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SIYE Time:11:12 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: 38026; Chapter Total: 1012
Awards: View Trophy Room






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Harry wept. Great sobs wracked his body without ceasing. He was alone. Truly and unendingly alone.

His two friends who had carried him through everything were gone.

He didn't bother lighting his wand. It didn't matter, anyway. Nothing mattered.

Time seemed to lose meaning. Harry cried until exhaustion overtook him. He woke often, with waves of sorrow washing over him. He had no idea how long he had been lying on the cold floor of the vault when his hunger finally refused to be overtaken by grief and guilt.

Was Voldemort waiting just outside the vault doors? Even if he were not, whatever protection he had left would surely be more than Harry could overcome in his state. He was exhausted. He was starving. And he was alone.

A cry of rage and mourning echoed off the stone walls of the Black vault. Harry slammed both fists into the ground, one after the other, until what little strength he had evaporated. He lay curled up in a ball in the darkness.

Without thinking about what he was doing, he hoarsely rasped to himself. "I need Hermione."

He choked on another sob. "I need Ron." He coughed and spluttered. "Or Sirius. Or bloody Dumbledore." He sobbed again. "Or Moony or Tonks. Hagrid or Mad-Eye." His hand angrily swiped at the tears that were falling. "Or Hedwig. Or Dah…Dobby…" A great sniffle. "Or even Kreacher."

"Master Harry Potter called for Kreacher, sir?"

The vault was illuminated when the House Elf appeared. As his orb-like eyes rested upon the form of his master, he let out a gasp. Harry was lying in the fetal position, emaciated from lack of food and drink. His hands were bruised purple and his robes were soiled with more than just the blood he was still oozing from multiple wounds.

"Master! How long has Master been here in the vault of the Ancient and Noble House of Black? Why did Master not call for Kreacher's aide sooner?!" Harry made no sign of moving or answering. House Elf magic crackled in the air as a bed with crisp sheets and a warm comforter appeared next to the teenage wizard. His clothes were removed as the gentlest version of an elf Scourgify got Harry mostly clean. Wounds were tended to before he was helped into some sleep clothes and lifted into bed. The elf had murmured something that Harry didn't have the energy to hear, then disappeared.

Harry knew he should thank Kreacher, but the pain of loss was like a deafening drumbeat in his head. He couldn't focus on what was right in front of him. With a bit of a start, he remembered that he'd lost his glasses. Such a trivial loss, compared to all that had been taken from him, but it felt debilitating.

Another pop alerted him that Kreacher had returned, and the smell of a hearty stew flooded Harry's senses. The ache of loss still cut like a knife, but as he began to shakily bring warm stew past his lips, soothing his raw throat as it went down, Harry seemed to feel almost like a human again. Before he could finish his first bowl, the warmth of the stew and the softness of the bed allowed Harry to succumb to sleep

It was less than an hour later when he woke up with a scream on his lips and vomited off the side of the conjured bed. His tears had returned in full force, and he wept bitterly.

"Master Harry Potter, sir." Harry had never heard Kreacher's voice be so…tender. "Please allow Kreacher to care for Master, sir." A few more sobs clawed their way out of Harry before he could answer.

"Kreacher, I've lost everything. Ron and Hermione… They're both gone."

"Shh, Master. Kreacher is knowing. Kreacher must help Master regain his strength. Master must get to somewhere safe."

Harry didn't have the heart to argue. The elf quickly cleaned up the mess beside the bed and brought a lighter soup to Harry as he sat up.

The warm soup felt good in his belly, and the rawness in his throat seemed to subside a fraction with each gulp he took. "Kreacher, what happened? What's going on out there?"

"The Dark Lord's war has truly begun," whispered Kreacher. "Hogwarts has fallen."

Harry instinctively knew that the school would be crucial to Voldemort's plans. It was filled with some of the few witches and wizards bold enough to oppose him, and the symbolism of clearing out his enemies from those hallowed halls would be enticing. Despite Hogwarts being one of the few places in the world where he felt at home, a place he loved, his heart just didn't have the capacity to feel much more pain beyond what he already experienced. Harry simply nodded to Kreacher and brought up another spoonful of soup.

