Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its wonderful cast of characters is the product of the wonderful JK Rowling's imagination -- I am merely borrowing her wonderful characters to breathe life to these annoying plot bunnies in my head.

Summary: Don't you just hate it when you realize that you're so darn interested in the last person on earth you should be interested in?

PhoenixRae's Notes: So far I am on a roll and I'm afraid to stop for fear of...well, for fear of losing my train of thought. Good thing it's the weekend so I can stay up late and not worry about waking up early tomorrow morning to go to work. :LoL:

PhoenixRae's THANK YOUs: Jaded Dagger: Thanks & I'll try to get as much D/G action in, but right now I'm just trying to establish where every almost main characters stand :LoL: Ellie: I think Ginny & Blaise make a good couple too, but in this instance, I am leaning more on a Blaise/Luna pairing, BUT after the way Ron acted in the previous chapter...hehehe, we'll see :winks: Peanutgal4now: "Testosterone" is indeed a funny word; I couldn't help but just use it 'coz...well, that one whole word describes everything:LoL: And I think I put a bit of me own personality in each of the characters here harryp rules: I had fun writing that whole scene with Blaise & Luna butting heads, then Ron coming in to tear those two apart. As for a Ron/Hermione ship...well, hehehe, we'll see... CrystalBlue: Thanks! I'll see how often I can update NikkiEvans: Tension between which people:LoL: And btw, tension is so awesome to use:LoL: Yochy: Like what I told harryp rules, I enjoyed writing that whole scene between those three. I'm glad you're enjoying it! Kaodatie24, Eve Granger, KuTiExAzNxAnGeL & My Dream's Shadow: Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy this chapter.


IV. Rumour Mill

HOGWARTS WAS ABLAZE WITH THE LATEST RUMOUR to hit the rumour mill. Those students who were witnesses to the lip-locking action between Slytherin Prefect Blaise Zabini and Ravenclaw sixth year Luna Lovegood sure had a lot to talk about with their peers; it was the hottest topic for discussing at breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between classes. And to add more fuel to the fire was the way Gryffindor Prefect Ron Weasley got involved and acted all hero-like rescuing the daffy Ravenclaw in the hands of the the sly Slytherin. Another rumour was even started that Luna and Ron were secretly together and that seeing Blaise Zabini made a move on his girl brought out the mighty lion in red haired Prefect.

"That's absurd!" complained Ron when Ginny relayed to him this latest version of gossip she heard from one of the girls in the loo before she went to her last class of the day. The four of them -- Ron, Harry, Hermione, Ginny -- were congregated near the fireplace inside Gryffindor Tower late Thursday night after their second to the last practice before they faced-off with Ravenclaw for the first Quidditch match of the season. "Like I will consider going out with Loony."

"First of all, quit calling Luna 'Loony' since she really detest that pet name. And secondly, what's wrong with Luna? She's not at all that bad to the eyes, is she?" Ginny demanded, fixing her brother with a look that matched Mrs. Weasley's when she wanted to reprimand any of her five -- Percy was an exception since he was always Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes -- sons and daughter.

Ron cringed at the look his sister gave her. He couldn't believe how good of a mimic his sister was. She had a bit of each Weasley family member in her. It was amazing. But right now he was more terrified of her than amazed. Why? Because she'd beat the snot out of him if he doesn't get his act together. Why does it matter to her that he referred to Luna as 'Loony'? The Ravenclaw girl didn't seem to mind before, what changed?

"Look, I'll call Lovegood 'Loony' for as long as I live. She's a loony!" He exclaimed, backing up his claim to calling Luna that awful name. "As for her not bad to the eyes...okay, so she's a wee bit of a looker, but not entirely so. Her flakiness overshadows her so-called good looks."

Ginny's glare at her brother never wavered. Ron suddenly felt like ducking out of her eyes' range so he'd escape the scorching hot glare.

Harry figured he'd rescue his friend from further damage by clearing his throat and changing topics from the rumours to Quidditch. He called out Colin, Dean, Seamus and Juliet to join them as they discussed strategies to beat their first opponent. Their first game was against Ravenclaw (Ginny passed a sly smirk at her brother; Ron ignored her with a smirk of his own) and warned them that Ravenclaw players are stronger and more cunning than ever.

In the middle of Harry's speech, Hermione was forced to voice out a nagging concern that had her in stitches since it was announced that Quidditch season was back.

"Are you sure continuing on with Quidditch while there's a war going on is advisable?" She asked worriedly.

Harry, Ron, Ginny, Seamus, Dean and Juliet all gave her weird looks. It was like Hermione just said something Mrs. Weasley or even her own mother would want to hear her say.

"Hermione, Quidditch is the only thing that will keep the students at bay," Juliet said slowly, her eyes watching the Head Girl carefully. "They are frantic as it is, worrying that any time Death Eaters would storm the school and hex everyone to oblivion. Quidditch is the only thing that'll make these students feel safe."

"Juliet is right," agreed Seamus. "The Headmaster wanted us to act like their isn't a war going on right now."

"And the only way we can put some sort of calm amongst the students is to keep them preoccupied with Quidditch!" exclaimed Dean.

"We need to get the school's spirit up, so we have to have Quidditch," Colin added.

Hermione knew when she was outnumbered. Apparently she was barking the wrong tree. But she was only after everyone's safety. She was glad that at least the students were preoccupied with something other than worrying about their behinds being blown off while they were in class, but she was worried that while everyone got busy concentrating on Quidditch, Voldemort and his Death Eaters might spring a surprise attack on them when everyone at Hogwarts were vulnerable.

