Tomatoes and Lilies
By: Tenshi Chupip
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any way shape or form.
Harry grumbled to himself as he exited the small shop. The swift changes in his wife's pregnancy cravings were getting old. He mentally began checking off each item in the bag of groceries he carried, making absolutely sure he had absolutely everything on Ginny's list. This was his fourth trip to the market in two days and he didn't want to make it five trips in two days by forgetting something. Merlin knew he loved his wife but her cravings seemed to change with the wind and it always ended up being something they did not already have in.
Taking in a deep breath Harry calmed his irritation by admiring the scene before him. It was at the very least a beautiful, albeit cold, autumn day. The town square of Godric's Hollow was busy but that came as no surprise. Tomorrow was Halloween and Muggles and Wizards alike were getting ready to celebrate. Harry suppressed a sudden sadness when he remembered that it would also be the anniversary of his parents death. He made a mental note to go visit them tomorrow. Pushing it to the back of his brain, Harry reminded himself once again that his parents wouldn't want him to live in mourning for the rest of his life.
He smiled to himself as two young boys ran past him in what appeared to be a game of chase. They reminded Harry of his young sons waiting for him at home and how much he had to be thankful for. How excited the Potters had been learning that a little sister would soon be added to their ranks. To be honest though Harry wasn't sure if he was ready to be the father of a little girl. Boys were easy, but girls?
The thought of having a daughter with Ginny's beauty and his rebellious nature running around at the very co-ed Hogwarts sent shivers up Harry's spin. Thankfully, due to his own courtship of Ginny, he knew all to well what wonderful boy repellent older brothers could be. Apparently being the savior of the wizarding world does not in fact actually make you worthy enough to date, let alone marry, your best mate's little sister.
Lost in a particularly horrifying memory about what the Weasley brothers did to him when he and Ginny announced the conception of their first child, Harry almost didn't notice the unusually familiar man he had just passed. Harry only caught a glimpse of the gentleman out of the corner of his eye but it was just enough to trigger the wanting of a second look. In an attempt to not appear weird, Harry kept walking to the end of the block before he turned around to see what about the stranger had sparked this subconscious need to stop. Harry didn't believe his eyes. He discreetly pulled out his wand and cast a silent identification spell just to be sure.
The spell confirmed it. On a busy pavement, in the middle of Godric's Hollow, Dudley Dursley stood leaning against the wall of a flower shop, whistling. Harry dropped the bag of groceries in utter shock.
That's how long it had been since he had last seen Dudley. Twelve years since the Dursleys had been lead out of his life into protective custody of the very people they loathed. Twelve years, no contact and suddenly Harry's childhood bully stood not sixty feet away. What was he doing here? At a quick glance it appeared that the years had been kind to the youngest Dursley. His triple chin was gone and in its place was a slightly rounded face partly covered by a dark blond goatee. From the looks of it, Dudley had not only dropped over a hundred pounds but grown at least four more inches taller. This left him at a towering six foot two with a husky yet athletic build.
'Probably thanks to the boxing,' Harry mused.
After finishing Auror training, Harry went poking around the Ministry of Magic's file room for some details about what had happened to the Dursleys. He'd had no desire to find them of course, but it did peak his curiosity to see if they'd survived. They had indeed survived, though from reading the file it sounded like Vernon was doing his level best to get himself murdered by the very team assembled to protect him. There were several notes made through out the entire report about his uncle's down right asinine behavior towards the protection team. Harry remembered chuckling about a side note made by Hestia Jones requesting permission to place a silencing charm and body bind on the elder Dursley until the time of their release. The last part of the report was a post war update. Petunia was in therapy for panic attacks, Vernon had taken back up at his old job and Dudley was attending University with a scholarship for boxing. Stuffing the file back into its box was the last time Harry had spared the Dursley Family a complete thought.
Picking up the bag, Harry made a quick decision to stop staring and leave before Dudley noticed him. Forgive was easier than forget and while Harry had forgiven them for the torment they'd put him through long ago, he found it hard to just pretend it never happened. Especially considering they left without saying goodbye let alone offer an apology of any kind.
"Alright that's not completely true..." Harry chastised himself. Over the years Dudley's departing words from that night had given Harry a flicker of hope that he could, and possibly would, change for the better. However Harry was not naive enough to think he would ever go against his parents, and they both hated him.
Dudley's looks may have changed but there was no telling if he himself had changed. If he had not, and it was probable that he hadn't, Harry was in absolutely no mood to deal with being mocked or called 'freak'. He turned back around and started to walk off when an all to familiar voice thundering through the small town square made his blood run cold.
Harry froze in terror. He'd heard that tone in Dudley's voice one to many times as a child and it never meant anything good for him. He gripped his wand tightly before whirling around, ready to defend himself if need be. He was met with the very confused face of one of the villagers.
"You alright there, Mate?" the man asked, giving Harry a look that clearly said he thought he was a nutter.
