Hey everyone! This is the first H/G story I've written. It's something I didn't think I'd ever do actually, so thank you to everyone over on the H/G Discord (The Ginny Lovers) for the encouragement, feedback, and their overall enthusiasm. There are a lot of spectacular people there, but special thanks to deadwoodpecker, iKingBearII, and Loquacious Lotus Blossom. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy it!


Sirius Black approached the kitchen of his family home with no small amount of trepidation. He knew what he was about to suggest to Arthur and Molly Weasley was not going to be received well. Quite honestly, he wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea himself. All he knew was that he had spent the last sixty-nine days searching for something, anything, that could protect his godson from the dangers that Voldemort would no doubt unleash upon the magical world now that he had regained his body, and this was the best solution he could come up with. Countless hours searching his memories, old family journals, and even the questionable but expansive library of his ancestral home had left him with no other viable options.

Unfortunately for him and everyone else involved, "this" was a bit of old blood magic, only used in the most uncertain of times, and was the closest thing to Dark magic that Sirius had ever considered using in all his life. If things weren't so dire- if Harry hadn't been attacked by dementors in Little Whinging and then forced to appear before the Wizengamot for simply defending himself against the attack, and thus demonstrating that Harry was facing danger from all sides- then perhaps Sirius wouldn't even be considering it now. Things being what they were, however, he could think of no other alternative.

Sirius knew this, but he still felt the uncertainty writhing in his stomach like a living being. It wasn't simply the fact that it could be construed as Dark because it was tied inextricably into the blood and magic of all parties involved, but it was also that the main subjects of the magic would not be offered any say in the matter.

They didn't need to worry about it just yet. Protecting them was the most important thing, isn't it? Besides, they would only need to be aware of it if the worst should come to pass. This is just an insurance policy, Sirius reminded himself. Try as he might though, he couldn't get the expression of loathing and indignation on Ginny Weasley's face out of his mind.

When he first came across it in an old Black family journal, he had simply stared at the book for a long time, weighing the pros and cons, before becoming frustrated by his internal battle and resting his head against the table to clear his mind. He must have been more tired than he assumed because the next thing he knew Ginny was shaking him awake. When he lifted his head, he could see the confusion, surprise, disappointment, and anger spread across her face one by one, until she looked directly into his eyes and unleashed a tongue lashing on him unlike any he had ever received before. "Harry deserves to love and to be loved in return- genuinely loved, not just because of who he is or circumstances out of his control- more than anyone. I thought you of all people would understand that," she had hissed at him.

Sirius physically shook his head to try and dispel the memory. He was taking every precaution he could, even if they weren't ideal. And Harry would be genuinely loved. He was certain of that much at least.

Pushing forward, he opened the door and headed into the kitchen, where he thankfully found Molly and Arthur alone. Arthur greeted him kindly with a warm smile on his face, which was returned gratefully by Sirius. Molly greeted him as well, but there was a slightly guarded nature to her more subdued greeting that made Sirius lose his nerve. He tried to put extra warmth into his thanks when she offered him a cup of tea.

There was silence as they all sipped at their cups. His thoughts started racing and his heart pounded as he tried to work up the nerve to raise the topic. Maybe he was wrong. They would never agree to what he was about to suggest. How could he even entertain the idea? Molly hated him. She didn't trust him at all. This definitely wouldn't help matters.

Just as he was about to decide to toss it all aside and renew his search, the small, excitable owl Sirius had given Ron arrived with two letters from Ginny, one addressed to "Mum and Dad" and the other to "Snuffles". He couldn't help the smile that stretched across his face at the sight.

Ginny had actually been the one to nickname him Snuffles after she had come across him in his animagus form on the bank of the Black Lake during her second year. He had been sick and cold, and in his dog form his congestion had come across as a strange sniffling, grunting sound that Ginny couldn't resist commenting on. From that afternoon forward, Ginny Weasley unknowingly held his heart in the palm of her hand.

