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SIYE Time:9:47 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: 37988; Chapter Total: 594
Awards: View Trophy Room






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It was an odd feeling, thought Harry. He'd spent a good deal of time thinking about what it would mean for Sirius to officially become his guardian. About never staying with the Dursleys again. About being a part of a family that wanted him. But even after talking about it multiple times over the summer and eagerly anticipating the change, he found that he felt remarkably similar in the days following dropping off the paperwork at the Ministry. It was like being excited about a birthday, but waking up to the realization that he hadn't magically become wiser or more mature just by becoming older.

His friends had all been supportive when he returned to the castle with news of Sirius' exoneration and their move toward adoption. Ron had jokingly pouted about losing out on the chance of having Harry as an officially adopted Weasley, but Ginny was perfectly content with him not becoming her brother.

Despite the significant developments for Sirius and himself, Harry's life just kept moving forward. His professors had not reduced the flow of homework and Angelina had increased their practice schedule in preparation for their first match against Slytherin.

Defense had become a series of escalating chess moves. Every time Harry felt like he was gaining an upper hand in his battle against Umbridge, she would use some new tactic to undercut him. Her propensity for taking points away for anything that could be construed as an infraction, whether real or imagined, left the Gryffindor hourglass stuck at no more than a few dozen rubies at the end of each week. That total had dropped all the way to zero on two different occasions. Unfortunately for her, the Lions' dismal standings in the points competition had erased much of the incentive to earn points or not lose them. Slytherin and Ravenclaw were nearly across the one-hundred-point threshold, leading the Gryffindors to all but give up.

Most students had learned quickly that anything detention-worthy should be avoided at all costs in Umbridge's sight. Harry's experience in his week doing lines with her had been experienced by several other students, all of whom had reported back to their friends that stepping out of line in front of her was not worth it.

In the aftermath of Umbridge's symposium stunt to thwart the Defense Club, she soon found out that the other professors had helped the students circumvent her tactics. This news was followed by the sacking of Cornelius Fudge and the resulting loss of status for the now-former Undersecretary to the Minister. It didn't take Legilimency to know that there was a whirlwind of rage boiling just below the veneer of her syrupy-sweet smile.

At the end of another interminable Defense class, Harry waited impatiently for the bell to ring so that he could get away to somewhere more pleasant. Most places he could think of qualified, including under the Black Lake caught in the embrace of the Giant Squid. When the bell mercifully rang, he grabbed his bag and started to stand. With a start, he realized his mistake and tried to fall back into his seat, only to find Professor Umbridge's eyes staring him down greedily.

"Ah, Mr. Potter! How unsurprising that you would fail to heed a simple instruction. The bell does not dismiss you; only I can do that." Her smile grew wider as it became more of a sneer. "As I understand it, you've been attempting to undermine my teaching through your little club. All that extra time spent fomenting trouble and lies. I'd hoped that your previous detention had made my point loud and clear, but you are obviously far too obstinate and dull-witted to understand the error of your ways so easily."

Harry stared back at Umbridge, willing himself not to respond. From the corner of his eye, he spotted Hermione quietly casting, "Silencio!" at him and Ron. He bristled as the sound of his breathing became inaudible, trying to remind himself that he'd agreed with Hermione about this precaution.

"Perhaps detention in and of itself will not bring you into a full understanding of the error of your ways. Lies and insubordination like yours are spreading at such a rapid rate that great leaders like Minister Fudge have been illegally pushed out, in favor of the weak and the overly ambitious. The Minister's return to power is assured once the truth comes out, but that much needed return to sanity and order is slowed by agitators like you spewing lies and filth to trick the masses into not trusting their rightful leaders.

"One week of detention was not enough to bend your will to the truth. This time, let's try a more targeted approach. I believe you are on your house's little quidditch team, correct?" Harry's eyes grew wide with fear as he nodded. "Oh, dear. It seems as though you've forgotten another class rule. I didn't hear you respond with 'Yes, ma'am, Professor Umbridge.'"

