"Dudley, you actually made it," said Harry 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?"
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. More than half of the crowd had red hair. Harry could tell by the look on his cousin's face that he hadn't expected so many people to be there.
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.
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 made, Ron sitting at his side, when he saw them approach.
It was his aunt and uncle.
Harry's smile slid off of his face and he stood. Ron and George watched in apprehension as the two people slowly made their way closer.
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 sharp intake of breath.
Then she saw Albus.
This time her hand went over her heart. "He… he looks exactly like you did, you know," she said. Harry regarded her with a closed expression before he softened slightly. "Why don't you sit down," he said.
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 prominent. His invitation to Petunia had not extended to his uncle.
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," said Harry, his voice low. "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, his face a mask of fury.
All conversation around them stopped. The air was 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, daring to see who would back down first.
"Let. Me. Go." said Harry, his voice 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.
Slowly, with barely controlled anger, Vernon's shaking hand released its hold on Harry.
Harry backed away several steps, his hand grasping his other arm as if to comfort it, or to ease the pain of what was surely to be 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. His wand was pointed directly at Vernon. "Get back," Ron growled. "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?"
"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, Harry placed himself in between his aunt and his uncle, ignoring Ron's worried protests. "Get out," said 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.
But Vernon was smart enough, at least, to know not to act with dozens of wands focused on him. He turned around and left, with his nose in the air.
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.
Harry let out a long breath.
Teddy moved to his godfather's side and helped steady him on his feet. "Are you all right?" Teddy asked quietly.
"Harry," said Petunia, "I didn't–"
"Don't," said Harry lightly. "Just don't." He turned and went inside.
Teddy hesitated only a moment before he ran after the both of them.