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SIYE Time:10:41 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: 38012; Chapter Total: 636
Awards: View Trophy Room






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Harry enjoyed the train ride back to London more than most of his other trips on the Hogwarts Express. It was filled with various conversations with members of the Defense Club who dropped into the compartment he shared with Ginny, Neville, Luna, and the twins. Ron and Hermione had wandered away to check on the other train cars, which was what Cedric and Cho were doing when they stopped by to chat. The four students who hadn't been privy to the Advanced Dueling demonstration listened with wide eyes and mouths agape as the others described a few of the more incredible feats to which they'd borne witness. When Cedric and Cho exited a few minutes later to complete their rounds, Fred and George made their sister and her boyfriend swear that they would receive a more detailed play-by-play over the holidays. George pulled familiar parchment, ink, and quill from his bag as Fred said they had items they could use to barter.

Demelza and a few Fourth Years joined them for a while once the twins left. Luna beamed when Harry made sure to mention how she'd conjured the best shield out of their whole year, and that it was even better than a couple of the Sixth Years. From what he'd heard from Ginny and observed in their break out Defense Class, he thought the younger students cared a bit too much about his opinion. If they were going to make that mistake, Harry figured he could at least try to make things a little better for Luna.

Ginny apparently gave her classmates a signal that some privacy would be appreciated, because soon enough the couple was again left with only Luna and Neville. Harry was threading his fingers through Ginny's hair as she lay on his lap when he heard two quick knocks at the compartment door. Ginny gave no indication that she was leaving her spot, so Harry shrugged at Neville, who smiled despite rolling his eyes as he got up to answer.

A confident voice spoke from the corridor. "Longbottom. Potter in there?"

"Yeah, he is," Neville spoke with significantly less self-assurance. "You want to come in or should he come talk to you out here?"

Blaise stepped through the doorway that Neville vacated. "In here would be better. Nothing too big, but I'd rather not have extra eyes on me for this. Unless you'd prefer a bit more privacy, Potter?"

By now, Ginny had sat up next to Harry and was watching the newcomer with a hint of suspicion. Luna, on the other hand, seemed to be mesmerized by the countryside that was whirring past their window.

"Hey, Blaise. I trust everyone here, if that's what you're asking."

The Slytherin smirked, though not unkindly. "That doesn't surprise me. Just figured I'd give you a heads up. Draco's more agitated than usual and he might be planning to get the drop on you on the train at some point. Not that you heard it from me, of course."

Harry chuckled to himself. "Of course not. I'll make sure to watch my back. Thanks for the warning."

"Don't mention it," Blaise's eyebrow lifted slightly. "Any truth to the rumor swirling around that you got to watch a bunch of the professors dueling?"

Harry smirked back at him. "We might have seen something along those lines."

Blaise looked at him for a long moment before relenting. "Fair enough. I'm looking forward to getting back to Defense Club in the spring term."

"I'll try to stay on your good side," replied Harry. "Don't want to end up on the wrong side of one of your Stunners. Couldn't help noticing yours was one of the strongest in our year."

"The Club isn't the only place I've worked on my defense," said Blaise as Harry rose to his feet. He offered his hand. "Happy Christmas, Harry."

"Happy Christmas, Blaise," said Harry, gripping his hand tightly. He watched as Zabini nodded to the others before slipping back into the corridor.

"What in the world was that?" asked Neville as soon as the door was closed. "I think that's the first time he's ever spoken to me."

Ginny giggled while pulling Harry back onto the seat next to her. "Maybe he's just got a crush on you? I'm not sharing, though!"

Harry laughed along with the others, but he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something more going on under the surface that he wasn't picking up. Eventually, he gave up the thought when Ron and Hermione gleefully walked into the compartment ready to tell the tale of how Cedric had overheard Draco going over a plan with Crabbe and Goyle to ambush Harry. Apparently, they were going to hide nearby until Harry went to the loo.

Ron couldn't stop laughing as he relayed how Cedric and Cho had cast Full Body Binds on them before they could even pull out their wands. The two had confiscated the offenders' wands before locking the three students in a compartment. Apparently, Cedric removed the lightbulbs from the room while Cho transfigured the glass into wood, so they'd be stuck in the dark for the remainder of the ride.

At Platform 9 ¾, Harry helped Luna with her luggage after Ginny gave him a dangerous look when he offered to carry hers. Far more students than usual waved at him or told him to enjoy the holidays, almost all of them members of the Defense Club. Hermione rushed over to greet her parents, bidding Harry, Ron, and Ginny goodbye with a promise that she'd be in contact about plans for the end of the holidays.

