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.

Original Timeline

Voldemort's Victory - Chapter 1-5 (Feel free to skip if you don't like major character deaths)

Tenochtitlán - Chapter 6-9

New Timeline

Harry's 4th Year - Chapter 10-28

Harry's 5th Year - Chapter 29-68

Harry's 6th Year - Chapter 69-Current
Rating: PG-13 starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Post-HBP
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2022.09.23
Updated: 2024.07.05

Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory by Forge2
Chapter 38: Chapter 38
Author's Notes:

"Ginny!" exclaimed a scandalized Hermione as Harry, Ron, and Neville laughed. The youngest of the five friends felt no shame after unleashing several potent swears during the retelling of the first Defense class. A wide-eyed first-year who had wandered close to the fireside couch of the common room stared at the youngest Weasley as Hermione gave her a reproachful look.

"Can't say I disagree with her assessment," said Ron with a grin. "At least knowing McGonagall has your back helps."

"Yes, but she wants us to keep our heads down and ignore Umbridge as best we can. That's going to be hard to do if she refuses to teach us what we need to know and keeps spouting off these lies." Hermione's frustration was palpable as she looked at Ron. "We might need to practice that silencing spell if we're going to have a chance to keep Harry out of detention."

"What's with assuming I wouldn't be yelling right along with him?" asked Ron. "Only reason I didn't today was because I was too shocked by everything, so Harry beat me to it!"

Hermione rolled her eyes and turned to Neville, but both Harry and Ginny gave Ron an encouraging look. "Okay, it looks like the two of us need to practice silencing spells to keep these two from getting detention from now until Christmas."

"By the way, Ron," interjected a smiling Harry. "Nice work on dispelling her silencing. Not bad to get it on your first try!"

Ron inspected his fingernails smugly before feigning as if he were shining them on his robes. "Not a problem, mate!"

Neville bumped Ron with his shoulder before replying to Hermione, "I might need to brush up on the Full Body Bind to stop them, although I seem to remember you've already got that one figured out."

The friends howled with laughter as Hermione blushed and attempted to apologize again for leaving Neville frozen on the Common Room floor during their first year.

"I've got her tomorrow," said Ginny with a scowl. "Should I earn some detention so you're not lonesome? I get the feeling anything I say is going to be punishment-worthy to her."

"No way! I can handle a week of detention on my own. You've got quidditch tryouts on Friday, anyway. Oh, I should probably tell Angelina I won't be there. Hope she's a bit less tightly wound as Captain than Wood was…"

"Ooh, good point," replied Ginny. "Does that mean you won't be there to watch us fly?"

Harry nodded forlornly. He'd very much wanted to be there to support Ginny and Ron during their tryouts.

"I still can't get over that she's not going to let us practice any magic in class," groused Hermione, clearly frustrated by the lack of consternation among her friends. "We need to do well on our Defense OWL in order to open up possible careers. From what I've read, most Ministry jobs require at least an 'Acceptable' in Defense, and we might not even be able to scrape that if we blow the practical portion!"

"I don't think it's that big of a deal," said Ron with a shrug. "Last year, when we were helping Harry get ready for the tasks, we went over loads of this kind of stuff and figured it out just fine. I bet we're already ahead of the rest of the class from all of that training. We'll probably do fine."

Neville's eyes drifted away from his friends and toward the ground. "Maybe that works for you three, but I'm probably way behind for my OWLs. I actually did okay in Defense with Professor Lupin and last year I did alright, too." He glanced around the circle and let out a sigh. "My parents both got top marks in Defense, so I'd been hoping I could somehow get an OWL for them, but now…"

"What if we formed a little study group?" asked Hermione.

Ron cut across her with, "That's your solution to everything!" but she ignored him and continued.

"We managed to figure things out pretty well last year, and I feel much more confident about the spells we helped Harry practice than even a few of the ones we went over in class."

"For sure," added Ginny. "I was still a bit behind last autumn from being so out of it in my first year, but by the end of the spring term, I was top of our class."

A twinge of redness colored Neville's cheeks. "I dunno… I might just slow you all down ”"

Fwump! Thwump! Two pillows struck the boy and knocked him over onto his side on the couch as Ron and Ginny rained down a bevy of cushioned blows. Neville's laughs were muffled by strikes that made it past his outstretched arms.

"What's the rule, Nev?" asked Harry with a roll of his eyes.

"OOF! If I say I'm a burden, I get… Ow! Really, Ginny? Right in the ear? I get a beating."