"Uh... y...yes, Sir," Harry stammered feeling very embarrassed. "Sorry, Sir. Thought you were someone else."
The villager side stepped around Harry and hurried away.
Harry ran a shaking hand down his face, willing his heart to stop pounding. After all this time something as simple as a tone in Dudley's voice still scared him to death. Harry mentally kicked himself. He was a fully grown man for crying out loud! Not to mention a talented wizard up for promotion as the Head of the Auror's Office next year. What was he thinking? Dudley served absolutely no threat to him anymore. So why wouldn't his heart stop pounding? Harry found this very irritating.
Narrowed green eyes scanned the street before falling back on their previous subject. Dudley was no longer leaning against the shop. He was in fact dragging a small boy onto the pavement while loudly berating him. The little boy was perhaps five or six years old and Harry's anger swelled. That cemented it. Dudley hadn't changed a bit. He was still a bully, only this time he wasn't just some punk kid picking on his fellow youths, he was a full grown adult screaming at a tiny child.
"Have you gone absolutely mad!" he heard Dudley bellow at the little boy. It was apparent the blond haired man did not care that he was making a bit of a scene.
"No, sir," the boy said, his lip quivering just slightly.
"Don't you give me that pouting lip, young man. I'm on to that trick of yours. You didn't even look before you chased that damn ball into the middle of the street, did you? No, you just ran after it! What do you think would have happened if that driver hadn't seen you? How many times have I told you to look before you cross the street?"
The boy muttered something to which Dudley only bellowed louder, "How many times?"
"I'm sorry, Daddy," the young boy eyes welled up with tears and he shifted nervously under Dudley's glare.
"You bloody well better be!" he snapped. "Your mother will skin me alive and use it for a new dress if you get yourself turned into a hood ornament on my watch."
Harry scoffed. Daddy huh? Seemed that the former whale boy had successfully suckered some poor woman into not only marrying him but reproducing as well. Wonders never ceased. Harry silently wondered what kind of woman would marry someone like Dudley. Maybe she was repulsive. Maybe she was just simply blind or deaf. Possibly both. He cast a silent disillusion charm around himself and moved to stand next to the building to watch the scene unfold. If Dudley hadn't changed (and it already appeared that he hadn't) then Harry was prepared to intervene for the safety of the boy. Moments later a woman emerged from the flower shop with a little girl and an arm full of flowers in tow. She had dark brown eyes and curly dark brown hair to match. Her face was actually a rather pretty one despite the very cross look she wore on it. Harry noted that the two children looked very much like each other, and her. The few differences between the children seemed to be in age and little girl appeared to be a few years older, perhaps seven or eight years old, and her dark brown hair fell around her face in gentle curls just like the woman next to her. The boy's dark hair was straight and combed back, but the children shared the same shade of blue eyes that Dudley had.
'Must be his wife and children,' Harry thought.
"Dudley, what is God's name are you shouting for?" she asked, sounding highly annoyed. "I heard you all the way at the back of the shop."
"Your son decided to chase that stupid toy of his into the middle of the street, right in front of a car," he replied hotly. "Thank god the bloke had good breaks."
The woman suddenly looked panicked in a furious way and rounded on her son.
"Harry Dursley! How many times have we told you to look before you go in the street?" she exclaimed, grabbing his ear.
"I said I was sorry, Mum! Ow get off!"
Harry once again dropped the bag he was carrying. The sound of carefully selected tomatoes being squished was barely noticed. Ginny was going to be furious at him but Harry didn't care at the moment. He could not ignore what he just heard his cousin's wife call their son. It was worth facing the wrath of a pregnant wife and another trip to the store to find out what was going on.
Harry ducked into an alley and fished in his pocket for the only other thing he never traveled without aside from his wedding ring. He pulled the shrunken invisibility cloak from his pocket and, after returning it to its normal size, Harry threw the cloak around himself and stepped back out onto the street.
Quickly spotting the small family he jogged to catch up, making sure to get near enough to hear the conversation.
"Did you get the flowers, Dearest?" he heard Dudley ask his wife.
"Yes, Darling, white ones just like you asked," she chuckled. "Since you were too much of a baby to go in yourself..."
"You've already turned me into enough of a softy as it is, Love," he chuckled, kissing the woman's cheek. "I don't need anyone seeing me shop for flowers."
"I had nothing to do with that, Diddykins," she teased lightly. "You were already a softy when I met you."
"Bloody hell, Rose, do NOT call me that, you know I hate it," he groaned. "It's bad enough Mum still does it. Don't you start too."
"I was only teasing, and do not swear in front of the children," his wife glared. "I won't have them picking up any of that language."
"Mummy?" the little girl tugged at her mother's hand.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"A special place," the woman, apparently named Rose, smiled warmly at her daughter.
"I'm cold," the girl whined.
"Me too," piped in the boy. "When are we going home?"
Dudley stopped and knelt down to his children. He gave them a firm look before speaking, "Now listen you two, this is very important to daddy. If you behave yourselves and mind your mother, we will go out to supper on our way home."
