Chapter 56 (epilogue)

After three fun-filled days at Grimmauld Place Harry and Hermione returned to Hogwarts for classes.

The rest of the year was filled with much light-hearted fun, and with more attention diverted toward study, the wedded pair were able to approach the end of the year with the blessings of the staff to take their collective N.E.W.T.'s.

Harry was amazed at how much easier it was to test without all of the stress of having Voldemort in his mind and over his shoulder. He felt that his increased connection with Hermione's mind helped him answer the more difficult questions. He got his wish fulfilled from O.W.L.'s he was able to find the answers he needed, and wound up with Outstanding's on all of his exams.

Hermione faired as well and they met Dumbledore at the front doors of Hogwart's on their final day.

"Much was expected from you this year, Harry, and as such, you have delivered, as always, as expected."

Harry looked down and back up again. "Thank you, sir."

Dumbledore beamed with pride at his ad hoc grandson. "We will miss your laughter and tears, your students most of all. I do hope you will grace us from time to time with the occasional visit."

Harry nodded, pulling Hermione into him. "Sir, Hogwarts is my home. It always has been. I'd be proud to return anytime you ever needed me."

The headmaster considered him and smiled under his silver beard. "I have thought about that very statement, Harry, and I would like you to take the time to read this before leaving."

He handed a very thick scroll case to him. Harry looked at Hermione questioningly and she smiled back up at him with a knowing look.

"Go on," she said.

Harry uncapped the end and let the scroll fall into his hand.

A Request From the Students and Teachers of

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Be it known that Harry Potter, recent graduate of Hogwarts, is hereby requested by the students and faculty to remain as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with all privileges and recompenses as due a full Professor on staff. Be it also known that if Harry Potter refuses to assume said position that he will be hunted down and dragged back, kicking and screaming if need be.

Prepared by Hermione Granger-Potter upon the request of the students of Hogwarts, past and present.

Signed and approved,

Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster.

Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Head Mistress.

Harry looked down at the rest of the list and dropped the heavier part of the scroll, letting it fall to the ground to reveal the list of what Harry assumed were most probably every student attending.

Harry thought back to the beginning of the school year when the position of Assistant Professor was forced upon him. He remembered feeling overwhelmed and unsure of himself, unsure of what the students would think of him and his actual ability to rise to the occasion and perform those duties half as well as those that appointed him would expect.

Now that his schooling had ended, he had felt a pain and sense of loss at what the rest of his life would bring. Surely he had no need of money and with his knowledge and power as an Enchanter he would be never lack for something to keep him busy.

His desire to become an Auror had slipped away with the death of Voldemort. He had done more than enough for the people of the wizarding world and desired nothing more than to go somewhere where he wasn't known, for a long vacation with his new wife.

But something pulled him back as always to the only home he had ever known; the only place he ever felt needed and wanted; the place where he met all of his friends and the one best friend that was now linked to him for all of their life.

"Well, what's it going to be, Potter?" drawled a familiar voice.

He turned around and dropped the end of the scroll he was holding. All of Hogwarts was standing behind him with eager looks on their faces, questioning looks, and even a bored look from Malfoy as he stood there tapping his foot.

"I'd like to get back to breakfast if you don't mind ... before the train arrives."

Harry looked all around and felt a great swell in his chest. He gripped Hermione's arm and smiled. This is where I belong, not in some Ministry office and certainly not lounging about being a nobody on some deserted island where nobody had ever heard of me," he thought.

"Did you sign this, Draco?" asked Harry.

Malfoy sniggered. "'Course not. You may have these other people fooled, but I know you're just an attention seeking prat."

Harry smiled. "Good, just checking."

He looked down at his wife and saw the shimmering in her eyes that said she'd be happy with whatever he chose, and then looked back up at Dumbledore.

"Oh, Bloody Hell!" Malfoy turned around and started to the castle. "The silly git is going to take the job!"

The massive crowd of students screamed in victory and surrounded Harry, Hermione and Dumbledore with yells and cheers before returning, in small groups, to the Great Hall.

Dumbledore stayed behind for a few more moments. "You must feel no pressure, Harry, but I would like a more definite answer instead of Mr. Malfoy's colorful, yet more intuitive insights."

Harry straightened himself up. "Then it's a yes, Sir. I'd be proud to accept the position."

Dumbledore clapped his hands together once. "Superb. Then I must prepare the proper documents and have quarters drawn up to your specifications. I assume you will want a few weeks off before tackling the rigors of Full Professorship?"

"Please, Sir."

He clapped his hand on Harry's back. "Enough of this, Sir talk, Harry. We are officially colleagues, you must call me, Albus."

Harry laughed. "One step at a time, Sir."

Dumbledore turned and slowly glided back to the castle. Harry and Hermione continued to the gates, but were stopped before they had gotten very far.

"Oh, Harry," Dumbledore called out.

They turned back around. "Yes, Sir?"

He saw a smile break on the headmaster's face. "Welcome back home."