Chapter 13: Carrying On

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It was apparently as obvious to everyone in the class as it was to Draco and Harry that what had happened with the spell had been no accident. All eyes were on Pansy.

"What did you do Miss Parkinson?" Auror Parma demanded, as she strode from the other end of the range.

[It wasn't Pansy,] Draco said, absolutely sure from the shock on Pansy's face that this had not been her doing.

He knew his friend very well and her reaction was as genuine as the rest of them. Just for a second he felt doubt from Harry, but then it was gone.

[Then how was it done?] Harry asked. [She cast the spell, so everyone is going to think it's her fault.]

"I didn't do anything," Pansy said, face turning into a blank mask that wouldn't help her with any of her fellow classmates.

[It has to be something here, something timed,] Draco said looking around. [No one could have fired off a hex without one of us noticing.]

Harry nodded, also scanning the area, and of course Harry had more than just his normal senses to work with.

"Auror Parma," Harry said, before the woman could start to interrogate Pansy, "there's a spell on Pansy's target."

Parma glared at him, but did look towards the other end of the range where there was a scorch march in the middle of the paper target.

"What do you see, Mr Potter?" Professor Flitwick stepped in.

"All the other targets are just paper," Harry replied, "but Pansy's has been charmed. I don't know what it is, but I'm willing to bet it's what turned Pansy's shot into a ricochet."

"What spell is it, Miss Parkinson?" Parma asked, apparently sure Pansy was to blame.

"It couldn't have been Pansy, Auror Parma," Draco spoke up next. "She didn't have time to cast anything on her target and they were given out randomly. Someone must have charmed the target before you brought them here."

"Quite true," Flitwick said, nodding. "I know of only a few spells which could be used to create the effect we saw today and Miss Parkinson has not had the opportunity to cast them."

That definitely didn't please Parma at all.

"Everyone will remain here," she said with the tone of someone used to being obeyed. "I will summon the proper authorities."

[Let's hope they're not idiots,] was all Draco could think to say.

* * *

Luckily for everyone concerned, Professor Flitwick saw fit to alert Dumbledore of what was going on before Parma could take over completely. The headmaster arrived at the same time as an Auror Harry vaguely recognised from the raid on Brancepeth Castle, but whom he'd never spoken to directly, who appeared to be in charge, and two others.

As with the Quidditch pitch incident they were all asked to give their account of what happened. Also as with the Quidditch pitch incident, it didn't really help.

Parma and the man, who appeared to be her superior, catalogued the spell on Pansy's target and marked up each point where the errant shot had collided with something. It all looked very proper, but not very useful.

Pansy had the indignity of having her wand checked, but, under Dumbledore's eagle-eyed supervision, the check did, in fact, prove her innocent.

[Sometimes you have to wonder if Aurors can see beyond the end of their noses,] Draco said, as he and Harry waited with everyone else.

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