"Really!" the children exclaimed with wide smiles on their faces.
"Yes," Dudley smiled. "And if you're extra special good, I may be willing to let you talk me into ordering a pudding as well."
"We'll be good! We'll be good!" the children jumped up and down with excitement.
"You'd better," he chuckled as he stood back up. "Or I'll have the hides of both of you and it'll be no telly for a week."
Beneath the cloak Harry was beginning to wonder if he'd lost his mind. It was that or somehow while he was shopping for tomatoes and ice cream, the world and been thrown into an alternate reality. Yes, that had to be it. Apparently in this reality Dudley had been raised to became a loving man with a genuine sense of humour and discipline. That was the only explanation. Other wise where did the four hundred pound spoiled brat with delusions of grander go? Where was the little git groomed to work at daddy's drill company and marry an up tight, nosy, compulsively cleaning cow just like his mother? Yes, this is an alternate reality. What was next? Snape back from the dead and dating Sirius?
The thought was meant as a joke but it only succeeded in making Harry twitch.
Harry had been so immersed in his thoughts that he almost didn't notice they had finally reached their destination. He had to jump back in order to avoid bumping into them. Immediately recognizing where they were, Harry's confusion grew deeper.
The family entered an old church yard and began walking through the rows of head stones and sculptors. Dudley wasn't looking at any of the markers; he clearly knew exactly where he was going. Harry followed them silently, an odd feeling sitting like a stone in his stomach. He got as close as he could without risking any of them hearing the leafs crunch under his boots. There was only one conceivable reason they would be all the way out here in this particular grave yard, but he wasn't sure he dared to think it was so. However as they approached two very familiar head stones, his suspicions were confirmed and Harry's knees suddenly felt like jelly. He had to grab a hold of the tree next to him in order to keep himself from falling over in shock.
Harry wasn't sure if his eyes could get any wider without popping right out of his head, but they did as Dudley took the bouquet of what turned out to be white calla lilies from his wife and laid them ever so gently on the grave of Lily Potter. Dudley knelt down and put a loving hand on his aunt's head stone.
"Hello, Aunt Lily," he said softly. "I'm sorry it has been awhile since I've been back. Hopefully you will forgive me. I thought perhaps you and Uncle James would enjoy seeing the children again so we brought them along today. Grown a bit since last they were here."
He looked towards his family and smiled warmly. His wife smiled at him and she hugged their young ones close. Dudley turned back to the stone, "I'm sorry I couldn't convince Mum to come out with us. The row she had with Dad last time I think scared her off of coming this year. Please don't think ill of her, she does love and miss you terribly. I don't think she will ever actually admit it though. Either the jealousy or the guilt she has won't let her. I don't think she'll ever forgive herself for how she let Dad and I treat Harry all those years."
Dudley visibly flinched as if he expected someone to snap at him. He sighed and ran a hand through his pale hair, "I've tried to find him, Aunt Lil, I really have. I want so bad to tell him I'm sorry," a pained look crossed his face and there was a bit of a choke at the end of his sentence. In a voice barely above a whisper he said "So very, very sorry..."
Wiping away some tears that threatened to fall, Dudley continued with a chuckle, "You wouldn't believe the things I've done trying to get in touch with him, Aunt Lil. I reckon you'd have a good hard laugh. Only way I could think of to contact him was by owl like he did back then but I've got to be honest I don't think there is a single wizard bird in our city. If there is, I think they're having a bit of fun at my expense. Pretty sure the neighbors think I've gone mental, watching me try and catch owls around town with letters in hand." Dudley shook his head with a chuckle. "Think the worst time was when I climbed a tree at Rose's parents place in the States because I saw one that looked like the owl who brought letters from his school..." Dudley's wife made a snorting sound that resembled a suppressed laugh. He shot her a look but it did nothing to wipe the amused look off her face. "Anyway I fell out of the tree and not only lost my trousers on a branch on the way down, but I broke my arm when I hit the ground. Pretty sure the doctor about wet himself laughing as he fixed me up. Remind me if I ever find Harry to ask if he can wipe away memories because Rosie won't do it and she hasn't let me live it down since..."
Harry had to bite his knuckle to keep from laughing out loud at the image of his cousin trying to shimmy up a tree in order to catch a barn owl. He wasn't sure whether to be touched or suspicious that Dudley was trying so hard to get in touch with him. He turned his attention back to Dudley as Rose approached and put a comforting hand on her husband's shoulder.
"We actually had another reason for coming today, Miss Lily," she smiled at the stone. "We have the most wonderful news! Alyssa's been showing more and more magical ability every day. Sadly I'm sure you understand why we can't really share our excitement with anyone else. I'd like to think you'd be very proud of her. I know we are. Dudley checks the post every day to see if her Hogwarts letter has come in."
"It's not been every day," Dudley grumbled.
