SIYE Time:10:16 on 3rd December 2023

Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory
By Forge2

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Category: Post-HBP
Genres: Action/Adventure, General, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 198
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.
Hitcount: Story Total: 38001; Chapter Total: 957
Awards: View Trophy Room


As Harry and Ginny approached the main table where the champions would be seated, he took note of the others positioned around it. Professor Dumbledore was seated next to Madame Maxime, while Karkaroff was a few chairs down from them. Ludo Bagman was across the table from the two headmasters and didn't look thrilled to be next to a young red-headed wizard to his left.

"Percy?" exclaimed Ginny. "What are you doing here?"

He puffed out his chest as he indicated for Ginny and Harry to be seated next to him. "I have been promoted. I'm now Mr. Crouch's personal assistant. I'm attending the event tonight as his official representative."

Harry thought he looked, if possible, even more conceited than when he'd received his Head Boy badge, but thought it better not to mention that. "Congratulations, Percy."

"Thank you, Harry. I have heard that you performed quite well in the first task, despite the circumstances of your entry into the tournament."

Harry looked down at the table. Of course Percy would think that he had broken some sort of rule to get into the tournament. The evening seemed to be on track to become much more uncomfortable.

"He did really well! Charlie said that the Horntail was the most dangerous dragon out of the four and that they had to change up their plans to bring it once they found out that Harry had been forced into being the fourth champion. Did you and Mr. Crouch work to make sure all that went smoothly? It seems like a huge deal to organize such an important, secretive event and make late changes. And all of this is on top of all the other work towards international magical cooperation?"

Harry looked quizzically at Ginny, who gave him a nudge as Percy began to puff himself up importantly. She winked before returning her gaze to Percy, who looked ready to burst with pride.

"You are right, of course. The department has been very busy with the minutiae of several proposed laws for the wizengamot to consider and many important meetings with foreign dignitaries. But the Triwizard Tournament is quite the feather in our collective cap. With how well it has been received by the public, Mr. Crouch has been very pleased."

"Wow," said Ginny with what Harry knew to be false reverence. "With as important as the tournament is to your department and the Ministry, it's shocking that Mr. Crouch and Professor Dumbledore haven't been able to figure out who entered Harry. It must have been someone really powerful since it'd take a lot more than an underage student to create such a challenge for a department head like your boss."

Harry couldn't believe how thick Ginny was laying it on, but Percy was oblivious to her tactics.

"You're absolutely right, Ginevra. Mr. Crouch was just saying the other day that the other judges should be helping uncover more clues as to how it occurred." Percy looked at Harry again, this time with a twinge of sympathy. "For what it's worth, I want you to know that our department will continue to investigate the matter."

"Thanks, Percy," replied Harry, trying to keep up with Ginny's expert flattery. "I know I've got to compete for now because of the magical contract, but if you and your department find out who entered me and I was released from having to be a part of the tournament, I'd feel a lot safer and be able to focus more on my schoolwork."

"Of course, Harry. That makes sense. Obviously, we can't change the tasks to make them more appropriate for a fourth-year student, not after all the hours spent creating and refining them. But I do hope that you'll be able to keep up with your studies while preparing for the next tasks."

Before Percy could dive into his full monologue about the importance of schoolwork, Dumbledore clinked his glass for everyone's attention, then clearly said, "Pork chops." Before him, his empty plate was instantly filled with the exact food he had ordered. The other guests and students followed his lead, and the sounds of an excellent meal being enjoyed filled the Great Hall.

Hermione was sitting next to Ginny and was listening intently to Krum as he explained some of the differences between Hogwarts and Durmstrang. Harry realized that he hadn't really heard Krum speak more than two or three words at a time until now. Though heavily accented, he was doing a good job of communicating in English. Across the table, Fleur was also comparing her school to Hogwarts. Her date wore a dazed expression that indicated that his brain had ceased most non-visual functions. Cho and Cedric were seated between Dumbledore and Bagman, who seemed to be having an excellent time regaling them with quidditch stories, even though the two of them seemed more interested in each other than the former beater.

