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27 April 2008 @ 02:34 pm
FIC: The Rumour Mill, by such_heights  
Title: The Rumour Mill
Author: such_heights
Fandom: Harry Potter.
Pairing/characters: Luna/Ginny, ensemble.
Rating: PG-13.
Length: 3,000 words.
Prompt: Luna has always had as open, untroubled, and inquisitive an attitude toward sexuality as toward everything else, but other people aren't quite so accepting.
Summary: People really do focus on the strangest things.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to cho_malfoy and liseuse for their help with this!

Marigold was shrieking with laughter as her dormmate pinned her down.

"Nooo!" she wailed. "I won't tell, you can't make me!"

"Oh go on," Emily wheedled, hitting her good-naturedly with a pillow. "I won't tell a soul! Now then, who do you fancy?"

Marigold flushed bright red. "Michael Corner," she muttered all in a rush, and the others fell about laughing. "Shut up," she snapped. "Anyway, leave me alone, must be someone else's turn now."

"Hmm," Emily said thoughtfully, looking around the room. The other girls variously looked away or started giggling with embarrassment. Emily rolled her eyes. "I've never met such a bunch of wet blankets in my life, honestly!"

She glanced over to her right, in the direction of Luna Lovegood's bed. Luna hadn't been participating in the conversation for the last half an hour, instead apparently fascinated by something on the ceiling. Emily didn't like to say as much, but sometimes it was a lot easier when Luna didn't talk. She really did manage to derail things with alarming frequency. So honestly, Emily had no idea what possessed her as she asked, "So, Luna, what about you? Got any secret, burning crushes?"

Luna looked down at her slowly, and seemed to consider the question for a long time. "Ginny's got very nice hair, hasn't she? Very nice everything, actually. I think I'd quite like to have a crush on her."

Around her, the other girls were silent, though Emily caught awkward half-smiles out of the corner of her eye. When she glanced up, Luna was frowning slightly, as though she had no idea what it was she'd said wrong.

"Well, anyway," Emily said hastily, "girls, you're all terribly boring and it's high time we went down to dinner, come on."

The others sat up, gathering cloaks and talking a little too loudly, leaving the room a little too quickly as Emily wandered past where Luna was still sitting. "I'm really sorry, Luna," she muttered.

"Whatever for?"

Emily sighed. "I didn't realise that you-- you know. I shouldn't have asked, that was bad of me. Although you didn't have to say anything, you could've just not answered, that would have been ok."

Luna stared at her. "Why would I have done that?" She pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Have I been fraternising with the enemy by mistake?"

"What? No, no. It's just that, well, that's not really the kind of thing you should go around blurting out, you know, especially not in a girls' dormitory and everything."

"Oh!" Luna's eyes grew wide. "Because Ginny's a girl and so am I?"

"Well, it's just a bit..." Emily started, beginning to regret having this conversation.

"Don't worry, Emily," Luna said brightly, leaning forward. "I'm terribly good at keeping secrets. I won't tell a soul if you say so. Although," she continued, tilting her head to the side, "I'm not quite sure why, but we can keep this just between us if you'd like."

"Err, yeah, fine. Look, I'm going to go downstairs now, are you coming?"

"Oh no," Luna said seriously, "I'd better start practising keeping a straight face. You know, in case anybody should ask me." She sat back on the bed, shutting her eyes.

Emily shook her head and walked out of the room. When she made it to dinner the others all looked at her with intense curiosity, but she deflected them somewhat sharply.

"We shouldn't gossip about it," she told them. "And especially not in front of other people," she added in a hiss. "We'll just have to make the best of it, yeah?"


Padma couldn't help but think that Luna's particular... oddity was rapidly becoming the worst-kept secret of Ravenclaw Tower. It wasn't that Luna ever told anyone, exactly. After all, no one was really in the habit of asking her about herself in any case, because if you did something like that then it seemed like you were pretty likely to end up being cornered for a half hour lecture on the properties of the lesser-spotted Humperdink Flowering Shubbery or something.