Despite finding humor in the strange sounds he was making, Ginny had shown him nothing but compassion. Without hesitation, she had offered him her second-hand cloak, even though it was the nicer of the only two that she owned. She had tucked it around him, apologized that she couldn't bring him into the castle since they didn't allow dogs as pets, and offered him some food from her bag. She returned as often as was feasible with food, blankets, and even some medicine she had acquired from Hagrid on his behalf. Naturally, he hadn't actually been able to use the medicine, seeing as canine medicine wasn't likely to work as he wasn't actually a dog, but all that she had done for him had meant everything to him and he would be forever grateful for it. Beyond the fact that she had likely saved his life that winter, she had also been the first truly good thing to happen to him since before that fateful Halloween night in 1981.

The smile fell from his face as he remembered why she had been out walking the perimeter of the lake in such frigid temperatures when every other living being that resided in the castle remained indoors. By the start of her second year, Ginny was able to shove the dark horrors of her first year into the back of her mind around others, so that she could present a front of positivity and optimism when necessary, but found it exhausting to maintain. She struggled through the darkness in her way, seeking solitude on the grounds as most people were too frightened by the dementors' presence to wander out of the safety of the castle. The lonely, abandoned dog she had done her best to take care of was her only confidant.

Sirius had come to learn many sad things about Ginny Weasley through their talks. He learned all about her first year. She had unknowingly been slipped an evil, enchanted diary by Lucius Malfoy that she had assumed was from her parents. After being ignored by her brothers and their friends and scorned by her roommates because of her secondhand things, she had confided in the supposed memory of Tom Riddle and it all spiraled from there. It all came to a head when he forced her into the Chamber in order to steal her life force for himself and lure Harry to his doom. Luckily Harry had defeated him and saved Ginny in the process. The story was long and heartbreaking and he learned a lot about Tom Riddle, Lucius Malfoy, Dumbledore, and the kind of man his godson was growing to be.

He had also learned that all was not well with her, even months later. She had made one close friend her first year, a muggleborn named Colin, but the guilt she felt for having been responsible for his petrification made it impossible for her to confide in him. She felt disconnected from her family. Her brothers made an effort to look after her and check in, but she didn't feel like one of them. They were better defined as her keepers than family or even friends. She was able to cast magic well but struggled to remember the theory of it all that she had learned the previous year. She told him about the things she could hear Tom whispering to her during her run-in with the dementors and the subsequent way her nightmares had increased with a vengeance.

That was probably the most important thing, because it had resulted in a decline in her physical health. Even before she started telling him about her life, he could see that. In his dog form, Sirius was able to see through the glamours she had cast. The worst thing about it was that he knew she hadn't cast them out of vanity. With the glamours, she looked just this side of normal, perhaps a little thin and pale, but beneath them, he could see the deep bags under her eyes, lackluster hair and sunken cheeks that suggested she hadn't been eating or sleeping right for some time.

Sirius did what he could for her to help. She'd been through so much and shown the random stray that was him so much kindness that he wanted to provide her with something in return. He knew what loneliness and guilt felt like, and a little girl like her had no business feeling as terrible as he did. Aware that she liked to run her fingers through his thick fur and snuggle into his side for warmth while venting to him about these things, Sirius always snuggled into her side when she joined him. It seemed to provide her comfort and feeling like he was helping, even in a small way, filled Sirius with a sense of accomplishment that he hadn't felt in many years. Sometimes she fell asleep like this, and he would stay still and alert, ready to fight off anything that should threaten her. When she tensed as if she was experiencing something unpleasant in her mind, he would nuzzle her his snout until she calmed. He even did his best to get her to eat with him, though she usually just laughed at his antics and asked if he really expected her to eat something that he had touched with his dirty paws or wet nose.

Slowly she got better and he learned more about the lighter aspects of her life. She confided that she was actually quite skilled at Quidditch after years of night flying on stolen brooms, but that none of her family knew a thing about it. She told him about helping Fred and George prank her eldest brother Percy. She laughed about Hermione's cat Crookshanks going after her brother Ron's rat, Scabbers, and how she hoped Crookshanks got him soon, because she felt there was something unnatural about the creepy little thing. Sirius couldn't help but feel gratified by that, though he hoped Crookshanks didn't get Pettigrew and dispose of him before got a shot at him himself.