When Bagman and Percy began grousing about some interdepartmental squabble, Harry began to whisper to Ginny, "Thanks for getting him going. I was taken completely off guard at first, but you knew just what you were doing. It almost feels like he's on my side now!"

Ginny smirked back at him. "Youngest of seven and the only girl, so I had to learn how to handle each of my brothers. Percy loves for people to look up to him and know how competent he is. You've just gotta understand how to direct it. Though I almost gagged when you said the reason you wanted out of the tournament was so you could focus on schoolwork."

"Hey, it seemed like the kind of thing he'd appreciate! I don't have as much expertise in buttering him up, so I just went with the first thing that made sense."

"Oh, it worked perfectly for him, but you'll have to start the ball out dancing by yourself if I'm in the loo vomiting."

Harry snickered. "Alright, I won't go that far again. Think I've got time for some treacle tart before the dancing begins?"

"Why even ask?" laughed Ginny. "I know you well enough to know you'll always make time for treacle tart!"

Sure enough, Harry's dessert plate filled with his favorite as Ginny requested a slice of pie ala mode. They both relished the sweet ending to their meal as students began excitedly talking and pointing at The Weird Sisters, who had begun setting up their equipment across the room.

"Okay, so any tips before the dancing starts?" Harry's nerves were beginning to come back as his dessert dwindled and the band looked almost ready to start.

"I think we'll just walk out to the middle of the floor and wait for the music to start," explained Ginny as her cheeks began to color slightly. "You'll put your hands on my waist and I'll rest mine on your shoulders. Then we'll just sway and move around a little. It also wouldn't hurt to follow the lead of the others, though if you act like Roger Davies, you'll end up in the hospital wing."

Harry snorted as Roger nearly fell out of his seat from leaning toward Fleur. "Madam Pomfrey is already frustrated with me for ending up there so often, so I'd better not risk it."

Again, Dumbledore rose and gathered everyone's attention. He had everyone step back from their tables, which he promptly vanished. Chairs zoomed toward the outer reaches of the room, leaving a sprawling dance floor cleared in the center of the Great Hall. The lights began to dim as the band stepped forward. Harry saw the other champions and their partners begin making their way toward the dance floor, so he and Ginny followed suit. Harry shot a glance at the position of Krum's hands on Hermione's waist and did his best to mimic the placement with Ginny. He had the distinct feeling that if he attempted to follow Roger's lead, Ginny's brothers would not hesitate to use a severing charm to remove his hands from his wrists. Being a friend of the family could only extend so far.

The band started off with a slow rendition of one of their hits. Before Harry could register what was happening, slight pressure from Ginny's hands on his shoulders indicated for him to begin moving. Harry was doing his best to not step on Ginny's toes or trip over his own robes, but he did get the feeling that this wasn't quite as bad as he'd imagined. It seemed as though the champions and their partners were simply rotating in a large circle while spinning with their date.

Harry leaned closer to speak into Ginny's ear. "I'm glad you know what you're doing. All this moving around and spinning was not what I had expected."

"Yeah, it's kind of like in astronomy, when the planets are spinning while they rotate around the sun. As long as we don't crash into anyone else, we should be fine."

"Now look who's bringing up schoolwork," said Harry with a smile. "If Hermione wasn't so engrossed in dancing with Krum, I'm sure she could explain exactly how all that works."

As Ginny stuck out her tongue at him, Dumbledore led Madame Maxime to join the champions, and dozens of student couples soon found their way to the dance floor. The Weird Sisters kept playing as the dancers swayed and moved to the beat. When the song came to an end, the students cheered loudly before the next song began.

"Harry, I figure that you might not be all that excited about dancing. Did you want to go back to the table or stay out here a while?"

