Author's Notes: Written for the first round of Fanfiction Idol on the HPFC forum. Prompt: "Riddle era".

Warning: Character death and Tom Riddle's creepy schizoid inner monologue.

Enjoy!

)O(

I like to think that Salazar Slytherin had a sense of humour, albeit a dark one.

I believe that this is the only good reason for the great Slytherin to have chosen to build the entrance to his legendary Chamber of Secrets in a place as undignified and ungainly as a girl's bathroom. There are other possibilities, yes – perhaps when he built it, the room was something else. Perhaps he realized that it would be the last place anyone would look – God knows, the location had not occurred to me without years of careful consideration. Perhaps he even expected his heir to be female, though that seems unlikely to me. My preferred explanation remains that Slytherin was simply amused by the thought of his heir, having been charged with the honourable task of ridding the school of the Mudbloods that infest it, being forced to hide from punishment, not for murder, but for the petty misdemeanour of entering a girl's bathroom.

I hover in the corridor outside, looking supremely nonchalant. Most passers by do not notice me as they scurry to their classes, and the few that do glance my way are met with cool, though amiable, half-smiles.

None of them wonder why Tom Riddle would happen to be standing in the second floor corridor. As soon as they round the corner, they will forget that they ever saw me. Much as I despise how unnoticeable – nearly invisible – I am to them, I cannot deny that there are certain benefits. When one is invisible, one is also untouchable. I cannot be punished if no one looks at me long enough to see me doing something wrong.

When the halls empty at last, every student closeted in class where they belong, I make my way innocently to the bathroom and slip inside. I shut the door, relieved, though not particularly surprised, that I have once again gotten inside without being caught.

My moment of satisfaction is cut short when I hear a loud sniff and see a pair of shoes appear beneath the door of one of the stalls.

Well, this is a first. This bathroom is always empty, and I find I've rather gotten used to the privilege of privacy.

I have never been the sort to panic, but if ever there came a situation that required me to be afraid, this would be it. The few options I have available to me are not ideal ones. I could attempt to get myself out of the bathroom before the girl (whoever she is) sees me, but I run the risk of being spotted as I exit, and not even my anonymity, which so effectively hides me when I am simply hovering in the corridor, could save me from a rigorous questioning should I be seen coming out of the girl's bathroom. I could try to hide, let the girl think that she imagined the sound of the door, but the stall is opening already and I would not have time to get out of sight.

So I turn to the sinks. The entrance to the Chamber.

"Open!" I order in Parseltongue, speaking to the school and to my pet, my basilisk, which resides within it. "Open, come out, come to kill!"

There is a gasp from the poor girl at the sound of my voice, but she is not given time to be shocked. The sinks creak in, my pet coming out to play. I cover my eyes as Slytherin's famed monster pokes its head out of the plumbing. There is a quiet gasp from the girl and then I hear a body hit the floor.

I give no reaction but to order my pet back into the pipes, then I slowly make my way over to the girl. I study my victim, looking straight into her eyes.

Myrtle.

I recognize her – I've seen her enough times. She's a quiet, shy sort of girl, keeping to herself, a popular target for derision and teasing from other students. She stays in the background, unnoticed, not unlike myself.

This is good for me. I've no doubt that hours will go by before anyone thinks to notice that she is missing.

Her eyes are wide, staring at the ceiling through thick glasses, her mouth slightly ajar as though in faint surprise. I stare at her, trying to summon a flicker of remorse. I have been told, after all, that that is the usual reaction to committing murder.

Nothing.

I held no grudge against Myrtle in her lifetime – like most of the school, I scarcely knew her. She was a Mudblood, true, and, assuming I was given time and opportunity, she would have fallen prey to my purification of the school eventually, but as it was, her blood was not the reason she died.

I killed her simply because she got in my way.

That is a reasonable justification for her death, I think.

)O(

Fin