Lily Evans was seething with tears burning in her eyes. But she did not let them fall. Lily hadn’t cried in a long time and this wasn’t going to make her start now.
She had heard harsh words from her sister, Petunia, before, but this was the worst. Now that their parents were on the second honeymoon, Petunia’s prejudice of Lily’s witchcraft reached its max. Lily had done her best not to retort, not so much because she was trying to rebuild the relationship with her sister – she had given up on that about a year ago – but because she promised their mother before she left to try and keep peace in the house for the week only her and Petunia would be home.
Lily had just received her Hogwarts letter – this would be her fifth year attending – and had asked Petunia to drive her to London so she could get her new school supplies – Lily had been so excited because she had just made Prefect. Petunia had said such awful things that Lily didn’t even want to know why, let alone think about it. So she took a walk to try and clear her mind.
She looked up and was surprised at how dark it had gotten. The streetlights weren’t on, but the entire block had been having electrical problems for about a week now, so Lily didn’t think much of it, especially since it had been dusk when she started out. Lily looked at her surroundings and was startled when she realized that she had no idea where she was. She must have walked farther than she thought. Lily was about to turn around and head home, then she looked at her watch. She had been walking for a long time, but it still shouldn’t have been that dark out, it was supposed to be a cloud-free night.
Lily shivered and wrapped her cloak tightly around her. Even though is was supposed to be a warm mid-July evening, Lily had grabbed her cloak without thinking, but was now glad she had it with her, even if it hardly helped to warm her.
Suddenly, unexpectedly, her sister’s words came back clearer than ever, along with all her other hateful words she said. Memories of all the times she had been called ‘Mudblood’ by Slytherins at school flooded Lily’s mind as she turned to try to find the source of all this.
All the young witch saw were half a dozen tall, cloaked figures, hooded and hovering inches off the ground. They seemed to be sucking the warmth from the night air. They advanced.
What were they? Lily didn’t know. She had never seen or heard of these creatures before. Instinctively, she reached for her wand, only to find she had left it at home.
Lily fled in terror of the cloaked figures behind her. She began to feel a stitch in her side, and, in spite of herself, looked behind her and discovered the creatures wer closer than before.
She tried to take a step backward, but tripped and landed on her back and scraped her elbows.
The hooded figures were advancing fast and Lily screamed when she saw a rotting hand protruding from one.
“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” a deep voice yelled from behind her.
Lily saw a silvery cloud erupt from the tip of a wand. It acted as a barrier between her and the creatures. They started to retreat and the stars shone again, but it was still very dark.
Lily felt a pair of strong arms help her up. Her mind, though recovering from the attack, made her realize that she was now wandless against an obviously powerful wizard. Sure he had just saved her, but Lily had no idea who this was.
Lily began fending him off with fists and feet.
“Whoa! Whoa! Hang on there! I’m trying to help you! My name is Jeff, and I’m an Auror for the Ministry.”
Lily calmed down enough for him to light his wand and have him show her verification of his career. She had heard of Aurors and was considering it as a career choice for herself.
“Oh, I’m sorry, sir, I just---”
“Don’t bother, and none of that ‘sir’ stuff, call me Jeff. Now, come on, my wife will be able to help you out with those scrapes of yours and I don’t know how badly you may be hurt. There’s not enough time to call for backup.” He indicated the silver shield that had begun to fade.
Lily paused. She wasn’t too sure about going off with a total stranger, but he did just save her, and he worked for the Ministry. Plus, he was right about the creatures.
She nodded and followed Jeff down the street.
After a few minutes of silence, Jeff asked, “So, what’s your name?”
“Um, Lily,” she answered nervously as she pushed a crimson lock behind her ear.
“Lily, huh?” Jeff looked down at her fondly. “You wouldn’t happen to be Lily Evans, now would you?”
“Yes, I-I am,” Lily said, wondering how on earth he would know that.
Jeff chuckled to himself. “Well, isn’t this a coincidence? My son speaks most highly of you, after all.”
Lily was about to ask just who his son was when Jeff said, “Here we are.” and started leading up the pathway of the most magnificent dwelling Lily had ever seen, except for Hogwarts.
It was a beautiful three-story mansion built entirely of white marble and the lawn was large and perfect.
Lily was in awe. The ‘house’ was like a museum, it seemed untouchable. But when Lily entered with Jeff, she found that to be incorrect. While the place was clean, it wasn’t as tidy as Lily expected. It wasn’t like a museum with the feeling of cold and unwelcome, but was definitely ‘lived in’, complete with a warm, friendly glow about it.
“Ally!” Jeff called, presumably to his wife.
A pretty woman came into the entrance hall.
“Jeff! Oh, thank heavens you’re all right!” she said before running to and embracing him.
Lily stood awkwardly to one side until Jeff said, “Ally, this is Lily Evans. She was there when---”
“Oh, not another word! You poor thing! I only hope that was your last dementor attack! I cannot believe the Ministry is trying to control them!”
Lily was about to ask what exactly a ‘dementor’ was, though she knew it was what the creatures were called, when Jeff told his wife Lily got scraped up and she insisted on treating them herself.
Ally then ushered Lily into the kitchen and fixed her some warm tea. Lily, at Jeff’s request, sat down at the table.
Ally sat down across from her, next to Jeff, and asked, “Oh my, child! Do your parents know what happened?”
“Actually, my parents are out of town for the week, so it’s just me and my sister, but she doesn’t need to know,” Lily quickly finished.
“But don’t you think she’ll worry?” Ally asked.
“I told her I’d be out late,” Lily lied. She didn’t want to, but it was the only way to avoid the subject, something Lily was keen to do.
“Well, in that case,” Ally said, “I’d feel much better if you stayed here tonight. Now, I don’t have a daughter, but one of your girlfriends who’s about your size stays here a lot. She’s not here now, no, it’s just our son for the rest of vacation, but she usually leaves some, or rather most, of her things here, so you feel free to help yourself to them, I know she won’t mind and you’ll be more comfortable in those than in anything I have.”
“Oh, no, I couldn’t---” Lily started, thinking of who Ally would be talking about, only to realize she still didn’t know who her son was.
“But we insist. It would be so much safer. I’d feel just horrible if something happened to you out there,” Ally told her.
“Yes, Lily, it’s no bother what-so-ever. I’ll show you where you can get a change of clothes and then a room you can stay in.”
Ally and Jeff were so nice to her, and Lily didn’t want to appear rude or ungrateful. “If it’s no inconvenience,” she said.
“None at all.” Jeff smiled at her.
“Thank you.” Lily couldn’t quite place it, but she was sure she had seen that smile before.
Just then, a boy Lily’s age came into the kitchen. He appeared to have just woken up. He was wearing dark blue pajama bottoms, carrying a white shirt that was extremely wrinkled, his glasses were askew, his hair was messier than usual, and he was rubbing the sleep out of his eye.