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SIYE Time:11:51 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: 38049; Chapter Total: 280
Awards: View Trophy Room






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By no means was detention with Delores Umbridge a pleasant experience, but Harry couldn't help noting how much better it was than his experiences writing lines for her during the previous term. Sure, he had to remember to screw up his face so that he looked like he was in intense discomfort so that the twins' Hush Putty wasn't discovered, but it wasn't too difficult for Harry to fake. He did have to keep himself from catching one of his friends' eye and descending into laughter at how they'd gotten around her punishment, but he did fairly well at looking focused on the parchment in front of him. He didn't even have to write the lines very quickly since it was better theater for him to look like he could barely bring himself to put quill to paper.

As soon as the detention ended, he returned the Quill of Echoes to Professor Umbridge's desk and wobbled away, attempting to look shaken by the hours of auditory assault that had only amounted to vaguely annoying whispers that faded away within minutes of leaving the classroom. Ginny would often jump onto his back and make him carry them both up a few sets of stairs on the way back to Gryffindor Tower. Other times, they'd join Hermione and Ron for a 'patrol,' which more often than not ended up at the kitchens.

Dobby's enthusiasm whenever any of the four visited knew no bounds. He gleefully set about bringing various treats to them, excitedly telling them about his life as a House Elf at Hogwarts. There was a lot to keep up with between cooking, cleaning, and taking care of Winky. His friend had yet to get over being dismissed by Mr. Crouch, Sr., and tended to drown her sorrows in bottles of Butterbeer. Harry felt confident that Dobby was doing extra work to cover for Winky. Considering the lengths Dobby had gone to try to protect Harry both before and during his Second Year at school, he had no doubt that the elf would go above and beyond.

The Fifth Year session of the Defense Club had to be pushed back by a week due to all three of the leaders from the year being in detention. When it was finally scheduled, Ron and Hermione led without Harry, who'd gotten a longer detention sentence than either of them. Once he finished with Umbridge, he hustled down to the Defense Chamber hoping to catch the end of the gathering.

It had become a tradition to spend the final ten minutes of each session practicing casting a Patronus. Harry walked into the cavernous chamber just in time to witness a silver hawk burst forth from Blaise's wand. The Slytherin's face shone with the kind of unbridled joy that he often seemed far too cool to display, but the feeling couldn't be denied as he directed his Patronus to fly in two great loops before letting it come to rest near him and the many others who were admiring his milestone.

None of the other students gave Harry a hard time for missing the lesson for Umbridge's detention; in fact, it was rapidly becoming a badge of honor to serve time with her. Dean had recently finished two weeks for correcting the professor's mispronunciation of Parvati's last name alongside Lavender, who had fallen into a giggling fit after Seamus rolled his eyes during one of Umbridge's rants. Trusting that all had gone well with the lesson Hermione and Ron put the Fifth Years through, Harry followed up with a few of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs as the meeting wound down.

He was pleased to learn that several of the students they had discussed as options to ask about helping to lead the group had done well that evening. In addition to Blaise's Patronus breakthrough, he found that Daphne had quickly run through the counter-jinxes they'd been practicing. Padma's Patronus was not yet fully corporeal, but Hermione reported that today had been her best effort thus far. Her voice was less than enthusiastic about the Ravenclaw's improvement, though she noted the effusive praise from Ron after his tips led to Padma's better result. Even Hannah had a relatively strong showing, though less so than the others.

As the students began to exit toward the stairs, Harry noticed Blaise talking amicably with Daphne and Theo. There weren't very many from their house represented in the Defense Club, but Harry was glad that there were several more Slytherins than there had been when the club started. Having the three Fifth Years had been enough to encourage nearly half a dozen younger students from Slytherin to join, for which Harry was grateful.

"Nicely done with the Patronus," said Harry as he approached the small group. "After getting so close last time, I figured you'd get it soon. Really well done!"

Blaise let the faintest hint of a smirk dance across his face. "Thanks, Potter. Feels good to get it down. I was telling Daphne that I wouldn't be surprised if she's next."

"From what I could see, I think you're right. Though I heard Padma is well on her way, too,," agreed Harry. "Looks like your mist is almost solid. And Theo, you did so much better than the last time we practiced! I'd be willing to bet you found a more powerful memory to use, right?"

