It was the frogs that did it, really.
After all the intermittent oddities of weeks since Ms. Lambert had come to the Residence, the surges of dust, the choir of cats in the yard, and the absolutely embarrassing incident with the paparazzi and their spurious (indeed, actionable, which Mr. Hahn had acted upon) claims about naked dancing on the grounds at the Summer Solstice, it was the frogs that finally catapulted the matter onto the table in the plain light of day.
Specifically, it was the frog sitting in Mr. Hahn's coffee mug, on the table, in the plain light of day, though it was hardly alone. Frogs plopped gently down all about the house, pit-pattering wetly against the roof. Some slid and stuck along the windows, piling up in the yard. And some, as evidenced by the yellowy, bog-eyed stare now gazing serenely up at him from a shallow, black bath, were getting (or, he increasingly suspected, beginning) inside.
He set the mug down, the white ceramic tumping gently against the tabletop. The frog passed no comment on this, but wriggled itself a bit further up in the vessel. Whether to escape the heat of the former beverage it shared it's space with, or simply to get a better view of it's surrounding, it's reasons were not in evidence on it's wide, lazily blinking eyes.
Mr. Hahn leaned back in his chair, looking reflectively up into the rafters. He was not looking for signs of further frogs, though if you'd asked he might have remarked on the possibility of witnessing manifestations. In fact, apart from the obvious inconvenience, it did not much disturb him to consider the problem of the frogs and their source. A very turbed man, was Mr. Hahn.
And so, concluding the inevitable, he called out thusly: "Ms. Lambert, when you have a moment."
A chipper voice called back from across the house: "Be right there, sir!"
And shortly she arrived, prim and pressed, erratic golden hair bouncing out from under her cap every which way it could find. She smiled brightly. "What can I do for you, Mr. Hahn?"
"Ms. Lambert, I want you to know that your services have not gone unnoticed. Your efforts in maintaining the Residence have been exemplary since we took you on."
She dropped a curtsy. "Thank you, sir!"
"However, I am compelled to inquire, in light of mounting evidence, as to whether or not there is anything you, perhaps, have omitted from your résumé?"
This earned the master of the house a perplexed (if nevertheless infuriatingly fetching) look. "Sir?"
"The weather, Ms. Lambert. It has not escaped my notice. In fact, with the cloud coverage alone, I expected to be quite delayed regardless of the specific precipitate, but I imagine the telescopes will require significantly more cleaning than an ethanol wipe can provide. The frogs, Ms. Lambert, are rather getting into things." he remarked, gesturing to his cup and it's occupant, who croaked.
At this, with it's implicit accusations, the young lady looked quite crestfallen. "...oh, sir!"
"Ms. Lambert. I realize that, the world being what it is, you may feel you have much to fear from it. Nevertheless, I would like you to answer my next question as forthrightly as you are able."
She nodded, hesitantly.
"Are you, in fact, a practitioner of Witchcraft?"
Here Ms. Lambert began to open her mouth, glancing about as if in search of a useful answer that wasn't an affirmation. "Well, sir-"
She was interrupted by an eyebrow. Mr. Hahn's shot up over it's neighbor, conveying a look of interrogative warning that explained quite sharply that equivocation would be less than welcome in this conversation. "...yes."
"I am certain you are aware that Witchcraft is, strictly speaking, still outlawed by both court and convention."
A tense silence descended between them. A last few frogs landed outside, and hopped away. The frog in the mug slowly levered itself out and flopped onto the tablecloth, flapping its froggy chin as it looked on in silent judgement of the world.
He leaned back in his chair again, removing his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. "There is a great deal I may overlook in this life, in my work, and in the maintenance of the Residence. Your work and witchery are not among them. What, I ask, are your intentions here?"
"...why are you Witching in my home, Ms. Lambert?"
"Well, sir, I needed the work. You can't magic lead into gold you know, not really. And the wilderness isn't really all it's cracked up to be, you know?"
"...so I thought I'd try a bit of honest work, sir, that's all."
"You do quite well, apart from..." he gestured vaguely frogwards. It was an easy direction to pick out, at the moment.
She bobbed a nod, erratic ringlets dancing. "Yes, sir. Sorry about that, sir. Uhm..."
"Why frogs, Ms. Lambert?" Mr. Hahn inquired, folding his hands together and waiting.
"...don't know, sir..."
"...uhm, I don't actually know..."
"You don't know." he inquired, flatly. It was not precisely a question, but it did invite explanation.
"It was only supposed to be regular rain, sir! I don't know where it picked up frogs."
"I am forming the opinion, Ms. Lambert, that you are something of a novice in your craft."
"I imagine it is difficult to find proper instruction, under the circumstances."
She nodded, lips pursed nervously.
"You have, I infer, been largely working things out as you go?"
"Ms. Lambert, I shall be frank with you. I consider magic to be a nuisance, and the Wizarding Wars quite as much a bit of awful foolishness as any other war fought with any other weapon. I believe that people's reactions as much shape the putative terror of it as anything it can properly be coerced to do, and that banning things only encourages the reckless to wreck."
She looked up, blue eyes wide and startled. The conversation had escaped her from the start, but she had expected his patience to mask something more than tired indifference. Magic, frogs notwithstanding, was serious business even if she wasn't very good at it.
"In point of fact, Ms. Lambert, I am a methodological naturalist and I believe it would behoove you to learn to be so as well."
"Just so, Ms. Lambert. You will retain your current job, but I believe it would be productive to provide you with the necessary credentials and accommodations to practice your craft properly, in a suitable environment with honest protocols. I must stress that this will be in addition to your regular duties, and I realize that cleaning up after such works is likely to be as harrowing as dusting the Residence. I must inquire...why the rain? Or the...other obvious experiments?"
"Oh, those weren't exactly experiments, sir, it's just...honestly, cleaning the Residence is the easy bit, sir, only I was afraid that, um...if it didn't look like I had a job to you, I might not get to keep having it, so to keep from being out of work, I..." she shrugged a little, looking profoundly embarrassed to say it out loud.
"...made work. I see. Well then. This arrangement, I believe, solves our current array of difficulties. I shall prepare a brunch for myself-" he made a halting gesture as she jumped to object "-while you attend to the dispersal of frogs and the rest of your regular duties. Thank you, Ms. Lambert. I shall handle the paperwork and contend with the crown. You are not to attempt any further...rain conjuration or anything else that might compromise your craft until we are prepared to install you as the Residence Head of Thaumatic Research."
And with that he made his way to the kitchens, leaving Ms. Lambert not-quite-alone in the lounge. She paused to consider this sudden shift in the course of her future, planting her hands on her hips in mild confusion. Life had never been terribly easy, and beneath her apparently vapid exterior was a mind that never stopped spinning and searching. "Well, Mister Coffee..." she mused, looking to the frog. "That went better than anybody had a right to expect, didn't it? Come on, let's get you somewhere a frog ought to be..."
Mister Coffee gave a wet grunt, and together, more or less, they all set out into a slightly better day than it had been.