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SIYE Time:10:33 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: 38008; Chapter Total: 1022
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
Well, hope you enjoyed last week's chapter! Been building toward it for a long time and spent a lot of effort on them coming together. Think I threw some of y'all off with my comment replies… You can also find RLM on tumblr now, along with FFN, AO3, SIYE, and Wattpad.

Some folks had questions about the original timeline. They only agreed to use the Ritual once they felt confident it wouldn't erase their own timeline, as discussed by George and Ange when they were talking about not losing Freddie. Sending the memory created a new, separate timeline. While I don't want to give away too much, the fact that Harry is grinning in his sleep is a good sign. We probably won't check back in with that timeline for a long while, but I thought y'all might be glad to know those characters still exist, especially since their last chapter ended with a bit of an unresolved cliffhanger.




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Harry's eyes flew open much earlier than usual the next morning. He hurriedly got dressed and ready for the day, careful not to awaken Ron, who was still snoozing. His long arms and legs jutted in various directions, with one exposed foot hanging off the side of the bed.

The walk down the corridor and around the corner took Harry little time, and soon he was nervously tapping on the door to Ginny and Hermione's room. The door opened wide and a red blur rocketed out toward him, squeezing his torso tightly.

"I didn't just dream it, right?"

He leaned down to place a quick peck on her lips, which spread into a grin at the contact.

"I dunno what you're talking about, Gin." He smirked as her fingers interlaced with his. "What didn't you dream?"

"You're terrible!" she exclaimed, pushing him into the wall with a well-placed shoulder bump. "You take months to finally kiss me and now you're all nonchalant about it?"

"Hey, that's not fair!" Harry replied with a laugh. "How was I supposed to know you liked me back? It took months to build up the courage to ask!"

"If my memory is still working, I think you kissed first and asked later," Ginny said as she tried to lean her head against his shoulder, only to find the maneuver difficult while walking. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you only asked because you wanted to kiss me again."

"Not true! I'd decided to ask you a while ago, back when I was at the Dursley's house. I've just been…" He tried to find the right words to say. "Waiting for the right moment."

"If you'd 'waited for the right moment' much longer, I was just going to climb over the dinner table and snog you senseless."

Harry snorted and squeezed Ginny's hand. "My fault. Honestly, you've been kinda stuck in my head since before Christmas, but I was trying to sort everything out. Your family's been so good to me that I didn't want to mess anything up unless I was really sure, y'know?"

Ginny's face sprouted a mischievous grin. "Can't say that I follow. You wanted to be really sure of what?"

He met her gaze with a raised eyebrow. "Sure that I was going to go mad if I didn't kiss you."

"Good answer, Potter," she said as they started down the stairs. "I think I'll keep you around."

"FILTH! SCUM! BLOOD-TRAITORS! DISGRACES TO WIZARDING KIND!" Walburga Black's portrait had been disturbed, interrupting the exciting reverie of the two teens. "HOW DARE YOU BESMIRCH THE HOME OF OUR FOREBEARS?! HOW DARE YOU SULLY THIS HOUSE WITH YOUR PUTRESCENCE!"

Ginny and Harry rushed forward to restore the drapes that were flowing away from the painting as if a great wind was blowing from within its frame. Her screeching epithets rang in their ears, but the two couldn't stop giggling. Despite their efforts, they couldn't pull the curtains closed, leaving Mrs. Black's foul language to resonate through the house.

"Honestly!" exclaimed a cross-looking Mrs. Weasley as she climbed the stairs two at a time to reach them. "This infernal painting!"

She reached over Ginny and gave her a bump with her hip to send her to Harry's side of the painting. "Pull it closed on three! One!"

"FOUL INGRATES!"

"Two!"

"UNDESERVING AND LOW CLASS!"

"THREE!"

With a mighty heave, Molly wrenched her drapes to the middle as Harry and Ginny did the same with theirs. The matriarch was breathing heavily from sprinting up the stairs and from exertion on the curtains while the two teens were still giggling to themselves.

