Disclaimer: I have yet to check my messages, I offered to buy the 'Harry Potter' story for a pound-fifty, but I haven't heard anything back, so no, I don't own it yet.
A/N: This is the biggest and last chapter. As far as I know there won't be any more to this unless there is a massive demand, but I really don't anticipate it. Just sit back and relax, have a cigarette, the sex is over!
4. The Last Good-Bye
She was lightly kissing his shoulder when she heard a slight, muffled sob escape his throat. She lifted herself so that she could see his face. A tear ran from the corner of his eye and disappeared into the sweaty hair covering his temple. She knew what was troubling him. She also knew there wasn't much she could do about it other than to just be there for him.
"What took you so long to come back?" she asked while running her soft hand over his chest. "Was I that bad?" she joked, "I promise next time to be much better. I know I'm a bit out of practice, seeing how long it took you to see me this time."
He closed his eyes and turned his head away from her. She rested her cheek on his chest, listening to his heartbeat and his still ragged breathing.
"There won't be a next time." His voice sounded choked, "That was the last one. It's over."
"Oh…" she said softly, but he could tell there was a hint of genuine sadness in her voice. She lifted herself from his chest, turned his head so that he was facing her and gazed into his eyes. "I'm sorry, Harry, I didn't know. I should have done something special for you."
She dropped her gaze to the point where their bodies were still joined, "So that's why I haven't seen you in so long." Her gaze drifted up to the clock on the wall, "You still have ten minutes, enjoy me while you can!" she said in a mock-cheerful voice, holding her arms out to her sides as if she were presenting herself to him. Deep down she knew that she didn't want this to end. She did not fancy the idea of never seeing Harry again. He has had far too much of an impact on her life for her to just say good-bye to him and forget the time they had spent together… like they never existed.
Harry was just lying back watching her… studying her… She knew he was trying to burn her image into his mind before he had to leave.
She didn't want him to leave.
He didn't acknowledge her. She saw another tear follow the same trail as the previous one did as he absently stared at her features.
"I remember those times at Hogwarts. You have no idea how badly I was tortured by my housemates just for… just for liking you." She watched him closely for a reaction. "We all weren't evil, you know…"
He was still staring blankly at her, she really didn't think he was listening at all until he spoke, "Why did you get into this business? I mean, in theory, it would seem a good source of income, but..."
"Well, the only NEWTs I got were in Potions and Herbology. Being around plants that wanted to kill me all day didn't seem very appealing to me, so I thought I'd put my potion brewing talents to use. My family was quite poor, and since my parents were killed for defying… you-know-who… I've had to fend for myself. At first, I had to do… 'this' just to be able to afford food, but I'm not doing that badly now, really."
Harry glanced at the clock on the wall and let out a sad sigh. He knew he only had a few minutes left. He rolled her over, sliding out of her warmth and stood up from the bed, "Well, I had best be going now, I'm sure you have other 'customers.'"
She sat up on the mattress and looked down at the rather large wet spot next to her on the bed. She could feel their juices still seeping out of her, creating a new damp area beneath where her bum was now, "No, I don't. I haven't taken any other clients since I started seeing you. In fact, you were my first customer... my only customer."
Harry slid his boxers on and was just pulling his slacks up his legs when he abruptly stopped and looked at her, her words finally sank in. "What? No other customers at all? It's been six years, how have you been surviving this long?"
She didn't want to frighten him more by saying the truth, that she didn't take other customers because she felt she would be cheating on him. "Well, at first I didn't need any others, what you were paying me in a week covered my expenses for a month. You were too generous with the tips you left me, by the way."
That comment brought a slight smile to Harry's lips.
"With the extra money you were giving me, I was able to afford a decent potions lab in the other room off the drawing room. I'm under contract now with St. Mungo's to provide them with potions, you know… healing, blood-replenishing, Pepper-Up, antidotes… the stuff they need to keep in stock. They pay me quite well, and I haven't had to do 'this' since the first week you saw me."
Harry looked confused. He also looked terribly cute as he stood there in just his boxers and his pants half-way up his legs.
"Then why have you kept seeing me all these years, you could… seeing… me…?" Harry's eyes widened as he realized exactly why she had kept him as a 'customer.' He didn't know whether to be angry at her or happy that she cared enough for him to keep this 'game' going for so long. He really didn't know what to think.
She still had her eyes fixed on the damp spot they created on the sheets. She never would have told him if there was a chance that he would return. If that was truly the last envelope, he'd have no reason to ever see her again. It was now or never. She had to tell him. Already she could feel the uncomfortable, tingling sensation of the Polyjuice potion wearing off.
