Don't forget to review, please, guys *puppy dog's eyes*. I know this is rare pair hell, and all, but I really need some feedback :) BTW, this is AU, so I obviously know that it doesn't happen like this in the book, not exactly, at least. But so what? Let's have fun :)

II.

Rubeus stopped in his tracks and something, a sense of dread of some sort, began to gnaw at him. Mentally, he recounted who it could be that was walking the ground at this hour, all the while squinting his black eyes to try to determine their identity. And then, guess at their purpose.

He frowned. They were not five, as he had originally thought. They were six. They did not look like Death Eater, however. Not the same costume. Not the same stride. Not the same airs. And they did not smell like them, either. There was not the same lingering odour of blood, death, and suffering that usually followed You-Know-Who's partisans.

Still, he was not particularly reassured. Especially since the leader of that group was so short. And seemed in the dismal light to walk with her? – at least he thought it was a woman – head high with self-importance. Could that be…? But then, if that was Umbridge (or Umbitch as his woman was prone to call her), who could the others be? He cursed his own dull eyes, a result of his peculiar parentage. And went back to his own hut. If she was coming towards him with such a group… well, he'd rather have his umbrella with him. That was normal, right? He'd hoped that she was just out to fire him. But then, why would she be accompanied by such a group? She could do it in front of the entire staff. That way, she'd have witnesses. Besides, from what Minerva had said, just because his inspection report had been atrocious, did not mean that he could lose his other job here, or his home. He might wish that she'd come just to check on the OWLs' proceedings, but somehow, he reflected as he re-entered his house, he knew he was only trying to reassure himself. What in Merlin's name could it be, then? Surely, she was going to hound him again to take a census of the centaur or merpeople population?

Or maybe it was something like that. After all, the work regulations and laws on relationships for the hybrids and non-humans had become a fair bit stricter since Fudge had come in office. He'd probably have to thank Umbridge for that, too. But, surely, Lupin would have told him, if he'd heard anything of the sort? And Minerva would have warned him. In fact, if she were aware of something like this, she'd come to him all blazing fire, fierce eyes, and anger, and she'd help him find a loophole. That is, until he would distract her. He chuckled. She was beautiful when she was angry, and he loved to make her relax and unwind, after all. It invariably to some fun times.

A knock at the door jerked him out of his daydreaming. "Quiet boy, quiet" he ordered Fang. The dog seemed to smell the general hostility of those behind the door and had started barking. "Comin', comin'!" he yelled to the group impatiently waiting for him to open.

"Evenin', p'fessor Umbridg'" he said.

"Yes, hello, Hagrid. I think we had better come inside, don't you.? And it's 'Headmistress' as you should know well enough by now" she replied in that saccharine sweet voice? A real phoney, as always. Can't call me "professor" Hagrid but wouldn't min' me callin' her "Headmistress". He snorted interiorly. Bitch 's got 'notha thin' comin'. After all, Dumbledore had never minded, and that man was in a league of his own in terms of intelligence and power. Besides, there was only one woman that he wouldn't mind calling headmistress.

Stumped, he let the door wide open, and turned his back, sitting down on his comfy armchair, trying not to appear as nervous as he felt.

"'F ya'd care the sit down" he said "Would yeh like some tea?" He was stalling, and he knew it. But, dammit, the woman had brought five Aurors with her. And if she wanted to have him brought to Azkaban, the least he could do was to make sure that it would be a long time before they brought him back there.

"No, thank you, Hagrid. We prefer to remain standing. This is not a social call, you see."

"Could hav' fool'd me" he snorted.

"Be serious, Hagrid, we have important matters to discuss with you" said one of the Aurors. Dawlish, was it? He seemed to recognise him from his school days. Still as much as pompous fool.

"Hence the more private setting." completed Umbridge, sniffing as she looked disapprovingly around his hut. Listening ta her, yeh'd think I live in a rundown shack with a pack o' wolves!

But then, her words started to worry him. What was the woman on about? Was she onto Min and him? Apparently, this sort of relationship was on the verge of becoming illegal, thanks to the lobbying of conservatists like her. For himself, he didn't really care. It wasn't as if he was a great or important man, or anything like that. But if she started to attack Minerva!

But surely, that couldn't be it, right? But then, what was the matter that the bitch would need five fucking Aurors to talk to him about it, in his hut, in the middle of the night?!

Was the school in danger? Had something-had something happened to Minerva? No. He'd know, one of the Order would have come to tell him about it. It was not about firing him, she didn't need Aurors for that.

Sensing that his master was none too pleased about those intruders, Fang started to growl. "Down, Fang!" he said harshly. The dog was well-intentioned, but with his luck, Umbridge would file that against him, too.

"So, erm, wha' didya wan' the talk teh me about?" he asked, thinking to himself that it was a shame that he had not gone to see Minerva sooner. If he had, the might have had time for some tea.

"Let's start with something simple" said another Auror, a younger man to whom Rubeus was barely paying attention.

"Hem, hem. I'll be the one doing the asking, thank you, Roberts" Merlin! Bitch can' even let Aurors take care of Auror business. For that was what they'd come here for, he was certain of it, now. "What do you think of Albus Dumbledore?"

"P'fessor Dumbledore? A fine man, fo' sure!"

"Oh, and why's that, Hagrid?" asked the sugary voice "It is far from what the Ministry has established, isn't it?"

"'S got naught teh do with the Ministry, P'fessor. " replied Hagrid, frowning "P'fessor Dumbledore's the one tha go' me this job? An' he nev'r believ'd me guilty when I was fir'd from school. Got me rehabilitated, an' all." Umbridge was infuriated, but he could care less about her opinion on the matter. Besides Dumbledore, there was only one person whose opinion mattered enough to Rubeus Hagrid for him to make a real effort, and his Minerva despised the woman in front of him. "'Sides, everyone knows he was the best Headmaster the school 'd had in a lon' time. An' he was one of the firsts ta try ta get rid of You-Know-Who, back in the day."

"He has been fired from numerous offices this last year, Hagrid. And there was good reason for it" replied Umbridge.

"The Ministry's a bunch of morons! That's why! He's still tryin' ta get rid of You-Know-Who, tryin' his damn'est ta help save people, and the Ministry's makin' him look like a crackpot old fool!"

"That is because, Hagrid, Dumbledore IS a dangerous old fool! Trying to create an army out of school children!"

"Bollocks!"

"Language! Not that I'd expect a dim-witted half-giant like you to understand, but it is well-known that the incidents that have been going on since last summer are the result of the terrorist actions of Dumbledore and his band of ruffians who call themselves 'The Order of the Phoenix'!"

"What?! The Ordeh?! An army?! Wha' in Merlin's name are ya on? It's not a bloody army! It's a way to defen' ourselv's agains' You-Know-Who!"

"Well, it seems you really believe that, Hagrid. The Ministry, however, is not that gullible. The Order is clearly after power, and securing the government for Dumbledore, and his political friends. He is preparing a coup, and I'll use every method available to get him, and his crew!"

Too late, Rubeus noticed that, while he'd been getting all fired-up, the five Aurors had gathered all around him.

What in Merlin's name?!

"Take him to my office for questioning!"

"Fang!" he yelled "Com' here, boy!" as he pushed the Aurors away, running straight to the door, which opened with a great bang! If he could just get into the Forest…

"Be reasonable, Hagrid!" yelled Dawlish. And Rubeus could feel the anger getting to proportions that it'd never reached before. This, these morons, this was why he'd had to forget tea with Minerva?!