She also told him about her "embarrassing" crush on Harry, how ridiculous she had been the previous year, and how she tended to stay out of his way these days because she knew her crush had made him uncomfortable. She told him about Harry's broom being destroyed and the card she had made him. Through red cheeks, she had told him how her fried nerves had caused the spell to go awry and how the singing card ended up shrieking more than singing. She had a self-satisfied smile on her face as she explained she had given the card to Harry anyway, simply to prove wrong the voice of Tom Riddle in her head.

He even learned what she thought of him, Sirius Black. He was surprised to find out how much she knew about the situation and just how perceptive she was. He had been shocked but thrilled when he heard her ranting about how the established story she had overheard from various sources made no sense.

Her hands gesticulating wildly, she exclaimed, "I don't care how mad they say he is! No one who possesses the mental faculties to escape Azkaban, make it to Scotland, and break into the castle could possibly be unaware that they were breaking into the Tower during the Halloween Feast! It's not possible that he didn't know exactly what he was doing. Those are the actions of someone who wants to get in and out with as little fuss as possible. It's why Tom had me release the basilisk for the first time during the feast last year." She sunk into herself a bit then, lost in her memories, until Sirius let out a little whine that drew her attention back to that moment. She shook her head, forced a smile, and started spouting off increasingly ridiculous motives he could have had for breaking into the tower that night. It wasn't the last she spoke of him, but it was enough to know that some doubted his guilt.

And so their time had passed. The good, the bad, and the ugly all laid bare by Ginny to her silent but supportive companion until Sirius was certain he had learned more about her than anyone else in her life ever had. The most important of which was that she was an insightful, loyal, and compassionate witch, who had to deal with terrible things far beyond her years but had come out all the stronger and better for it. Despite her youth, he couldn't help but be impressed by her until he had nothing but admiration and respect for the young girl.

He really shouldn't have been surprised to find that she was stronger than he originally thought. The first time they had come face-to-face in Grimmauld Place-

His reverie was broken by the clearing of Molly's throat. When he looked up, he found that she had already finished the rather long letter her daughter had sent her. Now she was staring at him expectantly, eyes bouncing back and forth between the unopened letter in his hand and his face. Her brown eyes were so like Ginny's that he found his confidence renewed. He needed to remember that his plan wasn't just about Harry. It was also about protecting Ginny, the little girl who had become his friend and the daughter he never had. He needed to do whatever he could to protect them all, her family included, even if her mother hated him. He could do this. He had to do this.

He shook his head and straightened his shoulders, placing Ginny's letter on the table off to the side. "Sorry, Molly. I'll read that later- it's probably just a bit about the welcoming feast last night and the new DADA professor. Right now, I was hoping to talk to you and Arthur about something important."

Husband and wife shared an apprehensive look before turning their attention back to him. Arthur's jaw slightly tenser than before, he asked, "What exactly is it you would like to discuss, Sirius?"

Taking a moment to organize his thoughts, he thought it would be best to start with the basic facts and provide the why of the issue before presenting the idea. "It's about contingency plans, should the worst happen. We all know how corrupt the Ministry can get, and already is, even before Voldemort returned." He ignored Molly's flinch at the name and continued, "Given the rubbish The Prophet is printing and what happened with Harry's trial earlier this month, I think it's clear that he's at risk from the Ministry in addition to Voldemort."

"Surely it can't be quite that bad," Molly said without conviction.

Arthur gently took his wife's hand as he shook his head sadly. "It's true. The greater of the Ministry, under Fudge's direction, are viewing him as a potential threat. Even those who don't actually believe that are going along with it, lest they put their own jobs at risk."

"That sounds about right. Even when it's questionable, the Ministry workers tend to fall in line with what their superiors expect of them, so long as it conforms to the law." Sirius grimaced. "Look at what happened- what's still happening- to me. I'm an innocent man who was never even given a trial, but chances to prove that innocence are slim given that there's an order for me to receive the dementor's kiss on sight. And all that happened during the time when Voldemort was supposedly gone."

