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"Who ever heard of a ball without music?" Statements such as this could be heard in the form of hushed whispers, as the students waited restlessly for the Great Flying Doxies to start performing again. The lead singer seemed to have mysteriously vanished and was now nowhere to be found. At about half past eleven, McGonagall stepped up onto the stage and raised her hand to get the students' attention.

After all the whispering halted, the headmistress made a quick announcement. "I regret to inform you that the Great Flying Doxies' lead singer, Barnabus Wittenburg, had to leave the ball early for reasons unbeknownst to us." The students groaned and uttered complaints, all of which were stifled when McGonagall signaled once again for silence. The elderly woman continued, "But in Mr. Wittenburg's absence, the remaining band members have agreed to play until the ball ends at midnight."

As the music started up again, Ron turned to Luna and Neville. "Am I imagining things, or did I see Romilda chasing Barnabus out of the Great Hall earlier?"

Hermione sighed. "Well of course she's going to chase him. She's obsessed with Harry, and Harry's not here right now. So she found herself a reasonable facsimile."

"They're probably snogging in a broom closet right now," Ron snickered.

Luna and Neville looked at each other knowingly and laughed. Luna smirked and replied, "Well, they're certainly not snogging. That much I know."

"Do you know something we don't?" Ron eyed the Ravenclaw with curiosity.

"Actually yes, we do," giggled Luna. "Let's all sit down, and I'll explain everything."
______________________________________________________

It was about a quarter till midnight. The distant sound of music coming from the Great Hall taunted Harry's ears as he stared down at the shadowy steps he sat upon and sighed loudly. The Gryffindor couldn't help shedding a few tears as he cradled his head in his hands, thinking about the girl who'd deceived him. Harry couldn't believe that Moaning Myrtle had become a living person just long enough to manipulate him into falling in love with her. He wondered how the ghost had tricked Luna into concocting that potion for her to begin with. The wizard had known for ages that the ghost was sweet on him, but he never suspected that she would do something so sneaky and underhanded.

"You got me real good, Myrtle," the Gryffindor mumbled under his breath. "I hope you're happy with what you've done..." Here he'd spent the past three weeks with the most amazing girl, only to find that she wasn't who he had thought she was in the first place.

As Harry continued with his little pity party, he barely noticed the sound of approaching footsteps or the swishing of Luna's gown as she approached his spot on the stairs. He just wanted to be left alone, so the Gryffindor ignored his friend and hoped she'd take the hint. But alas, the blond girl stopped directly in front of him, so that he was sitting in her shadow. The raven-haired wizard reluctantly looked up at the girl. He was surprised to see a livid scowl on her normally calm face, her hands on her hips.

"Harry, you bloody prat!"

The Gryffindor raised a quizzical eyebrow at the Ravenclaw. "What are you talking about?"

Luna sighed and rolled her eyes with exasperation. "Myrtle, of course! Who else would I be talking about? Why did you yell at her, Harry?"

I don't believe this, Harry mused as he stood up to face the girl. "Well isn't it obvious? She LIED to me! And I can't believe you allowed her to trick you into making that damn potion!" The Boy Who Lived laughed bitterly. "I thought she was so honest and sweet, but really she's just as deceitful as Romilda-"

"-NO, SHE ISN'T!"

Stunned by Luna's sudden outburst, Harry paused immediately. He'd never heard Luna raise her voice before.

The blond took a deep breath, then lowered her voice and continued, "Myrtle didn't fool me, Harry. That potion was my idea!"

"So you're saying you helped her lie to me?" The Gryffindor shook his head in disbelief and glared at the girl who was supposed to be his friend. "So YOU deceived me as well!"

The small blond witch suddenly seemed quite intimidating as she stared him down, her eyes unusually ominous. Her voice lowered to a growl as she spoke through clenched teeth. "Now you listen here, you dim-witted Dikkenheddin-"

"What did you just call me?"

"That's not important, Harry, but I'll tell you what is! Myrtle loves you-"

"SHE LIED TO ME!"

Harry was most definitely not expecting what happened next. Luna Lovegood - the gentlest soul he'd ever met - slapped him hard across the face. Words failed him as he stared at the angry Ravenclaw and rubbed his stinging cheek, his eyes wide with shock.

After what seemed like forever, Luna finally broke the silence; her voice enraged yet a bit sad. "Myrtle is only guilty of wanting a chance with you. She loves you, you git! And now thanks to you, she'll turn back into a ghost and spend the rest of eternity heartbroken! Is that what you want, Harry?"

