This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
"… terribly sorry. The entire trip is non-refundable due to its highly customized nature, as explained in great length in the contract in clauses A, E and J in sections four-dash-eight, five-dash-eleven and seven-dash-three," the voice droned on as Harry Potter sat, unresponsive, in an incredibly uncomfortable monstrosity of a chair. A chair that very likely cost more than most wizards make in a month, he told himself glumly, paid for by idiots like him and their complicated contractual fuck-ups.
His gaze wandered around the elegantly appointed office without actually seeing any of the opulent furnishings or tasteful decorations. This couldn't be happening to him. He was Harry bloody Potter, Savior of the Wizarding World. The Chosen One. The Vanquisher of the Dark Lord. The Boy Who Lived. And now, according to the gleefully malicious headline dancing across the page of The Daily Prophet in front of him, The Man Who Was Jilted.
Jilted. Harry closed his eyes. He truly couldn't believe how far he had fallen in the last 48 hours. Two days ago – had his life really only been ruined for the span of two days, he wondered? It felt like an eternity. He shook himself out of the thought. Two days ago he had been puttering around his and Ginny's flat, cursing himself roundly because he had left memorizing his vows to the last minute. He and Ron had rowed about a pair of missing cufflinks. Hermione had fiddled with his tie, part of the ridiculous Muggle tuxedo his blushing bride had insisted he wear underneath his dress robes.
Draco Malfoy's monotonous explanation of refund policies and contractual agreements trailed off as he realized the man in front of him had not heard a word he had said. He followed Potter's gaze down to the desk where copies of the Daily Prophet, the Quibbler and several other newspapers were scattered. Potter's bleak visage graced the cover of each with news of his broken engagement and subsequent abandonment at the altar. Draco's personal favorite was the one that crowned him the Chosen Chump and detailed his erstwhile fiancé's long history of rather blatant infidelity, culminating with her ditching him at the altar just moments before their wedding in favor of a rich Italian playboy.
Draco sighed and shifted his focus to Potter's companion.
"Granger, there's nothing I can do," he said, infusing his voice with regret. It never paid to anger clients, and wealthy clients like Harry Potter were Draco's bread and butter, he reasoned. He didn't actually feel pity for the idiot, he told himself. "As I said, I'm terribly sorry, but the Portkey tickets and accommodations are not refundable or transferrable. It was all spelled out in the contract Potter and his fiancé signed when they arranged the holiday."
Hermione nodded. She had read the documents herself earlier this morning before dragging Harry to Malfoy's law firm. Draco's partner, Susan Bones, had been the one to negotiate and approve the contracts, but she was tied up presenting a case before the Wizengamot and couldn't see them on such short notice. Harry's fury at being forced to see Malfoy was the only true emotion Hermione had seen out of him in two days.
"Harry, you need to pay attention," she said gently, laying a hand on Harry's arm. He looked up, his green eyes clouded with sorrow and an uncharacteristic anger.
"Non-refundable and non-transferrable. I'm not a bloody idiot, Hermione," he snapped. "Just a pathetic tosser who believed his fiancé meant it when she said she loved him."
Hermione's jaw snapped shut and Draco could tell she was pulling patience from somewhere, using her Gryffindor loyalty and compassion to remind herself that Potter was in pain and lashing out at anyone in reach. Draco held back a snort; he could actually see the emotions and thoughts playing across Granger's face.
"Unfortunate circumstances, to be sure," Draco said smoothly, breaking the tension between the two friends.
"Feel free to owl or Floo if you have any other questions. I'm happy to contact the travel agency once more to try to cancel the contract, but frankly it's not likely. My secretary can help you with anything else you need. I've instructed her to spend today contacting the wedding vendors and taking care of their invoices," he said in obvious dismissal, shuffling the parchment on his desk and setting the pile with Potter's holiday bookings off to the side of his gleaming cherry desk.
