Harry Potter poured himself into the leather armchair of the lounge. Minerva McGonagall noticed with a tiny smile that he, like his mother, never flopped or collapsed the way his father did. He slid gracefully into the chair like a snake. His posture was good, not uncomfortable, and his feet remained on the floor.
At twenty years of age, he had already done the impossible. Defeated Voldemort, turned down a position as Head Auror (despite having both formal and informal training) and become Deputy Headmaster, School Counselor, and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts.
He looked at her, noting the smile. "Minerva, you knew both my parents, didn't you?"
"I have been the professor for Transfiguration for thirty two years. Yes. I knew them. Lily was brilliant, always did well in my class. She was a Ravenclaw, though, they are prone to intelligence. I always thought of her as one of my own, even so."
"And my father?"
"An unruly prankster," she said, as though affronted, and then nearly grinned at him. "James Potter was simply amazing. Pureblood, with no prejudices, even against the prejudiced. If he couldn't change their opinion, he simply refused their company. He changed Sirius Black very quickly. Sirius had never had a friend, you see. Just on the train, he had already been an absolute jerk to one of the Muggle-born students. James asked him why, and when he had no answer, James promptly tore into him, changed his attitude completely, and, in the process, became his best friend.
"Even one from so illustrious a family as the Potters, with the late Minister Potter as his father – assassinated with the first coming of Voldemort, in James's seventh year, cannot have everything. And the one thing James Potter wanted, more than anything, was a beautiful, petite redhead named Lily Evans. He, of course, had no idea how to attract positive attention from a woman – girls, yes, but Lily hadn't been permitted to act her age in so long, she had quite forgotten how."
"What do you mean, Minerva?"
"Lily's father was very strict. He wanted his daughters to be beautiful and intelligent. More than intelligent, he wanted them to be perfection. In his standard of perfection, there was no room for dating immature boys. Lily loved her father very much, and wanted desperately to please him, because she had never managed to do it completely. So James Potter pulled his usual tricks in their early Hogwarts years, and she promptly ignored him."
"But how did he change that? How did he make her see she didn't have to be perfect?"
"James loved to tell that story, when the Order was just going through the motions. He said he had done it by showing her that she was perfect to him. Her anger made her beautiful, her wand and wit made her dangerous – if she wasn't on your side. He adored the simplest things most people would have overlooked about Lily. How one eye was just a touch greener, same as yours is. How her nose was just the slightest bit crooked, from an encounter with a Hufflepuff Beater that had slammed a Bludger into her face. He loved the way her words trickled down into nothing when she was nervous, and the way one curl that was maddening to her always managed to get in her eyes, even when she tied her hair back. But more than anything, he loved the way she walked in the full robes of a witch."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, pulling his knees up to him, drinking in the stories about parents he had never met.
"Everyone else called it strutting, she said 'limbs flying everywhere like a gawky teenage boy' and he called it 'the stride of a confident woman.' Lily Potter walked in a perfectly straight line, her head set, chin up, arms loose, and legs that went on for miles letting her glide about. When she was angry, her arms would tighten at her sides, and her steps would be jerkier and smaller. Her head would tilt down and the back of your mind would bring up a horrible likeness between a charging bull. She was terrifying. And James loved that about her, just as he loved everything else about her."
Harry smiled, and Minerva melted into a woman a third her age. The now scarce smiles of a Potter boy always had that affect on women. In their childhood they were cute, in their teenage years they were awkwardly endearing, and in their adult years, they were absolutely charming. Harry was no exception.