My brain keeps returning to this idea – what if, in POA (movie universe), Harry never realizes that the crane Malfoy sent him was a note (because I mean, who would)? Like he just stares at it, confused, then goes “okay” sets it down on his desk and goes back to ignoring Snape
I mean, Draco would be furious because how dare you not appreciate my bullying Potter and the next class they have together, he grabs another piece of paper, writes something along the lines of “You suck Potter”, folds another crane and blows it over – only for it to be left sitting on Harry’s desk again after the lesson, and Harry didn’t even look inside, he didn’t do anything with this damn crane, and Draco is absolutely seething from this lack of attention
So he does it again. And again. And again.
First it’s insults (because of course he hates Potter, they’re archenemies, never mind the actual murderer stalking Harry at this very moment) – “I hope you die Potter” “I wish I met Sirius Black I’d help him” “Your glasses are appalling why do you still have the same ones from first year your prescription can’t possibly be the same you moron” “Eat a bag of dicks Potter” – but a month goes by and he’s running out of things to say and Potter never reads the notes anyway so Draco just starts ranting about everything else he finds annoying
Soon the cranes are just a way of venting – talk about your day, fold a beautiful crane, send it to the person you definitely hate the most. He still tries to snark and generally antagonize every time he sees Potter, because it’s practically my duty to take the Golden Boy down a peg, Goyle – but he can’t do it the same way anymore, so he takes a step back – in everything except the cranes.
Every day, every class, and sometimes at breakfast, a crane will land next to Harry Potter’s elbow. Without fail. Harry will pick it up, stare at it, and set it back down. Or maybe slip it into his bag, and Draco’s stomach flips the first time he does that.
It’s almost like they’re friends. By now, Draco’s told him things he never even voiced to his friends – that he’s actually terrified of the Dementors, that he keeps feeling like he’s not good enough, because no matter what he tries, there’s always somebody better than him at it – that he still can’t understand why Harry didn’t want to be his friend that time on the train, seriously Potter what did I do? you didn’t even know me! – and Potter didn’t crumple any of the cranes, so maybe he doesn’t hate him so much anymore?.. Draco knows Potter never reads these notes, but he likes to pretend that Harry knows all these things about him. And maybe even cares a little.
It’s stupid, and he really shouldn’t be putting any of such personal details in writing (honestly Lucius would be so disappointed, these cranes are perfect blackmail material and what the hell are you thinking Draco yells Draco’s inner voice) – but he can’t stop. It’s become a habit, and Potter stared at him for fifteen minutes at lunch today, so he can’t stop. Draco keeps talking, and making Harry little doodles, and trying not to smile too obviously when another crane ends up in Harry’s pocket.
And meanwhile, Harry’s going nuts. He just doesn’t understand what Malfoy wants from him, or why he doesn’t run into him so often anymore – and the cranes really seem to be just paper (Ron why does Malfoy know origami is this a general wizard thing or is it just him), and they’re delicate and elegant, and he feels bad about destroying them – so he just leaves them.
Until, of course, he absentmindedly shoves one in his bag one day – and finds it that evening. Sighs and sets it on his bedside table, because what else can he do?.. Even if he throws it out, he’ll just get a new one tomorrow. Or three.
He’s confused, because Malfoy isn’t even so loud or dramatic anymore, it’s almost as if he’s trying not to attract attention – beyond the cranes – but Harry’s eyes are glued to him anyway. He knows that Malfoy has to be up to something, because of course he is – but he just can’t tell what, there’s no way to know, and holy shit Ron he just smiled at me what the hell is he planning – and all this time, the pile of cranes on his bedside table keeps growing
He doesn’t lie awake at night, thinking of Malfoy’s smile. He doesn’t. Really.
The next day, when he gets his morning crane, he flashes Malfoy a brilliant smile, and laughs at his stunned expression like ha, two can play at this game! Gotcha now! and he’s still thinking that Malfoy’s messing with his mind – except he can’t help but think that it would be nice if Draco was really like that. If he really just sent the cranes over to brighten Harry’s day. If there wasn’t something else behind this, because he’s starting to like it.
All this goes on until Hermione barges into their dormitory again, in the ungodly hours of the morning, like she usually does – and stops dead, staring at the pile of cranes, Ron may have been complaining but she never imagined the true extent of this new, yet age-old obsession. And of course, Harry tries to protest, that it’s all for science, Hermione, I have to find out what he’s up to and this is the only source of information – but the excuses run dry when she quizzes him a bit and finds out that none of the cranes are cursed, or charmed to yell insults, or anything, really
So she’s like “well have you tried to unfold one” and no he didn’t, who the heck writes notes inside a crane anyway, isn’t it an artwork?? But hey, that’s an idea, and that night the trio gets together, sitting on Harry’s bed with the crane he just got in Charms, bated breath and all, waiting for it to unleash something nasty (Harry finds himself really really hoping it won’t)
All kinds of security measures done, and they unfold it
Hermione’s like “oh. Oohh,” and Ron’s eyebrows fly away to roam the world
there’s a shitty little drawing of Harry and Draco holding hands, with little hearts all around