"Yeah, I think I did," said Theo thoughtfully. Harry sometimes wondered how such a soft-spoken kid ended up in Slytherin.

"It wasn't quite the same in here with you on a date with Delores," added Daphne. "But it still went alright. What got you in there this time?"

"Defense Club, actually. Seems like she's not a big fan of our 'little study group.'"

"That's an understatement," said Blaise with a scoff of derision. "You should hear how she goes on and on about it during Defense. Hard to imagine what it's like when you lot are all in there with her."

"Definitely not my favorite class, that's for sure," said Harry while shaking his head. "At least Binns doesn't care if you nod off in History of Magic. Defense is just as boring now, but if we so much as blink for too long Umbridge gives out a detention."

Daphne heaved a sigh and nodded. "Well, you aren't the only one who hates her class. Can't imagine she'll be back for next year, though. No Fudge should mean no Umbridge."

"That'd be my guess. I doubt she's enjoying terrorizing the students as much now that her detentions aren't as effective." Harry looked around the group for a moment before addressing Blaise. "Hey, could I borrow you for a minute? I've got something I want to run past you."

The Slytherin quickly agreed and bid goodbye to his housemates. He and Harry slowly walked across the chamber together while the remaining students cleared out.

"The Defense Club leaders have been talking," began Harry, trying to remember how he'd planned to go about the conversation in his head. "We're all really glad you joined the group and have been impressed with what you've been able to do. It's pretty clear that you're one of the best at Defense, and we thought that before you managed a corporeal Patronus."

A year ago, Harry might have thought the look on Blaise's face was smugness, but now he got the feeling it was more self-assuredness. The Slytherin was confident about his abilities and didn't see the need to downplay his strength. Harry also thought it didn't hurt that it was a Gryffindor acknowledging his prowess.

"We're all hoping Umbridge gets replaced, but even then, who knows if we'll have a good Defense Professor or not? So we're planning to keep doing the club next year. But since Cedric will be gone, we've been trying to think through who we might ask to help us lead the group. We're considering how to make sure the leaders aren't all from Gryffindor and we'd like to bring in someone from the lower years."

"Makes sense," replied Blaise with a nod. "Are you thinking about tapping a Third Year from Slytherin? I don't know them too well, but I could at least steer you clear from the ones who you definitely don't want."

"Well, that's not exactly what we were thinking. We sorta decided that we'll keep watching the younger group the rest of this term and maybe ask one of them at the end of the school year or early next term. But for now, we wanted to ask if you'd consider it?"

Blaise's eyebrows shot up for a moment before he regained his cool exterior. "Interesting. And not what I expected. Tell me, what made you choose to ask me?"

"Well, like I said, you're really strong at defensive magic. But it's more than that; we noticed that you pick up on the concepts we're going over quickly and then help the others around you. You're a big reason Theo's shields are so much stronger. Cedric also said you've done a lot to help out with the younger Slytherin students since Malfoy isn't worth much as a prefect."

"You're not wrong," conceded Blaise. "But I don't think that's the reason you're asking me. Or at least not the whole reason. There are others who are good at defense and don't mind taking care of the younger ones every once in a while. If I'm going to consider the offer, and that's still a big if, I want to know why you want me."

It didn't surprise Harry that Blaise was wary about the idea. He'd almost expected the Slytherin to reject him outright.

"There is another factor we've considered. Your house has the fewest number of students as a part of the group, and that's probably partly because we don't have any Slytherins as part of our leaders' group."

"True, even if another part of the reason is that some of my housemates have Death Eaters as parents."

"Err… Yeah, I'm sure that factors in," replied Harry, not knowing exactly how to take the frank admission. "But that's part of why we wanted to ask you: you chose to be a part of Defense Club from the beginning, even though I doubt it made you many friends in your house. We figure that we wouldn't have very many Slytherins at all if you, Daphne, and Theo hadn't been coming. Hermione said you 'created a permission structure' for others to join."

Blaise looked at Harry appraisingly but didn't interrupt.

"So, we were thinking that if you joined our leader group, it'd help make it easier for Slytherin students to join up and it would help remind the other houses that not everyone from your house is just waiting for a chance to join Voldemort."

