SIYE Time:10:52 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: 38016; Chapter Total: 798
Awards: View Trophy Room

Author's Notes:
Apologies for the late post! After years of avoiding it like the plague, Covid finally tracked me down this week and I've spent most of the last few days asleep. Hope this chapter proves worth the wait!


Harry was soaring through the air, gripping tightly to the back of an eagle owl that was descending toward a dilapidated house on a hill. They entered through a broken window. With a few flaps of its wings, the owl swooped through a corridor and landed in a large room with a roaring fireplace.

Harry looked around the room, noting a large, high-backed chair with its back to him and two dark shapes stirring on the ground. The first was a massive snake, larger even than the one he'd set upon his cousin years prior. The other was a balding man with a rat-like face. His pointed nose and watery eyes were more pronounced as he writhed on the floor, emitting occasional whimpers and sobs.

"It appears to be your lucky day, Wormtail," came a high-pitched, cold voice from the chair. "Quite fortunate, indeed. Your idiotic blunder has been set right. He has been killed."

A desperate sob of relief punctuated the air as the man on the ground wept. "My Lord… I am so sorry for my mistake… So pleased your plan can continue… A brilliant plan…"

"Nagini, it looks like you will not be feeding on Wormtail tonight. Do not fret, though. Soon, you will feast on young Harry Potter." The snake hissed at the rat-faced man, who recoiled as its yellow eyes stared into his.

"Yet failures such as these must not go unpunished."

A look of panic overtook Wormtail, who attempted to crawl toward the chair. "Master… Please! I beg of you!"

The malevolent voice hidden behind the door scoffed before saying, "Crucio!"

Pettigrew's cries filled Harry's ears, and he soon found that his own screams were intermingled with Wormtail's.

"HARRY! Wake up!" Green eyes opened to see that they were not in the house on a hill that was falling apart but in a glowing room full of gaping students and a bespectacled woman who was staring intently. Quiet muttering and a few nervous laughs broke the silence as Harry looked at Ron for guidance.

"You must have been having a nightmare, mate," said Ron in a low voice, though the hush that had fallen on the room ensured that the entire class heard every word.

"A nightmare? No, this was a premonition! A prophecy! Sight beyond sight!" Professor Trelawney was hopping up and down on her toes as she hurried to Harry's side. "You must tell me what the fates have shown you! Quickly! Before the vision fades and the truth is lost!"

Harry's head was swimming. The pain of the torture curse felt like it had shot electricity through his veins. Despite the strong feeling that whatever he'd just dreamed was more real than most of what came out of his professor's mouth, Harry had no intention of divulging anything to her, much less in front of his classmates.

"Sorry, professor," he mumbled, wiping the sweat from his brow. He shuddered as the memory of that cold voice echoed in his mind. "I didn't sleep much last night and must have dozed off."

"Never mind that, what did you see? What visions encroached upon your dreams to warn you of what the future will bring?"

"I just had a nightmare, is all! It's not a big deal." Harry's frustration mounted as the eyes of his classmates and professor remained glued to him.

"You were writhing in your seat and clutching at your scar! The fates do not deal in coincidence! Your dream could portend to…"

"I dreamed that I failed the second task! Ron and Hermione drowned and it was my fault! Is that what you wanted to hear?!" Several students gasped as Professor Trelawney clutched at her heart. Her eyes grew wide as took a tentative step back.

"It is just as I foretold…" she whispered. She raised her hands above her head for dramatic effect before loudly calling out, "You are in grave danger! Do you know what this means?"

"Yeah, it means you're full of it!" shouted Harry. "Of course that's not what I dreamed! The way you pretend like everything's a death omen is one of the reasons your class is such a joke!"

It was clear to everyone present that Professor Trelawney had not seen that one coming.

Harry was too busy stuffing his things into his bookbag to notice the look of shock on the professor's face. Without another word, he stormed out of the classroom down the stepladder and made to slam it closed behind him, only to have Ron's legs follow down the steps. Sensing what Harry was about to do, he moved aside once on the ground and raised his eyebrows at his friend.

Harry's surprise tempered his anger so that he didn't slam the trap door nearly as hard as he had wanted to a moment before, but the relief of having Ron with him made up for it.

"I'm just saying, mate, it would've ruined my reputation if both you and Hermione told off a teacher and quit class like that and I didn't come along for the ride. Can't expect to skate by on flying a car to school forever, y'know?"

Despite the situation, Harry couldn't help but laugh.

"So, not to intrude or anything, but what was going on up there?" asked Ron with a little trepidation. "You didn't really dream about me and Hermione drowning, right?"

