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SIYE Time:11:39 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: 38043; Chapter Total: 293
Awards: View Trophy Room






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Friday lunches with the other Defense Club leaders served as a highlight for Harry almost every week. It was an hour of eating, talking, and laughing that left him feeling encouraged. They attempted to use the time to plan out how future sessions would work and Harry found that he enjoyed the challenge of coming up with exciting and useful lessons. With six very different minds set on the task, the work didn't become too overwhelming, either.

As Harry had suspected, Hermione's analytical thinking and voracious appetite for learning served the group's purposes well. She quickly offered up suggestions for topics to cover, even if the rest of the group was struggling to think of new ideas. She also was the self-appointed scribe, taking thorough notes about what they discussed.

Ron, on the other hand, found a niche as the member most dedicated to ensuring that the club remained focused on action. His frustration with the classes that relied heavily on lectures made him quick to suggest hands-on activities to test out what they'd learned. The overwhelming success of the gauntlets lent credence to his thought that action-based sessions were the best kind of learning.

Even though she was the youngest of the group, Ginny was just as involved with planning as any of the older students. The fact that she had far surpassed most of her fellow Fourth Years didn't stop her from providing a plethora of helpful insights into how they were faring in the combined sessions, and she made sure that the more ambitious members of the group didn't choose lessons too far beyond her year's capacity. She was also one of the more outgoing of the leaders and was able to inform the group when morale was waning.

Harry had known Cho least well when the group had formed, so he wasn't sure exactly what it was that she would bring to the table. He was quite pleased to find that she was not only particularly strong in Defense and Transfiguration, but she had a strong relationship with several professors. It had been her connection with Professor Flitwick that had led to his help with the gauntlets, and she often proposed ways to include other professors, even if it was only in getting the training they needed to be able to teach a tricky concept to the rest of the club.

Despite being the oldest of the group, Cedric was content without being the leader of their discussions. He contributed loads of good ideas, especially about spells that might be covered on OWLs and NEWTs, but also felt no need to dominate the conversation. He was quick to point out when someone else made a helpful suggestion. His friendly demeanor and easy-going attitude made Harry glad to be working alongside him, and even more glad to be his friend.

A few weeks before Easter, the six were halfway through their Friday meeting when Cedric broached a topic that Harry hadn't yet considered.

"So, what are you lot thinking about for next year's Defense Club?" he asked brightly. "You're planning to keep it going, right?"

The question took Harry a bit off guard. They had formed the group as a stopgap because Umbridge refused to teach anything, but his assumption was that she'd be long gone by his Sixth Year. He hoped that there would be a competent enough professor that Defense Club wouldn't be necessary.

On the other hand, some of the best memories from the school year were of planning for their sessions, teaching alongside the other leaders, and running through the activities they'd set up for the club to try. He felt a lot closer to the other five leaders, as well as quite a few of the regular members he worked with the most.

"With any luck, we'll have a new Defense professor by then," said Ron with a scowl. "At least we'd better. I can't handle another year with Umbridge…"

Ginny nodded. "There's no way Dumbledore keeps her around. He's still polite and everything, but he has to find someone else for next year."

"That's true, but he doesn't have a great track record of hiring people for the Defense post," added Cho. "Professor Owens was actually decent for my First Year, but he moved to China over the summer and then we got stuck with Quirrell. Bleh."

Harry laughed nervously. He'd shared some details about his tumultuous first year at Hogwarts with Cedric and Cho, but he had yet to mention that Voldemort had been sharing Quirrell's body and that the professor had endured a rather horrifying death after coming into contact with Harry.

"Then we had Lockhart and he was dreadful," continued Cho, counting off professors on her fingers. "Like a book club nobody signed up for… But I thought Professor Lupin and Professor Moody both did a good job teaching the subject."

"Other than when Moody ended up being a Death Eater who tried to abduct us," said Ron darkly.

"I was the only one to have Professor Davila, but she did a good job when I was a First Year," said Cedric as he leaned back in his chair to stretch. "Still, that's less than half of the Defense professors being decent in my time at Hogwarts. Not a great track record. Even if Umbridge gets the boot, there's a good chance the Defense Club would still be helpful, especially considering how things are going outside the school."

"Fair point," said Hermione thoughtfully. "Next year, Ginny will be getting ready for OWLs and Cho will be preparing for NEWTs. From what we've seen this term, I imagine you'll both get an Outstanding in Defense, but extra practice probably wouldn't hurt."