He shook himself, trying to physically push the thoughts of his years in Azkaban away from where they were clawing at his mind. "Things are going to get worse- we all know that. For now, Harry has the both of you to look out for him in the greater wizarding public, something I, and I'm sure Lily and James as well, will be forever grateful for. And he has me if all hell breaks loose and he needs to go into hiding." Seeing the scowl that crossed Molly's face, Sirius looked directly at her as he continued. "That is not an ideal or desired situation for any of us Molly, but it's the truth."

She assessed him for a moment, before some of the tension faded from her expression. "Okay. As long as we all agree that is a worst-case scenario."

Arthur shot his wife a slightly disapproving glance, before looking back at Sirius with a serious, direct look. "While your ancestral home is not ideal, I would like to say that we greatly appreciate your hospitality in allowing our family to stay here this summer. While Bill is certainly capable of warding the Burrow, with Pettigrew knowing the property so well, we were genuinely concerned about having to return there. Nothing is more important than the safety of our family, and we are very grateful that you offered us a safe place to stay until we could be certain all potential flaws in the security of our home could be taken care of." It was all very formal coming from the normally genial man, but Sirius understood that the man felt it was necessary in order to truly convey his gratitude.

Sirius nodded gravely and said with feeling, "Of course, Arthur. You're, all of you, are Harry's family, and good people besides. I was concerned for your safety as well, and I'm happy to be of some help. Merlin knows my status as a fugitive hasn't allowed me to be of much use to anyone." He shook his head ruefully, before shrugging. "At least it was something, offering this place up. Since then, I've just been running through everything in my head, trying to think ahead and make sure we're prepared for any eventuality.

"Unfortunately, what I'm concerned about it is actually worse than anyone having to hide with me. What I'm really concerned about is what would happen if any of us were to die. Without me, he'd have no back up if the Ministry were to come after him. Without you, particularly Arthur, he wouldn't have a safe place in the legitimate Wizarding world outside of Hogwarts, and other less reputable Wizards would likely try to gain custody of him. He'd be very vulnerable, especially if the Ministry should fall."

Molly's eyes widened and her hand shot to her mouth in horror. "They wouldn't be able to do that, would they? No one has made any attempt in the past and certainly we would be able to…" She trailed off at the look on her husband's face. "Arthur?"

Arthur had continued to regard Sirius solemnly. While his wife embraced the denial as much as possible, he never had. They had both lost countless friends and family in the last war, so there was no denying that it was likely they would again. What Molly didn't know that Arthur did, however, was how perilously close the Ministry had come to falling during the first war and what the repercussions would have been if it had. As it was, Voldemort fell to the Potter's before it could be brought to the Wizengamot and it was suddenly forgotten- his defeat meant the Death Eaters and sympathizers were busy pleading the Imperius curse or otherwise distancing themselves from anything questionable or Dark. When the two men connected eyes, each saw the weight of knowledge in the other's eyes.

Turning to his wife, Arthur said, "If the wrong people were to gain power, then they could."

Sirius grimaced, "As much as it pains me to say this, Arthur, as long as you're alive and well, everything should be fine. You may not have much money, but you're a long-standing figure of the Ministry with an old pure-blood name. Unfortunately, that matters right now."

Sirius floundered for a minute unsure what to say next.

"There's more." Arthur cut in, eyeing him speculatively. His complexion had paled slightly, and Sirius knew he was getting closer to grasping what Sirius had so far left unsaid. "You're not just speaking to us because we're Harry's other set of "unofficial guardians" as you put it, are you? It's not just Harry you've been thinking about, is it?"

"No, it's not. I'm also concerned about what would happen to Ron and Ginny, but it's Ginny I've been particularly worried about."

Arthur inhaled sharply and the rest of his coloring fled his face. Molly, who had until then been following the conversation quietly with a look of trepidation on her face, startled and asked, "Arthur, what is it? What do you two know that I don't? What about Ron and Ginny?"