"Not exactly a pleasant alarm clock, but I'll bet even Ron's down for breakfast on time after that," said Mrs. Weasley as she adjusted her apron. She turned to say something to Harry and Ginny before noticing their intertwined fingers. A wry smile blossomed on her round face. "I've got bacon and eggs ready in the kitchen, and I'll pop in a bit of toast for you two."

"Thanks, Mum! That sounds delicious. Has Dad already left for work?"

"You just missed him, dear. He said he hopes he won't have to work late this evening, but we'll see how that goes."

Mrs. Weasley doled out heaping helpings of breakfast to both of them, and Harry thought for a moment that he saw her sigh when he pulled out a chair for Ginny before seating himself. Ginny simply giggled and nudged him with her shoulder before starting in on her meal.

A decidedly surly-looking Sirius entered the kitchen, muttering something to himself. "Molly, I'm going to remove the whole damn wall if Dumbledore doesn't come up with a better idea soon. I'm too old to wake up to my mother's screaming."

"There, there. No need for such drastic measures," she said placatingly while handing him a plate. "I'm sure everything will work itself out, in time. Speaking of, could I borrow you for a moment?"

Sirius grunted his thanks for the food and dutifully followed Mrs. Weasley into the next room. Ginny began to snicker.

"Word's going to travel fast. What are the odds we both get a talking to about responsibility and propriety before lunch?"

Harry's eggs dropped from his fork, which he was attempting to use left-handed so that he could keep holding Ginny's left with his right. "Can't be that fast, right? Your Mum will probably want to wait until your Dad gets home."

She snorted and squeezed his hand. "Harry, it's a minor miracle she hasn't dragged me away from the table kicking and screaming to talk to me yet."

Hermione joined them a few minutes later, sitting primly and properly across from the two. The only indication that she was aware of recent changes was the strain of holding back a smile painted across her face.

"So, Harry…" she began, her eyes unable to meet his for more than a second or two before quickly staring at her plate. "Did you end up finding Ginny last night? You looked like you really needed to tell her something."

Color rushed to Harry's cheeks, but before he could respond, Ginny burst out in laughter. Hermione's wide grin broke loose, too.

"Ginevra! You told me you'd hold it together!" Hermione said as she swatted her friend with an old Daily Prophet. "And you thought I'd be the one to break!"

"Sorry! Sorry!" apologized Ginny through her laughs. "I thought I was ready for it, but I just… Couldn't help it!" She leaned her head against Harry, who was laughing along with them.

"What's all this?" called Fred as he and George sauntered into the kitchen, followed by a groggy Ron. "You lot are almost as loud as dear old Mrs. Black!"

"Just enjoying a beautiful morning," said Ginny with a wicked grin. She leaned over and planted a kiss on Harry's cheek.

Fred swore loudly and George slapped his own forehead. Ron, suddenly very much awake, threw his arms over both his brothers' shoulders and said, "Easy money, boys!"

"He tampered with Harry, I'm sure of it," said George, peering past his younger brother to catch his twin's eye. "There's no way. This was rigged!"

Fred shot a look toward Harry, who was quite contently holding Ginny's hand while making a valiant-yet-doomed effort to get his breakfast into his mouth left-handed. "How much did Ron promise you to wait this long, Potter? I had good money on you asking her the moment you stumbled head-first out of the floo!"

"You bet on when I was going to ask out your own sister?"

"Mate, it's been clear as day for ages," said Ron sagely. "The question was always when, not if."

Harry dropped his fork to cover his face with his hand. "I can't believe you three!" said Ginny with an embarrassed smile.

"Not just us three!" exclaimed Ron. Harry and Ginny both looked at Hermione, who shrugged sheepishly.

"What can I say? I thought Ginny would get tired of waiting and make the first move."

