When Hermione figured it out, she cursed herself for being so blind. How could she have missed it for so long? Because this certainly wasn’t a new development. It had become normal for them to be friendly with Draco, but Harry always went out of his way to include him. She had assumed it was the savior in him shining through, wanting to help Draco through the year after everything that had happened and none of his friends had returned.
But she hadn’t been looking closely enough. She had missed the way Harry’s eyes lingered on Draco just a bit too long. The way Harry smiled as he watched Draco laughing with someone else. The gentle way he lit up when Draco entered the room. He hadn’t dated anyone since he and Ginny broke up, even though he was constantly being asked out by girl after girl.
She was so relieved to see him happy in these small moments, after everything. Imagining how happy he could be if something were to come of the two of them forced her into action.
Harry’s heart jolted as he spotted Draco walking alone towards him. At the start of eighth year Draco had apologized and voiced how lost he felt, after that they had started to become more friendly. The more time they spent together, the bigger his embarrassing crush grew.
He smiled when Draco looked up and noticed him. “Hey, Draco. Where are you heading?”
He was convinced he could feel the soft smile Draco gave him. “The library. I need to finish a few essays.”
Harry pulled a face that had Draco chuckling. “On a Saturday? Live a little.”
Raising an eyebrow with his trademark smirk Draco asked, “And what exciting adventures do you have planned for the day then?”
The tips of his ears went pink. “I was actually just going to visit Hagrid.” He admitted reluctantly.
Draco laughed again, but not unkindly. “Not exactly a big adventure.”
With a smile Harry started walking again. “Oh trust me, eating one of Hagrid’s rock cakes is playing with danger.” He muttered darkly.
As soon as Harry’s back was turned and he was walking away, Draco gave in to the enormous smile he’d been holding in. He turned to continue on his way to the library but stopped short when he spotted Hermione standing staring at him a short distance away, angled so that Harry wouldn’t have seen her from where he had been standing.
Smiling brilliantly, she spoke. “Hi Draco.”
He nodded politely. “Granger.”
He started walking again but she fell into step beside him. “Heading to the library?” She asked.
They walked in silence for only a few seconds before she was clearing her throat. “So, Draco. Are you seeing anyone?” He stopped walking.
“What?” He asked incredulously. They had become friendly, but certainly not friends.
A rosy blush stained her cheeks but he saw the determined lift of her chin. “I asked if you’re seeing anyone.”
Lifting an eyebrow, he drawled. “And why are you asking? Are you and Weasley on the outs?”
She rolled her eyes. “No.” When he said nothing but continued to stare with a raised eyebrow, she reluctantly expanded. “I have a friend who would be interested in the answer.” She said loftily.
Blinking a few times, Draco thought of how best to respond. “It’s probably best to tell your friend to find herself another crush, I’m not interested in dating.”
Hermione watched him very closely for a very long moment. “Actually,” She said cautiously. “It’s a he.”
Draco froze. He should be tactfully telling her that he definitely wasn’t interested in that case. Not standing staring at her slack jawed. How could she know? His mouth closed with a click and he turned on his heel and walked away.
“Draco! Wait!” She called after him. He did not slow. “I didn’t mean to presume, I was trying to find out!” She said frantically.
Draco only slowed when he felt a hand on his arm. Turning his most glacial glare on her, he remained silent. She had the decency to flinch. “I’m truly sorry. I wasn’t presuming or anything like that. I’m still not.” Raising her hands either in defence or supplication, she rambled on. “I just want to know if he stands a chance with you or not, he’s so smitten with you and I don’t want him to get hurt.” The sincerity on her face had Draco slightly nauseated.
He crossed his arms. “It’s really not okay to go around trying to figure out people’s orientation.” Hermione looked appropriately chastened and he had barely begun to berate her. “And it’s even worse to go around broadcasting it in hallways!”
Her eyes lit up. “You mean you could be interest-” Draco neatly slapped a hand over her mouth and only just stopped himself from screaming.
“For Merlin’s sake! Just because I do lean towards men does not mean I’d automatically be interested in whichever of your depraved friends is foolish enough to be interested in me! It doesn’t work like that.” His whisper was harsh.