"If the Ministry falls, it's likely they'll pass a piece of legislation that would allow the wealthy pure-blood families to essential buy the custody of 'underage wizards and witches lacking proper guardians'. It had already been drafted before Voldemort fell, and I have no doubt that the 'wrong sort' have kept it at the ready and could enact it very quickly." He released a heavy breath before looking at his wife sadly, "What Sirius is saying, is that if something were to happen to me, as the sole provider of our family, it is likely that Ron and Ginny would be taken under this law, because they would claim you would lack the ability to provide for them financially. More than likely, they would end up at the mercy of Death Eaters, and Ginny…"

Seeing Arthur couldn't bring himself to say it, he did it for him. Holding nothing back, he said, "Ginny is a pure-blood witch, the seventh child, and only female of the lot. She'd be highly coveted for breeding already." Arthur winced at the brash but accurate statement, and Molly looked physically ill as she gripped her husband's hand tightly, but Sirius continued. "Unfortunately, she is also a well-known supporter of Harry Potter and has a history with Voldemort himself and that paints an even larger target on her back."

There was silence for a moment, as they all absorbed the weight of it, as if saying it aloud had made the possibility all the more real.

After a moment, Sirius continued, "I've thought about this a lot, I'll admit. Ginny is… you have a wonderful daughter and I care about her very much. I've even considered what would happen should you all cut ties with Harry publicly," the couple's eyes widened, "but it wouldn't matter. Even if it hasn't come up yet, I have no doubt that Voldemort will find out about what happened in the Chamber of Secrets. Not only will he see her as someone who escaped him personally, something I am certain he will not be willing to accept, but he will also see her as someone Harry cares about and will go to great lengths to save."

Finally, the glassiness that had been gathering in Molly's eyes spilled over and tears slipped down her cheeks. Knuckles white from how tightly she was squeezing her husband's hand and eyes downcast, she whispered fearfully, "Not my little girl. Arthur, how do we protect her?"

Arthur wrapped his arm around his wife and pulled her close to his chest. "For now, we're doing what we can. She's back at Hogwarts, which is about as safe as she can get at the moment, aside from under the Fidelius here. We're here for the time being, so she's safe during the holidays. We'll just be extra careful about traveling, particularly back and forth from Hogwarts. I'm sure the Order will be there for Harry anyway and you know our kids are never too far from him anyway. It'll be fine, Mollywobbles," he soothed.

She sniffled and looked up at him with red eyes. "And if something happens to you?"

Arthur took a steadying breath and met her gaze. "We'll just have to hope for the best." He turned to Sirius then. "I assume this was not the actual point of the conversation. What is it you really wanted to discuss?"

Sirius did his best to keep his expression even and laid out the benefits of his plan first, because he knew if he started with his actual plan, then he would never be allowed to finish. "Since it is Ginny and Harry that are most at risk, I've focused more on what we can do to protect them. What I've found will give them their magical majority if either Arthur or myself should die. In essence, the magical protection would be enacted upon either of our deaths and they will no longer be considered underage. That means they would be entitled to any inheritances at Gringotts, no longer be bound by the restriction for underage sorcery, no longer be subjected to the Trace, would be eligible to claim Head of house and any subsequent seats on the Wizengamot… essentially, they would be free from any restrictions."

Arthur regarded him for a moment, and Sirius could tell he was waiting for the catch, but before he could ask, Molly spoke up. "I understand that those benefits will give them the ability to defend themselves a bit more freely and prevent any unsavory characters from gaining custody of Ginny, but isn't there anything else we can do to protect her from Vol- You-know-who?"

"The protection would make it difficult for anyone with, ah, indecent intentions from laying a hand on her." Sirius put in somewhat optimistically before shaking his head. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure what more can be done to protect her from being on Voldemort's radar. At least this way she'd be able to train in defending herself. She'd also have the ability to cast detection spells, disillusion herself, and apparate away if she were ever in danger without fearing retaliation from the Ministry."

Molly nodded to herself, seemingly lost in thought, weighing the information. Sirius shifted nervously, aware that she likely wouldn't be so complacent shortly. He caught Arthur's apprehensive gaze and knew the man understood that there were sincere drawbacks to the plan.

When he didn't immediately continue, Arthur sighed and said resignedly, "Go on, Sirius. Tell us the rest. How is this going to be accomplished?"

