Objection

Chapter 25

AN: Thanks so much for the reviews, for reading, putting me on alert, and for favoriting this story! It means a lot, especially since this week's just been chaos. Thanks again!

I own nothing.

Adrian examined the files closely, trying to find any inconsistencies in the key witness' statement. Satisfied that there were none, he put it down and smirked. It wouldn't take much to put this guy away.

Before Adrian could put the files with the rest of the case, he heard a knock on the door. "Come in!" he called.

The door opened, revealing a glaring Hermione. He smirked in spite of himself and suppressed a laugh. "What can I do for you ma'am?" he asked trying to regain his professionalism.

"Nice stunt you pulled last night. Tell me, do you pull it on every defense attorney you come across?" she asked.

"Just the ones who enter my house," he answered.

Hermione's eyes became harder. "Was your only purpose in becoming an animagus to spy on opposing council?"

"Considering that by law, we're both supposed to be open and honest about the investigation, I'd say no," Adrian answered.

Hermione stopped and nodded in concession.

"I take it your book doesn't have my whole story in it."

"It merely says you were trained under Minerva to be one of the six registered animagi of the twentieth century," she replied.

Adrian gestured for her to sit in a chair across from his desk. She nodded in thanks and sat down, her expression now much less hostile. "Have you ever heard of a place called Hostilis, Kentucky?"

She nodded. "It was the first wizarding community founded in the state of Kentucky. It means 'enemy' in Latin, and was named in honor of a quote made by Oliver Hazard Perry; 'we have met the enemy and they are ours'.

He smiled. "Very good. My ancestors founded it near a town called Hazard in Perry County, so you can see the connection they had to him."

She nodded. He continued, "Hostilis was, and still is for the most part, an extremely isolated wizarding community. Located in that part of the Appalachian Mountains, isolation is pretty much a given. One result of this seclusion is that almost everyone in town is a pure blood, so wizard training isn't hard to come by, and from what I've experienced it's pretty damn good. Another result of being so isolated, though, is that Hostilis is not a wealthy community.

Now mind you I never starved or went without a meal, but when it came time for secondary schooling, my parents could only afford to send me to a local Auror school, and even that was a strain. I didn't want to be an Auror; I wanted to be a prosecutor. I didn't want to chase down villains and hope they got put away; I wanted to make damn sure they got what they deserved. Yet as you know, law school is expensive, so I resigned myself to being an Auror and ultimately moved to Louisville, Kentucky.

After a year or two, I'd had it with being an Auror. I knew something needed to change, but it would take years before I could even afford a down payment on tuition to law school. My big break came when I was at a muggle bar, watching some cop show. I saw the police dogs the muggles were using to chase criminals. Wizards had never considered such things because they could transform themselves into animals. Transformation was rare, though, because it had its drawbacks. For instance, one needed a wand to perform it. If one was using their wand to keep a suspect in line, their hands were tied. Or if an Auror dropped their wand, they'd waste precious seconds retrieving it while a suspect fled. Also, transformed wizards could not talk to creatures who may know the location of a suspect. A final thing is that by using their wand, they risked mixing their magical signature with the evidence."

"An animagus wouldn't have those drawbacks though, since the spell can be performed wandlessly, meaning you wouldn't have to worry about misfiring or having residual magic land on evidence since the whole spell is contained in your body. You could also talk to animals," Hermione replied.

"Yes!" Adrian answered with a grin. "Those were my thoughts exactly. I came from a long line of animagi, all unregistered since they had no reason to spend money on a piece of paper. Still, if I wanted a legitimate business, I'd need that piece of paper. I only knew of one other registered animagus who could help me get registered."

"Minerva," Hermione replied.

"Exactly! I sold everything I could, quit my job, and landed on Minerva's doorstep with only a suitcase full of clothes," Adrian answered with a smile.

"So," Hermione replied in a low voice. "You know my client then?"

Conway shook his head. "I came a year or two after he graduated. I believe he was either with the Death Eaters by then or in the process of becoming a potions master. I don't know which. I honestly hadn't heard of him until Dumbledore died."

That's a great way to hear of a client, Hermione thought.

"Calypso on the other hand knew a little about him, but she was a Ravenclaw and a couple of years behind him. She didn't see enough of him to form an opinion."

"Oh," Hermione answered.

"Anyway, Minerva agreed to help me become an animagus. I met Calypso, and you know how that turned out. I got registered, and decided to go back to the US. That's when I found Terminus."

"Why Terminus?" Hermione asked.

"It was a large city with a good law school, not to mention several apparation points. I used them quite often, since I opened a business where I agreed to act as a police dog for whatever police department needed me. I was getting owls left and right at the height of my business, but I never took my eyes off my goal. Within a few years I had enough money not only to go to law school, but also to buy a decent house and build a life for myself."

"Do you still have the business?" she asked.

"Sometimes if I get a case I like I'll agree to use my skills, but those cases are fewer and farther between," he replied. "After all, it's getting hard to travel with children."

"I'd imagine," Hermione replied, then smiled. "By the way, I need a favor from you."

"Yes?" Adrian asked.

"Do you recall there being a mysterious clump of white hair found at the crime scene?" she asked.

Conway nodded. "Yes, I do recall that."

"I'd like an expert in muggle hair and fur samples to examine it, if that's okay," she requested.

"When?"

"Today if that's okay. I need to see a man named Roger Grayson today too. I'm interviewing him."

"Is he an alternate suspect or an expert?"

"Alternate suspect," she answered.

He nodded. "Well, if anything comes out of it, don't hesitate to tell me. As for the hair, I see no problem in letting an expert examine it. All I'll need is their name and credentials so I can do some research on them."

"I can do that. Her name is Jessica White."

"Never heard of her," Adrian answered.

Hermione pulled out a small case file and enlarged it. Conway took the file and opened it in order to inspect the contents. After reading some key documents, he looked up and answered, "Her credentials seem in order. I'll allow you to take a sample of that hair to her for investigation. Just talk to Ms. Lutz on your way out and she'll give you instructions."

"Thank you," Hermione answered.

"Is that all for me Ms. Granger?" he asked.

"I think so," she answered. "I'll let you know if anything develops."

"Thank you ma'am," Adrian answered as he stood up, collected his case files, and turned to leave.

"Where are you off to?" she asked.

He smiled. "Court. I'm trying an armed robbery case in a few hours."

"Oh, well good luck," she answered.

"Thanks, and good luck with Ms. White and Mr. Grayson," he answered.

"Thank you," she answered.

With that, Hermione and Adrian left the office, each focused on their prospective endeavors.

All the information on Hazard, Kentucky and Perry County, Kentucky can be found on Wikipedia (just type in either-it's essentially the same article). A little known fact about Perry County-it was the inspiration for the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. Because the producers were afraid of a lawsuit, they changed the spelling and the location to Georgia. Anyway, thanks for reading!