|SIYE Time:10:34 on 3rd December 2023|
Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory
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Genres: Action/Adventure, General, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
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: 38009; Chapter Total: 442
Awards: View Trophy Room
Harry's nerves got the better of him while Neville was stuck in Umbridge's office, so he surreptitiously produced the Marauders Map when the detention was coming to a close. Ron and Ginny joined him in staring at Neville's dot as it made its way toward Gryffindor Tower. Hermione huffed when Ron noted that Neville had passed by the loo without stopping, saying something under her breath about "an invasion of privacy," but she couldn't help glancing up from her Charms revisions as he approached.
Neville Longbottom was not used to being the center of attention, but when he climbed into the Common Room he was accosted by an excitable cluster of Gryffindors. Most were Fifth Years who'd been present for the assigning of his detention, but Fred and George looked to him expectantly and a few of the members of the Defense Club gathered around the gaggle, too. Word had spread that there was a potential solution to Umbridge's quill, and it seemed quite a few students were interested in the test results.
"Oi, give the man some space, you lot!" called out Fred, ushering Neville to a nearby couch. "How'd it go?"
Neville stared at the older boy quizzically before motioning to his ears.
Fred laughed before pointing his wand at Neville, causing the mixture to pop out and land in his hands with a rather unpleasant squelch. A few of the nearby students grimaced at the sound, but Fred's attention remained on Neville, who began to grin.
"It worked like a charm!" he exclaimed, as George reached down to muss his hair. "I could barely hear anything I was writing and it basically faded completely while I was walking back to the tower."
"And what about nausea?" asked George, giving him an appraising look. "You don't look too greenâ€¦"
"Do you think she caught on that it wasn't affecting you?" Lee had a devious look in his eyes as he sidled up next to Fred.
"I don't think so," answered Neville, glancing Harry's direction. "Harry suggested screwing up my face while I was in there to throw her off."
"To be fair, it was Ginny's idea," noted Harry while bumping his girlfriend with his hip.
"Well then, I'd say our first full test of Hush Puttyâ€“" Fred let out a groan, which George ignored. "Has been a rousing success. Come see my esteemed brother or myself should you need any of our miraculous products. Special discounts available to those who earn detentions with Dolores in the most Weasley-esque manner!"
The contingent of students immediately began to buzz with excitement. Even Hermione allowed herself to grin to herself as the group dispersed.
Gryffindor's victory during the first term while Harry had been in detention gave the team a strong start in the standings, but Hufflepuff had walloped Ravenclaw in their previous match, scoring 210 points before Cedric collected the Snitch.
Cho had taken the mantle of Captain from Roger Davies but had trouble finding replacements for his strength and experience as a Chaser. She was also filling a hole at Keeper and one of their Beaters. The team had flashed real potential, but Angelina noted that Cho was distracted while trying to find the Snitch by the team's lack of consistency, leading to a fairly one-sided affair that was eventually ended by Cedric catching the Snitch near the Hufflepuff hoops. Their Keeper, a Sixth Year girl by the name of Deb Talley, had performed especially well. The Ravenclaw Chasers only managed a measly 90 points with her patrolling the hoops.
With Gryffindor and Hufflepuff well in front of the others on points, the stakes for their matchup were sky-high. While a win wouldn't guarantee the Cup to either side, the victor of the Hufflepuff vs. Gryffindor match would become the odds-on favorite to win it all.
Angelina drilled them relentlessly in the lead-up to the game, but Harry felt it was working well. The Chasers were flying as well as he'd ever seen them play; he may have been a bit biased, but he thought Ginny was doing just as well as Katie or Alicia on most days, and she even outflew Angelina on occasion. The twins wielded their Beater Bats with ruthless accuracy, disrupting formations at every turn. Ron had grown more consistent after the success of his first match, though he was still prone to lose confidence after letting a few quaffles in or seeing Frobisher make a particularly good save.
