Chapter 1: The Time Draco Malfoy Fell in Love
People talk about how Draco Lucius Malfoy realized he was in love with Harry Potter when he saw him dead in Hagrid’s arms.
I don’t think this is the case.
I think he fell in love with him the next day, when he was down trodden and heart broken but still, somehow, everyones hero. No, not because he killed Voldemort, but because even though he’s spent months living in tents and hiding in forests, even though he’s spent years working to defeat he who must not be named and even though he never really got to be a kid, even though he deserves just one day, if nothing else, of rest and peace, he still shows up in the great hall, eyes sunken, heavy, tired, and he still puts a smile on his face and comforts people he doesn’t even know because he’s Harry Potter and he understands that his presence may be soothing to those who have lost in this hellish war.
Draco Malfoy falls in love with Harry Potter because he watches as he stays, the whole summer, at Hogwarts to help rebuild because “this is his home, the first place he ever knew love, compassion, friendship” even when most people leave after the disappearance of press. Even when the Weasley’s and Granger leave half way through July, Harry gets up every day, grinning at the teachers (never at Draco, he’s there too, part of his probation, but Harry never pays him any mind) and eating a quick breakfast before getting right to work, following instructions with accuracy and no complaints.
Draco Malfoy falls in love with Harry Potter because he shows up at every Death Eater trial, without fail. It’s the only time he isn’t working at the school, and when it comes to the Malfoy’s turn, he makes no move to defend Lucius, only watches with dark, hooded eyes and a blank expression, but he stands, and politely asks the Minister for Magic if “he could make a statement for Draco and Narcissa please?” Because one saved his life, lied to Voldemort’s face to save Harry, because of the love she had for her son (and here Harry reminds everyone of the parallel to Lily Potter) and for Draco, who was only a child, and who Harry witnessed the misery of during the year in which he supposedly joined the Death Eaters. He doesn’t speak to them, doesn’t look at them, he only tells the Wizangamot that they do not deserve Azkaban, and hands over Draco’s wand at the end, simply placing it on the stand in front of him, and walking away. Draco Malfoy falls in love with Harry Potter because he watches the way this once proud, boisterous boy walks silently through the castle, eyes shadowed, and often lingering on the places Draco knows he saw bodies of those he once loved.
The way Harry looks both exhausted and free all at the same time, because Draco never noticed the burden he seemed to carry since he was but 11 when Draco first saw him, quiet and too skinny, in Madam Malkins, but he is now finally rid of. Like the dark shadows under his eyes and his perpetually skinny arms that have disappeared and been replaced by this sullen and brooding man that somehow still manages to look more alive and happier then he has ever been.
He falls in love with the way Harry sits in class, watching the teachers intently as if this is the first time he’s ever heard them lecture, he falls in love because he realizes this IS actually the first time this boy can actually concentrate on learning, and not on staying alive. He has nothing else to do besides take in all the information he can, and Draco falls in love with the way he flourishes, finally, much to the surprise of many of his teachers.
Draco Malfoy falls in love with Harry Potter because he can finally see how much his friends mean to him. He has always seen the Golden trio as nothing more then leader and followers, but he sees how happy Harry is that his friends have found love in each other, both Ron and Hermione, and, surprisingly enough Ginny and Neville. He sees how he listens attentively when they talk, even though he must be bored to tears on the subject and he sees the way Harry is careful never to burden them, but is always happy to take on there own problems, always happy to help or listen or comfort.
Draco Malfoy falls in love with the quiet way this boy holds himself. Shoulders hunched but eyes straight ahead. With the way he slips into the grounds after breakfast, because he doesn’t have a class yet, a cup of tea and a book clutched to his chest.
