Chapter image done by rockstarkisses @ TDA
Vernon and Regulus met under heated circumstances. Neither of them were completely up for the shock that was yet to come. Two agitated, stubborn men, two completely wrecked cars, and one twist of fate.
Vernon was on his way to work, taking his everyday, normal route that never seemed to change. He could practically navigate it with his eyes closed. One day was unexpectedly different; as he rounded the last corner in the route to the small café, where he worked, there was a sudden, ear-splitting noise--the sound of metal colliding with metal. Vernon felt red-in-the-face furious: not a soul in the world could have calmed him down. Not one--except, perhaps, for the owner of the car that his own had just collided with.
Regulus Black slowly got from his car, swearing; not at Vernon, but to himself. He had, for the first time ever, taken his older brother’s advice and attempted to learn to drive a Muggle car. His first time out driving, and he has already crashed! On impulse, he muttered, “Imperio.” And the fate of the accident was in his hands. Keeping Vernon under the imperius curse was sure to give him time to fix the accident.
Looking over both his shoulders, he put on a right good show for the Muggles watching by charming the car to weigh less than air. He pushed both the cars into a nearby alley and fixed them up. As if the accident had never happened.
Finally taking a good look at the man that was before him, Regulus began to notice who he was. He was tall, and well built. Thick dark blonde hair was settled neatly on top of his head. He had the build, in fact, of a Beater--but that was impossible. He had to have been a Muggle. His thoughts began to wander, and he lost the Imperius before he could wipe the man’s memory clean.
Slowly coming to, Vernon looked from one car to the next, then back to Regulus.
“What in the world just happened?”
Regulus didn’t know what to say. His arm twitched towards his wand as he thought of what to do. Being the newest member of the Death Eaters’ rank, and the youngest, his first thought was simply to exterminate the problem. But the more he thought about it, the less this seemed like a good plan of action--he became, in the process of wondering, intrigued with the look of the ordinary, Muggle man. “Er--you passed out at the wheel, so I pushed you here so we could be out of the way. It was luck you didn’t crash,” Regulus finally choked.
He stood, holding his breath, waiting and watching Vernon contemplate the possibility of what he was saying. He finally spoke. “Well, I guess I’m glad you were here then, aren’t I?” He stuck out a hand.
“Right,” Regulus said, still slightly confused about what it was that was so interesting about this man.
Vernon was just getting back into his car when Regulus spoke out, shocking not only Vernon, but also himself. “Maybe I--maybe I should take you to where you’re going, and drive you home tonight? You know, so you don’t cause another almost-accident.”
Vernon stood, mouth hanging slightly open, for what seemed like forever. He was dumbstruck, and slightly indignant. Was this teenage boy, no older then seventeen, saying he, twenty years old, was incapable of driving? Or was he really one of the few decent people left in the world who actually cared?
“I--I think I’ll be--” Vernon was about to decline his offer, but something inside him changed. Looking into this man’s eyes, there was something there that stopped him. Sort of like a spark hidden deep in his brown eyes, hints of determination, and passion. This man was strange, and he knew it. But he wouldn’t pass up the chance to figure him out.
“You know, you’re right, actually,” Vernon said locking his car and slamming the door shut. “I’m a terror on the road sometimes. I’m Vernon by the way. Vernon Dursley.”
Regulus felt a wave of relief flow over him as Vernon introduced himself. He couldn’t pinpoint why, but he enjoyed the presence of Vernon. “I’m Regulus. Regulus Black,” he said with a broad grin, unlocking his car. “So, where were you heading, Vernon?” he asked as they both climbed into his car.
“Er, to the café around the corner here. I work there, are you sure you can give me a ride home tonight? My shift ends at nine,” Vernon said wondering where the name Regulus could have come from.
Regulus thought to himself for a few moments, then Vernon Noticed his eyes stray to his left arm for a small moment. Back up to Vernon. “Yeah, I don’t have anything planned tonight.”
As they pulled up to the café, Vernon got out and went to remind Regulus to pick him up at nine, but he was getting out of the car. Vernon was surprised. “Are you coming in?”
Regulus’ face turned red. He didn’t know exactly what to say. “Well, I...well--”
Vernon chuckled, patting him once one the back. “That’s great. Hopefully it’s not too busy.”
Regulus sat for what seemed like hours in a lonely booth towards the back of the café. He had now officially had four cups of coffee and proceeded to stack the cups up to knock them down. Every now and then Vernon would look over between customers and shake his head, laughing. He was very amused by the time his shift was coming to a close.
“You know I have to clean this up, don’t you?” he said, chuckling as Regulus jumped at his sudden company. Quickly, as if by magic, Regulus had picked up all the cups and tossed them into the garbage. On his way back to the table Vernon noticed him clutching his left arm as if he was in slight pain.
“Alright there, mate?” he asked, concerned.
“Yeah...just broke my arm a few years back. Still likes to hurt every now and again.” Regulus said unconvincingly. Vernon forced himself to believe Regulus. He didn’t want to ruin what could be a new friendship. “Well, I’m off work now,” Vernon said awkwardly, not trying to sound like he wanted to be taken home right away but not wanting to make it sound like he wanted to stay either.
Regulus cleared his throat loudly. “Right. Uhm, why don’t I get you home, then?”
The rest of the car ride was rather silent and awkward. The sky had gathered dark storm clouds and the weather outside was becoming frigid. Vernon noticed that the worse the weather got, the more worried Regulus appeared. He kept glancing down to his left arm, his face pale.
Vernon pushed his worry to the back of his mind, unable to understand why he felt so worried about this man he just met. Before he knew it, he was parked across the street from his house, just sitting in the car. Neither man said a word. Just sat. . . waiting. Vernon finally made to undo his seatbelt and at the same time, so did Regulus.
“I think I should walk you to the door,” he said sternly. Vernon was confused at first. Regulus was obviously younger than him, but he spoke with such authority and warning that he seemed almost to be older.
They both walked to the door in silence as Vernon fumbled with the keys. Both men stood shivering in the cold weather, oddly so for springtime. Finally, the door clicked open and Regulus turned to walk down the steps.
“Regulus,” Vernon called out sheepishly. Regulus turned back around, looking up and down the street as if someone could sneak up on him at any moment. “There’s--a rugby game on tomorrow. Do you want to come over and watch it?”
A grin slowly spread over Regulus’s face. “Sure,” he said, “and we can pick up your car, too.” He winked, and headed down the steps to his car. Vernon thought there was a slight spring in his step.
He entered his house, dashing quickly to the window to watch Regulus drive off. But to his amazement, the car had already gone.
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