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A/N: I do not own the Potterverse, or the song used in this chapter, which is "Mysterious Ways" by U2.

Ron woke up on Christmas night. It had been noon when he laid down, but now the room was filled with twilight's eerie shadows. He lay there for a moment, just rehashing the sight of Hermione throwing the chocolates on the floor. He didn't want to leave the sanctuary of his bedchamber, but his stomach was rumbling ferociously and demanding to be fed.

The Gryffindor walked down to the common room, which appeared to be empty. He was on his way to the portrait hole when he noticed a half-empty box of chocolates - Hermione's box - laying on the table by the couch. A big smile lit up Ron's face; clearly Harry had kept his word and convinced Hermione to eat them. He felt like going upstairs, waking Harry up and giving him a big hug. He finally had his girl back! "Yes, the madness is over!"

"It sure is."

A pair of feminine arms wrapped around him from behind, and he smiled gleefully. Hermione had stayed up waiting for him! Surely she must've felt terrible about pursuing Romilda and would consent to a marathon make-up snog. But when he turned around, his ecstatic grin faded into horror and confusion. "Romilda?"

"Hi Ronnie," she purred as she threw her arms around him and started to snuggle up to him. "You're absolutely right, my love. The madness is over."

The redhead detangled himself from her arms and started to back away slowly, but the girl kept coming closer. Romilda had been borderline stalking Harry for ages; why had she all of a sudden changed her mind? Had she given up on Harry? Was she trying to get Hermione to hate her by coming on to her boyfriend? Then he looked again at the open box of truffles, his eyes widening with realization. "Um, Romilda? Did you, by chance...eat those chocolates?"

Romilda now had him backed up against a wall. "Well of course I ate them, Ronnie. And I wanted to thank you for the lovely gift." Leaning in closer to him, she whispered in his ear, "They're delicious."

"AH!" Ron felt the brunette start to nibble his lobe and clumsily scrambled to get away from her. Eager to create some distance between himself and Romilda, he hurried over to stand behind the couch. When Romilda bounded onto the red and gold cushions and leaned in for a kiss, he moved to the far end of the couch. "I-I-I thought you liked H-Harry."

"I did," the girl shrugged and came closer, while he backed away. "But I've been thinking...about you. About us."

"There is no us!" The red-haired wizard ran behind to the other side of the couch.

"Don't be silly, love. You know we belong together!" Romilda smiled and teasingly started to act like she was going to run after him from behind the couch. Ron was about to bolt for the front of the couch, when she made a sudden move as if she was about run around to the front as well. They carried on like this for a few moments, until Romilda faked him out. She made like she was ready to start chasing him from behind, so he turned and ran to the front of the furniture. By the time he realized she had tricked him, it was too late. She ran up and wrapped her arms tightly around him.

"I got you now, Ronnie!" She pulled him down onto the couch and was trying to snog him when they heard footsteps coming from the girls' stairs.

"Romilda? Is that you?" Hermione came down into the common room with her wand tip lighting the way, her smile turning into venemous anger at the sight of her girl looking very cozy with Ron.

"Go away, Granger! Ron and I need some privacy!"

"Oh no we don't!" The wizard pushed Romilda away and jumped up off the couch. "This is not what it looks like, Hermione!"

"It had better not be!" There was rage in her eyes as she pointed her wand threateningly at Ron's chest. "I will fight for her, Ron!"

"You stay away from my man!" Romilda threw herself protectively over Ron like a human shield.

Hermione lowered her wand, her furious features softening. "Oh Romilda, Ron doesn't love you, I do!"

Ron looked over at the candy on the table, then back at Hermione, who looked like she didn't know whether to hex him or chase Romilda. "Um, Hermione?"

The bushy-haired witch pointed her wand at his face and narrowed her eyes. "Yes, Ron?"

"Uh... Would you like some chocolate?"
______________________________________________________

Harry left by himself for breakfast the next morning, since Ron seemed to have decided to sleep in. The Chosen One wondered where Hermione was, but was kind of glad he didn't have to listen to her Romilda ramblings today. In fact, Miss Priss wasn't there, either. That's strange, Harry mused to himself. Strange but wonderfully liberating. He was tucking into his porridge when his best mate came in looking like a walking zombie.

"Merlin! What happened to you?"

Ron didn't say a word, but was clearly enraged about something. The redhead filled his plate with pancakes, then started eating very quickly and forcefully.

"Ron?"

"You will never guess what happened last night," Ron grumbled after taking a swig of milk.

"Well I noticed Hermione's chocolates were just about gone this morning. So she must be back to normal, right?"

Ron turned as red as his hair and stopped to glare at his friend. "No, Harry, she's not all right! She didn't eat any of the candy."

