SIYE Time:11:26 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: 38034; Chapter Total: 838
Awards: View Trophy Room


Ron and Hermione had been sniping at each other for days. Harry had hoped that the relative peace they'd found after Viktor humiliated Malfoy would last a bit longer, but that dream had fallen apart in the kitchens.

While bringing a gift of socks to Dobby as thanks for ensuring Harry wasn't late to the second task, the four spoke with Winky. The elf had drowned her sorrows in butterbeer, lamenting her eviction from the employment of Mr. Crouch.

Hermione's sympathy for Winky quickly turned to anger at her former master. Ron's lack of tact and refusal to side with her had led to a shouting match. Neither was keen to admit fault, so they simply attempted to ignore each other as much as possible. Harry and Ginny did their best to juggle the responsibilities of carrying on conversation in ways that didn't lead to tempers flaring, but their efforts came to naught at least once a day.

The most recent round of bickering caused Ron and Hermione to both storm off to their dormitories. The potions homework that Hermone had been helping Harry with was only about one-third completed and Ginny's grudge match of Chess against her brother had only lasted ten moves before voices had been raised and unkind words had been spoken. The common room had become so accustomed to their outbursts that only a few first years even looked up as they each rushed up the stairs.

Harry sighed deeply and Ginny rolled her eyes. "Wanna help me finish this game?"

The potions textbook slammed shut exceedingly quickly before Harry moved to take Ron's seat. "Sure! Should we start it over or just go from where you were?"

Ginny looked at Harry appraisingly. "I've seen my brother beat you enough times to know that you need all the help you can get, so I'm fine with you taking up where he left off."

"You don't think I can win on my own?" Harry made to put the pieces back in their starting positions, but desperate pleas from Ron's well-positioned attacking knight and bishop plus the admonishment from the queen won the day. "Alright, I'll keep the game going, but no whining when I beat you!"

Ginny shook her head as Ron's pieces cheered. "Alright, game on. It's your move since Ron was concentrating more on making Hermione angry than playing for the last few minutes."

"I don't get why they argue so much," mused Harry as he inadvertently moved a pawn into the diagonal of Ginny's queen. "They fight more than anyone else I know."

"Might just be a Weasley thing," answered Ginny, above the forlorn cries of the pawn being captured. "Mum was constantly squabbling about something or another with Bill and Charlie when they were in school, even though they both did really well. She does it even more with Fred and George. The twins are constantly bickering with and pranking Percy and Ron, who both go after each other and the twins right back.

"As for me, Mum and I get into it a lot because she clearly was hoping for a daughter who'd take after her love of cooking and give her a break after six boys, but instead I'm probably more like the twins than anyone else in the family. I think we all just learned how to show each other we care even when we're fighting. It works well enough for us, but with Hermione…" She eyed Harry as he moved a rook forward to endanger her queen. "It seems like her family works differently, and neither of them can figure out how to communicate with each other unless things are already going well."

Harry shrugged. "I guess that makes sense. I just wish they'd figure it out sooner rather than later." A knight that Ginny had poised for attack moved forward, placing Harry's king in check. He dutifully moved his king out of harm's way before Ginny's queen removed his rook. Harry chuckled darkly to himself. "Is your whole family this good at chess?"

A wicked smile spread across her face. "How do you know we're all that good? You might just be terrible!" Several of Ron's pieces tried to agree with her assessment before she shushed them. "Only joking, Harry, you're not all that bad. You just seem a little too focused on what's right in front of you instead of planning a few moves in advance. Dad is a great chess player and taught all of us to play. Ron's the best out of us, then probably Bill, Percy, me in some order. Charlie was always more interested in the outdoors and creatures to spend too much time practicing, and chess never seemed to hold the twins' interest."

Without intending to do so, Harry's mind flashed back to the new memory and how he had once wished for more time to support Ginny. With his cheeks flushing slightly, he decided to try acting on what he had seen, hoping that he didn't mess it up.

"Can I ask a kinda personal question?" Harry's traitorous cheeks heated up further as Ginny looked up from the board. "How'd you manage after your first year? I didn't really know you much back then, but it seems like you bounced back really well. I guess I'm just interested in how you got through it all."

