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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: 239
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.



Original Timeline

Voldemort's Victory - Chapter 1-5 (Feel free to skip if you don't like major character deaths)

Tenochtitlán - Chapter 6-9

New Timeline

Harry's 4th Year - Chapter 10-28

Harry's 5th Year - Chapter 29-68

Harry's 6th Year - Chapter 69-Current
Hitcount: Story Total: 54588; Chapter Total: 1121
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
Wow! The story has gained quite a few new readers in the past few weeks while lots of longtime readers have been checking in regularly. All in all, RLM now has over 100,000 views across all platforms, which is absolutely wild! Thanks so much for being a part of this story, especially to those of you who leave such encouraging comments!




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It was good to be back at Hogwarts, thought Harry as he and the three newest members of the circle of trust waited for Professor Dumbledore to arrive. Harry stood next to Fawkes' perch and carefully stroked the bird's neck, who trilled at him appreciatively. Kingsley and Professor McGonagall were each in the overstuffed chairs in front of the headmaster's desk as they talked with Sirius, who had seated himself at the edge of the desk.

"My money's on Scrimgeour," said Sirius as he popped a lemon drop from Dumbledore's desk into his mouth. "I think Amelia would be a better pick, but now that folks are finally opening their eyes to a war on their front doorstep, bet they go with Rufus. Head of the Auror Office and all."

"Either would be leagues better than our current minister, but given the choice, Madam Bones would be my pick, as well," intoned Kingsley. "Fudge has called in all his favors to delay the No Confidence vote, but I doubt he'll be able to pick up much more support. He's been pushing for our department to make more arrests so it looks like he's doing something, but we're still far behind where we should be."

"I do not envy your position, Kingsley," said Professor McGonagall. "I imagine your job is going to be much more difficult in the coming months."

"True, but I'm beginning to look forward to it. After so long pretending to chase this clown," he pointed his thumb at Sirius, who gasped theatrically and flung a lemon drop at the man. "It'll be nice to actually be assigned to do my job. There is so much to be done, and I'm quite ready to begin in earnest."

Green flames announced the arrival of a clearly frustrated Dumbledore, who apologized for his tardiness. "Terribly sorry for the delay. My conversation with the new Defense professor ran longer than I'd hoped. Cornelius has seen fit to lob a final dung bomb before he loses power." He glanced at Harry. "Forgive me, that was rather unkind."

Professor McGonagall huffed. "Unkind doesn't mean untrue. You're certain nothing can be done?"

"I'm afraid it appears as though our alternative options will not be viable," he replied, shaking his head. "But enough about that unpleasantness! An adventure awaits! Harry, would you be so kind as to lead the way and explain the pertinent details regarding the Chamber?"

During the short trek to the third-floor girls' bathroom, Harry did his best to brief them on the ins and outs of what they'd be facing. He wasn't sure how many side passages might branch off from the main room, but he explained how multiple doors and entryways only opened with Parselmouth. When they reached the door, Harry tentatively knocked before pushing ahead.

"Such a considerate young man," said Sirius as he ruffled his godson's hair.

"Harry!" came a voice from further within the room. "It's been ages since you visited!"

The translucent form of Moaning Myrtle floated forward to greet the visitors, or rather, one of the visitors.

"Hey, Myrtle. Nice to see you again." Harry's voice was much less enthusiastic than the ghost's as he began checking the taps for which had the inscription of the tiny snake.

"You and the others stopped coming to see me," she pouted, drawing nearer and nearer to Harry as he attempted to focus his attention on the faucets. He mentally cursed himself for not memorizing which one they'd used previously.

"Miss Warren, might I ask what Mr. Potter and his friends were doing when they were coming to visit you more often?" McGonagall looked as if she didn't want to know the answer to her own question, but her curiosity got the better of her.

"Oh, they were brewing a potion they wanted to make sure no one knew about. They kept it hidden here since nobody ever comes to see me." Myrtle began to sniffle, but the professor wasn't ready to abandon her line of inquiry.