Blaise's jaw tightened, though it wasn't a full wince. "Well, that does bring up a bit of a problem… You see, I'm already risking a great deal by being a part of this little club in the first place. If the Dark Lord ends up victorious, it wouldn't be ideal to be seen as your ally. Not that I'm confident he will come out on top, but it's a possibility to take into account. If I join, that'll be hard to spin as anything less than picking a side."

It was a rather blunt assessment. The fact that Blaise had the option to pick a side, or possibly to remain neutral, caused a little resentment to bubble up in the back of Harry's mind. He tried to hide the frustration he felt, but Blaise could see it on his face.

"Look, I get that you've got all the reasons in the world to fight. And it's not like you've even got much choice about it; he's got a target on your back, no matter what you do. It's not that I want him to take over, but I've got to consider the risks of becoming the poster boy for Slytherins against the Dark Lord."

The conversation wasn't going as well as Harry had hoped. He silently wondered if asking Blaise was a mistake, even as he tried to come up with reasons for the Slytherin to join. Harry did have to acknowledge that Voldemort's fury for a Slytherin who crossed him would be terrible.

"I'm not turning you down, at least not yet, but it's a big ask," he said with a frustrated sigh. "I'll think about it, and not just for me. You're right that it'd probably get more of the younger Slytherins interested, but that would mean even more potential retribution if things go sour."

The point stuck with Harry, who had similar misgivings about endangering people who got close to him. The fact that Blaise was weighing the costs to others, not just himself, reassured Harry slightly. He hadn't spent much time considering what repercussions Slytherin students might face beyond antagonism from Malfoy and those like him.

"That's fair," said Harry evenly. "Let us know when you decide, yeah?"

"Absolutely. I've got a few people I trust I can run it past, but I'll get back to you soon."

~RLM~

The stress of homework from her classes, studying for OWLs, and planning for the Defense Club kept Hermione at a simmering level of stress that occasionally boiled over into outright panic. Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Neville all did their best to keep her from an unreasonable amount of time cloistered in the library, but her need to excel was definitely taking a toll on her.

When Harry and Ginny arrived at the Gryffindor table late for dinner after a Saturday afternoon stroll around the grounds, neither were surprised to find a flustered Hermione with one hand in her bushy, brown hair and a pained expression on her face. Ron sat next to her and looked more concerned than normal, but Neville didn't appear out of sorts across from them.

"Well, don't you three make a welcoming bunch," said Ginny as she began to fill her plate. "What's got everyone looking so stressed?"

Hermione barely looked up from her plate. "Professor McGonagall just made an announcement that Fifth Years are meeting with her to discuss career paths and which NEWT classes we should consider. I don't know why I didn't think to ask about it; I'd thought we'd have our OWL results first, and now…"

She heaved an exasperated huff and allowed her shoulders to sag as she trailed off. Harry glanced at Ron and Neville, neither of whom looked especially excited about the prospect of deciding their future careers in the next week. Ron, in particular, looked quite out of sorts.

"Oh, is that all?" asked Ginny with an encouraging smile. "What do you think, Harry?"

"I don't know," he replied as his left hand twirled a strand of Ginny's hair around and around. "I haven't really thought about it too much. Are we supposed to go into the meeting knowing what we want to do?"

"Not necessarily, but having a clearer picture of what you're interested in would go a long way in determining what classes to take," Hermione heaved a sigh. "I've considered trying for a ministry position, but I don't know which department would be best. There are so many departments that are doing important work and I could miss out on an opportunity if I don't take the right NEWT courses."

"I'm pretty sure you don't have anything to worry about," said Ron, who was poking a potato with his fork. "Any department with a lick of sense will be begging you to work with them."

"Safe to say you're looking at something in the Herbology field, Nev?" asked Harry, even though he was certain of the answer.

"Absolutely!" he said with a grin. "I still don't know exactly what I'd like to specialize in, but Professor Sprout says that her NEWT classes ought to give me a lot of opportunities to experiment. I'm probably going to keep going with Charms, Defense, and Care of Magical Creatures, in case I'm out in the field and run into some sort of dangerous animal. And I might even try for Transfiguration! My marks have been up this term and I think I might be able to swing it…"

Neville's optimism buoyed Harry's spirits. Even if he wasn't sure what kind of career he wanted, Harry was happy for his friend to know what direction he wanted to pursue. Harry supposed there wasn't exactly a specific track for training to fight Voldemort, but maybe McGonagall would have some suggestions. As Hermione attempted to list the various departments in the Ministry of Magic and sort them based on how interested she would be in working there, Harry allowed himself to imagine a world in which the biggest worry on his plate was a job.