Ginny shuddered and Harry immediately regretted bringing it up. "I mean, you don't have to say anything if you don't want to. I just meant that…"

"No, it's fine, Harry," said Ginny. "Last year was really hard. Mum and Dad tried to help over the summer, but Mum kept babying me and acting as if I was made of glass. Dad eventually figured out to just sit with me and that helped more than anything. We played chess some or read together. He'd be reading up on some muggle contraption and I'd be studying for a class I'd fallen behind in or looking at a quidditch magazine, but we'd be together. Even while we were traveling, he'd find ways to just be near me." She smiled as she moved a bishop forward to protect her queen.

"The school year was rough. Lots of the students my age already had friend groups, so I was alone a good bit. I don't think they were like that because they were trying to exclude me or were scared of me from first year, though it felt that way at the time. But I reconnected with Luna and that helped me not feel as alone."

"Me and Ron and Hermione should have included you more." The scant remaining pieces of Ron's once-formidable defense groaned as Harry moved his bishop to check Ginny's king, only for it to be immediately captured by a lurking knight. "You'd gone through such a hard time, and at least we knew what you'd been through."

Ginny gave a sad kind of smile. "I'm sure that would have been nice and all, but there was a lot of stuff I needed to figure out on my own. I think last year made me a lot more independent, and I like that." She watched as he moved a hapless pawn forward. "Why do you ask?"

"I dunno," hedged Harry as his pawn was tossed aside by Ginny's queen. "After all the support you've given me through the tournament, I kinda realized that the chamber is another thing that most other people wouldn't understand that we've got in common."

Harry's remaining rook captured a pawn, but another of Ginny's pawns was making a break for the back line. "It is kinda nice to know that I don't have to explain everything to you. With some of my other friends, I've wondered when and how to tell them about all that. There's not an easy way to bring up the 'I was possessed by You Know Who during first year' conversation."

"Yeah, I think that's one of the reasons I'm so close to your brother and Hermione. We've been through so much together that it'd be hard to explain to anyone else."

Harry's defense was unable to prevent the pawn from reaching his back line, where it transformed into a second queen, placing Harry in check. He moved his king forward then watched his remaining rook get taken by Ginny's queen.

"I guess I figured that you and I have a bit of the same thing going. Ron and Hermione never went into the diary, and even though I've told them what it was like, they don't really understand how slick he was or how the memory seemed so convincing."

"That's what was hardest for me. Nobody understood what it was like."

Harry hesitantly pushed his last pawn forward. "I felt really stupid once I figured out that he was using me. I mean, he used a memory of catching Hagrid to make me think he was a good guy. As if Hagrid would ever hurt a soul."

Ginny moved her queen next to Harry's king, which toppled to its knees. "Ugh, I hate that feeling of being used and manipulated. It just sorta crept up on me at first, but by the second term I felt gross all the time."

"The diary told me that I was a lot like Tom." Harry sharply inhaled as he realized that he had definitely not intended to share that particular detail.

Ginny didn't look scared, as Harry worried she might. Only quizzical. "What do you mean?"

Harry took a deep breath. "It said that we were both orphans who grew up in places where we weren't appreciated. And that Hogwarts was both of our first homes. Plus we both speak Parseltongue."

Ginny finished packing the chess pieces before moving to the couch next to him. "Well, as someone who unfortunately spent a lot of time with Tom, I don't think you're like each other at all."

Harry gave a noncommittal nod but didn't seem convinced. "Okay, think of it this way: Tom fed me a thousand lies until they seeped into me and I believed them. It was all meant to make me easier to control and manipulate. If that's what he did to me, whatever he said to you was probably just what he thought would help him use you."

"I don't understand what you mean," admitted Harry. "He just pointed out similarities between us."

"Yeah, because he wanted you to focus on those things, not all the ways you're different. You've got real friends who you care about and who care about you. You're kind to people, like with Neville at the ball. Tom wanted to manipulate you, so he tried to get you to think you were like him when he's the opposite of who you are."

Harry began to reply, but Ginny cut him off. "Harry, you fought a giant snake to save me! Tom would never have risked himself for someone else. That's not who he is, but it is who you are."

He let out a quiet laugh. "You're better than me at chess and arguing." Harry nudged her with his shoulder.