"And just what kind of potion were they brewing?"

Harry caught Myrtle's eye and tried to signal her to keep quiet, but she paid him no mind. "It was a Polyjuice Potion. The girl said that they were going to sneak into the Slytherin Common Room."

McGonagall's eyes grew wide as she turned to face Harry, who had found the right tap moments too late to prevent the information from being divulged. Sirius and Kingsley were doing their best to stifle their snickering, and even the headmaster couldn't contain his sly grin.

"Mr. Potter?! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Err… About that. You see, we were trying to figure out who was actually the Heir of Slytherin. We suspected Malfoy but knew he'd never tell us, so we may have snuck into their Common Room disguised as Crabbe and Goyle."

Sirius' loud laughter burst out from behind his hand as Harry squirmed under the professor's glare. Kingsley was leaning against Sirius for support while Dumbledore's chuckle could no longer be contained.

"Am I correct in assuming that this foolishness is what resulted in Miss Granger ending up in the hospital wing looking very much like a feline?" A pink-cheeked Harry nodded as McGonagall raked her hand down her face. "I should have known."

"Minerva, might I remind you of the agreement we…"

"I know damn well what I agreed to, Albus!" She shook her head ruefully as she cast her eyes at the ceiling. When her stern eyes met Harry's again, there was the faintest hint of a smile behind them. "When you first arrived, you were so nervous and polite that I thought it possible that your personality favored Lily…"

"But he's got more than a little James in him!" finished Sirius with a laugh.

"That you do, Mr. Potter. And I'm thankful for that, despite the number of headaches it causes me."

"If you need to assign him detention, he could always come clean in here," offered Myrtle.

"I appreciate the thought, but that won't be necessary," answered McGonagall. "Please lead the way, Mr. Potter."

Harry squinted his eyes so that everything else faded, save the tiny inscription. As his mind thought of the word "Open," he uttered a hiss. The tap began to move and shift as it gradually became a dark hole leading deep under the floor.

"Ron and I just kinda slid down," said Harry as the group peered into the blackness. "Well, we made Lockhart go first. Fawkes carried us when we came back because it was too slick to climb up."

"Fascinating," mused Dumbledore as he illuminated his wand. "If Miss Weasley was able to enter and exit the Chamber, there must be some mechanism that allows for egress. Harry, would you be so kind as to speak in Parseltongue the word 'stairs'?"

Having already spoken the language once, Harry felt slightly more confident as he concentrated on the image and hissed again. Almost immediately, the tunnel's floor shifted into a long staircase whose bottom was beyond their view.

"Wonderfully done. I had a suspicion that the young and self-serious Tom would have never deigned to slide down a tunnel with the wild abandon of a child on a playground. Shall we proceed?"

Wand aloft, the headmaster began to descend, followed closely by Kingsley and McGonagall. Before Sirius and Harry could join them, Myrtle floated right up to them. "If anything goes wrong down there, my offer still stands. You could stay here with me."

"Hate to break it to you, but Harry's already got a girlfriend. The redhead he saved from down there."

Betrayal flashed in Myrtle's face before she flung herself into the nearest u-bend, her wails echoing off the walls. Sirius clapped Harry on the shoulder.

"Just between you and me, I think you made the right choice."

The walk down the stairs took a good deal longer than sliding had, but Harry was glad to be unsullied with muck as he and Sirius joined the others. Dumbledore had lit a series of torches along the outer walls of the corridor, which helped diminish some of the unsettling feelings creeping up in Harry's stomach. The five fanned out to ensure they didn't miss any potential passages, but the corridor led straight forward until they reached the site of the partial cave-in.

Kingsley let out a low whistle as he picked up one end of the Basilisk's shed skin. "Not going to lie, Harry. It's astonishing that you came out on top against this thing."

"I wouldn't have if it weren't for Fawkes," replied Harry as McGonagall and Dumbledore reinforced the tunnel before clearing out more of a path through the rubble. "He pecked out the snake's eyes and healed my arm after I got bit."