Harry froze and gaped at his best mate with horror. "Well, then, who did?"

As if on cue, Romilda entered the Great Hall and made a beeline for Ron. Looking very worried, she threw her arms around him from behind and planted a big kiss on his cheek before he could back away. "Oh, Ronnie, I'm so sorry that awful little Mudblood tried to hex you last night!" She reached out to run her fingers through Ron's red locks, but he pushed her hand away.

Harry tried not to laugh at the sight of Romilda fussing over Ron. He wanted the old Hermione back as much as his friend did, but it was still amusing to see Ron get a taste of what it was like to be the object of Romilda's obsession. Not pleasant, is it? Harry smirked to himself as he got up to leave the table.
___________________________________________________

Myrtle couldn't wait to use her new pencils and drawing paper. As she sat in the Ravenclaw Common Room, she happily took a sharpened pencil from the box and opened the sketchbook up to the first page. Looking around at the common room, she decided to draw her surroundings. Most people didn't notice the gentle sheen of the wooden floor, or the fascinating textures of the rough castle walls as the light from outside illuminated the unique beauty of each individual block of stone. But as Myrtle worked briskly to capture all the shapes, textures, lights and shadows around her, she felt an appreciation for the everyday, mundane things that the other Ravenclaws never stopped to notice. Drawing had always been a way to make herself feel at peace with her surroundings, a way to temporarily forget her problems and worries...

The brunette was so wrapped up in her artwork, that at first she didn't even notice Luna entering the quiet room. Finally coming out of her little art-induced trance, Myrtle smiled at the sight of her friend. "Hi Luna, did you find any Yerginfloogins?"

The blond sighed and shook her head. "No, I didn't. But I did find a certain Gryffindor..."

Harry came walking in behind Luna, who went upstairs to give them some privacy. The raven-haired boy looked down at the sketch pad and asked, "Um, are you busy? Because I can always see you later-"

"-No, please sit down!"

The Gryffindor plopped down next to her on the blue and silver couch, and raised his eyebrows at her nearly finished drawing of the common room. "Wow, I don't see how you do that. So how do you like your new art stuff?"

"Oh I love it!" Myrtle grinned excitedly at him. "Thank you again."

The two students sat there for a while, losing track of time as they chatted and enjoyed each other's company. As they talked, Myrtle couldn't help but notice the striking lights and shadows on Harry's charming face...the texture of his perpetually messy hair...the cute little facial expressions that were uniquely his own... She had the overwhelming urge to capture the way he looked at this very moment. Myrtle smirked as a great idea dawned on her; the perfect Christmas gift. A gift from the heart.

"Harry, can I draw you?"
____________________________________________________

That evening after dinner, Myrtle went to the seventh floor, approaching the wall across from the dancing troll tapestry. Her pencils and sketch pad were clutched securely under her arm as she summoned the Room of Requirement, then went inside. She would've drawn Harry in the common room earlier that day, but he had suggested using the Room of Requirement instead. The brunette looked around the room with satisfaction. She agreed this was a rather brilliant location for drawing his portrait, as nobody would be coming in or disrupting her concentration.

The room had turned into a Muggle-style art studio. There were counters and cabinets full of paintbrushes, paints, erasers and other art supplies. There was even an easel for her sketch pad and a cushy chair for Harry to sit in for his portrait. As she waited for Harry's arrival, Myrtle placed her sketch pad on the easel and set up her pencils and erasers on an attached tray. It was thrilling to her to have her own art studio, even if it was just for tonight; she felt like a real professional!

She was opening up her pad to a fresh sheet of paper when Harry walked in, looking especially gorgeous. He had clearly taken special care to look nice for his portrait session. He wore a green dress shirt that perfectly matched his eyes, and dress slacks that he usually only wore for school and special occasions. His hair was untidy as always, but that was fine with Myrtle; that was part of what made him Harry.

"I hope this is all right," the Gryffindor gestured to his outfit.

"Yes, that's...more than all right. You look great!" Myrte beamed.

Harry looked a mite bashful at her compliment, and stood there awkwardly with his hands in his pockets. "Um... What do you want me to do for the picture? Where do you want me?"

"How about on that seat there?" Myrtle used her pencil to point out the chair directly behind him. He sat rather stiffly, since he wasn't used to being drawn. The brunette chuckled. "Loosen up, Harry! You look like you've been petrified."

"But how should I pose?"

"Don't worry about posing. Just sit the way you would normally sit. Pretend we're just hanging out together in your common room or something."

She watched Harry start to relax and take on a more natural pose, leaning back with his elbows resting on the arms of the chair.

