I hate comforting people. But recently I seem to be doing a lot of it.

As Head Girl, one of my jobs was to have an 'open door' office policy, and in the Head Office I spent about a three hours a day talking to students, which was what I was there fore. they came in in hordes, especially the younger ones, although there was the occasional sixth year and one of two seventh years I didn't really know.

But then someone came in. Someone I knew. Which I was most definitely not expecting.

Like normal I heard the knock on my door, which let me know that someone was there. "Just a sec." I called out, getting up from the Round Table and walking over to open the door. "Mary?" I asked incredulously.

"hey Lily." She smiled weakly, shivering in her thin robes and short skirt.

"Uhh, come in." I said awkwardly, holding the door open. "Did you just come to get out of the cold or. . . ?"

"Everything you hear in here is confidential right?" Mary sat herself down on the couch, folding her legs over one another.

"Of course." I grinned weakly, sitting next to her. "It's like a Confession." I attempted to joke.

"I need to talk to someone." Mary drew her legs to her chest, her dark hair falling over her knees, looking smaller than ever. "Something that I can't tell anyone else. You're good Lily - honest and kind and brave." That left me feeling a little awkward. "But I need you to not tell anyone a thing I say - you can't tell anyone!" She sounded so frantic and pleading, like a baby rabbit, that I couldn't do anything but nod just as frantically.

"You know Jamie Heathrow? Connor Kennedy? Taylor Peter?" She bit her lip, looking like she was about to cry. "I've dated them all. Slept with them all."

I found my stomach sinking. I know I shouldn't be jumping to conclusions but I had a horrible feeling about what was going to be said. What would I say. (It's okay - you mum will be fine with it - no one will care - he'll take care of you - adoption? My aunt likes kids).

"They were cover ups." She said hollowly. "Because I'm lying to everyone."

"You're lying to everyone?" I asked blankly. "How?"

"Lily I . . . I . . . I'm not heterosexual." She said, swallowing. "I'm gay."

"You're gay?" I asked blankly.

"Everyone's going to hate me!" She cried, putting her head on her knees, and letting out a couple of muffled sobs.

"Ssshh, okay, it's going to be okay." I put my arms around her and held her close, rocking her back and forth. "It's going to be fine."

"It's not the Muggle world." She shook her head. "People aren't as accepting."

"No one will care." I tried to reassure her. "None of your friends."

"Really?" She looked at me with mascara running lidded eyes. "Marlene's the biggest homophobe I know and Chloe makes jokes about gay people all the time."

"I won't - I don't care." I said reassuringly.

"You don't want to be friends with me." She shrugged bitterly.

"I do." I looked at her as reassuringly as I could.

"Yeah, but it's not like anyone else would actually treat me with respect." She said bitterly, her voice breaking.

"Shh." I hugged her tight to me, feeling her trembling. "It's okay. All my friends won't care. You can hang out with us."

"I'm not coming out." She said firmly. "I don't want people to talk about me and make jokes behind my back. I don't want to be seen as a freak."

"You're only a freak if you think you are." I said quietly. "And I believe that you're not, so it can't be that hard to make you believe you're as normal as I am."

"But you're not gay!" She exclaimed.

"Who's to say that being heterosexual isn't strange?" I frowned. "It's all people's perception. If you believe you're normal then you can make other people believe you're normal."

"Really?" She asked, and the girl I had grown up with, who had been catty, annoying, loud, shallow and dramatic was suddenly a broken young woman.

"How about some tea?" I asked her, heading into the kitchen.

"I'd like that." She whispered.

Mary ended up spending a fair bit more time with me and my friends. Emmy and Gem didn't really get it, but apparently I held enough sway.

Emmeline still hadn't told anyone what was going on with her, though I had had to stop Gem from writing her dad to check that everything was okay ('No, he will not want to hear you going crazy ass on him').

So everything was not normal. Sure Amy had returned, but she wasn't okay. Nothing had been done about the Death Eaters that murdered her brother, because of old blood laws and politics and money that stood in the way. And Amy was approaching school with a very different attitude - she was determined to bring people to justice. To jail her brothers murderers in the future.

And Sirius and James were still fighting. Remus was looking sicker than ever and Peter was a nervous little thing, terrified and I swore he was going to burst into tears every now and then. And then our Quidditch team was un-functional and we had to verse Slytherin next, which meant that we were about to loose the cup for the first time since our secound year.

Sighing I slunk into my seat around the Round Table. Merlin I had to deal with all of this social rubbish, my family, the war, Head duties and my stupid homework. I got an E on a Charms assignment the other day. An E!

"Evans?" James knocked on the open door, stupidly considering he just walked in anyway.

"Potter." I said sternly, before letting out a weary grin.

"How are ya?" He asked, sitting down next to me and noticing the large amount of coffee I had next to me.

"Tired." I said.

"What's wrong?" He asked.

"Everything." I groaned. "This stupid, stupid, stupid war. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." There were frustrating tears in my eyes now. "It's like the Nazi movement - because I'm a muggleborn I'm not worth as much as another?"

"You know that's not true." He said quietly.

"Well it seems like it!" I cried. "Everywhere I go I'm secound rate because I'm not a pureblood - because my parents are Muggles! Even Jane is dissing me!"

"She's from an old family." He shrugged. "She can't do everything right. She's not the most courageous person - but her heart is good underneath it all. You just have to pray that she makes it out."

"You believe in God?" I asked him, curious.

"Not really." He shrugged. "My mum does. My dad says he does. I don't know. I think there is something there, protecting us. But I haven't quite decided what I believe." He shrugged casually, looking uncomfortable and a bit embarrassed. "What bout you?'

"I'm Buddhist." I said quietly.

"Isn't that like the hippies?" He asked, quirking an eyebrow. Like most people I told he thought that it was a thing to keep cool.

"It's . . . cleansing. It makes me happy." I shrugged. "the hippies have something right."

"If you say so." And we sat there. In the near dark, watching the fire go down. And it was wild and crazy because it was so serene, while people were coming up on our doorstep being murdered. "Lily." James said suddenly. "Umbridge will be okay."

"I know." I said quietly. "I just hope she survives. Even though she's Dolores now, in my heart she will always be Jane."

A/N - well what did you think of that?