Practicing against Ginny had honed Harry's skills more than a bit and was a good deal more enjoyable than in previous seasons. Most of his time in Wood's training sessions during previous years had been running laps and flying around on his own searching for Snitches or throwing golf balls to promptly chase as they fell. Now, he spent a good deal more time attempting to keep his eyes peeled while trying to cut off angles so his girlfriend wouldn't be in a position to beat him to a spot. They had both improved at using defensive Seeker tactics, though Harry felt that it was quite unlikely that Cedric would ever pull him into a kiss before streaking away to snag the Snitch, as Ginny had done the previous week.
A nervous excitement shot through Harry as he walked to the quidditch pitch between Ron and Ginny. He was eager to be back in the air during a real match, but the fact that he hadn't played one in nearly two years had him worried about being rusty. It would also be the first match in which Sirius would be in the stands to cheer him on, alongside Remus and Tonks.
After a rousing speech from Angelina, the team made their way to the pitch. Ron had earned the nod for the starting Keeper position, so Frobisher joined Ginny and Peakes on the bench for their second match while the rest of the team walked toward Madam Hooch and the assembled Hufflepuff team. Cedric wasted no time stepping forward and extending a hand to Angelina as he flashed his winning smile. "Good luck, Johnson. But not too much luck!"
Angelina smirked back at her fellow Seventh Year. "Same to you, Diggory." Their handshake lasted a few seconds longer than necessary, and Harry wondered if the two captains were trying to out-squeeze the other. Madam Hooch gave a truncated version of her usual warnings about fair play, which always took a little longer when the Slytherin team was on the pitch, before blowing her whistle to start the game.
The organized chaos of the match swirled around Harry as he maneuvered his Firebolt upward into the grey skies above the pitch, out of the way of the onslaught of Chasers and beyond the easy reach of the Beaters. The chilly winter air blustered about him as he flew while the shouts and cheers from the student sections echoed across the grounds. Cedric circled above the Hufflepuff goals, squinting out into the afternoon air as he searched for the same glint of gold Harry sought.
Lee Jordan's magically magnified voice boomed out over the cheers from the crowd, although Harry was concentrating on his task so completely that he only heard snippets of the commentary. Angelina and Katie apparently opened the scoring with an impressive give-and-go move to put Gryffindor ahead before Alicia stole the Quaffle from an opposing Fourth Year and slotted a tricky shot past the Hufflepuff Keeper to make the score 20-0. The excitement of the game always threatened to pull Harry's attention, especially when he knew their Chasers were playing well, but he kept his eyes sweeping around the pitch as best he could.
"Crawley has the Quaffle and is streaking down the pitch! She dodges a Bludger that nearly took her head off and is outpacing the Gryffindor Chasers. She's only got Weasley to beatâ€¦"
His brain told him to keep looking for the Snitch and that one goal relinquished or saved wasn't likely to be the difference in the game, but Harry couldn't help staring down at his best mate as their opponent's best Chaser bore down on him.
"Weasley's well positioned as Crawley feints left then charges forward! Stop her, Ron!"
But Lee's commentary was drowned out by the cheers erupting from the yellow-clad supporters as Crawley made a quick move to her right to get Ron off his line before expertly tossing the Quaffle through the middle hoop.
Harry swore under his breath as he tore his eyes away from where Ron was growing red in the face. With confidence being such a key to Ron's success, he really wished that his friend could have gotten started with a good save.
Across the pitch, Harry noticed Cedric peering with curiosity at a spot near the stands where many of the assembled Ravenclaws were gathered. It only took a moment, but a look of excitement quickly spread across Cedric's face as he began to rocket toward the stands.
The Snitch was fluttering just beneath the railing meant to keep the first row of onlookers from falling down to the pitch. Harry rushed forward while pushing himself lower onto his broom to gain extra speed, but Cedric's head start had him well ahead. While they were both still well out of reach, the Snitch flew upwards, which allowed the Ravenclaw fans to see why the Seekers were barreling toward the stands. A number of cries and gasps rang out as Cedric bore down on the spot with Harry a few broom-lengths behind.
Before Cedric was close enough to reach for it, the Snitch darted away and into the stands. Students screamed in excitement as it fluttered back and forth amongst the students, with several instinctively reaching out to grab for the tiny golden ball while others ducked out of the way.
