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SIYE Time:11:06 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: 38025; Chapter Total: 801
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
This is one of my favorite chapters so far, so I hope y'all enjoy it. Big thanks to everyone who leaves comments, because they mean a lot to me!




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After relaying the password to the gargoyle guarding the headmaster's office, Harry climbed the stairs before knocking on the great, wooden doors. They swung open and Harry stepped into the company of six other witches and wizards.

"Ah, Harry! Right on time! Please come have a seat." Dumbledore's voice was warm, even though not all the room's occupants looked as welcoming. Mad-Eye Moody was leaning against the wooden framing connecting two overly-full bookcases, his scarred face stony. Snape wore a scowl as he stood behind an armchair, his eyes narrowing as Harry walked to the seat Dumbledore had indicated. Harry was glad to see Professor Sprout had pulled up a chair to the side of the headmaster's desk and that Professor Flitwick was next to her. Professor McGonagall stood stoically to the right of the headmaster's desk.

"Splendid!" exclaimed Dumbledore with gusto as he clapped his hands once. "Firstly, I must thank each of you for making time for this meeting. As was made clear by last year's end-of-term, along with the events leading to James and Lily's deaths, Lord Voldemort has taken a special interest in Harry. The reasons for this interest are not as important as our response to this threat. He has now escaped from Voldemort on four separate occasions, an astounding feat that scant few can claim."

Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He hated how the intended compliment sounded in his ears. Bright blue eyes met his, and Dumbledore paused while giving Harry a knowing smile. "Something to add, Harry?"

"Sorry, sir, but it's just… You're making me sound better than I am. The first time wasn't really me at all. That was all my Mum's sacrifice. Same thing in First Year. I had loads of help from Hermione and Ron to make it through the obstacles, and Quirrell would have killed me and gotten the stone if not for my Mum's sacrifice."

His face was burning as he spoke, but he did his best to maintain eye contact with the headmaster. Harry didn't trust himself to look around, in case McGonagall looked disappointed or Snape looked pleased. Dumbledore made no attempt to interrupt, so Harry continued.

"Hermione was the one who figured out there was a Basilisk at Hogwarts and realized it was using the pipes. The only reason I made it out of the Chamber alive was because Fawkes blinded the snake and healed where it bit me. Last year, in the graveyard, something weird happened between our wands when Voldemort was trying to kill me, then Sirius saved me when Crouch had me stunned."

Harry wracked his brain for a way to wrap up his thoughts, but under the gaze of the five surrounding him, his shoulders slunk a bit. "I guess what I wanted to say is that I've gotten really lucky and I've had lots of help."

"Of course you were lucky to get out of that alive," replied Flitwick. "Anyone who faces him and lives has a great deal of luck on their side. As I understand it, our job is to train you up so that you will have the skills to ensure you need not rely so heavily on luck."

"Precisely correct, Filius. There are many potential avenues for Lord Voldemort to attack, and we shall address each, in turn.

"Harry, you have been forced into combat as a means to save your life and the lives of others. One of our goals for these Advanced Defense lessons will be to arm you with the knowledge and skill to defend yourself, should the need arise. All six of us will have a hand in this training, though we may lean upon Alastor's experience as an Auror rather heavily.

"Now that Voldemort has returned to a physical form, I fear that his ability to use Legilimency will pose a much greater risk. Were he to plumb the depths of Harry's mind, our side could lose some advantages that Harry has been crucial in unearthing. Severus' mastery of Occlumency and Legilimency is unparalleled. He and Minerva will aid Harry in learning to block out mental attacks."

Before Dumbledore could continue, Moody swore loudly. "You can't be serious, Albus! You just said that Potter's got stuff locked up in his mind that needs to stay out of the enemy's hands, and you're suggesting Snape gets an all-access pass to root around in the boy's brain? Even if he has really turned against Voldemort, which isn't a point I'm conceding by the way, there's always a chance that something could slip!"

