Prologue: August 1977
I never thought that I would think this, but James Potter may not the arrogant toe-rag that I've always believed him to be. What is really funny about the situation is that I came to this conclusion rather abruptly. A chance meeting at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor was the unlikely location of the beginning of said unexpected conclusion.
One very hot Tuesday in August, two weeks before returning to school, I made a trip to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies for my final year at Hogwarts. I remember feeling absolutely delighted that I could apparate directly from my bedroom to The Leaky Cauldron-no more begging my mother for a ride! The simplicity of the travel put a contented smile on my face and a little bounce in my step. I remembered thinking that the future was full of wonderful possibilities. I was proud to have made Head Girl. I was looking forward to my final year of studies. Ambitiously I was toying with the idea of trying to get a job at the Ministry once school was over. Not even the ever-growing threat of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters could affect my mood that morning.
After ordering new school robes at Madame Malkin's (I had grown another inch over the summer) I replenished my potions kit and charmed my items to magically fit into my small bag. The sun was shining bright and the day was getting much warmer. I decided that a trip to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor was in order.
I was not the only one to think so. A large crowd had gathered around the shop and people were scrambling for tables. I found it strange to see the area so congested. It was a little early for students from Hogwarts to be out and about. Most waited until the upcoming Saturday to do their shopping. All of my friends were still away on Holiday until the end of the week. Anyway, as luck would have it, I managed to get a table as soon as I had my ice cream sundae. Happily I sat down to enjoy my treat. Half way through eating I noticed an elderly lady emerge with her ice cream. She was rather short, with white hair pulled back in an elegant knot at the base of her neck. Her robes were light blue, which matched her eyes, and were very elegantly cut. I felt rather drab by comparison. I had opted for muggle dress that day, favoring my well-worn jeans and a white tank top and sandals. Following her gaze I looked around and saw all the other tables were full. When her eyes fell on me I smiled and gestured to the empty seat in front of me. She smiled warmly in return and sat down at my table.
Casually we conversed about general things; the weather, the crowd at Diagon Alley, (apparently there was some major Quidditch star visiting Quality Quidditch Supplies handing out autographs) and she thanked me profusely for inviting her to sit. "Not many young people would be that polite to an old woman like me." Blushing I protested and insisted that many of my friends would have done the same thing. "How do you do, dear?" She said. "My name is Delia." I told her my name was Lily and we continued to engage in small talk.
Throughout our chat she referred frequently to her son with pride and warmth. Listening to her go on about his wonderful qualities and respectful conduct, I reckoned that he was probably in his early twenties. I wondered what he did for a living and thought I'd ask her at an opportune moment.
Presently we came upon the subject of school. "Are you in school my dear?" Yes, I replied. I was entering into my final year at Hogwarts. Proudly I told her that I had been made Head Girl. As soon as the words left my mouth I felt concerned that perhaps I sounded a bit too pompous. I had not intended to be bragging, but I had just received my letter the day before and felt very proud. I had worked hard the last six years and endured many taunts by the Slytherins for being muggle-born. Earning this top honor was very gratifying.
I needn't have worried. She responded in the way proud mothers do, with exclamations and congratulations. "Then you must know my son. He's been made Head Boy." I realized this must be Remus Lupin's mother. I was certain he was Head Boy this year. I just hadn't recalled him ever saying his mother was getting on in years. It did seem rather incredible that a woman her age would have a 17 year old son. Before I could confirm her identity however, she interjected with news that sent my thoughts completely topsy-turvy. "Of course, you are Lily Evans! My son has spoken so highly of you for years. He says that you are the best student in your year, as well as the kindest. You must know him-he's James Potter."