Draco Malfoy falls in love with Harry Potter the night he finds him sitting by the great lake long past midnight, arms curled around around his legs and chin resting on his knees with tears streaming down his face as he watched lazy tentacles break the surface. Because as many times as Draco has seen Harry bleeding, swollen, happy, depressed, as much as he knows Harry is as human as anyone, he doesn’t really understand it, until this moment that he is as much affected by this war as anyone else. Draco Malfoy falls in love when he sits down next to him, and Harry doesn’t sneer, or ask him whats he’s doing here, or tell him to sod off. Instead, he offers him a small, weary smile, and goes back to watching the lake. Draco Malfoy falls in love with all of Harry Potter after this. When he sits down next to Draco at breakfast the next morning, no questions asked, and strikes up a conversation before Draco can even ask what he’s doing there. With the way he’s such a conundrum, confident and shy and quiet and happy and sad all at once. With the way he takes his tea all wrong, too much milk and not nearly enough sugar, and with the way he places a protective arm around his plate and doesn’t even seems to realize he’s doing it. (This has Draco wondering. Do the Gryffindors steal food off each others plates? But of course, theres still plenty on the table, he thinks maybe he picked it up from the Weasley children.) The way he grins at Draco as if they’ve been friends their whole lives, and it leaves Draco breathless and stunned and wondering when the hell this happened.
Draco Malfoy falls in love with the easy way Harry talks to him. About everything and nothing all at the same time. They he looks when they study together in the library, especially early in the morning, dust most and bright rays of sunshine filtering in through stained glass windows and high arches, glittering across smooth tanned skin, and the way those eyes flick up to Draco’s, as is he can feels himself being watched, and the green of them just glows in the light. And he doesn’t even have to move his lips for Draco to know that he’s smiling and happy to there. Draco falls in love with Harry Potter the first time he makes him laugh, and during the lazy late nights by the fire when neither of them can sleep. The way Harry pulls Draco to his chest on cold nights and doesn’t seem fazed at all by the proximity.
Draco falls in love with Harry the first time they kiss, because this is the first time Harry been hesitant and less than completely confident with Draco, and Draco knows its not because he doesn’t know if he wants it, but because he wants it so much, and he isn’t sure if Draco does, and because he would rather stay friends if that’s all he can have and he doesn’t want to mess up this relationship they’ve somehow created.
Draco falls in love with the way Harry looks early in the morning, mussed and groggy, and with the way that Harry sings in the shower, off key and loud even though he must know Draco can hear him. And he falls in love with Harry the first time he tells him about the Dursley’s. And finally Draco understands why he gets so twitchy when Draco tries to take food off his plate or asks for bites of treats or snacks. Why Harry insists they sleep in his bed, the closest too the window, with the curtains drawn so Harry can see the sky. He falls in love with him when he admits he’s never actually told anyone these things before. “Ron and Hermione know some of it I guess, but they’ve never asked questions because they knew I wouldn’t tell them anyway. They know because I always came back from summer with my ribs showing and sometimes I would ask them to send me food, and because one time, Ron and the twins had to break the bars on my window to get me out.”
Draco falls in love with Harry because he’s always watched him, ever since that rebuttal on the train, but he never really took the time to look at Harry, and now that he has, he realizes he got everything wrong. Now that he has he realizes how beautiful this boy is, in his actions and in his morals and motivations and his very soul. Draco falls in love with Harry Potter because Harry is just Harry, and at some point he thinks that maybe he’ll always love this man.
Chapter 2: The Time Harry Potter Fell in Love
People talk about how Harry Potter fell in love with Draco Malfoy when he saw him cry for the first time. Hunched and broken over entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.
I don’t think this is true at all.
Harry Potter fell in love with Draco Malfoy the second time he saw him cry. Clutching at his mother’s dirty robes as she clung to him like a life line. His father close behind, one solid hand on his shoulder, face weary and resigned.
Because Harry Potter isn’t capable of loving someone who he thinks doesn’t have moral. As much as he could see Draco wasn’t evil, he couldn’t see his good either.
Harry Potter falls in love with Draco Malfoy while he stands firm, arms crossed and face resilient. Opposite to his mother, who pleads with him quietly to “please come home my Dragon.” And his father who looks as if he is ready to simply grab him and side-along.
Harry Potter falls in love the next day, and the day after that and the day after that when Draco Malfoy arrives each morning in the great hall at 730 am sharp, ready to face the day, and help rebuild the first place Harry ever considered ‘home’.
