Harold sighed. "No, I really think I should go. Adults can... be rather complicated sometimes, and sometimes they just need space." He fiddled with the bottle of wine and stoppered it again with the cork.
"What I think your mother needs is a bit of space - and if you could help her with dinner, I think that would help. As for me... well, please apologise to your mother."
With that, Harold was gone. In his haste to flee and return the Pembertons' abode to a state of sanctuary, he was already half way back to his quarters before realising he still had the glass of wine in his hand. It was
a rather nice white wine and it would be a shame for it to go to waste. And, on some level, he supposed it gave him a reason to return to, well, return the glass.
He sat at his desk, a roll of parchment unrolled and ready, freshly inked quill at hand, and began to write. Harold had a very neat, precise copperplate handwriting.
I must apologise quite profusely for this evening, none of this was as I think either of us had planned.
Firstly, I must apologise for any miscommunication or misunderstanding on the nature of my marriage - but I shall get to that in due course.
Secondly I must also apologise for leaving - Grace was rather insistent that I didn't, but I rather thought it most prudent to retreat and leave your space to be your sanctuary without intrusion. It would give me the opportunity to explain my... situation... without some of the awkwardness, and give you the opportunity to consider your feelings on the matter at your own pace. Merlin knows it is a complex issue.
I never inquired as to where Grace's father was; it was, absolutely, none of my business - unless you felt sufficiently inclined to mention it, and it was evident from your manner that you did not wish to discuss the matter. And after all, why would you? You and Grace are largely inseparable, a formidable team in your own right, and whatever had happened, was in the past and no need to rake it over.
The matter of my wife, however... I am perfectly sure you have imagined some rather fantastical scenes by way of the air of mystery to which I have surrounded the circumstances. Some of it relates to our former employment with the Ministry.
We were, for want of a better term, researching specific magical artefacts due to our Arithmancy expertise. I came to my desk one lunchtime to find a note from my wife - also a researcher at the Ministry - noting that an experiment was in progress and that she should be "back in five minutes". That was some time ago and part of why I left the Ministry was, well, to conduct something of my own investigation into where she had gone. I have held out hope that I will still find her - and a good deal of my time already here at Hogwarts has been trying to make headway into finding something that may be of use to locate my wife, but so far, to no avail.
I can perfectly understand how this must look to you and that you have nothing but my word to speak to the veracity of any of this, but I assure you everything I am telling you is true.
If you are still willing to visit Hogsmeade with me as we had agreed, I might be able to give you a more practical demonstration, but it is something that I am hesitant to put into words. I should rather show you.
Of course, if not, I should understand.
He really hadn't been sure exactly how far to talk about his work, and even here was hesitant to explicitly talk about his work. Even in the here and now, where he was reasonably sure the Ministry was not watching, he didn't want to yet take that risk.
An odd chirrupy noise came from the vicinity of Harold's bedroom followed by some flapping, a vague thud, some tapping, some flapping and a smallish, bronze-coloured owl appeared.
"Bubo, whatever shall I do with you?" Harold smiled in spite of himself. He'd known, of course, that his owl didn't tend to sleep up in the Owlery with the rest of the school owls. But it was it too much of a stretch to expect him to correctly navigate from the bedroom to his desk without at least one incident?
Bubo arrived on Harold's desk and stared at Harold, then at the letter, then at Harold.
"Yes, Bubo, I need this delivered, do you think you can manage it?" He briefly outlined the directions to the Pembertons' quarters.
Bubo looked at the letter, experimentally lifted one wing and flapped it, observationally, then the other wing and flapped it. Then looked at the letter and did a motion that could only be described as 'bobbling' to indicate readiness.
"Are you sure?"
Bubo stared at Harold and chirruped again.
"Well, if you're sure." He rolled the scroll and held it for Bubo, who somehow awkwardly gripped it in his talons, hooking a hole through a corner and flapped away, narrowly missing the open doorway.
Harold looked at the rest of glass of wine and drank it in a swallow. "I probably should have delivered that by hand. But it is done now."