|SIYE Time:11:21 on 3rd December 2023|
Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory
- Text Size +
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: 38032; Chapter Total: 254
Awards: View Trophy Room
Despite the dire situation he had witnessed in his vision and the implications of how Voldemort could use it in the future, Harry found a rather meaningful silver lining: he finally had an earth-shattering piece of information that he could freely share with his closest friends. This was quite fortunate for him because Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and Neville all shared looks of deep concern by the time Harry arrived at the Gryffindor table for breakfast the following morning.
He had kept them in the dark regarding horcruxes for almost a year, more if Harry counted from when he first heard of the terrible magic through the rogue memory. This term, his role in the prophecy had been added to his list of secrets to keep, which meant one more incredible burden he couldn't share with his best friends.
Harry wasn't keen on sharing the crucial details of his life and the fight against Voldemort with the whole world, but he yearned to at least fill in Ginny, Hermione, and Ron. He sometimes quietly wondered whether they deserved the opportunity to cut ties with him, considering how much danger they risked by being connected with him, but reason mostly won out. Even without knowledge of the prophecy, none of them were under any illusions that Voldemort might suddenly decide to give up the mission to eliminate Harry, yet they continued to associate with him freely.
Neville was a tougher case. He didn't even know the basic details about the rogue memory that Harry had shared with Ron and Hermione, much less that Harry occasionally met with some of the most competent witches and wizards alive to make progress on ensuring Voldemort's mortality. A prophecy that had almost referred to his dormmate seemed far too much information to relay.
A back-and-forth argument played out in Harry's mind. Would it be wise to open up to Neville? If he shared about the rogue memory, would that put his friend in greater danger? Or make it more likely that the secret got out? Harry knew Neville well enough to trust that he'd never intentionally betray his trust, but he also wasn't the strongest at magic that didn't involve plants. Could Voldemort plumb the depths of Neville's mind for information to use against Harry? Or would the act of sharing help deepen the bond between them, which had been growing stronger from their time in Defense Club and hanging out more often outside of class?
Quick, decisive answers eluded Harry for the moment, so he decided to consider it more at a later date. Instead, he simply told his four friends that he'd explain about the previous night once the day's classes had concluded. He noticed that Hermione looked almost ready to push for swifter answers, but Ron preempted her by bumping his knee into hers while leaning over to pass some of the remaining eggs onto his best mate's plate.
Harry had a challenging time focusing on his classes that morning until his communication mirror vibrated in his pocket after lunch. Sirius was happy to report that Tonks was doing better than expected. He had returned to Grimmauld Place after giving an official statement about the night's ordeal to Kingsley but was now calling from Tonks' room at St. Mungo's.
Remus had remained at the hospital all night, only consenting to be relieved by Mr. and Mrs. Tonks after their daughter had woken up and assured everyone that she was going to be okay. From the periphery of the mirror, Harry could see the color rise to her cheeks as she described how concerned Remus had been while keeping vigil at her bedside. A remark from Sirius earned him a slap from the patient after he insinuated that Tonks had gotten injured to make Remus get his act together and properly ask her out.
Before Sirius ended the call, Tonks requested the mirror to say thanks to Harry for his help the previous night. From what the Healers had said, the venom was strong enough to do serious damage and even kill if not treated quickly. She was adamant that, were it not for his warning to Sirius, Remus, and Dumbledore, she likely wouldn't have survived in the Department of Mysteries until the first Unspeakables arrived in the morning.
It wasn't the kind of praise Harry knew how to accept since the whole situation was still exceptionally confusing. He felt bad knowing that he'd experienced the attack from the perspective of the snake, too. But the earnest gratitude in Tonks' eyes as she thanked him made the ordeal worth it, and knowing she would be back on her feet soon assuaged a lot of the angst he'd felt that morning.
When he and Ginny finally arrived at the student lounge, Ron and Neville were midway through a chess match and Hermione was impatiently flipping through a book on magical concealment. She hurriedly shelved the tome and pulled an armchair closer to the couch where the boys had set up their game. Harry fell into a loveseat as Ginny perched on its arm, kicking off her shoes before allowing herself to topple down with her ankles crossed on his lap. Her long hair draped over the opposite arm until Ron tossed her an extra pillow to rest her head upon before twirling one of Neville's captured bishops in his hand.