"If you're so confident about Defense Club being enough preparation for OWls, why do you keep nagging us about revising?" asked Ron with a smirk. Her response was an eye roll and a jab of her elbow into his ribs, but the soreness in his side did not remove the mischievous grin from his face.

"I know we've all got a lot on our plates but I'd like to keep going with the club if we can," offered Harry. "We've all gotten better at defending ourselves and it's been fun to watch the others improve, too. It won't be the same without Cedric, but I think we've got it figured out well enough to keep going once he's moved on."

"That's what I was hoping to hear!" said Cedric excitedly. "The thing is, it's already a lot of work putting it all together. If you don't bump someone into my spot, that's just more work for everyone."

"But you're irreplaceable!" laughed Cho as she snaked her arm through the crook of his elbow.

"I appreciate the sentiment, but I really think you should be thinking about a potential sixth person to add into the mix if you're serious about keeping the club going next year. If you're on the lookout now, it might save you some headaches trying to find one over the summer or early next term. We might even bring them in to get them acclimated before school lets out."

"Seems like you've really thought this through," said Ginny with a gleam of curiosity in her eye. "Do you have anyone in mind?"

"I mean, yeah. I suppose there are a couple of people I've been considering. But I figure maybe it'd be better to start with thinking through what you might want in a replacement, then using that as a guide to decide who best fits your criteria."

Before Cedric had even finished his sentence, Hermione grabbed a blank parchment and began frantically scribbling. "That's an excellent idea! Let's think through what kind of attributes we're looking for, then we can begin to compile a list of people we might want to approach."

"It'd be nice to get more houses represented," began Cho. "With Cedric out the door, it's just me in a sea of Gryffindors. No offense, but getting a replacement Hufflepuff or another Ravenclaw would be nice."

"Or even a Slytherin," added Harry thoughtfully.

"We've had a good split among different years, so it could help to bring in one of this year's Third Years," suggested Ron. "That way each year has someone helping lead the group."

"I'd want the person to have been a part of the club pretty regularly this year," said Harry. "Maybe it wouldn't have to be someone who was with us from the beginning, but it'd be weird to add someone who hadn't been part of the group much. And it kind of goes without saying, but they'd need to be pretty good at defense."

Hermione's quill whizzed across her parchment almost as fast as the others could speak. "It would be worthwhile to consider how the person's personality meshed with ours. Not that we'd have to be best friends with whoever we add, but I think getting along with the other five leaders would be rather important."

"So ideally we'd want a non-Gryffindor Third Year who's been in the club for a while, is good at defense, and we all get along with?" Ginny shook her head while smiling. "I don't think we're going to be able to check all those boxes with one person…"

Harry agreed with her assessment. "Yeah, Demelza is the only Third Year who has been coming regularly from the beginning, but she's from our house. She's doing fairly well at keeping up in our smaller sessions and she made it through the Fourth Year gauntlet, but she wouldn't help even out the Gryffindor numbers."

"Ally is a Hufflepuff Prefect in Sixth Year and she's doing pretty well in our sessions," noted Hermione. She looked to Cho and Cedric. "You two probably know her a bit better, though. Would she fit the bill?"

Cho scrunched her face up and grimaced slightly, while Cedric's usually easy-going nature fled in the wake of a stony-faced scowl as she cautiously began.

"She's been nice enough this term, I guess. I could probably make it work if everyone else wanted to bring her in." While Harry didn't think of himself as an expert in reading emotions, he could tell from Cho's halting voice that there was something more going on. "Cedric overheard her and her older brother saying some pretty nasty things about foreign-born witches last year. I don't know if she thought she was talking about me or not; I was born in London. But it did leave a bad taste in my mouth."

"I wouldn't suggest going with her." Cedric's voice had lost most of its warmth. "Even if her comments weren't directed at Cho, it wasn't the kind of sentiment you'd want to be associated with. It wasn't full-blown Death Eater blood status supremacy stuff, but still…"

All four Gryffindors looked aghast. Hermione swore under her breath, then blushed furiously and covered her mouth with her hand. "Sorry, I just hate that kind of mentality. It shouldn't matter where someone comes from or who their parents are; it's asinine to treat people like second-class citizens for things like that."

Harry nodded along with her sentiment and saw Ginny reach over to squeeze Cho's hand encouragingly as he spoke. "I don't really know Ally, so I didn't have much opinion on whether to include her or not, but I'm against adding her now."