As he let go of her her face fell. “I’m sorry Draco. I’ve messed this up so badly.”
Huffing a breath in agreement, Draco straightened his robes.
“No.” Draco interrupted her firmly and pointed a finger at her. “No more from you. Good day Granger.”
He hurried away before she could make his already ruined day worse.
The entire walk from Hagrid’s cabin to the library consisted of Harry trying to keep up his nerve and go into the library. He had several surprises in a cloth cradled carefully in his bag that was a very good reason to engage in further conversation with a certain grey eyed Slytherin.
When he entered the library his eyes immediately found Draco. Of course. He was sitting at an otherwise empty table with a tremendous scowl on his face. Harry hesitated as Draco viciously wrote something on his scroll. Although he would never admit it, he was very close to abandoning his plan when Draco sighed and let his head fall into his hands.
Mind made up, he made his way over.
“Hey Draco.” He whispered quietly as he slid into the seat next to Draco’s.
Draco glanced up quickly and gave a weak smile. “Hi Harry.”
“Studying going well I take it?” Harry asked playfully.
With a derisive laugh Draco answered, “Just wonderfully.” With a drawn out sigh he fixed his eyes on Harry. “Are you here to provide a welcome distraction?”
Harry tried very hard not to blush.
“Actually yes.” Draco looked a bit surprised at that, so Harry couldn’t help but smile. Giving the sleeve of Draco’s robe a tug he said, “Come on.” He grinned as Draco began packing up his things to follow him out.
Harry led him out of the castle into the sunny day. When he neared the edge of the lake he pulled out a blanket from his satchel and spread it out for them. He plopped down. Draco sat down gracefully next to him and turned to him expectantly. With a devilish grin he pulled out several small rock cakes. Laughing at the wary look on Draco’s face he handed one over.
“Bet you a galleon you can’t eat a whole one.” Harry teased.
With narrowed eyes and squared shoulders Draco reached out and took one. His mouth promptly fell open as he held the rock cake.
“How on earth is it so heavy?” His eyes were wide as he examined it. Using both hands he tried to rip it in half. His eyebrows furrowed as he tried his best to make a dent in the rock cake. Harry held in his laughter, watching the struggle in silence.
Eventually Draco threw it down in defeat. “Nope.” Was all he said.
Laughing Harry asked, “You aren’t even going to try to take a bite?”
Looking offended Draco replied, “And risk ruining this beautiful smile?” He smiled brilliantly, making Harry’s heart flutter.
Rolling his eyes and hoping his blush wasn’t too obvious, Harry muttered, “I suppose not.” There was a long beat of silence. Clearing his throat Harry grabbed one of the rock cakes. “Maybe the Giant Squid will appreciate them.” He threw one into the lake and was slightly shocked at how quickly it sank.
Draco laughed. “Really, Harry. Is that as far as you can throw?” He stood up and grabbed one, launching it far out into the lake. He turned to face Harry with a cheeky grin, hands on his hip and an eyebrow raised in challenge.
By the time they threw the last one neither would concede. “I definitely threw that last one further than yours!” Draco complained.
“Not even close.” Harry replied.
Draco crossed his arms over his chest. “I always knew you were a liar.” But there was a smile playing on his lips. As Harry looked into glittering grey eyes a spark of hope danced around in his chest.
He opened his mouth to say something, something important and hopefully life altering, when there was a splash from the lake. They both turned to look and Harry was only just able to duck in time to avoid being smashed in the face with a rock cake. Mouths open, they stared at the lake for one confused second before there was a second splash. “Run!” Harry yelled, quickly grabbing his things. They raced towards the castle, occasionally with pain filled expletives as the rock cakes hit them.