Harry glanced back to the table where Percy was speaking in an animated fashion with Bagman, who looked ready to take a beater's bat to his own skull in order to remove himself from the situation.

"Actually, I think I'm kinda figuring this out. I don't mind another song or two."

Ginny's eyes lit up as she beamed up at him. "Sounds good to me! Think you're up for maneuvering while we dance to check in on Hermione? I lost sight of her earlier."

"Good plan. I promised her at least one dance at some point, but I figure she's happier with Krum for now."

Though it took some work on their part, Ginny and Harry were able to meander their way through the mass of students to the other side of the dance floor, where Krum and Hermione were swaying back and forth. The second song had concluded while they were searching and the third was beginning as they approached.

"Having fun so far, you two?" asked Harry as they neared the couple.

Hermione smiled broadly as she spotted her friends. "Oh, I've already had such a great time! Harry, I know you've already met Viktor, but this is Ginny Weasley. She's another of my friends from Gryffindor, in her third year. Ginny, this is Viktor."

Viktor hadn't taken his eyes off Hermione while she was speaking, but nodded politely to Ginny and Harry. "It is nice to meet you, Geeny. Herm-own-ninny speaks well of you."

"My pleasure, Viktor. One of my older brothers works with dragons, and he told me that Chinese Fireballs are really tricky to work with, so I was very impressed with how you handled the first task."

"It vas not easy, but I am glad to have succeeded," replied Krum. "I vish I had thought to summon a broom. Your partner flew very well. I vas impressed." Harry blushed at the compliment as the third song drew to a close.

"Viktor, could we get something to drink before we do more dancing?" inquired Hermione.

"Of course. Harry, vould you join me and we can get something for these lovely ladies?"

Harry glanced at Ginny, who gave him a nod. As he and Krum walked toward a table of refreshments, he couldn't quite make out what the two girls were excitedly saying to each other.

"You are close with Herm-own-ninny, yes?"

Harry grabbed two glasses and started pouring drinks. "Yeah, she's been one of my best friends since first year." The older boy eyed him thoughtfully. "I'm glad you asked her to the ball. She looks really happy tonight."

Viktor smiled hesitantly. "I am glad that she has good friends. I vas worried that she might decline my invitation since she is so close to you."

"Well, just because we're friends doesn't mean she can't go to a dance with whomever she likes. Even if you and I are competing, the point of it all is international cooperation. Plus, I wouldn't want to stop my friend from having a good time."

"So, you and she are… only friends?" Viktor asked, with a hint of hopefulness as he picked up the two glasses he had poured.

"Yeah, she's like a sister to me," replied Harry while they walked back toward their dates. "But that means you'd better treat her with respect."

"Of course. I vill treat her like a princess. I only hope that she has a good time tonight."

"Just what I wanted to hear."

Before they had reached the girls, Harry nudged Krum and whispered, "By the way, I had a hard time with her name when I first met her, but I broke it down to Her-My-Oh-Nee. Give it a shot?"

"Her-my-own-nee?" Viktor sounded it out, doing significantly better than before.

"Nicely done."

"Thanks for the drinks, gentlemen!" said Ginny as the two returned. "What took you so long?"

"Harry was ensuring that I vould treat Her-my-own-nee with respect, and I assured him I vould."

"Viktor! That's the best you've done pronouncing my name!" Hermione leaned up to give him a quick peck on the cheek. Harry averted his eyes toward Ginny while Viktor's face reddened. She launched into a conversation with him about how his English proficiency had improved.

"Shall we give them a little room, Harry?"

"Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing. Want to go check on Ron?"

"Sure. Don't know how much fun he'll be having. Did you see the look on his face when we were all entering at the beginning?"

"Oof. Poor guy looked like he got hit with a bludger in the back of the head."

"After all the things he said about Hermione only pretending to have a date, I think it was a nasty shock to see her on Krum's arm."

As the two of them skirted the edge of the dance floor, they caught sight of Ron from a distance. He was leaning back precariously on a chair near Dean and Neville. Harry pulled up a seat next to him with Ginny standing next to him. Ron looked miserable.