There was plenty of good-natured joking at Harry and Ginny's expense during breakfast, which Mrs. Weasley and Sirius eventually rejoined. Neither said much to them at first, though Harry thought his godfather's eyebrows were likely to fly off his head and flutter away with the amount of waggling they were doing.

"Assignments!" said Sirius as he clapped his hands together. "I want the twins to finish out the drawing room on the third floor this morning. Hermione and Ron, get started on the full bathroom down the hall from them. Look out when you open the cabinets, I think something took up residence in there. Harry, you're with me. Ginny, your Mum wants your help."

Harry's brow furrowed as he let out a long breath from his nose while the Weasley boys and Hermione chuckled at them. He followed Sirius to his godfather's bedroom, the same one he'd grown up in. The older man swung a wooden chair around, straddling its back and leaning his elbows on it as Harry sat on the bed with his feet crossed under him.

"Well, took you long enough!" Sirius leaned the chair forward so that he could ruffle Harry's already-messy hair. "Last night?"

"Yeah, last night," said Harry with a crooked smile. "I was telling her, Ron, and Hermione what I could about our meeting, the stuff that Dumbledore said was fine, but I didn't want to spring the whole Chamber of Secrets thing on her out of nowhere. Before I went to bed, I kinda figured I'd pull her aside and explain. I think she appreciated it. We got to talking for a while, and next thing you know, I kissed her."

"And here I was worried you might be as hopeless as your dad was," Sirius replied with a grin. "He would've liked Ginny. Your Mum would, too."

Sirius let out a wistful sigh before refocusing. "Alright! Molly's downstairs trying to give Ginny an extra-thorough talking to since she's probably afraid I'm just going to slap you on the back and leave it at that, but Ginny's a pretty special one. Plus, your parents would want me to give you a real talk about all this, and I owe them for you being a fairly decent godson most of the time."

The conversation lasted over an hour, which felt like an eternity to Harry. He was grateful to have some advice about how to be a good boyfriend, even if it came alongside a multitude of pointers that left his cheeks burning as he attempted to stare a hole in the floor. The ground rules that Mrs. Weasley had told Sirius she would be enforcing weren't super unreasonable, though he wondered whether Ginny would feel the same about not being behind closed doors alone.

After they finished, Sirius and Harry walked to the third-floor bathroom, where Hermione and Ron were quite happy to have an extra set of hands to tackle the hundreds of deep red moths that streamed out of the cabinets each time they were opened.

Before Sirius could leave, Ron caught his attention with a highly suspicious cough. "Yeah, yeah. I know," he said, pulling several silver coins from his pocket and handing them to the redhead. "Can't believe you didn't go for it after my pep talk, Harry! It was inspirational!"

"Sorry, Snuffles, but you just don't understand Harry like I do. He had to spend weeks agonizing about whether it would ruin our friendship before he could make a move." Ron flipped one of the coins into the air and caught it with a flourish. "Pleasure doing business with you!"

Sirius produced a rather rude gesture for Ron before heading back downstairs, and the three friends recommenced their war against the bathroom. Twenty minutes later, Mrs. Weasley and a still-blushing Ginny appeared. "Lunch should be ready in an hour and a half or so. Harry, could I borrow you for a moment?"

Harry gulped involuntarily as Ginny rolled her eyes and uttered an elongated, "Muuuuuum!"

"Oh, it'll just take a minute, sweetheart. Don't worry."

Several nervous footsteps later, Harry stood before Mrs. Weasley in the hallway. "Now, Harry," she began as Harry's cheeks burned hotter than he'd ever felt them. "I'm sure Sirius explained things to you, but I wanted to make sure some things were clear."

Harry nodded as small beads of sweat formed on his brow.

"Ginny's our only daughter and she's our youngest, which can make me feel a bit… Overprotective of her at times. But Arthur and I have been talking about how she's growing up for a while now. Really since we first got her owl about attending the Yule Ball with you. We decided that it was important to keep the same boundaries for her as we've expected from her brothers." Her emphasis on the word "We" made Harry believe that Mr. Weasley may have had a bit more influence on that particular decision.