The two Weasleys ceased their attack as Harry nodded like the parent of an obstinate child. "Right in one, mate. Last year, we were just trying to learn anything that might be helpful in the tasks, but we can pick and choose a bit more now. Maybe we can ask some older students what was on the practical and focus on getting those spells figured out first?"

"I'll check with Katie and see what she can remember," offered Ginny. "Hopefully, the Curse of the Defense Professors means she won't stick around for my OWL year, but I think I could be persuaded to spend some extra time with the four of you, either way." She leaned her head onto Harry's shoulder as her brother pretended to vomit over the back of the couch.


The next day was a welcome change for the fifth years. Charms and Transfiguration both looked to be extra challenging in the coming months, as both Professor Flitwick and Professor McGonagall stressed the importance of their OWLs. But after Flitwick's stirring speech on how a successful OWL in Charms could propel one into a variety of careers, the diminutive professor assigned the class to begin practicing the summoning charm, assuring his students it was a mainstay on the practical exams.

Ron, Hermione, and Harry glanced at each other with eager faces when Flitwick asked for a volunteer to attempt the charm. Three hands reached skyward as delight flashed across their professor's face.

"Oh, excellent! Excellent! Mr. Weasley, would you be so kind as to step down here for a moment? Yes, yes, quick off the blocks now, no time to waste!"

Across the classroom sat a box of cushions that looked to have been once matched to couches made in the 1960s.

"Now students, this charm requires a great deal of concentration. You must point your wand in the direction of the object you wish to summon," he pointed his wand at a red and green plaid cushion leaning against the box, "concentrate fully on the object," he furrowed his eyebrows as if thinking about the cushion deeply, "and properly enunciate the incantation, like so: Accio cushion!"

The cushion zoomed from where it was resting into Professor Flitwick's outstretched hand. He flipped it into the air and banished it back to the other side of the room in one fluid motion. The cushion somersaulted the last few feet until it came to rest upright next to the box.

"Wait for it…" he said with a sly smile. Sure enough, a tiny bit of magic just barely knocked the cushion over so that it was back in the exact spot from which it was summoned. Flitwick wiggled his bushy mustache a bit and took a slight bow.

"Alright, Mr. Weasley, let's see what you can do. Wand, concentrate, cast. You may want to try one of the smaller pillows first. An item of greater mass requires more power and concentration. Are you ready?"

Armed with extra summoning practice from the year before, Ron nodded to the professor and winked toward Harry and Hermione. She had insisted that Ron master the spell, and his guilt after not supporting Harry in the lead up to the first task had given him the motivation to learn it well. He stood up as tall as he could and aimed his wand at the other side of the room. His loud voice rang out, "Accio box!"

The large cardboard box that had been haphazardly filled with cushions and pillows rocketed toward him at breakneck speed. His previously playful eyes widened as the meteoric projectile sped in his direction. It looked like a brown firework had been shot sideways, leaving pillows and fluttering blankets in its wake.

Ron dove to the ground a moment before the box flew through the space he'd just been occupying. The box and the few cushions and pillows that hadn't fallen out of it collided with the far wall in an explosion of feathers and cottony stuffing.

With his hands still over his head, Ron looked up to see his professor attempting to hold back a chuckle. "Another important thing to remember, class, is that you mustn't summon with too much power, otherwise…" He gestured with one hand at Ron and with his wand at the pile of cushion debris. "Any questions?"

The class had gone smoothly after that mishap, and the three friends were so ahead of the rest of the class that the professor split them up between several other students who needed extra help. Flitwick awarded the three ten points apiece for helping their classmates and an extra five to Ron for his "excellent demonstration."

Transfiguration was less entertaining and much more challenging. Professor McGonagall had set them on Vanishing Spells, which were quite tricky bits of magic. By the end of the period, only Hermione had managed to send her snail into nonbeing, although Ron kept assuring Harry that his snail looked slightly more transparent.

Harry was upset when Professor Grubbly-Plank met them for Care of Magical Creatures and grew more frustrated when her lesson on Bowtruckles was both fascinating and informative. Despite this disappointment, he felt confident that Hagrid's improved performance the previous term would not go unnoticed and that he must have been doing something important for Dumbledore.


At two minutes to five, Harry stood in front of Professor Umbridge's office door. He took several deep breaths as he willed himself to heed the warnings of his Head of House. He knocked twice in succession and stepped back from the door.

"You may enter," called a syrupy voice from within.

Harry trudged into the room as he took in the change in decor. Gone were the dark detectors strewn about the place by the imposter posing as Moody. The grindylow in a fish tank from Professor Lupin's time as Defense professor was no more, and none of the preening photographs and magazine covers featuring Lockhart remained, either. Instead, it was as if an obsessive toddler had covered the walls and furniture with every picture of a cat they could find. The combination of pink and white made Harry think of a Valentine's Day gone horribly awry.