"Kreacher does not know which wizards and witches survived, which perished, which are hiding, and which have fled. But none that oppose the Dark Lord are safe." Again Harry nodded. "Master must regain his strength quickly. Goblins are working to clear the cavern and seek to capture Master for the Dark Lord. Kreacher can transport Master out of the vault, but can only go directly to the Ancient House of Black. Kreacher fears that this will be unsafe."

With the beginnings of food in his stomach, Harry's understanding of the situation began to come into focus. He coughed several times and started speaking, despite the pain that had still not subsided. "Kreacher, you've done so well. Thank you for taking such good care of me." His mind tried to focus on the next steps. "Are you able to safely find a strengthening potion for me? And maybe a blood replenishing potion?"

"Yes, Master, I can return with those in minutes."

Harry rubbed his eyes and tried to get them to focus. "Is there any chance you could find me a pair of glasses?" Kreacher leaped onto the bed, landing lightly enough that the soup on the tray next to Harry didn't even ripple. A spindly finger pulled on Harry's right eyelids, then the others.

"Yes, Kreacher can bring new glasses."

"Okay, let's start with that. And if you can find out any news about how my friends are doing, any of those who visited Grimmauld Place with the Order, I'd really appreciate it."

Kreacher bowed low. "I will return quickly. Rest here, Master."



The next hours were a blur. Harry lay in bed, occasionally eating more soup or taking the potions that Kreacher had procured. In addition to the Strengthening and Blood Replenishing potions, he had secured a Dreamless Sleep potion.

Harry took his potions, including a half dose of the Dreamless Sleep, with the hope of being ready to make a break for it within the next half day. The sounds of excavation outside the vault were becoming less muffled, and Kreacher estimated that the goblins would gain entry in twelve to eighteen hours. Harry needed to be gone before that happened.

When Harry awoke, Kreacher supplied him with a new pair of glasses. The elf made a few quick adjustments for comfort, and the young wizard could see clearly again. The waves of sorrow still crashed over him as he worked with Kreacher in preparation for their escape, but his grief was tempered by the need to focus on the task at hand. Tears continued to fall, but work got done.

The sounds of the goblins clearing the cavern grew louder. Kreacher's huge ears twitched as he came to a stop.

"Master does not have much more time. Has Master decided to whom he will go?"

Harry's brow furrowed in concentration. While he had slept, Kreacher had attempted to surreptitiously scout for allies with whom Harry could connect. Most of his obvious choices weren't available. His first choice would have been to meet up with Lupin and Tonks, but Kreacher had been unable to find them. Shell Cottage and Aunt Muriel's house were off the table as well, since Kreacher had reported that both were abandoned. Harry scowled when remembering Kreacher's description of the burnt-out homes. The Burrow was a no-go, as was Luna's house.

The guilt of losing Ron and Hermione welled up in the pit of his stomach, but it was buffeted by the potential guilt of so many others who were in danger. He had no idea where the Weasleys had ended up. Not for the first time, he wondered if Ron's death would mean the end of his connection to the family he considered to be his own. How could he ever look Mr. Weasley in the eye after leading his son to his end? Would he never be gathered up into one of Mrs. Weasley's bone-crushing hugs? Could he ever explain things to Ginny?

Harry's eyes burned again. He shoved the thoughts back, unable to think straight. With monumental effort, he turned back to Kreacher, who was patiently standing at the ready. The elf seemed to understand what Harry was thinking, but did not bring attention to the fresh tears streaming down his Master's face.

"Still trying to figure that out, Kreacher," he said with a sniffle. "What do you think about Neville's place?"

The old elf looked thoughtful. "Longbottom Manor is an old, pureblood home. There are many protections, and Kreacher will not be able to gain entry. But it would be a safer place than most."

"That figures. I've still got my communication coin from the DA. I don't want to give away the plan to everyone with a coin until right before I leave, just in case," he turned the coin over and back in his hand. Hermione's superior spellwork on the Protean Charm was intact, even now that she was… "I'll send out a call for members of the DA to check-in. Maybe that will give us a better idea of options."

He pointed his wand at the coin. "Check in - HP" appeared quickly, and it warmed in his hand. "If we get confirmation from Neville, maybe we can make Longbottom Manor work. If we don't hear from him," Harry closed his eyes and fought to not give in to the thoughts of what might have happened to his friends, "I'll try to figure something else out. How long until we need to be out of here?"

Kreacher's ears twitched, and he turned back toward the vault entrance.