"Oh it has so and you know it," Rose rolled her eyes. "I keep having to remind him she is only seven years old and you have to be eleven before the letter comes. I'm hoping Harry will start showing some magic soon. He's beginning to feel a tad left out and I don't know what I would do if my sweet boy ended up being like your sister, if you'll pardon the rudeness..."
Each word that came from the two adults mouths was sending electric shocks through Harry. Was the little girl a witch? It would make sense if she was. She technically was descended from a magical blood line through her father, but how did this woman know about magic, never mind Hogwarts. Revealing magic did not sound like something Dudley would do. Harry put his patience to the test by not throwing off the cloak and begin demanding answers. It took every fiber in his body to willing keep himself silent.
"Anyway, we just wanted to come say hello and keep you updated on the family," Dudley spoke again. "Obviously we can't be excited about this with my parents. God knows how they'd react this time. The one time Dad saw Lyssa preform magic accidentally he..."
Harry could see Dudley start to visibly shake. He recognized that look. It was pure unadulterated fury.
"My sweet little girl," Dudley whispered to no one in particular. His wife wrapped her arms around him as he put his head in his hands "God I was a fool. For years I let that bastard make me think... how could I have ever thought what he did was normal? How could I've ever thought it was alright to be like that man?"
"You were just a child, Dudley," Rose said softly. "A child being raised by hateful people who did their level best to pass on that hatred. You couldn't have possibly known then it was wrong to think that way a that age."
"But I should have known, Rosie," Dudley muttered. "Ignorance is not an excuse for cruelty. Anyone ever treated Lyssa the way we treated him I'd want to kill them with my bare hands. So help me god if I ever hear the word 'freak' out of that man's mouth again..."
"I know, dear."
"We was so awful to him. I hurt him, let others hurt him, and what did he do in the end? He saved us. Saved my sorry arse when he had every reason and right in the world to leave me to die," Dudley struggled to keep his voice calm.
"Shh, darling, its alright..."
"No Rose, it isn't alright," he gently shrugged off her attempts to comfort him. "I appreciate you trying, but you can't convince me I'm not just as much at fault as Dad was. I was a horrible kid and my cousin deserved better than what me and my sorry excuse for parents did to him... I deserved to die that night those dementor things showed up. I truly did."
"Dudley, I understand you have this guilt but please, Dearest, do not speak like this in front of them," she said, darting her eyes between the children and her husband. "They don't need to know about all that. Not yet."
"You're right," he took a deep breath and willed himself to calm down. "I'm sorry."
"I love you," she said, her eyes threatening to shed tears themselves.
Dudley smiled and cupped her face gently before kissing her on the forehead and whispered, "I love you too."
"Daddy?" a small voice said behind them.
"Why are you crying?" the young boy asked approaching his parents with his sister.
"Because sometimes grown-up cry just like kids," he said as he sat on the ground and pulled his son into his lap.
"Only poofs and sissies cry," the young boy said very matter of factly.
There was a collective gasp from every adult present, including the one trying to stay hidden. Harry threw his hand over his mouth, worried he had given himself away. His heart pounded like a drum until he realized that the boy's parents were far to concentrated on the foul language that had come out of their son's mouth to take notice of much else. He sighed in relief.
"Harry Michael Dursley!" his mother exclaimed, utterly horrified. "Where in gods name did you hear such a thing?"
"The other day when I was over at Gran's I fell and skinned me knee," the younger Harry said. "I started to cry because it was bleeding and it hurt and Grandfather told me to stop crying and take it like a man. He said only..."
"Do not repeat it again, Harry," his mother eyed him sternly. "I don't ever want to hear those words come out of your mouth again, do you understand me? I will be having a chat with your grandparents later about how one speaks around five year olds." Harry could see her practically seethe with anger just thinking about her father-in-law. Harry smirked to himself. Well his cousin's wife must not be all that bad if she hates Vernon as much as her expression suggests she does.
Apparently the peace keeper of the family, little Alyssa turned to her father, "Mummy says a proper hug and kiss can make sad feelings go away. If I gave you a hug and kiss would if make you feel better?"
Dudley smiled fondly at his daughter, "I reckon it'd be just what I needed to feel better, Lyssa. But only on the condition that I get one from both of you." The two children launched themselves at their father in a tackling hug causing them all to fall over, giggling wildly.
"Feel better, Daddy?"
"Much better, Harry, thank you," Dudley kissed both his kids before sitting them all up right again.
Rose chuckled and stood up, "Alright everyone, it's getting cold out, and I hear tummies rumbling. I think it is time to go. Say good bye to Uncle James and Aunt Lily and go wait for us by the gate please."
The children got up off the ground with their father and said good bye to the graves before walking to the gate. Dudley nodded to his wife who then pulled a thin stick from her pocket and pointed it at the flowers.
For what seemed like the hundredth time that day Harry's eyes widened, "Dudley married a witch? On PURPOSE?'
"Ruotomis!" she said firmly and the bouquet began to take root over the grave. The blossoms shimmered and glowed as if trying to keep the grave and it's occupant warm.
