SIYE Time:11:01 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: 38021; Chapter Total: 1003
Awards: View Trophy Room


The final month of summer passed by in a flash for Harry. Hermione had returned home to spend time with her parents two days before Harry's birthday. Though she still had not recovered much of the joy she exuded the previous term, the sharp edges of her grief had been dulled through tears, conversations, and time. Harry's description of Viktor's bravery in the face of Voldemort and the smoky version of him who passed on a final message for her before helping Harry escape had been a balm of sorts. A reassurance that Viktor's feelings had been just as strong and deep and real as hers.

Harry's birthday celebration was spectacular. Sirius, Ginny, and Mrs. Weasley had combined forces to plan the event, and Grimmauld Place was almost as full as when the Order had a major meeting. All the Weasleys except Percy and Charlie were present, as was Fleur, who had been newly inducted into the Order and had been officially dating Bill for a few weeks. She hugged both Harry and Ginny as soon as she arrived and told them how happy she was that they were together. Later that night, Ginny blushed furiously when Harry mentioned that he hadn't even felt Fleur's Veela allure at all when holding Ginny's hand.

Remus, Tonks, Kingsley, and Mad-Eye each showed up over the course of the night, as did Professor McGonagall. Some other Order members, including Hestia Jones and Mundungus Fletcher, also made appearances. While Harry wasn't as close to them, it was still nice to have a full house for the party.

Harry opened his various presents, receiving a few books and several sets of new clothes from various adults. Mrs. Weasley had been fed up with Dudley's hand-me-downs draped on Harry's thin frame, so she had requested that folks help fill his wardrobe. Harry also got three framed photos, one of Sirius teasing Harry while poking and prodding him, one of Harry, Hermione, and Ron from first year looking much tinier than Harry remembered them being, and one of Harry and Ginny, who kept sneaking out of the frame and then returning with red cheeks.

His favorite present, though, was Ginny's. For two weeks, she had been borrowing Hedwig and keeping her correspondences away from Harry. When Harry opened her gift, he was touched to find more than a dozen letters from friends and classmates waiting for him. Hagrid's messy scrawl was on one, and each of his fellow soon-to-be fifth-year Gryffindors, too. Angelina, Alicia, and Katie had each sent a note, as had Lee Jordan and Oliver Wood. Charlie had sent a letter that included a dragon tooth from the Hungarian Horntail he'd battled, which Harry appreciated far more than Percy's standard Ministry birthday card on official letterhead. Colin Creevey had sent a photo of Harry casting an incorporeal Patronus while chasing the Snitch, and Cho and Cedric had packed both of their letters into the same envelope. Dumbledore's loopy handwriting was one of the last he read.

If Ginny had been unsure if her new boyfriend would like the gift, his misty eyes and wide smile provided ample reassurance.

With Hermione away, the final push to clear out the library became a slog. Several minor mishaps had kept the amateur librarians on their toes, but most of their time in the afternoons resulted in drooping eyes and exaggerated yawns. In the large stack of deeply disturbing books about the Dark Arts, Sirius had found two books that obliquely referenced horcruxes and one other that described them in slightly more detail. They'd been passed on to Dumbledore and McGonagall, whose research into the outer limits of horcrux creation was moving slower than hoped.

After the extravaganza thrown for Harry's birthday, Ginny's was quickly upon them. Harry didn't feel confident about his ability to top her gift of letters, but after consulting with Sirius and getting Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's approval, he thought his gift wouldn't be half bad.

The morning of her birthday, Harry greeted her with a kiss on the tip of her nose before they entered the kitchen to grab breakfast. The twins pretended to retch into a nearby waste bin after witnessing the "offensively cute" display of affection.

The morning was filled with laughter and games, with multiple rounds of Exploding Snap and a few chess grudge matches. By the time the grandfather clock struck eleven, Harry was becoming antsy. He breathed a sigh of relief when Remus and Tonks flooed in fifteen minutes later, apologizing profusely for being late. A quizzical Ginny greeted them, noting the mischief etched on both of their faces.