Still, it did seem like everybody sort of knew. No one talked about it, not really, but sometimes it lingered in the back of conversations, communicated through little more than knowing glances. Most of the time, it drove Padma halfway round the bend, and she took great pleasure in scolding her housemates whenever the topic of conversation strayed into territory where she could use her authoritative powers.

"Stop that nonsense right away," she snapped, catching one of the third year boys making a crude gesture in Luna's direction. "You leave her alone if you don't want to spend the rest of the year in detention."

He laughed derisively. "All right, keep your hair on! Why, you want her all to yourself do you?"

Padma rolled her eyes. "Well, that'd be far less embarrassing then having Chrysanthemum Hayworth pouring a whole pitcher of Butterbeer over my head in the middle of Hogsmeade the other week - so sorry to hear about that, by the way." She strode off, gratified to hear the jeers and catcalls of his friends.

All the same, though, this was getting ridiculous.


"People are very narrow-minded, aren't they?" Luna asked one day over her Defence textbook.

Ginny smiled; she'd heard Luna say it a dozen times. "What are they oblivious to now?"

Luna was quiet for a minute, continuing to draw diagrams on her parchment. "They're very preoccupied by the strangest things," she said eventually. "Like who can throw a Quaffle through a hoop the most times and what sort of sex people like to have."

Ginny blinked. "Wait, I'm sorry? What's been going on?"

"Apparently it's very peculiar I like thinking about kissing girls sometimes," Luna said with a shrug, "even though that's what Roger Davies thinks about all the time. I think maybe it's because most people don't like me very much."

Ginny was in the midst of trying to stop her jaw from dropping, but she quickly said, "No, that's not true, Luna, don't be silly."

Luna giggled. "Maybe some girls are afraid I'm going to pounce on them in the corridors."

"They've been giving you a hard time about it?" Ginny asked.

"Not really. But they make jokes about it when they think I can't hear them."

Luna looked supremely unconcerned, but Ginny's stomach clenched. "Right. You tell me the next time anyone does something like that, I'll go sort it out."

"But then people might start making jokes about you, too," Luna pointed out. "And I don't think you'd like that very much."

"Oh, just let them try," Ginny said, eyes flashing. "You just let them try."

Luna grinned.


His students had seemed rather less attentive in class today than Professor Flitwick would usually have preferred. Some silly gossip or other, undoubtedly, and Filius sighed as he saw yet another charm fail miserably under his inspection.

Still, these things always passed, and usually sooner rather than later.


Ginny had often been in the habit of sticking up for Luna - it had just seemed like the thing to do, really, because even though Luna seemed to make a habit out of bizarre social interaction she was one of the kindest people Ginny knew, and seeing her subjected to any sort of cruelty at the hands of the some of the idiots they went to school with was infuriating.

One day, Luna had decided to streak her hair through with blue and bronze in support of the House Gobstones tournament - something Ginny hadn't even known occurred, which made Luna nod and say that yes, that was rather her point - and even though it was certainly startling, Ginny rather thought it suited her, in the way that the most unusual things often seemed to.

Not all of the students quite saw it that way. This was fairly inevitable, and Ginny was content to ignore most of the stares that Luna was getting, especially considering she appeared not even to notice them. The whispers and muffled laughter seemed to go with Luna wherever she went, however, and by the end of a long day following her around like a bodyguard, Ginny had had enough of just about everybody.

The two Slytherin sixth-years they walked past hadn't really been doing anything, per se, but as she would say later they'd definitely been looking at Luna as though she were some sort of alien, and Ginny really didn't need any further provocation. She dispatched them both with a couple of well-placed hexes and strolled away whistling to catch up with Luna again. The day was looking up.

Sometime after that, things really started to kick off.


"Luna Lovegood? Seriously? But I thought Ginny was with whatshisname."

"Apparently not. Didn't go with him to Hogsmeade last time, did she? Spent all day hanging around with Lovegood instead."

"Huh. She doesn't really look like she seeks for the other team, does she?"

"I guess you can't always tell with these things."

"No, guess not."


