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SIYE Time:11:50 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: 38048; Chapter Total: 818
Awards: View Trophy Room






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The second week of classes was far more enjoyable for Harry without the threat of detention looming over each day, with the exception of Monday. Though Potions and History of Magic left him in a less-than-stellar mood, Harry felt slightly more confident when he stepped back into the Defense classroom. With McGonagall's warning ringing in his ears and the knowledge that he and his friends would soon be practicing exactly the type of magic Professor Umbridge wanted to stop them from learning, Harry walked stoically to his seat. The professor stood in front of her desk with an unsettling grin as the students quietly seated themselves.

"Good afternoon, class," said Umbridge with false sweetness. Several students, including Ron and Neville, were not ready for the greeting and failed to answer back, as Harry and Hermione did in a monotone.

"I have already warned you about my expectations regarding greetings," she said as her brow furrowed, though her smile became no less wide. "That will be five points from each of you who failed to follow the instructions from last class period. Let's see, that was Mr. Weasley, Mr. Longbottom, Miss Brown, Mr. Finnegan, and Mr. Potter."

Murmurs of frustration bubbled from the Gryffindors as Hermione's hand shot into the air. Professor Umbridge inclined her head towards the girl. "Yes, Miss Granger?"

"Harry didn't forget! He said it along with us!" She shot a look at Harry as he scowled.

Professor Umbridge let out a tiny laugh dripping with insincerity. "No, Miss Granger. He didn't. That will be twenty points for questioning me and a week of detention if it happens again."

Hermione was aghast as Umbridge smiled at her. Harry couldn't remember the last time Hermione lost points in class or for anything that didn't involve causing trouble with him and Ron.

"Open your textbooks to page 27 and read the chapter. There will be no need to talk."

With frustration mounting, Harry watched a teardrop fall from the tip of Hermione's nose onto the page of her book. Ron's face was turning red with anger, but he simply gripped the edge of his desk and pointed his face toward his book, staring at it without reading a word.

The rest of the class period passed at a snail's pace. Harry accidentally read a few paragraphs out of sheer boredom before remembering that he meant to not read a single word in protest. Umbridge assigned a lengthy essay about the contents of the chapter before the students could leave. At their dismissal, Hermione packed her things and left so quickly that Ron and Harry had to jog down a corridor to catch up with her. When they did, the boys heard her swear under her breath.

"I cannot believe that woman!" hissed Hermione as she sped past an empty classroom and a painting of a wizard stuck in a tree. "She has the nerve to take off points just out of spite, even though you didn't do anything wrong! And it's not like anyone deserved to lose points just for not…"

She stopped in the middle of the hallway and ran her hand through her hair. Harry wondered for a moment if she would rip out some of her curls in frustration as an out-of-breath Neville trotted up to them.

"The way she lies while claiming to care about the truth with that smile on her face makes me sick," said Ron.

"You don't have to stick up for me in there, Hermione," said Harry with more than a hint of bitterness. "She's going to take every opportunity to go after me. No need to get caught in the crossfire."

"She's foul and it's just infuriating!" exclaimed Hermione as she stomped her foot. "I'm heading to the library to research some spells for the Defense Club. See you at dinner." She huffed as she made her way to the stairs, grumbling under her breath the whole way.

Harry's sour mood extended through dinner and into the early evening. Ginny gave him a peck on the cheek before joining Angelina, Alicia, and Katie as they walked down to the quidditch pitch to practice some Chaser drills. Ron was with them, too, hoping to get a bit more comfortable defending regulation-sized hoops instead of the makeshift rings they used at the Burrow.

It took three tries, but Harry finally managed a win against Neville in Chess while Hermione went back and forth between two thick books about magical defense. When the other Gryffindors returned, Ron looked decidedly unhappy and trudged up the stairs to the dormitory straight away.