"Oh, did I forget to tell you about your birthday gift?" asked Harry with a wry smile. "I thought you might be interested in a proper date."

"A real date?" She exclaimed with glee. "An actual date-date?"

Tonks snickered. "Yep, Harry pulled some strings to spring you out of here for a couple of hours!"

Ginny flung herself into Harry's embrace. "You know being inside has been driving me barmy! What a great present!"

"Oi! How come you two are getting out of here?" asked Ron looking more than a bit dejected at being left out. "You could bring me, too!"

"Sorry, mate, but I can only bring one. If you want, I can still take you out on a date for your birthday, though."

"I don't want your pity date!" Ron said with a grin as he flung a pillow at his friend.

"It'll be so fun to do a double date," said Ginny as she released her grip around Harry's midsection. "Where are we going?"

Remus' cheeks flushed a bit. "Not exactly a double date… Someone needed to keep guard, just in case, so Tonks and I volunteered. We'll be nearby the whole time, but it's not like we'll be sitting at a booth with you."

"Oh, I see…" Ginny was smiling at him dangerously. "So, you two will just be on your own date near us?"

Remus stammered a bit before Tonks cut him off. "Yeah, that sounds about right. But don't get any ideas about sneaking away. Your Mum would have all of our heads if we didn't keep a sharp eye on you!"

Harry laughed as his former professor's face continued to color. "I figured it might be nice to get away for a bit. There are some Muggle restaurants nearby that you can pick from and then I thought you might enjoy watching a movie."

Ginny was thrilled at the itinerary and rushed upstairs to change into going-out clothes. When they left a few minutes later, her grin was a mile wide. They walked down the sidewalk with fingers interlaced for almost thirty minutes with Remus and Tonks following behind before a restaurant caught Ginny's eye.

It wasn't as if the two hadn't been able to talk to each other at Grimmauld Place; they'd spent hours in conversation, interspersed with occasional snogging. But the novelty of talking while sitting at a cafe patio made the conversation sparkle with newness and excitement. The two laughed aloud much more than they were used to while inside the confines of their temporary home.

Tonks had decided against disguising herself, which meant Harry could easily keep track of their minders due to her bubblegum pink hair and Remus' excessive height. Ginny admitted that she and Tonks had talked about the older witch's interest in the former professor and how he seemed reluctant due to the age difference and his lycanthropy. Harry, in turn, confessed that Sirius had insisted that the two serve as their guards to force Remus into action. Both of the teens were convinced that Remus and Tonks would make a cute couple and resolved to find ways to nudge them along.

Ginny's eyes shone as she watched the movie flash across the enormous screen. She was so spellbound by the magic that the Muggles had created that Harry thought she had channeled her father. Harry paid no mind to the two adults watching over them from a few rows behind as he wrapped an arm around Ginny and placed a kiss on the top of her head.


The news was expected, but Harry was still jubilant when Kingsley delivered an official letter to Sirius requesting him for a hearing regarding his previous conviction. It was not scheduled until after Harry had already left for Hogwarts, but Harry assured his godfather that he'd be happy to attend as moral support and testify if needed.

Molly had made the trip to Diagon Alley to purchase school books and supplies. All five teens had been eager to make the trip with her, but Kingsley had advised remaining at Grimmauld. Several known or suspected Death Eaters had been spotted in the vicinity, and it seemed unwise to press their luck. Even after their foray into Muggle London, Ginny and Harry both felt imprisoned in the house, and the twins and Ron felt it even more so.

With Hermione gone and his sister and best mate occasionally seeking more privacy, Ron spent more time with the twins. Fred and George were happy to have an extra guinea pig for some of their products, and Ron enjoyed pocketing a bit of spending money as a test subject. Harry was glad to see the three brothers laughing together on multiple occasions, which assuaged some of the minor guilt he felt when snuck away with Ginny.

By the morning of September 1st, most of the household was ready for school to begin. The comparative freedom of Hogwarts called to the Weasley children and Harry, and most of the adults were growing weary of the complaints from the "captives," as the teens began calling themselves.

