James Potter placed the last of the trinkets that had adorned the walls of his Transfiguration classroom into his trunk, and slammed it shut with a sense of finality. After spending the last ten years under contract teaching at the school, and the three before it helping with the designing and building if the school, it would be strange to go back to England. During the summer of 1981, be had been given this assignment by Dumbledore, in an effort to gain support from the American wizards in the ever-mounting war against Voldemort. He had been reluctant to leave at first, but after being convinced that this would be the best way to protect his son from the psychopath, he accepted his new post. His wife and son were to join him on the west coast shortly before Christmas, giving him plenty of time to build their home near the school's grounds where he would be working.

But they didn't make it that long. He had trusted the gormless rat against his gut instinct- he knew that he was the one no one would expect him to choose for this task. Unfortunately, this was exactly what the Dark Lord had hoped for.

His wife and son had been brutally murdered on Halloween, and he hasn't been there to do anything about it.

Unclenching his fists, James sighed and shook his head. He paced over to the window as he reminded himself that there was no point in dwelling on what happened the night. He had spent the last 13 years avoiding the wizarding world of England, and it was time to face them all again.

He was especially excited to see the look on Sirius and Remus's faces when he surprised them in the morning. After all, they were two of the few that he had kept in contact with.

He felt a pang of guilt at the thought of his old friends. He had basically disappeared from the world when the unthinkable had happened that night, although, who could really blame him? He hadn't even seen them since that night, and his job had kept him so busy that he hardly ever had time to write. Their letters seemed to be just as sparce, but he also knew that they were busy as well, and he didn't blame them.

But he was ready to see them again. He was ready to stop grieving and move forward.

He was ready to go home.

At nearly the same time, Harry Potter jolted out of bed after another of his gruesome nightmares that had been plaguing him since the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament. Green light, jeering laughter, and Cedric's cold, lifeless eyes seemed to haunt his every sleeping moment, and at least half of his waking ones.

The other half of his thoughts were occupied with avoiding his uncle. Harry once would have said that he didn't think that his uncle could be any worse, but he had somehow managed it.

He seemed to be nursing new injuries nightly now, and Harry was getting very good at hiding them. He couldn't help but wish that someone-anyone- would come rescue him from the hell-hole, but he new that no one would. Dumbledore had informed him the week before that he would be unable to leave Privet Drive this summer because the Dursleys' home was the only place that was completely safe against Voldemort.

Harry couldn't help but wonder what was supposed to protect him from the Dursleys.