport dreams, and the first objects came through about two months ago: it was Qantas airline office litter. And that pilot that came through said that men there had been having Old Heathrow dreams, and that dog that came In chased a sheep and made it go Out onto the south runway, so it's both ways.".
Kingsley went angry. "What is this!?!?" he exclaimed to a man with him, "Why wasn't I told this? When I got that long message from Stephen Philp, you said you'd hold it for me, then you said it was nothing that mattered, only stray bits of things. When the owl brought it, you grabbed and grabbed at it, and it needed all its flying skill to dodge you and get to my hand. I'm not a baby and I don't need spoon-feeding with pre-digested summaries of messages, I can read originals myself. I went through Hogwarts like the rest of you, in Ravenclaw, all seven years, and the extra years university-type classes that the Ministry runs, including all the practical work. I fought at Hogwarts last year; you did not. I've been to Old Heathrow and I can tell: Get all the necessary men off whatever they're doing now and go there with me and help mend the damage. What damage did Voldemort do when he tried to break in there? Go there with me and take a look! Never mind waiting for reports. I will not be treated like a figurehead. And Philp and Wild and Potter had to come here to Azkaban of all places to bypass you types and find me and get the message to me direct. Give it to me NOW! I don't need toadying to or telling that things are all right when they aren't. I bet it was types like you in Fudge's time talked him into wasting two valuable years putting it about that Voldemort wasn't building up when he was. Never mind 'putting me at ease' when I should be attentive to danger and knowing what's wrong and not at ease. There's no need to be afraid of me "shooting the messenger". Fudge should have been told a long time ago that they need more men here, until Head Auror had to train Dementor Az197 as a secretary and supplies agent. Az197 seems to have done a mighty good job as one, considering he can't see or talk. I'll leave the fact-finding commission to find facts here, except the men that I need now - presumably them here have got all the supplies they want, and never mind sending Az197 back and forth like a Quidditch ball after bits and pieces that you forgot before. We'll get into a boat everybody that's needed that's here, now, someone take the boat out of anti-Apparation range, and then we'll Apparate to the Ministry to get the rest of the men we need out of their obscure back offices and labs to do something about it!".
"Well, that's an earful." Harry thought, "Toadies -- those big ducks dredging about on the Duke of Northumberland's River know what to do with toads and frogs.".
Kingsley and Harry and Stephen and Thomas, and some others, went down some stairs into the cold echoing underground boat dock, where many condemned had been unloaded to dread. Fishing nets and lobster pots were stacked in a corner: the place's Aurors sometimes liked a change of food and atmosphere, and went fishing in spare time when the sea was quiet enough. They got in one of the work boats. They shivered, because Az197 was steering it. The dock door opened. Az197 steered out into an alarmingly high sea, and showed remarkable skill at avoiding offshore rocks in the surf and crashing breakers. Harry, being young, could hear the edge of a very high pitched vocal noise, like from bats, used as echo-location. The boat stopped on clear deep water about a mile from the island, which was small behind them. They all held onto each other or Kingsley, who Disapparated with them from the boat.
They appeared in a back street in Westminster in London, very thankful to have seen the last of Azkaban. From cold rough sea and cheerless Dementor-ridden corridors they thankfully suddenly came to warm city streets sheltered among buildings. The street was as Harry Potter had seen when he went to his trial in his fifth year: several shabby offices, a pub, and an overflowing rubbish skip. They crowded into the delapidated graffitied telephone box. Kingsley dialled 62442. The inside of the telephone box proved to be a lift, which dropped them into the Ministry. They came out in the big hall lined with fireplaces for travelling by Floo. The golden fountain in the middle was back to the form of a wizard and a witch and a centaur and a goblin and a house-elf. This time, looking for staff who he needed, Kingsley hurried them around along endless corridors and passages; Harry remembered some of them from his trial and the battle in his fifth year, and some from dreams he had had when he was seeing through Voldemort's eyes and other senses through the old Horcrux-link. Arthur Weasley added himself to the group; fortunately they let him join it. They went through the prophesy store; the mess left by the battle had been tidied up, and the surviving prophesies re-stacked; the labels of the broken prophesies had been collected and filed. They collected special equipment from a secret store; the storekeeper complained about the interruption to routine and that some of the items had not been out of the store for decades. At last they had collected everybody and everything wanted, some complaining about being interrupted from routine. Knowing what was likely coming, they started to hold onto each other and all kit.
