Floo Network

Summer of 69
Karma police, Arrest this man

Started by M. B. Montgomery, February 19, 2021, 10:55:14 pm

Harold Prendergast

"Well, yes, I did wait, for quite a while. I didn't leave the laboratory for a good number of hours, fell asleep there that first night. Stayed up rather late, just in case. Even avoided leaving the scene for food the next day, just on the off-chance that, well..." His voice trailed off and he sat back in his seat, a little slumped, body language betraying every sign of defeat - and how many months it had been.

Harold gave it a moment of silence, out of some... he supposed dutiful sense of respect. "Truth be told, I rather don't know any more. I surmised that if anywhere might have anything documented that would be of use, it would be here. And I have tried already in the days I've been here to do some physical experiments to validate some theories around temporal displacement - which would have been more... difficult... to do uninterrupted in that lab."

He sighed. "In the end I couldn't stay there. I have no idea when or where my wife is, the thinnest of threads to refer to and, quite sorry to say, an even thinner thread of hope tying it all together in a pretty bow."

Glasses off, almost reflexively, cleaning them absent-mindedly with his tie. "Well, you see, I don't really have a theory and that is part of my problem. I have so little to go on, and I've been able to verify so little practically of what really happened that day. The one trouble, you see, with our experiments is that a displacement along a chronologic dimension would register to any calculations I can do as if it were a geographic one."

Glasses reasserted into their spot once more. "I honestly don't know what to do. I just... do things at the moment in the hopes that it will tell me... something. If nothing else, I scrape a little off the mysteries of science?" The question was meant to be positive sounding but even Harold was doubting his own convictions on the subject.

M. B. Montgomery

"That must have been hard," Msaed commented quietly. Prendergast's words brought him right back to the first few days after Bonnie had made her final transformation from human form to owl form. These days had been the worst of his life. He'd been angry. He'd been sad. His emotions had been a mess and he had been overwhelmed by them. Prendergast seemed to keep tighter lid on his feelings, though Msaed was sure that the inside didn't nearly as composed as the outside.

He pondered for a moment.

"Assuming your theory holds," Msaed said gently, "your wife should have been able to leave you a message. You said yourself that is has been a while. Don't you think the fact that she hasn't might mean something?" He didn't like being the person to confront Professor Prendergast with something he probably didn't want to hear.

"I... don't know how to tell you this..." he paused and looked around to double check that they were alone. "But I am sure she's still alive. So, if you're not finding her, maybe that is by design?" He looked down and tried to figure out more words.

"The Al-Qadiri side of my family has produced some notable seers. If certainty would help... I could make some introductions for you. I didn't inherit the gift... well, not properly anyway. Not like my mother and sister. One of the ladies might be willing to take a look for you. Assuming you still have some personal affects..."

Oh, this was deeply awkward. Msaed didn't usually speak about divination and his family. As much as he loved the subject, he didn't trust it entirely. There was also the matter of public perception. In Kuwait, things were different. People believed in seers. They were a respected part of the local community. Here in England, people were sceptics at best and more often than not outright hostile. Prendergast didn't strike him like a believer, but maybe desperation would at least make him open to the idea.

There were some other ideas running through his mind. Most, not entirely legal. Was the professor in front of him the kind of man who would consider such things? Msaed bit his lip considering how much he was willing to reveal and what he was willing to conceal.

"I ... ugh... you've tried Appare Vestigium I presume. We could try a heptagram cast of... something a shade darker... but... I think you know what that means." Msaed swallowed hard. "I do know how to." There, that was admission towards Dark Arts knowledge he was willing to make. "You see a lot in my line of work. A lot." He shook his head, as if trying to get rid of the thoughts pouring into his head. 

The conversation left a foul taste in mouth and he wondered what Prendergast would think of him now. Run in horror certainly was an option.

Harold Prendergast

That shook Harold quite deeply. Of course it had occurred to him that a wizard that spent a career breaking curses around the world must have seen a thing or two, and possibly even done a thing or two that was... less than salubrious, shall we say, but blood magic was a step rather too far for Harold to even consider. And, there was the small matter of divination being suggested - even if there were true Seers in Sid's family and so on, Harold quite honestly wanted nothing to do with it. Hocus pocus and flim-flammery, as far as he was concerned. Not that he would dare suggest that was his opinion; the curious little man before him was so sincere and earnest but at the same time... he couldn't possibly. The best he could do would be politely refuse and hope that he was polite enough.

"Well, I must say that is awfully kind of you to offer - but I could not possibly impose upon you in even remotely such a way! As much as... there are, well, some things I could not ask anyone to do." Not even if it would answer his questions. "There are boundaries - and I am certain both of us have, rather, dallied around where those boundaries are, but I couldn't possibly..."

Harold sat in silence for a moment, contemplative, before taking a very large deep breath - that he was sure would be remarked upon, but if it was noticed, he didn't really care. "You know, it is rather curious now that you come to mention it - I have not had a single message of any kind from my wife. Even amongst Unspeakables this is... unusual. And I have had a brush-off or two from my colleagues when the subject is mentioned. The clue is, rather, in the title - unspeakable even amongst our own."

