Chapter 12 – The Next Move

Harry walked up to Grimmauld Place and knocked three times on the door and waited. He and Jurza had just flown nearly 250 miles in a little over three days and he was exhausted. He was happy to finally be able to sleep in a somewhat comfortable bed. But even without three days of no sleep could he have seen what was about to hit him.

The door seemed to explode off it's hinges and a silver haired streak hit him in the chest and latched onto him. Harry felt himself fall backwards until he landed on the ground several feet down. His head smacked the cold concrete and he did what any sensible person would do. . . he blacked out.

Harry awoke, he judged by the light coming in from the window, several hours later in the familiar bed he always slept in at Grimmauld Place. He was dimly aware of the shouting in the hall and the soft throbbing from the back of his head. Still groggy, he looked around for his glasses, which was on the night-table next to the bed. He put them on and walked to the door and opened it to see Tonks ng at Gabrielle.

"You could have seriously hurt Harry!" Tonks yelled at the top of her voice, so loud that Harry couldn't even hear the screams from Sirius's mom on the landing a floor down. "Didn't you even try and think about what could happen?!?"

"Actually I'm okay," Harry said, making Tonks and Gabrielle look at him. Almost instantaneously, Gabrielle's eyes welled up with tears as she grabbed Harry around his middle and buried her head into his chest.

"Oh Harry," she wailed. "Zis awful lady 'as been yelling at me just because I missed you so much. I am sorry, but I just couldn't wait to see you!"

"It's okay," Harry said to her patting her on the back. "Tonks is just concerned." Harry released the girl and looked at her. "I've got to go talk to Sirius alone, so be nice," he looked at Tonks, "both of you."

Harry walked past both of them and went to the stairs. Gabrielle smiled at Tonks deviously and stuck her tongue.

"I saw that," Harry said, walking down the stairs, with Mrs. Black's yells still echoing through the halls. Tonks chuckled lightly, and walked into Harry's room. Gabrielle glared at her and walked in afterwards, shutting the door behind her to block out the yells.

Harry walked to the painting and looked at the woman in the picture screaming like a banshee.

"FILTHY HALH-BREEDS!! MUD BLOODS SOILING MY FLOORS!! FREAKS!! BLOOD TRAITORS ALL IN MY HOUSE!!! GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!!!!!!!!!!!"

Harry sighed and pointed his wand at the picture. "Stupify" he shouted and the curtains shut, cutting Sirius's mom's screams off. Harry continued down the hall into the dining room.

Sirius was seated at the kitchen table with his head in his hands. He looked up as Harry entered the room and lay back down.

"I see you got both of your girls and mother to be quiet."

"They're not my 'girls' and your mom was easy."

"Hmpf. So, how was your trip out to Albania?" Sirius said, resting his chin on his fist.

"Well, I got Tonks back, and I picked up Gabrielle along the way. I nearly lit Voldemort on fire and fought off hordes of Death Eaters."

Sirius sighed and put his head down again. "Sounded like fun."

"No, I was tense the entire trip. Oh," Harry looked at Sirius and smiled, knowing what would cheer him up. "I killed Wormtail."

Sirius sat up and looked at Harry intently. "What?"

"Yeah, I fought off about twenty Death Eaters in a tavern and cut his head off."

Sirius stared at Harry with a dubious expression before leaping across the table and grabbing Harry by the front of his robes.

"Do you have any idea of the repercussions of your actions?!?!" Sirius screamed at Harry, shaking him slightly. "How in the bloody hell am I supposed to clear my name now?!?!"

Harry slapped Sirius across the face, releasing the mans grip.

"Do you think that I'm a complete idiot or something?" Harry asked calmly, straightening his robes and sitting back down. He made a gesture to Sirius to take a seat, which Sirius took, glaring at Harry. "I sent an anonymous letter to the ministry, The Prophet, and The Quibbler. I told them the whole story and the Ministry has already cleaned up the tavern. It was in The Prophet today, didn't you read it?"

"I don't get to read the papers much, being cooped up in this house all the time."

"Well," Harry said, pulling out a paper and handing it to Sirius. "Here you go."