The chaos of departure meant everyone was a bit on edge, especially Mrs. Weasley, who spent a good portion of the morning yelling to try to get everyone out the door on time. She shook her head ruefully when she opened the front door and a great black dog sprang out into the fresh air ahead of the kids.

"Your hearing still isn't for a few weeks, Sirius, you really shouldn't…"

The dog rested his massive paws on her and whimpered, brandishing a very potent sad puppy face. She shoved him away, but couldn't help smiling.

"Oh, alright. But don't come crying to me when you get locked up again! Kids! Let's get going!"

Remus and Tonks joined the boisterous crew from across the street. It should have only been a twenty-minute walk to King's Cross station but the large group took its time enjoying being out of the house, much to Mrs. Weasley's chagrin. Even so, they managed to reach the barrier in plenty of time. Harry and Ron both still had bad memories of crashing into the stone when Dobby had magically sealed it, but everyone was able to enter Platform 9¾ without incident.

As they spilled onto the platform, Hermione met them with gusto. She had been speaking with Moody along the edge of the crowd, but she easily left him to his guard duty upon their arrival. A train whistle sounded as they all bid their farewells. Harry noticed Mrs. Weasley holding her daughter even longer than usual as Sirius wagged his tail at Harry's feet. Remus walked toward them and knelt down beside the dog and Harry followed suit.

"Your godfather here," Lupin patted the dog heavily on the head. "Informed me that you two had an agreement last term that you wouldn't run off on your own, since there was a wizard bent on harming you. I think it would be worthwhile to reinstate that agreement."

"What?" exclaimed Harry, frustration bubbling in his chest. "That was different!"

"I know, I know. It's not fair that the most dangerous wizard alive holds a grudge against you, but that's part of your life right now," Remus replied calmly. Harry could tell his former professor was attempting to placate him, but he did not feel particularly interested in the reasoning. "Just make sure you're with someone who can help watch your back. You're not going to get a Howler from either of us if you get caught in a broom closet with Ginny or nicking a snack from the kitchens with Ron, but please don't wander off on your own."

Remus furrowed his brow and shook his head. "Voldemort has infiltrated Hogwarts before. We're not saying it's going to happen again, but we want you to be smart. You feel confident about sending a message via Patronus?" Harry nodded. His training sessions with Professor Moony had been quite successful, and Harry felt better knowing he had means of contacting help if needed.

"Good man. Dumbledore said there's a strong chance you'll be approved for an underage apparation license once the new administration gets into place. Sirius and I are going to be working from our end to get some Order members to patrol Hogsmeade when students are allowed to visit the village. It's not exactly a carte blanche to explore the wide world, but we did put up a fight to make sure you still got to go to Hogsmeade. Am I forgetting anything, Padfoot?"

The dog licked Harry across the face, causing him to fall backward onto the ground with a cry of, "Ugh, gross!"

Remus laughed as he pulled him to his feet. "Good point. Have a great term, Harry! We'll let you know more details about the hearing. Get into just the right amount of trouble, okay?"

Harry grinned back at his parents' dear friend. "I think I can manage that mischief."

"That's what we want to hear," said Remus with a smile as Harry walked toward the train, waving over his shoulder. "Oh, and we're hoping to both be at your first quidditch match!"

With a heave, Harry hoisted his trunk onto the train and toward the compartment where Ginny was waiting for him. Ron and Hermione dropped off their luggage and quickly made their way to the front of the train for a Prefect meeting, but Harry and Ginny did not feel harshly done by their departure. She rested her head in his lap, allowing Harry to easily run his fingers through her hair, one of his favorite activities he'd discovered over the summer.

The train had only been moving for five minutes when Harry heard the door to their compartment open. He turned to find a sheepish Neville standing in the doorway.

"Hey, Harry. Hi, Ginny. Err… Do you mind if I sit with you? It's okay if you don't want to. I can just…"

He turned to leave, but Ginny sprang up from her spot and grabbed his trunk, pulling the luggage and its owner into the compartment. Neville blushed slightly as he sat down, but Ginny and Harry showed no sign of frustration at him as they caught up on their summers.

