Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory by Forge2
Summary: After the horcrux hunt implodes leaving most of those Harry loves dead, he starts a new life with a few fellow survivors far away from wizarding Britain. But the discovery of an ancient ritual that promises to send a single memory back in time sparks hope that maybe things can change. Dark ending to DH followed by a tweaked retelling of GoF through DH. Harry/Ginny. Friday updates.
Voldemort's Victory - Chapter 1-5 (Feel free to skip if you don't like major character deaths)
Tenochtitlán - Chapter 6-9
Harry's 4th Year - Chapter 10-28
Harry's 5th Year - Chapter 29-68
Harry's 6th Year - Chapter 69-Current
Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory by Forge2
Chapter 29: Chapter 29Author's Notes:
Harry lay awake through most of that night, nodding off for no more than a half hour at a time. Vivid dreams of Voldemort bursting into the nursery to kill his mother were interspersed with visions of Viktor's final moments and a long hallway that had been making regular appearances as he slept. He woke soaked in sweat on more than one occasion, certain that the moisture on his face included more than a few tears.
Around half past three, he snuck downstairs to check to see if any of Dudley's typical snack hiding places contained some chocolate. Most of the stashes were picked clean with only empty wrappers left behind, but Harry managed to find two candy bars hidden in a shoebox at the back of a coat closet. With a mental thanks to Lupin for teaching him about the remedy to the after-effects of encounters with dementors, Harry gobbled down the chocolate hungrily. His small lunch had been a long time ago, so the meager snack did little to soothe his rumbling stomach, but the unease that he'd felt since Kingsley first showed up immediately began to subside.
Sleep came a little easier after the chocolate flooded Harry's system. He still woke up a few times, but he was able to get decent rest. Just after seven, his eyes shot open when he heard three sharp knocks on his bedroom door. Without waiting for him to respond, Aunt Petunia called to him.
"Vernon found two letters stuck to the front door this morning. Here's yours," she said as she slipped an envelope under his door. "Apparently, you're being picked up this evening. Make sure to pack up everything in advance. I don't want any of your…things… left here. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Aunt Petunia," answered Harry as he groggily stumbled to grab the letter. He tore it open and raked his eyes across it quickly.
I'm grateful for Kingsley's report that you are safe and were able to avoid using magic. I have arranged for several trusted wizards (including Arthur Weasley) to accompany you tonight to ensure your arrival at a secure location. Please stay within your Aunt and Uncle's house until they arrive and keep your father's cloak at the ready. I will meet with you soon.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
After a second and third reading, Harry felt a rush of hopefulness. That he would be leaving Privet Drive today was welcome news, to be sure. It was hard to determine whether Dumbledore was upset with Harry, but he figured no direct admonishment was a good sign.
The cryptic reference to "a secure location" had Harry's interest piqued. Ginny had mentioned in her letter that her whole family had temporarily relocated somewhere, but she hadn't been able to say where. With her father coming to coming to spring Harry from the Dursleys, he thought it likely that he'd soon be under a roof with the Weasleys.
Packing up his belongings didn't take Harry long. He stuffed a pile of questionably-clean laundry that'd been left unfolded at the end of his bed into his trunk, along with an assortment of textbooks and various odds and ends. The Marauder's Map was one of the few items placed in the trunk with care. Harry's Firebolt and Invisibility Cloak rested on top of the trunk, while Hedwig's empty cage stood next to it.
With nothing better to do, Harry flopped down onto his bed with the day spread out ahead of him. Other than a quick trip to the loo, he stayed in bed for the remainder of the morning, until his rumbling stomach finally forced him downstairs. He found his cousin at the table looking dejected, but Petunia was nowhere to be seen. When Dudley heard him walk into the kitchen, Harry noticed him flinch slightly.
Harry began making a sandwich without saying anything to the room's other occupant. He started back toward the door after finishing, intending to eat in the privacy of his bedroom, but Dudley spoke up.
Harry looked at his cousin without knowing what to expect.
"Mum told me an officer came by last night. Said something about them being after Piers and some of his friends for some stuff." Dudley's voice was much quieter than usual. "He said Piers robbed an old lady last night."
Harry nodded slowly. "Yeah, that's what he said."
"Did you…err…talk to him about anything?"
Harry stared at Dudley, who was clearly scared of the trouble brewing. For a moment, he considered going along with the story Kingsley had laid out to send him into a full-fledged panic, but decided against it. Despite Dudley's many faults, it was Vernon and Petunia who'd caused most of the harm to Harry over the years. Compared to them, much less Draco or Snape, Harry's cousin just didn't warrant Harry's ire.
