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SIYE Time:10:01 on 3rd December 2023


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

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Category: Post-HBP
Characters:All
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: 37996; Chapter Total: 930
Awards: View Trophy Room






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Kingsley and Professor McGonagall did not stay much longer than Dumbledore. After they left via floo, the two remaining wizards took the empty glasses into the kitchen. Sirius tossed a box of biscuits to Harry before hopping up to sit on a counter. Harry popped a few in his mouth as he settled onto a stool and waited. After a long moment, Sirius broke the silence.

"What the hell just happened?" His smile was incredulous through the hand that he was raking across his face. "No, seriously… And don't you dare make the joke! Seriously, what was all that? I figured Dumbledore wanted to talk about Crouch's trial or Wormtail or you staying here more permanently, but horcruxes and Voldemort and rogue memories and future timelines?"

A flabbergasted Sirius looked at the ceiling as he searched for words. Harry made the mistake of snickering at him.

"Oh, look who's laughing now! You think you've pulled one over on me, have you?" Sirius couldn't contain his grin as he attempted to admonish his godson. He snatched the box of biscuits from Harry's hand, whose laughs were growing louder. "I can't believe this…"

Sirius bit down on a biscuit and crossed his arms in a pout, chewing angrily. "Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"

Harry smirked. "Ta-da?"

Sirius snorted and doubled over with laughter. "Damn it, James… Your kid stole my line!"

Harry was laughing along with his godfather, which was a welcome release of the tension that had built during the stressful meeting. Sirius shook with silent laughter as he tossed a biscuit at Harry, who tried to catch it in his mouth only to have it bounce off his chin.

"So, you're telling me you've known about all this since last year, and this is the first I'm hearing of it?"

"Ultra-super Dumbledore secrecy. Nothing I could do!"

"That didn't stop you from telling Ron, Hermione, and…" Sirius' eyes lit up as he raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Hold on, Sirius. I can explain…"

"You can explain? Well, go ahead! Not so funny now, huh?" Harry blushed furiously as a triumphant Sirius laughed. "How about you start by telling me more about that new memory of yours? Anything else going on that I need to know about? Maybe something you didn't share with the class in front of Dumbledore?"

"No! Nothing like that!" Harry searched for a way to make the conversation less embarrassing but came up empty. "Basically, it seemed like the memory was of the two of us together and we both were really happy."

"Which naturally led you to ask her to the Yule Ball, right?" asked Sirius as he finished another biscuit.

"Well, kinda. I'd been thinking about asking somebody else before the whole memory thing happened. But turns out someone else had asked her already, though." Sirius simply stared at Harry for a long few moments. "Alright, alright! I was going to ask Cho. She's the Ravenclaw Seeker and a year ahead of me, but she ended up going with Cedric. She's alright and all, but I'm really glad I didn't end up going with her."

Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Interesting… So the memory changed things for you?"

"Yeah, it really did. I'd liked Ginny well enough beforehand, but she was mostly just Ron's little sister, if that makes sense. But it was like something changed after the memory." Harry tried to find words to describe his thinking. "It's not like I was certain of anything right away, but I did start noticing her more. Professor McGonagall had just told me that I was required to bring a date to the Yule Ball as a champion. The more I thought about it all, the more I figured it made sense to ask her. The older memory version of me said he wished he'd gotten to know her sooner…"

"And you figured the dance would be a decent place to start?"

"Yeah, exactly. I didn't know what to think about the memory, but I thought it was worth it to spend some more time getting to know her. We ended up having a really fun time at the ball and have been hanging out a lot more ever since."

"That checks out. She helped out a lot with training for the second and third tasks, plus the two of you were thick as thieves when you visited me in Hogsmeade." Harry raised an empty hand to Sirius, who tossed a biscuit to fill it. "I guess my question is, what are you waiting for?"

Harry sputtered and coughed, his eyes growing wide. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, come on, you can't be that dense! You're as bad as James!"

Harry made a rude gesture. "It's complicated!"

Sirius laughed and rolled his eyes.

"No really! I haven't done anything yet because I wanted to talk to you first."

"Well, at least you came to the right place for advice. What's so complicated about a boy liking a girl?"

"Besides the fact that she's my best mate's little sister?"

"Pish posh," replied Sirius with a wave of his hand as his eyebrows waggled. "If Remus or your dad had sisters, I would've dated them strictly on principle!"