And during his trial, when he admits to his crimes with no excuses, and no demands for forgiveness at all, seems completely willing to submit himself to whatever fate decided for him until Harry stands and speaks, first for him, and then for his mother. And the soft, shocked expression, so open and even reverent when Harry placed his wand in front of him afterwards.
With the way he carries himself, so different yet so similar. That familiar confidence, but with a new edge. Tinged with sadness and guilt and the knowledge that he is much the same as everyone else at Hogwarts. Just as flawed and human and talented and clever. That he has his strengths, but that he has his failings too.
And the way Draco suddenly seems to actually take in his surroundings. Head tilted as his listens, watches, learns, examines, because Harry knows he’ll never again take his father’s word for fact.
Harry falls in love with Draco because he knows, he knows, that this man in front of him isn’t the boy he used to be.
Harry Potter falls in love with him when he, Draco Malfoy, sits beside him, quiet, and late at night, and the way the moon light dances across platinum hair and silver eyes and the way Harry thinks that he must be made of magic itself. The moon man, cinnabar, mercurial, utterly and devastatingly beautiful.
The next day when the mask of perpetual disinterest cracks and Harry can see the shock and confusion of his face when he takes a risk and sits beside him in the great hall for breakfast.
And the day after that when Draco cautiously approaches him in the 8th year common room, looking like a spooked deer and with requests to study together.
A month later in the Library, early morning sunlight streaming through glass and lighting up the dust and Draco like nothing Harry’s ever seen and he can’t decide whether or not it is the sun or the moon that encompasses Draco’s whole being. Sometimes, Harry thinks it’s both.
Harry Potter falls in love with Draco Malfoy’s laughter, and the crinkles at the corners of his eyes and the way is nose flairs out and wrinkles at the top that Draco despairs of but Harry thinks is incredibly charming, because he’s seen so many of Draco smiles, smirks and grins and those molasses slow stretching of lips that means he’s terribly pleased with himself, but it’s the startled laugh that escapes when Harry makes a joke because apparently Draco had somehow (wilfully) missed how incredibly sarcastic Harry is on a daily basis.
It the smile that only Harry gets, when he looks up to find himself already being watched, small and slow and pleased, pink creeping into his cheeks, and its the hilarity of Draco’s humour when it’s not at someone else’s expense.
Harry falls in love on cold winter nights when neither of them can sleep. The way Draco tenses, and then relaxes all at once into Harry’s chest the first time he pulls him into it because it freezing. And the way they swap stories of they’re lives; good, and bad. The way that Draco doesn’t seem to have any qualms about discussing the war, not anymore, and admits to his mistakes, but seems to understand that it all wasn’t entirely his fault, and the way he rubs Harry’s back soothingly when he chokes on his words, and the way he describes the manor gardens in spring because Harry doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to forget the image he painted that night.
Harry falls in love this first time they kiss, because this is the first time Draco has seemed anything but hesitant with them. The confidante way he’d smiled and pulled Harry in and kissed him like he was oxygen and Draco needed him to breath.
And he falls in love when Draco admits that he’ll never be what his father wants, because the only thing he’s ever wanted to be is a writer, a journalist or a novelist, but just something to do with words and his father had told him that wasn’t a very Slytherin ambition but ambition isn’t about power, it’s about knowing what you want and going for it and by those standards he’d been less than Slytherin his whole life until this point.
And Harry falls in love with the way Draco Malfoy looks waking up because it’s so very different from how he looks during the day. Soft and groggy and warm. And he falls in love with the way Draco easily accepts Harry’s quirks with nothing but an understanding nod of his head and a comforting hand on his back and Harry falls in love because this man, this man that he had spent his entire childhood hating, is so different and yet so much the same and just so beautiful and it doesn’t take long for Harry to realize that he wants to spend the rest of his life with him.
Harry Potter falls in love with Draco Malfoy because he will always be Draco Malfoy, a man who is capable of recognizing his mistakes and growing from them, and a man capable of love so deep he would do anything for it.