"Just told him some people looked like they were after Ms. Figg. I didn't say anything about seeing you riding with Polkiss yesterday. Didn't mention anything to your Mum or Dad, either."
"For real?" Dudley's eyes were wide and looked a bit glassy. His broad shoulders slumped slightly as his tension released.
"Yeah. Doubt they'll want you hanging out with him anymore, but I don't think the officer will be after you." That was technically true, especially since Kingsley had much bigger problems on his hands.
Dudley let out a long breath. "Right, then. Err… Thanks for that."
"Don't mention it. Just make sure you don't get caught up in stuff like that." He laughed to himself before adding, "It'll blow my cover if you really get sent to St. Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys."
Dudley let out a small laugh, too, as Harry made for the stairs.
"Mum said you're leaving tonight, yeah?"
"Think so. Gonna stay with some friends for the rest of the summer."
"Alright… Well…" The larger boy stuck out a hand. "Have a good one."
Harry wasn't exactly flooded with emotion as he gripped his cousin's hand and said, "You, too," but he did feel a little lighter. The sound of Petunia emerging from her bedroom was the signal to beat a hasty retreat up the stairs, where Harry thoroughly enjoyed his sandwich.
Just as the streetlights began to flicker on in the growing dusk, Harry heard a knock at the door downstairs. He bolted out of his room and took the stairs three at a time, but still arrived after his uncle. Vernon was not pleased by the sight of half a dozen people in his front garden.
"What in blazes do you think you're doing?" he blustered at the wizard in front, whom Harry couldn't quite see with Vernon blocking the doorway. "Why do you need so many to pick up one damn teen?"
The gentle voice of Arthur Weasley responded at once. "There are some extenuating circumstances. We will need to be off with him within a quarter-hour. May we step inside?"
Vernon let out a noise like a growl. "I don't want any more of your kind in this house!"
"How about I put it this way, Dursley…" came the gravelly voice of a man Harry had never really met. "Either let us in now or I'm turning your car and your house pink. Your choice."
Harry snickered at the speed at which Vernon stumbled backward, retreating into the sitting room. Mad-Eye Moody's demeanor was remarkably similar to what Harry remembered from his impersonator during the previous year. His electric blue magical eyes swirled around in its socket, examining the premises for danger as he stepped inside.
Mr. Weasley stepped in next, followed by a much younger witch with absurdly purple hair and Kingsley Shacklebolt from the previous night. Behind them, Harry was thrilled to see Remus Lupin grinning widely as they locked eyes. One more witch who Harry didn't recognize walked in behind Harry's former professor and shut the door behind them.
"Alright, Lupin. Before we get this operation started, make sure he's the real Potter." Moody's eyes were now both trained on Harry. "It'd be a fine mess to bring a polyjuiced Death Eater to headquarters."
"Very well. Harry, what was in the aquarium in my office when I was your professor?"
"Oh, err… A grindylow."
"That's him." Remus stepped forward and clapped Harry on the shoulder. "It's good to see you, Harry."
"Likewise!" exclaimed Mr. Weasley. "I believe some introductions are in order!"
The witch with purple hair started forward to shake Harry's hand, but tripped over Arthur's foot, nearly falling over before Remus caught her by the arm. Chuckling, he introduced her as Nymphadora Tonks, causing her to shoot a venomous look at him.
"Call me Tonks. Everyone does. Still angry at my parents for naming me as if I was going to grow up to be a forest fairy." Harry smiled as she grasped his hand.
"Kingsley tells me you two met last night," said Remus as the tall wizard moved forward to shake Harry's hand.
"Glad to have you back. Thanks again for getting me here safely."
"Not a problem. Let's hope tonight is less exciting." He smiled broadly before side-stepping to allow the other witch to introduce herself as Hestia Jones. After her, Moody stumped forward.
"Never got to meet you in person, but Dumbledore's told me a good bit. From what I hear, I woulda enjoyed having you in class. Knack for sniffing out dark wizards and a certain cavalier attitude about rules." His magical eye ceased swiveling while aimed down at Harry's shoes. "Damn this thing! Ever since that scum wore it, it keeps getting stuck!"
He reached to his eye and popped out the offending eyeball, which made a horrible squelching sound as it fell into his hands. He spat on it and rubbed vigorously as Harry did his best not to be sick to his stomach.