~RLM~

"Good evening, Mr. Potter. Please have a seat. The headmaster requested that we include him in our meeting so as to consider the unique nature of your educational needs. Is that amenable to you?" Harry had barely plopped down in the chair across from Professor McGonagall before she posed the question.

"Oh, err… I guess that's fine."

"Excellent. I'll inform him and we can begin once he arrives." With a wave of her wand, a silvery cat bounded out of her office before she refocused on her pupil. "Would you care for a biscuit while we wait?"

Harry thought it would be rude to turn down such a kind offer, and ended up eating two of the chocolate-drizzled biscuits from the tin on his professor's desk as they good-naturedly discussed the upcoming match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. He was unsurprised to find that McGonagall had several suggestions for how to ensure the Quidditch Cup would remain on its perch in her office, which she had positioned in a prominent space upon her bookshelf.

Soon enough, two polite knocks on the door alerted them to the headmaster, who swept into the office and conjured a comfy, high-backed chair to sit in.

"Thank you both for allowing an old man such as myself to interject himself into your meeting," said Dumbledore kindly. His eyes fell upon the last bite of biscuit that Harry tried to eat quickly in order to be ready to begin. "Minerva, I must say that you have better success with your biscuits than I ever do with my lemon drops."

She slid the tin in his direction, but he put up both of his hands to decline with a smile.

"I hope my intrusion does not disrupt your conversation unnecessarily and I would be delighted if you would carry on as you would with any other student," said Dumbledore. "I am confident there are alternate options that we will need to discuss concerning Harry's unique circumstances, but I assure you that I am not planning to take over your meeting, as it were."

"In that case, let's begin," remarked McGonagall. "Have you given any consideration to what kind of career you might pursue after Hogwarts?"

Harry took a deep breath as he considered the question. He'd spent a fair bit of time thinking about options since learning about the career advice meeting but hadn't come to a definite conclusion.

"Well, I'm not exactly sure. Last year, I started considering being an Auror, but that was partly because of things I learned from Crouch pretending to be Professor Moody. I have really enjoyed learning from Kingsley and appreciate how he always seems prepared for any situation. So maybe being an Auror like him is still the way to go? And I don't suppose it would hurt to get extra training in fighting dark wizards, considering everything we've talked about with the group…"

"Those are reasonable factors to consider, Mr. Potter. The Ministry requires at least five NEWTs in order to be considered for an Auror position, and you would need to achieve an Exceeds Expectations or better on all five. Even then, you would need to undergo a series of aptitude and character tests before you could be considered. It is a challenging career path, to say the least, and they pride themselves on taking only the best.

"You show a strong aptitude in Defense Against the Dark Arts, at least when it is taught by a competent professor, which is a must for such a career. I have zero doubt that you are on track to pass your Defense OWL with flying colors." McGonagall gave him a proud smile before continuing. "Additionally, you would need Transfiguration. Aurors must often transfigure or untransfigure their work. Your grades for me have historically been in the Acceptable to Exceeds Expectations range, but this year you have typically earned Exceeds Expectations or Outstanding marks. I expect you to keep up the progress you have shown.

"Your Charms work has also been exemplary, which Professor Flitwick attests to. His note assures me that you already performing at a level commiserate with a NEWT student. Those three classes will be important for you to maintain, but none seem likely to scuttle a potential career as an Auror. Potions, on the other hand…"

She rifled through several pages that Harry assumed to be Snape's assessment of his work through the years. Harry grimaced at the thought of his terrible marks in Potions derailing his future options, but he also felt slightly ill at the thought of two more years in the dungeons with Snape.

McGonagall's lips grew thin as she skimmed various pages. When she reached the final one, her face grew slightly less stern as she handed it to the headmaster, who peered down at it through his half-moon spectacles.

"In previous years, your marks in Potions have been abysmal," said Professor McGonagall frankly. "Your previous term showed some modest improvement, but I am most intrigued by your turnaround so far in this term. Professor Snape has indicated that your work is consistently averaging an Exceeds Expectations, even after years of regularly failing to earn an Acceptable. To what do you attribute this newfound success?"