Harry watched as Cedric slowed down a bit and began to weave through the crowd. The older boy kept both hands on the broom handle for extra control as he caromed off startled spectators, all the while keeping his eyes on the Golden Snitch. In a split second, Harry decided not to follow Cedric through the crowd; his only chance was if his opponent lost sight of his quarry or if it changed directions. Instead, Harry sped over the crowd and made ready in case the Snitch bolted away from the stands.
Just as Cedric neared the tiny ball and made to reach for it, the Snitch shot up into the air and away from the students. The change of direction provided Harry just the opportunity he'd hoped for, even though Cedric had quickly changed directions and was climbing fast to intercept it. Harry urged his broom down toward the chase, knowing that he was a little further from it than Cedric but that the Snitch was flying in his direction. He reached out into space to make the grabâ€“
It took all of Harry's concentration to hook his foot around the end of his Firebolt and grasp its handle with his fingertips. His left side felt like a car that had been crumpled in a wreck as he pulled himself back onto his broom, and he took raspy, wheezing breaths. Harry didn't register the sound of the spectators gasping or letting out a collective groan as he steadied himself with one hand clenched in a fist.
"What an impact!" called out Lee as the crowd began to murmur. "Both Seekers were after the Snitch when they collided! That looked devastatingâ€¦ But did either of them manage to snag it?"
Harry looked to Cedric, who was holding onto his shoulder with one hand and had the other tightly clasped. He was grimacing in pain when he met Harry's eyes. Without a word, the two boys opened their clenched hands.
"Unbelievable! I thought for certain that one of them would have grabbed it! Looks like the match is still on!" The Hufflepuff contingent shouted with joy. "And Womack scores for Hufflepuff! That's 30-20 to the Badgers!"
Cedric and Harry gingerly flew back to their vantage points above the pitch, both trying to rub the soreness and stiffness out. Being the smaller of the two, Harry thought he'd gotten the worst of the collision.
"Nice flying down there," said Harry as he winced with pain. "Can't remember ever seeing a Snitch weave through the crowd like that."
"I saw it happen back in my First Year. Charlie Weasley almost mowed me down while going after it." Cedric let out a small laugh followed by a groan. The older boy produced his wand from his robes and muttered something under his breath, gritting his teeth in a grimace. "I should've known you weren't turning away."
"Yeah, I had a feeling that neither of us was backing down."
Harry rolled his shoulder before making a long, slow loop around the pitch while Cedric did the same in the opposite direction. Katie scored a couple of goals in a row before the Hufflepuff Chasers slotted three shots through. Ron made a strong save against a two-on-one breakaway between Crawley and Ritchie, but both of them managed to score again before Angelina found Alicia with a great pass to make the score 80-50.
The minutes wore away as Harry scanned the pitch for any sign of his quarry. Ron made two more saves, but couldn't match several other shots that snuck past him. The Gryffindor Chasers did their best to keep up, but at the hour mark they were down by sixty points. From what Harry heard from Lee's commentating, it seemed like the Hufflepuff Keeper was playing the game of her life.
Despite himself, Harry kept glancing at Ron whenever he got the chance. Even from the opposite end of the pitch, he could tell that Ron had let loose a series of swears when Crawley scored her sixth goal to bring the Badgers to 150 against the Lions' 80. He considered flying over to encourage his friend when a glint of gold caught his eye. The Snitch was hovering just behind Ron's left hoop.
Harry saw that Cedric was close to the middle of the pitch, far closer to the Gryffindor hoops. With eyes narrowing, Harry began to make his way toward Ron, whose face had reddened to the shade of a ripe tomato out of frustration and embarrassment. His heart was thumping in his chest as he tried to look nonchalant, not flying too quickly to alert anyone that he'd located the Snitch. He took a long, deep breath to try to calm his voice before calling out to the Keeper.
"Oi, Ron! You're doing just fine, mate!" As he passed by Cedric, he kept his eyes locked on the tiny winged ball just above and past Ron's head. Before he could yell anything else to his friend, he heard Cedric gasp.
