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How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? If the world can’t figure that out, there’s no way to measure the distance from sanity Lily Evans put from her whole existence that night. Lily was known as showing her emotions a lot. She would laugh with happiness, cry with sadness or yell in anger. Never, though, did she ever have to deal with such a strong mental state as depression and she didn’t know how to cope with it. And that, my fellow crazies, pissed her off. Really, really pissed her off.

It was understandable considering the circumstance. October 31st, 1978 a small group of Death Eaters went gallivanting around muggle neighborhoods swishing and swashing their wands to and fro in a rather thoughtless (or too thoughtful) manner. Would you believe the irony that they just so happened wander into Lily’s neighborhood? Her poor mother, from the way it was told in a shaky letter from her dad, had been the unfortunate victim of giving out candy. Guess who’s sick and demented to ring the doorbell and say “Avada Kedavra?” instead of “”Trick or treat”? Only a Death Eater, who was probably Voldemort’s butt buddy. Lily’s father got back in time from getting brownie mix at a store to see his wife being murdered and her killer apparate from the porch. That was all in the letter Lily received from her dad, who wrote almost immediately after the murder. Have I yet mentioned her pissy mood?

“Get the bleeding hell out of my way!” A poor group of first years scrambled over themselves to get out of the way of the seventh year and flaming attitude, which fit the color of her hair. Two of them had fallen over one another and were struggling to get up from their entanglement.

Yep, Lily was a bright ray of sunshine today. What a day it would be. The marauders, minus Remus, and I spent the morning trying to snap out of her foul mood to no avail. Now we were headed to Herbology for a fun hour of getting strangled by evil plants. Green thumb? I think not.

“Lily, you should take the day off,” I looked at her sternly. Stupid perfectionist refused to take a day off. It was Thursday, pretty much two days since she had received the letter, and she has not taken a day off. We were all worried about her, she was put extra effort into everything she did (except sleep of course), which was saying something, considering she was one of the top students (along with the Marauders).

“No.” She stubbornly stated, crossing her arms. “I don’t want to get behind.”

“Behind? You’re ahead in everything!

She glared at me for a second, and then stared at the ground, her eyes glossing over. “I don’t want to think too much. If I focus on my studies, I won’t have to think.”

“You need time, Lily. Not more work.”

“I can get along just fine.” A defiant look came into her eyes as she walked in the greenhouse. She was a little too headstrong. Everything would catch up with her eventually and there will be Hell to pay.

I sighed in defeat and joined her in Herbology, where we met back up with the Marauders. I exchanged greetings with them, Lily was… somewhere in her own little world. After asking where Remus was though, they wouldn’t look me in the eye for the rest of the class, which made me rather suspicious. New prank, perhaps? Then again, Remus did say he wasn’t feeling very well, then he had alcohol.

Probably not the best combination. Well, shit.

“Hey, Lily!” Mary Macdonald, a Gryffindor, said to Lily, waving enthusiastically. Lily gave a weak smile, then zoned out. She looked at me questioningly, I just shrugged.

The rest of classes went pretty much the same as Herbology. While Lily went to the library, the Marauders asked me to go with them to the Gryffindor Tower. All of us sensed that Lily needed to have time to herself for a little bit. The Gryffindors were used to me being there; I was there quite frequently because I had more friends there than my own house.

We made a pit stop to the kitchens on our way up for hot chocolate. The house-elves gave us a platter of cups and a tea kettle that would always keep the hot chocolate in it hot. Magic owns all, or destroy it, depending on the person using it.

On the couch by the fire, we sat quietly sipping on our hot chocolates. The war was really happening. Death Eaters running amuck in villages was a sure sign of it. It was a very surreal feeling.

Soon, death would be an everyday thing, I could feel it in the marrow of my bones, in the tears of others and the fear that seemed to settle within the castle. Before this, it seemed so distant from us, like it was just a passing nightmare. It wasn’t. It was now. It would be the next day. Even a couple more grueling years filled mostly with pain, death and despair. The innocent would be tainted, the wicked known. No survivors without deep wounds, no little kid living a sheltered life. The pain of reality was suddenly heavy.

A bowl was lit and passed around and finally the silence was broken.
“I don’t know what to do,” James muttered, his eyes distant and slightly glossy. “This fucking sucks.”

“She’ll find a way,” I replied, knowing exactly what he was talking about, “it will be a hard and long road for Lily this year, but she’ll figure it out. She just needs to test the waters.”

It was then that Remus walked in. “I miss something?” he asked, having been absent when the rest of us found out about Lily’s parents. He passed out that night and the next day he was in the infirmary.

“Lily,” was all I could manage, staring into space, my mind trying to make sense of anything.

“What happened to her?” he accepted the bowl as he sat down.

“Her mom died on Halloween,” James said. Remus’s eyes got huge.“The funeral is Saturday.”

“…wow, that’s…harsh,” Remus was too stunned to say anything else really.

“Welcome to the war,” Sirius said, accepting the pipe from Remus and inhaling.

James got up roughly after a while. Anger took over his expression and he punched a wall. All we could do was stare. “This isn’t fucking right! Of all the fucking things to bloody happen, it had to be that!”

“It would’ve happened eventually,” I softly replied, getting up and softly putting my hand on his arm. “It’s harsh, I know. And it wasn’t the way Lily’s mom should have died. But punching things isn’t going to solve anything. It won’t make it hurt any less, it’s not going to make it disappear. You need to stay level-headed. We all do. Lily needs us because she can’t do it alone. She’ll rely on us, even if she thinks you’re an arrogant asshole because she needs someone, James. She needs all of us. She needs more than us, more than the world because the one person she truly needs is dead and she won’t accept that for a while. Through her will, though, she’ll eventually accept it. Until then, she needs people to lean on.”

“Don’t spout your philosophy at me,” James grabbed my hand and roughly shoved it off his arm, making me stumble a bit. “I’m going on a walk.”

We all stared as he stalked off toward the portrait hole. I sat down again.

“You alright?” Remus asked.

“Yeah,” I muttered, “I wish I could say that about those two, though.” He patted my hand reassuringly.

“So,” Peter said slightly hesitant, “anyone up for exploding snaps?”

We mindlessly played Exploding Snaps for a while, which turned out to be five hours.

“Holy shit,” I muttered, looking at my wrist watch, “It’s already one in the morning. I should probably be off to my own common room.”

Putting on my top hat (that has a habit of disappearing when I take it off and reappearing when I want to put it back on) and jacket. It tended to get cold in the corridors.

“I’ll walk you,” Sirius said, getting up, “it’s not safe going alone at this hour. There is evil that never sleeps.”

I raised an eyebrow, “Such as you four.”

If I had been slightly more observant I would have realized two things that night: James and Lily still being gone could only mean one thing and Sirius was up to something. Being as late as it was though, and the events of the past few days, I was too tired to put two and two together. As it was, Sirius and I rolled a blunt and smoked before he saw me off to my common room.

A/N: Sorry this one took so long. I've been busy and couldn't decided how this chapter would happen. As it turns out, I am very unsatisfied with it. I feel like I'm making Dorcas Meadowes a Mary Sue, which she most definitely is not. Also, I was going to have Snape's Whomping Willow incident in a couple more chapters, but that happened a couple years previously according to the seventh book (I'm taking its word.)

So....tell me what you think so far?

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