"You may sit at that desk, Mr. Potter." The anger that had consumed her voice the day before had disappeared, with her sickly sweet demeanor back in full force. "I've had quite a challenging time coming up with an appropriate punishment for your transgressions. After speaking with your Head of House, I've had to do some additional research to ensure that I do everything…By the book." She patted a large tome that was open on her desk.

"Unfortunately, many of the most effective means of disciplining students have been removed from our repertoire. But worry not! I've found a solution that I'm certain will get the message into your head, loud and clear." Harry tried to stare at the professor without emotion, but her smile grew wider and more unnerving by the second.

"Your task is to copy lines. No, no! You won't need your quill or parchment. I have some here that you will use." With a flick of her stubby wand, she sent a quill, inkwell, and parchment onto Harry's desk. "You will write 'I must not tell lies,' until our evening concludes. There will be no need to talk. Begin!"

It took a fair bit of willpower for Harry not to laugh or smirk at the assignment. Lines? He'd endured far worse punishments. He dipped the quill into the ink and began scratching on the parchment. With a small flourish, he dotted his 'i' and placed a period at the end of his first sentence.

His ears pricked up. There was a voice, a faraway voice that he could barely make out. Remembering how he heard the voice of the Basilisk while serving another detention in this very room, Harry's eyes widened and darted around. Umbridge's smile grew wider.

"I must not tell lies…"

The sound of his own quiet voice whispering in his ear caused a shiver to go down his spine. He looked at the woman seated behind the desk in confusion.

"Oh! Dear me! Has your conscience decided to pipe up? Is there a tiny voice convicting you of your wrongs? Far be it from me to interrupt such a moment of personal growth and transformation. Continue writing, Mr. Potter…" Her smile soured into a sneer like old milk left outside on a hot summer day. "And let the truth sink in."

Harry's hand shook slightly as he put the quill to parchment again. When he finished the second line, his ears were on alert. This time, the voice was a bit louder and it was accompanied by a second voice, both saying the same thing: "I must not tell lies."

Line after line, Harry's hand traced out the letters. Time after time, the discordant noise in his ears increased. Before the second hour had passed, the overlapping cacophony of his own voices had grown to the point where there was no relief while writing. The myriad of utterances was total and complete. He shook his head to try to clear his mind, as his vision blurred slightly. He noted that the voices must not be audible to others, since Umbridge looked unperturbed by the echoing voices that were like maddening drumbeats in Harry's head.

At precisely half past seven, Umbridge summoned the writing implements right from Harry's hand. "That concludes your punishment for this evening. You will resume your work tomorrow, and every night this week. Perhaps you'll be more amenable to telling the truth now." She looked at him expectantly, but Harry did not meet her gaze. The roar of whispers had not ceased when the quill slipped from his hand. He had barely caught her closing barbs over the sound of hundreds of his own voices whispering, "I must not tell lies." He walked slowly, determinedly to the door and closed it behind him before sprinting to the nearest loo and dry heaving.

He joined his friends a few minutes later as they finished their dinner, but he felt no desire to eat. With a dazed expression, he waved off their attempts to ask how detention had gone. Most of the voices in his head dissipated over the next hour, but a few stubbornly whispered to him, even after he begged off a game of Exploding Snap to head to bed early.


The rest of the week followed the same beats as Tuesday. Harry's classes were generally more challenging than they'd been the previous year, with professor after professor hammering home the importance of securing an OWL in their subject. When he had come clean to his friends at lunch the next day about how detention had gone, they were appalled. Ginny and Ron were ready to duel Umbridge right then and there. Hermione offered to look up whether the punishment violated some sort of rule, but Harry dismissed the idea. In his heart, Harry knew that the witch would have been certain to ensure everything she did was within bounds.

For exactly two and a half hours each night, Harry's mind was assaulted by the multitudinous whispers of "I must not tell lies." He did his best to remind himself that he was telling the truth and that this sadistic punishment was unjust, but by the end of each session, he felt more and more convinced that McGonagall's advice to keep his head down in Defense and oppose Umbridge in other ways held merit.

He found that resting his head in Ginny's lap afterward while she ran her fingers through his hair helped soothe the anxiety that built up during the detention. Harry had intended to fly with both younger Weasleys while they prepared for the tryouts he couldn't attend, but he soon found that he was unsteady on his broom after he left Umbridge's office.

On Friday, Harry felt especially antsy as the detention drew to a close. From out the window, he could barely make out the quidditch pitch in the fading light. His eyes were not keen enough to tell who was flying or how they were doing, however, and the growing whispers in his head soon took up all his available attention.