Without missing a beat, Harry abandoned the stealth strategy and bolted forward with Cedric hot on his heels. They both flattened themselves against their brooms for extra speed, but Harry's lighter frame and faster broom gave him the advantage. The whistle of wind in Harry's ears drowned out Lee's excited cries and the cheers of the crowd as he sped past Ron's hoops toward the now-fleeing Snitch. He stretched his hand out and clasped it around the struggling ball, letting out a whoop of joy into the chilly winter air.
"And Potter has done it! Gryffindor wins the match, 230-150!"
Harry flew to his teammates who were rushing him with exuberance. Ron reached him first and crushed him in a bear hug. Angelina, who had been hanging back on defense, tousled his already messy black hair before the rest of the team joined them as they descended to the pitch. Ginny was beaming as she jumped into his arms to celebrate, and Harry's very sore shoulder and back received more than their fair share of congratulatory slaps.
Through the cacophony of the celebration, Harry saw Cedric huddling with his team across the pitch. They all looked understandably disappointed, but their captain was clearly feeling the most down. He was still gripping his injured shoulder and seemed to be wincing quite a bit.
"Party in the Common Room!" called out either Fred or George; Harry was too exhausted and sore to determine which. Most of the red and gold-clad throng let out a cheer and began making their way toward the castle, but Harry hung back as he caught a glimpse of Sirius talking animatedly with Professor McGonagall and a frustrated Madam Pomfrey.
"Great match, you two," said Hermione brightly as she quickly hugged Harry and then Ron. "I find Quidditch much more enjoyable to watch with both of you out there. That was an excellent catch at the end, and I thought you had some very good saves, Ron!"
"I wasn't nearly as good as Talley," sighed Ron, though he looked quite pleased at the compliment. "I can't believe how well she did. I thought Cedric might have been trying to get in our heads when he told us there were going to be scouts to watch her play today, but she's the real deal. Thank Merlin, Harry pulled it out for us!"
"That collision with Cedric looked pretty bad," said Ginny as she interlaced her finger with those on Harry's uninjured side. "How're you feeling?"
"I'm fine. Not a big deal," said Harry, only to grimace when a jubilant Lee excitedly hoisted him into the air while yelling, "We're gonna win the Cup!" Ginny snickered as Harry rubbed his aching shoulder once planted back on the ground.
"Madam Pomfrey told me she wants to see you before you head back to the tower," said Hermione as she rolled her eyes. She pointed toward the exit from the stands where most of the staff usually sat.
Harry looked longingly at the swath of Gryffindor fans heading to celebrate the win and desperately hoped he could convince Pomfrey that he didn't need an extended stay in the Infirmary. As the four friends made their way to the circle of adults, who had been joined by Remus and Tonks, Harry did his best not to favor his left side and tried to look as much like a healthy student who didn't need a Healer as he could.
"There they are!" exclaimed Sirius, whose face shone with pride. He clapped Harry and Ron on the back, causing Harry to wince. "Great job up there!"
"Very impressive, Harry," said Remus with a smile. Tonks, who was wearing an oversized yellow and black Hufflepuff jersey, rolled her eyes behind his back and made a rude gesture as Remus continued. "You fly just as well as your father did. Probably a bit better, even."
"And Mr. Weasley performed quite admirably, as well," noted McGonagall, who was smiling more broadly than Harry was accustomed to. "You had a number of important saves that kept us in the match."
Ron blushed at the compliment but made no move to argue with the professor.
Madam Pomfrey was significantly less pleased. "Is the only way to keep Mr. Potter uninjured during a match to have him in detention? I'm sure I could persuade one of your professors to assign one to you if it were for your own safety. And Mr. Diggory! You're almost as bad!"
Harry turned to see Cedric approaching the group alongside Cho, who was gingerly rubbing her boyfriend's shoulder. The matron whipped out her wand and quickly examined Harry's side while the other two students joined the circle.
"After a collision like that, I'm surprised it's not worse," said Madam Pomfrey, after releasing a long breath from her nose. "A couple of cracked ribs and what looks like a shoulder sprain. At least it'll be easy enough to set right, but you're going to be sore for a few days."
"But I don't have to stay in the Hospital Wing?" asked Harry hopefully.