The Gryffindor sank back down onto the steps, feeling hopeless and dejected. Of course he didn't want Myrtle to be broken-hearted. Yet at the same time, he was still upset with her for deceiving him. Finally finding his voice again, Harry spat, "Well it's not like I can do anything about it-"

"Yes, you can!"

"What?" He looked up at Luna, wondering if he'd heard her correctly. Was she saying what he thought she was saying?

"You can save her!" Luna glanced over at the clock at the foot of the stairs, then back at Harry. "She has fifteen minutes left before she turns back into a ghost. If you love her - if you really love her - you will get up off that sorry bum of yours and find her before it's too late! If you can find her and give her the one thing she wants, the only thing she's ever really wanted...then and only then will she live. The choice is yours, Harry."

The Ravenclaw turned and stormed down the steps away from the Gryffindor, leaving him to ponder what she'd just told him. As Harry remained on the dark and lonely staircase, Luna's words echoed in his mind: Myrtle is only guilty of wanting a chance with you... She loves you... You can save her...

Then memories of the past three weeks began to flood Harry's brain. He thought about all those deep and engaging conversations they'd had, and her rare ability to find beauty in even the smallest, most mundane things. A gentle smile tugged at the corners of Harry's mouth as he remembered the day of their snowball fight. She had fit so perfectly in his arms as they scooted their way across the ice...until he fell on his arse and ripped his trousers! The Gryffindor chuckled.

Then he remembered that night in the Room of Requirement, when she had drawn his portrait; the way she had looked in the dim torch light, her dark eyes staring into his soul... and the sweet innocence of her when he kissed those soft lips for the first time.

Oh Merlin, Luna's right! Harry mentally kicked himself for being so foolish. Did it really matter that the girl he loved was none other than Moaning Myrtle? He glanced up at the clock, his eyes widening with horror. He'd already wasted five minutes of his precious time. Now he only had ten minutes left to save her, and he had no idea where to look first! The Gryffindor stood up and dashed down the corridor. Oh, no! What have I done?
_____________________________________________

Myrtle had been crying for hours in her bathroom. Now she stood before a dusty old mirror, staring at her own pathetic reflection. Her eyes and nose were all swollen and puffy. Her red cheeks glistened with a mix of new and old tears, her rosy lips trembling with regret and dispair.

"Why?" Myrtle yelled at her reflection, throwing her hands up in the air. "Why did this have to happen to me? It just figures. I finally get a chance with Harry and someone has to screw it up!" The fed up girl kicked the wall, forgetting that she wasn't wearing any shoes. She grabbed her now-throbbing foot and sank to the ground as she shed a fresh batch of tears. Leaning her head back against the wall, Myrtle stared sadly up at the bathroom ceiling. In a matter of minutes, she'd once again be able to penetrate the walls and ceilings of Hogwarts. Once again, she'd be sad and lonely. Without Harry.

"Harry probably never loved me anyway," the brunette muttered to herself. "I mean, why would he want me when he could have his pick of any girl in the Wizarding world? There are so many other girls who are prettier, and more popular..." As she sat there alone with her thoughts, Myrtle considered something she hadn't thought of before. What if Harry was just pretending to be attracted to her? What if it was some sort of cruel joke?

"Yes, that must be it," Myrtle told herself spitefully. "He didn't mean any of it. He's been pretending all along, and tonight was just a good excuse to ditch me for good." The brunette's instincts were telling her that she was wrong, but her emotions had a tendency to override her logic.

Myrtle sniffled and whispered to herself, "Face it, Myrtle. Nobody will ever love you, and you'll be haunting this bathroom until the end of time."
____________________________________________

Five minutes left...

Harry scurried through the Gryffindor Common Room and up to his bedchamber, where he feverishly tore through his drawer and pulled out his Marauder's Map. His heart pounded like mad as his eyes spotted Myrtle in her bathroom on the second floor. Harry immediately bolted down the stairs and out of Gryffindor Tower as he stuffed the map into the inside pocket of his dress robes.

The Boy Who Lived started to climb the nearest stairwell when the stairs started to change - with Harry on them - until he was facing in the wrong direction. The Gryffindor sped up the stairs with lightning speed and started looking for the girls' bathroom, only to realize that he was on the wrong floor. Cursing the blasted stairs, he hurried over to another staircase and ran down the steps before they had a chance to change.

Two minutes left...

Now on the second floor, Harry could see the door to Myrtle's bathroom off in the distance. Wanting desperately to get to her before time ran out, the Gryffindor practically flew down the long hallway, whizzing past the paintings that looked at him as if he'd lost his marbles.