"Even so…" Kingsley's eyes followed the length of the skin. "Count me as impressed."

The five moved steadily forward until the corridor was blocked off by an ornate door covered in snake carvings. With a quick hiss from Harry, the door creaked open. An acrid smell wafted forward, causing Harry's eyes to burn slightly behind his glasses.

"I had wondered whether the body of the Basilisk might decompose slowly, as a magical creature filled with such potent venom. Perhaps a Bubblehead Charm would be in order?" suggested the headmaster. Harry gladly used the charm, silently thanking Flitwick for helping him master the skill well enough to use it without problems when out of the water.

The group stepped into the cavernous chamber, marveling at the sight of it all. Various passages dotted the side walls, while the wall opposite the entry point was dominated by the visage of Salazar Slytherin hewn into the stone. His mouth was still agape from where the Basilisk had emerged more than two years prior. The only sound was the dripping of water on stone and the soft footfalls of the five visitors until Sirius swore loudly.

"That bloody thing's enormous!"

Laying on its side, the dead Basilisk looked much less intimidating than Harry had remembered it. Much of the snake's muscles and insides had rotted away, but the beast's hide still clung to its bones. The gleam of firelight on the Basilisk's emerald scales was still eerie enough to make Harry shudder.

All four adults gathered around the snake's corpse, murmuring as they examined it. While the others knelt, Sirius walked back to Harry and pulled him into a hug without saying anything. Dumbledore straightened back up to his full height before uttering, "Homenum Revelio!"

After a few moments, the headmaster's brow furrowed. "Very curious… It appears as though we five may be the only ones present, but there is the faintest inkling of another presence. It is not even as slight as the diary felt. Kingsley, would you confirm?"

The Auror cast the spell and closed his eyes in concentration. "You're right. Whatever it is, it's really faint. Almost like a whisper in a room full of loud voices. Definitely could be another horcrux. Moaning Myrtle didn't happen to follow us down, did she?"

Sirius chuckled. "Doubt it. Harry apparently broke her heart when he and Ginny became an item." Albus' eyes twinkled in the firelight.

The five began to scour the Chamber for any secrets it might be withholding. Harry felt a bit out of place at first as Sirius and McGonagall changed into their Animagus forms to check out some of the smaller tunnels that spilled into the main room. Kingsley and Dumbledore each began at opposite ends of the room before walking slowly next to the walls. Harry watched them hesitantly before the Auror called him over.

"I'm trying to feel out whether there are any traces of magic that would indicate something has been hidden nearby," explained Kingsley. "Follow along with me and see if you can feel anything out of the ordinary. Something that causes a slight chill to run down your spine or a sudden onset of goosebumps might be worth further examination. And don't worry if you either get too many of those feelings down here or none at all. Hogwarts in general is dripping with all kinds of ancient magic, and this chamber even more so. It may be tough to sort out what all is ambient and what might be more localized."

He started to walk forward only to halt a few steps later. "If all else fails, you could just try hissing at anything that looks remotely interesting to see if it helps."

Harry felt a surge of excitement as he did his best to follow his instructions. The outer walls didn't produce any treasures for either of them, though the Auror nodded with pride when Harry noted that he thought he could sense the kind of sensation Kingsley described when he approached the stones that made up the face of Salazar Slytherin. Dumbledore joined them as they peered at the carving.

"What do you think, Albus? I couldn't find anything along the sides, but our friend here definitely feels like he's hiding something."

"Agreed. It stands to reason based on Harry's account that the serpent's lair lies beyond this gaping maw."

Kingsley climbed up into the open mouth of Slytherin before offering a hand up to Dumbledore and Harry. The tunnel leading back was much more narrow than those they'd explored so far, and all three wizards had to stoop slightly as they followed the corridor as it sloped gently upward.

Their path emptied into a smaller cavern that Harry judged to be roughly the size of the Transfiguration classroom. The stone floor was covered in a thick layer of dirt with the bones of small animals scattered here and there.

