His steps slow down as he approaches the castle. He doesn't like coming here, not really, but she is always so happy when he does….

He knows the exact schedule, knows when most of the students will be in class. He gets tired of being stared at. "Look, a Muggle!" they mutter. "What's he doing here?" So he comes when the corridors will be empty.

The tip of his cane clicking against the hard floor, he makes his way up the marble staircase.

His wife used to come too, but she passed on years ago. He is the only one left now. A year or two more, and he will be gone as well. Which is as it should be.

How silly it seems now that they had actually been relieved when they had first laid eyes on her again, after she had died. It had been horrible, so horrible, to lose their only child that way, to some monster that ought to only have existed in fairy tales.

Her mother had cried for joy to have her daughter back when she had seen her a silvery, ghostly form, twisting a strand of lank hair around a transparent finger.

That was before they had realized what that really meant – that they would age and change and grow, and she wouldn't. That she would never hold a job, never fall in love, never pick out curtains for her house, never marry or have children. That she would never again feel a snowflake melt against her skin, or taste the sweet crunch of a perfectly ripe apple, or smell the scent of honeysuckle on the evening breeze. That she would stay a silly, angry, lonely, selfish, miserable girl forever.

He hesitates for a moment as he reaches the door. Better to get this over with, he supposes. With a sigh, he squares his shoulders before pushing down the handle.

"Hello, Myrtle."


A/N: This came about by thinking about the fact that Myrtle was a real person who must have had a real family...