"Moody, you do realize that's one of the foulest things any of us have ever seen, right?" asked Tonks nonchalantly. The former auror's response was a scowl and a swear. Remus and Kingsley chuckled while Hestia simply shook her head in dismay. Arthur did his best to ignore Moody as he reinserted his eye, focusing instead on Harry.
"After last night, quite a few folks volunteered to help escort you to headquarters. Dumbledore has it on good authority that we won't run into as much trouble but wanted to be safe rather than sorry. The floo network is being monitored and there's a crackdown on portkeys because of the tournament," Moody scowled at the mention of his impersonator. "So our best available mode of transportation is brooms."
At the mention of flight by broom, Harry's face lit up. It had been far too long since he last rode his Firebolt, and he'd been longing to feel the wind in his face again.
"Brooms are vulnerable to attack, but are more mobile than our alternatives and give us an advantage if we need to counter-attack," said Moody gruffly. "You're comfortable casting spells while flying, right Potter?"
"Yes sir. I haven't done it very often, but I cast a patronus during a quidditch match in third year and used some spells while flying against a dragon in the first task last year."
"So you really can cast a patronus? That's advanced stuff!" exclaimed Hestia with an impressed look on her face.
"Well, in the match it was just mist. I wasn't able to cast it fully yet," admitted Harry, feeling a bit sheepish in front of so many powerful adults.
Lupin nudged Harry's shoulder. "But he cast a corporeal patronus by the end of that school year, one powerful enough to drive away over a hundred dementors that were after him and Sirius."
The other five each looked impressed and more than a little shocked. Even Moody let out a low whistle. Mr. Weasley looked particularly flabbergasted. "Ron gave Molly and me a bit of an overview of that night's events, but I had no idea…" He stared at Harry appraisingly. "Took me until I was twenty-six to finally get it down."
"Well, I had a really good teacher," replied Harry, nudging Lupin's shoulder in return. "Plus, that year there were so many dementors around Hogwarts that I had extra motivation to figure it out."
Moody glanced at his watch and then at a clock on the wall. "Enough pleasantries. We need to be ready to fly in seven minutes. Potter, grab your things and we'll go over the plan out back."
Tonks and Lupin accompanied Harry up the stairs to help carry the luggage, which they shrank down and pocketed. As Harry made a last pass-through for items he might have missed, Tonks peered into the mirror attached to his dresser.
"Harry, this purple just isn't working. Bad color for me, right?"
While her hair was a violent purple, Harry didn't feel confident criticizing her appearance. Thankfully, she didn't pause long enough for him to respond. Without warning, her short purple spikes became shoulder-length and light blue. "Better, right?"
"Wha… How did you… Huh?"
"Tonks is quite the marvel. As a Metamorphmagus, she can alter her appearance at will."
"Not just my hair, either!" she said as her nose grew much longer and her eyes changed shape and color. "Made my Concealment and Disguise exams a breeze during Auror training. Pretty fun to use for pranks, too."
"That's incredible," said an awed Harry. "And you can do any colors?"
"Just about! It's not like I can change my height or weight much, but it's a pretty handy trick if I do say so myself." Her face returned to how it had looked when they first met while her hair shifted to silver, then neon green, and finally red.
"Might want to land on a different color, Tonks," added Remus with a mischievous smirk. "Potters are known for having an affinity for redheads, and Sirius was just saying that Harry might be following in his father's footsteps."
Remus had his eyes on Tonks at that moment, so it came as a surprise to him when a pillow collided with the back of his head. Tonks laughed loudly as Harry held another pillow at the ready.
"Alright, alright! No need to get defensive." Remus reached down to grab the pillow and tossed it back onto Harry's bed. "You were a lot less smart with me when I was your professor…" Harry smiled when the man gave him a wink.
"Well, you were less likely to give me grief about my personal life back then, Professor Lupin."
"He's definitely got a bit of Sirius in him," said Tonks as she gave Remus a shove.
"I'm not your professor anymore, so you can drop the formality. Remus is fine, or Moony works. Got it?"
After double-checking to confirm that Harry hadn't left anything important behind, the three of them headed back down the stairs and through the kitchen. Before reaching the back door, Harry saw Petunia huddled behind Vernon, who clutched a golf club tightly as the wizards passed by.
