SIYE Time:11:38 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: 38041; Chapter Total: 874
Awards: View Trophy Room


The spring was relatively uneventful for Harry, at least when compared to the first term. His routine of classes, homework, and extra tutoring took up much more of his time than he would have preferred, but he did feel like he was steadily increasing in skill.

Professor McGonagall was an excellent teacher in a classroom setting, but Harry found her even more effective one-on-one and in settings with fewer students. He and Ron dutifully showed up for their week's worth of detentions, but their eagerness to practice their transfiguration and seriousness while doing their spellwork had a positive effect on the Deputy Headmistress. She instructed them both in how to use their focus to increase the effectiveness of their spells and by the end of the week, both Harry and Ron were casting more powerfully and controlling their transfiguration much better.

The two laughed on the way back to the common room after their final "detention," assured that Malfoy and Parkinson weren't having nearly as much fun during the two weeks McGonagall assigned them. Harry felt like it was much less likely that they'd give quotes to Rita Skeeter again after overhearing Filch describing the state of the bathrooms the Slytherins would be cleaning. With a grin, Ron noted that he'd never had a professor provide biscuits at the end of a punishment.

In subsequent training sessions, McGonagall built on the Transfiguration he'd already learned, but her focus on using that magic defensively was quite interesting. With steady practice each week, he was becoming adept at moving objects around defensively; enlarging and transfiguring them as means of protecting himself.

While McGonagall's trainings were challenging, they were not nearly as grueling as Professor Moody's sessions. Once a week, Harry spent two hours under a barrage of spellfire from the scarred former-Auror. The man seemed to take pleasure in putting Harry through his paces, firing off jinx after jinx as Harry attempted to dodge as many as possible. Harry had learned a few helpful counterspells from Moody, but he mostly felt more confident about staying on the move.

"Your opponents will likely telegraph their spells, both verbally and by their wand movements," called out Moody as Harry ducked behind a desk in the unused classroom they had set up in. "If you anticipate what they're going to cast or where they're going to cast, you'll be at an advantage. Constant vigilance!" A stinging hex shot through the legs of the desk and caught Harry directly on his knee. "And if you're taking cover, you need to be readying your next move. If you're just hiding, your enemy can move to flank you or set up a better defense. Take cover when you need to, but remain actively engaged!"

Harry thought that his advice was easier said than done but took it to heart. With a swish and a flick, he levitated a desk near Moody and sent it toward the professor. While Moody dodged the furniture, Harry made a break for a more defendable point in the room and cast a tripping jinx. He heard the tell-tale sound of his professor hitting the ground behind him as he slid behind an overturned desk.

Peeking from behind the desk, he expected to see Moody collecting himself from the ground. Instead, a wand was leveled right at his forehead.

"Not a bad play, Potter. Good use of your environment. Tell me where you went wrong."

Harry rubbed his sore knee before taking Moody's hand, who hoisted him to his feet. "I trusted my ears too much. I thought I heard you fall from my tripping jinx and didn't hear your wooden leg as you moved toward me, which made me overconfident that you were still on the other side of the room."

"Aye, right on both counts. I cushioned the desk you sent my way, which made it sound like I'd fallen over. Also used a helpful little charm to silence my footsteps. Anything else you noticed?"

"I should have kept an eye on you as I ran for cover."

"Exactly! Your opponent is much more likely to move around than whatever you're trying to use for cover. Quick glance at where you're retreating to, then eyes back on your enemy."

Harry nodded resolutely.

Professor Flitwick was the most pleasant of his three tutors, though Harry thought that might have been due to the diminutive professor no longer being tasked with teaching him one absurdly difficult charm that his life depended on. Flitwick had helped Harry master several helpful charms and hexes, including the footstep silencing charm Moody had used to get the jump on Harry.

As April faded into May, Harry's nerves began to give him fits. While his success in the first two tasks was heartening, the final task loomed large. Much like the first task, his lack of knowledge of what he was up against fueled a plethora of imagined scenarios that left him stressed.

When Professor McGonagall held him back after Transfiguration to inform him that Mr. Bagman would meet the champions that evening at the Quidditch pitch to explain the third task, Harry felt a sense of relief. He'd had a nightmare in the wee hours of the previous morning that the final task had been a singing competition. In the dream, his voice had cracked on a high note during his rendition of "A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love," which had left him in last place and fed to Hagrid's Skrewts. While that seemed unlikely to be the final task, he was very ready to know what he was facing.

Just after eight that evening, Harry walked through the entrance hall where he met Cedric en route to the pitch.

"Appreciate your help with the egg, Cedric," said Harry as they walked companionably along. "I was getting nowhere fast on it. Dunno if I'd have figured it out at all, much less in time to get prepared to go into the lake like that."

"No worries. I was glad to be able to repay the favor from the first task. Any idea what we're getting ourselves into for this last one?"