Harry raked his fingers through his hair as he shook his head. "Why does that not surprise me? The big deal is that there's a weird memory of me somehow dating her in the future stuck in my brain! If that doesn't count as complicated, I don't know what does!"

Sirius paused with a look of consideration before shrugging. "You make a fair point." He stared at Harry appraisingly for a few moments.

"It's not like I want to bring it up while asking her on a date…"

"But keeping it from her could definitely blow up in your face…" finished Sirius. He sighed deeply before looking Harry in the eyes. "I wish your Mum and Dad were here for this. They would have known what to say or at least would have been better equipped for this than me. I guess I should ask what you want to do?"

Harry looked at the floor as he swung his legs back and forth on the stool. After a moment, he met Sirius' gaze.

"I want to ask her out."

Sirius grinned as Harry blushed again. "Well, there's your answer. When she agrees, be on the lookout for the right time to explain things. You'll figure it out."

"If she says yes, you mean."

"Harry, if she doesn't have feelings for you, I'll eat Buckbeak. If you need me to run interference to give the two of you a little time away from her brothers and Hermione, just say the word."

Harry nodded gratefully as a yawn overtook him.

"It's after three," said Sirius as he yawned in response. "You ready to go to bed, or are there any more startling revelations you need to drop on me?"

The two quietly climbed the stairs. The younger slipped into a twin bed opposite Ron's, but the loud snores of his friend didn't prevent Harry from falling fast asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

~RLM~

Sirius and Harry both missed breakfast the next morning. Mrs. Weasley did her best to keep the teens busy, insisting that Harry had been kept up late after the meeting and that he wasn't to be disturbed. By ten, however, she relented and allowed Ron to roust him from his slumber.

"Harry! Wake up, mate," said Ron as he prodded his unconscious friend's shoulder. His only response was to turn over and pull the covers over his head. "Hermione and Ginny are going spare. We waited up for a couple of hours last night to get details but gave up around two-thirty. If you don't wake up, they've got in mind to jinx you into oblivion!"

With great effort, Harry sat up and wiped the sleep from his eyes before putting on his glasses. He made a grumbly, moaning sound as he scratched his chin.

"Mum's got us cleaning one of the guest bedrooms. Real nasty one, it is. But we're all supposed to be working together, so we figured you could give us the update." Even in his groggy state, Harry did not miss the hope in Ron's voice as he made it sound as if the girls were the only ones champing at the bit to hear the news.

After a quick change of clothes and a trip to the loo, Harry and Ron headed to one of the smaller guest bedrooms. Ginny and Hermione were inside, facing a window covered in deep red curtains that were almost black. As the boys entered, Hermione smacked a curtain with a broom handle while Ginny sprayed several doxies that angrily flew at their attackers.

"Oi! Guess who I found!" called out Ron.

Both girls turned to greet them, which meant neither noticed a doxy that zoomed up from near the base of the window and into Hermione's hair. It took the four a minute to remove the offending creature, and Ron ended up with a nasty bite on one finger from grabbing it without gloves.

"How long were you meeting last night?" asked Ginny once the doxy had been dealt with. "We tried to wait up for you."

"Meeting lasted until after two, but then Sirius and I talked until about half past three."

"Was it just you and Professor Dumbledore at the meeting?" asked Hermione. "Or was Sirius there with you?"

"Both of them, plus McGonagall and Kingsley."

"What was it all about?" Ron looked at Harry expectantly, as did Ginny and Hermione.

Harry took a deep breath. "Alright, don't be mad, but I'm not allowed to talk about a bunch of it."

Ginny blew a raspberry at him before giving him an emphatic thumbs-down. Neither Hermione nor Ron looked convinced, either.

"I know, I know. Just wanted to let you know that from the get-go, but I'll tell you what I can."

Unfortunately for Harry, he was able to summarize the only parts he could divulge in the space of about ten minutes, leaving his friends with many more questions than he could answer. Hermione had let out several exasperated huffs during his description, while Ron had resorted to asking basically the same questions repeatedly, just with slightly different phrasing. Ginny was unwittingly doing her part to test Harry's resolve simply by staring at him with her bright, brown eyes.

Hermione rubbed the space between her eyebrows with her thumb and forefinger as she spoke. "So, future Dumbledore told future you something really, really secretive. Then you or someone else sent part of a memory about that back in time, and our Dumbledore thinks it's so crucial that this knowledge could change our future. So now, the five of you are working on a secret project that involves taking down You Know Who and you'll be meeting with them regularly over the summer…"

"Oh, almost forgot! Dumbledore said that he and some other people are going to be training me once a week next term as part of the process instead of Divination."