"How long will it last?" Dudley asked.
"The shimmer will be gone by the end of tomorrow but the flowers will grow for a few weeks I should think. At least until the first real good frost," Rose replied. "I can cast a charm so no one will notice the glow if you'd like?"
"No, Love, that's alright," he smiled at her. "I'm sure Aunt Lil loves it just the way it is." Kissing her lips softly he said "Go join the kids before they wonder off and cause trouble again. I don't fancy explaining anymore floating squirrels or tye dyed cats. I'll be there in a second."
Rose nodded and obediently walked over to her children to wait. There was no arguing it, Dudley always wanted a few private words with his uncle and aunt before they left. Each passing year though this trip became harder on Dudley, especially not knowing where his cousin was. It bothered her husband deeply that he didn't even know if the man was even still alive. If there was one thing Rose Dursley never questioned about her husband it was that he would never stop looking for Harry Potter. Rose remembered the stories from her school days about the boy who lived, even saw him in passing a few times. But when the war broke out in her fifth year at Hogwarts her parents, who were muggles, forced her to leave the wizarding world and she hadn't set foot in it since. Threat of disinheritance and excommunication had kept her from finishing her magical education even after they moved to America.
It was shortly after her twentieth birthday when Rose made the decision to move back to England. It did not go over well, but after weeks of arguing about it she had managed to leave with her parents' hesitant blessing. Being that the world hadn't imploded Rose assumed the good guys won the war. She had contemplated trying to get back in touch with someone from Hogwarts to see what could be done about finishing her schooling, however shortly after her return her thoughts on the future shifted from magic to marriage.
It didn't take Rose long to secure a flat and a job and after several months she had carved out a nice little life for herself. One night some of her female coworkers had invited her out to a new pub that had just opened. Rose jumped at the chance and eagerly went along with her new friends. The evening was the best she'd had in awhile. That is until a fellow patron started harassing her to join him for a private drink. Rose repeatedly turned him down but the man was beyond pissed and not taking no for an answer. He grabbed her by the wrist and tried hauling her out of the building with him. Rose remembered screaming just before a six foot tall blond mountain stepped from the crowd and grabbed the bloke by the arm. He effortlessly threw the wanker out of the pub, but not before having a 'chat' about how men treated ladies in his establishment. Her white knight returned shortly to ask if she was alright before introducing himself as Dudley. Rose offered to buy her hero a drink as a thank you though it turned out to be a silly offer since he was in fact the pub's owner. None the less, fourteen hours hours, countless drinks and an slightly awkward morning after later, it became clear there was a bit more than a spark between the two of them. The rest as they say was history.
She still loved doing magic and used what she knew whenever she could. It made Saturday night dinner rush at the pub she now ran with Dudley so much easier. The fact her daughter was showing signs of magical ability thrilled her to absolutely no end.
Try as she might though, Rose couldn't begrudge her parents for taking her away from Hogwarts. They were muggles and didn't understand what was going on. All they knew was that there was about to be a war and they needed to keep their baby safe. She had been a terrified teenager at the time and it never crossed her mind to fully question their choice to take her away. She could still do spells and the occasional potion, but she hadn't seen a post owl in years let alone any of her old school mates. For a time Rose tried to actually forget she had ever even done magic.
It was only after the two were married and expecting their first child that she'd even told Dudley she was a witch. If Rose was completely honest with herself she probably would never have told him if it hadn't of been for a few unusual disturbances to obvious to ignore. Apparently when a witch became pregnant, her hormonal and emotional upset cause her magic to have a mind of its own. Rose had done a good job of concealing it at first but one night during a fight, the gravy that had been sitting on the kitchen table suddenly burst from it dish, molded into a bear and launched itself at Dudley. The furious roar from her husband had been immediate, but it had nothing to do with the fact a he'd just been attacked by a gravy bear. He was demanding to know why she hadn't trusted him enough to tell him the truth about being a witch.
Dumbfounded she asked how he even knew about witches and it was that night that Rose learned of her husband's cousin. At first she thought she had imagined hearing the famous name but after much assurance that she had in fact heard correctly, Rose told Dudley about Harry's life on the other side and just how much he had meant to the safety of both their worlds. For hours Dudley was not shy about making his anger known, but after cooling down he gently explained that he'd made his peace with the wizarding world long ago. She could turn into a werehamster for all he cared. It didn't matter. She was his wife, the mother of his child, he loved her and nothing was going to change that. They agreed on completely honesty with each other from then on out.
Her father-in-law's reaction on the other hand had not been so warm. He went from a charming and thoughtful in law to a hateful and condescending berk. It wasn't that they'd meant to tell anyone else, but they underestimated the elder Dursleys' ability to snoop through their things. Her mother-in-law found her wand one night and the conversation that followed was so bad that Dudley nearly took Rose to the hospital for fear the stress was causing harm to the baby. That night Rose began to learn the cruelty Vernon was capable. He looked her square in the eye and demanded to know just how much of a chance the child had of ending up a freak like her.