"Not really," replied Harry. "I've been doing extra training with McGonagall, Flitwick, and Moody to try to make up for being years behind you three, and a lot of what they've been going over has been defensive magic. Nobody has said what it's going to be, but it kinda feels like it might involve dueling based on what they're going over in our training."

"I could see a duel as a possibility…" mused Cedric. "Maybe tournament style? We could each go up against the other three champions, one-on-one. Whoever does best wins the cup."

Harry considered the idea. "That wouldn't be so bad. Even though you, Viktor, and Fleur are all a lot more skilled than me, at least that way I wouldn't be worried about drowning or being roasted by dragonfire if I mess up."

"What about an all-out four-person duel?"

"Ooh, yeah, that'd be interesting. That might be less likely, though, since I doubt Maxime and Karkaroff would want to allow the possibility of their champions getting double-teamed."

"Well, whatever it is, we're about to find out. Looks like Fleur and Viktor are already with Mr. Bagman."

Sure enough, standing in the middle of the pitch were the other two champions and the former Quidditch star.

"Now I know what you two are thinking," started Bagman as Harry and Cedric climbed over the low hedges to reach the others. "You'll have your Quidditch field back before long, don't you worry! But for now, it's being used for the third task. Hagrid will have these hedges a good twenty feet tall by the time we're ready to blow the whistle on the finale. Any guesses as to what you'll be facing?"

The four champions looked at each other for a moment before Krum grunted, "A maze?"

"Right in one! The third task will be fairly straightforward: each of you will be trying to work your way to the middle of the maze. There, you'll find the Triwizard Cup, and the first to touch it will win the tournament!"

"Eet is as seemple as getting through the maze?" asked Fleur a bit incredulously.

"Simple doesn't mean easy, m'dear," answered Bagman excitedly. "The maze will be chock full of obstacles to test your skills and nerve. There will be a variety of creatures, traps, spells that need to be broken, and the like.

"You'll also be released into the maze in order based on point totals. That means Harry will go in first, followed by Cedric, then Fleur, and Viktor. But not to worry! While it's certainly an advantage to go in early, this task is likely to take at least an hour, if not more, so it's anybody's game. Any of you have questions?"

"I've got one," offered Cedric. "When we ran into trouble in the lake, we didn't have any way to signal to you. If we get into a tight spot, is there any way to let the judges know?"

"Yes, that vould be helpful," agreed Krum. Fleur and Harry were nodding along.

"Fair enough! If it makes you feel better, the judges were monitoring the situation in the lake and were ready to step in, if needed, but you bring up a good point. If you run into trouble in the maze and need assistance, all you'll need to do is shoot red sparks to the sky. That will signal us to come to your aide. You'll have to restart from the beginning of the maze in that case, but if you find no other option available, you can use that in a pinch."

"Okay, that's good to know." Cedric looked pleased at the answer, as did the other champions.

"Alright, then! If there's nothing else, I've got to get back to London. Best of luck to each of you in the third task!" The older wizard smiled broadly toward the four students, though Harry couldn't help feeling like Bagman had caught his eye when wishing them luck.

"Before we leave, may I have a vord?" Krum looked hesitantly at the other champions.

Harry tried to smile reassuringly. "Sure, Viktor. What's on your mind?"

Krum took a deep breath before starting in. "I did not do vell in the last task. Harry had to help me rescue Her-My-Own-Nee." He nodded gravely at Harry. "I vas vorried that in the lake, one of you might attack in order to vin, but instead you helped me. And I learned that Harry helped you in the lake as well," he indicated Fleur. "And that you two have helped each other." His gaze fell back to Harry and Cedric.

"Oui, Harry aided me when I was attacked by ze grindylows," said Fleur.

"When I learned about the dragons a few days before the first task, I saw both of your headmasters there," explained Harry. "It didn't feel right for Cedric to be the only one who didn't have advance warning, so I told him about it."

"That's right, and that warning saved my arse," agreed Cedric. "So when I figured out the egg, I told Harry to take a bath with it. Figured he treated me right, so I should do the same."

A small smile found its way to Krum's face. "You are each strong competitors, but I think you are also good people. I will still be trying to get to the cup first, but perhaps we could be in agreement before we start?

"Karkaroff wishes for me to use spells against you in the task. He has been training me to attack first. But I am thinking that it vould be better to agree not to do that." He looked back and forth at the other champions. "Does that make sense?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, that makes sense, Viktor. One of my professors has been drilling me on defensive combat, but I'd much rather not have to duel any of you. Partly because you're all older and more advanced than I am, but also because you all seem pretty nice."

Fleur was agreeing as well. "Madame Maxime 'as been trying to 'ave me use any means necessary to ween. But I would rather lose wis honor than ween dishonorably."

