Depression and Dementors
'He hates me.'
'No, he most certainly does not.'
'He does, Severus, he does. I can tell. I mean, he was so cold when I went to see him on the train!'
'I'm sure he will get over whatever it is and come to realize everything you have done for him is worth far more than one moment of… of following orders contrary to his needs.'
'I've not even sent him a birthday gift!'
'As much as I dislike him, I would hope that The Boy Who Lived would at least be reasonable enough to realize that you are on a mission for Dumbledore and therefore unable to contact him.'
'He's a teenaged boy, Severus. Since when are teenage boys reasonable?'
As Harry lay awake in bed midway through the first month summer holidays, he thought about what he had said to Elizabeth. Had he been hard on her? It wasn't exactly her fault Dumbledore had given her an order. And of course she would follow it – just like Sirius and the Weasleys and even Snape had followed theirs.
But no – he hadn't cared about that as he stepped off the train. He had cared only that she hadn't been there for the last few days of term to talk to talk to.
And, he realized, he really wanted to talk to her. And she had tried at that moment to talk, but he had sent her away.
He wished he could call her back, but she had said she only had a short time when she had come to see him in the train. What did that mean? Was she off on another mission for Dumbledore?
Where is Elizabeth now? he wondered listlessly, turning onto his side. Was she thinking about him? He hadn't heard from her in a while. Maybe she was mad because of the way he had treated her that last day, and she had moved on to something more important than him.
What could be more important to her than him, though? he thought bitterly. She had said that he was important to her, but you never knew. Charlie, maybe. Yes, that would be it. They'd off and gotten married, and Harry was no longer as important - or important at all, really – now that she had her own family to turn to.
Taking a deep breath, Harry tried to calm himself down.
'No,' he muttered aloud to himself. 'She said to contact her if I ever need her. I'm sure if I needed her, she would come running… or flying… or whatever.'
But what if she wouldn't? What if she didn't care anymore? What if she actually believed Rita Skeeter's stories?
'She wouldn't do that.'
You never know. She hasn't contacted you since you've been home. Maybe you insulted her that day on the train, and now she'll never talk to you again.
'She wouldn't do that.'
But what if she would?
'How could she not be here! I mean, I get attacked by dementors in the middle of Surry, flown in the middle of the night all over London, and she can't even find the time to come say, Hiya, Harry, how're you feeling? Your soul still intact?'
'Harry, no one told her you were coming tonight,' Hermione cooed, trying to calm him down.
'Sure. Like she would let that happen. They tell her everything. And she would've asked about me!'
'Not anymore they don't,' Ginny said, swinging her legs absently as she lay on Ron's bed. 'She hasn't been to many of the Order meetings lately.'
'Yeah, right. She's so into the downfall of Voldemort she wouldn't let them keep her out of the loop. She'd get your mum or… or Lupin to tell her or something. Lupin can't say no to her.'
'But what if she doesn't want to know,' Hermione continued. 'Or she knows why she's not allowed to know. Maybe she doesn't ask because she knows she can't say no to you, and if she knew everything, she'd tell you everything, but she doesn't want that?'
Ron gave her a blank stare, and said, 'Even if I had an idea of what you said, Hermione, I bet I still wouldn't've understood.' He turned to Harry. 'Look mate, just talk to her next time she's here. She comes here a lot, you know, for dinner. After the Order meetings,' he added, seeing the look on Harry's face. 'I'm sure she's got a reasonable explanation for everything.' He turned to Hermione then and said, 'But Harry's right, y'know – I bet if she had been really desperate to talk to him she could've. I mean, she can turn into anything when it comes to being an Animagus. And I bet she could do that thing… you know… so that no one else could read it.'
'Ron!' Hermione snapped. 'Are you trying to dissuade him, or encourage him?' She turned to Harry again and said, 'Listen, just talk to her next time you see her. I'm sure there's a completely reasonable explanation for everything.'
The day of his trial, he still hadn't heard from Elizabeth.
'Aren't – aren't you coming with – ?' Harry stuttered, glancing through the door.
'No, no, I'm not allowed,' Arthur replied, trying to look cheerful. 'Good luck!'
Almost tripping over himself, Harry made his way into the courtroom.
The walls were made of dark stone, lit dimly by torches. Empty benches rose on either side of him, but ahead, in the highest benches of all, were many shadowy figures. They had been talking in low voices, but as the heavy door swung closed behind Harry, an ominous silence fell.
'You're late,' a cold male voice called.
'Sorry,' Harry said nervously. 'I… I didn't know the time had been changed.'
'That is not the Wizengamot's fault,' said the voice. 'An owl was sent to you this morning. Take your seat.'
Harry dropped his gaze to the chair in the centre of the room, the arms of which were covered in chains. He had seen those chains spring to life and bind whoever sat between them. His footsteps echoed loudly as he walked across the stone floor. When he sat gingerly on the edge of the chair the chains clinked threateningly, but did not bind him. Feeling rather sick, he looked up at the people seated at the bench above.
There were about fifty of them, all, as far as he could see, wearing plum-coloured robes with an elaborately worked silver 'W' on the left-hand side of the chest and all staring down their noses at him, some with very austere expressions, others with looks of frank curiosity.
One, he noticed, however, wore a look of almost undisguised mix of terror and compassion.
Just a few rows behind Cornelius Fudge, her hands clasped in her lap, her face pale white, sat Elizabeth.
Harry barely had a chance to get over his shock at seeing her when –
'Very well,' said Fudge. 'The accused being present – finally – let us begin…'
With the case now closed, the Wizengamot were all getting to their feet. Harry stood, and because no one seemed to be paying him the slightest bit of attention, he determined he was allowed to go. He started slowly, but eventually walked out as quickly as possible.
At the last few steps, he broke into a run, and upon opening the door, almost collided with Arthur Weasley.
'Dumbledore didn't say – '
'Cleared of all charges,' Harry replied before the question was even out.
Beaming, Mr. Weasley seized him by the shoulders. 'Harry, that's wonderful! Well, of course, they couldn't have found you guilty, not on the evidence, but even so I can't pretend I wasn't –'
He broke off, then, however, because the courtroom door had just opened again. The Wizengamot were filing out.
'Merlin's beard! You were tried by the full court?'
'I think so,' Harry replied quietly, searching the faces of each of the members. He knew he had seen her there. He had watched her during almost the entire trial.
His question was answered, however, when the last member filed out, and Harry dared to glance through the just-closing door. Through it, he saw a bright orange light, and at the moment the door banged shut, he was sure there was a loud crack from inside the courtroom.She had gone.