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Moaning Myrtle, before she was, Moaning, was a bright girl whose loves were four: Tom Riddle; History of Magic because Tom Riddle liked it; Tom Riddle; Potions to make Tom Riddle like her; and Tom Riddle. She would imitate Tom Riddle in whatever he did because he was handsome and looked so lonely, but most of all, because she wanted him to notice her. She was lonely too and wanted him to tell her that she was beautiful.

One glad day, he sat across from her in the library. It seemed to her it was by chance—it had to be that, that he would pick one table and not another. He opened his book with a hesitancy that implied that he was requesting permission; she passed him a quill, because he appeared to have forgotten his. And he smiled at her.

Where she was reading about the indirect means to making a potion, he was studying the Chamber of Secrets; when she asked if she could help him, he looked her in her eyes and assented.

Their first meeting was ended by the new Librarian, Madame Pince. She did not approve of the use of her demesne as a place for romancing, even if each pretended they were not smitten. She knew that when eyes met each other in a secret dance more often than sought solace in tomes of lore, love was betwixt them.

Tom left with a look that was a promise, a promise of words, words unsaid yet understood by the heart. The heart never leads astray, for love is blind.

Myrtle lived on the love which she knew Tom had for her. His love was her life; his smile: her joy; his success: her happiness; his whim: her pleasure.

When Tom and Myrtle went together to Hogsmeade together, it was the most gossip-worthy coupling of the season, which was not saying much. Everyone was keeping to their own groups. Tom being what he was and Myrtle being what she was made everyone wonder: which had fed which the love potion, or else, which was using the other to inspire envy in some desired suitor.

In Hogsmeade, they ate at Madame Puddifoots, which had only just opened. They enjoyed tea followed by a chocolate mousse so rich that Myrtle, after three bites, fed hers to him.

Filled with food and delight they arrived back at school whispering to each other little words and smiling for the other's love. The pleasures of the table had opened wide the gates of love; as the pleasures imagined in the mind soon passed away, so and the pleasures unknown in the body came to be.

What joy, what happiness, and yet soon—so soon, they had to part. This was but for a few months, but still, the sweet sorrow was known to them both.

Slowly, gently, even with a teardrop, Tom sent letters to his love, Myrtle. She returned them each day and their love extended. Silently as love, their words were sent by dove, and to each secrets of love were revealed. And then when they met again, as their fifth year began, their love was only paper for a flame. They loved until they could not love again.

Words piled upon words, work mounted upon work, duty upon duty, and love was slowly shunted to some obscure chamber of the heart. Yet they persevered in their love. He would meet her; surprise her with flowers, or a poem, chocolates, or at least a kiss. She would meet him; surprise him with answer keys, or lesson plans, or books pocketed from the restricted section, or at least a job.

Fear entered into Hogwarts and Myrtle looked to Tom for protection. Out of the depths, a Basilisk arose, and into the depths descended the secret desires of Myrtle, who, desiring a man, found Tom. Out of the depths came the cry of the Basilisk, and into the depths went Tom, who desiring a woman, found Myrtle. They made love, because she wanted to feel him, as if being near him always would make her safe.

Handwriting on the wall and statues of students, blood and paralysis, dying roosters and gushing water, all occurred and all caused terror after terror. Yet Myrtle trusted her Tom. Why should she not? He was putting on a brave face, but she could see that he was worried too. And he was comforting her as best as he could when he could. But he was a Slytherin Prefect now and Slytherin was under suspicion. She felt she had to be strong—for him.

One day, she went to the bathroom, not for its primary function, or even to gossip, but to cry. She had been teased about something and it was just too much without her Tom. She cried so hard, so long, that she did not see her lover enter. She sobbed so loudly, so lengthily, that she did not hear him speak to the sink. She had filled her eyes with such tears that she did not see him go down, nor did she see him come up. Her eyes only cleared to make mutual eyes with what she hoped she saw, her love, but only the eyes she saw were her death.

And the serpent went back down.

And Tom, noticing who exactly who he had killed, told her corpse which he never said to her while alive, that is, he told her that she was beautiful.

And then he left.

And then she returned as a ghost.

He, that evening, smoking a hand rolled and opium tainted cigarette from a unicorn horn holder, relaxed until a sudden pang clutched his mind. He let the passing thought go with an out-breathed ring of smoke. It was these smoke-sweetened words which he refused to formulate, which belong to Oscar Wilde: I did but touch the honey of romance and must I lose a soul's inheritance?

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