"No! Nothing like that. But it was…" Harry looked around, noticing a few portraits that were failing in their attempts to look inconspicuous. "It was something I should tell Dumbledore. I promise I'll fill you in later, but it wasn't about the second task."

"Well, I think we've got the rest of the period free," said Ron with a sheepish smile. "Want to go to his office right now?"

Harry weighed his options. He didn't like the idea of speaking with the headmaster in the immediate wake of his Divination blow-up. Then again, Trelawney was likely to go straight to Dumbledore after class. Now was his best shot at explaining the situation before she could give her account of things.

"Yeah, actually that'd be helpful. Whatever my dream means, I'd feel better letting him know sooner rather than later."

"Right then. Let's head that way. Figure Snuffles would come after me if I let you wander around the halls alone after something like that." Harry grimaced as he imagined the look on Sirius' face in that scenario.

The walk didn't take them long, and they were soon standing in front of the gargoyle that marked the entrance to the headmaster's office.

"Want me to come in with you?"

"No need. Just help me guess the password, okay? It's always some sort of sweet. Sherbet lemon?" The gargoyle remained still and unblinking. Even though Harry wasn't familiar with all the types of sweets of the magical world, Ron was in his element.

"Pear drop! Fizzing whizbee! Drooble's Best Blowing Gum! Chocolate frog!" Ron glowered at the ground as he cycled through his apparently-encyclopedic knowledge of wizarding candies. "Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Sugar quills. Everlasting gobstoppers."

Harry kicked at the statue. "Dumbledore has really weird taste. Maybe something less popular?"

"Good idea… How about licorice wands?" He looked eagerly at the gargoyle, who was unmoving. "Damn, I thought that might be it. Cockroach cluster?"

Suddenly, the gargoyle sprang to life. It moved to the side as a spiral staircase appeared.

Harry gave Ron a high five before taking the steps two at a time. "Brightest wizard of your age, Ron Weasley!" he called over his shoulder.

"And don't you forget it!"

Harry stepped forward from the stairs toward the great door leading into Dumbledore's office and heard voices from behind it.

"I'm sorry, Dumbledore, but I just don't see any connection! Ludo has assured me that Bertha is perfectly capable of getting lost overseas." Harry's mind whirred as he tried to place the owner of the pompous-sounding voice. "Of course, we expected to have found her sooner, but there's just not any evidence of foul play. And there's certainly no reason to believe her disappearance has anything to do with Barty Crouch!"

Moody's growl of a voice was much easier to identify. "And just what do you think happened to Crouch, minister?"

Harry connected the dots as Fudge replied haltingly. "Well, I believe there are two possibilities… Either he finally lost it, which is more than likely considering his personal history, and lost his mind completely…"

"He wandered directly to Hogwarts, a feat which would take no small amount of skill. Not exactly an easy task to accomplish without the use of one's mind," noted Dumbledore coolly.

"Yes, well… If not that, then it could be…" Fudge sounded slightly embarrassed by the holes in his logic. "I'll feel more confident after I see the grounds where he was allegedly seen. I was told it was near the Beauxbatons carriage? I would not be surprised at all if it was that woman. No doubt you know what she is!"

"I know her to be an excellent headmistress and quite a fine dancer," replied the headmaster, though there was an air of power crackling in his words.

"Don't give me that rubbish!" answered Fudge angrily. "You seem to think those like her can do no wrong because of Hagrid. I'll tell you, they're not all harmless. And I wouldn't even call Hagrid harmless, not after all the questions through the years and his obsession with monsters."

"I do not suspect Madame Maxime, nor do I suspect Hagrid. Perhaps your presuppositions are blinding you to other possibilities, Cornelius."

"We'd better wrap this up," stated Moody. "We've got a visitor waiting to speak to the headmaster. Should I let Mr. Potter in?"

Harry moved to knock on the door to cover for his eavesdropping, but it swung inward before he could reach it. He stood in the open doorway, hand extended into space, failing miserably in his attempt to not look guilty.

"Hello, Professor Dumbledore. I was hoping to speak with you about something urgent."

"Ahh, Harry m'boy! So good to see you!" Fudge flipped the switch into full politician mode before Harry knew what hit him. The now-jovial man beamed as he firmly shook Harry's hand, and he wondered if the minister was expecting a photographer to snap a picture of the moment from behind one of Dumbledore's overstuffed chairs. "I understand you found the man claiming to be Mr. Crouch near the Beauxbatons carriage, correct?"

"Actually, sir, Mr. Crouch came up to me and the three other champions on the Quidditch pitch. I don't think the carriage is very close. And none of us saw Madame Maxime anywhere around there. Figure she'd have a pretty hard time staying out of sight, y'know?"