"I'd hoped there would be a chest full of potential horcruxes in here, but it looks like we're coming up empty," said Kingsley as his eyes darted back and forth across the room. "Homenum Revelio!"

The Auror's concentration gave way to resignation. "Same as before. Still get the feeling that there's something we're missing, but it's barely enough to register. Think there's a chance that a horcrux leaves some sort of trace behind that we're picking up? Maybe some sort of soul residue that got left behind by mistake?"

Albus' eyebrows furrowed, but he betrayed none of his thoughts as he walked the perimeter of the Basilisk's former home. "There is merit in that suggestion, Kingsley, though it is hard to say for certain. I do believe you to be right about this Chamber. If we cannot find a horcrux in the main room or this one, I doubt Minerva or Sirius will meet much success, either."

"In that case, should we head back up?"

"Yes, I think that best." The headmaster sighed and looked at Harry. "Though it was a clever idea to investigate the Chamber further. I must admit that when you suggested searching here, I felt rather embarrassed to not have thought to check here myself. Tom always had an adversarial relationship with me, and I would not have been surprised to learn that he had hidden something so important at Hogwarts as a way to thumb his nose at his former professor."

After emerging from the lair and hopping down out of the stone mouth, the three found Sirius and McGonagall waiting for them. As Dumbledore had surmised, neither had located anything of value or that gave the impression of a horcrux. A long climb up the stairs later, they finally dispelled their Bubblehead Charms as they walked into the hallway, each quite grimy from their exploration.

"Well, so much for that," said Sirius and he used a scourgify to remove some muck from his boots. "It would have been nice to get a horcrux for our troubles."

"That is true," replied Albus. "But I still consider the excursion a success. We have eliminated a potential hiding place from our list and done so without injury."

McGonagall had been casting furtive glances toward Harry while they climbed out of the Chamber. She motioned him to her side as Kingsley and Sirius spoke to Dumbledore about next steps.

"With all the scrapes you get into and out of, Mr. Potter, I tend to forget how extraordinary these situations are. As inadvisable as it was for two second-year students to enter that hellhole in search of Miss Weasley, I am so grateful that you did.And I have not forgotten that you came to me with your theory regarding the Stone in your First Year, only for me to dismiss you out of hand.”

She drew a deep breath. "It will not surprise you that I did not think it wise for Professor Dumbledore to fully include you in this venture. In fact, I spoke with him rather directly after our first meeting on that point.

"While some of my hesitations remain valid, I must say that you have impressed me. The idea to explore the Chamber was excellent, even though we did not find a horcrux. Few in the Order could have stood against that Basilisk and lived to tell the tale. Even in your near-constant rule-breaking, the skill to surreptitiously brew such a complex potion and the wherewithal to infiltrate the Slytherin Common Room…"

Her eyes met his. "But more than any of that, you possess an uncanny knack for figuring out what is worth fighting for and giving of yourself fully in order to succeed. The troll, the stone, the Chamber, Sirius and the dementors, the Triwizard tasks, and the graveyard… You have shouldered more responsibility than I have given you credit for."

Almost in disbelief, Harry watched his professor swipe a lone tear from her cheek. "There are still important skills that I believe are crucial for you to shore up in order to reduce the liability of entrusting a student with such vital knowledge," she said with a small sigh. "But I want you to know that I am committed to helping you learn them so that you may continue to contribute to our collective task."

Harry swallowed as a rush of emotion welled up within him. "Thanks, Professor McGonagall. That really means a lot to me." She gave him a genuine smile before they both returned to the others.

~RLM~

Harry and Sirius returned to Grimmauld Place to find Ginny, Ron, and Hermione anxiously awaiting their arrival. His brief explanation was frustratingly devoid of details, which he knew would be challenging for his friends. That made him all the more thankful to produce six sealed envelopes, one for each of them as well as for George and Fred.