Harry's thoughts drifted back to that night. He had just heard about the existence of 'Polyjuice Whores' from Neville. Just a decent size hair added to a potion and the woman of your dreams, or man for that matter, would be waiting for you. He meticulously extracted the hair from Hermione's hairbrush and placed each individual strand in an envelope, sealed it and stored it in his box. He finally used the last one. After this day, he'd never see her again. Never. This was his last good-bye.
"I love you. I've been in love with you for years." Her voice was so soft he almost didn't hear what she whispered. Almost.
This was the first time he would see what she really looked like. He would finally see exactly whom he was obsessing about, whom he was longing for, who he had been making love to for over six years. He had never before waited around long enough to see the potion wear off. He always wanted to keep the illusion in his head that it was really Hermione that was holding him, kissing him, loving him. He'd held the illusion for so long, he forgot that beneath the skin she was an entirely different person.
Slowly, her hair changed, darkening to a silky, jet black and lengthening so that it reached the small of her back in a long straight fall. Her eyes seemed to separate slightly while changing from the chocolate brown to a deep, dark-blue colour that went quite well with her black hair and lent an exotic look to her face. Her face itself was thinning and her cheekbones shifted upwards. Her breasts swelled from Hermione's perky B-cup to what looked like a healthy C, while her frame stretched and thinned slightly, making her, obviously, a little taller and a bit thinner. Overall, the change was startling, but certainly not unpleasant.
Feeling that the change back to her true self was complete, she slowly climbed off the bed and did a small, graceful turn in front of Harry.
He was standing there examining the woman in front of him. He vaguely remembered seeing her at Hogwarts. She was a fourth-year Slytherin girl when he was in his sixth and final year, the year he left to search for the horcruxes.
"You're Agatha Tassturn, am I right?"
She blushed furiously at the fact that he remembered her name and buried her face in her hands, "Oh, I hate that name, everyone calls me by my middle name, Jean."
Harry smiled to himself at her apparent embarrassment. She really was quite attractive.
"Well? Am I so terrible to look at?" She still had her eyes shyly fixed at the damp area on the bed, afraid to see what expression Harry wore. "Now that you've seen the real me, I hope you can keep a secret… I certainly don't want to be publicly known as a 'Polyjuice Whore.'" She was deathly afraid that he really didn't like what he now saw. It was a strange feeling for her, she had been naked countless times in front of him, but now felt rather embarrassed about being so exposed to him at that moment. She nervously waited for Harry to say something. Anything.
She could just see him out of the corner of her eye as he quietly collected his clothing that was spread throughout the room.
"You know, I've never 'acted' for you." She said shyly, "I never even read the notes you made about her the first time you were here. I've never even had to fake anything the whole time we've been meeting, it's all been 'me.'"
Still, Harry said nothing, and she still couldn't find the courage to look up at him.
"I know you loved Hermione very much, and believe me, I'm not trying to replace her. I'd never expect you to stop loving her. It wasn't fair to you or her, the way she died and all, I understand that. I just thought that now… well, since it's over and I won't have to use… oooh, why is this so difficult?"
"You probably feel like you're meeting me for the first time…" She finally looked up and met his eyes, "but to me, I've been seeing you for six years, we've been seeing each other for six years. Do you think that… that maybe we could have a chance? You know, 'us,' 'you and me' and not this fantasy?" She suddenly felt just as naked as she was, "Harry, I couldn't bear to live the rest of my life never seeing you again… I knew there would come a day where you just wouldn't come here anymore, but I never thought it would be this soon… and I never thought I'd fall this badly for you."
Upon hearing her words, Harry suddenly remembered his own thoughts earlier that day… 'I couldn't bear to live the rest of my life never seeing her again…'
"Slytherin, huh?" stated Harry as he resumed dressing himself. He turned away from her to search for his shirt that he tossed aside earlier.
Jean felt a pit open in her stomach as she heavily sat back down on the bed. She shivered slightly at the feeling of the now-cold 'wet spot' on her bum. 'Figures…' she bitterly thought to herself, 'Why couldn't I have been placed in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor? Hell, I'd bet if I was a Hufflepuff he'd give me a chance. The moment people hear 'Slytherin' they think 'Death Eater,' even after all these years. Damn it, even my parents were killed by those bastards, for Merlin's sake!'
"Listen, I'm not proud of what I had to do, but I had no other choice. I couldn't get a decent job due to 'Death Eater Stigma' of my house. We all weren't Death Eaters, or Death Eater wanna be's, you know… I do admit that the majority of Slytherins were, or they were at least sympathizers, but me being the only Half-Blood in the house… well, let's say it wasn't a pleasant scholastic experience for me. Why did the sorting hat put a Half-Blood in Slytherin, anyway? I didn't want to be placed there, I cried every day for the entire first month I was there."