Ginny ran into the girls' locker room. "Sorry I'm late, everyone, got tied up. Are we doing anything particular in practice today?"

"Oh I don't think so," Alicia said, not quite meeting her eye.

"Ok," she said, pulling out her Quidditch kit and starting to get changed.

The room had become very quiet, and when Ginny looked around Katie was performing some sort of elaborate manoeuvre with her school robes as she faced the wall, never exposing an inch of skin.

"Katie? Everything all right?"

"Fine, fine," Katie said, ducking her head.

"This isn't about Luna, is it?" Ginny asked suspiciously.

"No, no of course not," Angelina said hastily.

Ginny looked heavenwards, pleading for some sort of divine intervention against this madness. "And it's not true about me and her, anyway, come on."

Alicia laughed, a little too shrilly. "Oh! Oh, well. Not that we believed it for a second."

The mood in the room might have lightened, but a few minutes later Ginny kicked off the ground with such ferocity she nearly flew clean out of the grounds in a single swoop.


"It's not that I'd have a problem with it," Katie said after practice. "I mean, I've got gay friends. It's just in situations like this, you know. Starts to blur the boundaries, things get confusing, it's not always appropriate."

Alicia nodded. "Yeah, that's it. So we're sure the rumours aren't true, then?"

"Oh, I believe Ginny, don't you? It seemed a bit unlikely anyway - Luna Lovegood, really? I don't think so."

Katie and Alicia laughed and started to walk back, and Angelina joined in, even as she clutched her broom a little tighter. Her insides were churning as she wondered how on earth she was ever going to get the guts to tell her team mates her own confession. Maybe if it had been true about Ginny this might all have been a little easier.


"Have either of you heard anything going around about Ginny recently?" Hermione asked as she walked back from Hagrid's with Ron and Harry.

Harry shook his head. "No, why?"

Ron narrowed his eyes. "What's going on?"

Hermione sighed, half irritated and half relieved at the boys' standard obliviousness. "Oh no, it's nothing, don't worry about it."


"How did you realise?" Ginny asked as the two of them walked down to the Potions store cupboard to get the class' supplies.

"Realise what?"

"Well, that you were gay."

Luna shook her head. "But I'm not."


"Honestly, Ginny," Luna said with a laugh. "I'm not a 'thing', we don't fit neatly into little boxes. I think you're very pretty, but so is Dean Thomas. People are people, that's all."

"That's--" Ginny paused, struck by the thought that actually, that made sense. "Well, anyway. I'm sorry, I've tried to get this whole mad thing to stop but I think I've been making it worse."

"Is it very bad for you?" Luna asked.

"It's bad for you as well! The way people make up the most elaborate stories out of thin air, and some of the things they've been saying…"

Luna smiled. "I don't mind. I can listen to people talking and make-believe that what they're saying is true."

Ginny spluttered. "You-- want it to be true? Really?"

"I think it would be nice, don't you?"


"Fred! George! What's this we hear about your sister?"

"Yes, she's causing quite the stir, isn't she, George?"

"Indeed she is. We're very proud."

"What, really?"

"Are you joking? Getting half the school all hot under the collar like this, we could but dream of creating such a sensation!"

"Well, actually, there was that thing with you and Lee and a mysterious lack of trousers that one time--"

"Ahem, now then, Fred, there's a time and a place. Anyway! The kid's got nerve, must have come from our branch of the family."

"So best watch she's not after your sister next, hadn't you?"


Hermione was up long after the others had gone to bed. The fireplace was only spluttering out the occasional ember, and in the darkness she could hardly see who it was as the portrait swung open. The figure crept closer, clearly hoping for a clean getaway to the dormitory stairs.

"Ginevra Weasley," Hermione tutted, and Ginny nearly jumped out of her skin.

"Hermione! I didn't see you there."

Hermione laughed. "Clearly."

Ginny groaned. "Are you going to report me?"

"Tell you what, if you sit down here and spill the beans, I'll let you off."

Ginny grinned. "I'm fairly sure that's corruption and bribery."

"Yes, well. Don't tell your brother," Hermione said with a wink, and patted the seat next to her. "So, where on earth have you been?"