Sirius grabbed the paper and read the article.

Sirius Black Search Dropped

The search for infamous mass serial murderer Sirius Black was called off yesterday night, when evidence surfaced to prove Black's innocence. The Ministry had received an anonymous letter early morning yesterday concerning a large amount of bodies, all Death Eaters, in fact, found in a tavern in Northern Albania. What Ministry officials found stunned them. In the middle of the massacre was Peter Pettigrew's severed head. Pettigrew allegedly was murdered by Black nearly fourteen years ago. A letter we here at The Prophet, believed to be written by the same anonymous person, which explained the entire story.

The article went on to explain the same story Harry himself had heard two years before. Sirius read the entire thing before putting the paper down and looked at Harry.

"Does this mean I'm free?"

"Yep, I thin-" but Harry was cut off as the door bell rang. Mrs. Black's voiced screamed from the hall. Harry rushed out, shooting a stunning spell at the painting, quieting the screams in an instant before opening the door.

"Oh, Mr. Weasley." Harry said, looking at the man standing before him. The smile on his face told Harry exactly why he was there.

"Did you read the news today Harry?" Mr. Weasley asked excitedly.

"Of course," Harry said, standing aside, letting Aurthur in. They walked into the kitchen to find Sirius with shot glasses on the table and a bottle in his hand.

"Ah, Aurthur, so glad you came. I'm sure you have heard about the wonderful news. I'm just sitting down to celebrate. You wish to join?"

"I shouldn't, but I guess one couldn't hurt." Mr. Weasley said, taking the glass offered to him. Sirius poured the contents of the bottle into the glass and Harry watched as the liquid lit on fire. Sirius poured two more glasses and handed one to Harry.

"Cheers," Sirius said and downed his own glass. Harry threw back his head and emptied the glass, feeling the hot liquid flare down his throat, warming his insides. Before Harry could gain his bearings, Sirius was pouring another round. The three men progressively got drunker as Sirius drank more and more.

Maybe you shouldn't drink so much. Came Jurza's voice in Harry's head.

Ah, shut it you over sized lizard. Let me have some fun.

Fine, but I wont envy you in the morning. And with that Jurza walled off his thoughts to Harry. He just shrugged and threw back another shot.

"Will you keep it down, you just woke up the old hag agai- WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!" shouted Tonks who had come down to the kitchen with Gabrielle on her tail to see what could have been making so much noise. She had just happened to walk in as Harry started to dance on the table, two drinks in his hands.

"Ah more geshts," slurred Sirius, getting two more glasses and handing them to the ladies. "We are shelibrating my freedom," he poured fire whiskey into the glasses until the were full."Now drink up and have shum fun."

Gabrielle looked at the fiery substance and went to take a drink, but before the glass could reach her lips, Tonks snatched it out of her hands and drank it. Gabrielle, with the help of a well placed kick to Tonks's shin, managed to get the other drink and drink it before Tonks could do anything.

"Well, since you've had one, you might as well have more." she said, the alcohol already taking a tool on her judgment. Sirius cheered and poured another round. The celebrations lasted for another half hour, which involved everyone getting on the Table and dancing with Harry, Tonks and Gabrielle giving everyone kisses on the cheeks, including each other, making the blood rise to the men's faces, not that you could tell, since they were red in the face already. Everything ended when Gabrielle passed out after her twelfth shot.

Harry picked the small girl up bridal style and excused himself, planing on putting the girl in her bed.

For the third time that day, Harry shot a stunning spell at the portrait of Mrs. Black and walked up the flight of stairs onto the first landing. After nearly killing himself on the stairs stumbling, he decided that Gabrielle would do fine in his bed. He lightly set her onto the bed and pulled the covers up to her chin. Harry stumbled a bit as he turned around and came face to face with Tonks.

"Harry," she said, a single tear running down her cheek. "I see how you act around her." she gestured at Gabrielle and stepped closer to Harry. "I see everything you do for her. You really love her, don't you?"

At this point, Tonks had become within an inch of Harry's face. He could smell a light perfume coming off of Tonks, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Harry saw Tonks face get closer and closer, he could even see her lips quivering in anticipation.