When he reached where Sirius stood next to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, he felt a warmth in his chest despite the blustery weather. Sirius pulled him into a hug as the Weasley children each received the unavoidable crushing embrace from their Mum while Arthur began peppering them with questions about the term. As soon as Molly released the last of her kids, she grabbed Harry by the shoulders and hugged him just as tightly.

"I know things are a bit different now that you've got Sirius to spend your holidays with, but I still expect to see a bit of you before you head back to Hogwarts," she said with an extra squeeze before releasing him from her embrace.

Harry smiled as he thought of how much time he'd like to spend at the Weasley's house. "I wouldn't miss it. You'll probably be sick of me by the time we go back to school."

"I doubt that," said Arthur with a chuckle, laying his hand on Harry's shoulder. "We're doing Christmas at the Burrow, and we'd love to have you and Sirius come over."

"Just tell us what to bring, and we'll be there with bells on," replied Sirius jovially. "I thought it might be nice to have a bit of a party for New Year's, if you've been missing Grimmauld?"

Mrs. Weasley's strained smile indicated that she was rather happy to not be living in the Ancient and Noble House of Black anymore, but she assured everyone that the Weasleys would be thrilled to attend.

"Alright, if that's all settled, let's get going," said Sirius to Harry, who was holding Ginny's hand a little tighter than usual.

"Err… Could we wait just a bit? I was hoping to say bye to Gin."

Harry blushed furiously as the twins howled in laughter. He couldn't force himself to make eye contact with either Mr. or Mrs. Weasley as Ron smacked his arm and incredulously reminded him that they'd already planned for Harry to visit via floo in two days.

"Alright, alright. We'll meet you two at the apparation point in…" Sirius looked to Molly, who stealthily held up five fingers. "Five minutes. Any longer than that and we send a search party, got it?"

When Harry and Ginny made it to the apparition point with ten seconds to spare, Sirius could only roll his eyes. The twins had already vanished by the time the couple rejoined Ron and their guardians, and Arthur Side-Along Apparated his youngest son away as the two approached. Ginny waved brightly as she took her mother's arm, and her goodbye to Harry was cut off as she and Mrs. Weasley disappeared into thin air.

"Well, looks like you managed to stay on her good side for a whole term!" said Sirius with a grin. "Let's get you back to Grimmauld. We've got some catching up to do!"

~RLM~

Harry was excited to learn that Sirius had been quite busy since his official exoneration. Though most of the house had been made habitable by the end of the summer, its owner had put in a good deal of work since September. Grimmauld Place had transformed into something not unlike a hostel. Most of the many bedrooms were now outfitted to host visitors at a moment's notice. The library had several huge maps spread out across the tables that weren't covered in impressively large tomes about magical defense or Wizarding history. Sirius promised that they could decorate whichever room Harry claimed at some point, but he was excited to hear more about the term.

Harry had relayed most of the major events to Sirius via owl over the previous few months, but long hours without much to else to do let him giving his godfather a much more detailed rundown of his exploits. They slunk into the new couches Sirius had gotten for in front of the fireplace as Harry talked about his favorite moments from the Defense Club, dealing with Umbridge, and how things were going with Ginny, one with a piping hot mug of cocoa and the other nursing a Firewhisky. Sirius listened intently, drinking in his godson's exploits with a crooked grin plastered to his face. Harry began to yawn before he'd gotten to his most recent lesson with Snape and McGonagall, much less witnessing Dumbledore and the other professors dueling, and they resolved to reconvene in the morning.

After a bit of a lie-in, Harry woke up to the smell of bacon being burned and the sounds of Remus laughing and Sirius swearing. He drug himself downstairs to where his godfather was tossing a dozen blackened strips of charred meat into the bin.

"First time with the kid under your roof as a free man and you're going to burn the place down around him?" laughed Remus as Harry entered the smoke-tinged room.

"Lay off," growled Sirius, tossing a wooden spoon at his friend. "It's hard to keep up cooking skills while locked up in Azkaban!"

"Don't let him fool you, Harry. I crashed at his place after Hogwarts enough times to know he's always been hopeless."

Harry chuckled as he came alongside Remus with intent to ensure there was something edible at the start of their day. The two mocked Sirius relentlessly as they took over breakfast duties, managing to whip up an excellent spread while their third wheel made sarcastic remarks from the table to which he'd been banished. His former professor did make sure to apologize for missing out on meeting them at the platform, but Harry didn't begrudge the man for his work reaching out to other werewolves.

Breakfast conversation again focused on Harry retelling stories from his term, only this time his descriptions were accompanied by Sirius' interjections. Remus was thoroughly impressed with what the Defense Club had accomplished in terms of teaching. A quicker retelling let Harry regale both older men with his new Occlumency technique.

