"Dudley, you actually made it," Harry said in surprise, approaching his cousin to shake his hand in greeting and to accept a hug from his wife.
"Yeah, didn't think I'd ever find this place. Got lost once or twice, but we found our way eventually."
"Harry? Where've you gone?"
"I'm just out front, Ron!" Harry called back. "Dudley is here."
"Blimey, are you serious?"
"Yeah, him and his wife."
Once Ron had come out and greeted them as well, Dudley turned to Harry with a grin on his face. "Well, happy anniversary, Harry."
"Thanks, Dudley," said Harry, genuinely pleased. He and his cousin had been getting along better lately, but it still managed to surprise him sometimes when Dudley was polite. "So… It's just you two, then?" Harry asked cautiously.
Dudley shuffled on his feet. "Mum said she might drop by later, you know, to meet your kids."
Harry remained silent at that. He hadn't seen his Aunt in years. They had corresponded briefly, but they hadn't seen each other since that night that Harry left Privet Drive all those years ago. Harry had a wife now, and three children, and a godson, and an incredibly large extended family from the Weasleys. He had offered half hearted invitations every now and then, not ever sure if he really wanted her to accept. He hadn't seen or spoken to his Uncle since that night either. Nor did he want to. Harry made things work with Dudley, he gave the choice of what type of relationship they had to Petunia, but Vernon would get no such offers.
"Good," said Harry awkwardly. "That's… er, that's good."
Harry led the two Dursleys to the area behind the house that was set up with tables and chairs and was milling with family. Harry could tell by the look on his cousin's face that he hadn't expected so many people to be there.
"Do all Wizards and Witches celebrate anniversaries with… with huge parties?" asked Dudley.
"No," said Ron, who stood next to Harry. He was trying to be civil. "Only when you're related to the Weasleys."
More than half of the crowd had red hair. Weasleys indeed.
The evening passed by pleasantly enough. Teddy broke a table, James was antagonizing Albus, Ginny chatted animatedly with Hermione, and Harry loved every second of it.
That was, until, a second car pulled into the Potters' front yard. The first car was Dudley's, all the wizards having had arrived by apparition or floo.
Harry didn't notice the second car arrive, so the first time he saw the two new guests was when they walked from their car around to the back of the Potter house.
Harry had been laughing at a joke George had just said, Ron sitting at his side, when he saw them approach.
It was his aunt and uncle.
Harry's smile slid off of his face quite suddenly, and he stood. Ron and George watched in apprehension as the two people slowly made their way closer to Harry.
Petunia approached first, looking nervous, yet slightly hopeful. "Harry," she regarded, not pleasantly, but not quite rudely either.
"Aunt Petunia," Harry greeted cautiously.
Petunia's breath caught in her throat when she saw Lily. She looked at Harry, who was relieved to see a sliver of warmth in her eyes. It was more than she'd ever shown him as a child. "Is that…?"
"My daughter," said Harry sternly, making it obvious that he would be having no nonsense from his aunt. "Petunia, meet Lily Potter."
Petunia's hand went over her mouth with a soft gasp.
Then she saw Albus.
This time her hand went over her heart. "He… he looks exactly like you did, you know," she said breathlessly. Harry regarded her with a closed expression before he seemed to soften slightly. "Why don't you sit down," he suggested.
Petunia nodded stiffly before turning to find a seat.
That just left Uncle Vernon.
They stared at each other, taking each other in, sizing each other up.
Vernon's beady little eyes looked Harry up and down before settling on his face.
"Hullo, Uncle Vernon," said Harry, the steel in his voice was prominent. His invitation to Petunia had not extended to his uncle, yet there he was.
Vernon bristled, but did not say anything. Harry stared at him, not having the patience nor the desire to deal with this man today.
"I'm not here by choice," his uncle ground out suddenly.
Harry's temper immediately flared, his good mood from the evening rapidly receding. "Well, you weren't invited either," he snapped.
"Don't you take that tone with me–"
"You're in my home right now, Dursley. I make the rules," said Harry in a low voice. "Here, if you want respect, you earn it."
Harry was acutely aware of Ron watching from his seat at the nearest table.
"How dare you– After everything I've done for you–"
"Don't," Harry growled. "We are not going to go there. Not today." Unable to stand even looking at the man in front of him, Harry turned away, planning on finding Ginny. She could usually calm him down when–
"Don't you turn your back on me, Boy." Vernon reached out and grabbed Harry by the arm roughly, pulling him violently around to face him again.
Ron was on his feet in seconds, his face a mask of fury.
All conversation around them stopped. The air became stiff and electric.
Vernon's grip on Harry's arm was obviously much too tight, but Harry let no evidence of pain show on his face. The two glared at each other silently, as if daring to see who would back down first.
"Let. Me. Go." Harry said calmly, his voice like ice.
Ron watched with a baited breath, his hand gripping his wand furiously in his pocket.
Vernon Dursley pulled Harry closer, his grip on Harry's arm tightening. They were staring nose to nose, and the hate in Vernon's eyes flared as he stared into Harry's.
Slowly, with barely controlled anger, Vernon's shaking hand released its hold on Harry.
Harry backed away several steps instantly, his hand grasping his other arm as if to comfort it, or to ease the pain of what was surely a fairly serious bruise.
They stared at each other for a moment longer, and something in Harry's façade was beginning to crack. There was a flash of emotion in those green eyes–
But then Ron was there, standing between them, in front of Harry protectively. His wand was pointed directly at Vernon. "Get back," Ron growled with barely contained fury. "You don't go near Harry again, you hear me?"
Ginny stepped forward and looked at Vernon. "I think you should leave," she said coldly.
Vernon shot a nasty look at her before noticing that nearly every person in the crowd had a wand pointed at his face.
"Fine," he snarled before turning away. "Petunia? We're leaving."
"I'm not going."
Vernon froze mid-stride. "What?" he growled dangerously.
"I- I'm staying," she said quietly.
"Nonsense, Petunia. We're leaving right now or–"
"I want to stay," she protested weakly, eyeing the small redhead girl. Lily. Oh, Harry…
Vernon marched over to his wife and reached out, supposedly to drag her along with him, but Harry had had enough.
Moving from behind Ron in a flash, Harry placed himself in between his aunt and his uncle, ignoring Ron's worried protests. "Get out," demanded Harry, glaring at the large man in front of him.
Vernon's eyes narrowed, and the hands at his sides tightened into fists.
"Harry," Teddy cautioned, his own wand trained on his godfather's uncle. If he made one wrong move… if he tried to hurt Harry again in any way…
But Vernon was smart enough, at least, to know not to act with dozens of wands focused on him.
"GET OUT!" Harry shouted, his hands shaking in his anger.
To everyone's great relief, the man left.
The second he was gone, Harry seemed to slump with a weariness that his friends had not seen in a very, very long time.
And they cursed Vernon Dursley for bringing it back.
"Harry?" Teddy asked softly, moving towards him slowly, as one might approach a wounded animal.
Harry let out a long breath. "I'm fine," he said, but his voice betrayed him.
Teddy hurried the last few steps to his godfather and helped steady him on his feet. "Are you all right?" Teddy asked urgently under his breath so only Harry would hear.
Harry looked at him with empty, uncertain eyes and Teddy cursed that man, cursed him for making Harry react like this.
"Harry," said Petunia, "I didn't–"
"Don't," said Harry lightly. "Just don't."
Harry turned and went inside, leaving everyone who remained to stare after him with concern.
Ron was following him in a heartbeat. He hurried after his best friend, his face screwed up in worry. Teddy hesitated only a moment before he ran after the both of them.