"Sirius mentioned that he thought you might've had eyes for Ginny for a while, but may have been a bit nervous because of your connection to our family." She gently pulled his chin up so that he met her gaze, and Harry saw oceans of care in her misty eyes. "Arthur and I love you, Harry. And that's… That's not going to change."

She pulled Harry into a bone-crushing hug. "You're a good young man and I know you'll treat Ginny right."

He held on tight, not knowing what to do with the emotions welling up inside him. When she released her grip on his shoulders, her hand cupped his cheek and she deftly used her thumb to wipe away a lone tear.

In a small voice, Harry said, "Thanks, Mrs. Weasley."

~RLM~

The two and a half weeks leading up to Crouch's trial were the happiest Harry could remember. The worst of the house decontamination was completed, which left much more free time for the teens. They still reconvened each afternoon to make progress in the library, but the daily morning chores had become a breeze compared to exterminating moths, spiders, and doxies.

Harry hadn't given too much thought to how being Ginny's boyfriend could change the dynamic between their friend group, which was just as well since not too much changed. The two of them spent a great deal of time alongside Ron and Hermione, neither of whom made much fuss if the new couple disappeared for a few minutes here and there. The twins had new fodder for teasing but rarely took their jokes far enough to force Ginny to threaten them with a Bat-Bogey Hex. Harry felt more than a little proud to be taking their good-natured ribbing.

Both Remus and Tonks were happy to join Sirius in giving the two a hard time, but Harry caught his former professor staring at the two of them wistfully more than once. Hermione relayed that she had caught Lupin and Sirius with a half-empty bottle of firewhisky one evening talking about how much the two reminded them of James and Lily.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had been true to their word; the fact that Harry was dating their daughter didn't affect how they treated him. Mostly.

Molly had recently picked up the habit of checking on everybody more often. Harry supposed she would probably do the same if any of her sons started dating a girl their family was living alongside. The two did their best to earn her parents' trust. It was surprising that the two had only been forced to spring apart while blushing furiously a few times when Mrs. Weasley knocked on an open door and asked innocently, "How's everyone doing in here?"

Charlie still had not gotten a chance to visit headquarters yet, but Ginny assured Harry that her brother's reply letter after she divulged the recent news was mostly congratulatory. She promised that very few words were spent explaining what angry dragons could do to a scrawny git.

Percy had not been seeing the family regularly. He had been under inquiry after Mr. Crouch's fate had been discovered. The inquiry had found no wrongdoing on Percy's behalf, but it was not an auspicious start to his career. He was rarely mentioned in front of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, who became much more tense when his name came up in conversation.

Bill had gotten settled into a flat on the other side of London but came by for dinner at least once a week. When a gleeful Ginny jumped into his arms and whispered something to him, his eyes found Harry. "Alright, Potter. Get over here. We need to have a talk."

"Oh my gosh, Bill!" hissed Ginny, but he effortlessly tossed her onto a nearby couch. He then gingerly seated himself on her back, effectively immobilizing his now-thrashing sister. He ignored her giggles and cries of protest and pointed at Harry before indicating the open chair next to the couch.

He spoke a little louder than usual so that Harry could hear him over the threats of forthcoming violence Ginny was promising from beneath her eldest brother. "So, Harry… I hear congratulations are in order." He flicked his wand downward, locking Ginny's arm against her torso just before she could begin pinching his leg. "I must warn you, though. Our little Ginevra is quite…"

"Don't you call me that, William!" she spat as she tried to wiggle free. Ginny whispered a few choice words at her brother that Harry was quite sure Mrs. Weasley had never heard her daughter use.

"Silencio!" Bill watched as Ginny's mouth continued to move soundlessly, which only served to infuriate his captive more. "Much better. As I was saying, our little Ginevra is quite beloved by the Weasleys, goodness knows why.