"So both of them ended up saying that the new way was working better for me. By the end of the session, McGonagall seemed really pleased and Snape looked…" Harry searched for the right words. "I dunno. Like working with me wasn't the biggest waste of time that week."

"Coming from him, that's high praise," said Remus. "He and I will probably never see eye to eye on everything-"

"Because the bastard got you fired from your dream job by outing you to the entire world," interjected Sirius hotly.

"Be that as it may, Severus is one of the best at Occlumency in the world. Maybe the best. Considering how much his personal frustrations with James have spilled over into his academic relationship with you“" Sirius looked to be on the verge of throwing something as he growled various curses under his breath. "-if he believes something is working, it's an incredibly positive sign."

"That's kinda what I figured," replied Harry. "It's not like he's ever going to be my favorite professor, but at least I'm learning helpful stuff from him. When he was dueling the other Heads of House, I couldn't believe how much he was able to do nonverbally."

Harry did his best to stay nonchalant, but the looks of shock from the other two caused a mischievous smile to emerge.

"Oh, did I not tell you about dueling practice? Professor Dumbledore arranged it in the Defense Chamber before we left for the holidays. It was fun getting to watch Flitwick show a bit of why he's a dueling champion, although Dumbledore knocked him out early in the next round."

"You're having us on!" cried Sirius. He glanced at a gobsmacked Remus. "There's no way. He's having us on!"

"I don't think Harry's that good of a liar…" said Remus quietly, his eyes not straying from Harry.

"Details! Now!" barked Sirius.

"I don't want to bore you," replied Harry, a full grin breaking across his face. "Shouldn't we go shopping for some things for my new room before we”"

With one quick motion, Sirius lept to his feet and tossed the fifteen-year-old over his shoulder, carrying him unceremoniously into the sitting room. Harry laughed while struggling to extricate himself from his godfather's grasp as Remus followed behind with a shrug. "You can't have expected any less after pulling something like that, I'm afraid."

Sirius tossed him onto a couch and summoned a chair to himself, which he twirled backward and straddled. Remus simply pulled a chair up next to Sirius and waited intently as Harry sat up straight and tried to compose himself.

"I'm afraid I'm on your godfather's side for this one, Harry," said Remus with a smile. "I want a full play-by-play."

It took nearly an hour, but Harry was finally able to give them a complete run-down of the evening's action. Extra time was spent going over some of the magic Dumbledore had used that neither of the men had ever seen used. Sirius was most eager to learn about a match from later in the session when McGonagall and Dumbledore attempted to protect a parchment from Moody, Flitwick, and Snape. When he was done, Harry lounged back on the couch and let his astounded listeners recover for a moment.

"Harry, that sounds absolutely incredible," marveled Sirius almost reverently. "Dumbledore told me he was going to take a more active role in training you up this year, but I didn't realize…"

Remus nodded along as Sirius' voice trailed off. "It's a brilliant means of teaching. You all get to see how some of the most skilled and experienced witches and wizards react to various situations, learn more about what's possible, and see how various strengths and weaknesses play out in combat."

"And Dumbledore said you'll be going up against them this term?" asked Sirius.

"Yeah, the six of us will be working together at first, but he said we'll eventually have fewer and fewer on a team at a time. I think he wants to split us into teams with the professors at some point, too."

"That settles it," said Sirius self-importantly. "We're scrapping the restful holiday plans. No more sitting around sipping hot chocolate, no visiting the Burrow, and certainly no Christmas. We're dedicating every waking moment to ensuring that you're trained to put Snivellus on his arse the first time you face him."

Remus laughed as he smacked Sirius on the arm. "You're just jealous that they're getting to flex their dueling muscles. Bet it helps sharpen their skills just as much as it helps you lot. Maybe if you talked to Dumbledore, he'd let you join as an Assistant Professor or something! You could get the real professors their coffee."

Sirius let out a swear under his breath. "Not likely. But we still should talk to Dumbledore about joining in on the fun. I wouldn't mind showing you both of you a thing or two."

~RLM~

The next few days passed in a blur for Harry. Sirius and Remus took him shopping for a bit of new furniture for his new room and met up with Tonks after her shift at the Ministry. The four of them moved Harry's new things into a room down the hallway from Sirius' and spent a while decorating it. When Tonks decided to stick around for dinner, Harry noticed that Remus put in extra effort into whipping up an excellent meal.

She kept the three boys in stitches throughout the evening with a variety of tales of her own exploits during her time at Hogwarts and a bevy of spot-on impersonations. Her impression of a simpering Umbridge fawning over Fudge made Harry spew out his drink all down his front. Remus alternated between resolutely attempting to keep a bit of distance between him and her and looking at her with more than a bit of longing.