Dudley was furious and threatened to break his father's nose. Petunia cried and Vernon screamed as they stormed out of the house. The strained relationship only got worse when they found out their only grandson had been named for their hated nephew instead of Vernon himself like they wanted. Vernon refused to even meet his grandson for months. When he finally did, the row that followed was so intense that Alyssa became very upset. So upset in fact that the then three year old girl ended up levitating her grandfather to herself. In her young mind she did the only thing that made sense to her to make someone feel better. Whenever she was upset mummy and daddy hugged her and she felt better. Certainly a big hug would make her grandfather happy again too.
Unfortunately she was wrong and it only succeeded in infuriating Vernon further. He shoved his confused granddaughter away, ordering her not to touch him before calling her a freak of nature. Alyssa burst into tears and Dudley threw both his parents out off the house. He had hardly spoken a word to his father since. His mother had tried for years to get them to reconcile but Dudley refused to do so with out an apology and Vernon refused to offer one. To this day both of them refused to call their grandson by his first name.
Later when things had calmed down Rose asked Dudley why it was so important for him to name their boy Harry? He had to of known it would cause problems. His answer hadn't surprised her much though.
"I want him to have a name that came with a better legacy than child abuse and racism," Dudley had said. "Besides, who better to name my boy after than the man who saved my life twice? No big Harry, no me. No me, no little Harry. Makes sense see?"
Rose chuckled at the memory as she reached her children. She was glad her life was what it was, despite the in laws from hell.
Dudley smiled at his family and looked back to the head stones one last time, "Well we have to go, Aunt Lily. I know I've said it before, but I do wish I had actually known the two of you," he said. "If you ever happen to spot Harry tell him to give me a ring, will ya? Assuming he still uses a phone and actually wants anything to do with me. Good bye, Uncle James, Good bye, Aunt Lily. We'll see you next year."
Dudley dusted the dirt from his jeans before wandering over to his family. They exited the grave yard and disappeared down the street.
Harry leaned against the tree for support as he watched them go. He felt as though the air had been sucked completely out of his lungs. He had been wrong. So incredibly wrong. Not only had Dudley been trying to find him in an attempt to make amends but he'd apparently also been visiting his parents' graves with flowers for what sounded like years.
As everything fully sank in Harry felt like an absolute arse. The whole situation was making his head spin. Dudley had even named his only son for Harry. It didn't get much more reformed than that. Harry had always considered himself a non-judgmental person but apparently he wasn't as open minded as he gave himself credit for. Harry ripped the cloak off, being suddenly unable to breathe, and shrank it back down to the size of a handkerchief.
Shoving the thing back into his pocket, Harry realized he couldn't see the small family anymore and he bolted from the grave yard. Spotting which way they had turned, Harry tore after them. His legs protested the sudden burst of exercise but he ignored it. He had to find Dudley before they left the village. An apology was owed on both sides of this fence. He spotted them helping the children into what he assumed what their car. There was no way he'd get to them before they pulled away from the curb so Harry did the only thing he could think of to get their attention before it was too late.
"DUDLEY!" he shouted as loud as he could still running.
Dudley heard his name and looked around with a startled expression. Appearing to have gotten his attention, Harry came to a halt in the middle of the pavement, hands on his knees panting heavily from his dead sprint.
A block and a half away Dudley spotted an obviously winded man with messy black hair and round rimmed glasses. His heart skipped a beat. He'd recognize those glasses anywhere. Closing the car door, Dudley hopped back onto the pavement to get a full view of the man just to make sure he wasn't hearing or seeing things. He wasn't.
Dudley launched into a sprint of his own with his wife shouting after him. He threw his arms around Harry and hugged him tightly while laughing in pure joy and relief. Harry's surprise was obvious but but returned the hug none the less.
"It's really you, right?" there was clear hesitation in Dudley's voice. "I haven't actually gone mental and am locked up somewhere hallucinating?"
Harry laughed and stepped back from his cousin, "Nah mate, it's me. How you doing, Big D?"
"Doing great... real good... yeah really, really good," Dudley stuttered. "I have so many things I want to say, I'm just... S'all trying to get out a once and I... God am I rambling? Sorry... It's just so great to finally... Are you hungry? You look hungry. Can we buy you dinner?"
"Do I still look that scrawny?" Harry laughed.
"No, no that's not what I meant, I didn't mean you look bad, you look great actually. A lot better then the last time I saw you, you looked awful then and... oh shite... I'm sorry..."
"You'll have to excuse my husband, Mr. Potter," Rose chuckled as she approached the two men and looped her arm into Dudley's. "He babbles when he gets nervous and excited at the same time. When I first told him I was pregnant with our daughter I couldn't understand a word he said for over an hour. I'm Rose Dursley, Dudley's wife."
"I was just as bad when my own wife told me she was pregnant for the first time. It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Dudley, and please call me Harry."