"Ginny's Herbology class should have ended over a half hour ago," noted Hermione, her voice betraying a note of amusement along with slight frustration. "I hope you two didn't get lost in the castle when you know we've all been going mad with worry waiting to hear what's happenedâ€¦"
Harry smiled guiltily and refused to meet Ron's eyes. He almost felt bad for the circuitous route he'd taken while walking with Ginny after her class at the greenhouses. Almost, but not quite.
He raised his wand and said, "Muffliato!" to ensure their conversation wouldn't be overheard, either by other students seeking use of the room or Moaning Myrtle, who still took any opportunity she could find to chat with Harry.
"I suppose Ron and Nev have filled both of you in on what happened?" asked Harry to begin. Both girls nodded vigorously, and Harry was reminded of how much both cared about his well-being.
"Yeah, we told them you woke up screaming bloody murder then bolted off and said you needed Dumbledore," said Ron, shaking his head. "Not much else to tell from our end."
"Usually, if Ron or I hear you stirring, it starts off low enough that one of us can hit your bed with a Silencing Charm before it wakes up anyone else, but you just started screaming out ofâ€“OW!" Ron's aim was spot on as he flung the white bishop directly at Neville's head. The boy winced as he grabbed at the side of his head behind his ear. "What's that about?"
Ron's hand covered his face as he shook his head ruefully. "Mate, you weren't supposed to mentionâ€“ It's really not a big deal, Harry. And honestly, it hasn't happened nearly as much this term since you've been doing the Occlumency stuff."
Heat and color flooded Harry's cheeks as he grappled with the fact that his nightmares had not only woken up his dormmates on regular occasions but that his friends had devised a secret strategy to mitigate the effects on others. His shoulders tensed as he imagined the other four boys frustratedly discussing their options.
"That's why we didn't tell him," said Ron, gesturing at Harry's face. "Don't worry about it, mate. I only looped Neville in because he sleeps lighter than me and he mentioned something about it early last term while I was still working on getting the spell down. You know Seamus and Dean can sleep through anything, too. Remember the time in Third Year when Neville stepped on Crookshanks' tail in the night and set him to howling? Neither of them budged, even after Nev tossed the damned thing out and slammed the door behind it!"
Though he had the distinct feeling that Ron was trying just a bit too hard to be convincing, the color rising in Harry's cheeks coincided with a warmth in his chest. He wasn't sure how many people had a best mate like Ron, but he felt quite lucky to have stumbled upon his during the train ride at the beginning of First Year.
"You did what to Crookshanks?" asked Hermione perilously, her eyes darting to Neville.
"So, what was up with your dream from last night?" interjected Ginny, which brought Hermione's attention back to Harry. Once she wasn't staring down Neville, he silently mouthed, "Thank you!" to Ginny.
It took a few minutes before Harry could get the full story out to his friends. Once he finished, he had to circle back to fill Neville in about his visions from the previous school year, including Voldemort killing the Muggle named Frank Bryce and torturing Pettigrew after Crouch, Sr. had been murdered. Each face was grave as he concluded, and Neville looked as if he might be sick to his stomach.
Ginny squeezed Harry's hand as she sat upright. "When do you think we'll know anything about how Tonks is doing?"
"Oh, err... I actually spoke with her this afternoon," replied Harry sheepishly. He'd plunged into the other visions so quickly that he hadn't managed to explain the call from Sirius and Tonks. "Seems like she's doing a lot better. Sirius said Remus stayed at St. Mungo's with her and the Healers are saying she should make a full recovery. They've got her on Blood Replenishing potions, for now, but she seemed optimistic about being released by the weekend."
Some of the tension that had permeated their conversation dissipated as the update sank in, especially for those who knew Tonks well. Harry could see the relief wash over Ginny as her shoulders finally relaxed somewhat for the first time since he'd started telling the story.
"Interesting that Professor Lupin would stay at the hospital with her, don't you think?" asked Hermione. "Do you think there's anything going on between them?"
Harry shifted uncomfortably, unwilling to betray the confidence of their conversation from over the holidays.