Dumbledore's face grew stern as he turned to the former Auror. "Alastor, I have told you time and again that I have my reasons for trusting Severus…"

"And I've told you exactly where you can stick those reasons! Leaving Potter alone with a former Death Eater under orders to pry into his mind is bloody insane!"

"He won't be alone, Alastor!" countered Professor McGonagall hotly. "Unless you're worried that Severus and I are working together to aid Lord Voldemort?"

Harry felt grateful to have never been on the end of this McGonagall death look as she stared into Moody's normal eye. He glared right back at her for several long moments before speaking. "Since when do you know enough about Occlumency to teach it to Potter?"

"I learned more than enough to hold my own during the last war," answered Professor McGonagall. "As Mr. Potter's Head of House, I will be accompanying him anytime he is learning to defend his mind from attack. If you unwisely doubt my ability to protect one of my students under such circumstances, feel free to attend our sessions. Otherwise, the wisest course of action would be to drop it."

There was no question in Harry's mind that he would not enjoy Occlumency nearly as much as training on new spells and dueling tactics, but McGonagall's impassioned defense made him sit up a little straighter. Moody scowled as he leaned back against the bookshelf and muttered something to himself, but Harry's eyes were instead focused on the small nod that Snape gave McGonagall.

Dumbledore made no further attempts to argue those contentious points. "Harry, I have provided each of your instructors with a copy of your schedule so that they can attempt to work around your classes, but their time will be considered more important when it comes to finding times for a weekly meeting. Such is the trade-off when receiving specialized training in a one-on-one setting. I fear that your quidditch captain may be upset with you at times, but I hope you understand that this course must take priority."

With a long breath out of his nose, Harry nodded. He'd figured that private lessons might interfere with quidditch and had been bracing himself for the possibility. "Yes, sir. There's nothing more important than learning what you will be teaching. Even quidditch." The voice of a betrayed Oliver Wood nagged in the back of Harry's mind, but he did his best to ignore it.

"As I thought. We shall alternate between a week of practical Advanced Defense and a week of Occlumency training. As long as we are on the subject of scheduling, might I remind you that Harry's professors will be preparing him for OWLs this year, so please try to refrain from pulling him from any of his regular classes." Dumbledore smiled and a twinkle shone from his eyes. "The exception will be Defense Against the Dark Arts. Since our aim for these lessons will be Harry learning to defend himself from Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, I feel as though it would be reasonable to occasionally excuse him from Professor Umbridge's class. Unless you feel that her instruction is crucial, of course."

Harry could have leaped over the desk to envelop Professor Dumbledore in a hug. He beamed from ear to ear as the headmaster gave him a not-so-subtle wink. "No, sir, that's not a problem at all. Feel free to take me out of there anytime it's convenient for any of you!"

Professor McGonagall allowed herself to smirk as she shook her head and Professor Flitwick nodded enthusiastically. Moody harrumphed and started to swear under his breath while Snape simply scowled at the mention of the Defense professor.

"Very well!" said Dumbledore cheerily. "Since Alastor traveled all this way for our meeting and Filius was extra eager to begin training with Harry, I shan't take up any more of your time this morning unless there are any questions."

A question had been burning in Harry's mind ever since he'd first told his friends about these special training sessions. He didn't want to overstep his bounds but figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask. Especially if he could frame the request just right.

"I do have a question, Professor," said Harry tentatively. "From the sound of it, some of these sessions will be kinda tailored to my situation, but others will be more broad defensive spells and tactics. Not that I mean for it to happen, but there have been times when my friends have been caught up in dangerous spots because they're close to me. Ron and Hermione have been with me for loads of them, and Ginny was in the Chamber and attacked by Crouch last year.

"Cedric already approached me about reforming the Defense Club to help train up more students, since Umbridge refuses to teach us anything. I was wondering if any of these lessons could include the four of them? That way, all of us are able to be better prepared for whatever is coming, plus we could turn around and try to teach some of what we learn to any other students who join the Defense Club."

