The Case Of The Mysterious Beard

DISCLAIMER: Contrary to popular belief, I'm sure, I am not JK Rowling. It's a terrible reality, I know, but hey, someone's got to suffer. R&R!


In his office at the top of the tallest tower in Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore pushed his half moon spectacles further up his nose and sighed. His face crinkled with a mixture of amusement and unease as he rested his chin on his fingertips and waited. Waited for possibly the most destructive force in Hogwarts history.

Minerva McGonagall.

If Albus Dumbledore had lived to be twice the tender age of 150 years, it would be unlikely that he would meet anything to quite match the wrath of his Deputy Headmistress when she was mad. Very, very mad.


So mad, in fact, that as she stormed her way up to the Headmasters office on that cold, cold winters day, he could have sworn the windows rattled and the suits of armour shivered in suspense, before bracing themselves for the blow...he grinned.

"Minerva my dear! What brings you up here tonight? "

The doors swung open, to reveal a harassed, extremely annoyed, and, as Albus would put it later, insanely beautiful Minerva McGonagall. Her hair, usually pristine in its neat bun, was becoming undone, and loose ringlets swung around her eyes. Albus noted the ends were frayed. Her emerald eyes, almond shaped and narrowed to angry slits, glinted maliciously in the firelight. And beneath the straight, porcelain nose, her lips were pursed tighter than Albus could recall seeing them for a long time. She opened her mouth, drew a breath...

Albus winced.

"DON'T you dare my dear me! HALF a bottle of ink and seventy OWL essays, Headmaster! Seventy! The blackboard wiped, tomorrows lesson plans lost, my chair glued to the floor, a student's COURSEWORK vanished, diamonds all over my floor from the broken, yes Albus, BROKEN chandelier he has unscrewed..."

Here Albus tried to interrupt, but Professor McGonagall wasn't showing any signs of letting up so soon.

"...thirty quills shredded and mixed with my BEST ink, my planner missing, a permanent sticking charm on my living room door, and he's placed an impurtable charm on my cat! Why, Albus, why?"

Here her voice had wheedled down to a soft whine, her eyebrows, which had been knotted together disapprovingly, unravelling to reveal her really rather pretty features. Her face had taken on a look of utter desperation, and it took all Albus' self-control to keep him from falling over in tears of laughter. You see, as kind as Dumbledore was, he just could not help himself when faced with an angry Minerva McGonagall. Because truth be told - well, he found her rather hilarious. Now, however, thought Albus, was a time for something more than mere laughter. Summoning all of his fabled courage, he went in for the kill.

"But Minerva, dear, I thought diamonds were a girl's best friend?"

The portraits in the study froze. Dilys Derwent, usually a firm supporter of Dumbledore, cringed and hid her eyes. Phinneus Nigellus chuckled darkly. Albus' face was the picture of innocence. Butter would not melt. Unfortunately, this did not enrage her even more as Dumbledore had intended, but instead caused a rather different turn of events.

Minerva's shoulders sagged, and her robes suddenly seemed at least three sizes too big for her. Her face dropped too, and without further, warning, she crumpled to the floor, defeated. Here she stayed for a few seconds, immobile. Then her shoulders began to heave, and for the first time in recorded history, Albus Dumbledore witnessed Minerva McGonagall crying. Not just crying, but hysterically sobbing, clutching to the bulky fabric of her thick outer robes with both hands as if they might offer her comfort.

After a moment, she chocked back a sob, stood straight, tucked a loose strand into her bun and marched out of the classroom, head held high. Albus made to rush after her, but a comment from Phinneus Nigellus stopped him. "Gryffindors", he sneered, "they just never know when to stop pretending." Therefore, it came about that Albus Dumbledore realised his mistake.

As the consequences of his mistake settled in his mind, Albus' face dropped from amused and happy to a look of sheer horror, and the cheerful twinkle in his sapphire eyes dulled slightly. He had let Minerva leave on an argument. Not something he had done in the 50 years he had known her. Not a wise thing to do.

In short, the billions of whirling thoughts in the Headmaster's scatty-brained head replaced themselves in a millisecond with just one...

Oh. Dear. Me.

In desperation, Albus pulled out a secret draw in his desk, shoved a couple of lemon drops in his mouth and gulped.

Unfortunately, before Albus slammed the door to his office; embarking on a grand tour of Hogwarts, he failed to notice something rather different in his attire.

In his wake, even Armando Dippet could not suppress a chuckle. "Dear me," he said, chuckling merrily, "the boy really has landed himself in it this time hasn't he!"

In the silent office, the other portraits nodded in agreement. Some looked amused, some wary, some downright terrified; but they all knew one thing for sure: Albus Dumbledore was in for a pitiless, cruel few days.

If you want to know what happens next...R&R! Ta!