"Master has no more than two hours before the goblins enter. Perhaps closer to one hour."

Harry blew all the air out of his lungs. Would the members of the DA still be holding onto their coins? Were they somewhere safe enough to contact him? Had they even survived? He sighed.

"Then we'll get out of here within the hour." The elf nodded and started to clean up the mess that had piled up around the bed. Even in such desperate times, Harry noted, Kreacher cared so much about the Black family.

"Kreacher, I've got a question. What happens to you if I die?" The elf froze in his tracks. He snapped, and the dishes and empty vials of potion disappeared.

"Master must not die. Kreacher will protect Master."

"Dobby saved me from Malfoy Manor. He gave his life to protect me and get us to safety. I can't handle any more death on my account. What happens to you, Kreacher, if I don't make it?" There was a hard look on Harry's face as he stared down the elf.

Kreacher hesitated before starting cautiously. "If Kreacher cannot serve his Master, elf magic will bind Kreacher to another member of the Ancient and Noble House of Black. If Master has not designated a family member, Kreacher will pass to whichever witch or wizard has the closest ties to the Black bloodline."

"Who would that be?"

"Mistress Narcissa Malfoy."

Harry swore loudly.

"And if she's your Master, and she demands to know everything you have heard about the Order, or helping me and my friends, or the fight against Voldemort, your magic would force you to tell her, right?"

Kreacher nodded and looked almost ashamed that he could be used to harm those his current Master cared for.

"The Malfoy family already has elves, sir, and Kreacher is very old. New masters would likely force out any important information, then would kill Kreacher."

"You said that happens if I don't decide who you go to?"

"Yes, Master is able to assign Kreacher to bond with a different member of the Black family line."

"Would Nymphadora Tonks work? She's the daughter of Andromeda. Or Andromeda, herself. Either of them would be better than the Malfoys."

Kreacher nodded. "Mistress Andromeda and her line have been cast out of the Black family, but still has the blood of the Blacks. Kreacher could bond to Mistress Andromeda."

"Okay, how about this… We don't have much time. If I die, I order you to present yourself to Andromeda and offer to bond yourself to her, Nymphadora, Remus, or Teddy." Unbidden, an image of a cross-looking Hermione wearing a S.P.E.W. pin sprung into his mind. Her face was reddening as she built up to one of her famous lectures. "Wait, before I order anything, Kreacher, would you rather be freed? It's your life, so if you'd rather have clothes, I could…"

"NO!" screeched the elf. "Never! No, never! Kreacher will not abandon the Ancient and Noble House of Black. Kreacher will serve Master Harry Potter or Mistress Andromeda's family. Kreacher will not accept clothes, never!" The elf stood resolute and more than a little angry.

Harry smiled the first legitimate smile since before he had entered these ruddy caverns. "I apologize for insulting you, Kreacher. I know that your service to the Black family means so much to you. I only wanted to ask because my friend Hermione would have wanted you to have the freedom to choose, and I had to honor that for her."

The elf still looked upset but gave a quick nod. "Kreacher sees. Master's friend did not understand elf ways, but tried to help nonetheless."

"Yeah, she really did."

Harry quickly pulled the DA coin from his pocket as he felt it warm up. He greedily looked at the few letters on the coin and felt his heart sink a bit when he saw "CC. On continent."

He let out a sigh. He felt no ill will towards Cho. He didn't really feel much of anything towards her. He was glad she was safely away from these shores and hoped she'd be safe out there, somewhere. But if Harry was honest, he was really disappointed that he hadn't heard back from anyone he was closer to yet.

He slid the coin back into his pocket, trepidation building as he looked at a large grandfather clock across from him. He needed to leave soon.

Before his hand had even reemerged from his pocket, Harry felt the coin warm up again. The ups and downs of communication with the outside world had him feeling hopeful as he stared at the changing letters.

"GW AJ LL - hiding"

Harry's heart lept as he stared at the six letters at the beginning of the message. "Kreacher, we're in business!" shouted Harry. He pointed at the coin. "LL has to be Luna, and GW is either Ginny or George. It'd make sense if the third one was Angelina. If we don't hear from Neville, they might be our best option." He pointed his wand at the coin again, and "on run. meet you?" replaced their message.

Moments later, as Harry held the coin in his hand, a new message replaced his. "pond?"