She knew he wouldn't get past her being a Slytherin. She couldn't blame him, really, she witnessed the Hell that her housemates put him through during the years at school. She knew first hand how cruel they could be. She felt the tears building under her eyelids, but she refused to show them until after he left. No self-respecting Slytherin would let a Gryffindor see them cry. She watched him button his shirt and neatly tuck the tails into his pants. He slipped on his socks and shoes, and picked up his leather jacket. He withdrew a small moneybag from his pocket and moved to put it on the end table near the bed.
"Its okay, Harry, keep it. This one's on me… considering it's… it's our last meeting, and I… and…." Her voice sounded small and weak, even though she tried desperately not to make it sound so. She stood from the bed, careful not to make eye contact, and gave Harry a warm hug.
"Well, I… I guess this is good-bye." Jean said in the same small, defeated voice as she held him in her embrace, and then she repeated with a choked whisper in his ear, 'Good-bye.'
Her lower lip was still trembling as she placed a gentle kiss on his cheek then reluctantly broke the embrace. She automatically turned away from him, looked down, and inspected the polish on her toenails while waiting for him to leave the room. She felt the tears that she was desperately trying to keep in check leak out of her eyes and run down her cheeks. This was her last good-bye.
'She said she loves me...'
Harry stared at her for a long moment, taking stock of what he was feeling. He was mildly surprised that a lot of what he felt when Jean was in Hermione's form was still present.
'She said she loves me...'
Did she really mean it? He knew himself to be a good judge of people and could usually tell when he was being lied to. He gently probed her mind and found only sadness, fear..., and love. Was she really telling the truth when she said she had never put on an act for him? She never read the list of Hermione's personality traits that he wrote out for her before the first meeting? The thought suddenly occurred to him, 'If all that's true, then just maybe…'
Jean jumped slightly when Harry placed his hand on her shoulder from behind. Her breath hitched only once, and then she cocked her head to the side and ran her wet cheek over the back of his hand.
"I understand, Harry," she said in a wavering voice, "don't… don't worry about me, I… I'll be fine. You know us Slytherins… clever, resourceful and all that rubbish."
With just the slightest bit of pressure on her shoulder, Harry slowly turned her around to face him, though she still had her eyes directed to the floor. He placed his hands on the sides of her head and wiped away her tears with the pads of his thumbs. Giving her a warm smile, he said, "Well, I was just wondering if you'd like to have a spot of lunch with me, that is, if you don't mind being seen in public with a lowly Gryffindor… Maybe we can talk for a while."
She didn't react at first. She was so wrapped up in her own miserable thoughts that it took a few moments for his words to register in her brain. She suddenly looked up to his face and her eyes widened in disbelief as she realized what she thought he said. Her mouth opened and closed a few times before she managed to squeak out, "What?"
"You…" He pointed to her. "Me…" He pointed to himself. "Lunch…" He made a table-to-mouth motion with an imaginary fork, showing an amused smile the whole time.
She blinked a few times, and then softly asked, "R- really? You… you aren't kidding me?"
Harry was still smiling at her as he shook his head. "I'm not kidding you." He watched her as a wide grin appeared on her lips. 'She really is beautiful… for a Slytherin…' he mused to himself.
She let out a squeak and excitedly jumped in place a few times while clapping her hands, which only caused Harry's smile to widen. She grabbed his face and gave him a quick kiss, then let out a little squeal and said, "Oh! I have the perfect outfit, I know you'll love it! Oh, my! I don't believe it! I… I'll… I'll be right back," she was slowly walking backwards while holding up a finger indicating for him to wait, "I… I'm going to shower, then get dressed! Don't… Don't move! Merlin, please don't move!"
Harry watched as the naked woman turned and happily bounced across the room and disappeared through the doorway. He could hear her voice as she ran up the stairs, "Oh God! Oh God! Oh God…!"
A part of Harry still missed Hermione terribly and probably always would, but another part of him, a part that hadn't made its presence known for many years, let him know that he was going to be okay. He wasn't going to be quite so lonely anymore. Maybe it was the right time to finally say 'good-bye.'
In a new pub that was just a few miles away, Ron sat in a small booth, sipping a butterbeer and looking mildly surprised at the large grin that appeared on his wife's face just a moment before. She was dreamily gazing off into the distance over Ron's shoulder when she suddenly said, "I told you."
Ron gave her a confused smile and asked, "What?"
Luna grinned and, with unusual focus and clarity, looked directly into her husband's eyes and said, "I told you Harry would be fine. He finally found what he's been searching for."
A/N: Lord, I love the idea of Polyjuice. It is the single most versatile item in the HP stories. The possibilities are positively endless! I originally planned for Harry to return to his home and brood, like he is wont to do, but I grew to like the 'Jean' character and I just couldn't break her heart like that. :( I hope you enjoyed it anyway!