Sirius hesitated for a moment, unsure, before pulling a black, nondescript book from the pocket of his robes. He looked down at it, flipping the pages back and forth nervously before looking back up at the couple before him. "Look, I just want to be clear that I went this route because we need something that cannot be undone or challenged by the Ministry. This isn't like the contracts the Goblins draw up that need Ministry approval or that can be dissolved. The kids need the element of surprise, something that will not be noticed until it's too late to stop."

With that said, he opened the book to the correct page and set it before the Weasley parents and waited for the inevitable explosion. He didn't have to wait long.

"Magically-binding betrothal?!" Molly shouted in outrage. "Are you- Absolutely not. I will not sell my daughter into a contract like- like-" she sputtered.

"Molly," Arthur's quiet, but steady interjection stopped her tirade. She turned incredulous eyes toward him. Sirius saw that his eyebrows were furrowed as he read further than just the title and his expression was one of distaste, but he looked at his wife steadily as he said, "No one is talking about selling Ginny, dear. While I agree with you that the premise is appalling, I know Sirius cares about both of the children and I would like to know more about his reasoning before we discuss this.

"I don't think it requires explaining why we're opposed to the idea, on general principle alone, but what you're suggesting is blood magic, bordering on Dark. I'm not sure it's even legal. However, I can see that you yourself have reservations about it, so I'm curious as to why you'd even mention it."

Sirius nodded before he explained, "It is rather Dark, certainly more so than anything I would be willing to use under normal circumstances, but it is in fact legal. It's old and rare, enough so that the only mention of it I was able to find is in the old Black family journals. As such, it's not specifically listed in any legislation and does not meet the criteria of any of the more ambiguous categories that are regulated or otherwise banned by the Ministry. At the same time, it would be completely irreversible and binding once the conditions were met, meaning no one would be able to remove the rights or protections that the ritual would grant Harry and Ginny once they had been magically bound."

"Alright," Arthur said slowly, throwing a look at his wife to see if she had anything to add. Molly scowled but seemed to be listening closely to everything Sirius said. "Why is it that this isn't used all the time? The upper society's pure-blood families create more traditional betrothal contracts all the time. Why wouldn't they use something like this to cheat the system?"

Sirius was glad for the subject, because this answer was straightforward and easy to give. It also distracted him from the heat of Molly's accusatory gaze. "This ritual is designed specifically to preserve the power of influential families during troubled times, by ensuring underage heirs could take up the representation of the family ahead of schedule and ensure that alliances made could not be reneged upon when they died."

"Even though most Dark wizarding families haven't had to worry about those conditions, with their family name and wealth being at risk, I'm surprised to have never heard of something like this," Arthur responded in confusion.

Sirius sighed, "As you said, it's blood magic, so it is tied into the very magic of all parties involved. It's completely binding. If any party were to try to dissolve it, the magic of both binders and both subjects, along with everyone else in their line, could potentially be lost. The kind of people who are willing to practice this type of magic and have passed down these secrets, people like the Black family, don't trust anyone enough to risk it. All it would take is for one wayward child to decide they would rather be a squib than be bound to the other, and suddenly both families would lose all their magic."

Arthur raised his eyebrows, "Not surprising that such a shifty crowd would be unwilling to trust one another with the fate of their magical line. So you're saying that this would be completely irreversible, even for us?"

Sirius nodded gravely.

"What if the conditions are never satisfied? What if they both turn seventeen and neither of us has passed?" Arthur asked in concentration.

Molly's head whipped towards him and glared at him. Angrily she bit out, "Arthur! You cannot be seriously considering this!"

"I'm just curious, Molly. If everything goes down the tube, Ginny will be lucky to survive Voldemort's wrath. Even if she does, she could just as be turned over to Death Eaters and sold in a betrothal contract anyway. If she were to not have a choice in the matter, I'd much prefer she be with Harry. We know he'll protect her at least." He lowered his voice sadly, "Honestly Mol, as much as it pains me to think it, her survival is more important to me than anything, even if it may mean sacrificing her choice."

Slightly tempered, Molly nodded her head. "I suppose that's true," she said softly. "It just doesn't seem right, neither of them getting a choice."

