Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling. I do not own Harry Potter.

Note: The following short sketch takes place between the school years of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I consider it possible that it might fit in with the events of canon.

Rating: This piece is rated 'T'.

"You may be wondering just why I have called you in here today." the Minister for Magic said to Albus Dumbledore.

"Given the rumours that I have been hearing, Cornelius, I would imagine it is to tell me that you wish to appoint a teacher to my school, to supervise what is going on there, and to report back to you on what he or she sees." Albus Dumbledore mildly replied.

It was the summer of 1995, and Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had summoned Albus Dumbledore to a one-on-one conference at the Ministry for Magic, in the Minister's office. Well – it was one-on-one, if you ignored the woman in pink, of somewhat toadlike appearance, frantically scribbling notes, and the tall dark-skinned auror standing behind the Minister's chair.

"Exactly." the Minister said. "Things have been getting out of hand at Hogwarts for the past few years – with mysterious deaths and petrifications and that escaped convict, and finally Harry Potter going quite out of his head at the end of the Triwizard Tournament and raving all sorts of nonsense. It is time that the Ministry took things in hand, and…"

"I will, of course, be absolutely delighted to accept into Hogwarts any new staff-member that you care to name. Unfortunately the only post which is vacant at the moment is the Defence Against the Dark Arts position…" Albus interrupted the Minister, before being cut off short in his turn by an explosion of outrage from the Minister.

"The DEFENCE position? DO YOU TAKE ME FOR A COMPLETE FOOL, DUMBLEDORE?" Cornelius spluttered, going red in the face. "The position is quite clearly cursed. There were rumours to that effect flying around when I was a pupil at Hogwarts, and in the last four years, we have had one teacher mysteriously dead, in a fashion which you have never explained – although the undertaker who prepared his body said something about the man's head being horribly burned; one teacher a complete and utter mental case in a long-term ward in Saint Mungo's; one teacher who turned into a werewolf and tried to eat Harry Potter; and one teacher who, depending on your point of view of who exactly was the actual post holder this past school year, either turned out to be an escaped convict and who had to be kissed by a dementor or who spent most of the school year as a prisoner in his own trunk. I will NOT let any Ministry representative fill that accursed position, and the mere fact that you suggest it to me strongly suggests that the stories that you are in fact plotting against the Ministry may have more than a grain of truth to them. No. You can go to the board of governors and tell them that Binns is fired, or taking a sabbatical, and Dolores can fill the History of Magic position. You'd be good at that, Dolores, making sure that the pupils have their facts straight about certain things…"

This last was addressed to the woman present who was scribbling notes who paused from that activity to beam and nod, murmuring a simpering:

"Of course, Minister."

Albus sucked in his cheeks and looked at the auror behind the Minister's chair.

"This is really rather unfortunate, Minister. You leave me no other choice here…" and Albus Dumbledore nodded to Kingsley Shacklebolt, fellow member of the Order of the Phoenix, and one of Albus' most highly placed agents and operatives in the Ministry of Magic and Magical Law Enforcement, and who also happened to be the man currently standing behind the Minister, as the Minister's 'protective detail'…

Cornelius Fudge signed the executive decree sending Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts as the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor for the forthcoming school year, with a flourish.

The rumours about the position being cursed were all bunkum, of course, and even if there had been any truth in them at one time, Albus Dumbledore had quite sincerely assured Cornelius that Quirinus Quirrell had heroically expired negating any lingering effects of any such curse.

And everything which had happened in the three years since then to professors teaching Defence had just been coincidence and bad luck – absolutely.

Dolores would be as safe as houses in the post.

Of course one couldn't take everything that Albus said as absolute truth, and Cornelius had a lingering suspicion that Albus was pulling the wool over his and Dolores' eyes in some fashion which he couldn't quite put a finger on.

Best to be extra-careful about anything Albus said and did for now, at least until Dolores could get to the bottom of just what secrets Hogwarts might hold…

Author Notes:

Canon witches and wizards do some things which are at least rather risky to themselves at times, but (at the time of writing) it recently struck me as rather strange that Cornelius Fudge should choose to send a handpicked agent to occupy a key position at Hogwarts for the 1995-1996 school year, in the role of defence teacher, at least unless he received some outside 'encouragement' to override what natural suspicions and caution which it seems to me that he ought to have. Canon witches and wizards are apparently prepared to believe at the first hiss of Parseltongue that Harry Potter is a dark wizard petrifying his schoolmates and that (for whatever reasons it originally arose) you should not speak Lord Voldemort's name aloud during the 1980's and 1990's (even when Lord Voldemort is supposedly 'gone'). It seems to me that they should most certainly readily believe that the Defence Against the Dark Arts position is cursed – especially when bad things keep happening to people in it.

Neither the original books nor J.K. Rowling interviews have (as far as I know as of August 2018) made clear what happened to Professor Quirrell's body at the end of Harry's first year at Hogwarts. I've taken the liberty of inventing what was left having been sent to an undertaker before burial, to give Cornelius Fudge something which he might have heard about to say about the events of that school year.

I'm unclear how widely it was known that Remus Lupin was a werewolf before he filled the Defence position for the 1993-1994 (Prisoner of Azkaban) school year, but it seems probable to me that Albus Dumbledore may have had Remus' werewolf status hushed up, and that in consequence, it might be natural for anyone not 'in the know' to (incorrectly) assume that it was Remus getting the Defence position which was to blame for him becoming a werewolf (during that school year).

In this piece, Albus and Kingsley Shacklebolt between them 'confund' Cornelius Fudge and Dolores into thinking that it's a perfectly good idea for Dolores to fill the Defence position, in the time-gap before the last paragraph.

Conceivably, a lingering after-effect of Cornelius and Dolores being so magically 'treated' might be to give them a sense that something is 'off' that they can't quite figure out, enhancing their paranoia about Albus Dumbledore for the coming school year.

This piece is a one-shot.