Kingsley said "I don't trust some of these special items to Apparate safely; we're driving.". They went up a lift to a Ministry vehicle garage, and loaded everything and themselves into a large anonymous-looking van; Harry could sense a "do not notice" spell on it. Kingsley drove out, by a hidden side entry into an underpass, and turned west, through Hammersmith and onto the M4. This time they turned off at junction 3 onto The Parkway to the Waggoners Roundabout and west onto the Bath Road, through Cranford, past endless airport edge clutter, and at last turned left by the Three Magpies. Kingsley said the entry spell. The wall opened like a gate and they went in, back to the country peace and quiet of Old Heathrow.
But it was not peaceful or quiet then. As they came In, they heard ahead what some of them thought was an unusual sort of wand spell noise, and said so.
"That's not magic, that's Muggle guns, some automatic by the noise!" said Harry, who had heard gun noises at his old home on Muggle television and his cousin Dudley's videogames.
"Some new bird's making a loud alarm cry, that rattling noise" said someone.
"That's not a bird, that's an automatic-type gun, an AK47 or a submachine gun likely, it fires many bullets." Harry explained in alarm.
As they got part Doghurst Cottages and a large orchard, they saw what was happening. A large lorry had appeared in a field and driven a destructive path through crops to Heathrow Hall. The lorry was - temporarily - stopped by someone Fodio'ing a large hole in the ground in front of it. Eight masked men with various guns and no apparent wands were shooting from it into the Hall's windows at its defenders. It was bad news. It takes some seconds and an arm movement to cast a spell, and much less to fire a well-loaded modern semi-automatic firearm. Some bullets are so fast that protective magic has trouble activating itself in time. They crouched behind parts of their van and waited a chance. Kingsley cast his strongest anti-projectile spell on the van, but he needed a minute to get his magic's strength back afterwards.
Arthur Weasley baled out and ran back away, crouching to avoid shot, and Disapparated, to the better-looking defence of Fairey's hangar. Others dratted him and stayed their ground. One cast Expelliarmus!, but it hit brick and knocked a small flake out of a wall. An unnaturally loud voice came out of the lorry, aided not by the Sonorus spell but by a hand-held electric-powered loudhailer, warning them and claiming to hold a hostage. With a loud 'pdung' noise something long, fire-tailed, and as big as a man's forearm flew out of the back of the lorry and hit the wall between two windows. Part of the wall fell as separated bricks as the blast powdered the wall's weak old-type lime-mortar. Defenders ran back or were buried in rubble. "Bazooka!" Harry explained.
"How many more shots for it?" Thomas Wild thought in alarm, "Am I to see Heathrow Hall demolished a second time? Its foundations are under the south edge of the north runway." The lorry backed, went round the hole, and charged at the wall damage. Men jumped out of the lorry and charged, but a stun spell caught the leader, but the rest dragged him back in with them. Its loud "brrrm" and sideways blast of smelly diesel exhaust reminded them that there other powers than magic. Another large diesel engine noise started behind them.
The noise came from Fairey's hangar. Arthur Weasley was mounted on the old demolition men's bulldozer which had lurked in a back corner of the hangar like a dragon in its cave since 1944. Its steel tracks crushed some farm-produce-display tables as it came out and charged up Cain's Lane towards Heathrow Hall. A small tight shield spell protected him and his seat and controls. It blasted black diesel smoke upwards as Arthur set its accelerator to overdrive. All saw that he had not run away, after all.
Bullets pinged off its steel body. As it neared the lorry, Arthur raised its blade to tear the lorry's cab and back open. The attackers lost their nerve and ran away, dropping weapons and backpacks so they could run faster. They stared aghast at fairytale become real as three of Heathrow Hall's defenders flew out and up on broomsticks, too fast and twisting to be shot at easily, and dropped all the attackers with stun spells. It was over. There was no hostage.
The defenders thanked Arthur Weasley and his interest in Muggle mechanical devices. The attackers were brought together, searched, and tied up. All dropped weapons were Accio'ed together. A Ministry man Apparated to St.Mungo's and came back with three Healers.