The more Harold mulled it over, though, the more curious he felt. There was a part of him growing to ask Sid about what he could fathom with his unusual knowledge of the world, but the better part of him realised he couldn't possibly ask. Colleague or not - friend, or not - there are simply some things one does not just ask for, no matter how well intentioned, no matter whether the offer was even made ahead of asking. Had it simply been a question of divination, he might perhaps have countenanced the matter, but elements of dark magic was quite altogether a different proposition.

"As to my wife's effects, I'm afraid there are none to be had; there may have been some, well, residual effects left behind on the day, as it were, but by the time I had made mention of it to my superiors, there was rather an absence of, well, anything that wasn't mine. I couldn't say for certain if it was like that before or not."

Handkerchief in hand, he mopped his brow - whether there was anything to mop or not, it was comforting. "It's all rather puzzling, you see, and since no-one at the Ministry seemed to want to do anything about it, I made my way here to do my own investigations. But, as you can see, it has so far been for naught."

He cocked his head ever so slightly, and smiled awkwardly, changing tact entirely. "If nothing else, it's a change of pace with people to talk to, books to read, tea to drink, and minds to educate."

M. B. Montgomery

English politeness. Msaed sighed. It didn't matter that he'd grown up with it, but he still found the concept mildly bewildering. Was Prendergast saying no because he wasn't interested or because he felt too awkward to accept help? It was always difficult to tell the difference.

"If you change your mind, feel free to ask me anytime. I think I have an idea or two about what you are going through."

He gave a strange, unreadable expression for a moment.

"You know what Prendergast, why don't I introduce you to Mrs Montgomery sometime. Would you care to join Bonnie and myself for dinner one evening this week?"

He sounded distraught suggesting it, but there was some underlying hint of wanting to make a friend and some human connection in this new place of employment. Maybe all the horrible things he had gone through in the last 20 years could at least serve to help his new colleague in some way. As much as anyone losing a loved on could ever be helped.

There was so much pain in everything that was being said. How had they gone from Inaya robbing Prendergast to talking lost wives? He supposed fate was having a hand in this. It usually put people together than could learn from each other in some way. And wasn't that why anyone came to Hogwarts. Learning.

"It will take a long time until you can bear it a little more easily, Prendergast," he told him honestly. "But that time will come. And I suppose there is hope for your wife yet."

"If you feel in need of a distraction to take your mind off things, feel free to stop by whenever you might need to. I'd say I'd teach you duelling - but I don't think you'd appreciate that. I do find exercise beneficial though. Perhaps, you care for a morning run some time?"

Harold Prendergast

Harold was somewhat lost in thought. He heard everything Sid said to him - a dinner invite, duelling, a morning run - but it somewhat washed over him. The thought of what was being suggested, that what he'd believed... what he'd chosen to believe as the most hopeful outcome... was rather quite possibly not true.

And yet, the more he contemplated it, the more he began to suspect something might not entirely be right about all this. Harold wasn't about ready to fully grasp the enormity of what he was thinking, but the seed of doubt had been planted somewhere, somehow.

"Your wife? Is she staying at Hogwarts with you? I'd love to meet her - the more the merrier." Harold forced something of a smile onto his face. It even felt sincere but something in the older man's voice and the timing of the gesture... "Wait... your wife... wouldn't be the... would she?" He hoped he didn't have to say it out loud because if it was true, that would have been worse than whatever Sylvia may have contrived. "I'm so sorry." Even without waiting for confirmation, Harold lapsed into that so traditional English mannerism of apologising, though he hoped he was wrong, and it was with the weight of the world in every syllable.

He sighed and stared off to the distance - staring through one of the windows in the library. "I must admit I have never been... rather physical. I could no more duel with a dual-wanded wizard than I could run around the Hogwarts grounds. A brisk walk is rather more my pace, I'm afraid - but the lake is beautiful at sunset."

He hesitated before remembering that a walk to the lake only in a recent evening had brought rather more complication to his life than he had anticipated. He added, wryly, "There is quite the chance that we might encounter an excitable little chap of a dog, courtesy of Miss Pemberton."

"And I suppose you are right... this is a place of learning. I think I have just learned... something... after being back here after all this time. Not everything is in book learning, rather."

Harold looked over to the pot of tea, a little mournfully. "In the midst of our excitement we appear to have let our tea grow cold. Shall I do the honours of warming the pot?" That, at least, was a safe thing to pause on and reflect: their joy in a simple cup of tea.

M. B. Montgomery

"We all learn, every day" Msaed said mildly. He really felt for Harold Prendergast. They'd talked about such difficult subject matter.

"Yes, why don't you reheat the tea and I'll tell you all about my last case as an active curse breaker. I saw a trunk with seven magically interlinking locks. And I'm sure I don't have tell you why that seven is a significant number..."