They didn't have to tell her that she was ugly. She knew it. She knew that her glasses were about as attractive as the bases of milk bottles; she hated the ugly black plastic NHS frames that were all her parents could afford. She knew that she had the stupid pug nose of most of the pureblood families, without the attractive force of money to go with it. She knew that she was ugly, and stupid, and nothing good would ever come from her. That's why she cried alone in the toilets, listening to the chatter of the others going past, the bright girls, the rich girls, the funny girls, the pretty girls.

She especially hated the rain. Her hair was horrible enough at the best of times, but when it was wet it looked worse; it glistened in the rain, like nose hair after a sneeze, like she hadn't washed it for years, even though she got up early to wash it every day, hoping that one day she'd lift her head to the mirror after drying it with a quick charm and suddenly be beautiful. She'd settle for plain. Something other than miserable and ugly and dumb. But she knew her place, and dreams were just dreams. Stupid ugly Myrtle would never mean anything, never do anything right. Sometimes she thought that she should have been in Hufflepuff with the other losers, but even the Hufflepuffs weren't as bad as she was; even they weren't ugly, even the Mudbloods among them were smarter than her. It wasn't that she didn't study, but it was difficult, with the other girls always sneering at her piles of books, laughing at her when she was too frightened to cheat, too ugly and slow to charm her way to better marks. She wouldn't even marry well, Lucy Avery had sniffed. She'd probably end up whelping dozens of squalling brats for some Weasley, if any wizard would take her.

Today was no different; it wasn't just the other Slytherins that would taunt her, members of every house would always have a go, until she went and hid in the toilets, the awkward set that weren't really on the way to anywhere so she no longer had to listen to the endless chatter of the busier places. She sat in the cubicle she always sat in and cried until her eyes could shed no more tears, and then she just sat there, wondering why she had to be so stupid and ugly and useless, wondering why she ever bothered to come out of the toilets and try to get on with life once more. She heard movement from outside, and not wanting to be accused of not even being intelligent enough to go to the toilet right, which some of the girls had told her back when she'd do this kind of thing in more public places, she numbly swung the door open.

Its eyes glistened, too. And they were kind of the right colour for a sneeze, if you looked at it that way. She had plenty of time to remember them, in the months and years and decades to come.