One of the Ministry men had Legilimens. He found that it was an armed robbery at the airport, gone badly wrong. They had driven in on the lorry through the public traffic tunnel, neared the planned place, saw many more anti-terrorism armed police than expected, tried to drive away, ran into a traffic jam of vehicles waiting to load or unload, and were so desperate to get away that, although Muggles, they activated something in the weakened barrier between the Muggle and magical Heathrows and got Through into a field inside the curve of Heathrow Road.
The Ministry men consulted quickly. They unloaded a wheeled device like a huge wand. Its core was many unicorn tail hairs, from the same unicorn over time and all 'in accordance'. "We're going to have to use this thing for something else." one of them said. They told Stephen and Thomas to load the attackers on the back of the lorry and then drive the lorry back down its wheel marks to where the marks started. The two Obliviated the last four hours of the attackers' memories. The Ministry men pushed the wheeled device after it. One of them said a special spell only known to a few. A gate appeared in the air in front of them, and part of an airport central area back work road appeared through the gate, and a strong "do not notice" spell went in through it. Stephen drove the lorry through and quickly ran back through the gate, which closed. Arthur Weasley drove the bulldozer back to Fairey's and put it where it had been since 1944. In the Muggle Heathrow, airport police found the lorry and the men and reported as little as they needed to about how the men had been caught.
This made even more urgent the job that Kingsley Shacklebolt had got the Ministry do to, after Harry and two others had had to endure the ordeal of Azkaban to get the full first-hand information to him. They unloaded more of the "mega-wands" and other kit, and posted them in various places, and scanned around with them. Some of them put on special protective suits and vanished Between the two Heathrows. Others said special spells, and Old Heathrow broke right away from the Muggle world and moved a fair distance away in the extra dimension. The moving magic snagged and strained, but various objects each sticking to both worlds had to choose one or the other, or pull apart, or fall Between and a sort of super-Accio collected them all, back into Old Heathrow in a heap a little east of Lowe's Farm. Old Heathrow was allowed to come back towards the Muggle world, and stop at a safe distance in the magical extra dimension, and was anchored there. They remade the four local entrances and the High Tree Lane to Hogsmeade jump-entrance, and did some more work.
The protective suit men came back from four dimensions to three, having found that nothing else stuck out of either world in the extra dimension, except the authorized entrances. "We found and repaired various spatial damage: it looked like Voldemort's work from when he tried to get in." one of them said, "That's why someone rejecting stuff or trying to get away kept activating leaks.".
Some local people looked at the pile by Lowe's Farm. It was mostly unremarkable: yet more airport litter, foul matter, dumped drugs (which they promptly Incendio'ed) and other smuggled matter, and, more seriously, guns and a bomb, probably dumped by hijackers who ran into too much security.
But also, a dead man, shabbily dressed. A man who lived at Gamble's Farm on Cain's Lane recognized him: a Muggle alcoholic tramp who persistently made a nuisance of himself around the airport: "Looks like recently he was chased away or cornered once too often and got so desperate that he fell Through. But yet, he didn't deserve this, got stuck between the worlds like that. Let's hope these leaks have been stopped.".
But the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy allowed only one outcome: causing unexplained Muggle disappearances is to be avoided, so the body was dumped back near Muggle Heathrow where the airport police found it quickly; an autopsy and an inquest found what it could, and no relatives could be found, and after a cheap funeral on public funds he was cremated, and a three-line mention inside a local newspaper. This cast a shadow on events, but life had to go on.
One of the Ministry men announced: "We've cured the leaking barrier. Voldemort's attack started it. The damage was typical Voldemort type, plus after that, objects getting stuck in the barrier straining its mechanism gradually weakening it. And, we've enlarged Old Heathrow a bit. We've added a copy of land north of the Bath Road, as far as the road from Harmondsworth to Sipson to Harlington to Cranford. It's all under grass; we put in a few main roads, and copied Harmondsworth church, but no other buildings. (The Muggle area there is still the same and as it was.) It may be useful to plant it to forest for the timber for the future.".
Everybody thanked everybody relevant. Harry helped to Reparo the damage caused by the fight. Normal life resumed. No more barrier leaks happened there.
Harry Potter stayed in Heathrow Hall four more days, and went to Hogwarts with a food delivery, helped in repairs and tidying there, and later went home to 12 Grimmauld Place.