"I'm on board," said Cedric amiably. "How about this: if we run into each other while we're in the maze, we all agree not to impede each other. We just go on our own way and let the other person go theirs."

"Yes, that vould vork." Krum looked relieved that the others had been open to his idea.

"Eet is hard to believe eet will be over in only one month, no?"

"Yeah, weird to think that I'll only have one more year of school left. You two are both graduating, right? What'll you do after you're done?"

"I vill be playing professionally in Germany. They have the best Quidditch league in the vorld, so it will be good to test myself against them."

"I was accepted eento a Curse Breaking program weeth Gringotts. Many people theenk I am defined by my looks, so I 'ope to find a career that uses my mind and my magical skills."

"I know a Curse Breaker with Gringotts!" exclaimed Harry brightly. "Bill Weasley! He's great. He's Ron and Ginny's oldest brother. Ron was my hostage in the lake and Ginny was my date to the ball."

Fleur smiled as she replied, "So, I should be on ze lookout for anuzzer redhead, no?"

"Well, I think he's working in Egypt, so you might not see him, but yeah, his hair looks a lot like theirs." Harry looked to Cedric. "What about you, Cedric? Any plans for after Hogwarts?"

"More school, actually," he said with a grimace. "I'll take my NEWTs next year, then I want to be a Healer, so I've got to put in a few more years before I'll be ready to work. Maybe one of these days Madam Pomfrey will get fed up from healing you every time something goes wrong and I'll get the chance to apply for her post!"

Harry was about to make a comment about how often he ended up under the matron's care when a sudden thud caused them all to freeze. In the darkness near the stands, a figure had fallen headlong onto the ground. He was muttering something incoherently and had begun crawling toward them.

"Who's out there?" called Cedric as all four students pointed their wands at the stranger.

"Lumos!" cried Fleur, bathing the man in light. His robes were in tatters, ripped to shreds below the knees, and were caked in mud and what appeared to be blood. His face was unshaven and gaunt, looking as though he'd been on the run for days, if not weeks. Harry didn't recognize him at first, but then it suddenly dawned on him.

"Mr. Crouch? Is that you?"

The man was speaking to someone that none of the students could see and gesticulating wildly. "Weatherby! When you get done with that report, bring me a cup of tea. My family will be arriving soon and I'll be taking them to a concert this evening…"

"He vas a judge for the first task, no? Vot is wrong with him?"

"I dunno, but he's been sick for a while. It was in the papers that he'd been missing. Mr. Crouch? Are you alright?"

"DUMBLEDORE!" he screamed, causing the four students to jump. "You've got to… get me to… Dumbledore! "

Harry looked from Mr. Crouch to Cedric. "Okay, sir. If you get up, we can take you to Professor Dumbledore."

"I've made…terrible mistakes… So idiotic…" His eyes were bulging out and rolling backwards into his head. Every word seemed more strained than the last. "Must…tell….Dumbledore…" He flopped over onto his back, gasping for breath.

"Mr. Crouch, can you get up? We'll take you to him!" Harry felt frantic.

"Who…Who are you?" Crouch stared blankly into the dark sky, his panic-stricken eyes darting to and fro. "Jorkins… Dead… Dark Lord… Stronger… Potter… Danger.. My fault…"

Cedric grabbed Harry by the shoulder. "He's not in his right mind, Harry. How fast can you get to the headmaster's office?"

"I dunno, but I'll run as fast as I can."

"Okay, good. If you can't find him, grab Madam Pomfrey! I'll see if I can help him while you're gone."

As Harry turned to go, Fleur grabbed his arm. "I know ze way to ze infirmary. I will go to get 'er."

Krum and Diggory moved toward Mr. Crouch as Harry and the French witch sped away. Her longer legs outpaced him, and the doors to the entrance hall were already swinging closed behind her by the time Harry reached them. As he sprinted toward a staircase, Harry nearly toppled into someone.

"Professor Moody! So sorry! Do you know where the headmaster is?" Harry didn't stop moving to the stairs after picking himself off the floor, but turned to face his defense professor while moving backwards as the former-Auror dusted himself off. His electric blue eye swiveled around until stopping while focused up and to Harry's right. "Up in his office. What's the matter, Potter?"

"Mr. Crouch just showed up out of nowhere. Looks like hell." Harry was out of breath from his sprint. "Said he needs Professor Dumbledore. Gotta go!"

He started running again before hearing his professor call out, "Where was he?"

"Quidditch pitch!" yelled Harry before he turned a corner, heading toward Dumbledore's office.

As Harry barrelled down a corridor not far from the headmaster's office, he saw Dumbledore walking alongside Snape in the opposite direction.

"Professor Dumbledore!" cried out Harry through the pain in his side from running. "Professor Dumbledore! There's an emergency!"