The professor's eyes narrowed as her grin grew even wider. "Miss Granger, you have cast a spell in my classroom, despite my specific warnings against doing so. You and Mr. Potter will both join me for Saturday detentions until the end of November."

An inaudible swear from Ron was coupled with a very loud gasp from Hermione. Harry's mouth went slack as he stared back at Umbridge.

"Finite incantatem. If you valued your little game or your friends who care about it so much, maybe you would choose to give up your attention-seeking lies. But I guess that's far too much to ask from a child who mistakenly thinks himself a hero to be worshiped just because his parents died."

There was a ringing in Harry's ears as he clenched his jaw and his fists. Neville looked like he was about to speak up, but Harry glanced in his direction and shook his head angrily. It took everything within him not to give in to the goading. His mind went back to his Occlumency lessons, and he closed his eyes. Not having to look at the stupid grin on her toad-like face made it a little easier to not shout the plethora of truthful insults flashing through his mind.

"Nothing to say, Mr. Potter? Then I'll assume you aren't capable of backing up your lies, unsurprising though that is. A liar withers in the face of the truth. Another reason why I encourage everyone here to speak up whenever a malcontent like Mr. Potter opens his mouth. The lies he spouts are dangerous, so be wary about associating with him or any of his little friends. Those who foment instability, like these children with their little club, often meet a very unsavory end."

She surveyed the classroom once more, eagerly searching out any students who might challenge what she'd said, but found no one willing to engage. The prospect of two months of detention had stolen the words from their mouths.

"Glad to have that cleared up. Class dismissed."

Harry stormed from the classroom, closely followed by Neville, Ron, and Hermione, whose face was red with anger and remorse. "Harry, I'm so sorry! I had no idea she would catch me casting it and it was my idea to use the spell in the first place and I shouldn't have ever doubted…"

"Hermione!" said Harry roughly, trying to control the frustration that was pushing on him from every angle. "It's not your fault! She probably was going to give me all that detention anyway. She's been looking for any reason to do it, especially since Fudge got booted out. I'm just…"

Harry looked at his hands, which were shaking under the weight of his anger. "I wanted to finally get to play in a match with Ron. And because of a stupid mistake, now I won't even be able to be there to watch. Ginny'll play in my spot, but that means I won't get to see her first match either." He swore under his breath.

"That was one of the nastiest low-blows I've ever heard," spat Neville. "I don't think I've even heard Malfoy come close to that one."

Before Harry could respond, he noticed Ron gesturing at him. Umbridge had dispelled the Silencing Charm on Harry while trying to get him to argue back with her but had either not noticed Ron's or not considered him important enough to bother with. With a flick of his wand, he ended the charm.

"About bloody time!" exclaimed Ron loudly while making a rude gesture in the direction of the Defense Classroom. "I know I would've landed in detention with you two, but I kinda wish she'd unsilenced me, too. She deserves to get an earful for everything she's said."

"Let's just get out of here," said Harry dejectedly. "We need to let Ginny and Angelina know. Gin's great, so it shouldn't be a big deal, but Ange is still going to be livid. She can be as cutthroat as Wood was."

As the four made their way down to the Great Hall, Harry couldn't help but wonder what else he was going to lose because he'd made enemies with Dolores Jane Umbridge.

~RLM~

Angelina's eye was twitching involuntarily as she addressed the team that evening before practice. She did her best not to glare daggers at Harry, but he still felt the weight of disappointment from her and much of the rest of the team. Ginny squeezed his hand encouragingly as Ange relayed her new "Don't Antagonize Umbridge" rule for all Gryffindor quidditch players.

When Angelina pulled Ginny aside to give her some personalized instructions, Fred scooted next to Harry and draped a strong arm across his drooping shoulders. His admission that neither he nor his twin had ever missed a game due to detention was clearly meant to further impress on Harry how unfair and unreasonable the punishment was, but it only served to cement in his head that he'd let his team down.