Fudge's countenance soured slightly, and he didn't catch the proud smile on the headmaster's face. "Well, we were about to take a stroll about the grounds to ensure that everything is in order. Perhaps it would be best for you to run along back to class."

"Professor, this is really important," argued Harry, looking past Fudge at Dumbledore. He didn't dare explain anything in front of Fudge but hoped that the headmaster could sense that this was a matter of importance.

"I will be glad to speak with you once we have completed our examination of the Quidditch pitch and surrounding areas. You may wait here in my office if you wish, and I will return shortly."

Harry released a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Professor. I'll stay here."

The three wizards promptly exited the room, and Harry could hear the clomping of Moody's wooden leg fading as they disappeared down the recesses of the stairway.

"Hello, Fawkes." Harry stepped forward to pet the Phoenix's neck. Fawkes trilled and inclined his head toward the boy.

Green eyes flit around the room while Harry's fingers ran through the warm plumage. He noticed that the small closet area that contained Dumbledore's Pensieve had been left ajar. Curiosity got the better of him, and he walked away from Fawkes to check it out. He was quite surprised to see that several memories were already floating in the basin.

Harry had been considering reliving a few memories of his own while waiting for the headmaster to return. He thought it would be fun to experience some of his favorite Quidditch matches a second time, and there was something appealing about seeing the Yule Ball from a new perspective. He could even rewatch the dream he'd had to better explain it to Dumbledore. Unfortunately, Harry didn't think he could use the Pensieve if there were already memories floating around inside.

He looked around the podium on which the basin sat but didn't find any sort of storage vial to use. Harry looked back over his shoulder and wondered whether he should just sit quietly on one of Dumbledore's guest chairs while waiting. Perhaps he could read one of the various tomes that lined the shelves…

Yet his eyes were drawn back to the Pensieve. He gazed into it longingly, craning his neck slightly as he tried to focus on the wisps floating clockwise in the basin. Without consciously deciding to enter, Harry felt a cool wetness as the tip of his nose dipped into the liquid. There was a sensation of falling as he was surrounded by blackness.

Harry was seated in a large amphitheater-like room, surrounded on all sides by adult witches and wizards of varying ages. To his left sat Dumbledore, not looking much younger than he did in real life. Harry wondered if the memory was recent, or if his headmaster had grown his long beard at an early age. He tried to imagine a tiny, first-year Dumbledore with a full beard.

In the center of the room sat a solitary chair that was fitted with iron chains. Harry felt a foreboding while looking at the manacles and wondered if he was witnessing some sort of trial.

For the next twenty minutes, Harry did his best to take in everything he could. He noticed that Moody looked quite a bit different when he sat next to Dumbledore. He still had two matching eyes and looked a little less war-ravaged than his professorial counterpart. Crouch, on the other hand, looked every bit as serious as the man he'd met over the summer. His hair wasn't as gray, but the man was dripping with an attitude of self-importance and frustration.

When Karkaroff stepped into the center of the room, flanked by dementors, Harry wasn't shocked. Sirius had already explained that the Durmstrang headmaster had been a Death Eater who sold out others for a pass out of Azkaban. It was still striking to see the now-proud man groveling as he worked the angles to secure his release.

Harry only recognized one of the names that Karkaroff offered, but it sent a shock wave down his spine. "Snape! Snape!" called out Karkaroff. "Severus Snape!" He looked at Dumbledore in disbelief as the older wizard stood to speak.

"I have already given evidence in the matter of Severus," uttered Dumbledore calmly. "He was a Death Eater at one point but rejoined our side well before the fall of Lord Voldemort. As a spy, he gathered important information that was crucial to our fight, and risked much by doing so."

Harry saw that Moody looked very skeptical about Snape's change of heart.

Crouch sent Karkaroff back to Azkaban while the case was reviewed, and the scene faded into the next memory.

To Harry's surprise, the next person being questioned was Ludo Bagman. He recognized many of the same wizards and witches from the previous memory, but most looked to be unconcerned with the proceedings, some even appeared to be a little starstruck. Bagman was accused of providing information to a Death Eater named Rookwood but was arguing that he didn't know that the man had been working for Voldemort. Harry noticed that the gallery was much more inclined to believe the Quidditch star than it had Karkaroff, and there were hardly any votes to convict him before the memory ended. Celebrity had served Bagman well.

A new memory materialized, and Harry could feel the difference in the atmosphere immediately. Crouch and Dumbledore presided again, but there was no hint of the malaise that had permeated Bagman's trial. The room was silent but for the strangled sobs of one woman in the gallery.