Both adults whirled around. Kind blue eyes met his as he came to a stop by them.

"Mr. Crouch is here… Something's wrong with him… Found him at the Quidditch pitch!"

Harry expected the headmaster to ask questions or require more explanation, but he simply uttered, "Lead the way!" with a note of concern in his voice.

Harry didn't need to be told twice. He rushed back down the way he'd come, though now with Dumbledore following behind he was merely walking rather briskly instead of sprinting.

"What did Mr. Crouch say to you?" asked Dumbledore as they descended a staircase.

"It didn't make a lot of sense," replied Harry. "He seemed to not know where he was. He thought he was talking to Percy Weasley at times, but then was desperate to talk to you." Harry tried to recall what the man had said. "He said that Voldemort… Something about him getting stronger. He mentioned Bertha Jorkins. And he said something about me. I think me being in danger?"

It was all jumbled up in Harry's mind, bt he thought those were the main things Crouch had talked about. "I was talking with the other champions at the time. Fleur headed to get Madam Pomfrey, while Cedric and Viktor stayed with Mr. Crouch."

The two burst out of the great double doors and into the darkened grounds. "You said you left them at the Quidditch pitch, correct?"

"Yes sir. They should be right up here." Harry squinted into the night, looking for Diggory and Krum's outline to no avail. "Cedric! Viktor? Are you still here?"

"Lumos!" Bright light poured from Dumbledore's wand, illuminating the pitch with a beam like a flashlight. Harry did the same, and the two scanned the darkness until the light fell upon a body on the ground.

They rushed to the side of Cedric, who was unconscious in the grass. As Dumbledore checked for a pulse, a groan sounded from nearby. Harry's wand whipped toward the noise, and he saw Krum lying in the fetal position against the stands, a small trickle of blood on his forehead.

"Ennervate! Harry, stay here with Cedric while I check on Mr. Krum!"

Harry knelt down as Cedric sputtered as he began to come around. "Hey, Cedric. I'm right here. You're going to be alright, mate. Professor Dumbledore is here."

The older boy coughed twice before his eyes popped open. "He attacked me! Crouch attacked me!"

From up ahead, Harry could hear Dumbledore tending to Krum. "What happened? We weren't gone for more than ten minutes."

"I was standing over Crouch, trying a couple of minor spells to close up the cuts he had all over him. He kept talking the whole time, but nothing he said made much sense." Cedric rubbed the back of his head as he sat back up. "He wasn't in his right mind, like when he was talking about his family before you left. Then, all of a sudden, he stopped talking and his eyes got really glazed over. He pointed his wand at Viktor and fired a stunner then hit me with one."

Harry could hardly believe it. Before he had a chance to further probe for answers, Madam Pomfrey arrived with Fleur. "Headmaster! What's going on?"

"Poppy, please check Mr. Diggory and Mr. Krum for injuries. Both were hit by stunning jinxes from close range. Miss Delacour, would you and Mr. Potter help me search for signs of Mr. Crouch?"

Madam Pomfrey started her examinations immediately, while Fleur and Harry joined the headmaster in shining light around the pitch. Despite their best efforts, the three found no trace of the ministry official.

"These two are both in good shape," called out Madam Pomfrey after looking them over for a couple of minutes. "What do you need from us?"

"Find Alastor!" answered Dumbledore. "Tell him to meet us here at the pitch!"

"No need, Professor!" came Moody's gravelly voice. "Damn leg slowed me down, but Potter told me there was trouble out here. How can I help?"

"Excellent timing, Alastor," said Dumbledore with a little more calm in his tone. "The four champions were here receiving their instructions for the third task when they encountered Barty Crouch. Mr. Krum and Mr. Diggory were attacked while the others went for help. We must find Mr. Crouch at once."

Moody gave a grim nod before training his magical eye on the forest. "You lot say he came from this direction?" At their nods, the former Auror stumped off toward the woods.

"Poppy, would you be so kind as to escort Miss Delacour and Mr. Krum to their lodgings while our Hogwarts students return to their common rooms?" Dumbledore turned to Viktor. "I expect your headmaster will have questions about the evening. Please inform him that I will come speak with him as soon as I am able."

The matron hurried off with the two champions, while Dumbledore turned to the remaining two students. "As you head back to the castle, would you please stop and ask Hagrid to meet me here? And please ask him to bring Fang, if you please."

"Yeah, we can do that," answered Cedric as he turned to go.

"Are you sure you don't need us to stay and help?" asked Harry. He felt sheepish after asking, knowing that the headmaster and Professor Moody were two of the most capable wizards he knew.

"A kind offer, but knowing you two to be safe is most important, and Hagrid's knowledge of the grounds is second to none. Thank you for inquiring, though." With that, the old wizard strode purposefully in the direction Moody had gone. Cedric and Harry marched off toward Hagrid's hut.
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