His three friends looked a combination of impressed and envious. "I don't want to take Divination either!" said Ron hotly. "Lessons with Dumbledore would be wicked!"

"Not up to me, but of course I'd rather have you all there with me."

Ginny had a quizzical look as she observed Harry. "You haven't mentioned much about after the meeting when you were talking with Sirius. Don't tell us all of that is under official lockdown, too!"

When Harry met her eyes, his attempt at nonchalance fell apart under the weight of nerves. "Err, well… A lot of it was talking about stuff from the meeting. But some of it was just… Catching up." His cheeks flushed slightly as he stumbled for a reasonable answer.

Ginny scrunched her face in a mock pout and said, "You're the worst!"

"Look, I'm not meaning to keep things from you," Harry said imploringly. "I want to tell you more, I just can't yet."

Ron looked sympathetic, while Hermione looked unconvinced. Ginny was harder for Harry to identify. Thankfully for him, Mrs. Weasley entered the room and scolded them for not making enough progress on cleaning. She told them to wash up and head downstairs for lunch.

Their meal was relatively subdued. The twins whispered conspiratorially as they wolfed down their sandwiches while standing by the sink. Sirius trudged in a few minutes after they began looking very much worse for the wear. Mrs. Weasley shook her head at him but poured him a cup of coffee and brought a sandwich. He took a long sip of coffee as his bloodshot eyes squinted against the late-morning sun streaming through the kitchen window.

"Molly, you're a godsend. Didn't mean to skip out on tackling the guest rooms this morning, but last night really took it out of me."

"Not to worry, Sirius," she replied. "Your helpers were too busy chatting to finish the room they were working on, so I thought they could divide and conquer this afternoon."

Sirius perked up immediately at the suggestion. "That's a great idea. I was thinking that they could start working on the third-floor bedrooms so that we have some options if more folks come to stay with us. The second floor is getting a bit crowded, as is.

"What do you think about splitting up Ron and Harry?" asked Sirius with a smirk as he leaned back in his chair. "When James and I were in detention, we caused more trouble when the professors forgot to split us up. Not that doing housework is meant to be like detention for you all!"

Ron, Hermione, and Ginny may not have caught the glint of mischief in Sirius' eyes as he spoke, but it was not lost on Harry. He squirmed in his seat as he anticipated where his godfather intended to take the conversation.

"From what I've seen, I think Hermione might be able to keep Ron on task. And Ginny's got enough fire in her to keep Harry hard at work. Any objections?"

"That's a fine idea," said Mrs. Weasley with a smile. "Sirius is right; this isn't detention, but we do want to pull our weight since we're guests in this home. How about you each tackle a room, and once it can pass my inspection, you'll be free for the rest of the afternoon. Sound good?"

She was greeted by a chorus of "Yes, ma'am" and "Sure, Mum." Harry glanced at Ron and gave him a shrug, but Ron didn't look especially crestfallen about the arrangement. His eyes fell on Hermione, who was finishing up her sandwich.

"Hey, Potter! No way we let these two beat us, right?" Ginny's competitive side looked to be dancing in her eyes.

"They've got no chance," Harry replied as he bumped Ron with his shoulder.

"Nothing like a little competition to help things along!" said Sirius with a laugh. He nodded at Harry and Ginny. "The two of you can get started on the first bedroom on the third floor. It's a bit bigger than the others; right next to the drawing room. Ron and Hermione can finish up with the one from this morning and then tackle the smaller guest room at the end of the hallway. That should just about even out the workload. Come grab us when you've got it finished."

He turned to Fred and George, who had been slinking quietly toward the doorway. "Molly! Do you mind if I commandeer these two? Having some extra wands would be helpful while I'm working on the library. Dumbledore gave me some homework last night that I need to start researching, but every time I pull a book off the shelves something or another tries to do me in."

"If you think you can handle them, be my guest," said Mrs. Weasley. "They're liable to cause as much trouble as they help you solve."

Sirius finished his coffee and stood up, walking directly between the twins. "These little angels? I'm sure you must be mistaken!" He threw his arms across their shoulders before pulling them both into headlocks. "But if they give me trouble, I'll hold them while you rough them up a bit, yeah?"