Harry wondered if the same look was plastered on his own face the next day when he stumbled out of the fireplace at the Burrow to find Ginny smiling down at him from her perch on the arm of the Weasley's couch. Even if he looked just as hopeless as his former professor, he didn't dwell on it too much as he scrambled to his feet to greet his girlfriend.

They had a great deal of fun traipsing through the woods near the Burrow, exploring little trails that Ginny and her brothers had frequented for years. A light dusting of snow made the scene all the more magical to Harry as Ginny pulled him by the hand to some of her favorite spots. The two of them spent a good deal of time tossing stones at the surface of the frozen pond until their reverie was broken by the sound of Ron calling to them.

Harry's best mate had slept in until nearly noon before being rousted by his mother. He beckoned for them to join the family for lunch, which was the type of delicious only Mrs. Weasley seemed capable of producing.

Their afternoon was filled with the exhilaration of varying Quidditch games. Despite the cold wind picking up as the grey sky darkened, Harry thoroughly enjoyed flying two against two with either Fred or George against Ginny and the alternate twin. Ron guarded the makeshift hoop that had been bewitched to hang in the air and was quite formidable without needing to worry about multiple hoops to defend. Harry and the twins saw most of their shots fly well wide of their target or get knocked away by the Gryffindor Keeper, but Ginny had moderate success despite the odds being stacked against her.

When they finally succumbed to the bitter cold encroaching as darkness fell and returned to the warmth of the Burrow, Harry was pleased to see Bill and Fleur warming themselves in front of the fireplace. Ginny nearly knocked Bill from his chair as she collided with him with full force. With a laugh, he pulled her into a tight embrace. Fleur swept up to greet her boyfriend's younger siblings and Harry, quickly kissing all eight cheeks that had already been reddened by the frigid weather.

The raucous meal that followed was bliss to Harry. Several hilarious stories were passed back and forth between the twins, Ginny, and Bill. A quick aside from Fred to Fleur when Mrs. Weasley went to the kitchen led Harry to believe that the twins were very interested in learning more about the tricks she'd pulled off over the years. When Harry caught George's eye while the two whispered, he'd merely winked and said, "Research and development!"

Mr. Weasley peppered Fleur with a number of questions about French Muggles until his wife's second admonishment to let the subject rest. With a twinkle in his eye that resembled Fred and George, he diverted the conversation to the story of how Molly had caught his attention back in his Sixth Year and the circumstances leading to their relationship beginning. Mrs. Weasley blushed deeply as he described the events, but Harry thought her protests about his story-telling flourishes belied great pride that she'd won his affection.

When he'd finished, Arthur asked Bill and Fleur if they would be up for divulging how their relationship began. Fleur happily recounted how she'd been taken with Bill's charm when meeting the Weasley's before the Third Task and that she admired the strength and protectiveness of his family he displayed in the hospital wing. She grinned at Ginny when relaying that her first letter to Bill had been passed along by the youngest Weasley, only to find that Bill had sent her a letter of his own before receiving her missive.

Bill sheepishly said that he hadn't wanted to seem overbearing but had reached out to offer her help getting accustomed to London when she arrived for her new job at Gringotts. The two had exchanged a few "mostly professional" letters before she arrived in England. Once they met up and began to see each other more often, it wasn't long before Bill worked up the nerve to ask her on a proper date.

"Boys can act so foolish sometimes," said Fleur as she smiled at Bill. "I 'ave no interest in spending time with someone only attracted to my looks. But your Bill 'as been so kind and considerate. 'E sees so much more than what ees on the outside. I feel very fortunate to be with such an extraordinary man, both as a Curse Breaker and as a person."

Mrs. Weasley hadn't been unkind to Fleur by any means over the course of dinner, but Harry thought he could sense her soften towards their guest afterward. Bill and Fleur expounded on how things had started off between them, how they were navigating some cross-cultural differences, and a couple of stories about their work at Gringotts.

George regaled the table with the story of Harry's demonstration of disarming and shields, complete with Fred acting the part of Stephen being blown clear across the room, out the door, and into a snowdrift. Despite Harry's assurances that his feats were not that spectacular, the family still spent quite a while asking questions about the Defense Club and how Ron, Ginny, and Harry were doing leading it. Both parents beamed as tales of their youngest two's exploits were retold by the twins and Harry.

By the time Harry arrived back at Grimmauld Place, he was exhausted from gallivanting around the countryside on foot and on broom. He lay awake for a long time, his mind racing between the fun he'd had and his growing excitement about what the next few weeks would hold.
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