Angelina's whistle for the starters to take their positions sounded. Harry was on his broom and in the air when Katie caught his eye and shook her head with a sympathetic look. He sheepishly returned to the ground, face ablaze with a furious blush. He watched from the ground as the seven starters flew through their paces, standing next to Frobisher and Peakes.

When the reserves joined the practice, Harry felt distinctly out of sorts. He filled in for Ginny as a backup Chaser, but his lack of experience in the position led to a number of dropped quaffles and grumbling from whichever starter was paired with him. During a break, Harry apologized to Alicia for flubbing multiple passes from her, Ron for not staying in front of Angelina during a breakaway, Katie for throwing an errant pass that led her directly into the path of a bludger, and Angelina again for throwing the whole team off by receiving detention. The only bright spot he could see from the practice was that Ginny looked more than capable of flying circles around the Slytherins.

Harry's second Occlumency lesson was dismal. Despite having spent time each evening attempting to empty his mind before falling asleep, he found that his frustration over Umbridge and missing the upcoming quidditch match was difficult to release. By the time he again sat in the Potions dungeon with Snape and McGonagall, Harry was no closer to folding and storing his emotions and memories than he'd been two weeks prior. In fact, he felt a bit worse off. An hour and a half later, Harry's scowl informed his friends of just how poorly the lesson had gone.

His sour mood lasted into the weekend. Harry and Hermione sat stony-faced in Umbridge's office while writing lines, bombarded by the sound of their words echoing in their own ears. The sadistic professor's smile widened as Harry slowly scrawled "I must not tell lies," over and over again, while Hermione carefully etched the words "I am incapable of casting or teaching defensive magic." A quick glance at his friend ensured that Harry saw the tears welling in her eyes, even if she stubbornly refused to allow them to fall.

When detention finished, Harry and Hermione trudged back to Gryffindor Tower. She sniffled a bit as they quietly walked together before darting into a nearby loo to vomit. Harry waited patiently for her outside, massaging his temples and squeezing his eyes shut in an attempt to push away the voices that still flooded his mind.

When the two of them finally made their way into the portrait hole, Harry's mood brightened considerably. A raucous party was well underway, filled with merriment and laughter. Two tables had been filled to overflowing with a bevy of delicious foods and drinks. Hermione and Harry hadn't gotten more than three steps into the Common Room before a red-headed missile tore through the crowd to tackle him.

"Omigosh, Harry, that was the BEST!" cried Ginny as she squeezed her boyfriend with all her might. "We got down by sixty to twenty right off the bat because Slytherin was really getting into Ron's head with their chant, but Ange called a timeout and said something to him and then he made two incredible saves in a row that shut up the crowd and Alicia scored three in a row and we used the trick play where I pulled away to help the Chasers and got an assist on Katie's third goal and I saw the Snitch hovering near the Ravenclaw stands and got there before Malfoy even noticed I was after it and I got it and…"

Harry grinned from ear to ear as Ginny finally took a breath as she looked up at him with glee. "We ended up winning 340 to 120!" He let out a whoop and lifted her into the air, spinning her around as she squealed with delight.

Ron extricated himself from a gaggle of other Fifth Years and made his way to the three of them. Harry was excited to see the look of relief on his friend's face.

"Oi! You held them to 120?" Harry did his best to ignore the dull roar of his own whispers in his head as he punched Ron's should good-naturedly. "Wood'd be proud!"

He let out a long breath as he shook his head back and forth. His eyes were still a bit wider than normal, as if he was rather surprised to have come out on top.

"Those first few minutes were rough," he said unsteadily. "But I think I settled in alright after that."

Hermione's face looked strained as she listened, and Harry was sure she wished she could flee to her dorm room to get away from the cacophony of the Common Room after the detention. Still, she managed a small smile. "Ginny said you made some great saves. Would you tell us about it?"