"Not this time," answered Pomfrey as she carefully waved her wand to mend Harry's ribs. "You can come by to get a potion for the pain if it worsens, but it'll just need time. Mr. Diggory, let's see how you fared."
Her wand glided over him once before she focused on his shoulder. She looked at it closely while muttering to herself before standing back up straight and looking him square in the face. "Dislocated? And you didn't come to me immediately?"
Cedric looked exceedingly sheepish as he avoided Pomfrey's withering gaze. "Well, here's the thingâ€¦ I've been practicing the spell, you seeâ€¦ And I felt pretty confident about being able to do it properly."
Sirius tried to mask his laugh with a cough while Remus elbowed him in the ribs. Madam Pomfrey shot him a look that brooked no nonsense.
"So you tried to fix your own shoulder, without being able to use your wand hand, while in the middle of a match with Bludgers flying about?"
Cedric frowned. "It sounds worse when you put it like that."
"You couldn't have taken three minutes for me to have set it to rights for you?"
With a glance at Harry, he shook his head. "And give them the advantage? What if Harry had found the Snitch while I wasâ€“"
Madam Pomfrey raised her hand to cut him off, shaking her head all the while. "I swear I'm going to put in another request to be rid of this blasted game," she muttered under her breath. "It's not mended as well as I would've done it, but it'll do. You've got more skill for healing than you have common sense, that's for sure."
At the smile that sprang to Cedric's face, the matron let out an exasperated huff. "Come by for a potion if it hurts too badly and I might see fit to assist you, despite your thickheadedness. Goodness knows I don't have anything to help with that, though."
She bid a goodbye to them all, with an especially earnest smile to Remus, before she and Professor McGonagall made their way back to the castle.
"You've put together a really good team, Diggory," said Tonks. "When did you change to Seeker? You were a Chaser for us during my Seventh Year, right?"
"Yeah, I started out at Chaser because Maxwell was so good. Nobody was going to take her spot. She helped train me up, though, since she knew I'd be going out for the job once she graduated. We do have a really solid team this year, but I wish we could've brought home the win with you here supporting us."
"We're not out of the running yet!" she said with a smile.
The group chatted for a few more minutes before the adults departed. Sirius pulled Harry into a hug. "Looking forward to hearing more about how the Defense Club goes. Get into just the right amount of trouble!"
The six students walked back toward the castle amiably. Ginny and Cho chatted about how the Chasers had fared and the brilliance of Talley's keeping. Hermione, though not an expert on the sport by any means, asked a few good questions about tactics to Ron, who was eager to share his thoughts.
As they entered the doors to the Great Hall, Cedric nudged Harry with his uninjured shoulder. "Damn good flying up there," he said with a smile.
"Same to you, Ced. Couldn't believe how well you did chasing it through the crowd. I guess there's no chance you fail this term and retake it so we can have a tie-breaking match next year?
Cedric laughed. "As fun as that'd be, I think this one gives you the edge. I only came out on top in the last one because of the Dementors."
"Don't start that again," said Harry with a scoff. "You and I both know you caught the Snitch before they showed up."
Cho and Ginny had apparently taken notice of their boyfriends' conversation and the two of them joined in.
"You saw how bad Slytherin looked last week," said Ginny encouragingly. "They're so far behind in the standings that I bet they won't have much fight in them for your last match. From what we saw from Talley, who knows if they'll end up scoring at all!"
"Our team is looking a lot better, too," noted Cho with a wink. "Maybe we'll be able to take Gryffindor down a few notches for you before your match."
Harry looked up toward the enchanted ceiling as he tried to do some quick math in his head. "Yeah, I think we're only ahead on points by about seventy."
"Sixty," corrected Hermione. "570 to 510."
"Well, that should make for an exciting end of the season!" said Harry. With a smile, he waved as Cedric and Cho broke off down a different corridor as they began to discuss potential scenarios between themselves. As soon as they were out of earshot, Ron began to whisper conspiratorially about how they could defeat Ravenclaw, with Ginny and Harry excitedly joining in the impromptu planning session. Hermione simply rolled her eyes.
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