Part 1—pressing changes and collapsing

It was midnight before Minerva McGonagall made to her quarters in the Hogwarts castle. Stopping by a bust of Godric Gryffindor, she murmured "into the lions' den", and entered the rooms she shared with the Headmaster, also known as her husband Albus Dumbledore.

The quarters were divided up into five rooms, his and hers studies, his and her baths, and bedroom. The bedroom was a Gryffindor theme, with red and gold silks adoring the windows and beds. This color scheme was a compromising between Minerva's Scottish tartan of reds, greens and blues and Albus' wish to put up lemon drop smelling wallpaper.

Bone tired, Minerva undid her bun and changed into a light cotton nightgown. It seemed weird to her to go to sleep without knowing her husband's whereabouts. Fawkes curled up on Albus's side of the bed. Minerva made a mental note to send him off with messages to the children before daybreak. With this final thought, she fell into a dreamless sleep.

The next morning came too soon for Minerva as she rolled over to meet the empty place. She realized why the bed felt empty and the task she been putting off since the night before.

Getting up and crossing into her study, Minerva rummaged through her desk and retrieved two pieces of parchment. She sat down and wrote to letters,

Dear Aurora,

Your father has been banished by the Toad. (Minerva smiled at the nicknamed that her daughter came up with while clerking for Madame Bones) He didn't tell me where he was going but I imagined letters to The Goats would find him. The Toad has been appointed Headmistress and I'm trying to rally the staff against her. Fudge has been no help per usual and Trelawney has been sacked. I know you are heartbroken about that.

Take faith in light always in the end beats dark forces. Keep up the Order's work in the Ministry.

Love you,

Mother.

Copying a similar message on to a parchment addressed to Apollo, Minerva gave the letters to Fawkes. Fawkes burst into flames. Unfazed by this Minerva then begins the first day under the Umbridge regime.

At breakfast, the mood among the staff was subdued and hesitant. The quietness seems to suit the new headmistress. Quietness, she thought, meant submission. She should've known that the staff was well trained not to speak among enemies. The staff room sealed it against known untrustworthily people. Filius Flitwick absent-mindedly tapped his wand against the table four times in rapid succession, signaling a meeting.

Minerva hurried towards the staff room and sat through the various announcements about the pranks against Umbridge (she never has been so proud of Forge and Gred). Severus updated them on the D.A., which using a disillusion charm, he attends weekly. Albus wasn't against the group but did want to know the activities.

Reviewing the exams schedule, Minerva reminded the staff not to overstress the fifth and seventh years.

Xiomara Hooch mentioned a flying competition for third years and below. Severus complained about incompetence of the students. The meeting continued with the Order of the Phoenix activities at the castle. Hagrid then tried to convince the staff to bred a domestic dragon. Not surprisingly, all the staff except the potions master who refused to vote voted this down.

Filius Flitwick reminded the staff that the annual barbecue was on June thirty. No one mentions the other part of that statement, if anyone on the staff survives.

The meeting ended with a mention to toe the line with Umbridge. Minerva already accomplished this with her comment that Dolores was raving during Harry Potter's career consultation.

Minerva walked back to her office to review some simple transformation spells for her first years when a feeling of daze came over her. For a second, Minerva didn't know her surroundings. Leaning against the cool wall, she regained her bearings and continued on her way. It was probably nothing.