The first thing Dolores Umbridge noticed about Minerva McGonagall was her body height. 'She's much too tall', she thought to herself and grinned in utter relief, while she watched the other woman and her company talking to some other party guests. Aside from her size, the woman was also much too thin and...bony. Very unfeminine and somehow grim and even scary when her eyebrows narrowed like they did now, as she talked to Percy Weasley, Cornelius new secretary. Did this woman ever smile, Dolores asked herself and the smile on her face became wider.

At least she knew now that the rumours weren't true. Ever since Dumbledore had claimed He-who-must-not-be-named had returned from the dead, people in the ministry had started speculating on how this would affect the already strained relationship between the Minister of Magic and Dumbledore. Some had said Fudge wouldn't take further action and let Dumbledore do what he wanted to, because a certain witch had a certain power over Fudge and wouldn't allow him to interfere in whatever Dumbledore's plans were.

When the name 'Minerva McGonagall' had made its first round through the ministry, Dolores had felt a slight touch of uneasiness and nausea. She knew the woman was a tough cookie. Her reputation among the people in the ministry was legendary, although many of the younger workers there only knew her from school and not from the time Minerva had worked in the Department of Mystery. But how a simple teacher and obviously unattractive person like Minerva could influence Cornelius had been beyond her. After all Cornelius had never mentioned her nor had she ever been seen McGonagall in the ministry, since she had left. And she hardly could have power over someone she never saw, right? It was ridiculous.

Did Minerva even leave the school? Dolores doubted it. The woman was just strange, just like Dumbledore who had the reputation of being an eccentric fool. A brilliant wizard, but a fool at times.

Why Cornelius had invited him to his birthday party she didn't know. But she expected the mere reason was a matter of manners. After all it was important to show the wizard world its leaders weren't divided and there was nothing to fear. After all You-know-who was not back. Cornelius showed class when he invited the man who tried to steal his job. But why had Dumbledore to bring his plain Deputy Headmistress? For sure Cornelius hadn't invited her. There was no reason to do so after all. And the rumours about a former relationship between them couldn't be true after all. McGonagall wasn't his type. Dolores exhaled and emptied her cup of tea, making a face. Her tea was cold and she hadn't added enough sugar. Her eyes roamed the room, searching for Cornelius. When she finally located him, her facial expression changed into something an observer would have described as "biting into a lemon". Cornelius Fudge was talking to Amanda Bones, but his eyes lay on Minerva McGonagall who was now eagerly talking to Dumbledore, whose hand lay on her arm, rubbing it gently.
Was it fury she recognized in Cornelius eyes? No, it couldn't be... there was no reason after all. The rumours were rumours and nothing more. She narrowed her eyes and decided to let everyone who said Cornelius and that awful spinster had been involved, accomplish some additional shifts in Azkaban.

She had to put a stop on these rumours, before they caused more damage than they had already done. She remembered one awful day when she had overheard a nasty talk between two older secretaries in the Department of Mysteries while they were cataloguing newly arrived prophecies. She had pressed her ear against the door, hoping to hear something that could help her to get rid off Gertrude Poortree, the oldest secretary in the ministry who just annoyed her with her support for Dumbledore and his incompetent theories.

"I heard Fudge is furious with Dumbledore... he smashed a bottle of meat when he heard Dumbledore tried to convince some members of the Wizard Gamont that You-know-who is back."

"When isn't Fudge furious with Dumbledore?" The other, younger witch asked back. "He's always been furious at him, since he talked Fudge's little sweetheart into his school and she waved him good bye and have a good life. He never really got over her, that's why his wife is living in another house and only appears with him public when it can't be avoided."

"Oh please... that was 40 years ago. Fudge should be happy he got rid off of her and stick to his own wife. Minerva loves her school and teaching. Nothing else!" Gertrude sighed.

"Maybe, but with her he had become Minister at least 10 years earlier," her colleague chuckled. "Minerva McGonagall had kicked him into the office all by herself!"

"Or she had taken it over herself," the older witch said dryly. "I tell you, the Scottish hag is a real piece of work. On the other hand..." She chuckled, "Good old Fudge had fun back then. I'll never forget how Laura Begshot told me she caught her and Fudge once right in her office... doing you-know-what on the desk. I tell you, McGonagall must have been quite a goer in the old days!"

"Yes, but then she dumped him. I guess Dumbledore was the more promising candidate for her career."

"At least that's what people say. And now he's nothing but a senile old goat who will end up in Azkaban in case he won't stop to discredit the ministry."

Yes, Azkaban would do well for those two gooses.

Umbridge scoffed and was sure those two bitches had been wrong. There was no way Minerva McGonagall had been Cornelius mistress. After all she knew Cornelius preferred real women with soft, majestic curves who were smaller than him, not taller.

For the rest of the evening she would continue to keep an eye an that woman. It would be interesting to see how she behaved when she met Cornelius.

tbc.... if you want me to ;-) Let me know if you like it.