"Harry," she said again, this time with a slight hint of desperation in her voice. "Don't you love me too? Don't yo-" she was cut off as Harry closed the gap between them, connecting their lips in a kiss.

"Now," Harry said, still a little drunk. "If I didn't love you, would I have travled all that way to save you?" Tonks's face seemed to brighten as she smiled and hugged Harry around the middle, pressing her lips back into his. But Harry broke the kiss and looked back at the small girl on the bed. "How am I going to break it to her, though?"

"I don't mind sharing," Tonks said, hanging on Harry.

"Are you su-" Harry stopped when he saw that Tonks had passed out as well. Harry smiled and brought her to the bed and laid her down.

Ah, what the hell, Harry thought to himself as he crawled into the bed to sleep off the fire whiskey.

Harry was sitting in a high-backed chair, tapping his fingers on the leather upholstery. A fire burned in the fireplace, giving the room a small amount of flickering light. Impatience finally getting the better of him, Harry rose from the chair and walked out of the room.

"Dark Lord," the Death Eaters whispered and bowed as he walked past. Harry descended several flights of stairs before coming to the door of the dungeons. He opened the door and felt a chill hit his face as he turned down a corridor, passing what seemed to be a prison ward. Doors lined the walls, screams emitting from some of them.

"Ah my Lord," said a raspy voice as Harry entered one of the rooms. There in the middle of the room was Kingsley Shacklebolt, chained to a chair, blood running down the side of his head. The large man looked up at Harry and scowled.

"This one has been strong," said a man to Harry's left. "His will is yet to be broken."

"Have you managed to get any information from him?" Harry asked, his voice a high pitched hissing.

"He claims to know nothing, my Lord."

Harry snapped his long white fingers and two burley Death Eaters seemed to appear from the walls.

"Crabbe, Goyle, grab him and follow me." Harry turned and walked out of the room, retracing his footsteps until he was back in the main part of the mansion. Kingsley, being held up by the two burley Death Eaters, followed grudgingly. Harry walked out of the front door, passing the pale peacocks, noting how Malfoy was as dramatic as ever. They walked to the left of the house where a large clearing could be found. In the middle lay a large, dragon. The body was a dark, deep blood red, the spikes and fangs a chilling icy blue.

"Shacklebolt, would you like to meet my dragon Sheogorath." Harry smiled as fear flashed in Kingsley's eyes. "Yes Shacklebolt, you should be afraid. Sheogorath, dinner's served."

"Me Lord," said Goyle on the right, his voice coming out in a sort of strain, as if the words were to complicated for him, which they probably were. "If I may say so, the was 'orrible."

"Aye," said Crabbe, obviously the dumber of the duo. "Crabbe agree."

"Fine," said Harry losing his patience quickly. "Just through him to Sheogorath."

Crabbe and Goyle just shrugged and through Shacklebolt to the dragon. Harry let out a loud menacing laugh as Sheogorath pounced on Kingsley Shacklebolt, slowly devouring him.

Harry awoke with Tonks and Gabrielle standing above him. It was a few moments before he realized that, one, he was on the ground and, two, he seemed to be filled with joy. He was laughing maniacally, rolling on the floor. It was several minutes before the laughing fit had passed and Harry sat up, gasping for air.

"Harry, what's wrong. I woke up when you started talking in your sleep, then you laughed and fell out of bed." Said Tonks looking on in concern.

"I'm fine. I need to contact the ministry." Harry said getting up and swaying a bit.

"Why?"

"Shacklebolt's dead."

"How do you know that?" Gabrielle asked, looking at Harry fearfully.

"Because. . . I think I gave the order."

A/N--- Howdy, First off, congrats to MinorBandit for submitting review number 100. Second, my excuse for the long update. For one, Brisingr came out and I was busy reading it. Reason number two was that I accidentally deleted my word processor, so I couldn't write for a while. Sorry. Also, for future reference, check my profile for updates on my progress. I'll try to keep it as up to date as possible, but I lost my internet and updating will be damn near impossible. Once again, thanks for 100 reviews and I hope you like the story. Seriously, this isn't for me, it's for you guys.