"Hey, mate. How's it going?" asked Harry.

"The whole bloody thing's idiotic. Who thought that it'd be fun to have a big dance on Christmas? And to top it off, I can't believe Hermione would betray you like this!"

Harry felt confused. "Wait, how'd Hermione betray me?"

"She's out there dancing it up with your competition! It's unforgivable!"

Before Harry could reply, Ginny scoffed derisively. "That's saying something coming from you! As I understand it, Hermione was the one who spent half the term helping Harry prepare for the first task. And what were you doing the whole time? Accusing Harry of cheating to get into the tournament and leaving him high and dry!"

Ron blanched at the excoriation from his sister. He sputtered as he tried to regain some of his bluster, but Ginny didn't allow it.

"It took Viktor two weeks to build up the nerve to ask Hermione to the ball, and if you hadn't been so busy insulting girls' looks and embarrassing yourself by asking out a French Veela champion, maybe you could have asked her. Oh, but I guess it would have been fine for you to go with one of Harry's competitors, right?"

Ginny's hands were on her hips and her tone was becoming more Mrs. Weasley-esque by the moment. Ron had almost interrupted before Ginny brought up him asking Fleur to the Ball, but the accusation set him on the back foot. He looked more than a bit shaken as he considered whether his asking of a champion amounted to a betrayal. His hesitation was all the opening Ginny required to pounce.

"No, of course not! You treated Harry like rubbish all term and he forgave you in an instant, so now you're turning on your other best friend, who just so happens to be the happiest I've ever seen her. Aren't you always going on about how you think she shouldn't care about grades and should have a little fun? Well, look at her! Looks like she's having fun now!"

Ginny was red in the face and standing on her tiptoes as she viciously pointed toward the dance floor. As fate would have it, Ron's eyes found Hermione just as she was laughing while Viktor gently dipped her. Whether by unfortunate coincidence or a hidden spell cast by his sister, Ron's balance failed him and he and his chair toppled over backward.

"If you want to try to talk some sense into this git, be my guest." Ginny's eyes flashed dangerously at her brother. "I believe I promised a dance to Neville."

Harry's roommate flinched when she said his name before realizing that he wasn't the object of her ire. He quickly got to his feet and followed her to the dance floor, leaving Dean shaking with silent laughter. Harry grasped his friend by the hand and hoisted him to his feet. Ron was shaking his head forlornly as he stared down at his hands.

"Look, mate, it's not as bad as you were thinking. Hermione was worried at first about going with him since we're competing against each other and all, but I told her it's not a big deal to me." Harry searched for a way to say that Ginny made good points without angering his friend. "She worked really hard to help me get ready for the dragon, so I'm not worried that she's here with Viktor."

Ron sighed deeply. "I wish I'd been helping you. Bloody brilliant of me to be such an arse…"

"Don't worry about it, mate. Just try not to treat your friends that way, yeah?"

Ron glanced back to the dance floor, where Hermione was resting her head on Krum's shoulder while they danced. He looked back at Harry. "Maybe I'll head back to the tower. I feel ridiculous in these damn robes anyway. At least I had a good dinner."

Harry clapped him on the shoulder. "Sounds like a plan. I'll see you later on. Maybe I can beat you in a game of chess once we get done here?"

Ron forced out a laugh but gave Harry a small smile. "Not likely, but we'll see. Night, Harry! Try to keep Ginny from harassing anyone else."

Harry plopped down to chat with Dean while Ron headed back to Gryffindor Tower. Soon enough, Ginny and an embarrassed Neville returned to the table.

"For the last time, Neville, if you apologize again, I really am going to hex you."

"I just didn't realize how hard it would be to dance without stepping on…"

Ginny brandished her wand in Neville's direction. "No. More. Apologies."

"Right. Got it. Where'd Ron go?"