Ron beamed with pride. "Okay, so they were making a move my direction after Katie lost the quaffle to their big Chaser. Think he's a Seventh Year, looks kinda like an uglier version Goyle?" Harry closed his eyes to picture the scene as Ginny provided the name Urquhart. "He was tearing up the middle and narrowly dodged a bludger from George while passing it back and forth with their smaller Chaser, the Fourth Year bloke. Fred had knocked Vaisey out of formation, but Alicia and Angelina couldn't get back in time to help defend."

"So it was a two-on-one with Urquhart and another guy?" asked Harry.

"Yeah, and I wasn't feeling confident after letting so many goals through that early. And the bloody Slytherin fans were singing a stupid song about me…" A red tint began to form on Ron's cheeks as he described the play. "I dunno why, but I had a feeling Urquhart was going to take the shot. When they got near, I feinted left then dove right. Barely connected with the quaffle, but it was enough to deflect it!"

A genuine smile graced Hermione's face. "I wish I could've seen it!"

"That wasn't even his best one!" said Ginny brightly. "Right after that, he got left on an island when Vaisey stole the quaffle from Ange. Ron tried to cover to his left, but Vaisey held back his throw and changed to the center hoop at the last second. Ron stopped but didn't have time to turn back, so he kept a grip on his broom with his hands and kicked back his legs to knock the quaffle off its line. He had to scramble to pull himself back up afterward, but it was a spectacular save!"

For the next hour, Harry listened intently as multiple teammates regaled him with stories from the match. He was very relieved that none of them held his absence against him, even Angelina. Her frustration had subsided considerably after Ron pulled her aside to explain what Umbridge had said in class, and during the celebration she punched Harry's shoulder and expressed understanding about the whole situation. He felt certain that Gryffindor's win had increased her empathy toward him, but at least he hadn't caused them to lose the match.

Long before the party died down, Harry and Hermione both retreated to their dorm rooms to try to escape the noise of the crowd and the constant whispering of their own voices. As Harry climbed the stairs to his room, he glanced at Ginny amidst Alicia and a few other Seventh Years who were laughing at something the twins had said. He smiled at how happy she'd been all night and thought, not for the first time, that he was glad that Ginny got to fly in his place.

~RLM~

With the excitement of the quidditch match in the rearview mirror, most of the next week passed rather uneventfully. Harry's classes went relatively well, other than the normal biting remarks from Professor Snape and an especially frustrated-looking Professor Umbridge. It seemed neither of them were pleased with Gryffindor's win over Slytherin, and took every opportunity to vent their frustration. Each class had been saddled with copious amounts of homework that Harry felt could only be reasonably considered retribution.

Despite miserable hours spent in Potions and Defense, Harry felt much more capable in some of his other classes. Transfiguration and Charms were still quite difficult at times, but he couldn't shake the feeling that Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick were pushing Hermione, Ron, and him. Once the three of them had successfully mastered the basics of the Inatimus Conjurus spell, McGonagall gave them an appraising look.

"I want each of you to continue practicing this spell. Not only is it likely to be covered on your OWLs, but it is quite handy to be able to conjure an object to absorb the attack of an opponent. The better you are at conjuring, the more effective such tactics can be." She allowed herself a tight-lipped smile as the three students quickly redoubled their efforts.

By the time Thursday rolled around, Harry was eagerly anticipating the upcoming Advanced Defense session. Hermione had relayed their desire to master the Patronus Charm to Dumbledore, who had agreed with their estimation of its usefulness. Cedric and Cho were to meet Ginny, Hermione, and Ron in Professor Flitwick's classroom to go over the basics and begin practicing the charm while Harry would meet with the headmaster. He wasn't sure what Dumbledore had planned for their session, but he felt a nervous energy coursing through his body as he wished the others good luck before setting off down a corridor.

Once he was seated in an overstuffed chair in front of Dumbledore's desk, Harry looked up at the headmaster expectantly. Fawkes trilled softly from his perch as bright blue eyes met green.

