A Broken Child
James Potter broke a rather ugly vase trying to fly his toy broomstick inside his mother's father's house. He'd known he wasn't meant to but his grandfather's reaction had been far too over the top for such a small infraction. He'd beaten the toddler black and blue and said he was lucky it hadn't been the vase next to it, because if the child had broken that one the old man would have killed him.
From what James had heard later growing up, his grandfather had died of a coronary six months later, and the entire family had breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently he had never been a very nice man. The child-James had repressed the memory but one night during Sixth year, after a heavy round of drinking, the memory re-emerged and he broke down in front of a concerned Lily Evans.
Although quite at a loss as to what had caused his distress, the girl none-the-less comforted him and told him that everything would be alright. Gradually, she had managed to coax the story from the broken teenager and Lily had never felt such all-consuming anger as she did in that moment. If the old man had still been alive, Lily thought she might have killed him herself. It was in that moment, that Lily realised that James wasn't actually that bad after all. From then on, she kept a lookout for him. From then on, Lily Evans was James Potter's rock, his safe harbour from the storm. He knew he could count on her to see him through.