Fred managed to pull his head out from Sirius' grip and jumped onto the man's back, freeing his twin. George pulled his wand and started to cast a Jelly-Legs jinx before his mother started calling them by their first and middle names.

"My apologies, Molly!" said Sirius quickly as the twins moved to keep him between them and their mother. "We'll just pop up to the library now, won't we, boys?" They nodded emphatically before racing down the hallway.

Harry felt confident that whatever it was that the three of them were going to be up to, it would not meet Mrs. Weasley's standards for how an afternoon should be spent. She let out a prolonged sigh and rolled her eyes, muttering something to herself as she charmed the dishes to clean themselves.

"You ready for this?" asked Ginny as she dropped her plate into the soapy water. "Some of the doxies we've seen are big enough to carry you away."

Harry followed her with his dishes, making sure to grab Ginny's empty cup from the table, as well. "In that case, you'll have to protect me." His eyes darted to her lips before rapidly bouncing away.

"I dunno, that seems like a pretty tall order." She smiled at him before heading out of the kitchen toward the stairs, ruffling Ron's hair as she walked by.

"See you two later," Harry said to Hermione and Ron as he trailed behind Ginny. He caught up with her on the stairs and started to ask her about how the cleaning went during the morning, but she wheeled around and shushed him. She moved to the side of the stairway, pulling him with her by the arm. Standing on the stair below hers, Harry was still a few inches taller than her. She pointed around the corner, indicating the portrait of Walburga Black.

"Stay quiet. I don't fancy being called a blood-traitor for the next hour!" As she whispered, Harry was very aware that he was perilously close to Ginny.

"Gotcha," he answered, smiling at the warmth where her hand remained on his elbow. "Do you have any experience sneaking around?"

"Have you ever heard of me getting caught swiping my brothers' brooms? Didn't think so."

They crept past the painting without a sound. Ginny released his elbow when they reached the third-floor landing. Harry let out a small sigh and thought to himself that the summer was going to be torture if he didn't figure something out.

When they passed the drawing room nearing their assignment, Harry began to feel a sense of unease. His mind flashed back to stumbling over his words when attempting to ask Ginny to the Yule Ball, his face burning scarlet and unable to meet her eyes. His steps slowed as she entered the guest room and he leaned against the wall.

Unbidden, his recollection shifted to the night of the ball. He remembered sitting dejectedly in a chair next to Neville, watching a myriad of couples enjoying themselves on the dance floor. In the middle of the festivities were Ginny and Dean, who twirled her with a flourish. Despite the distance between Harry and the laughing duo, he could see her smile and the blossoming attraction dancing in her brown eyes.

"Harry? You coming?" Ginny's voice broke him from the daydream as she poked her head back into the hallway.

He shook his head back and forth firmly to dispel the images that had been swimming in his mind and forced a smile onto his face as he followed her into the guest room. Ginny looked as if she was going to ask him something, but the moment passed quickly.

The two of them worked well as a pair. They traded off duties when clearing the doxies from the curtains, with one of them agitating the nests and the other dousing the swarm as it flew at them in a rage. Next, they cleared out the closet, which contained more than a dozen plate-sized spiders and a decrepit overcoat that tried to strangle Harry. Ginny tore its arms from around his neck before Harry stomped on it while Ginny sprayed it with the doxycide until it shuddered a final time and moved no more.

It took another hour and a half to finish cleaning the faded carpet, changing the linens, and dusting the furniture without using magic. The two chatted some while they worked but also fell into a few uncomfortable silences. Harry's mind flit back and forth from eagerness to frustration as the time wasted away.

After they wrapped up the finishing touches, Ginny wiped her hands on her pants and made for the door. "Let's get over to the library quick! The room isn't quite up to Mum's standards, but if we get Sirius to check it out he should give it the thumbs up. Not a bad job, Potter, if I do say so myself!"

Harry smiled at the compliment and hurried to not get left behind. "You didn't do too bad yourself, Weasley! We definitely knocked that out faster than if it'd been me and Ron."

"That's not a hard bar to clear," she called back over her shoulder with a smirk. "My brother woulda bolted the second you opened the spider closet, then that coat would have snuffed you. Honestly, I probably saved your life."

Harry chuckled for the first time since lunch, feeling more optimistic as her musical laugh filled the stairway.

When they arrived, Sirius, George, and Fred were huddled around a table looking at a large parchment covered in bright colors. At the sound of the two entering the library, Fred waved a wand over it and turned to face Harry and Ginny.