Snape sneered at Harry before responding. "Nothing I have seen from you leads me to believe you capable of controlling your mind, Potter. Whatever slim hope of success you possess would surely evaporate by placing you in close proximity to Granger whispering answers into your ear or Weasley's bumbling attempts at magic."

Harry had expected Snape to be the most likely to argue against the idea, so he did his best to channel Ginny's flattery of Percy. "Right, I wasn't thinking about asking them to study Occlumency. I just thought that what you all will be teaching might be what keeps someone alive in a bad situation." Harry swallowed back the bile that threatened to bubble up as he looked at his Potions Professor. "The Expelliarmus you taught us during second year was what saved me against Voldemort in the graveyard. I guess I just want more people to know the kind of stuff that might come in handy in a tight spot."

The scowl on Snape's face only grew deeper and Harry quickly realized that the professor was not nearly as easy to manipulate as Percy. Before Snape could reply, McGonagall interjected. "I've already spoken to Mr. Diggory and Miss Granger about the Defense Club. Including them in some of the practical defense sessions would be helpful. We may still require you to attend on your own at times, but I don't see why we could not include the students you mentioned. All four are at or near the top of their classes in Defense, at least when it is taught by a competent professor. And a student who tutors others is far more likely to master the material. Albus, any objections?"

Whatever good feelings Snape might have had for McGonagall after she defended him against Moody had clearly vanished as he glared at her, but Dumbledore paid the growing frustration no mind. "Very well reasoned, Minerva. I tend to agree with both you and Severus. Harry will practice Occlumency under both of your tutelage on his own, while we will include Mr. Diggory, Miss Granger, and the youngest two Weasleys, so long as their presence does not impede your learning."

With a smile, Harry assured the headmaster that they would not be a distraction.

"Excellent! In that case, I leave you in the capable hands of Professors Flitwick and Moody. Minerva, would you be so kind as to collect the three Gryffindors and send them to the Charms classroom? Pomona, will you please retrieve Mr. Diggory?"

Snape swept from the headmaster's office as soon as the meeting ended, and McGonagall was just as quick as she made her way to Gryffindor Tower. Sprout smiled warmly at Harry and patted his shoulder as she left the office. Neither Flitwick nor Moody was usually particularly swift, slowed down by small stature and a wooden leg, but Harry found himself walking quickly to keep up with the excited Charms professor.

"I'm so thrilled to be getting started!" Flitwick said as he climbed a flight of stairs. "Alastor, I believe you will be quite pleased with how rapidly Mr. Potter picks up new and challenging bits of magic. You'll be learning the Disillusionment Charm in class next term, but I thought that might be a good place to start today."

"Quite a useful spell," replied Moody with a nod. "But Potter's got an excellent Invisibility Cloak. You carrying it with you?" Harry shook his head. "What's the use of having it if you can't access it? I want it with you at all times! Filius, how do you feel about putting him through his paces on dueling, instead? I haven't seen much of what he knows and it'd help me figure out what we should be focusing on."

Professor Flitwick's smile raised his mustache. "That sounds like a good deal of fun. I'd also like to see how the other students fare."

When they reached the Charms classroom, the two adults began to confer about how best to test their pupils. Harry tried to focus on remembering the spells he'd practiced before the third task and over the summer with Remus and Sirius. Without warning, Flitwick began conjuring large grey and brown objects that he placed along the floor of the room and Moody followed suit. Many were large enough for Hagrid to hide behind, much less Harry.

Cedric stuck his head in the open door to the classroom a few minutes later. "Umm, Professor Flitwick? I was told you needed to see me?"

The diminutive professor called out a quick greeting as he placed some sort of charm at the top of the seating area of the classroom. "I'll be down there in a minute! Mr. Potter can fill you in!"

