So imagine after the war, Draco’s friends are thinking okay, Draco was only obsessed with Harry Potter because they were arch enemies but everything will go back to normal now. And then eighth year starts and nothing changes?
Draco is still staring at Harry Potter over the other side of the Great Hall, at breakfast, at lunch and at dinner. He still talks about how the great Harry Potter gets this or the boy who lived gets that. And the Slytherin are like ??? Why are you still obsessed with Harry? And Draco’s like ??? I’m not. We’re enemies remember? And his friends have to tell him no not anymore. You’re on the same side.
So Draco’s very confused for a while, not sure how he should be acting. And then he realises, even though he no longer hates Potter’s guts, he still wants to stare at him every meal. He still wants to find excuses to talk about him to his friends. He still wants to make snarky comments to Potter every class…but only because it’s the only time he gets to talk to him.
Despite all the warnings, it still hits Draco way too abruptly when he realises he’s in love with Harry Potter. He’s in the middle of a potions double when his eyes, completely of their own accord, latch on to Potter turning his head and laughing at something the Weasel said. Draco stares and stares as the realisation washes over him. He keeps staring even long after Potter has turned his head back to the front of the class and all he can see is shaggy brown hair.
Pansy works it out first. Even before Draco’s potions epiphany. Although for once she understands the importance of keeping her mouth shut. So when Draco comes to her with his revelation, she is not at all surprised. And she is here to help. She convinces Draco to cool it with the snarky comments and work up the courage to actually talk to Potter.
And so - with plenty of encouragement - Draco does. At first it’s just small things like asking Potter for a spare quill in class, or saying excuse me politely as they pass rather than pushing into Potter. And then one day Draco works up the courage to say good morning to Potter when he runs into him in the Great Hall during breakfast. And Potter says good morning right back, albeit with a puzzled expression on his face.
Soon, Potter no longer looks puzzled. When Draco greets him, he returns the sentiment with a smile, that seems to grow with each day. It’s that smile which gives Draco the push he needs to approach Potter in the library one night and ask if he might like to share his table. An enthusiastic yes from Potter lights a small spark of hope in Draco’s pining heart.
Studying together becomes a habit most nights. It starts off silently, Draco happy to share his space with Potter but too nervous to think of anything further to say past a simple greeting. Thankfully one day it’s Potter who starts the first conversation. It’s one of those awkward small talk type conversations about the weather but it leads in to an animated discussion of Quidditch that keeps them talking well into the night, ignoring several reprimands from Madam Prince for being too loud in the library.
And so Draco and Harry - he’s no longer Potter - become friends. And Draco’s happy. Happier than he’s been in a long time. And his friends know. Not just Pansy. All the Slytherins. It’s obvious. Because despite spending most of his free time hanging out with Harry Potter, and professing to have no remaining hate for him at all, Draco still stares at him across the Great Hall, at breakfast, at lunch and at dinner.
And so Slytherins, being Slytherins, begin planning, with Pansy at the lead of course. They already know how Draco feels, they only need to get Harry Potter to realise his own feelings too, which they suspect match Draco’s. Because he might have his head down in the Great Hall but they’ve seen Harry stare at Draco during Quidditch games for far longer than strictly necessary.
And so they do something that Draco would completely disapprove of, solely for Draco’s own good. When they know Harry will be walking by the Quidditch lockers after a Gryffindor practice, they plant two of their own at a nearby bench and have them talking far louder than normal conversation requires.
“It’s really rather embarrassing. Draco’s been pining for ages. I’ve never seen anyone who had it so bad.”
“But who do you mean? I’ve only seen him hanging out with Potter.”
“Exactly. Potter. It’s tragic isn’t it? He’s in love with the boy who lived. He should probably queue up like all the other groupies just to get his autograph.”
While the two younger Slytherins continue their staged and poorly acted performance, (Pansy will have words with them later) Pansy, safely hidden with a disillusionment charm, watches Potter’s reaction closely and is not displeased. At the sound of Draco’s name, Potter stops immediately to eavesdrop which is telling in itself. When his own name comes into play, a blush creeps slowly up his face. And when Draco’s love for him is revealed, an involuntary smile appears on Harry’s face very very quickly. Pansy knows now they only have to wait.
Sure enough, at dinner that night, Harry Potter makes his move. Always one for dramatics, he walks right up to the Slytherin table and plants a short but deliberate kiss square on Draco’s face before Pansy even has time to let out a wolf whistle.
Draco sits there, mouth agape, pale face not so pale for once, until another Slytherin gives him a nudge on the shoulder. He looks up and blinks at Harry Potter who is smiling down at him. Once more Harry’s smile brings him courage. He stands up to meet Harry, conscious of every eye in the Great Hall on him, and kisses Harry Potter right back.
And it’s the Slytherins who lead the cheers that erupt across the Great Hall. Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. At last.