Ginny shot her a look. "Don't suppose I'm getting out of this, am I?"

"No, not really."

She sighed and flumped down onto the chair. "Ravenclaw tower, if you must know."

"Oh really?" Hermione raised an eyebrow. "And just what would you have been doing there so late?"

Ginny flushed. "Oh, no, nothing like that, honestly. Just talking."

"To Luna?"

Ginny said nothing and Hermione smiled to herself. "So, sounds like it's true about there been no spell without a wand, then."

Ginny shook her head. "No, in this case it really is. We're honestly just friends, this whole thing's been mad. All the same, though--"

Hermione leaned forward. "Ooh, are you questioning your sexuality? Because if you are, you know, I've got books and things, there's not much wizarding stuff admittedly but Muggle literature's come on leaps and bounds just recently--"


Ginny looked horrified, and Hermione subsided. "Sorry. Anyway, you were saying?"

"Merlin," Ginny breathed. "And I'm not, I don't think. I'm pretty sure, anyway. Well, fairly sure. I mean, I suppose I've been thinking a bit about it recently and maybe..." She waved her hands. "Anyway, that's not actually the point. The point is, basically everyone here is apparently an idiot about the whole thing, and it's really been hacking me off."

Hermione nodded. "Most people are idiots about most things, I find."

"Tell me about it. And Luna doesn't care, not really, but I do." Ginny began to smile. "So we've been cooking up a little something. We can't get all this gossip to go away, looks like, so we thought we might as well shake things up instead."


"Oh, I'm sure you'll hear all about it soon enough." Ginny suddenly looked stricken. "Actually, if you could do me a favour. Don't let Ron and Harry stay until the end of breakfast tomorrow. That might be a little awkward."

Ginny went upstairs, and Hermione watched her go, mystified and most intrigued.


Pansy folded her arms, watching as the Weasley girl and Lovegood wandered into the Great Hall.

"You know, they really don't look like they spend their time getting up to illicit lesbian activity," she remarked to no one in particular.

Then Ginny took Luna's arm, and leaned in close to whisper something. Luna nodded and then - Pansy sat up in her chair - Ginny cupped her head and began to kiss her. Quite thoroughly, too, by the looks of things.

The hall was only half-full in any case, but the volume dropped down even further as more and more people began to notice. Before stunned silence had a chance to fully take over, Ginny pulled away again and walked briskly over to the Gryffindor table as though nothing had happened. Luna stayed where she was, swaying slightly as her eyes widened.

"Well I never," Pansy said, resisting the urge to smile.


When Luna went back to the dormitory that night she was still smiling. Kissing Ginny had been wonderful, even nicer than standing outside in thunderstorms or her dad's persimmon pudding.

Things went very quiet as she walked in the room. "Hello, everyone," she said brightly.

There was a chorus of awkward greetings in response.

"I suppose you heard about this morning? Apparently everyone here finds that sort of thing terribly fascinating." Luna sat down on her bed, starting to empty out her bag. "I think it would be much more interesting to talk about what sort of speeds Professor Snape's able to fly at when he's in bat form, myself, but never mind."

She glanced up to see the other girls staring at her, and though she tried to keep her giggles down she couldn't manage it, and burst out laughing. "All of you really do care about the strangest things, you know. I think," she said, grinning, "you ought to try some kissing yourselves, it does the most excellent things for the health. Or maybe that's just Ginny, and I'm not sure she'd let all of you kiss her. You never know, though, maybe you should ask."