"Tonks is crazy about him, and if he doesn't like her back, I'll eat my broomstick," offered Ginny. "She doesn't care that he's older than she is or that he's a werewolf, but he's apparently really hung up on it."
"Well, it is really hard for werewolves," countered Harry fairly. "It's really hard for him to hold down a steady job because of the lycanthropy. When we were working on the library over the summer, he said that he'd never been able to keep a job for more than a year."
A troubled expression set across Hermione's face and her cheeks grew slightly red. "Maybe he's just not ready for something like that yet. It can be hard to let someone down in those kind of situations, especially if they don't understand what you're going through."
Ginny reached forward to squeeze her hand encouragingly, though the context was beyond Harry. Hermione sniffled a bit before continuing and her eyes remained glued to the floor.
"Sorry, I didn't mean toâ€¦" Her voice trailed off as her face became softer. "I thought that I was doing a good job of getting past everything with Viktor, especially after I finally was able to cast a Patronus. I'd told myself that that was the last big hurdle and that I'd be in a better place once I got it figured out. Ready to move on, I guess. But then Anthony Goldstein asked me to go with him to the Hogsmeade trip that's coming up, and I justâ€¦"
Hermione squeezed her eyes tightly shut as tears began to form. Harry glanced at Ron, who clearly had no more certainty about how to help than Harry did. Neville also sat quietly, unsure of what to say or do.
"It was so embarrassing," continued Hermione softly. "Anthony's smart and kind, and he wanted to spend the day with me for some reason. But instead of agreeing to go or even letting him down easy, I just got so emotional for no reason. I started picturing when Viktor asked me to the Yule Ball. I think I mumbled something about being sorry and then rushed off instead of helping him with Prefect rounds like I was supposed to. I haven't been able to even look at him in Arithmancy or Ancient Runes for a week."
Ginny had shifted from next to Harry into the seat by Hermione, draping her arm across her friend's heaving shoulders. "You're not on a schedule, Hermione. You don't have to know when you're going to be ready for stuff like that."
Hermione huffed in frustration and gathered her knees up to her chest, resting her chin on top of them. "Having a schedule and a checklist of things to do would be a lot easier. At least then I'd know when I was getting close."
A flurry of thoughts sped through Harry's brain, but each he deemed unhelpful. Whatever Neville and Ron were thinking remained hidden, as well, and the three boys simply sat quietly as Ginny gently rubbed Hermione's shoulder as the girl attempted to regain control of her emotions. After a few minutes, in which several panicked glances and shrugs were exchanged by the boys, Hermione took a deep breath and dabbed away her remaining tears.
"Sorry for all of that," she said shakily. "It's just been a lot to hold in."
Harry considered trying to say something encouraging, but Ron beat him to it. "It's not a problem, Hermione. We're all here for you." She let out another small sniffle but gave him a watery smile of thanks.
Neville nodded along with Ron's sentiment but looked troubled nonetheless. Not that Harry blamed his friend; he thought talking about Voldemort's plans and the aftermath of the murder of someone they knew would be enough to leave just about anyone reeling.
"It's hard to believe that you're so caught up in all these things with You-Know-Who," offered Neville shakily. "I mean, I know stuff with you and him keeps happening, but I didn't realize it affected you like this. Makes sense why you'd want everyone trained to defend themselvesâ€¦"
"Yeah, it definitely stays in the back of my mind," replied Harry, though he kept his eyes on Hermione's forlorn figure. "I don't have dreams like this all that often, but it's a big deal when it does happen. More often it's just my scar hurting whenever Voldemort is feeling particularly angry or excited about something. Just a little reminder that he's out there, somewhere."
Neville grimaced at the use of Voldemort's name, but Harry noted with a bit of pride that Ginny, Ron, and Hermione had barely winced at all.
"Do you have any idea why he keeps coming after you?" asked Neville with trepidation.
Harry bit his lip and took a deep breath while intentionally avoiding the piercing look of his girlfriend, focusing instead on the earnest yet nervous face of his dormmate. "Who knows what he's thinking or why he does anything? Maybe he's just holding a grudge because of the way everything went when he killed my Mum and Dad."