When four prisoners were ushered into their shackled chairs in the middle, Harry could see the hatred etched onto Crouch's face. His voice dripped with venom as he outlined the crimes of the accused. The youngest of the four prisoners, a boy in his late teens, beseeched his father to listen and cried that he was innocent. His entreaties fell on deaf ears, but he continued calling out for mercy from Crouch. The crowd murmured and the boy's mother descended into sobs as the accusations were leveled.

The verdict was a life sentence in Azkaban. One of the prisoners, a woman named Lestrange, cackled with menace as they were being led away.

"The Dark Lord will return! He will free us, his most loyal servants, and will reward us for our faithfulness! He will crush you underfoot like the worms that you are, and this world will know darkness the likes of which has never been seen!" Her insane laughter carried through the room, drowning out the last of the screams for mercy from Crouch's son, who was imploring his mother to save him. She never heard those cries, as she had collapsed to the floor, stricken to unconsciousness by her grief.

"Harry, I believe we should now return to my office," came a voice from Harry's side. The memory Dumbledore was still seated and looking sadly on at the scene, but another Dumbledore stood to Harry's side, offering him a hand. Moments later, both had reemerged into the light of the headmaster's office.

"Professor, I'm so sorry," began Harry. "I went to the Pensieve when you left to revisit a few memories I wanted to share with you, but there was already some inside. I didn't have anything to store them in, and I just…" The professor gazed at him without interrupting.

"I was curious."

Dumbledore gave him a knowing smile. "Curiosity is not a sin, Harry, but I must caution you not to dive into another person's memories without permission." Harry nodded.

"We can speak more about what you saw in the memories in a moment, but I believe you had a rather pressing matter you hoped to relay to me?"

Harry's eyes widened. With the flurry of new information he'd learned in the Pensieve, he'd nearly forgotten about the dream he wanted to share with Dumbledore.

"Yes sir. I was in Divination class and I must have dozed off." Harry suddenly felt nervous to admit this fact in front of the headmaster, but he only smiled.

"Quite the understandable situation. Feel free to continue."

"Well, I had a dream. But it didn't seem like the kind of dream my own brain would make up. It seemed like I was watching something that was really happening. Something with Voldemort and Wormtail." Harry looked at the professor for understanding, and Dumbledore gave him a quick nod.

"Voldemort was torturing Wormtail for some sort of mistake he'd made that had almost ruined their plans. He threatened to feed Wormtail to a snake that was in the room. But an owl landed on Voldemort's chair and he seemed really pleased. Voldemort said that someone had fixed the mistake, and he mentioned someone being dead, so instead he was going to feed me to the snake."

"Ahh, I see," mused Dumbledore.

"Then Voldemort used the Cruciatus on Wormtail, but it felt like it hit me. I felt intense pain, like back in my first year with Quirrell. It hurt my scar so much that I woke up screaming."

"I imagine that did not go unnoticed by your professor and classmates?"

"Err... No. They definitely noticed," replied Harry sheepishly. "Professor Trelawney was sure it was some sort of premonition and started badgering me to explain it to the class. She's predicted my death so many times in the two years I've been in there that I just kinda…"

Harry sighed as he tried to find a way to explain that didn't make him sound like a terrible person.

"I told her I dreamed that Ron and Hermione drowned because I didn't save them in the second task. She started in saying that it was just as she foresaw, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I said that wasn't really what I dreamed and that I didn't believe in Divination, then stormed out of the classroom. Ron followed me, but I think that was mostly because I had just said I dreamed that he died."

Harry tried to convey his remorse for his actions, which felt much more justified in the moment and much less so while explaining it calmly to the headmaster.

"I see." Dumbledore's stare seemed like it was piercing right through Harry, who felt eager to move the conversation away from his exit from Divination and back toward the dream

"I don't understand why my scar hurts like that. It still aches a bit, even though the dream was more than an hour ago. Are scars like this common in the magical world?"

"No, Harry, yours is the only scar I know of that behaves in such a way," replied Dumbledore. "This is merely my conjecture, but I believe that your scar connects you to Voldemort in ways that are difficult to measure. You seem to endure pain from your scar both when Voldemort is in close proximity and when he is feeling particularly strong emotions."

Harry blinked a few times while trying to comprehend his headmaster's words.

"What do you think the dream means, sir?" asked Harry. "Do you think it really happened, and that I saw it because Voldemort was really pleased by the owl's news?"

"It is certainly possible... Perchance even probable. Did you see Voldemort himself in the vision?"