Cedric's eyes met Harry's as he trotted into the classroom, just a little out of breath from his quick trek through the castle. "Hey Cedric! Know it's last minute, but Professor Dumbledore arranged for me to have some extra defense classes this year. While he was explaining it to me this morning, I suggested that it might be a good idea to include you since you wanted to reform the Defense Club. This way, we'll know more that we can help others with when we get together. Hope it's okay that I included you. If you're not interested, I'm sure it won't be a big deal."

"Are you kidding? Special lessons with Flitwick and Moody sound incredible. Will it just be us?"

"Nope, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny should be joining soon. Kinda figured they end up in harm's way just from being around me so much, so extra defense lessons couldn't hurt. Oh! And it's not just these two professors. McGonagall, Sprout, and Snape are going to help some, too, and Dumbledore is going to be a part of it with us sometimes!"

"Wow, that's incredible! Thanks for thinking of me. Maybe I'll do well on my Defense NEWT after all!"

Harry was going to say that McGonagall let slip that Cedric was already at the top of his Defense class, but three eager Gryffindors students entered the classroom behind the Transfiguration professor.

"Harry! I can't believe you got us in!" exclaimed Ginny as she wrapped her arms around him. "This is going to be brilliant!"

Hermione's smile was a mile wide. "I was trying so hard to not focus on how jealous I was that you were getting these special lessons, but I couldn't concentrate on any of my homework because I kept imagining what you were learning. I can't tell you how much this means…"

"Oi! What's this about forcing me into classes on a Saturday?" asked Ron with a smile as he punched Harry's shoulder good-naturedly. "What are we doing?"

Before Harry could answer, Professor Flitwick called over to them. "Perfect timing! Alastor and I have just finished setting up a little introductory challenge for you. Minerva, would you care to join us as we test their dueling prowess?"

"I would be quite pleased to assist," she said while climbing the steps to join Flitwick and Moody at a good vantage point. "How are we going about this?"

"Figure we'll split 'em up and send 'em to opposite sides," growled Moody. "Experience versus numbers. Diggory and Potter on one side, Granger and the Weasleys on the other."

Flitwick nodded. "Yes, that should give us a more even match, at least to begin. We'll swap teams around as we go. For a start, let's limit the spells they can use. Nothing more powerful than a stunner for now. Feel free to use any other spells that you think may be helpful. The goal is to be the last team standing. Should we give them a minute to strategize?"

Moody shook his head. "There'll be time for us to talk strategy later, but I want to see their gut reactions. Let's just split 'em and get going. You two! Over to the far side of the room!"

Ginny released her grip on Harry and gave him a challenging smirk. "Don't think I'm going easy on you just 'cause you're cute, Potter."

Cedric and Harry hurried to the opposite end of the room as Ron whispered to Hermione and Ginny. Under his breath, Cedric asked, "Stick together or divide and conquer?"

"Together, for sure," answered Harry quietly. "Bet they'll try to surround us. How's your Disillusionment?"

"Not great, but it'd be an advantage."

"You're better than me at it. I can silence our footsteps if you can knock out invisibility."

As they reached the wall at the back of the classroom, Moody bellowed, "BEGIN!"

With a tap of his wand to Harry's head, Cedric uttered the incantation of the Disillusionment Charm before doing the same to himself. Harry pointed his wand at Cedric's feet then his own, and he was pleased to see Cedric stomp inaudibly before his foot became translucent. The barely-visible Cedric grabbed onto Harry's shoulder and pulled him behind one of the nearby conjured obstacles.

Both boys worked to quiet their breathing as they listened for signs that their opponents were on the move. The pattering of feet alerted them to someone making a break for the middle of the room. Harry and Cedric peered around their cover with wands drawn as Ginny darted behind some cover midway across the room. Both fired a stunner at her, but neither spell hit their speedy target.