Dean and Harry looked at each other. "Harry gave him a bit of a pep talk after Ginny laid into him, and he ended up deciding that he'd had enough of the ball now that dinner was done, so he headed out."

"And did he say anything that I should make him regret?" asked Ginny as her nostrils flared slightly.

"Nope. But I'd pay good money to see you smack him around like that every once and a while. Any chance you can yell him into not snoring so loudly?"

"Sadly, there are some things beyond even a sister's power…" replied Ginny gravely. Both Dean and Harry laughed as Ginny ruefully shook her head.

"Well, even if you can't create a solution to our dorm's noise complaints, maybe you could do me the honor of a dance?" Dean's smile was genuine as he offered her his hand.

"Sounds lovely," replied Ginny. She looked at Harry as she rose to her feet. "I'll catch up with you in a little while, okay?"

"Sure thing." Harry watched as Dean led her onto the dance floor and they began to dance. With just a hint of bitterness, he noted that Dean was a much more confident dancer than he had been.

"Ugh, I feel awful about stepping on her toes the whole time," said Neville. "Susan's probably too bruised to walk after our first dance. I thought maybe if I practiced with Ginny for a song I might improve enough to try again with Susan again, but I'm just rubbish at dancing."

"I was really nervous at first, since I'd never had lessons or anything, but Ginny suggested just doing a little bit of swaying without moving my feet too much. When we had to go in a direction, I kinda shuffled my feet without lifting them off the floor. Maybe you could try that?"

"You were nervous? You always look like you know what you're doing!"

Harry spit out a bit of his drink as he laughed, before quickly using his wand to clean up the front of his robes. "Mate, I'm winging it, like, all the time. I feel out of my depth in most situations."

"Yeah, right. You're a Triwizard champion, have a cool girl as a date, you're on the quidditch team…"

"Nev, can you remember how terrified I was when my name came out of the goblet? Or how most of the school thought I was a glory-chasing cheater?" Neville looked unconvinced. "I spent days trying to get the nerve to ask Ginny, and I've ended up in the hospital wing from quidditch more often than anyone. I think you're just imagining me being more put together than I am."

"Well, maybe you're just really good at looking confident even when you're not."

"Maybe, but I sure don't look as confident as Dean does out there," Harry indicated where their dormmate had just spun Ginny by the hand before effortlessly bringing her back to himself.

"Yeah, but Ginny looked a lot happier when she was dancing with you."

"Alright, Neville, here's an idea." Harry leaned closer to his friend. "You find Susan and ask her to try another dance with you, and I'll get Ginny and we can dance near each other. If we're all talking back and forth a bit, it'll be easier for both of us to not have to move around as much. That way, neither of us have to worry about stomping on our date's feet."

Neville looked up for a moment as he calculated the risk of embarrassment, but eventually nodded. "Okay, Harry, I'll go find her. Where should we meet?"

"Let's aim for near the refreshments. If it goes badly, at least we can find something sweet afterward."

"Right. See you there. Thanks, Harry!" Neville strode away purposefully and Harry really hoped Susan gave him a second chance.

The Weird Sisters were transitioning from a more upbeat song to something slower. Harry figured that since he'd roped Ginny into helping Neville, he should probably give her a little warning. He left the table and walked out to the dance floor, giving Seamus a thumbs-up as he passed his dormmate dancing with the older boy he assumed was Matthew.

"Hey, Gin! Can I borrow you for a few minutes?"

Ginny smiled broadly before hugging her dance partner. "Thanks for the dance, Dean!"

"No worries! See you later." The boy gave her a nod and began walking to a table with several other fourth-years.

As Harry led Ginny toward the other side of the Great Hall, he gave her a questioning look. "I thought you told me you weren't that great at dancing? You and Dean have some serious moves."

"Well, it's a bit different when you're the focus of attention for the whole school. I was really nervous for that first dance, but now it's no big deal."

