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SIYE Time:11:15 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: 38029; Chapter Total: 372
Awards: View Trophy Room






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Most news from the wider Wizarding world barely made a ripple in the secluded pool that was Hogwarts. Sometimes a big event, such as the ousting of Fudge and the installation of Minister Bones, could get the student population abuzz for a few days. But Harry rarely saw much change in his peers based on the headlines splashed on Hermione's copy of the Daily Prophet.

The Azkaban breakout was a notable exception.

The morning that the news broke, it took Professor McGonagall silencing the Great Hall and addressing the issue before the tumult subsided slightly. The Deputy Headmistress explained that Professor Dumbledore was at the Ministry to lend aid to Madam Bones and provide support as needed. Some found Dumbledore's involvement comforting, but quite a few murmured uneasily about convicts on the loose while the headmaster was away from the school.

The following weeks bore a string of unwelcome news. The Ministry released information about which prisoners had escaped Azkaban, and the names filled many with dread. A special edition of the Prophet profiled the dozens of Death Eaters who were now on the run. Harry eyed an old photo of Bellatrix Lestrange, who was apparently one of Voldemort's most loyal and ruthless supporters, opposite a photo of the man who had assumed Mad-Eye Moody's identity the previous year, Barty Crouch, Jr. With a heavy sigh, he folded up the paper and passed it back to Hermione as he squeezed Ginny's hand tightly under the table.

A number of students reacted poorly to the news, but Harry noticed that Neville seemed much more shaken than most. He couldn't be sure, but Harry thought he'd heard muffled sobs coming from the shower the night after the Death Eaters' names had been revealed by the Daily Prophet. When Neville quietly climbed into his bed later that night, a conversation from the end of the previous year popped into Harry's head.

"Hey, Neville," began Harry cautiously. "Are you doing alright?"

The boy reached for the curtains of his four-poster before deciding not to pull them shut. With a deep sigh, he turned toward Harry, though his eyes didn't reach those of his dormmate.

"Just a rough few days. I figured when I heard about the breakout that…" He trailed off as he looked at the ground between them.

"The ones who attacked your parents?"

"Yeah. Crouch and the Lestranges. It was bad enough over the summer after I figured out that Professor Moody had been Crouch the whole time. He tortured my parents and then casually used the Cruciatus in our class." The heaviness in Neville's voice transformed into a hardness that Harry had never heard from his friend. "I thought he gave me that book on plants to try to make me feel a little better, but the bastard was just trying to make sure I knew enough to help you get by the Second Task."

Harry squirmed uncomfortably. He had spent more than a few nights wrestling with Crouch-as-Moody's actions during the tournament but hadn't considered the implications of how it might have affected Neville to have been in such close proximity to the man. The bitterness in his friend's voice served as a reminder that Harry wasn't the only student who had experienced loss and trauma at the hands of Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

"It's just that… They went after my parents to try to find a way to bring You-Know-Who back. Even though their plan didn't work, the three of them still ended up getting what they wanted. I hate it that they're out there, free to do the same thing to even more people." Neville swiped at a tear.

There was nothing Harry could think of that would assuage the pain Neville was feeling, but his mind desperately sought something to say nonetheless. His shoulders sagged as he, too, stared at the floor between their beds.

"I'm sorry, mate," said Harry eventually, his voice barely more than a whisper. The weight of grief on his friend reminded him of how the glaring hole in his own life where his parents should be could still catch him off guard. The knowledge that the cause of the loss in both their lives walked free, actively planning to inflict the same sort of pain on others, made Harry's stomach churn.

"Me, too," answered Neville. His voice was no longer hard, instead filled with resignation.

Before the growing silence between them could become awkward, Dean and Seamus loudly strode through the doorway. Harry smiled sadly at Neville as he flopped back onto his mattress, wishing he'd been able to provide more comfort to his friend.

~RLM~

On top of the fear caused by Voldemort's first real outward move of the war and the dread of dementors allying with the Death Eaters, the mood within the castle unsettled many of the students. The previously positive atmosphere became much more cautious as the implications of a wizarding world at war sank in for more and more students.

Malfoy had not been particularly outspoken during the first term or the beginning of the new year, which Harry thought was due to his lack of success in Quidditch and the growing unity within the four houses. Far fewer students were willing to parrot his insults and accusations against Malfoy's usual targets, not the least Harry, Ron, and Hermione. He had taken to bullying younger students more often, especially after Cho handily bested him in catching the Snitch in their last match.