When they finally ran through the front doors they collapsed together against the wall, breathless laughter huffing out of both of them. Draco let his head fall into Harry’s shoulder, a hand pressed to his mouth as he tried to control himself. A giggle escaped his lips and he pressed his face further into Harry’s shoulder, causing Harry to grin like a fool. Draco glanced up at Harry, a shy smile playing on his lips. He looked away as a blush began to drift across his cheeks and suddenly froze. Harry looked up quickly to find Hermione standing a few feet away, hands clasped under her chin, smiling delightedly. He quickly looked back to Draco who had gone pale. He lurched away from Harry, looking quickly between Harry and Hermione.
With a derisive laugh he straightened his robes. “You have got to be kidding me.” He muttered under his breath. Without saying anything else he started to walk away.
“Draco!” Harry called out, confused
“Absolutely not.” Draco answered in a flat voice without turning around or pausing in his stride.
Deflated, Harry turned to Hermione who was staring after Draco with wide eyes. When she glanced at Harry her face crumpled. “I’m so sorry Harry.”
With mounting trepidation he asked, “What did you do?”
One week later
Draco sighed as he climbed yet another staircase. In all fairness, he was now climbing stairs to get straight to the owlery but he had climbed many in the last week on his many detours and strange routes in his efforts to avoid Harry. His feet might be sore, but his method had worked. He had managed to go a whole week without running into the savior outside of class.
Of course, he shouldn’t have been thinking that outside the confines of his room. When he pushed the door open, he was only slightly surprised to find bright green eyes looking up at him. He looked away quickly and contemplated damning his pride and making a run for it. With a sigh, he shut the door behind him and went to his owl.
“Surprised you can stand to be in the same room as me.” Harry said bitterly.
Draco glanced at him with a frown. “What?” He asked.
Harry’s laugh was self-deprecating and completely unsuited to him. “You’ve been avoiding me all week.”
“Yes. I have been.” Draco acknowledged. “But only because I didn’t know what to say to you.”
“Your ‘absolutely not’ spoke volumes, don’t worry.” Harry’s voice was flat. He stared at the owls above him. With a sigh he continued. “You know, you could have just said that you don’t see me that way. It’s not as though I’m going to jump you. I thought we could at least still be friends.”
Draco watched as his bright green eyes started to shine. He watched the long column of his throat as he swallowed. He couldn’t imagine anyone not seeing Harry Potter that way.
“What?” Harry looked at him in surprise. Draco cursed himself as he realized he had said that out loud.
“Look. I can’t deny that you are attractive. Extremely attractive. And I like spending time with you. We seem to get along really well.” Harry was staring at him with wide eyes. Realizing he was babbling he tried to get to the point. “But you and me? We could never work. It would be an awful idea. I’m sorry, Potter.”
Hearing his last name seemed to spur Harry into action. He got up with a small smile on his lips. “Potter again, is it?” His voice was pitched lower than usual.
Draco rolled his eyes as he fought off a blush. “Well yes. One of us clearly needs to remind the other of who we are.”
Harry shook his head. “Who we were. We are allowed to change Draco.”
He kept walking slowly towards Draco, who panicked. “What are you doing?”
Harry’s smile was pure mischief. “I want to show you how well we would work.” His gaze flickered to Draco’s lips.
With wide eyes Draco held a hand out to ward Harry off. “Don’t you dare touch me, Potter.”
Harry stopped. “Draco, you like me. You just admitted it. Why can’t we try this?”
“Because.” Draco didn’t notice the way his hand trembled, but he felt the anxiety clawing at his chest. Harry frowned and he realized he had to continue.
“Because I know who I am. I am struggling to come to terms with anyone wanting to be with me.” He licked his dry lips and winced as a slightly hysterical laugh escaped his lips. “And the absurdity that it’s you who likes me..” he shook his head. “I’m not naive enough to think that would last.”
The look on Harry’s face was hard to interpret, but the flash of pity Draco saw there was all he needed to see. Harry opened his mouth to say something.
Shaking his head desperately, Draco whispered, “Please Harry.” He hoped Harry would leave it at that, that he wouldn’t have to ask him to get over his crush on his own. Without involving Draco. Without breaking his heart.
They stood there for a seemingly endless moment before Harry gave a small nod and Draco finally fled.
