Chapter 103

AN: Thanks for all the reviews, for reading, for putting me on alert, and for favoriting! I really appreciate it! Sorry this is a little late, I couldn't get the site to pull up until now. Gotta love the Internet...

I don't own anything you'd recognize.

"Mr. Conway?" Hermione called as she knocked on his office door.

"Come in!" DA Conway answered.

She entered with a smile and sat on the chair across from him. "Thanks for meetin' me now, especially on such short notice," he said.

She shrugged. "It was fine. Mr. Snape and I are eager to proceed as well, so the day after New Years is hardly a burden for us."

"That's good," Conway replied. "Because there are some very important things I need to discuss with you."

"Yes! I think we should ask the judge to move forward with the jury selection," Hermione answered.

"Good. Is there any particular date that's simply out the question between now and March?" he asked.

"The only one which comes to mind is January 9th," she answered.

"Any reason?" he asked.

"It's Mr. Snape's birthday," she answered. "I think he should at least be allowed to enjoy it, especially in light of the charges ahead."

"I see," Adrian answered. "I doubt the judge would be ready to proceed that quickly so I don't think that would be a problem."

"Thank you," she answered.

Adrian smirked. "You sure do seem to share a close relationship with your client."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, masking her growing panic.

"I just mean that the last time I saw you two together, you seemed close. It isn't my place to judge or speculate, but it is an observation," he answered.

"Mr. Snape and I were once professor and pupil," she answered.

"From what I heard his people skills were somewhat lacking, but then again I've only heard about him from the papers and Minerva," he answered somewhat offhandedly. "Maybe because of your intelligence he was different with you."

"Sure," she answered, hoping to change the subject as quickly as possible.

Adrian could see a hint of worry in her eyes, but he decided to chalk it up to not wishing to discuss her past. "Speaking of your former professors," he continued, "Horace Slughorn has been spinning some wild tales in the media."

She smirked. "Yes, he sure has."

"I mean turning on your own witness, Lucius Malfoy no less? Miss Granger, what is going on with your defense?" he asked in a serious tone.

"Simple, I'm trying to lull the real murderer into a false sense of security so we can draw him out. We're still holding on to the theory that Rita made some enemies at The Daily Prophet, and those enemies murdered her," Hermione answered.

"Very interesting, but is there a shred of evidence?" he asked.

"I'm currently collecting it!" she answered.

He gave her a peculiar look. "Do I want to know how?"

"I'm not doing anything a PI wouldn't do," she answered.

He seemed satisfied with the answer. "Okay," he sighed. "Well, if you want to approach me about a plea deal between now and the jury selection…"

"I'll pass!" she answered firmly.

Adrian smiled in admiration of her determination. "Okay Miss Granger. Have it your way."

"Thank you," she answered.

"Now," Adrian replied, his eyes becoming more serious, "There is one more issue, and I'm only warning you because I respect you as a person."

"What?" she asked.

He took a deep breath. "I've been speaking with Harry Potter about his testimony."

Her eyes widened as her heart and lungs stopped. Finally, she whispered, "Okay."

"Luna is encouraging him to make peace with you."

"Well," she answered trying to hide her mounting emotions. "I suppose that's between them, then."

"I simply wanted to prepare you for it," Adrian replied.

She sighed. "I have a feeling he was at my house the other night."

"Your house?" he asked.

"You know what I mean," she answered. He nodded, allowing her to continue. "I didn't make out exactly what he yelled, but he never came in."

"Probably for the best," Conway sighed. "Anyway, I thought you should know just in case he does come."

"I'll be sure to ready myself for him," she answered.

"Good. On a somewhat lighter note, I'll send in the request for the jury selection," he replied.

She smiled, though her eyes were weary. "Thank you Mr. Conway."

"No, thank you," he answered as he extended his hand.

She grasped his hand and shook it gratefully, then strolled out of his office into the chaos of the police headquarters. As she neared the exit, she heard someone call, "Miss Granger!"

Hermione spun around and saw a smiling Perpetua approach her. "Tell Mr. Snape that I said, 'thank you so much for that potion!' It really saved me during the holiday season."

"Don't mention it," Hermione answered. "It must be horrible to be allergic to your niece's pet."

"It really is," Perpetua answered. "He's a cute little guy too, so I feel awfully bad."

Hermione nodded and then asked, "Do you remember the exact time you entered Miss Skeeter's room and found her corpse?"

"Yes ma'am! We got the call about ten, and it took us five minutes to collect ourselves, apparate to the hotel, and reach the room. I'd say we reached it at ten o' five. Why?"

"No reason," she answered. "I'm just mulling over some possibilities in my head.

"Well, good luck," Perpetua answered. "Tell Mr. Snape I said 'thanks!'"

"I will," Hermione promised.

"Severus!" Hermione called as she entered the store.

She was taken aback to see Snape engrossed in something on his counter. He looked up and motioned for her to join him. "Look at this," he began.

He slid the paper over to her. She picked it up and grinned as she read in the society page:

Ares Philips engaged to Giselle Anger!