"Tell Her Anything!"
Book 5—Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Summary: When Dumbledore asked Professor McGonagall to go and head off Professor Umbridge, he told her to tell Umbridge anything she liked; whatever story she could think of. What story did Professor McGonagall tell her?
Professor McGonagall raced down the stairs from the headmaster's office and past the gargoyle at the bottom. She got no more than two steps past this before she came nose to nose with Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge. Both women stopped just short of hitting one another, drawing themselves up to their full heights. Professor McGonagall was all of twice Professor Umbridge's height. Despite this obvious intimidation factor, Umbridge stood her ground, staring up at McGonagall with her eyes squeezed into tight, frosty slits.
"I need to see the headmaster. Stand out of my way," demanded Professor Umbridge. McGonagall remained.
"Perhaps you didn't hear me, Minerva. I told you to move out of my way," Umbridge repeated, gaining a defensive angle in her stance. The fearless deputy headmistress was unfazed.
"The headmaster is unavailable right now, Dolores. You will have to see him in the morning," replied Professor McGonagall.
"And why is that?" asked Professor Umbridge.
"He is in a meeting with another staff member," replied McGonagall coldly. Umbridge struggled to fold her hands over her chest in defiance.
"What meeting? I know of no such meeting," said Umbridge, "With whom is he meeting?"
"None of your business, Dolores," said McGonagall, a tone of severity creeping into her voice.
"I am the High Inquisitor of Hogwart's and I demand to know with whom the headmaster is meeting!" Umbridge replied, beginning to raise her voice.
"I don't care who you think you are, but you are certainly not anything I would consider high. In any case, I answer to no one but the headmaster," said McGonagall, once again beginning to clench her teeth.
"Perhaps you would do well to have a bit of time on probation as well!" Umbridge cried.
"Are you threatening me?" McGonagall growled.
"Tell me who the headmaster is meeting with!" Umbridge shouted. She was now inches from McGonagall's nose, her round face growing more and more crimson. McGonagall nearly laughed at the idle thought that if she became any angrier, her pudgy, round little button nose may very well burst from her face and release all the pent up hot air inside.
"What's so funny!" Umbridge shouted once again. McGonagall composed herself and stood her ground.
"I can see that you are going to make this difficult," said Umbridge, pulling her wand from the inside pocket of her fuzzy pink cardigan. McGonagall made a smooth reach for her own and held it loosely in her right hand.
"I will only ask you once more, Minerva. Get—out—of—my—way," said Umbridge, severely.
"No," replied McGonagall, with as much calm as she could muster. Both women drew their wands at the same time, and their spells bounced off one another. Professor McGonagall backed up a few steps to gain a bit more height but Umbridge was not to be further outdone. She grabbed for McGonagall's wand hand and managed to wrap her chubby fingers around her wrist. McGonagall opened her mouth to defend herself but was cut off as Umbridge gave her wrist a good hard twist.
"Expelli—!" despite her height and prowess, McGonagall crumpled to the staircase with a gasp of pain. Umbridge pointed her wand at McGonagall again, this time McGonagall spoke.
"He was meeting with me!"
"He what?" hissed Professor Umbridge.
"He was meeting with me," said McGonagall, cradling her wrist, "I had a question for him that…that couldn't have waited until morning."
"What kind of question?" demanded Umbridge, leaning closer to McGonagall.
"It was…well…you see, Dolores…it's quite complicated…" McGonagall stuttered as she desperately searched her mind for an answer. She was beginning to fear that Umbridge finally had the means to sack her as well when her salvation appeared above her on the stairs.
"It is indeed complicated, Professor Umbridge. You see, Professor McGonagall had asked me to teach her something very important tonight," said Dumbledore, his customary calm soothing the racing heartbeat in McGonagall's chest.
"THAT DOESN'T TELL ME ANYTHING!" screamed Umbridge, once again pointing her wand at the deputy headmistress, who was still seated on the lowest steps of the staircase.
"Now, now, Dolores, shouting will not do at all," said Dumbledore, stepping gingerly around McGonagall and down to the floor. Turning to her, he extended a hand to help her up. Gently, Dumbledore placed his arm around McGonagall's waist and gently held her sore wrist in his other hand, effectively sheltering her from a furious Umbridge.
"I was teaching Professor McGonagall how to dance, Dolores," said Dumbledore, "But as you have injured her, we must go to the hospital wing. Hopefully, Madam Pomfrey is still awake. In the mean time, goodnight, Dolores." Dumbledore's calm voice seemed to smooth the rough edges of Umbridge's mood just enough.
She watched, stunned, as Dumbledore lead McGonagall down the corridor, and disappeared. Admitting defeat, Umbridge shoved her wand back into her pocket and stormed back to her room, once again, overtaken by Professor Dumbledore's genius.