Unfortunately, Draco regained much of his bravado after the Azkaban breakout and could be seen sneering and frightening other students far more often. He strut around the castle with Crabbe and Goyle as if he'd been named Head Boy and could often be seen gazing around at students, especially Muggleborns, in a way that could only be described as predatory. Though not always as overt as Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, the three of them certainly weren't the only students Harry noticed who looked pleased with current events.

The leaders of the Defense Club were split on how they thought the news would affect their group. Harry and Cho agreed with Hermione's assessment that the breakout would make students more hesitant about attending their sessions, but Ginny, Ron, and Cedric believed the real danger of the situation would spur more students to join their training. Harry concluded that both contingents were partially correct when the next meeting had around the same number of students. A few of their less-committed members had dropped off, but several new students had apparently decided that defense was worth some extra effort.

Harry was growing to respect his professors more after each Defense Club meeting. Not all of them of course; he still loathed Umbridge, avoided making even accidental eye contact with Trelawney at meals, and hadn't listened to a thing Binns had said since he was a Third Year. However, knowing what it took to plan an engaging and helpful lesson for the Defense Club made Harry appreciate his other professors immensely.

Transfiguration and Charms had become his best subjects, now that Defense Against the Dark Arts was nothing more than an exercise in controlling his temper and copying straight from their textbook. McGonagall and Flitwick challenged their classes to not only learn the material but also to consider ways their growing skills could be used in a myriad of different circumstances. Harry took this to mean that what they were learning could be used during Advanced Defense sessions and found that he rather enjoyed connecting the dots between what they covered in his regular classes and how his professors pushed them further in the Defense Chamber.

Even classes that didn't always connect with his heightened interest in Defense were filled with teaching techniques that Harry found more and more interesting. The contrast between his more hands-on classes and the others was striking. Care of Magical Creatures was one of Harry's favorite classes, though that had long been due to his fondness for Hagrid. Even though Harry had little desire to deal with animals as a profession, being outside and experiencing the thrill of learning about a variety of interesting creatures kept him much more engaged than any of the boring details of goblin rebellions covered in History of Magic.

Likewise, Herbology took on added significance now that he knew Professor Sprout a bit better. Her kindness and encouragement in Advanced Defense made him pay better attention during her classes. Harry was certain that he'd never have the passion or aptitude in the class that Neville displayed, but he was far more interested in learning about magical plants than reading about theoretical defense. The knowledge that Gillyweed had saved his skin during the Triwizard Tournament and that Murtlap was being employed to defang Umbridge's detentions helped Harry keep his ears open for other plants that might come in handy.

Even Potions was a great deal less painful than in previous years. Harry still hated how aloof and disparaging Snape could be and how often he showed blatant favoritism toward the Slytherin students, but the new year had been much more bearable than previous terms. His grades were by no means exemplary, but Snape had been significantly less likely to give out completely unfair marks or vanish his potions before they could be turned in.

Much to Hermione's chagrin, he had taken to paying less attention to what their textbook instructed and more to what Snape wrote on the blackboard. Susan Bones had mentioned slight discrepancies between the two while Harry and Ginny danced alongside her and Neville at the Yule Ball, but Harry hadn't thought much about it at the time. But as his Fifth Year workload grew heavier and heavier, he decided to try out Susan's advice. The Strengthening Solution he brewed ended up looking just as good as Hermione's and maybe even a little better. Professor Snape still scowled while inspecting it, but Harry was pleasantly surprised to earn one of his highest-ever marks from the professor.

Despite his closeness with Hermione, Harry had never worried too much about his grades. This fact irked her to no end, especially since Ron cared even less. Yet despite his historical nonchalance when it came to marks, Harry found that his work was improving significantly in the classes that he was prioritizing. He had risen to near the top of his class in Transfiguration and Charms while growing to well within the top half in Herbology and even Potions. He'd never had to worry much about Care of Magical Creatures, because Hagrid was much more keen on basing grades on participation than lengthy homework assignments. Harry's inclination to encourage Hagrid through questions and generally paying attention meant he was one of the more engaged students. Of course, his History of Magic and Defense grades were still abysmal.

In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Umbridge seemed determined to use the news of the breakout to further her own ends. She had a syrupy-sweet grin plastered on her face anytime Harry caught sight of her, which was far too often for his liking. It was bad enough to have her peering out over the students during meals, always looking as if she believed them all to be nothing more than ignorant children incapable of coherent thought.

The proliferation of Hush Putty emboldened quite a number of students to stand up to her within the first few weeks of the term, which meant that Umbridge's detentions became overcrowded. After receiving two weeks of detention for insubordination, Dean reported that there were nearly a dozen others in the Defense classroom where Umbridge's detentions were now held. He was no worse for wear after writing lines with a newly purchased Quill of Echoes, and Seamus openly wondered if she was buying the extras with her own money. The Fifth Years had no idea who would be in charge of approving school-related purchases, but they couldn't imagine Dumbledore or McGonagall allowing the school to pay for such quills.