"Glad you know it," she said with a grin. "That'll save you a lot of trouble if you remember it next time."

Breakfast was muted the next morning, as neither Hermione nor Ron were over their latest spat. None of the friends brought up the argument, but an unease hung in the air as they ate.

Dozens of owls descended into the Great Hall with a variety of letters and parcels for the students. Surprisingly, quite a few of the owls swooped down to land between the four friends.

"What's all this about?" exclaimed Ron as he defended his sausage from a large grey owl with an envelope addressed to Ginny on it.

"I don't know," answered Hermione. "I took out a subscription to the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly so we don't get blindsided again, but none of these look like the paper or a magazine."

Ginny tentatively opened the envelope attached to the owl that was nipping at Ron's fingers. "Oh, that explains it." She passed the letter to Hermione, who was about to open a letter addressed to her. A quick glance at the menacing letters, which looked to have been cut out from a newspaper, indicated that this was not friendly post.

Hermione passed it back after a quick read. "Unbelievable! How do people believe the rubbish that woman prints?" She tore open the first of her letters, scanned it quickly, then looked at Ginny. "More of the same, although this writer used some different language."

Harry looked back and forth between the girls. "What do you mean? What's going on?"

Ginny scowled. "It seems some people are taking Rita Skeeter's article to heart." She grimaced as she read another letter. "Wow, this one managed to misspell a remarkable number of words. But they did get all the foul ones right, so they get credit for that…"

Hermione and Ginny began piling the hate mail in the center of the table, each comparing their letters to those sent to the other girl.

"This one's pretty unoriginal, mostly just a lot of calling me a Mudblood."

"Apparently, the world would've been better had I not been born."

The girls seemed much more entertained by the letters than Harry expected. He carefully untied a letter addressed to him from a nearby owl's leg, only to find that it contained advice that neither of the girls was worthy of his affections and that Harry should contact the sender at once. The included photo was of a witch who looked to be in her late fifties blowing kisses and winking up at him. He quickly stuffed both the letter and photo back into the envelope before discarding he whole thing into the pile.

The sound of sizzling was drowned out by a painful yelp as Hermione dropped a letter to the ground.

"Oi! Hermione! What's on your hands?" Ron was staring with mouth agape at a viscous yellowish-green liquid that had oozed from the envelope. It smelled of petrol and was causing the sizzling sound as boils erupted from Hermione's hands "Bubotuber pus! Get it off, quick!"

Hermione grabbed napkins and tried to remove the stinking liquid, but her hands had already swollen to the point that her fingers didn't bend properly. Ginny did her best to help, but tears were forming in Hermione's eyes with each dab.

"I think you're going to need to head to see Madam Pomfrey," said Harry as the boils grew. "We'll tell Professor Sprout why you're gone, and Hagrid if you're not back by then." Hermione looked frustrated about missing class but hurried out of the Great Hall toward the infirmary.

Harry looked at the pile of hate mail stacked in the middle of the table, then at the envelope on the ground that was still oozing. "How many people read this rubbish anyway?"

Ginny was no longer amused by the pile of letters, instead looking a little queasy. "Lots of folks read Witch Weekly. Mum has a subscription for the recipes, though she read it more often during the school year once more of us were away at school."

The thought of a disappointed Mrs. Weasley reading about his personal life, with her only daughter tossed in as a sideshow, caused Harry to shudder. "Hey, Ginny? Quick question… Have you sent an owl to your Mum since the article came out? I wouldn't want her to get the wrong idea and worry about you."

Ginny rolled her eyes at Harry. "Appreciate the thought, Harry, but I owled her that same night. The last thing I want is her thinking she needs to send me a howler." She construed a very convincing version of a Molly Weasley face before glowering at Harry. "Ginevra Molly Weasley! I demand that you stop acting like a 'scarlet woman' at once! You're not allowed to date until after you're married! And make sure Harry eats extra helpings at dinner! The poor dear looks far too thin! I've attached ten pounds of treacle tart for him, and if you eat so much as one bite of it, I'll drag you straight home!"

By the time Ginny had finished her howler impression, Harry was in stitches and Ron had nearly collapsed out of his seat. She took a mock bow before returning to her food.
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