When Hermione lay eyes on the envelopes, she audibly gasped. "Our booklists!" She snatched the letter from Harry's hand fast enough to make a professional Seeker envious and tore into it. As she turned the envelope over, a piece of parchment fell into her hand while a small metal badge tumbled down to the floor at her feet. She emitted a sound of exuberance that Harry thought was just shy of shattering glass as she grabbed it and beamed from ear to ear. "A Prefect?! I can't believe it!"

Harry laughed along with Ginny and Ron as he handed them their letters. "C'mon, Hermione. You've had this in the bag since our first year!"

"No kidding!" said Ron as he ripped open his envelope. "Surprised they didn't just make you Head Girl straightaway. Not that you had much competition from Parvati or Lavender…"

"No, I really thought it might go to Parvati! Her grades are pretty high, too, and she hasn't gotten in as much trouble as I have over the years."

"See, I think that's points in your favor," said Ginny. "Dumbledore knows how much trouble these two would be in if it weren't for your influence. That's gotta count for extra credit!"

Harry opened his letter and found that it was going to be a lighter load of books than in the past, especially compared to buying Lockhart's entire collection. The only new books required were the Standard Book of Spells for fifth year and Defensive Magical Theory by Wilbert Slinkhard.

He did his best to focus on his letter while watching Ron out of the corner of his eye. Sure enough, the color began to drain from his face as he looked inside his envelope.

"No bloody way…" he whispered without blinking.

"What's up, Ron?" asked Harry brightly, barely concealing a grin.

His best friend reached into the envelope and held up a shiny badge emblazoned with a "P."

Harry finally allowed himself to smile broadly. "Nicely done, mate!" He clapped his friend on the shoulder.

"But… But I'm… This can't…"

"Oh, congratulations, Ronald! This is so exciting! We're going to be Prefects together!"

"But I thought for sure it'd be Harry…"

"Not a chance. I've gotten into way too much trouble. The whole school thought I was the Heir of Slytherin and folks are still upset that I was in the tournament. McGonagall probably wanted to balance things out. Now when you're doing your rounds, Hermione can check out the library while you patrol near the kitchens."

Ginny's hand found his and squeezed gently as Ron let out a nervous laugh. "Yeah… I dunno, maybe you're right. I just didn't expect it, is all."

Hermione grinned. "Well, to be honest, it probably had to be you or Harry. Neville's great, but I don't think he's got the confidence to be a Prefect. And Seamus and Dean don't really take much seriously. You said your grades were up last term since we all were working on helping Harry prepare for the tasks." She blinked hard a few extra times at the thought of the tournament. "Maybe Professor McGonagall noticed how much better you were doing and thought you could handle more responsibility?"

A little more color returned to Ron's cheeks as he considered the thought.

"I can't wait to tell my parents," said Hermione excitedly. "They rarely understand much about what's going on at Hogwarts, but they'll definitely understand this!"

Ron was still a bit shell-shocked. "Yeah, that'll be great. I'm going to go tell Mum and Dad." Hermione quickly rushed upstairs to write to her family as Ron tentatively moved toward the kitchen. Before he got there, he turned and looked at Harry. "You're not mad, are you?"

"Not in the slightest," said Harry with a grin. "I'm not the one the twins will be teasing about it."

Ron's face flashed with fear for a moment before he smiled back. "Worth it!"

"Mr. Potter, why do I have the feeling you knew about my brother's new role before we did?" Ginny whispered into Harry's ear, causing a much more pleasant shiver to run down his spine than he'd experienced earlier in the Chamber.

"Miss Weasley, what are you insinuating?"

"I refuse to believe you were that nonchalant about him getting Prefect without some prior warning. I would have bet my broomstick you'd have gotten the badge!"

"Not that I'm complaining, but have you considered the possibility that you might have too high of an opinion of me?"

Ginny huffed before jumping onto Harry's back, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and pressing a kiss to his cheek. "You spent all afternoon hanging out without me. Let's make up for lost time!"
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