Ninety seconds left...

Harry threw the bathroom door open, and entered to find Myrtle standing there in her stocking feet. For a moment, she looked surprised to see him. Then she glared at him and spat, "Go away, Harry!"

He just stood there, not knowing what to do or say next, but wanting to save her.

"I said GO!"

Harry tried to think of something to say; some way to give her whatever it was that she really wanted. "I'm sorry, Myrtle!" His voice shook with emotion as he said, "I never should've left you or called you a liar...I was just hurt, that's all! I don't want to lose you!"

45 seconds left...

Myrtle treaded up to Harry, looking even more remorseful and angry than she had looked as a spirit. Her dark, tear-filled eyes never left his as she said, "All I ever wanted was to love you, and for you to love me back. Do you know what that's like, Harry? To want something and know that you can never, ever have it?" She sniffled and wiped her nose on the sleeve of her dress, then started tugging pins out of her hair so that it tumbled down carelessly around her shoulders.

Harry was awestruck by how beautiful Myrtle looked at this very moment. "Myrtle, listen to me, please-"

Myrtle scoffed, "I thought maybe you'd give me a chance if I were an actual, living person again. But I was wrong. After all, who would want poor, ugly, moping, Moaning Myrtle?" She choked back a sob and dashed around the corner away from Harry, slamming the door to the stall she once died in.

15 seconds left...

"Myrtle, come out, please!" Harry pushed on the door of Myrtle's stall, but it wouldn't budge.

Myrtle yelled back, "I suppose you and your...popular little friends are going to get a good laugh, when you tell them how you fooled Moaning Myrtle into thinking you cared!"

5 seconds left...

A tear streamed down Harry's cheek. He didn't know how to save Myrtle from her ghostly fate, so he said exactly what was in his heart. "Myrtle, I more than care! I... I love you!"

Right then, the clock in the corridor tolled midnight. There was no sound coming from inside the stall, which told him that he was too late. As the Chosen One leaned his back against the door and hung his head, the repetitive bong of the grandfather clock cruelly mocked him. Another tear trailed down his cheek as he whispered, "I'm sorry, Myrtle."

The stall door opened, causing Harry to fall backwards into the stall, accidentally knocking a very real--and very solid--Myrtle onto the toilet and landing in her lap.

Harry's eyes widened when he felt a body - not porcelain - cushioning his fall. Still sitting in the girl's lap, he turned to look at her, unfathomable happiness filling him. A smile spread across his face. "Myrtle! You're alive!"

The brunette said nothing, but smiled and nodded, this time crying tears of joy. Was this really happening? Had Harry's love really rescued her from turning back into a ghost? This was undoubtedly the happiest moment of her entire life. It seemed so surreal, knowing that she would never again haunt this bathroom. Never again would she be lonely. Myrtle happily basked in Harry's affections as he embraced her and kissed her as if his life depended on it.

Harry excitedly planted kisses all over his beloved's face, ecstatic to have her back. The Gryffindor grinned down at the girl as he reached up and brushed the tears from her cheeks. Cupping her face in his hands, he murmured, "I love you, Myrtle."

Myrtle's smile broadened. Her voice cracked as she said, "Would you mind repeating that?"

The Gryffindor smirked. "I love you."

"No," Myrtle shook her head and laughed, "I meant the part with my name."

"Myrtle," Harry purred as he looked into her eyes.

The former ghost breathed a sigh of relief and happiness. It felt so good to hear his voice saying her given name with such warmth and tenderness. Reaching up to touch his chiseled cheek, she whispered, "I love you too, Harry."

The Boy Who Lived gave her a long, soft kiss, then chuckled. "I guess this means no more spying in the Prefect's Bathroom."

"Guess so," Myrtle giggled.

Harry gently stroked her hair as his soft, gentle eyes searched hers. "Can you forgive me for being such an ass?"

Still shedding joyous tears, the former ghost nodded and started to laugh, but ended up hiccuping instead.

Harry and Myrtle shared a very deep and passionate kiss, and the Chosen One felt as though his heart would literally burst from all the love and unfathomable happiness it contained. Harry had almost lost her forever due to his own foolishness. But miraculously, here she was, still alive; still his...and he silently vowed that from this day forward, he would never let her go.


A/N: The end! I'd like to thank all of you for taking the time to read and review my story. I hope you enjoyed reading about this most unusual ship:)

And a very special thank you goes out to my betas - xelusivememoriesx and busybusybeta - as well as my critics, Anony_Mouse and Poppy. I truly appreciate you guys helping me make the most of my story!

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