Ginny took great pleasure in explaining how Harry had finally asked her out, detailing several prior instances in which she was certain he was going to ask but "chickened out at the last moment." Harry insisted that he was simply "waiting for the right moment," but Ginny just rolled her eyes while grinning at Neville. They skirted around details about the Order and Grimmauld Place, but Neville didn't pry.

Before Neville had a chance to reciprocate by telling them about his summer, the compartment door opened again. A blonde girl holding an upside-down newspaper entered without a word and plopped down on the other side of Ginny. Neville looked confused by her intrusion, but the redhead leaned over to hug her friend before making introductions.

"Luna, this is our friend Neville. He's a fifth-year Gryffindor like Harry. Nev, this is Luna. She's a Ravenclaw in my year and we've been friends since our second."

"It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Neville." She extended a small hand to him, which he shook graciously.

"Likewise!" he replied brightly. "We were just going around and catching up on what happened over the summer. Did you do anything interesting?"

Harry repressed a chuckle as Ginny squeezed his hand. Whatever Luna had been up to over the summer was certain to go well beyond interesting.

"It was a rather eventful summer. Daddy and I made a month-long trip to Norway to research the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, I helped him write an important column about the Ministry's Rotfang conspiracy for the Quibbler, and we planted several new varieties of dirigible plums at my mother's grave. What about you?"

Whatever it was that Neville had expected from his first interaction with the young witch, this was not it. The color had begun to drain from his face when she mentioned whatever a Snorkack was, and looked almost ready to faint by the time she mentioned her deceased mother.

"Ahh, well… Not as interesting as yours, I suppose. Installed a greenhouse for my plants, had to attend a bunch of boring Wizengamot sessions, and got this cool Mimbulus Mimbletonia for my birthday." He pointed at an odd-looking plant resembling a cactus, only it was grey and moved slightly as the students looked at it. Instead of spines, it was covered with what looked like boils.

The four chatted amiably as the train chugged along until they were joined by Ron and Hermione. The two had very different impressions of their first Prefect meeting.

"I think our group of Prefects will be really strong this year," gushed Hermione as she sat down between Neville and Ron. "I think Cedric is going to be the best Head Boy we've had in a while, just because the student body already has so much respect for him and he's so friendly to everyone. Did you know he's the first Head Boy from Hufflepuff in more than a decade?"

She didn't slow down long enough for anyone to interject that they had not been keeping up with who had been Head Boy before they began their time at Hogwarts.

"Hannah and Ernie got the badges for Hufflepuff. Ernie still frustrates me sometimes, but Hannah is the sweetest girl in our year. I think she'll be great! And it's Anthony and Padma from Ravenclaw. I was really hoping they'd get it, especially since I don't particularly get on well with Terry, who I thought was the other likeliest contender."

"It's Malfoy for Slytherin," spat a frustrated Ron. "Can't believe I'll be sitting through meetings with him all year…"

Hermione was trying to maintain her composure, but it was clear that she wasn't thrilled about the prospect, either. "I'd really hoped it would be Blaise. Not that he's especially friendly, but at least he's not a huge…" She looked like she was trying to think of an acceptable word to describe Malfoy, but ended up giving up. "At least Daphne is the girl Prefect from Slytherin. If it had been Pansy, I would have been so disappointed."

Ron sighed deeply. "I was kinda excited to make Prefect at first, but it feels like you two may have lucked out. I didn't realize how much patrolling the corridors and sitting through meetings we'd be doing."

"Speaking of, Cedric wanted us to patrol the train cars to make sure the first years are doing alright and keep older students out of trouble."

"Yeah, but everything looked fine while we were walking over here from the meeting. I figure we could hang out here for a while before we make rounds, yeah?"

He was met with a glare from Hermione, causing him to dejectedly rise from his seat. "Alright, alright. We'll go make sure no firsties are crying their eyes out. Check in with you later, though? Nev, I've been stuck thrashing Harry at chess all summer. Can I count on you for a game?"