Ron grunted in agreement. "It's hard to imagine a Hufflepuff thinking that. You lot are supposed to be the most open-minded!"

Cedric chuckled darkly. "Yeah, well, I don't think any house can avoid having some who don't live up to their ideals."

The memory of Peter Pettigrew cowering in fear of the friends he'd betrayed, unwilling to face the consequences of his cowardly choices flashed in Harry's mind. The rat had miserably failed to be a brave Gryffindor, and Harry's parents had died for that lack of courage.

"Maybe Hannah Abbott?" suggested Hermione, though she didn't sound confident. "I know she's in our year and isn't the strongest at defense, but she's really kind and would get along with all of us well. And she's a Hufflepuff."

Harry winced involuntarily at the idea. "Hannah's great, but I'd be worried about her trying to help teach defense. She's on the weaker side of our year when it comes to defense, and the more advanced things we've gone over seem to really stress her out."

"One of the Patils might work," suggested Ron, with a slight twinge of color rising to his cheeks. "Parvati might have been a bit better at the practical stuff we've been doing at first, but Padma has pretty much caught up and is one of the stronger members from our year, and she's in Ravenclaw. I think she'd fit in well with the group…"

"Would it be weird to include Padma but not Parvati?" asked Ginny. "In our big meetings, they seem fairly inseparable. It might be like asking George and not Fred."

A smirk crossed Harry's face as he allowed himself to imagine a Defense Club led by one of the Weasley twins. He doubted the castle would remain intact.

Two names had been bouncing around Harry's head since the conversation began, but he hesitated to offer them up. He listened for better options to be suggested, but none were forthcoming.

Katie Bell was discussed briefly, but she was another Gryffindor, was the likeliest candidate for Quidditch Captain, and hadn't continued with Defense after her OWLs. Ernie MacMillan was a Hufflepuff and decent enough at defense, but he was another soon-to-be Sixth Year and none of the group enjoyed his company all that much. A couple of possibilities from Ginny's year were suggested and then scrapped for various reasons.

"You've been pretty quiet, Harry," said Cedric as the conversation lulled. "Any thoughts?"

"Well, there are a couple I think might check a few boxes pretty well, but I don't know what you lot will think." Harry ran his hand through his hair as he looked up, trying to gather his thoughts. "Out of everyone who's in the club, Zabini is easily one of the best at defense. He's usually among the first to pick up on whatever spell we're going over if he isn't already familiar with it. Other than the four of us, he was the only other student from the lower years to get past the Sixth Year gauntlet."

None of the other leaders had risen to forcibly throw Harry out of the student lounge, so he took a deep breath and continued. "My other thought was Daphne. I'd say she's in the top half of our year when it comes to Defense and picks up on everything more quickly than most of our other Fifth Years.

"It's not like we're super close or anything, but they've both definitely treated the other group members with respect. Neither of them is a Malfoy-type, that's for sure. And I think it might be smart to have someone from Slytherin in the group. With everything that's happening in the world, it'd be helpful for students to see that not all Slytherins are going to blindly follow Voldemort. Maybe it would give some younger Slytherins cover to be able to join the group, if they want to."

Harry's eyes darted from person to person, trying to gauge whether they thought he had lost his mind. Surprisingly, all of them seemed to be considering the possibility.

"Blaise is certainly strong at defense," said Hermione fairly. "I've seen him helping Theo keep up in our more challenging sessions and he had some good insights when we talked strategy before trying out the gauntlet. And Daphne has been reliable as a Prefect."

"I'm not a huge fan of Zabini, but I'm open to him joining. He's one of the only Slytherins in our year who doesn't spout off about Pureblood this and blood status that. I don't really know Daphne that well. She doesn't say all that much in class," said Ron cautiously. A smile flickered across his face. "But imagine Malfoy's face if we picked one of them!"

Harry let out a small laugh. "It'd almost be worth it, just for that…"

"I don't really know either of them all that well, so no objections from me," offered Ginny before turning to Cho, whose eyes were closed as she silently giggled into Cedric's shoulder.

"Sorry, it's just…" She let out a laugh. "Blaise and I dated for about two months back in my Fourth Year. We broke up before the summer holidays and kinda realized we didn't fit that well. He really is a decent guy and I don't have a problem with him being a part of the group. I don't think it'd be weird between us."

