I - The Body In Question
Marcus L. Rowland
"What's this about?" asked Harry Potter as he entered Percy Weasley's office at the Ministry of Magic.
"There's a body..." said Percy.
"Oh Merlin… another one left over from Voldemort? Where did they find it? Epping Forest? Snowden?"
"It's at Gatwick Airport, in long term cargo storage."
"Voldemort's been dead nearly nine years. How the hell could it be there that long? Didn't anyone notice the smell?"
"Not everything has to do with Voldemort, Harry. Not directly, anyway. And they didn't notice the smell because it's embalmed and in a coffin with a couple of preservation spells on it."
"What's a wizard's body doing at a muggle airport?"
"It isn't a wizard, Harry. It's Dumbledore's great-great-grand niece, or something like that. She was a Muggle, so far as we know, or maybe a Squib. She died in America."
"Oh." Harry sat down.
"Apparently there weren't any closer living relatives, so someone must have contacted Dumbledore and arranged to have him take care of the burial. Unfortunately there was some hold-up at the Muggle end, I don't have the details, and Dumbledore was dead by the time the coffin arrived. That was about the time that Voldemort really stepped up the random killings and his witch-hunt for Muggle-borns and half-bloods. Whoever was supposed to be looking after it in the Ministry must have been killed or run off, and somehow the shipping container just got lost in the system, left in a locked warehouse with Muggle-repelling charms all over it. Some Aurors looking for a shipment of contraband carpets found it a couple of weeks ago. It's taken this long to trace the paperwork, and find out who it was and work out what to do with her."
"So where do I fit into all this?"
"Aberforth Dumbledore is her only other living relative, but you know what he's like, there's no way he can move around in Muggle society without attracting attention."
"Especially if he has his goats with him." Harry smiled at the thought. Aberforth was eccentric even by wizarding standards.
"You're one of the few Aurors who knows his way around Muggle society, and old Aberforth seems to like you. What the Ministry needs you to do is arrange to get the coffin transported to Scotland, then escort it on the last leg of the journey to Hogsmeade."
"Can't we just… you know… apparate it there, or Floo it, or get it to King's Cross and bring it up by the Hogwart's Express? Or do the whole journey in a wizarding hearse."
"All good ideas, but not really on, I'm afraid. The train would normally be best, but the line is out of action at the moment. The flooding last month damaged an embankment, and since it's hardly used at this time of year they've shut down for essential repairs for the next three weeks. I'm surprised you didn't know."
"I'd forgotten," said Harry. "It's months since I've needed to go to Hogsmeade. What about Flooing or Apparation?"
Percy steepeled his fingers. "Unfortunately there are too many spells on the coffin and body. Side-Apparation is always tricky, and with that much dead weight, if you'll excuse the expression, you could be splinched and end up with parts of your body nine years dead and embalmed. Flooing isn't quite as risky, but there's a chance that the coffin could just get lost in the network and pop out anywhere."
"By road then?"
"The only wizarding hearses in Scotland are drawn by Thestrals, they'll have Disillusionment Charms on them to stop Muggles noticing, but Gatwick is a little out of their range."
"So what's the plan?" asked Harry.
"We thought Muggle airy-plane from Gatwick to Edinburgh, you either fly with it or collect the coffin there, and escort it to Hogsmeade."
"Sounds straightforward enough, but I'd imagine it'll cost a couple of thousand pounds. You'd better give me all the details. What's her name, anyway?"
"The same as Dumbledore's mother. Kendra. Kendra Young."