Chapter 98

AN: YAY! 800 reviews! I'm doing another dance *dances very poorly.* You should be happy that you didn't have to see that...Anyway, thanks for reading, favoriting, for putting me on alert, and of course for reviewing! It really makes me happy!

I don't own anything you'd recognize.

"That bitch!" Ginny yelled.

Lucius sighed as Ginny stormed into the dining area. "What are you raving about now?" he asked.

"Yes, please tell," Narcissa added as she took a seat beside Lucius.

"Have you seen this article?" Ginny yelled.

"No, you're the first to see today's paper," Lucius answered with a smirk.

"Well read it!" Ginny demanded.

"What are you yelling about? Scorpius is trying to sleep!" Draco asked as he strolled into the dining hall.

"He should be up by now," Ginny answered.

Draco shook his head and answered, "He has a low grade fever and an earache."

Ginny's eyes widened. "Should we take him to the mediwitch?" she asked.

"I think he just has a bad cold," Draco answered. "I gave him a potion to reduce his fever and help him rest, but I think I'll take Margarita to Uncle Severus' later on today so we can stock up on some stronger medicine in case he needs it."

Ginny's eyes reignited with rage. "I'll go with you so I can give that whorish lawyer a piece of my mind!"

"Are you ever going to tell us what you're screaming about?" Lucius asked, more than a little irritated.

"Yes dear, perhaps you should stop screaming before Margarita hears you," Narcissa added.

"I think she's trying to be Scorpius' nurse right now," Draco chuckled. "When I left her, she was writing a letter to Uncle Severus about how to brew a "pepper up" potion. She's having a little trouble with, in her words, 'not writing sloppy like a dunderhead.'"

Lucius chuckled. "I'll go up and help her when we're done."

"Maybe you should read this first!" Ginny demanded as she thrust the paper in front of Lucius.

Lucius took the paper and glared at her. Then he began to read the offending article. His eyes widened. "This is a horrible shot of Snape apothecary. The angle is horrendous."

"Keep reading!" she answered.

He glared at her before he continued. "Okay," he muttered. "Severus made a new potion. I don't see the…"

Lucius fell silent as he read further. "Dear, what's wrong?" Narcissa asked as he quietly set the paper down.

"Apparently Hermione is claiming that an ex-Death Eater killed Skeeter and is framing Snape. Slughorn says it's me," Lucius answered.

"What?" Narcissa and Draco asked.

"She's betraying us! She's trying to separate Severus from us! She's going to isolate him and…"

"Quiet, Ginevra!" Lucius demanded. "I can't hear myself think!"

"What are you thinking?" Narcissa asked.

"That Severus would never allow her to do this," he began, lifting his finger to shush Ginny when she opened her mouth to speak. Ginny shut it obediently and glared at him. "And that Hermione would be a fool to do this even if he did."

"What do you mean?" Narcissa asked.

"Hermione owes me this case," he answered. "She knows as well as I do that if it wasn't for me, she would've spent Christmas in Philadelphia opening the presents she gave herself. She owes me, and she knows it. That means something to Gryffindors."

"It does," Ginny admitted.

Lucius smirked. "I think it's a ploy."

"What could be gained from implicating one of her own witnesses, especially the man who's proving that Severus had no intention of killing Rita?" Draco asked.

"To draw out the real killer," Lucius answered.

"You think this is all one big game to draw someone out?" Ginny asked, now more intrigued than upset.

"It would be a very Slytherin thing to do," he replied.

"But Hermione's the Princess of Gryffindor!" Draco argued.

Lucius' smirk widened. "That makes this turn of events all the more satisfying, if I'm correct."

"She's up to something," Conway replied as he set the paper down.

"Up to what?" Calypso asked as she joined him on the couch, Ishtar wiggling happily in her arms.

"Something about this article just doesn't seem right," Adrian answered.

"Well, Lucius is a reasonable suspect," she began.

"He's her witness!" he argued. "The defense doesn't turn on its own witnesses unless it's collapsing."

"Maybe it is collapsin'."

"I doubt it. Miss Granger's too smart for that. If she sensed that Severus was guilty she'd start looking into calling it a crime of passion, thinking about having Mr. Snape declared legally insane, or hell, even coming to me with a plea bargain. She wouldn't be accusin' her own witnesses of murder though. Besides, she didn't even officially come out and say Lucius did this."

"Well then who did?" Calypso asked.

"Horace Slughorn," he answered.

"The perv!" she exclaimed.

He gave her an odd look. "Sorry," she replied with a sheepish smile as Ishtar started to fuss. Calypso bounced her on her knee until she settled down. "I just remember calling him that in school because my friends and I hated his class and we always thought it was creepy that he had parties with students."

"I won't comment on that,' Adrian replied. "But I can say that they're feeding false leads through him."

"I remember the chinchilla and bat hair incident," Calypso answered. "Still, what's the point?"

"She's trying to draw someone out," Adrian replied. "I don't know who, but she's trying to draw someone out."

"So she's still clinging to the notion of another killer?"

"Yes. She seems bound and determined to prove it was some one else in spite of everything."

"Just to play devil's advocate," Calypso began as Ishtar closed her eyes. "What if there is another killer?"

"What?" he asked.

"Minerva wasn't too convinced that it was Mr. Snape, no matter what you told her. She knew him pretty well, and if she's not convinced that he's guilty, well, what if the killer was someone else?"

"Honey, there's no evidence that anyone else did it. Minerva probably doesn't want to think the worst of him. Merlin knows I wouldn't want to suspect a fellow attorney of murder," Conway answered.

"True, but she tends to be a good judge of character, and even you admit that this isn't a slam dunk case," she replied.

"I know," he replied. "But what else do I have? He's the only suspect who makes sense."

"Maybe that's what Hermione is trying to figure out," Calypso answered.

"She'll keep it interesting," Conway answered with a smirk, "That's for sure."

I know there was no SS/HG, but they'll be back tomorrow!