Neville nodded and looked satisfied, but Ginny continued to stare at Harry questioningly. He gave her a small shrug and continued. "No matter what his reason is, it's definitely motivation to get better at defense."
The week dragged along for Harry. McGonagall held him back after class to inform him that Kingsley, Sirius, and Remus planned to meet the Hogwarts contingent of their group once the Easter holidays commenced, but Saturday approached at a snail's pace.
It took considerable restraint on Harry's part not to be sick to his stomach during Defense. That was partially due to Umbridge's simpering soliloquy while teasing that her next symposium would feature "the distinguished Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge" as a special guest lecturer. Harry rolled his eyes as she carried on for minutes on end about the now-ousted Minister's "valiant defense of the truth" and his "unwavering commitment to restoring wizarding Britain's former glory." Harry couldn't care less about her plans to visit him via floo over the weekend and privately hoped something in her office fireplace malfunctioned so that she ended up stuck in Tibet.
His queasiness was not helped by Seamus and Dean, who each swallowed a Puking Pastille while Umbridge was caught up in a flurry of praise for the previous administration. Her rant was well and truly derailed when both boys began to vomit onto the floor in front of her, splashing her shoes with their lunches. Her horrified face turned to rage as she ordered them out of her classroom.
Harry couldn't be sure if the sight and smell had turned their stomachs or if they, too, had one of the Weasley treats at the ready, but Parvati and Lavender were suddenly just as ill as Dean and Seamus had been. Another shout arose from Umbridge, whose disgust and fury overwhelmed her desire to inflict her "teaching" upon the rest of the students.
"Out! Out! Everybody out!" Umbridge shrieked as she swiftly retreated. "Get a damn House Elf in here, at once!"
None of the remaining students needed to be told twice, and a veritable stampede of bodies swarmed out of the classroom and into the corridor, all exceedingly grateful to be out of Defense early. Within minutes, the entire class had reassembled in the Gryffindor Common Room, including all four of the previous-ill students.
Though Hermione was usually not one to encourage such behavior, Harry was glad to see her giggling along with the others as their fellow Fifth Years admitted that they'd each purchased Puking Pastilles from Fred and George as part of their own mutiny against Umbridge. Harry thought that what their plan lacked in subtlety, it more than made up for in effectiveness, especially considering the sprawling hour of unencumbered time that now stretched out where his Defense class had once taken up space.
Harry had half a mind to swing by the kitchens to grab a few sweets to use for surprising Ginny once she finished History of Magic and looked to find Ron to run the idea by him. There was nobody better to ask about a kitchen run if one was searching for encouragement, but Harry couldn't find his mate anywhere within the Common Room.
"Hey, Hermioneâ€¦ Where's Ron?" he asked, only to hear Parvati and Lavender descend into another fit of giggles nearby. Harry glanced at them quizzically, but neither girl explained their mischievous looks.
Hermione was similarly perplexed by her dormmates' antics. "I'm not sure. I heard him ask Parvati something about the Ravenclaws a few minutes ago, then he left through the portrait hole. It's a shame; I really think we should take advantage of this extra free time to do some more Potions revising. If you're serious about getting into Professor Snape's NEWT class, you do need to ensure you do well on your OWL."
It took a good deal of restraint on Harry's part to suppress the groan of frustration threatening to emerge from his throat. He knew that Hermione meant well, but he almost regretted sharing that some of his future prospects relied on taking another two years of Potions. She had seized on the information as one of the few available means of leveraging Harry to study, especially since his time was so often filled with Quidditch practice, detentions, Occlumency exercises, or preparing for Defense Club. Not to mention that he tried to make time to wander the grounds alongside Ginny any chance that he could make.
Harry's eyes darted toward the portrait longingly. Whatever Ron was doing seemed likely to be much more fun than revising for Potions, and he quietly wondered why his friend hadn't invited him to join whatever excursion he'd planned. The truth was that Hermione was right: with Ginny in class and Ron missing in action, it was a reasonable time to work on the revisions he'd been actively avoiding for the past two days. He heaved a sigh and followed a pleased-looking Hermione, who clearly had expected more of a fight. As he shuffled through his messily scrawled notes on various ingredients, his mind drifted to what Ron could be up to while out and about in the castle.