"Only if you promise to call me Rose," she smiled and shook Harry's hand.
"Mummy?" Alyssa called from the car. "What's going on?"
"Are we not going?" the small Harry asked, poking his head out the same window. "Who's that?"
"Kids come here!" Dudley exclaimed. "Come meet Uncle Harry."
Harry felt his heat swell just slightly that Dudley was introducing him as "Uncle" Harry, instead of just Harry the unknown random relative like he expected. Both children scrambled from the car and jogged over to their parents. They eyed Harry suspiciously.
"Your name's Harry?" the boy asked.
"Yes it is."
"But that's MY name," the boy replied with a frown.
"It's a good name," the older Harry chuckled.
"My daddy says it's an important name," the little Harry said proudly.
"Oh?" Harry threw an amused looked at a blushing Dudley. "Why's he say that?"
"Says it was the name of some bloke who saved him and a bunch of people," the blond boy shrugged. "Says he hopes I'll be just like him some day."
"Well I don't know if you'd want to be just like him," Harry winked at his young cousin. "I have it on good authority that he hogs the bed covers at night and leaves his dirty socks in the middle of the floor."
"Then his mummy should make him pick his socks up," the child said rather pointedly. "My mummy always makes me pick up my socks. Says that's what good boys do and I don't want to be like someone who isn't a good boy."
Harry snorted a laugh at the little boy's bluntness, but Dudley's face turned bright red at the awkward comment his son had unknowingly made. He opened his mouth to apologize but Harry held up a hand to stop him, "Don't worry about it, Dudley, he doesn't know."
"Know what?" little Harry asked, making it clear he did not approve of being left out of the any part of the conversation. "What don't I know?"
"You don't know that I hate grey socks but that's all my wife buys me," Harry teased the lad.
"What kind of socks do you like then?" the child asked, not catching on to the teasing.
"Green or blue typically," Harry suppressed another laughed.
"I don't really like green much," the smaller Harry said thoughtfully. "Blue is nice though."
"Hush now, dear," Rose shushed her son. "Mr. Potter...Sorry, Harry, we were actually just about to find a place for supper and would of course be thrilled to have you join us. I think you and Dudley have much to discuss. Perhaps some old ghosts to lay to rest."
"I think you are right, Rose," Harry said. "Looks like you married a smart one, Dudley. Good on you."
"Had to marry a smart one, Mate," Dudley beamed with pride at his wife. "Someone has to keep me in line and I'm not sure I want to meet the woman big enough to do it with her strength alone."
"Don't let him fool you, Harry. He only married me because there isn't a single other woman on this planet that could put up with his snoring," Rose smirked. Dudley blushed and Harry laughed.
"Oh I like her," he laughed.
"You want her, take her," Dudley grumbled but accepted the kiss she pressed to his check. He looked over at his still chuckling cousin with a hesitant expression. "Harry... I... I don't know how to even start this. How can I ever tell you how truly sorry I am."
A soft smile crossed Harry's face and he lay a hand on his cousin's shoulder, "It's alright, Dudley."
"No, it's not," Dudley looked him square in the eye. "I treated you like scum and I will never forgive myself for letting myself buy into the dung Mum and Dad were spewing.."
"We should have been like brothers and they robbed us both of that..."
"I was a spoilt, pompous prat and it took me so long too..."
"DUDLEY!" Harry shook the babbling man by the shoulders. "Dudley, I forgive you."
Dudley stopped and stared hard into his cousin's eyes as though trying to see if he might be having him on. He found nothing in the emerald orbs but genuine truth. Dudley fought back tears and wrapped his massive arms back around Harry, pulling him into a bone crushing hug. Harry didn't hesitate this time and returned the hug in all it's meaning.
"We are family after all," he said, finally pulling away.
"Family is very important to us," Rose said.
"My sentiments exactly," Harry said.
"We've been looking for you for a long time. We'd hoped to start anew should we ever receive the chance too," Rose said with a smile. "Much easier to do with forgivness."
"Well last time I checked families did forgive each other," Harry chuckled.
"And try to do better next time!" exclaimed Alyssa happily. The three adults looked at her and the young girl suddenly felt shy. "Er...well, that's what mummy says anyway. She says when you forgive someone it means they're suppose to try to do better next time."
"Couldn't have said it better myself," Harry smiled at the dark haired little girl. She returned his smile. "Dudley, I would love to join your family for supper. Speaking of families though, if you don't mind waiting for a few minutes, I could pop home and get my own wife and kids to join us."
"That sounds marvelous," Rose smiled.
"Take an hour if you need," Dudley matched his wife's smile. "We'll be right here."
Harry looked up and down the street. The sun had completely set now and the pavement was almost completely abandoned. The shops were shutting down for the night and the few villagers still scattered through the square were quickly clearing out in favor of a cold drink in a warm pub. He was probably taking an unnecessary risk but that the hell...
"A few minutes should be fine. Back in a moment," Harry winked and apparated right there. He arrived in front of his home with a crack and burst through the front door excitedly. "Ginny!"