"Hey, you two! Finish up the guest room yet? I thought you would've taken longer up there!" Sirius met Harry's eye expectantly.

"Yeah, we're done up there if you want to check on it. It's probably not clean enough for my Mum, but we thought it'd pass your inspection," said Ginny easily. "What have you all been doing?"

Fred gave George a significant look, but his twin nodded. "Well, none of this is public knowledge yet, but seeing as you're our favorite sister, I suppose we could let you in on a little sneak preview."

"And we've got good reason to trust Harry, here," said George as he strolled between the two and flung his arms onto their shoulders. "We've got some plans in the works for this upcoming year at Hogwarts, and we figured an illustrious former student like Sirius might be interested."

George tapped the blank parchment with his wand. Violently colorful letters appeared on the paper spelling out "Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes."

"Ol' Zonko has lost his touch in the past few years," spoke Fred gravely. "Resting on his laurels. Not innovating much. Relying on his old gags that anyone with half a brain can see coming a mile away."

"Which is a pity, since his stuff was all but revolutionary back in my day," said Sirius as he shook his head.

"On the plus side, there's a huge market for new joke products for an untapped audience. We figure that if we spend a good portion of this year testing new ideas and building a customer base, we could start our joke shop after we graduate." George's eyes were shining with mischief. "The Canary Cremes and Extendable Ears are a decent start, but I think we hit a gold mine with the Skiving Snackboxes!'"

"What kind of snack boxes?" asked Harry with a hint of trepidation.

"They're a line of treats that help you skip out on a boring class, a work meeting, or a visit to an unpleasant family member," said George. "Let's say you're in Potions and you feel the need to abscond because Snape's being a git…"

"Hard to imagine, I'm sure, but stay with us," interjected Fred.

"Well, it's as simple as popping a Nosebleed Nougat into your mouth! As soon as you swallow it, your nose starts running red, making for a simple excuse to go see Madam Pomfrey. Once you're out of Snape's sight, you pop in the other half of the treat, which stops the bleeding in its tracks. Viola! You're now free to spend the rest of the class period attending to much more important tasks."

"We've got loads of ideas for them, so you don't have to keep relying on the same excuses over and over: Fainting Fancies, Puking Pastilles, and Fever Fudge to go along with the Nosebleed Nougat."

"That's actually brilliant," mused Harry. "Every student at Hogwarts except Hermione will want a box."

"Definitely need to get these on the shelves before Mum tries to drag me back over to Aunt Muriel's. I swear, last time I almost hexed her after she said I needed to wear more dresses unless I wanted to end up as an old maid." Harry thought it better not to mention that she looked quite nice, no matter what she was wearing.

"Exactly!" exclaimed George. "Next time, you act excited to go on the visit until a few minutes before Mum and Dad are ready to floo, pop in a Puking Pastille, and suddenly they want you to stay home and rest so you don't upset Muriel with your vomiting."

Harry eyed them suspiciously. "So why are the two of you going over all your plans with Sirius?"

"Good question! If you'll remember, we passed a map of inestimable worth to you a few years back, right?" asked Fred. "Well, imagine our surprise when our illustrious host began calling our former Defense Professor by the moniker of 'Moony.'"

"Then picture our face when said professor referred to one Sirius Black as 'Padfoot.'"

George shoved Harry toward Fred, who caught him by the shoulders. "I can't believe your dad and godfather are both marauders, and YOU NEVER TOLD US!" He flung Harry onto a nearby couch before dramatically falling into his brother's arms, emitting loud and exceedingly fake weeping.

Sirius laughed as he sprang onto the arm of the couch, bringing one foot up onto the cushion. "Moony and I were treated to quite the surprise. He and I were catching up a few days after the Weasleys arrived, drinking some firewhisky and thinking nothing of it, when a small piece of parchment fluttered in and landed on the table between us. On it were the simple words: 'We solemnly swear we are up to no good.' Who knew we had a fan club?

"I've been trying to advise them a bit about business, helping them get connected to folks who can provide ingredients without overcharging them, giving some ideas about potential locations, that kinda thing. Passing on the knowledge that any good prankster might need."

For the next hour, Sirius regaled the four students with some of his favorite stories of escapades while at Hogwarts. The riotous sounds of mirth echoed down the halls of the house. More than once, Harry's eyes caught Ginny's in between peals of laughter.
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