"Oi! They're disillusioned near the far side of the room. Both of them are behind the thing that looks like a duck!" Ron's voice sounded like it was up and to Harry's left, near where the three professors were watching the proceedings.

"Ced!" whispered Harry urgently. "If Ron's calling out where we are, we'll be in trouble. Let's try to get him first, then we can focus elsewhere."

Cedric gave a quiet grunt that sounded like an affirmative to Harry and both crept toward the steps leading to where Ron was keeping watch. They leaned against another structure before Cedric whispered, "Close your eyes and be ready to stun." A moment later, the older boy cried, "LUMOS MAXIMA!"

Harry's vision was blurry even though his eyes had been squeezed tightly closed, but he immediately knew that his discomfort was nothing compared to Ron's. His friend had been staring intently into the middle of the classroom, but now was on his knees with his hands over his eyes and swearing vehemently.

"Stupefy!" called Harry and a jet of light knocked Ron unconscious.

"Down!" yelled Cedric as he pulled Harry onto the ground. From the side of the room across from Ron's body, Hermione's spell nearly collided with Harry as he scrambled behind another obstacle. They could tell where Hermione was firing from based on the angle, but Harry wasn't sure where Ginny had ended up.

"Around the side to pick off Granger?" asked Cedric as another of Hermione's spells hit the ground to their left. Harry nodded while scanning for signs of Ginny. They moved quickly and quietly from cover to cover until they reached the side where Hermione's spells had come from.

"I'll draw her fire so you can stun her," said Harry. He sprinted across the room while trying to keep cover between him and Hermione. He narrowly dodged a red spell that he could feel whoosh past his ear, only to hear Ginny triumphantly yell, "Stupefy!" from behind him. Harry didn't even have time to look as the spell hit his back and he crumpled to the floor.

When Harry awoke, Professor Flitwick and Ginny were both smiling down at him. She offered him a hand and pulled him to his feet. As the events of a few minutes before rushed back to him, Harry looked to Flitwick expectantly.

"Congratulations, Mr. Potter. The two of you narrowly came out on top. Let's debrief with the others!" Harry's hand remained firmly in Ginny's as they moved to where the other students and professors were gathered.

"First of all," began Flitwick. "Well done to all five of you. I had high expectations for this challenge, and those were certainly met. Because some of you were stunned as things progressed, let's go over what we saw. Alastor, I believe you were best able to observe them. Would you do the honors?

"Of course," answered the former Auror, significantly less gruffly than he usually sounded. "These three each split off to capture the high ground on either side of the room and the central area while the other two used a Disillusionment and a Quiet Feet Charm to maintain better stealth."

Ron groaned. "I should have remembered he'd use that one!"

"Weasley was working to identify and call out their movements, but couldn't relay them to his allies without giving away his position. Diggory incapacitated him with blinding light before Potter stunned him.

"Potter and Diggory used their cover well to get close enough to stun Granger, but Potter put himself at risk by playing the decoy. While Diggory took out Granger, Weasley got the drop on Potter and stunned him. The ploy succeeded in flushing out Granger, but the sacrifice wasn't worth the cost. Had this been the real deal, a Death Eater could've killed you easily."

Harry furrowed his brow and nodded. The fact that he'd known the worst that could happen was being stunned by his friends had definitely affected his choices. He knew that he shouldn't risk such a maneuver in a real battle.

"Diggory heard Weasley stun Potter and was able to incapacitate her before she could retreat back behind cover. All in all, significantly better than I was expecting. Both groups worked together well and played to your strengths. Your instincts are decent. Definitely have lots of room to improve, but at least we won't be babysitting."

"Agreed!" said Flitwick enthusiastically. "Dueling is rarely as straightforward as one-on-one out in the open. Each of you moved with purpose and thought before you acted. I'm certainly looking forward to when we professors get to face off against you!" The students' eyes widened at the suggestion before McGonagall spoke.