"Perfect." Myrtle closed her eyes for a second, took a deep breath and ordered her heart to stop pounding so loudly. Then she used her pencil to start mapping out where his head and shoulders should go, and sketching a general outline of his body onto the paper. As she started to draw, her stomach fluttered. She wondered if Harry was as attracted to her as she was to him.

"Uh, I've never done this before." There was a hint of vulnerability in the Gryffindor's voice.

Myrtle grinned as she continued drawing. "That's all right. There's a first time for everyone." As soon as those words left her lips, Harry turned bright red. She laughed nervously and muttered, "Sorry. I didn't mean it like that."

Harry chortled at Myra's little slip-up. He was trying to stay cool and calm as she drew him, but inside he was anything but. Despite all the clothing he wore, he almost felt naked. When she looked at him, studying every aspect of him, he felt as if she could see right through to his soul. It was a very...intimate experience.

He watched the artist who gazed so intently at him, and felt all warm inside. Sure, Myra wasn't as physically attractive as Cho or Ginny, but if he had to choose, he would gladly pick Myra over either girl any day. She seemed to have a certain...something that had been lacking in the prettier girls. He just couldn't quite put a finger on what that something was.

She looked so serious as she intently worked on his portrait, her intense eyes darting back and forth between him and the sketch pad in front of her. She seemed to emit a light from within, like the moon; mysterious and beautiful...and he wanted to bask in that light.

Let her pale light in to fill up your room

It had now been several months since Harry and Ginny had mutually agreed to stop seeing each other. Ever since the breakup and the defeat of Voldemort, romance had no longer been of interest to the Boy Who Lived. He'd been too busy trying to dodge and hide from the throngs of googly-eyed girls who stalked him wherever he went.

You've been living underground, eating from a can
You've been running away from what you don't understand


But he didn't want to run away from this girl. She was different; a perfect combination of quirky uniqueness, personality and innate sweetness, all wrapped up in an air of mystery. Harry had the bad habit of pushing away the people he cared about. It was something he'd always done in an attempt to protect them. Now that he no longer had to worry about protecting anybody from the Dark Lord, he was free to open himself up. And he knew somehow that it was all right to give his heart to Myra.

She'll be there when you hit the ground
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways


Harry sat there for Merlin-knew-how-long, just observing everything about this truly exquisite young woman. He quietly admired the creaminess of her fair skin under the flickering torch light, adored the way her long hair kept flopping in her eyes as she worked. The Gryffindor couldn't help noticing the way Myra's collar bone peeked out from under the rounded neck of her blouse. She wasn't a classic beauty by any means, but she had her own special brand of attractiveness. Her looks were growing on him in a big way.

"All right, Harry, I'm just about done."

The Chosen One was a mite disappointed that the portrait session was over. He would've been content just to sit there all night and watch Myra's graceful, fluid movements as she worked. But still, he was eager to see the finished product and crossed the room to where she stood, putting her pencils back in their box. When he saw his likeness on the paper, he couldn't believe his eyes. Myra had not only captured his physical appearance, but something else as well. Perhaps she was staring into his soul when she drew him, whether she meant to or not. The picture practically vibrated with thought and emotion.

Myra turned to watch Harry's reaction to seeing his portrait, and her brow furrowed. "What's the matter, Harry? Don't you like it?"

"No, I love it! Thank you!" Harry turned to the girl and smiled. "Can I keep it?"

Myrtle grinned and removed the pad from the easel, careful not to smudge her drawing. "Of course, Harry. In fact, think of it as a belated Christmas gift. But first, let me cut a mat for it and frame it for you." She walked over to a nearby counter, where she found mat board, a straight edge ruler and a sharp knife specifically made for mat cutting. She wanted to do things the Muggle way, as her time and effort would be more meaningful than if she simply used magic to mat and frame the art. The brunette started to cut into the mat board, but the board was so thick that her knife got stuck. She tried a few times to tug it through the thickness, but she didn't have the strength.

"Need some help?"

She smiled up at the Boy Who Lived. "Yes please." Myrtle stepped aside and allowed Harry to try unsticking the blade, but he too had some difficulty. He started trying to use force to get the knife to budge, holding the cutting tool in his right hand while his left hand held the mat board in place. His left hand was a little too close to the sharp end of the blade.

"Harry, move your hand out of the way! You're going to-"

"OW!" The Gryffindor succeeded in getting the blade unstuck, but sliced the palm of his left hand open in the process.

Myrtle grabbed a rag off the counter and wrapped it around Harry's hand. "Go sit down in the chair," she instructed him. "I'll mix up a quick healing potion."