When the clock showed half past seven, Umbridge again summoned the quill, ink, and parchment from Harry's hand. She smiled at him with her wide, unsettling grin. "I trust that these detentions have impressed upon you how much the truth matters to me. See to it that you keep those nasty lies out of your mouth in my class. And if I should find out that you are spreading those lies elsewhere… Well, I'm sure you can imagine how displeased I would be. I would hate for you to have to spend more time sitting alone with your conscience whispering in your ear." She cocked her head to the side as her smile grew wider, indicating the one-sided conversation was over.

Harry rushed out of her office and found a nearby empty classroom. He pulled out the Marauder's Map and searched for his favorite dots. The quidditch pitch was empty, but he quickly located the four dots he sought moving toward Gryffindor Tower. He cleared the map and shook his head back and forth, as if the voices could be flung out of his ears, then began making his way back to the Common Room.

When he stepped up through the portrait hole, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Neville were across the room leaning against a couch. At the sight of him, Ginny began to sprint to him.

"Harry, I did it! I'm on the team!" Her beaming face met his after she leaped into his arms, and Harry could feel the smile on her cheeks as she kissed him.

"Oi! Is that really necessary?" called out Ron. "I made it on the team, too, but you don't see me snogging Harry in front of everybody!"

"But you both made it? That's excellent!" said Harry brightly, trying to ignore the whispering echoes. "I want to hear all about how it went!"

A grinning Ginny jumped onto Harry's back as he walked across the room to the group.

"Let me put it this way," said Neville with a grin. "I think Cedric and Cho have competition for the title of 'Best Quidditch Power Couple.'"

"Ginny was phenomenal," added Hermione. "She was head and shoulders above everyone else. Angelina was so proud!"

"It was definitely the best I've flown in ages," said Ginny as she loosened Harry's tie. "Ange told us that she was going to pick someone to be a reserve Chaser and Seeker, so now all I have to do to get some playing time is put you in the Hospital Wing! Shouldn't be too hard to accomplish that, right?"

"It's already like a second home, I doubt you'll have much trouble." Harry flung her feet forward so that Ginny was tossed from his back and onto the couch, giggling the whole time. "How'd the Keeper try-outs go, Ron?"

"I would've looked a lot better if Ginny hadn't scored so many, but I did pretty well! There were two others who were about on par with me. Vicky Frobisher's a year ahead of us and did really well, and there was a third-year kid named Hooper who played alright. Angelina said it was down to me and Frobisher for the starting spot and that she'll decide based on how things look during practice."

"Not to give him a big head or anything, but Ron did have a couple of absolutely brilliant saves," said Ginny from the couch. "The diving save on Alicia's last throw was the stuff of legends. Vicky might have been a little more consistent, but Ron definitely showed the most potential."

"Too true!" called the jovial voice of Fred as he vaulted over the back of the couch, landing on the middle of Ginny's back. "Just when you thought the Weasley quidditch prowess had run out, these two show up to continue the family legacy!"

George threw an arm up and across Ron's shoulders before pulling him into a headlock. "The two of you flew great out there! We weren't even embarrassed to be related to you!"

"High praise, indeed," said Harry as he rolled his eyes. "What about the two of you? Any upcoming protege you can train up to protect us once you two move on?"

"There were a couple of decent options, though none will ever match our ability to wreak havoc with a bludger," answered Fred as he fled from his perch upon Ginny before she could pinch him. "Peakes showed some real promise, though."

"Knew you'd been flying with the Chasers for a while, but I had no idea you would be that good up there," said George as he tossed a pillow at Ginny. She deftly caught it and flung it at Fred, who it smacked in the shoulder.

"Well, since certain brothers of mine never let me fly with them, I resorted to swiping brooms from the shed to practice when you all weren't paying attention."

"Resourceful, devious, and a bit of a rule-breaking streak… I must say I feel rather proud!" said George, blocking the pillow his twin tossed in his direction.

"And here we were worried she might turn out to be a prefect like little Ronniekins!"

Ginny's mischievous grin flashed across her face as she turned to Harry. "If I'm going to avoid such a terrible fate, I might need to get caught with my boyfriend in a few more broom closets…" Her laughter as three older brothers attacked her with pillows drowned out most of the whispers still flooding Harry's ears.


At lunch on Sunday, the Gryffindor fifth years plus Ginny were laughing at Seamus' less-than-kind impression of Umbridge when a strong hand grabbed Harry's shoulder. Turning around in his seat, Harry saw a gleaming badge emblazoned with "HB" on the chest of Cedric Diggory.