She pulled the curtains around her and lay back on her bed, beaming up at the ceiling. Ginny would be so pleased to hear all about their reactions, because they were very amusing indeed. And even though Ginny had said it was a one-off, that she was terribly flattered but not that way inclined, although wouldn't it be a great way to shake some sense into everybody, Luna couldn't help but hope that she might get to have another go sometime. After all, you never knew what might come up.
Not (quite) the British Susie Bright: Labryspinkdormouse on April 27th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was lots of fun.
Amy: hp: mad eyesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Oh good, thank you! :)
mutant master of scintillating sarcasm: Dragons in Flightignipes on April 27th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
This is really cute! I love how carefree Luna is, and how Ginny is such a good friend, and how the boys are all clueless (except the twins, hee) while the girls are gossiping and fretting as girls do.
Amy: hp: lumossuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it! And ah yes, girls, honestly. :)
Ken [not quite a real boy]: n_nmereprototype on April 27th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
I had a silly grin on my face the entire time I read this - your Luna is wonderful, and I can easily see her not caring about labels or something like what her sexuality is.
Amy: hp: luna smilesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
I'm delighted you enjoyed it, thank you very much!
what kind of fuckery is thisjennilee on April 27th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
I loved this. It was very well-written and a delight to read.
Amy: hp: lumossuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Slightly obsessedresolute on April 27th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
I think my absolute favorite part of this is Fred and George sticking up for her because any member of their family who is a trouble maker is all right in their book.

This is really delightfully done -- there's a real sense of the school, of the way human beings gossip and fill in details, of how fast things get out when everyone is pretending nothing's going on. And kudos to Ginny, yay --


Edited at 2008-04-27 03:29 pm (UTC)
Amy: hp: luna smilesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
Ooh, the twins bit was a last minute addition, so I'm pleased you liked that! Thanks so much, and especially for the rec, what a lovely compliment. :)
(Deleted comment)
Amy: hp: lumossuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
Hee, thank you! And when I was considering characters I'll confess that your excellent essay-writing Pansy did spring to mind. :)
The Island of the Fay: hp - lunaatraphoenix on April 27th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was wonderful. The reactions of the different characters worked perfectly, and Luna's carefree nature is always refreshing to read.
Amy: hp: luna smilesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm glad it worked for you!
Lorannah: trekkie squeelorannah on April 27th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely wonderful. I loved all the different responses and the fact that you don't villainise any of the reactions but show that it can be complicated (and wonderful).

I particularly loved Flitwick's and the Twins responses.

Plus you caught Luna's Ravenclaw curiosity and detachment wonderfully and all the other characters were drawn perfectly, Hermione stood out as well and Ginny obviously.

Loved it.
Amy: other: such heightssuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm really glad it worked for you! ♥
Tro: hp | ootp | luna ~ wit beyond measuretrowicia on April 27th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
I don't normally even read femslash, but this was great! Very believable and everyone's so in character! :)
Amy: other: evening spread outsuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for giving this one a whirl, sweetie, and I'm glad you liked it!
superhero baseball.: Oh it's all in good fun.acidpop25 on April 27th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Oooh, what a good take on the prompt! Loved it, loved it.
Amy: hp: luna smilesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
(Deleted comment)
Amy: hp: sonorussuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
Hee, thank you!
Becca the Wonder Penguin: Harry Potter // Ronsunnyrea on April 27th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
That was damn fun. I love Luna! And rumor mill works there was just perfect. Lovely!
Amy: hp: i open at the closesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! ♥
you can be anything you sex dream about.: Break a curse. (rhombal)cho_malfoy on April 27th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)
The end product was wonderful! I have to say, even though I'd read it before, you still managed to surprise me with your additions. Angelina's leanings in particular really stuck out to me (in an awesome way, of course). *applauds*
Amy: hp: i open at the closesuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm glad you like the new bits! :D
melancholy in the rainliseuse on April 27th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
You know I love this. But hey! I love this!

The awkwardness that this all provokes is so real and well-defined and meaningful. I love how oblivious to all of it that Harry and Ron are and how truthfully you portray the ways that others react to it.

Because I am me, I adore that Pansy gets a mini part in it all. Not only because I adore Pansy, but because it also takes it out of the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw field of action and response.

I think that "Stars" should be "Starts".
Amy: he: ravenclawsuch_heights on April 27th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yay, thanks very much! I'm really pleased this works for you. And yes, absolutely, who better to expand the pallet, I couldn't resist!

*facepalm* Aiee, thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Amy: hp: luna smilesuch_heights on April 28th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
Thank you very much, I'm so pleased! :)