"I know it's a huge favor to ask, but would you mind keeping an eye on her? She's been known to cause a fair bit of trouble, and having a responsible minder like you might be just what YOUCH!"

Unfortunately for Bill, incapacitating Ginny's arm only forced her to be more creative. The youngest Weasley had wiggled loose enough to chomp down on the back of Bill's calf, causing him to rocket off the couch and over the coffee table, swearing loudly enough to bring Mrs. Weasley in from the dining room where she'd been enjoying a cup of tea with Remus.

"What do you think you're doing, spouting off that kind of language? I've half a mind to wash out your mouth with soap!"

Bill's face was still painted with surprise. "Your daughter," he pointed an accusatory finger at Ginny. "Just BIT me!"

Ginny was seated on the arm of Harry's chair, thumbing through a quidditch magazine while acting as if nothing had happened. She looked up at her mother and brother innocently, as if she hadn't noticed the commotion. "What's up, Mum? Need something from us?"

"Mum, look at my leg!" Bill twisted his leg around to prominently feature the red bite mark emblazoned on his calf. "Don't let her fool you with the innocent act! She's a menace!"

Molly looked back and forth from her youngest to her oldest, but Ginny intercepted before she could do any further investigation. "Hmm… It does look a bit red. Almost matches the mark on your neck…" The color began draining from Bill's face as his mother's stare focused on a red mark just above his collar. Ginny's grin flashed wickedly. "That reminds me! I got a letter from Fleur the other day saying that she was going to be in London to look for a place to stay while she's working at Gringotts. Have you gotten to see her yet? You two got on well when you met at Hogwarts."

Mrs. Weasley was overcome with excitement and began peppering Bill with questions, dragging him away to give her details while she finished her tea. He looked over his shoulder at Ginny, who was sticking out her tongue.

"I noticed you didn't come to my aid in my moment of need," said Ginny, smirking as she allowed herself to slip off of the chair's arm and into Harry's lap. "You can slay a basilisk, but you're afraid of my brother?"

Harry laughed and planted a quick kiss into her hair. "You didn't ask. I'm under the assumption that you can handle just about anything, especially your brothers. No need for me to get on Bill's bad side if you're going to put him in his place without my help."

"Not a bad answer, oh responsible minder of mine," replied Ginny warmly.

~RLM~

The day of Crouch, Jr.'s trial was chaotic. Dumbledore had been preparing to serve as lead prosecutor but was anticipating strong pushback from an increasingly-desperate Fudge. The Minister had already made a play to reschedule three times and had even tried to have the entire hearing canceled. A few members of the Magical Law Enforcement who had interrogated Crouch had been able to use their clout to keep the story in the news and the hearing on the docket, with some added assistance from Dumbledore.

Sirius had been jockeying for the chance to show up as a surprise witness, but the headmaster and Kingsley shot that idea down. Despite how good it might feel to have Sirius kick open the doors and leave to raucous applause as an exonerated man, there were too many ways such a plan could go awry.

"The papers are going to have a field day with everything that's coming out at the trial," counseled Kingsley. "Voldemort's return confirmed, a high-ranking ministry official breaking his Death Eater son out of Azkaban, Fudge likely on his way out as Minister… You love being the center of attention, Black, and you being innocent wouldn't even make the front page!" Sirius had muttered something under his breath but agreed not to attend the trial.

The morning of the trial dragged on. Mrs. Weasley and Sirius had half-heartedly assigned some chores to the six teens, but no fuss was made when they milled about in the sitting room instead of cleaning. Remus was back at Grimmauld Place for a brief respite after a challenging assignment, and soon the three adults were anxiously killing time alongside the students.

Lunch came and went without any word from the ministry. The normally energetic bunch was subdued as they waited. Sirius did his best to present an upbeat appearance, but Harry could sense that his godfather desperately hoped that things would go well.

