A/N: I was just browsing through my (many) word documents a few days ago, and I came across this drabble, which I'd completely forgotten about up until now. It's not my best work, but I figured I'd post it here to get a few opinions.
What do you see in him? Lily had demanded, when she had first told her sister of where she was going that night – and with who.
Petunia had snapped back that Lily just didn't like anyone 'who wasn't a freak like her', and flounced out of the house. As usual, her younger sister was just being stupid. Vernon Dursley was a gentleman through and through – and he was ten times the man that stupid Potter Lily was seeing was.
But now, as she sat across from Vernon at the nice-but-not-extremely-restaurant he had taken her to, her sister's words were echoing in her head. What did Petunia see in this man? So far, save for several awkward exchanges of words, they had barely talked the whole night. He seemed rather nervous around her, something she had never seen in him whenever they had crossed paths briefly at school or around the neighborhood.
But it was only the first date. Surely things could only improve from here?
"Oh!" she exclaimed suddenly.
So caught up in her musings, the elbow she'd had leaning on the table had slid slightly and knocked into her water glass – which promptly spilled all over the table and her clothes. Blushing furiously, she snatched a handful of napkins and began dabbing frantically at both the table and her now-sodden skirt.
"It's all right," said Vernon, scooting his chair around the table so he was next to her. He grabbed more napkins, reaching over to dry off her skirt with his own arm, but then flushed as deep as her, and instead handed them to her.
"I'm – sorry," she muttered, not able to look him in the eye.
"Nothing to be sorry about," he soothed her.
"I can't do anything right – not good at anything – I can't even – "
"Shh. A little accident doesn't change who you are, Petunia."
"You don't know who I am," she snapped, suddenly angry – at him or herself, she was not sure.
"You're right, I don't," he said quietly. "But I would like to."
She took in a sharp, involuntary breath, her eyes looking over to meet his.
Vernon cleared his throat anxiously, glancing down at his lap before rising to his feet. "I'm going to get some more napkins, and a new water for you." He hastily went away, leaving Petunia with no company save for the wet table and her own muddled thoughts.
He returned just as promptly as he'd left, setting a new water and more napkins in front of her and resuming his seat. They sat in silence for a few moments, he with his hands clasped tight on the table, she patting her lap with her many napkins.
"I do know one thing, from my few months of knowing you," he said finally.
"What's that?" she asked, after a second's hesitation.
He leaned towards her. "You're beautiful," was his simple whisper.
And she could just tell that he was not only refering to her outward appearance.
She blushed again, but for a different reason than before.
That was what she saw in this man, she concluded to herself, as she continued drying herself off. That was why she liked him. Because unlike her family, he saw her as herself, and accepted her fully for who she was.