"I know," he agreed sagely. He turned back to Sirius and asked, "If we all survive that long, what happens? Does it dissolve? Since they would not have been bound, would they be absolved of the obligation and free to choose anyone they'd like? Or does the magic linger and bind them as soon as one of us passes?"

Sirius fidgeted before admitting, "I honestly have no idea. All the written accounts stem from a time where arranged marriages were the norm. No one questioned the agreements and they followed through with the marriages regardless of who lived or who died. There was one instance in which the witch and wizard involved did not want to be bound and all parties involved survived until the subjects reached adulthood. Unfortunately for us, the wizard died at the age of nineteen, before either of the fathers or the witch. I have no idea if they would have been bound upon the death of either of their fathers." He paused thoughtfully for a moment, before he speculated, "I would imagine he or she would have been able to marry someone else, though I doubt they would have risked attempting to bond to another, in case that triggered some of the repercussions. There is no way to know, however," he finished glumly.

"Right," Arthur said. He appeared torn as he processed everything. Eventually, he said, "As much as I understand the desire, as sorely as I am tempted to agree with you that this is the best way to protect them, I can't in good conscience agree knowing that if we are all somehow lucky enough to survive this war, that they may be magically bound involuntarily at some point later in their lives and suffer for it without it having done them any good at all."

"I agree," Molly piped up. "As much as I want to protect Ginny, I can't help feeling we'd be doing a great disservice to Harry. If we were talking about this in regards to Harry and Ginny wasn't a factor at all, I would never support this decision."

"I understand," Sirius said, shoulders slumped in disappointment. Truthfully, he really, really did understand. He held all those reservations as well, but after all his fruitless searching he had become desperate. Furthermore, he knew what being on the wrong side of the Ministry was like, and he never wanted Harry to be in the position. Worse yet, he'd seen what the memory of a sixteen-year-old Tom Riddle had done to Ginny and just the thought of what a fully powered, vengeful Voldemort could do to her made him feel ill. Resigned, he stood and addressed them one last time before leaving the kitchen.

"Thank you for hearing me out," Sirius said sincerely to the forlorn-looking couple as he stood to leave the kitchen. He gestured to the book sitting in front of them, open to the page containing the ritual. "You can keep that and read a little bit more about it if you'd like. I already have it copied. I'm going to head to the library and keep looking for something that can help them."

September 2nd was not the last that they spoke of the matter. Occasionally over the next few months, the three could be found talking in hushed whispers, always out of range of prying ears, about possible alternatives, but one by one, each plan was deemed insufficient. The blood rite tucked away in that little black book weighed heavily on all their minds.

Exactly 107 days later, Sirius had yet to make any significant progress on his search for ways to give his godson and the daughter of his heart the freedom they would need to move about the Wizarding world autonomously should the worst happen, but he was still trying. In fact, he was actively searching again that night, knowing that the children were coming home for Christmas the next day and that his time would be limited over the holiday. It was extremely late and he was going through some questionable rare books he had paid Dung to track down for him when news of Harry's vision and Arthur's attack came to Grimmauld Place by way of Phineas Black's portrait.

Less than twenty-four hours later, after a terrifyingly long night, his search ended when Molly approached him and handed him two vials of blood, one bearing Ginny's name, dated the day of her birth, and one Arthur's, dated that day. She wrung her hands for a moment, looking as if she wanted to say something, but in the end, she only offered a weak nod before walking away. Looking at the blood, Sirius grimaced and started reviewing his notes on the ritual. He still didn't like it either, but 176 days of searching had proven to him that this was the best he could do.

By midnight, Sirius was tucking away a vial filled with three layers of blood, the middle of which was shimmering and appeared to be creating some kind of barrier between the other two, into a specially designed box that would only open for himself or for the one other who had a key. For the next six months, almost to the day, the vial sat unremarkable and undisturbed.

Unexpectedly, 358 days after he first started his search, Sirius Black fell through the Veil in the Death Chamber, deep in the Department of Mysteries, and the magical barrier that had been preventing the blood and magic of Harry and Ginny dissolved, magically binding the pair.