"Maybe if you start without your queen."

Ron smirked as he stepped out of the compartment. "Still too easy, mate!"

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. The rhythmic sounds of the train eventually lulled Ginny to sleep as she lay with her head in Harry's lap, which made him quite happy about life. Spending time catching up with Neville had been good for Harry, who had found that he missed his dormmate over the summer. Luna's additions to the conversation weren't always easy to follow, but he enjoyed her presence nonetheless.

When the train finally reached their destination, Harry was quite glad to stretch his legs. He'd spent the last hour with his leg serving as Ginny's pillow, and it took a couple of minutes of tentative steps before the tingling in his foot and toes subsided. Still, he felt quite optimistic as he walked toward the carriages with Ginny's fingers interlaced with his.

"First years! Can I get all the first years to come my way, please?" A kind woman's voice carried over the crowd of students. Harry looked around, but there was no sign of Hagrid anywhere. Professor Grubbly-Plank, who'd taught a few lessons for Hagrid the previous term when he'd been out after Skeeter's article, was rounding up the first years and leading them to the boats.

"They can't have sacked Hagrid!" whispered a concerned Harry as his eyes searched in vain.

"No way, they can't have," agreed Ginny. "We would've heard something over the summer with as much as Dumbledore and McGonagall have been around. It's gotta be something else." She squeezed his hand tightly, providing a modicum of comfort to Harry's racing heart. They continued on alongside their friends until reaching the carriages.

"What in the world are those things in front of the carriages?" asked Harry with shock as he looked at horse-like beasts with huge bat wings and clouded white eyes. "I've never seen anything like them."

"There's nothing in front of the carriages," said Ginny with a laugh. "They're always pulled by magic. That's why they don't need horses or anything."

"But there's something there!" He pointed at the creature tied in front of the carriage they had been assigned. "What is it?"

Ron and Hermione had joined Ginny in looking at Harry askance, but Luna patted him reassuringly on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, Harry. I can see them, too. They’re just thestrals.”

“Thestrals? Where have I heard of those before?” asked Hermione as she gazed out the window. “It sounds so familiar.”

“They’re a type of magical creature that are only visible to people who have seen someone die,” said Neville quietly.

A hush descended on the other five students in the carriage. Neville did what he could to avoid eye contact with Hermione, who found Ron's hand on her shoulder. Harry didn't realize how tightly he was grasping Ginny's hand.

In a small voice, Hermione spoke. "You're right. I'd read about them because there's a section about them in Care of Magical Creatures this year." She sniffled as her eyes got misty.

Harry was still struggling to understand the implications. "You're saying that those things have always been pulling the carriages, but we've just not been able to see them?"

"Probably," answered Luna. "They've been here since my first year."

With a glance out the window at a thestral in front of a nearby carriage, Harry's mind returned to the graveyard and watching Viktor as Voldemort struck him with the killing curse. When he looked back around at his friends seated near him, he could see a glistening tear falling down Hermione's cheek.

"How is it you can see them?" asked Ron, though he seemed preoccupied with how upset Hermione was to his right. Ginny kicked him in the shin from her seat and glowered at him, but Luna did not appear to be concerned.

"My mother was a brilliant witch. She excelled in experimental potioneering. When I was nine, she was working on a new potion that she thought would help prevent Dragon Pox, but it ended up being too volatile. It exploded while she was adding ingredients. It was quite terrible."

Ginny's hand slipped out of Harry's as she reached over to hug Luna. She smiled sadly. "But I still consider myself fortunate to have known her at all, even if I'm still sad sometimes. Daddy is good about helping me talk through how I feel when I get sad about her being gone."

The group was rather somber as they made their way into the Great Hall. The five Gryffindors bid goodbye to Luna as she sat down at the Ravenclaw table. Once the students were all seated, Harry looked at the beat-up wizard hat perched atop a stool in the front of the room as Ginny scooted a little closer to his side.
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