"I won't be here, so it's not like I should be making the decision for you lot, but he's got my vote," added Cedric. "Malfoy has been an absolute joke as Slytherin Prefect. Daphne's been picking up a lot of his slack, but I've noticed Zabini stepping up to help with some of the younger students, too. I was already planning to recommend to Professor Dumbledore that they switch him to Prefect instead of Malfoy next year."

"That would still leave us without anyone representing the Fourth Years, though. And no Hufflepuffs," said Hermione as she tapped the point of her quill on her parchment. "Not that it's the most important factor, but it would be nice to have someone from each year."

"There's no rule saying we have to stay at six," offered Ron. "What if we keep an eye out for the rest of the term for a Third Year we'd feel good about adding? If we find someone, that's great! If not, maybe we start out next term without a leader from their year, but we could invite someone if they really stand out to us?"

Hermione's eyes went wide with excitement. "Maybe we could do a mini Defense Club with the younger years once a month! We could reuse some of the topics from the beginning of last term, so it wouldn't be as much work to plan, but it could give those students a chance to learn a bit and let us start scouting for someone from Third Year."

"We're already swamped with responsibilities, but I do like the idea. What if we run it past McGonagall and see if we could do one or two near the end of the term? Once NEWTs and OWLs are done, the four of us will have a lot more spare time to coordinate a big gathering like that," added Cedric, before letting out a chuckle. "Or we could just convince Demelza to transfer to Hufflepuff."

"Not a chance!" said Ginny with a wicked smile. "Gryffindor is losing Ange and Alicia next season, so Demelza and I have plans to maintain their level of excellence."

"Blaise and Daphne don't play Quidditch, right?" asked Hermione wearily. "It would be a breath of fresh air to have at least one other leader not obsessed with that game…"

~RLM~

As the term dragged on, Umbridge became more and more irritable. She dropped the sickly-sweet tone she had kept up most of the previous year much more easily and was visibly frustrated by how her students did not seem to fear her punishments nearly as much. She rarely needed to take points from Gryffindor anymore, if only because their hourglass rarely accumulated more than fifty rubies. Even when another professor handed out points to their house much more liberally, Umbridge would take notice at the next meal and undo any Gryffindor gains for the tiniest of infractions.

Harry spent most of his Defense Against the Dark Arts class thinking through how to broach the subject of inviting Blaise to join their Defense Club leadership. His concentration was occasionally broken by Professor Umbridge's snide remarks about Madam Bones' administration, but he did his best to tune her out. He smiled to himself when she mentioned that she was hosting another seminar that coincided with a Defense Club meeting. He very much doubted that any of his regular club members would care to miss a session in order to spend more time listening to Umbridge rant.

The bell rang, but all the students remained seated and staring blankly ahead. The professor may have trained the students not to leave before she officially dismissed them, but the bored and dismissive looks on their faces were clear indications that Umbridge had long since lost any semblance of influencing what they thought about the Ministry.

"Mr. Potter may remain seated; the rest of you are free to go." She smiled broadly as most of the students exited. Hermione, Ron, and Neville remained seated, along with Harry. Her eyes narrowed as she spoke in her sickly-sweet tone. "You three have been dismissed."

"You said we were free to go," said Ron defiantly. "You didn't say we had to leave." Neville nodded along, even if his face had lost a bit of its color. Hermione looked as though she might have phrased her reply differently, but she remained resolute as she sat up perfectly straight.

"Mmm… You make a valid point. Unfortunately for you, this is a private conversation and you three are not a part of it. You'll all serve two weeks of detention for your cheek. Now leave at once before I decide to be less forgiving."

Ron's eyes flashed with anger and Harry sensed he was on the verge of losing his temper, but Hermione reached out to grab his hand that had clenched into a fist. He looked at her briefly, fire in his stare, but she shook her head and squeezed his hand until he relented. Harry glanced back at Neville, who stared at Umbridge with contempt. He clenched his jaw and grabbed his book bag without saying a word, followed by a fuming Ron and a clearly frustrated Hermione.

Umbridge pointed her stubby wand at the door to the Defense classroom, which slammed shut behind them. Her syrupy-sweet smile paired with narrowing eyes exuded menace as she gazed at Harry.