"I was most impressed by the tactical soundness each group displayed. Mr. Diggory and Mr. Potter disguised themselves well and evened the odds quickly. Mr. Weasley deployed Miss Weasley's speed where it would be most effective while taking the precarious role of lead communicator. Miss Granger recovered from the flash of light quickly enough to return fire and narrowly missed ousting an opponent in the ensuing volley. Miss Weasley anticipated a line of attack and was able to intercept Mr. Potter well. Overall, a very encouraging first attempt."

Ron's ears grew pink at the praise of his Head of House and all five students felt encouraged by their performance.

"What do you think?" asked Flitwick. "Switch up the teams or run it back again?"

Both Weasleys and Hermione were adamant that they be given a chance to even the score and neither Cedric nor Harry objected.

"That's the spirit!" said Moody with a grimace that Harry thought approximated a smile. "Swap ends of the room and start on my signal!"

Harry and Cedric hustled to the end that the others had started on previously and began planning. They'd only gotten a few words out before Moody's yell to begin reverberated through the classroom.

They quickly performed the same invisibility and quiet steps charms they'd used previously and began to creep toward the middle of the room. Cedric tapped Harry's shoulder as his almost imperceptible arm pointed toward the barrier where Hermione had been hiding in the first run-through. Sure enough, Ron had ducked behind a few desks while making his way to the cover that the professors had conjured.

Harry could hear footsteps racing off to his right, away from where they could just barely see Ron's knee sticking out from the cover. "Think I hear Ginny running over there," whispered Harry. "Ron first. You lead the way?" Cedric started moving away from the footsteps and toward Ron as Harry followed. They hid behind one of the conjured structures once they got near Ron's hiding place.

"I don't think I can transfigure something that big, but I should be able to move it so you can get a clean shot," said Harry quietly as he listened to Ginny's footsteps getting a bit closer. "Here we go. WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA!"

With a mighty crunch, the object dislodged from the ground and hovered into the air. Even though the object was not as solid as a boulder, it weighed enough to cause Harry to strain a bit as he held it aloft. A wide-eyed Ron let out a yelp as his cover soared away from him and had to dive to the side to avoid a well-placed stunner from Cedric. With Ron safely out of the way, Harry allowed the object to fall with a crash.

With a start, Harry saw something from the corner of his eye. The disillusioned form of Ginny had crept up behind Cedric from Ron's side of the room. Harry couldn't warn his friend in time as she yelled "Stupefy!" at the unsuspecting Seventh Year. He tried to train his wand on his girlfriend, but she dove behind the nearest cover as the voice of Hermione cried out from behind him, "Petrificus totalus!"

Harry's arms and legs froze motionless as he toppled toward the ground with a smile on his face. Ginny's "Impedimenta!" prevented his nose from smashing into the ground at full force. Ron let out a whoop as he sprang down the steps to where Ginny and Hermione already stood over their incapacitated friend. He slung an arm over each of their shoulders and beamed at Professor McGonagall as she came to survey the results.

After she enervated Cedric and dispelled the body bind on Harry, Ron hoisted his best mate to his feet. "You gave me a scare when you lifted away my cover! I thought you had me for sure!"

Flitwick looked thoroughly impressed with the results while McGonagall and Moody both appeared pleased.

"How'd she get the jump on us?" asked Cedric as he looked from Ginny to Moody. "I would've sworn I could hear her running further behind us before we tried to flush out her brother."

"You didn't hear Weasley. That was Granger running on our side of the room. She disillusioned Weasley and her brother silenced her steps before taking their positions. Lulled you into a false sense of security by feigning the same tactics as the first time, eh?" Harry and Cedric nodded at Moody sheepishly. "Not bad use of the environment when you removed that cover, but it put you at a disadvantage to be holding it up for so long. The bigger mistake was assuming your enemies would rely on the same tactics."

"The three of you did quite well," said McGonagall with a bit of pride in her voice. "Perhaps now would be a good time to change the teams up a bit…"
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