Harry's first thought was that it was easier to pass a class when the professor wasn't actively trying to ruin your life but thought better of saying that out loud.

"I think part of it is changing my approach in class. Last year, Susan mentioned something that I'd never noticed: Professor Snape writes his instructions for the class on the blackboard, but they're slightly different from what's in our textbook. I used to always check back with the book in the middle of brewing a potion because it's a bit hard to read the board with so much going on in the classroom. Smoke from the fires and steam rising from potions and whatnot. But my potions would never come out quite the way they were supposed to. It's a bit more challenging, but now I try to only go by what he's written instead of the book."

He ran his hand through his hair as he thought before continuing.

"It also helps that we understand each other better because of Occlumency training. I've got more respect for him, and it seems like he doesn't hate me quite as much."

Dumbledore's knowing smile coincided with a slight tug at the corners of McGonagall's mouth. She flipped to another page and scanned it quickly before returning her gaze to Harry.

"An Auror needs to have a firm grasp of potions and potential antidotes. It seems unlikely that they would accept any applicant who does not earn a NEWT in Potions. I will warn you: Professor Snape does not allow students to continue into his upper-level course without an Outstanding on their OWLs. Your previous work would suggest that to be an unrealistic goal, but considering your recent scores…" She shrugged her shoulders. "I wouldn't consider it beyond the realm of possibility."

A long sigh escaped Harry as he reckoned with the thought of spending much more time in the next few months preparing for a grueling Potions exam. He was certain that both professors could read his expression well enough to understand how he felt.

"That would leave you only needing one additional NEWT level class," continued McGonagall as she peered at the assorted papers in front of her. "Goodness knows it shouldn't be Divination. Dropping the course was one of the wisest decisions I've seen you make since arriving at Hogwarts. Based on your grades, it shouldn't be History of Magic or Astronomy, either. Luckily for you, neither are preferred subjects for the Auror office. They do value proficiency in Care of Magical Creatures, though, and Professor Hagrid notes that you have achieved excellent marks in his class. A NEWT in Arithmancy or Ancient Runes would have probably looked better on an application, but I daresay you have practical experience that will be factored into their decision-making."

"If I may, could I interject?" asked Dumbledore, looking inquisitively at McGonagall. She gave him a nod before he turned to address Harry. "While I would certainly not denigrate the importance of learning to handle animals with the respect and care they deserve, the circumstances in which you find yourself are unique in a few ways. As such, you may wish to consider alternative options that are not typically given to students.

"For instance, you have taken on a great deal more responsibility in the realm of Defense Against the Dark Arts than any student in a great many years. Not only have you spent significant time honing your skills in preparation for potential combat, but you have dedicated yourself to learning Occlumency as a means of defending your mind from outside attack.

"The Ministry of Magic has a number of specialized tests that are not unlike a NEWT," explained Dumbledore. "One of these is meant for trainees once they are deemed ready to become full Aurors. Though quite difficult, much of what is covered by the exam is material you already have studied extensively. I would need to confirm this with Kingsley, but I am reasonably confident that passing the Auror exam would be more than enough to take the place of a fifth NEWT-level course."

An encouraging expression flitted across Professor McGonagall's face as Harry considered the suggestion. He thought that actually getting school credit for the work he was putting in would be nice, but he also did enjoy his classes with Hagrid. He feared that the gentle soul would be crushed to lose one of his favorite students.

"I could support such an arrangement," mused McGonagall as she rapped her fingers upon the desk. "A number of skilled Aurors have gone on to excel in other fields, as well. I do not believe focusing your education on the goal of becoming an Auror would limit your future prospects to that career alone."

"Yes, I think it wise for you to at least consider goals that do not involve tracking down dark wizards and bringing them to justice," said Dumbledore sagely. "Your talents and life circumstances may have pushed you in such a direction, but if you only do so because you feel as though you have no other choice, you may find yourself disappointed."

"With that in mind, are there any other career paths that attract your interest?" asked McGonagall. "Any potential jobs you think might suit your strengths and passions?"