Harry watched Hermione's worried face as she tried not to say anything in an attempt to rally everyone up to boycott Quidditch. Truth be told he was as worried as she was about everyone's safety, but his teammates was right; the school needs some sort of normal semblance amidst the current state of the wizarding world now that Voldemort was back.

Hermione felt someone watching her. The hairs at the back of her head prickled that all-too-familiar feeling whenever a certain pair of eyes were on her. She couldn't figure it out at first who was capable of making the hairs at the back of her head stand like that; she'd been looked at, stared at, and at one point in time during the Yule Ball back in her fourth year she had been gawked at, but none of those 'looks' alerted her of who was watching her. Lifting her gaze from the group of eager Quidditch players all excited about the upcoming start of Quidditch season, Hermione's eyes locked gazes with the brightest green eyes she'd know anywhere. After all she had been looking into those same pair of green eyes for the past seven years, since that fateful day she met him onboard the Hogwarts Express on the first of September.

His green eyes spoke volumes. He relayed to her what he couldn't say out loud, but Hermione felt relieved that at least he understood and was listening to her futile plea. Maybe that would make him be extra careful when he was perched on his broomstick dodging Bludgers and Beaters alike while on the hunt for the elusive Golden Snitch.

Ginny chose that very moment to look up and caught the look Hermione and Harry just shared. Cocking an eyebrow, a knowing smile hovered on her lips but she didn't dare let it show. Something was crackling in the air, and she knew if she dared open her mouth, another rumour that mustn't be let out of the box might start -- and she didn't dare want to be a part of it!


DAMMIT RON! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'D BE STUPID enough to land yourself in detention!" Harry was fuming Friday evening at dinner after Ron told them his news. "We have practice tonight. Our last practice before the match tomorrow!"

"You're mad at Ron for missing practice tonight?" Hermione sounded appalled. She was outraged when Ron broke the news to them as soon as they sat down. Thankfully she was seated across her two best friends and not beside either one of them, otherwise Ron would've choked to death by now with Hermione's help. "I can't believe a school Prefect could land himself in detention!"

"Look, it's not my fault, alright?" Ron hissed, feeling as big as a teacup already for what he just got himself in to. "Damn Basco and his smart mouth," he mumbled, dropping the name of the sixth year Slytherin he got into scrap with in between classes earlier that afternoon.

"Even so," Hermione reprimanded. "You're a Prefect for Merlin's sake! You should've known better than to shove his wand up his arse!"

Ginny's eyes widen and turned to look at her brother. "You were the one who did that to Basco?" There was a mixture of mock horror and glee that crossed the youngest Weasley's eyes.

"I didn't literally shove his wand up his arse," defended Ron.

Hermione cocked an eyebrow.

"I swear I didn't. I jinxed his wand to go haywire and, hey, it just miraculously went up where his excrements come out," he said with a careless shrug.

"Ew, Ron!" Lavander and Parvati complained. They were within hearing range of what the foursome were discussing and couldn't help but feel disgusted at Ron's chosen words.

"What?" Ron frowned at the two then ignored them again. Meeting Hermione's disapproving glare, he slumped his shoulders in defeat and tried to placate his friend, but Hermione would hear none of it.

Finally dinner was over and as each student filed out of the Great Hall to go to their respective houses, Ron was dreading the moment he had to spend in detention with Snape. He was unfortunate enough to be caught hexing Basco by his least favourite professor. Ginny tried to console her brother, but she wouldn't be Fred and George's sister if she didn't rub in the fact that while Ron was stuck serving whatever kind of detention Snape cooked up for him to serve, she'd be having fun with the rest of the team on the Quidditch Pitch practicing before the game the next day. They were halfway towards the staircases when they were joined by a sullen looking Luna. She walked up beside Ron, her arms crossed over her shoulders and albeit looking sullen, she kept her chin high.

"Oi! What are you doing here, Loony? You're heading the wrong way back to your house," Ron told her, inching away from the girl who was responsible for him landing in detention.

"I told you to quit calling me that, Ronniekins," Luna replied evenly. "And I am not heading the wrong way. I'm headed where you're headed," she announced.

"What?" Ron wasn't the only one surprised to hear what she just said. Ginny stopped dead on her tracks, Harry nearly collided with her since she stopped without warning.

"Luna, don't tell me you have detention too!" exclaimed Ginny.

"Eight o'clock with Professor Snape," Luna replied without blinking.

Ron's eyes bulged out from their sockets. "Oh hell no!" he exclaimed.

Ginny made a face at her brother then asked her friend, "What for?"

"Apparently today wasn't Basco's lucky day," Luna shrugged.

"What?" Ron didn't know whether he should be proud that Basco got more than one comeuppance or feel sorry for the jerk.

"After Madam Pomfrey patched him up, our last class was Herbology. It wasn't my fault that a Fanged Geranium bit his butt cheek after he made more than two snide remarks about a certain rumour floating about concerning a Ravenclaw, a Gryffindor and a Slytherin," she gave a careless shrug and resumed walking.

Ron stared, open-mouthed, at the blond sixth year as she walked towards the staircase leading to the dungeons where Snape's classroom was located. Hermione walked up to Harry and whispered, "Was she serious?"

"A-apparently so," Harry nodded, he couldn't keep a straight face after what he just heard. No wonder Basco was sitting a bit queerly earlier. But he thought it was due to Ron's wand-up-the-arse jinx; little did he know the sixth year had another mishap after his encounter with Ron.


TBC