Lily Evans tells herself that she can’t remember the exact moment she fell in love with James Potter because there was no exact moment. It happened gradually over the years. Little by little as he began to finally grow out of his childish antics to become the man she new him to be today. Little by little she fell in love.
That’s what she told herself anyway. The reality was,Lily knew the exact moment that she fell in love with James Potter, or at lease a part of her did, the part of her that still believed in fairytales and happy endings perhaps, but it was also the part of her that kept her strong and fighting through a war there was no hope of winning. So she decided she was proud of that part of her even if it did believe in fairytales at the age of 20.
It was the moment that she had been rushing down the castle steps almost to the door that lead to were the whomping willow thrashed angrily in the pouring storm. Followed closely by Sirius Black. It was the moment that she froze at the top of the steps and saw him standing there dripping in rain and mud and what she hoped wasn’t his own blood, Severus Snape slung limply over his shoulder.
Sirius had rushed past her down the steps followed by Professor McGonagall and little Peter Pettigrew, but she had stayed frozen in her spot halfway up the stairwell. It was that moment when he became a hero.
Lily fell in love with the James Potter that had run out into the pouring storm into the lair of an angry werewolf to save the life of the person he hated most in the world. To spare his friend, who had been so unfairly cursed with that fate, the horrors of being labeled murderer.
Lily fell in love with James in the moment that she saw him standing broken and hurt in the castle doorway all traces of cocky attitude and inherent nobility gone and he was still the bloody reckless hero he’d always been, because that was the moment that it hit her, all the things that Remus had said about him, it wasn’t an act.
So that was the moment that it happened, Lily fell in love with the James Potter that had so recklessly thrown himself in front of an attacking werewolf for Severus bloody Snape. The James Potter that didn’t defend Sirius Black. The James Potter that had insisted he leave the Hospital wing early the next morning before Remus woke up so that he wouldn’t have to see what he’d done to his best friend. The James Potter that she has always told herself was not real.