It started with their parents. They lived next door to each other, and eventually, Mrs. Granger and Mrs. Evans became friends. Their children were the same age, and soon Petunia Evans and Tom and Susan Granger were close friends.
When Petunia’s baby sister was born, Tom didn’t think much of it. The baby seemed so tiny, so boring. He looked at it, shrugged, and returned to playing with Petunia and Susan.
Then came the age when a girl being friends with a boy was just weird and ewww and wrong. Susan and Petunia pulled away from Tom. The six-year-old was distraught. Now he had nobody to play with!
One day when both families were at the Evans’, Tom’s mum inadvertently changed his life.
“Tom? If you’re not doing anything, Lily could use someone to play with.”
For a moment, Tom was shocked. Play with Lily? She probably wanted to play something stupid like dolls. He really, really didn’t want to play with her, but he had no choice.
So Tom went up to Lily and said, rather grumpily, “What do you want to do?”
She looked at him shyly. There was a look in her eyes he didn’t recognize. It took him a moment to realize it was fear. Lily was scared. Scared of him.
Now, Tom couldn’t have that. He may have just been a six-year-old boy, but he had the biggest heart in all of England. So he said, “Do you want to have a snowball fight?”
Lily looked up at him and smiled, and in that moment, Tom knew that he and Lily were going to be best friends forever and ever.
Tom lost that snowball fight. It just sealed their friendship.
For 5 years, they were perfectly happy. They grew up together, considering each other’s home their home. They were like brother and sister. They fought, sometimes badly, but by the end of the week they’d always be running off together to some other adventure. Sometimes they would play with Susan and Petunia, but it was on their times together, when it was just the two of them, that they would later remember as some of the happiest times of their lives.
Then, Lily made another friend, Severus Snape. She would go off to talk with him and referred to him as her best friend.
“Tom doesn’t count,” she’d say when they mentioned him. “He’s more than a friend. He’s my brother. He’s so obvious I don’t even consider him one of my friends.”
Lily and Tom had some severe fights over Severus, but when Lily went to Hogwarts, everything simplified. She had the school year with Sev, and the vacations with Tom.
Hogwarts was the only secret Lily ever kept from Tom. He had no idea she was regularly encountering the mythological animals of their imaginations. But she didn’t lie to him. As far as Tom knew, she just went to a very small, very private school that he wouldn’t have heard of, and that she wasn’t going to tell him about.
For all this secrecy, there were some things that Tom did know about her school. The summer after her 5th year, his was the shoulder she cried on as she explained to him that Snape had betrayed her. He was her outlet, the one place where she could escape from the war, and, more importantly, from Potter. He was also the first person who knew that the two of them were dating.
Then, a year after Lily finished school, Death Eaters decided to pay her family a little visit. They slaughtered her whole street. Lily was at Potter Manor, the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, when it happened. Petunia was in her new home in Surrey, and Tom was out doing some grocery shopping. Everyone else was home.
When Petunia heard what had happened, she blamed Lily and officially disowned her. She later got a Howler from James about that, but Lily didn’t really care. She had given up loving her sister near the end of her time at Hogwarts, when it became clear that Petunia was never going to change her attitude towards magic. Now, it was just another hole to add to her heart.
The only reason Lily survived her parents death was because she knew she had it in her power to get revenge. She doubled her efforts for the Order, hunting down Death Eaters with a passion that was a bit disturbing. She mourned in private, and finally accepted James’ marriage proposal.
Around the same time, Tom met Marie Clarke in a therapy session. Marie had also recently lost her entire family to a random attack. The two became friends, then more than that. By the end of the year, they, too, were engaged.
When Lily heard how Tom and Marie had met, she made a decision that she had been debating for a while. She visited Tom’s flat at a time when she knew Marie would be there, and told them that she had something very important, and very secret to tell them. It was so secret, they had to make an Unbreakable Vow that they wouldn’t tell anyone who didn’t already know that they knew until “the Ministry gains some sanity, Voldemort dies, and all the people who know you know are dead.” None of this made any sense to Tom or Marie, but they agreed anyway.
Then Lily told them about Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, the war – everything. She answered their questions and, when she left, they were all even closer than they had been before.
The last time Tom saw Lily was early 1980. She looked worn to the bone, and very pregnant. But she greeted him with a smile, and oohed and aahed over baby Hermione. Then, just as she was leaving, she said, “Tom? This is the last time you’re going to see me, at least for a while.”
“What’s going on?” he asked her. “No offense, but you look horrible. Are you still fighting? You shouldn’t be; you’re pregnant.”
She laughed. “You sound like James. I’m fine. It’s just…” She hesitated, and then said, “Voldemort’s targeting me and James.”
Tom looked horrified. “Why you?”
“We don’t know. It might not even be us. Dumbledore said there was a chance it was another couple, friends of ours. So we’re all going into hiding.”
Tom went over to her and took her into her arms. “Don’t die,” he told her fiercely. “You’re the only sister I have left. So don’t die, okay? Got that?”
Lily stood on tiptoe so she could kiss his cheek. “I love you, Tom,” she whispered. “You’re my best friend, my brother, my everything. Remember that.” And then, so softly Tom wasn’t sure she actually said it, “Remember me.” One more kiss on the cheek, and she was gone.
“When I saw Lily today,” Mr. Granger finished. “It freaked me out. She looks exactly like my Lily did that day when we became friends. Sure, she’s got different eyes, and her hair’s a little lighter, but she has the same aura around her. She’s just so…Lilyish.”
Hermione smile, and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Thank you,” was all she said.
Over time, the Grangers grew very close to the Potters. They became an official part of the Weasley family. But though they doted on all the children, Lily was always Tom’s favorite, even over his own grandchildren. She adored him, and a new generation of friendship was born.
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