"I was trying to tell him that it wasn't the same as a real game, since we didn't have any Beaters knocking us off our lines, but he had a rough go of it. Angelina and Alicia were both flying really well, and Katie looked great, too. Ange realized pretty quickly that we were getting into Ron's head when we were practicing our three-on-one moves, so she switch to two against two, which helped. But even so…" She shrugged her shoulders. "Not a super encouraging start for him."

Harry winced. "That bad, huh? I might go check on him. See if I can give him a little pep talk."

When he rose from his chair and stepped forward to hug Ginny, she frowned and took a step back. "I haven't showered yet and we were going pretty hard at it up there. Not sure if you want ”"

Her warnings abruptly ended when he gathered her into a hug and spun her around, her eyes closed as her peals of laughter echoed through the Common Room. Harry lowered her to the ground after a few rotations but kept his arms around her until after he'd planted a quick kiss on one of his favorite freckles near the tip of her nose.

"'Night, Gin! 'Night, Hermione! Neville, you staying up for a while?"

"No, I'm going to grab a shower then head to bed, too. Goodnight!"

Harry changed into his pajamas while waiting for Ron to return from the shower, but his eyes soon fell upon a note carefully propped and the side table next to his bed. He grabbed it with a quizzical look before reading the loopy writing to himself.

Harry,

At the end of last term, you accepted my offer of a specialized curriculum. I would like for you to join several of your instructors on Saturday morning at nine o'clock to discuss our goals and responsibilities. Please bring your wand, as some of them are quite eager to begin. The password will be 'Fizzing Whizzbees.'

Sincerely;

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

Though Harry hadn't completely forgotten about the promise of special classes from Dumbledore and a few others, the whirlwind of the term's start had pushed the thought to the furthest recesses of his mind. He felt a little bit of trepidation knowing that the most powerful wizard alive would soon be teaching him, but Harry was mostly excited about the prospect.

Ron slunk into the room a few minutes later, looking as though the hot water had not melted away his quidditch woes. He fell onto his bed without looking at either of his roommates.

"Hey Ron. You alright?" asked Neville while glancing at Harry with a shrug.

Ron breathed in deeply and slowly blew out the air before responding. "I'm absolute rubbish. I never should have even tried out."

"You can't have been that bad," said Neville from his bed. When Ron turned to address him, Harry tried to motion to Neville not to try to placate him in that way, but it was too late.

"What do you even know about quidditch?!" spat Ron venomously. "What've you ever done on a broom? At least I know enough to know what a rubbish player looks like!"

Neville's face flashed a look of hurt before he frowned. "I know exactly what a rubbish player looks like, since my Gran took me to see Wimbourne last season when they played Chudley. Trust me, anyone who's seen the Cannon Fodder play knows what terrible quidditch looks like!"

Harry did his best to cover his smirk with his hand as he surveyed the room to ensure he could intercept Ron if his best mate decided to use his fists as a response. Instead, Ron muttered a few choice words under his breath before wrapping himself in his covers. He made a rude gesture to Neville before pointing his wand at the curtains to draw them closed.

~RLM~

Saturday morning saw Harry rise earlier than usual. The excitement about his new course was like electricity coursing through his veins. He got ready quickly before heading down to the common room, which was deserted at such an early hour on a weekend. He looked hopefully at the stairs to the girls' dormitories, but a summer living in the same house as Ginny assured him that she took after Ron's sleeping habits. As he exited the portrait hole, he thought that he'd be lucky to see her before his first session with Dumbledore.

Harry hadn't made it halfway down the hallway before he heard a groggy voice from behind him call out, "Oi! Potter!" The thundering footsteps of Ginny Weasley sprinting were all the alert he needed to brace himself for impact as she leaped onto his back. He stumbled forward and would have landed in a heap on the floor had he not caught himself on a suit of armor's upright spear. Unfortunately, the force dislodged the knight's arm from its body, which clanged to the ground. A feline yowl echoed through the corridor as the two watched Mrs. Norris scamper off to find Filch.