"It has come to my attention that you have attempted to undermine my teaching methods." Her voice was quieter than when she addressed the full class, but every word dripped with barely concealed malice. "Let me be perfectly clear: what you are trying to do is dangerous and will not be tolerated. Abandoning this fool's errand will save you a great deal of heartache later."

"I'm just doing my best to make sure my friends and I are prepared to defend ourselves," said Harry. His heart thumped in his chest as he did his utmost to heed McGonagall's warning. He kept his voice light, even though he was seething beneath the surface. He briefly thought about how regular Occlumency practice had helped him learn to better keep his cool in these types of moments. "Defense Club is a fun way for us to learn real skills. I would think you'd be happy to know that so many of your students are becoming quite adept at defense."

"You insolent brat!" she snapped, the smiling veneer of calm dissipating in an instant. "I don't care that the headmaster and your little band of foolish students worship at your scar-headed altar. Just as Minister Fudge will no doubt excise the corruption that is poisoning the Ministry from within, I will uproot every last vestige of the lies you and the headmaster wickedly sow!"

Harry knew it wasn't wise, but he allowed himself to smirk.

"You think that's amusing? Do you doubt my resolve? Or the resolve of Minister Fudge?"

A voice in the back of Harry's mind that sounded like Hermione urged him to bite his tongue, but a louder voice that reminded him of Sirius told him to go for it.

"Professor Umbridge, don't you mean former Minister Fudge?" Harry asked with a wide smile.

Her eye twitched involuntarily before she screeched, "A month of detentions! Now get the hell out of my classroom!"

Harry slung his bag over his shoulder and scampered out the door, leaving Professor Umbridge red in the face, chest heaving, and tightly clutching her stubby wand.

~RLM~

Angelina was not pleased when she found out that the Gryffindor team would be short their starting Keeper for two weeks' worth of practice and starting Seeker for a full month. Her frustration only grew when their reserve Seeker landed two weeks of detention later that same week. Combined with the fact that both of her starting Beaters had missed multiple trainings and that even Katie and Alicia had wound up in detention with Umbridge at different points, Harry thought his captain might take matters into her own hands.

Sure enough, Ange called for a team meeting Friday night after the detentions ended. When Harry and Ginny arrived with Ron in tow, the air was already thick with frustration. The three of them sat down and looked at Angelina, who was clearly fuming.

"So, I spoke with Professor Umbridge today," she began, her eyes dancing with anger. "I tried to reason with her about assigning so many detentions to you lot, but it's clear that she's going to do everything she can to make our lives miserable. In fact, I earned a month for 'having the audacity to question her teaching methods.' So that's a thing."

George and Fred both swore vehemently, with Ron and Ginny following suit. Harry honestly felt a bit relieved to know he wasn't the only team member who would be unavailable from training, but deep down he knew that it was a big blow to the team and to Angelina's hopes of performing well when the scouts came to watch her at their final match.

"That means we have a few options that I wanted to put to a vote. None of them are ideal, but we're in a tough spot and need to figure something out. We could keep things as is and just do our best with whoever is available for trainings in the evenings, or we could push trainings back and start them at ten or later." She looked around the room and found no one jumping at either option. "We could switch it up and do a training in the mornings before breakfast or we could just scrap the whole thing until we can get these detentions behind us. I've got my preference, but wanted to give everyone a say."

She leaned back against a locker, her typical upbeat demeanor replaced by dour resignation.

"We can't just drop training," replied George almost immediately, and Harry saw the rest of the team nodding along. "We've got a real shot at the Cup and we all want to be at our best to help you show your stuff for the scouts. We'll make something happen."

"I'm not exactly a morning person, but I'd be willing to make it work," said Alicia. She shrugged at the others. "If we start things up after ten, you're going to channel Wood and keep us in the air until the wee hours of the morning. At least if we do it before breakfast, we'd still have our evenings relatively free."

Harry had little desire to wake up at the crack of dawn for practice, but the idea of having a little bit of time before turning in to play a game of Exploding Snap or go on a stroll with Ginny was tantalizing.

Ginny was sold on the proposal as well. "I'm in. I want to take advantage of every second I have getting to learn from you before the end of the season, even if that means waking up at an ungodly hour."

Though none of the team was enthusiastic about the plan, all were on board with giving up part of their morning to ensure they were ready for Ravenclaw. As the details were hammered out, Angelina's mood thawed considerably. By the end of the team meeting, she was laughing along with George at Fred's ideas of how they could enact retribution on their unsuspecting professor.
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