For a long moment, Harry considered whether to share the idea that had danced around the outskirts of his mind. It wasn't a completely irrational thought and it was something he could see himself enjoying. And of all the people he could tell, Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall were the best positioned to tell him if it was even a possibility.

"Well, there's one other option that I thought about," began Harry cautiously. "You see, I've enjoyed Defense Club quite a bit this year. It's been fun to come up with exciting lessons and to see the other students improving. I think there's a part of me that might enjoy doing something along those lines. You know… Teaching Defense."

Harry wasn't sure what he had expected from his two professors, but he was taken aback by the warmth and pride that showed on both of their faces.

"You possess many of the qualities we covet most when hiring new professors," said Dumbledore softly. "I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the work you and your friends have dedicated to teaching others through the Defense Club. The quality of instruction has been exemplary and your knack for including others has no doubt contributed to its rousing success."

"It will not surprise you that many of those you have helped teach are experiencing improvement, even in classes other than Defense," added McGonagall. "Mr. Longbottom, for instance, has credited the club for his increased understanding of our material in Transfiguration. Your work has benefitted a great number of students, many of whom feel a special affinity to you as someone who helped them achieve goals that they previously thought unattainable."

Heat rushed to Harry's cheeks under the praise of his professors and he had a hard time meeting their earnest looks.

"Many of our posts remain filled for years at a time, as we do endeavor to retain our best professors, when possible," said Dumbledore with a nod to McGonagall. "But I will admit to difficulty in keeping the Defense Against the Dark Arts post filled. If you'll remember our conversation regarding Tom Riddle's application for the job, my conjecture is that the position has been cursed, which helps explain the high turnover. Still, there is always the hope that such magic may disappear once Voldemort is gone for good…"

A vision of himself as an adult at the front of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom filled Harry's head, followed swiftly by him striding through the remade Chamber of Secrets with a new generation of leaders. A broad smile found its way onto his face.

McGonagall flipped to a different page to check on some sort of detail, but she was able to speak and search at the same time. "Despite how challenging it has been to find suitable professors, Hogwarts does have stringent rules governing who can be hired to such a post. A professor must earn an Outstanding in their area of expertise, and at least an Acceptable in at least four other subjects, though Exceeds Expectations is preferred."

"Wait, Umbridge managed an Outstanding in Defense?" Harry was shocked at the thought of Umbridge performing any sort of practical defensive magic, much less enough to warrant a top grade on a Defense Against the Dark Arts NEWT.

A very uncharacteristic snort of derision overcame McGonagall before Dumbledore could reply.

"While I do not make a habit of discussing the qualifications of Hogwarts staff members, I will note that Minister Fudge decided to suspend a few of our more onerous hiring provisions in order to facilitate Professor Umbridge's appointment." The twinkling in the headmaster's eyes told Harry everything he needed to know.

"Another of those provisions is that a professor has relevant experience in the field that they would be teaching," added McGonagall. "We think it unwise to hire a professor who has only recently completed their Seventh Year. Doing so would likely create a myriad of problems, not the least of which would be the chance of a new professor being already engaged in a romantic relationship with a student."

She raised an eyebrow as she looked at Harry, who was doing his best not to imagine assigning Ginny a detention with Professor Potter.

"With that said, I feel confident that we could consider an applicant who had successfully completed the Auror course in lieu of a fifth NEWT," concluded Dumbledore with a smile. "And, as an added bonus, the course would be advantageous for anyone engaged in opposing Lord Voldemort."

Harry caught the headmaster's meaning, but his phrasing sparked another thought. "If it would be helpful for people fighting against Voldemort, would it need to be limited to me or could it include others if they were interested? I don't know for sure if they'd join or not, but Hermione and Ron seem to both get a lot from our Advanced Defense lessons. And I know that Ginny and Cho aren't going to be Sixth Years next term, but they might be interested, too."

McGonagall rolled her eyes slightly but didn't look frustrated by the question. "Mr. Potter, why am I not surprised that the first thing you think to bring up when presented with this option is to attempt to extend it to others? Albus?"

"In anticipation of your query, we have decided to officially offer an Advanced Defense course option for students, beginning next term. It will be available to any students Fifth Year or above, provided that they meet the standards we set forth."

A small smirk flashed across Harry's face. He was nothing if not confident that Ginny would pass whatever test they administered with flying colors.
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