Summary: Eight years after the final battle, a reluctant, and slightly reclusive Harry comes back to teach at Hogwarts. Will be SS/HP slash... eventually.
Disclaimer: Fan Fiction.... Slash… male fictional character having a real relationship with another male character. You have been warned.
AN: First Story, criticism and/or helpful feedback always welcome.
Harry Potter shifted the large strap on his shoulder. He'd long ago given up on his trunk and instead carried a simple muggle travel bag. It shifted against his side and he winced. The bag always smacked into his hip too hard, something that had been plaguing him since his seventh year. His hip hurt, and if he wasn't careful when he walked he had a minor limp. He'd have to watch that now.
Eight years. Eight years since everything had changed. Voldemort was dead. The vivid red scar that had once grazed his forehead had finally disappeared after two years of slow fading. The final battle had been fought. The Order of the Phoenix had triumphed over the dark side and Harry was once again the hero of the Wizarding world.
He sighed letting his hand shift back down to his side. He didn't want to be here. He didn't want to see a wand, or a cauldron, or a spell book ever again. He most definitely didn't want to see Hogwarts. Yet here he was, standing in front of the main foyer, waiting... hesitating to go up the familiar stone steps and into the one place he had ever called home.
He took one last deep breath and walked up the steps and into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The commotion in the main hall stopped immediately. Classes had started two days prior and the school was already full of new and returning students. Most of which paused at his sudden appearance. He stopped just inside the door, his face blank and expressionless. He knew he was recognized. Everyone knew his face, scar or not he was well recognizable. His glasses had been replaced several years before with muggle contact lenses. His eyes glanced around him and he shifted the bag again. Turning he walked up the main staircases, moving easily through the staring crowd and up to the headmasters office. Dumbledore was expecting him.
"Lolli-pops and Gum-balls" he said sourly to the old gargoyle. It leapt to the side allowing him entrance to the moving staircases. Dumbledore's door was open. He sat at the desk, one hand fingering his long silvery-white beard, while the other took notes on a sheet of parchment. He looked up and smiled at Harry as he entered. His blue eyes twinkled merrily at the younger man. Harry fought against the feeling of contentment that particular smile always gave him, he imagined it was the look his father would have given him had he lived long enough to see him grow up.
"Albus" he spoke quietly.
"Harry.... it's so good to see you, my boy." Albus stood and embraced Harry in a warm hug before leading him to a large armchair. "Here... Please, sit down... relax... It's been so long, Harry."
"Yes, Albus... it's been quite a while..." Harry answered letting his bag drop to the floor. He sat gingerly in the chair, not bothering to hide the pain such an action gave him. Albus Dumbledore was no fool. He would see through any such brave foolishness.
"Does it still pain you?" was the quiet reply. He nodded quickly, offering a small smile to his old mentor.
"Most of the time, one becomes accustomed to it..." he spoke truthfully.
"You should have Poppy look at it, maybe she could..." the headmaster was cut off by a curt no.
"No. Albus, no potions, no charms, no experiments... just a body that aches and nothing to make it better... I've lived the last eight years in the muggle world, Albus. I came here because you asked it of me... One year and then you find a new Defense teacher. You are someone that I have always trusted, you more then anyone else can understand my reasons. I will teach your students, but I will not become so wrapped up in the magical world that I can't get out again... I have the muggle pain medication... that will do just fine..." he explained. Albus nodded reluctantly. Harry could feel his hesitation, his worry. "I'm fine... I swear it... I never could lie convincingly to you Albus. What makes you think I can start now?..." Albus smiled tiredly but nodded again.
"Very well, if you change your mind... About your classes... do you have any kind of lesson plan worked out, yet?" Harry sighed and so the discussion was diverted to more business minded topics. An hour later Harry was walking from the office and back down toward the great hall. His bag, he'd been told was being taken to his rooms. The students were still in class, the final class before lunch if he remembered correctly. He hoped the hall would be empty. He wasn't in the mood for more reunions just yet. He was soon proven wrong.