"C'mon, Harry! If you get me busted by Filch at this unholy hour, I swear I'll never hang out with you before noon ever again!" She spurred him forward by digging her heels into his thighs, so he ducked into the closest shortcut he could find to take them out of the caretaker's path.

Neither Harry nor Ginny had been present for the beginning of many Saturday morning breakfasts, but they weren't alone in such regards by the look of things. They entered a much more muted Great Hall at half past seven, with a few younger students huddled at the ends of their house tables and a smattering of seventh years who had their books spread out in front of them and large pots of coffee warming between them. Harry grimaced at the thought that he might ever need to study this early on a weekend.

"Well, not that I'm excited about being awake right now, but at least we don't have to fight Seamus for bacon or your brother for… Well, everything…" Ginny smiled as she took her seat.

"You would try to find a silver lining in being awake at this hour," she said as she loaded up her plate. "It's a good thing I like you. I had 'early riser' as a deal breaker on my list of datable qualities, but I've made an exception for you."

"Let's not get carried away with the 'early riser' stuff. I'm not as bad as Ron, but it's not like I chose to get up at the crack of dawn for fun. Plus, I told you not to worry about coming to breakfast with me, so your being awake is all on you!" Harry took a bite of toast as Ginny stuck out her tongue at him. "But as long as you brought up this datable quality list, what else is on it? Should I be worried?"

Ginny laughed into his shoulder. "It was back over the summer before Third Year when Hermione and I were staying together after the World Cup. We had lots of time to talk at night, and one time she asked what kind of things I looked for in a boy. At the time, I was desperately trying to come up with attributes that didn't single out anyone in particular…"

Harry snickered to himself. "So, did you leave off 'eyes as green as a fresh pickled toad'?"

It had been quite a long time since anything Harry had said or done had caused such a fierce blush to overtake Ginny, but her cheeks, ears, and neck reddened immediately. "This is so not fair! Just because I had a silly crush on you back then doesn't mean… You're the worst!"

She furiously tickled at his ribs and side, and Harry couldn't help laughing loud enough to attract the attention of several of the other students nearby. He had to use his arm-length advantage to encompass Ginny into a hug to get her to stop.

"As if you weren't telling all our friends about the times I almost asked you out," said Harry with a broad smile. "I bet you filled Hermione in every night with a play-by-play!"

"I will neither confirm nor deny," she replied with a wink. "But my list was real. I kinda started with the things about my family that I like most. Dad's obsessed with Muggles, so I liked the idea of someone who might understand that world better. Certainly wasn't interested in anyone who wouldn't have been kind to my Muggle-born friends."

"Safe to assume I pass the test on that one?"

"With flying colors!" Ginny said before kissing him on the cheek. "Me and Mum don't always get along, but I do love how much she wants to take care of the people she loves, even though it's super annoying at times. Bill always listens to me and cares about what I've got to say. He was the first person I felt like I could really talk to about the Diary.

"Charlie's super adventurous. His letters are always full of fun stories about dragons or the people he works with. He loves animals, kinda like a smaller, redder version of Hagrid. Percy is really smart and won't let anyone pretend he's not worth their time. He's a bit of a prat sometimes, but he's got a good heart.

"Fred and George are hilarious, but I really like the way George treats Angelina. He's clearly got it bad for her, but he's always kind and playful. You can tell he respects her a lot. Fred's constantly coming up with ideas. I really like when he includes me and lets me be a part of a brainstorming session.

"With Ron, he was my best friend when we were growing up. No matter how frustrating he could be or how much I pestered him," Harry gasped and interjected a sarcastic "You? Never!" but Ginny pinched his side under the table and continued her description. "I knew that he would be there for me, no matter what. He'll never know how much it means to me that he came into the Chamber, not to mention facing giant spiders."

Harry chuckled to himself as he shook his head. "Well, at least I know that you've got such lofty standards that there's no chance any bloke could be all that."

"Pfft! You've got all those boxes checked, plus you're a great quidditch player and my family likes you. Definitely the total package!"