Though her students were less compliant than the previous term and her evenings had become an unending stream of detentions, Professor Umbridge seemed more pleased than ever. Harry had hoped that her screeds against the ministry would be confined to a few class periods following the breakout, but the woman had seemingly made decrying Minister Bones and the entire Ministry of Magic her prerogative for the entire term.

He had rounded a corner on multiple occasions, only to be met with her holding court with students about the dangers of the ministry's incompetence. Harry was disconcerted to see some students look as though they were listening of their own free will instead of being merely conversational hostages. Especially concerning was a report from Hermione that Umbridge had been loudly spewing her lies in the corridor leading to the Student Lounge when she and Cho met with the Sixth Years for their session.

The glazed look in Harry's eyes during Umbridge's class was only visible because he was willing himself to remain awake. Ron had gotten an earful from Angelina after he was assigned two weeks of detention for nodding off during Defense, and Harry was determined not to make the same mistake.

"And that leads me to another point," simpered Umbridge to the class. She had been at it for the last half hour and Harry thought she showed no sign of relenting until the bell rang. "This sort of thing never occurred while Minister Fudge was in office. Azkaban was known worldwide as the most secure prison in the wizarding world, a beacon to all others of how justice should be carried out. It is such a pity to see its sterling reputation shredded by the incompetence of the current ministry."

Harry carefully avoided eye contact and focused on his breathing as if this was just another Legilimency attack. There was no need to rise to her bait, especially since he had plans with Ginny for the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend.

He released a long breath through his nose as he attempted to convince himself of the merits of remaining quiet, at least for the time being. Sirius and Remus had specifically warned him about losing his temper right before a Hogsmeade trip or a Quidditch match. Then again, thought Harry, neither of them was having to put up with Umbridge's ranting.

"As a woman, I must say that I felt much more confident in our ministry when it was run by a strong male leader, as opposed to the weakness projected by the current so-called Minister." Umbridge let out a tinkling laugh that made Harry's skin crawl. "Surely we can all at least agree that something like this would have never happened under Minister Fudge?"

Judging by the look of fury on Hermione's face, Harry thought it reasonable to assume she wholeheartedly disagreed with Umbridge's analysis. But it wasn't her voice that answered the professor.

"Didn't Sirius Black escape from Azkaban while Fudge was in charge?" asked Parvati calmly, but Harry sensed frustration bubbling beneath her stoic exterior. He had overheard her and Lavender bemoaning Umbridge on more than one occasion and knew Parvati's patience with the professor had been wearing thin.

Umbridge's eyes narrowed. "Ah, Miss Petal. It seems as though you have forgotten the classroom rules. One must raise a hand in order to be granted permission to speak. Ten points from Gryffindor. And if it happens again, you will earn two weeks of detention. Understood?"

Parvati glowered at the professor for a moment before replying, "Yes, Professor Umbridge."

"As I thought," said Umbridge as she turned back toward the full class, scrunching her face as if thoroughly pleased by the interaction. "Many of you could learn from Miss Petal's example of“"

"And it's Patil." Parvati's voice held none of its usual lightness. She refused to look away with fiery determination filling her dark eyes as the woman turned back to face her.

"I take it back," said Umbridge, her voice barely more than a whisper but dripping with venom. "I mistakenly assumed you were one of the less dense students, but apparently I was very wrong, indeed. Two weeks of detention for your cheek and for interrupting without raising your hand."

Parvati leaned back in her seat and glared daggers at Umbridge. Her gaze was unwavering until the professor finally strode back toward her desk to resume her screed. From the corner of his eye, Harry noticed Lavender give Parvati's elbow an encouraging squeeze. He smirked as Dean and Seamus made exceedingly rude gestures at Umbridge's back while Parvati and Lavender did their best not to laugh out loud.

~RLM~

Harry's dreams had been all over the place for nearly a month since the breakout. No matter what he tried, at least once or twice a week he would wake up in the middle of the night after some sort of weird dream. It was becoming challenging for him to stay awake in Defense and History of Magic, and even during lecture-heavy lessons in his other classes. Hermione chided him after prodding him for the third time during one of Professor Binns' interminable explanations about a goblin rebellion in Germany, but Harry hadn't been able to go back to sleep after another odd dream left him wide awake at half past three that morning.

Ron hadn't pushed Harry on it at first, but he eventually threatened to tell Ginny and Hermione that something was up when Harry admitted to losing sleep three nights in a row. Despite his stubborn desire not to use his communication mirror for every single thing that seemed slightly amiss, Harry agreed to bring the matter to Sirius.