"Anything I need, eh, Malfoy? How about a wife to take on the bloody trip? See, I thought I'd have one by this time today, but it appears I was mistaken. All I've got are hundreds of thousands of Galleons in bills for a wedding I didn't have. What's another 15,000 Galleons added to the total?" Harry asked bitterly. "And what the hell kind of holiday did I book that costs 15,000 Galleons? A trip to the bloody Moon?"
Draco sighed and adjusted his robes. Like Hermione he too searched for patience before answering, but his reason was his firm's reputation, which would plummet if Potter accused it of botching the contract negotiation or failing to represent him well. He was absolutely not being polite because he felt sorry for the man, he told himself.
"Actually, it is a trip to Central America – a small island off Costa Rica, to be exact. A beautiful place, I'm told, perfect for couples," he said with a tight smile.
"It had bloody well be a damn sight more than just beautiful for that price, Malfoy," Harry growled. "Or did I mistakenly buy the blasted island instead of just booking it for a holiday?"
Draco's smile grew even more strained as he breathed deeply before answering. He reminded himself of all Potter had lost. The man had every right to be angry, just not at Draco.
"I assure you it is a fair price. The holiday your fiancé booked is one of the most exclusive and luxurious packages available in the Wizarding world. Absolute privacy comes at a steep price, as one so intimately acquainted with the media such as yourself should clearly understand," Draco said pointedly, gesturing toward the stack of newspapers.
Harry looked like he was about to burst, so Hermione spoke up quickly.
"Are you quite sure it can't be transferred or even simply postponed? I'm sure Harry would benefit from some time away after everything settles down," she said desperately.
Draco shook his head with a small frown.
"I'm sorry, Granger, but nothing can be done. The privacy wards and other arrangements have already been activated; the holiday can't be postponed, nor can it be accessed without Potter. All the wards are keyed to him," he said.
Harry stood abruptly and strode toward the door.
"We're wasting our time, Hermione. It's only money. Ginny spent more than that every month on robes and jewelry. Just let it go. This lovely conversation has probably cost me nearly as much as the trip, anyway," he said with a defeated air.
Hermione shut her eyes. Ginny had done a number on Harry's self-confidence. It might never recover, coupled with the blows it received during his unhappy childhood with the Dursleys. She ached inside for the poor neglected boy Harry had been and the lonely and bitter man he had become. Ginny leaving him at the altar had been horrible, Hermione admitted, but it had hardly been the first sign of problems in their relationship.
Ginny had been sleeping her way through the ranks of the wizarding elite for months. She wasn't completely to blame, either. Her infidelities began long after Harry had grown cold and distant toward her. They shared a flat but it could hardly be said the two shared a life. More often than not the couple had been apart for days or weeks at time between Ginny's Quidditch schedule and the way Harry had thrown himself into his job as an Auror over the last year.
Hermione swallowed hard as she considered what she was about to do. She and Ron had argued about it until dawn after the two of them had coaxed a drunk and forlorn Harry to sleep sometime after 2 a.m. They both knew the problems between Harry and Ginny had started just over a year ago when Harry ran into Malfoy at a Ministry gala. They hadn't had any contact to speak of since, but the fact that Malfoy was the only person other than Hermione or Ron who could get any kind of emotional reaction out of Harry at all these days was proof enough for her.
"Harry, for Merlin's sake, there's no reason to storm out in a snit. At least shake the man's hand. This isn't his fault, you know," she said, her voice wavering slightly.
Harry shot her a confused look and then sheepishly looked down. Draco just barely managed to keep the shock off his own face, covering it by standing quickly and stepping around his desk. Harry approached and held out a hand, which Draco grasped firmly.
"Potter, I –"
Whatever Draco had been about to say was cut off when Hermione grabbed the Portkey to Costa Rica off his desk and tossed it to Harry, whose Seeker reflexes caused him to raise a hand and catch the trinket without thinking. Draco's eyes widened in alarm as Hermione incanted the spell to activate it and he felt the dreaded pull of Portkey travel at his navel.