"Hey, Harry! Good to see ya, mate!" He smiled at the rest of the Gryffindors at the table. "How's it going?"

A chorus of varying answers rose from the students. Harry stifled a chuckle as Lavender batted her eyes at the seventh year boy. Cedric either didn't notice or ignored her as he addressed Harry.

"I meant to come chat yesterday, but this whole Head Boy thing is way more work than I expected and classes have been brutal so far. I'm sure you're getting the same thing, since it's you're a Fifth Year. Have all the professors given you the big speech on the importance of OWLs already?"

"Yeah, and they've assigned more homework than we know what to do with. If Hermione weren't helping us all figure things out, we'd be in an even worse spot." Hermione's cheeks colored a bit as the students around her agreed with Harry's assessment.

"Actually, that's kinda what I was wanting to talk to you about. Heard about you and Umbridge. I'm guessing you're about as impressed with her as I am?" He shot a look over his shoulder at the staff table, where Professor Umbridge had Professors Sprout and Grubbly-Plank in a conversation that looked more like a hostage situation. Harry thought that Cedric's Head of House might rather burn down her greenhouses rather than listen to the tirade the Defense professor was unleashing. "I really need to do well on my Defense NEWT and so do a few others in my year. I'm willing to bet that some of you all need to pass the Defense OWL, too."

Hermione groaned as she pulled the Defense textbook from her bag. "I've already read this waste of a book from cover to cover. Most of it is completely useless or is something we went over in First Year. It's an absolute joke."

"You're wanting to study healing, right?" asked Parvati, which Cedric answered with a friendly nod. "I'm trying to do the same thing, but my dad said it's hard to get in without a NEWT in Defense, so I figure it's pretty much impossible without an OWL."

"That's what I've heard, too," replied Cedric. "Gotta understand how someone got sent to the Infirmary to be able to heal it properly. So, I had an idea for how we can still keep up with Defense even if Umbridge won't teach us…"

The Gryffindors leaned in. Harry couldn't help feeling a bit excited about whatever Cedric had thought up.

"Well, there used to be a Defense Club a few years back during my fourth year. That was when Lockhart was the professor. I'm guessing he did the same thing with your class where he would just read from his books?"

"Yeah, and he always made Harry act it out with him," offered Dean, as Harry's cheeks began to redden at the memory.

"Ugh, he did the same thing with me. It was like he thought I wanted to be like him. Bloke gave me the creeps…" Cedric gave a little shudder before continuing. "Anyway, the Seventh Years and Fifth Years banded together to have a chance at passing their exams, and I tagged along with them 'cause Defense had been one of my favorite classes. Plus, I was dating Josh at the time and he was a Fifth Year. Extra time together and whatnot.

"So, my thought was that we could reform the Defense Club and invite the Seventh Years and Fifth Years to join. Even though clubs have a faculty sponsor, it's usually up to the students to do most of the planning and organizing, so I wanted to run the idea by you to see if it's something you'd be interested in doing." Cedric had done a fairly good job of addressing the whole group while explaining things, but his eyes zeroed in on Harry as he finished his pitch.

"That sounds brilliant," said Harry with a grin. "I'm definitely in! Do you think we could open it up to other years, too? With everything happening in the world, I bet a bunch of people would want in." Ginny's hand squeezed his under the table.

"I don't see why not. As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier."

"Great! What do you need from us?"

"Not sure yet. I think going to talk to Professor Sprout about it and figure out what steps we've got to take to officially form a club."

Hermione's face lit up with excitement. "I had to go through all that when I was starting S.P.E.W. a while back. I filled out some forms with Professor McGonagall and it took a bit of time. I'd be happy to help if you'd like."

Cedric smiled kindly at her. "Thanks, Hermione. That'd be super helpful. I feel like this could be a really big deal, but I'm also swamped with Head Boy stuff and prepping for our Quidditch tryouts. Logistics help would mean a lot."

"Hey, Ced! Did you tell them about the club idea?" Cho approached the table with a bright smile across her face.

"Just told them and it looks like they're interested," replied Cedric. "If we talk to McGonagall and get everything squared away, think we could aim to start in October?"

The consensus from the Gryffindor table was that suited them well.

"Sounds like a plan!" said Cedric as Cho caught his hand. He looked at Hermione with a smile. "Let's try to catch McGonagall after lunch and we can get to work!"

The couple moved across the Great Hall to a cluster of Ravenclaw fifth years as the table buzzed with excitement. Harry glanced at the staff table as Ginny leaned close and whispered, "I think I know someone who's not gonna like this…"

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