With the curtains of his four-poster pulled closed and with the assurance that his dormmates had all left for supper, Harry held his small mirror and spoke his godfather's name. After a few moments of waiting, the face of Sirius Black appeared in Harry's hand.

"Well, look who it is… Hey, Moony! Get over here! Harry's on the mirror! What's going on, kid?"

The beaming face of Sirius was soon joined by Remus, who looked healthier than Harry had ever seen the man. The smile plastered on his face exuded genuine warmth. "Harry! It's great to see you! Sirius had said he wasn't expecting another call from you until the weekend."

"Not much happening over here, but I wanted to catch up with you two about some things," began Harry. "Umbridge is worse than ever, but I'm managing okay. The Hush Putty is working wonders and she's got more students in detention than she knows what to do with. Even without her teaching anything, we still had a really good Defense Club with the Fourth Years two nights ago. Remus, do you remember teaching a girl named Luna Lovegood?"

"How could I forget?" he asked with a laugh. "Ravenclaw, right? She had some of the wildest ideas I've ever heard in my life. Drew little pictures in the margins of her assignments, too. Is she in the DC?"

"Yeah, she's pretty good friends with Ginny and has been with the club since the beginning. You're not going to believe this, but she cast a Patronus during the last session!" Harry drank in the impressed looks from Sirius and Remus. "I mean, it was one thing when the other leaders got it figured out, but I wouldn't have guessed Luna would be the first of our regular members to do it. Hermione only managed it a few weeks ago!"

Remus grinned. "How's it feel to have helped your friends do something big that could help keep them safe in a dangerous spot?"

"It was super cool. I loved getting to see her eyes light up when it happened. And her Patronus is a hare, which kind of suits her personality." He drank in the proud looks from Sirius and Remus before plowing ahead. Harry took a deep breath. "But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about…"

The two faces in the mirror glanced at each other before Remus spoke. "Not to worry, Harry. Did you want to talk with just Sirius?"

"Actually, no. It might be worth telling you both. You see, there's something that's been happening that I thought you might be able to help explain. I'm not really sure if it's magical or just a random thing that's happening." Harry half expected his godfather to crack a joke, but both men stayed quiet and looked intently into the mirror. "For a few weeks now, I've had a lot more dreams than I'm used to. Some seem like regular, run-of-the-mill dreams, but there's this one that keeps recurring over and over. It's woken me up in the night three times this week alone."

Sirius leaned in a bit closer. "That kind of thing isn't unheard of as far as magic goes, right Moony?"

"Yeah, that's definitely not an area I'm super well-versed in, but dreams having some sort of magical component isn't too unusual. Do you remember anything from the dream?"

"Well, that's part of the problem: there's just not that much to remember." Harry looked up as he tried to figure out how best to describe the dream. "The whole thing is basically me walking down a long, dark corridor toward a locked doorway. By the time I reach the door and try to get in, I always wake up."

Harry looked back down at the mirror to find very concerned expressions on both Sirius and Remus. "Tell us about the corridor," said Sirius quietly.

"Err… I don't think there's a lot I can tell you. It's just a long, straight hallway with a door at the end."

"Any doors leading to the sides? Or other identifiable things to note?" asked Remus.

"Not that I can remember." The conversation's change in tone worried Harry. "Is there something wrong?"

Sirius took a long breath and waited a beat before answering slowly. "No, not necessarily. But what you described does…" He looked at his friend questioningly.

"Raise concerns," finished Remus. "There is a chance it's nothing, but there's also a chance there's some meaning behind it. Dumbledore?"

Sirius sighed heavily. "Dumbledore. Maybe this'll convince him to explain some things. Hey, Kreacher?" Harry heard the familiar pop of a House Elf appearing near Sirus and Remus. "No need to make supper for us. Something came up and we're heading to Hogwarts to see Harry."

"Does Master Sirius want Kreacher to pack something for the journey?" croaked a voice that was beyond the frame of Harry's mirror.

"Thanks, but we're okay," said Sirius hastily, but in a kinder tone of voice than Harry was used to hearing him use with the elf. "Look, Harry: it may be nothing, but there's some stuff going on that means we should probably run this by Dumbledore. Do you have anything going tonight?"

"Quidditch practice after dinner," answered Harry, glancing out the window toward the pitch. "I wasn't telling you about the dream to make you drop everything and come check on me…"

"And yet, that's exactly what we're going to do. See you in a little while!" With that, Sirius stowed his mirror in his pocket with Harry left staring at his own reflection.
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