The fireplace roared to life as it filled with green flames, and a beaming Tonks stumbled forward.

"Couldn't have gone better!" she called out as she rushed forward to hug Sirius. "No official date for a trial for you, but having a trial quickly was almost unanimous. Crouch got life in Azkaban without parole, and Fudge looks cooked."

Nervous tension melted into relief as the assembled residents of the Black residence greedily consumed every nugget of detail Tonks could provide.

"I wish you could have seen Kingsley," gushed Tonks as she described the scene. "He did his 'I'm being so respectful that it ends up insulting' thing when Fudge started trying to discredit Crouch's testimony or the memories the three of you provided. Between him and Dumbledore, Fudge looked weaker and more impotent by the minute. And when Kingsley said his investigation into Sirius implicated Pettigrew instead?"

Tonks screwed up her face in concentration until her head resembled that of Cornelius Fudge. In her best impression of his voice, she cried out, "This is preposterous!" Even Molly, who was not typically one for mocking authority figures, had to bury her face in her hands as she joined the others in laughter.

"I bet he's out within a month, two tops," said Sirius. "Wonder if he'll have the pleasure of granting my official exoneration personally, or if that'll fall to his successor?"

Remus slapped him heartily on the back. "I hope it's him. Not just because that'd mean your trial happened quickly, but because I'd love to see the look on his face while handing you the gold for wrongful imprisonment."

"Hadn't even thought about that yet!" said Sirius with a wink, leading Harry to believe that his godfather had very much been planning something for just such an occasion. "Alright, everybody! I think this calls for a celebration. We're taking the rest of the afternoon off and I'm ordering a feast for tonight! No, you don't, Molly!"

Mrs. Weasley had already summoned her apron and was midway through tying it.

"We're ordering takeout! Remus has just reminded me that I'm due a large sum for my time spent in Azkaban, and I can think of no better use for that gold than stuffing us each so full that we burst. Especially if it means you get to rest after feeding us so well for so long," he added with a nod to Molly. "Everyone write down your absolute favorite food and Remus and I will figure out how to make it happen!"

There was a mad scramble for quills and parchment, and Sirius was soon in possession of a list of a wide variety of foods. He pursed his lips and nodded while letting out a sporadic "Hmm" or "Nice choice." He produced a small bag of gold and dropped a good deal of Muggle money into it before passing it to Remus.

"I'm trusting you to make sure my cousin doesn't trip over her feet and spill the whole lot of it on the way back, okay? Grab some extras while you're out, too, in case some of the others want to celebrate here with us."

Remus stowed the bag in his pocket and exited through the floo, followed by Tonks. Harry wasn't sure, but he thought he saw her wink over her shoulder to Sirius before she disappeared into the green flames.

Dinner was a raucous affair. Other than those they'd anticipated like Arthur and Bill, the party was joined by McGonagall, Kingsley, Hestia, a less-than-savory Order member named Mundungus Fletcher, and Mad-Eye Moody. Those who had been present for the trial regaled the rest with their accounts.

When the party began to wind down and guests were making their way to the exits, Professor McGonagall pulled Sirius and Harry to the side.

"Albus and I have determined that it would be best to further explore the Chamber before the start of the new term. The Minister appears to be intent on interfering in the affairs of Hogwarts, and we believe it will be advantageous to perform the search before the new faculty arrive. Kingsley indicated he would be available Tuesday afternoon."

"My calendar is wide open," said Sirius with a smile. "Harry?"

"Works for me."

"Excellent. Albus requests that you bring your invisibility cloak, Mr. Potter. An item I'm certain that neither of you two have ever used irresponsibly." Her eyes narrowed slightly.

Sirius was a bit too effusive in his assurances that he would never have used such an item while in school and that he was certain his godson's high moral fiber would prevent him from straying out of bounds in such a manner. The professor released a long breath from her nose as she shook her head at the mischievous smirk plastered on her former student's face before bidding them goodnight and disappearing into the floo.
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