A pond… Harry wracked his brain. If the GW was Ginny or George (and he couldn't imagine it being anyone else), then the message had to refer to the pond the Weasley's had brought him to during the summers. He had loved swimming around in the small pond, wrestling with Ron and the twins, and splashing Hermione and Ginny when they weren't looking. The corners of his mouth almost curled enough to be considered a sad smile.

Harry had to think about how to communicate his plans in so few letters, but finally settled on his reply: "pond in 20 if no trouble."

"Alright, Kreacher, it's settled. You get me to Grimmauld Place and I'll apparate away as fast as I can. Have you been able to check in on the house to see if it's safe?"

"Kreacher feels that the wards have changed. It is likely that Master's enemies will be alerted when we arrive."

"Nothing's ever easy, is it?" Harry shook his head and started gathering his things. He doubted he'd ever make it back into this vault, not that he wanted to come visit anytime soon.

The muffled shouts of goblins on the other side of the doors were growing louder. There was a terrible scraping sound as if something heavy was being dragged across the ground.

"Master must take Kreacher's hand!" barked the elf as he darted towards the wizard. "The goblins will soon have the doors open!"

Harry grasped the small hand that was offered and felt Kreacher's long nails dig into his flesh as the elf summoned enough magic to transport them. A crack echoed through the vault as they disappeared, leaving the room in complete blackness for the goblins.

A screech filled the air as Harry landed on his knees in the entryway. "Filth! Wretch! Disgusting half-blood besmirching the house of my ancestors!" The portrait of Walburga Black screamed at the top of her lungs. "How dare you set foot back in the Ancient and Noble House of Black?!"

Acid green vines shot forward out of the walls, their tendrils wrapping around Harry's wrists and ankles. They pulled taut, thorns digging into his skin. He cried out in pain as his grip on his wand slipped. It clattered to the floor.

The portrait sneered. "Oh, I can't wait to find out what the Dark Lord will do to you! Maybe he will give you a taste of the Cruciatus right here where I can watch." A manic glee lit up her face as she rushed beyond one side of the frame, already calling for Death Eaters to claim the captured intruder.

Kreacher came to Harry's side at once, attempting to sever the vines. As soon as his magic had cut through a vine and he began to work on the next, the first vine reconnected and thickened, holding its prey tighter.

Harry yelled as more thorns pierced his arms and pulled him in opposing directions. The elf looked panicked as the second vine started mending itself before he had even finished cutting it.

"My wand!" Harry gasped. "Grab my wand!"

Kreacher dove at the wand, which had rolled several feet away from the struggle. He grasped it and triumphantly raised it aloft.

"KREACHER!" boomed the voice of Mrs. Black. "Kreacher! Don't let that dirty-blooded thief escape! You must keep his wand from him! The Dark Lord's followers are already coming!"

Kreacher stopped in his tracks. Harry was being stretched by the vines, with blood already dripping from his wrists and ankles. Walburga stood, appearing more winded than a painting should, as she looked down on the teen. The elf stepped forward, yowled in pain, and grabbed his ears with either hand.

"You will not give aid to this blood traitor, Kreacher! You will make your Mistress proud!" The portrait was growing louder with each word she screamed, and Kreacher seemed to be engulfed in pain.

Another cry of pain emanated from deep within Harry. His head turned towards the elf, and his tear-brimmed eyes silently pleaded.

"YOU WILL HAND THAT FILTH OVER TO THE DARK LORD!" bellowed Mrs. Black, whose painting seemed to be shaking itself off the wall.

"Won't."

The wand flew from Kreacher into his master's hand. Harry slashed at the vines, which receded back into the walls.

"YOU TRAITOR! YOU HAVE SULLIED THE HOUSE TO WHICH YOU ARE BOUND! I CAST YOU OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BLACK FOREVER!"

Harry looked back towards Kreacher. The elf looked as if he was gasping for breath underwater. His body shuddered and he fell to the floor. Harry rushed to him just as his body stopped convulsing. Kreacher's vacant eyes stared without seeing.

Harry roared as he turned on the spot. With all the power he could muster. He aimed his wand at the painting and screamed, "REDUCTO!"

An explosion shook the house. Dust and debris settled onto the floor, blown a bit by the breeze that wafted in from the gaping hole in the wall where a portrait had once hung. Harry looked at the small body of Kreacher one last time before apparating away.
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