A very pregnant, very angry ginger haired woman poked her head around the corner, "Where have you been!" she thundered as she waddled down the hallway. If she hadn't looked ready to murder him Harry would have poked fun at her for sounding so much like her mother. "You've been gone for hours! Do you have any idea what your children have been doing?"
"James levitated four gnomes into the chimney, Albus turned our owl pink and god knows what Teddy is off doing!" the red head roared. "Not to mention I'm starving and we've got nothing in. If you came back without those tomatoes so help me god, Harry James Potter, I am going to hex you into next year!"
"GINNY" Harry grabbed his wife's shoulders and gave her a gentle shake. "Will you give me a second to tell you something?"
"What?" she glared.
"I'm sorry I am late, something very important came up," Harry said. "We're going out. Right now."
"What?" Ginny's anger vanished into confusion. "Why?"
"You'll see in a minute. BOYS!" Harry called up the stairs. "GET DOWN HERE NOW WE ARE GOING OUT FOR SUPPER!"
It is amazing the speed in which young boys appear at the promise of food. Harry gathered his family and apparated them back to the street before Ginny had a chance to argue or question. Re-arriving Harry gave a quick glace around to check for any muggles who might have seen them. Thankfully the whole square was completely empty save for the Dursleys. Dudley's children's eyes were wide as saucers as Harry and his family poofed back in front of them.
"Woooow!" little Harry's was wide open in amazement.
"How did you do that?" Alyssa exclaimed.
"Magic," Harry winked. "Ginny, boys, this is my cousin Dudley and his family. Dudley, this is my wife, Ginny, my godson Teddy Lupin and our boys James and Albus."
Ginny politely shook hands with the two people in front of her but there was no masking her confusion.
"I'm Rose," the perky dark haired woman smiled. "It's such a pleasure to meet you. This is our daughter Alyssa and our son Harry. Children, say hello to Mrs. Potter."
Ginny smiled kindly at the two children that greeted her, but she then turned a raised eye brow to her husband. She knew the Dursley's were not a happy chapter of Harry's life. Why on earth was she and her children standing in the middle of Godric's Hallow about to go to supper with a man that helped make her husband's life a living hell for years? And did that woman just call her son 'Harry'? Certainly not, she must have missed heard her.
The sheer number of questions she wanted to start demanding answers too could fill the library at Hogwarts twice. However at seven and a half months pregnant, and having been denied her tomatoes, Ginny Potter had no intention of questioning anything that involved the notion of food in their immediate future. Her growling stomach would just simply not allow it. Voldemort could be joining them for fish and chips for all she cared at that moment. She wanted food and she wanted it now.
Harry smiled at his wife and kissed her forehead, "I'll explain everything later," he whispered in her ear. Turning back to the group he clapped his hands together, "So! Supper! There is a fantastic place just around the corner. Very family friendly. We eat there often."
A cheer was given by the Potter boys and Teddy. After a quick argument over which one knew the way best, they took off with their newly met cousins in tow, racing each other to the restaurant.
"I can't thank you enough for being open to this, Harry," Dudley said as he offered his arm to his wife. "It means a lot that you're willing to at least hear me out. There is so much I've wanted to say. There is a lot to atone for."
"Yeah, I reckon there is," Harry replied, making the same offer of his arm to his own wife. "But I'd like to think that perhaps we'll have many years together to make the past right."
"I'd like that."
"And even if it can't be made right, maybe we can just try and start over with something new," he said. "Hopefully something better."
"I'm willing to try for anything," Dudley smiled sheepishly.
"Me too," Harry smiled back. "You have a fine looking family, and Rose is right, family is very important. Especially with Alyssa probably going off to Hogwarts someday."
"How did you know that?" Dudley asked in surprise.
"Er..." Harry wasn't sure he should say he'd been spying on them. That would probably seem a bit too intrusive for a dinner where they were trying to build a foundation for a new relastionship. 'Quick! Make something up!' he thought to himself. "Um well, Wizards can tell other wizards apart from muggles... kinda like a sixth sense."
That sounded believable right? It wasn't exactly a lie. It apparently did sound believable because Dudley nodded. If Rose knew it wasn't exactly true, she chose to not say anything. Ginny on the other hand shook her head in amusement. She knew her husband far to well to know that was not in fact how he came across this information. She'd question him about it later.
"Well it'll be a relief to know Alyssa will have someone to look to at Hogwarts when she gets her letter," Rose smiled. "Harry too, if he ever starts to show some ability."
"Oh I wouldn't worry to much about your boy, Rose," Harry laughed. "He'll get a letter some day as well."
"What makes you so sure?"
"He turned my socks blue."
A/N: I haven't posted anything is forever but this was rolling around in my head for days so I just had to write it down. Anyway my dears, if you be so kind as to R&R I will be much obliged! Later! ~Chupip
P.S. I have written a sequel to this story called Ties That Bind. If you like this, check it out too!