"I dunno why you think so highly of me, but I'd be pretty dumb to try to convince you otherwise."

Ginny giggled as she wrapped an arm around his midsection and gave him a squeeze. "To top it all off, you're too thick or too humble to realize what a catch you are!" Harry snorted while wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "So, what about you? What was on your datability list?"

Though Ginny's voice was playful, Harry had a distinct feeling that the query posed danger. Not that it was a trap or a test, per se, but that there were definitely answers that were good and right and wouldn't get him in trouble. He took a deep breath through his nose before beginning.

"To be honest, it's not like we sit around in the dorm chatting about this kinda stuff. Dean and Seamus are both a bit more open about talking about who they fancy, but that's never exactly been my strong suit. Don't think it comes naturally for Ron or Neville, either…"

Ginny had raised an eyebrow at him. "Mmm hmm… Can't help noticing you're denying talking about a list but didn't deny having one."

Harry sighed and said, "Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm just saying that it's a bit harder to come up with on the spot since I haven't really talked about it before. Not like I've been writing it out while in History of Magic or anything."

He tried to think of the characteristics that drew him to Ginny, hoping he could extrapolate answers from there. "I really like that you and I laugh together. You're really funny, even funnier than the twins. And I just feel incredible when I can make you laugh. It's one of the best feelings in the world."

She grinned back at him. "That's sweet and all, but it's supposed to be what you were looking for before we got together."

"I guess that's what's making this difficult for me. I wasn't really looking to date anyone before you, so it's not like I have much to go based on," said Harry as he grasped for straws. "I think maybe one thing was something I wasn't looking for. There are so many people who look at me either like some sort of hero or a sideshow. I dunno, I think being around someone who likes me for me, instead of being the 'Boy Who Lived' or whatever. That kind of stuff always makes me feel weird, so being with someone who doesn't act like I'm a big deal is nice."

His mind drifted back to the rogue memory, which he hadn't thought about all that much in the last few months. The smile he could feel on his own face and see in hers. The easy laughter. The genuine happiness he felt.

"Happiness," he said softly, kissing the top of her head and breathing in the floral scent. "I think I just wanted to be happy. And to make someone else happy. I didn't get much of that growing up, so having it now means a lot."

Ginny snuggled her head so that her cheek was resting on his chest. "That's a pretty decent answer, Potter. I think I'll keep you around."

"Glad to hear it," he said with a grin. "That reminds me of something I wanted to talk to you about, but we don't really have time for it now."

"Oh, come on! You really are the worst…" Ginny mumbled into his shirt. "And you know Ange is going to have us training all afternoon. Do we need to find somewhere with enough space for Hermione and Ron?"

"Nah, just you and me would be best, at least for now," said Harry thoughtfully. "You might be okay with us telling them eventually, but probably not quite yet."

Her eyes shone with mischief. "So I'm learning something important that you haven't told either of them yet? Can I taunt them about it? I could just make casual references to our little secrets, and maybe that'd make Ron get out of his own head about Keeping."

"By making him think that I'm corrupting you? No thanks, let's try to avoid any undeserved brotherly pummeling if you don't mind."

"My brothers took bets about how long it'd take you to ask me out. If anyone's going to be accused of corrupting someone, the blame's getting pinned on me."

Harry laughed at the truth in what she'd said before rising from the table. "Either way, thanks for waking up early for me. I've been going back and forth between nervous and excited about these lessons, but you kept my mind from tripping over itself worrying about everything. I'll come find you at lunch?"

She flashed a brilliant smile at him. "As long as I don't find anyone who checks all my boxes before you come back!"

He stuck out his tongue at her, thinking for a moment about how that was a mannerism he'd picked up from hanging out with her so much in the last year. "If you do find someone like that, you've got to introduce us! They might check my boxes, too!"

Ginny hurled a cinnamon roll from the table at Harry's retreating figure, but he caught it, winked at her, and took a large bite as he started to jog toward the exit. He called out over his shoulder, "Thanks, Gin! You're the best!"
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