Ron didn't return to Gryffindor Tower before dinner, which meant that Harry spent an excruciating two hours preparing for his Potions OWL with only Hermione and Parvati for company. Of course, Harry was exceptionally fond of Hermione, but he found that studying with her was much more enjoyable when either Ron or Ginny were around to help keep things more light. Parvati did quite well in Potions and was also working to make it into Professor Snape's NEWT course to become a Healer, but she seemed much more giggly than usual. Harry noticed her tight-lipped smirk several times, but couldn't bring himself to ask what she was on about.
By the time most of their house began making their way toward the Great Hall for dinner, Harry's brain felt fried. He did his best to listen to Ginny's story of how some type of magical root vegetable had unexpectedly turned Colin's face magenta halfway through Herbology earlier in the day. Still, he had a hard time focusing on anything while visions of ground grubbleberry pods and sea nymph eggs bounced around in his head.
The din of chattering students filing into the Great Hall and the clink of dishes surrounded Harry as he flopped down into a seat across from Ron and took a long drink of Pumpkin Juice. Ginny made herself comfortable next to Harry while Hermione and Neville flanked Ron.
"You missed out on some important revisions," chastised Hermione. "If you want to make it into the NEWT Potions course, it's going to take a lot more work."
"Yeah, yeah. I knowâ€¦" conceded Ron without the grousing that typically accompanied any admonishment about studying. "I'll make it up."
"What's got you looking so pleased with yourself?" asked Ginny. Harry looked up at his friend and noticed a rather sheepish grin and a pink tint on his freckled cheeks. There was a glint of something in his eyes, but Harry couldn't identify it before Ron shoveled a large helping of potatoes into his mouth. He only uttered a noncommittal grunt as he chewed.
The odd behavior puzzled Harry, but his interest paled compared to Ginny's. She eyed her brother skeptically as she filled her plate with vegetables. "Why'd you skip out on revising with Hermione and Harry?"
The quick increase of color on Ron's cheeks was enough to alert Harry that something was definitely going on, though he couldn't guess what it could be. Hermione and Neville both noticed his reaction, as well, while Ginny stared her brother down with an intense look.
"It's not a big deal or anythingâ€¦" protested Ron, even though his demeanor made it clear whatever was happening was a very big deal, indeed. He unsuccessfully attempted to keep his voice light. "Well, I was out for a bit of a stroll and bumped into Padma. I've been meaning to talk to her about her Patronus, 'cause she almost had it down at the last Defense Club meeting. So we got to chatting for a bit. And, wellâ€¦ Now she and I are going to Hogsmeade together."
"You're joking!" exclaimed Neville with a laugh as the embarrassed smile on Ron's face grew. "Did you ask her or did she suggest it?"
"Oh, I asked," asserted Ron. "I'd been working my way up to it for a couple of weeks and figured that doing it on a day when we got out of Umbridge's class early made a lot of sense. At least that way, if she said no, it wouldn't have ruined my day completely."
His friend's logic and wide grin made Harry smile, too. "Fair enough! Glad it went well for you. Think you'll want to hang out with us, or will you two try to snag a table for two at Madam Puddifoot's?" Ginny squeezed Harry's hand under the table in what he assumed was an encouraging way.
"We haven't really decided on a plan, but we might try to grab lunch with you and then peel off on our own. She said that she and Parvati usually browse around together, so I guess we'll see how it goes."
Ron shifted his body to glance over his shoulder at the Ravenclaw table, where Padma was chattering excitedly with Parvati, Lavender, and two of her housemates. Harry saw her meet Ron's eyes, smile, and attempt to wave subtly as her friends and sister descended into giggles. Ron waved back before turning back to the table, his face even redder than before.
Over the next few minutes, Harry learned a bit more about how Ron had been noticing Padma during Defense Club for a few months. Ron wasn't forthcoming about how he'd spent the rest of his time after asking her on the date and Harry thought it best not to pry. Ginny finished her dinner quickly and asked Hermione to join her in the library, where Harry figured they'd hang out while he muddled through another detention with Umbridge.
‘! Go To Top ‘!