Once assembled in the back garden, Moody addressed the group. "The original plan was to fly straight through to headquarters overnight, but we've got a slight change. Our intelligence indicates that the floo network is under surveillance, but only in a few specific areas. The range is about a fifty-mile radius from this location, but we're going to double that, just in case. Jones' house is about 120 miles southwest, which is our target. Once we arrive, we'll be able to floo safely to headquarters. If we're attacked en route, our top priority is Potter's safety. I'll be first to break off and engage the enemy if we're being followed, followed by Shacklebolt, Tonks, Lupin, Weasley, and Jones. If we're all killed or incapacitated, Potter will…"
"You're going to give him a heart attack, Moody!" said Tonks with a laugh. "There's no indication that we'll run into any trouble, but if we do, whoever's closest to you will Side-Along Apparate you to safety."
Harry released the breath that had lodged in his throat while Moody had been explaining. "Sounds good. What do I need to do for that?"
She gave him a smirk. "Hold on tight and try not to lose your lunch."
Red sparks, not unlike the ones he'd cast on Cedric's behalf in the third task, erupted into the air from less than a mile away. Moody began growling individual instructions to each adult as Kingsley moved to stand next to Harry.
"Stow your invisibility cloak away for now. With the wind, it won't conceal you as well as a Disillusionment Charm. The spell's not quite as effective, but that won't matter in the dark and at our altitude. Plus, it'll allow for more maneuverability. It'd be a shame to lose James' prized possession."
Harry smiled as he felt the odd sensation of the charm dribbling down from his head to his toes. "You knew my dad?"
"I did. I was two years ahead of James, Sirius, and Remus here," said Kingsley with warmth in his deep voice. "I was a Hufflepuff prefect and ended up as Head Boy. Spent half my time kicking them out of the kitchens or trying to stop them from pranking some unsuspecting student. Caught each of them with a witch in an empty classroom or a broom closet more times than I want to remember."
"That was mostly Sirius, and you know it!" shot back Lupin good-naturedly. Harry tried not to dwell on the image of his father exploring broom closets with unnamed witches.
"Fair enough," replied Kingsley. "It's funny that I spent so much time chasing Sirius around at Hogwarts, and now finding him is my main assignment as an auror…"
Remus and Kingsley both laughed, but Harry's face was already becoming red. "Kingsley, I know this sounds impossible, but Sirius didn't kill all those people. It was actually Pettigrew, Sirius is innocent! I'll testify, I swear it!"
"Easy, Harry, easy!" Remus placed his hand back on Harry's shoulder. "Kingsley is well aware of the truth about Sirius."
"Which explains why I didn't arrest him when the three of us were catching up over firewhisky after last Sunday's meeting."
"King's been throwing the ministry off Sirius' trail. Got them thinking he's hiding in Tibet."
"Yes, and being assigned such a useless task has its benefits. Gives me time to do more for the Order, and gave me cover for why I was here last night. The higher-ups believed I was here investigating Sirius when I ran into the dementors since he's thought to be after you."
Another shot of sparks, this time green, lit up the horizon.
"That's our signal!" called out Moody as he mounted his broom. "Potter, stay in the middle of the formation. Call out if you see an enemy. Let's go!"
After three hours of flying, Harry was exhausted. He rarely rode a broom for this long at Hogwarts, and when he did it was in the middle of a thrilling quidditch match or during a grueling practice with Oliver Wood. This journey was a different story, flying relatively slowly through the cold night air and squinting against the wind in his eyes. Moody had directed them back and forth through the skies to lose potential assailants, but it felt like overkill to Harry as they finally descended to the country home of Hestia Jones. Before grabbing floo powder, Moody had given Harry a slip of paper with a note in Dumbledore's loopy handwriting.
You are invited to the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix, which can be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place in London.
Harry read the note twice before Mr. Weasley approached him. "Professor Dumbledore is the Secret Keeper, so nobody can get in without him allowing it. We're going to floo there one by one, but I need you to be very careful when you call out 'Grimmauld Place,' okay? Can't have us repeating the Knockturn Alley fiasco. Let's hear it a few times before you go, just in case."
Harry blushed slightly at the reminder of his first attempt to use the floo but assuaged Arthur's nerves by repeating the location a few times. The fireplace roared with green flames as Moody and then Tonks left for headquarters, followed by Remus.
"Head on through, Harry," said Mr. Weasley kindly. "We'll be right behind you. I'll bet some people will be quite pleased to see you on the other side."
Harry nodded and threw his powder into the flames. He clearly enunciated, "Grimmauld Place!" before disappearing.
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