"Fair enough. Hey, the reason I pulled you away is that I was hoping we could help Neville out a bit. He said he was nervous about trying to dance with Susan again because he kept stepping on her."

"Of course he's nervous. He's honestly not that bad…" Ginny cocked her head to the side and Harry gave her a look. "Okay, he's pretty bad. What were you thinking?"

"I figure if you and I can dance next to them and talk with them a bit, maybe we wouldn't have to move around so much. That way, Neville could get a good dance in and Susan won't end up in the infirmary."

"Harry Potter, that's almost Slytherin of you!" exclaimed Ginny with a laugh. "I'm in. I don't know Susan well. Any ideas for conversation starters?"

Harry thought about it. "She and I don't talk much, but she's nice enough. I think she's kinda like her house's version of Hermione. Top grades, likes books."

Ginny nodded as she started coming up with her plan. Soon enough, they found Neville and a hesitant-looking Susan near the drink table.

"Hey Susan! Nice to see you. Do you know Ginny?"

"Hi Harry. I think we've met a few times. I like your robes, Ginny."

"Thanks, Susan. Yours look really nice, too. Harry and I were going to try to dance over here away from the crowd if you two want to join?"

"Uhh, sure. I guess…" Susan clearly wasn't confident about the plan, but she dutifully stepped forward with Neville.

As they got positioned and Harry's hands found themselves again on Ginny's waist, she looked over to the other couple. They exchanged small talk for a minute or two before Ginny sprung into action. "Okay, Susan. Hermione told me how good you are in all your classes. Was there anything in your third year that I need to look out for? I'm doing alright in Transfiguration and Charms, but I sometimes have a hard time in Potions and Herbology can be challenging at times."

Susan's face brightened as she and Neville gently swayed back and forth close enough for a conversation. "Oh, I hear you about Potions. I have such a hard time with Professor Snape since he's always assigning things that are a bit different from what's in our book. Sometimes I just ignore what the book says completely and just go by what's on the board."

Harry was surprised at her answer, especially considering how much stock Hermione put into doing everything by the book. By the looks on Ginny and Neville, it was news to them, too. Ginny may have asked just to make conversation, but she now seemed legitimately interested.

"As for Herbology, that's one of my weaker subjects. I just spent tons of time in the library tracking down various books about magical plants. It was a huge headache."

Harry decided it was time to chime in. "If either of you needs help with Herbology, you've got to go to Neville. I swear it's the only class where Hermione has given up on getting top marks. It just comes to him naturally."

Neville's blush became a hue of red that few of the plants in the greenhouses could rival. "It's not that big of a deal. I've just always enjoyed growing things and plants interest me." He met Susan's eyes. "If you're ever researching for Herbology, Professor Sprout mentioned some really helpful resources. I've got 1001 Magical Plants and Herbs, which I don't think is in the school library and a couple of others. Professor Moody even lent me one of his books on Magical Mediterranean water plants, and I think we'll be covering some of those next term."

A slight pressure on his shoulder from Ginny's hand brought Harry's attention away from Neville and Susan. "Seems like they've found something to talk about," whispered Ginny. "Want to give them a little space?"

"Yeah, but maybe we stay close enough to come help if he needs it?"

"Absolutely." Ginny furtively glanced at Neville's feet and giggled quietly. "You conquer dragons, catch snitches, and teach dance? You certainly are multi-talented!"

"He does seem like he's doing better, doesn't he? I think he just needed to get out of his own head," Harry said with a smile. "Do you really have a hard time in Herbology, or was that just a setup to get Neville talking about plants?"

"Well, I wasn't lying about it not being my best subject, but I did think it might get him talking a bit more…"

"And you were calling me a Slytherin earlier?" asked Harry in mock outrage. "That's positively devious!"

"Says the boy who pulled out the 'Neville-does-better-than-Hermione' card!"

The two of them bantered back and forth good-naturedly as the band transitioned to a new song, and neither one moved to leave the dance floor as it began.
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