A little cauldron appeared on the counter along with a cabinet full of the ingredients she needed. She was amazed that after all these decades, she still remembered how to make a healing potion. As she started adding ingredients to the cauldron, she mused about fate and destiny. Had Luna never run out of Googenplotz repellant, she never would've entered Myrtle's bathroom that fateful Fall day a few months ago. And if she and Luna had never become friends, she would still be a ghost with no chance of winning Harry's love.

"What are you thinking about?" Harry asked as he watched her make the potion.

Myrtle smiled to herself, "Well, I'm thinking about how many dragon scales I need for this potion, and...thinking about destiny."

"What about it?"

"It's funny how everything in life just seems to fall into place, like the universe has some sort of divine way of bringing people and events to us," Myrtle commented as she added more ingredients to the small cauldron. "Everything happens for a reason, at least that's what I've always believed."

"You mean like the cut on my hand?" Harry asked jokingly.

The girl shrugged and laughed. "Yeah, that too, I guess."

Harry chuckled. Myra was always such a joy to talk to about virtually anything. And when she spoke of unexplainable things such as fate and destiny, he found her insights very endearing and fascinating.

Let her talk about the things you can't explain

When the potion was finally done, it let off a very pungent odor that was so overpowering, it made Harry feel dizzy. He was glad he was sitting, or else he might've fainted. Myra, who must've been holding her breath, walked over to him with no sign of dizziness, then knelt down in front of his chair, placing the cauldron next to her on the floor.

"Let me see your hand."

Harry obediently held out his wounded hand, palm up. Myra carefully removed the partially bloody cloth from his hand. His skin tingled as she gently placed her hand under his and held it still.

Then Myra reached down with the other hand, dipping her fingers into the thick, white paste she'd concocted. "This won't hurt a bit," she murmurred just before gingerly running her medicine-coated finger tips over his cut.

The potion felt warm and comforting against his palm, heating up the longer it remained on his skin. "It's getting rather hot," Harry grinned lopsidedly at the girl.

"That means it's working." Myra gently blew on the Gryffindor's palm. He knew that she was just trying to make sure the potion didn't get too hot, but the feeling of her breath on his skin gave him goosebumps and an odd sensation in the pit of his stomach. He had to admit that he rather enjoyed basking in Myra's attentions.

The unused remainder of the potion vanished, taking with it the horrible smell. The brunette whispered an incantation over his cut and touched his palm. She glanced up at Harry with a spark in her eye and blushed, then looked down again. He loved making those dark eyes twinkle. They were warm and comforting, like the sky on a balmy Summer night. Even her shiny dark hair reminded him of the dusky sky.

To touch is to heal...
And if you wanna kiss the sky,
You'd better learn how to kneal
On your knees boy


Fully healed now, Harry got out of his chair to kneal in front of her so that he could look directly into those beautiful eyes.

Myra looked puzzled. "Harry, what are you doing?"

"Something I've been wanting to do for a while now." He felt as if the Golden Snitch was fluttering around in his stomach as he reached out to touch Myra's long, dark tresses. The Gryffindor didn't know whether or not this girl would welcome his advances, so he hesitated before touching the soft locks.

Myrtle was dumbfounded. Was Harry Potter, dare she think it, actually interested in her? As more than a friend? His slightly shaky hand caressed her hair, his eyes searching hers as if seeking permission to touch her. A soft smile spread across her face, and Harry in turn smiled. His hand slowly moved from her hair to her face, where his fingers brushed against her cheek, tracing her cheekbone and jaw line. He seemed as if he was trying to memorize her features.

Feeling shy, Myrtle started to look down. Harry placed his fingers under her chin and gently raised her head, so that her eyes met his once again. Cupping her chin in his palm, his thumb shakily traced the outline of her lips, sending surges of electricity coursing through her.

One day you'll look back, and you'll see
Where you were held
How by this love while you could stand there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling


Harry's face was slowly inching closer to hers, and a million questions flooded Myrtle's brain. Oh Merlin, he's going to kiss me! Should I open my mouth? Or should I keep it closed? What if I'm a lousy kisser? I hope my breath doesn't stink... She'd never been kissed by anybody before, and now the man of her dreams was so close she could feel his breath on her face.

Suddenly, they heard a bit of commotion coming from the corridor just outside the Room of Requirement. The two teens paused for a few moments, but they heard nothing else.

"It was probably just Peeves." Harry turned back to Myra and smirked. "Now where were we?"

They were about to kiss when they heard it again, only louder. It sounded like several people running around in the hallway, their shoes echoing on the hard stone floor. Fed up and annoyed with the perpetrators, Harry and Myrtle went to the door to see what was going on. What they saw was something very odd and unexpected.

Myrtle looked up at the Chosen One and asked, "Um, Harry? Why are Romilda and Hermione chasing Ron?"

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