"Good evening, Harry! I am quite pleased to have an opportunity to discuss a few matters with you. But first, may I interest you in a lemon drop?" Harry politely declined and the older wizard shrugged before popping one into his mouth. "Let us begin with some congratulations. Sirius informed me that you and he completed and submitted your paperwork with regard to your guardianship.

"Though the change does complicate some matters, it also serves to free you from many onerous stipulations. I will admit that my estimation of the value of your familial protections outweighed my concerns regarding the care provided by your aunt and uncle. But with Sirius' name cleared, there was scant recourse even had I desired to prevent your godfather from fulfilling your parents' wishes. Truth be told, I now believe the benefits far outweigh the costs incurred."

Harry did his best not to smirk as he remembered Sirius loudly and fervently arguing the point with the headmaster over the summer. The shouting may not have swayed Dumbledore much, but a few exceedingly unpleasant memories of Harry's treatment at the hands of his relatives that were shared certainly helped make the point. By the end of the summer holiday, Sirius had informed Harry that Dumbledore was on board with the adoption. "Not that he could've stopped me," Sirius had said with a wink.

"I was also hoping to briefly discuss the Defense Club with you," continued the headmaster as he steepled his fingers in front of him. "I must admit I was curious as to how your first meeting went after I departed. Rumors are swirling that it was a rousing success."

"Yes, sir, we thought it went really well. We focused on Shields and Disarming since those seemed like basics that could be helpful in almost any defensive situation. And the spells were simple enough for all the years to be able to perform but could be strengthened by some of the older students. I think most people enjoyed the session and want to keep coming, plus a few new people have agreed to join since our meeting. We're going to break up the big group into smaller sections by year. Cedric's handling the Seventh Years with help from Ron, Hermione's jumping in with Cho for the Sixth Years, the three of us are taking on the Fifth Years, and the Fourth Years will be with Ginny and me."

"An excellent strategy! I find that, though I am perfectly capable of teaching large groups, I am more effective when faced with fewer students. I'm certain that you and Miss Weasley will do well working alongside one another." Harry did his best not to allow the traitorous blush he felt encroaching to reach his cheeks. "Regarding the students who have attended the first Defense Club meeting, I take it I was not the only one to notice several students from Slytherin?"

"We had at least three that I noticed, but there could've been more I missed. It was Blaise, Daphne, and Theo from my year."

"It will no doubt be unsurprising to you that Hogwarts has been rife with disunity for many years. Likely since its earliest days, but at least since before my time as a student." A wistful look rested on Dumbledore's face as he gazed the Harry. "There have been many attempts to foster the kind of camaraderie and trust between houses that seems so difficult. Perhaps it is due to the organic, student-led nature of this group or the personalities of you six as leaders; maybe it is due to the perilous times during which we find ourselves. For whatever reason, I am more hopeful for a unified Hogwarts than I have been in a very long time. I say this not to add pressure to your endeavor, but simply to point out a beautiful thing in your midst with the hope that you will see its great value and be watchful for opportunities to further its growth."

Harry nodded solemnly. "I understand, sir. We've already been working to make sure everyone is welcome, especially those who might be most likely to feel excluded."

"Wonderful! I also have some news that I think may buoy your spirits as much as it has mine. I'm certain that you have noticed that our school has sorely missed our Gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures professor this term." Harry's eyes grew wide and he unconsciously leaned forward. "Hagrid has spent many months on an errand of great importance to our cause. I received an owl from him indicating that he expects to be back at Hogwarts within a fortnight."

Despite usually trying to present a more mature seriousness when meeting with the headmaster, Harry squeezed his eyes shut and let out an exuberant whoop of joy. Happiness radiated off his grinning face when he reopened his eyes to see Dumbledore beaming back at him.

"I must say that I felt the same when I got the news. I'm certain that Hagrid will be delighted to see you once again. Which leaves only one other thing to discuss before diving into our task for this evening…"

A mischievous smile danced on Dumbledore's lips as he savored Harry's anticipation.

"Sirius and Kingsley have located a Horcrux."
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