"No, the chair had its back to me the whole time. I thought he might have just been a spirit thing, but he used a wand to torture Wormtail. Does that mean he has a body? Is he getting stronger?"

Dumbledore looked like the many years he'd lived were sagging onto him all at once. "Disappearances, like those of Bertha Jorkins and Barty Crouch, were commonplace during Voldemort's rise to power. We often were without information about where he would strike, only to learn later how his machinations fit into a larger plan. There are even more that the magical world overlooks. Frank Bryce, a muggle who lived in the town where Voldemort's father grew up, has gone missing. These disappearances fit the pattern of the Dark Lord and his followers."

Both sat quietly for a few long moments, digesting the news that Voldemort was out there, somewhere. Planning. Growing stronger.

Harry broke the silence. "May I ask you about what I saw in the Pensieve?"

"You may, but know that some details I may decline to divulge."

"Right. Er… In the trial at the end, the one with Mr. Crouch's son, they attacked two people named Longbottom. Were they Neville's parents?"

Dumbledore looked rather surprised at the question. "Has he never explained why he has been raised by his grandmother?"

Harry felt a stab of guilt as he shook his head, knowing that his dormmate had endured a loss much like his own, yet he had never thought to ask him about it.

"Yes, the Death Eaters in the memory were caught having used the Cruciatus curse on Neville's parents in an attempt to learn the whereabouts of Lord Voldemort after his fall."

"So Neville's parents are dead, just like mine?"

"No, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice so filled with bitterness that Harry was taken aback. "They are not dead. They were tortured until their minds collapsed within them. They are insane and have lost all ability to recognize those they once knew and loved."

It was as if a sledgehammer had collided with some part of Harry hidden deep inside. He felt the prickle of tears gathering in his eyes.

"Neville's mum and dad don't know who he is?"

"No, they do not." The hardness in the headmaster's face lessened, albeit slightly. "I understand that he still visits them regularly during holidays and over the summer. They were very well-liked, both here at school and after they graduated. The severity of the crime on top of their popularity made for a great outcry to bring their attackers to justice. Unfortunately, due to their condition, neither were able to confirm the details of the incident."

"Does that mean there's a chance Mr. Crouch's son was really innocent?" asked Harry as the teenager's cries for mercy seemed to be ringing in his ears.

"I am not certain," replied Dumbledore gravely. "I hope that you would respect Neville's desire to tell his friends on his own timeline." Harry nodded quickly, remembering all too well how miserable he felt when it seemed the whole world knew his story better than he knew it himself.

"I also saw your memory of Mr. Bagman's trial," began Harry. "Do you think he…"

"He has not been accused of Dark activity again in all the contravening years," answered the headmaster before the question was finished.

"And Professor Snape, sir?"

"Neither has Professor Snape, Harry."

Before he could stop himself, Harry's words had poured out of him like ice cubes tumbling down an overturned cup. "What did he tell you that made you believe he'd really turned away from Voldemort?"

The man stared deeply into Harry's eyes for a minute before sighing. "That matter must remain between Professor Snape and myself."

Harry sensed that he had plumbed the depths of the memories as much as he would be allowed, so he moved to leave. Before he did, a final thought occurred to him, and he thought it was worth a shot.

"I haven't told anyone about the rogue memory," Harry was determined to control his tone so he didn't sound demanding, especially after his explosion at Trelawney, but wanted to be clear. "But I think it's really important for me to talk to Sirius about it."

Dumbledore's right eyebrow twitched upward, but he did not interrupt. He merely looked curious.

"Would you be willing to help me explain the situation to him over the summer? It's important, but it doesn't seem pressing enough to take to him now."

"When we studied the rogue memory before, we agreed that the information it contained could be incredibly dangerous, yes?"

"Yes sir. I just thought that he'd be trustworthy. He didn't divulge the secret about Professor Lupin to anyone, even after being in Azkaban for so many years." Harry felt as though he might be making some headway, so he went for broke. "This memory seems like the kind of thing to talk about with a parent. I figure that maybe, since my parents named him Godfather, he might be the best person to share it with…"

Dumbledore's bright blue eyes looked a little bit misty as he rose from his chair. "I am not entirely convinced that expanding the circle is the wisest course of action at this point. But you do make valid points, and Sirius has certainly proven himself skilled at keeping secrets. Please continue keeping this memory to yourself for now, but I shall thoroughly consider your suggestion."

With a quick thanks to the headmaster, Harry walked back to the doors before hearing, "Oh! And Harry?" He turned to see Dumbledore smiling again, the signature twinkle back in his eye.

"Best of luck with the final task."
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