Two weeks later
Draco let out a relieved sigh when the final bell rang on Friday afternoon. It had been a long week. He’d stopped avoiding Harry, they gave each other small nods when they passed each other in the halls but hadn’t spoken since the owlery.
There was a lingering regret that still pulled at Draco’s chest when he thought about it, but he knew he had done the right thing. He knew he wouldn’t have survived Harry getting bored of him.
While he was packing his things away something bright blue caught his eye in his bag. With a frown he reached in and pulled out a card that was attached to a small bag of chocolates. There was only a single sentence written on the card.
I think you’re sweet.
Frowning, he tried to think of when he had left his bag unattended. Either way, he wasn’t going to eat anything from a stranger. He’d seen enough love potions to be smarter than that and he definitely wasn’t going to allow himself to be made fun of. Shoving it back into his bag he made his way into the great hall.
The Slytherin table was more sombre than it once was. Especially for Draco, since none of his friends had returned. He sat with a few sixth years. Astoria, who was a family friend, and a few others.
They were all talking about their potions homework as Draco ate, keen to get to his room and be alone. When dessert appeared he was both shocked and elated to discover that there was pumpkin pie right in front of him. It was normally only served in October which was awful since it was his favourite.
He let out a happy sigh as he savoured the first bite.
“Draco! Where did you get pumpkin pie?” Astoria leaned over and asked him. He turned to point at the plate he had gotten the pie from but froze when he saw that the plate was gone. With a frown he looked down at his plate which still held a perfect piece of pumpkin pie.
Glancing up quickly he looked toward the Gryffindor table. The golden trio were sitting close together staring straight at Draco. Granger had her wand out. As soon as they saw him looking, they all quickly looked away. They were all grinning.
Frowning, he answered. “I got the last piece it seems.”
He couldn’t think what game the Gryffindor’s were playing, but he knew that they wouldn’t hurt him. So he joyfully ate the rest of the pie.
He went to the library after dinner to get his homework done for the weekend. It was dark outside when he returned to his room. With an exasperated sigh, he realized he would need to speak to Harry in the morning. With a tender hand he moved the flowers – blue orchids which were admittedly his favorite – into a vase and placed them on his desk next to his bed.
He tossed and turned all night.
Harry had just entered through the front doors after a visit to Hogsmeade with a bag full of surprises for Draco when he saw a flash of blonde hair. He turned quickly to get away, talking to Draco was only scheduled for three days later and he really wanted to stick to his carefully crafted plan.
“Potter!” He didn’t even pause in his stride. “Harry!” Draco’s edge had enough desperation mixed in that Harry relented. With a sigh he turned.
“Hi, Draco.” The pout on Draco’s face had him smiling.
“What are you doing?” He demanded. “Why all the gifts?”
The smile fell off of Harry’s face as he realised that Draco really had no idea why Harry was giving him all the gifts. He searched confused, vulnerable eyes and realised his 7 day plan to win Draco Malfoy wasn’t going to work. Another tactic would have to be implemented.
A blush heated his cheeks as he thought of how best to explain himself. Confusion bloomed on Draco’s face. “I’m trying to woo you, Draco.” He eventually decided on. Draco’s stared at Harry in shock.
Harry couldn’t help but laugh. “Draco, it’s not a silly little crush. I really like you. And I do know you.”
Shaking his head, Draco replied. “You don’t know me. Not really.”
Setting the heavy bag down, Harry stepped closer. “But I do.” He answered softly. “Do you know the first time I realised I had feelings for you?” Draco stared up at Harry with wide grey eyes. Ever so slightly, he shook his head. “It was four months ago. You stopped by a first year Hufflepuff who was crying because she was the first of her family not to be in Ravenclaw and she didn’t know what to be now that she couldn’t be smart.” His eyes softened as he remembered. “You told her that being a Hufflepuff meant she had a heart of gold, but just because she wasn’t in Gryffindor didn’t mean she couldn’t be brave and just because she wasn’t in Ravenclaw didn’t mean she couldn’t be smart too.” Harry smiled as Draco blushed.
“It’s rude to eavesdrop, Potter.” He said with a sniff.
Laughing, Harry fought the urge to reach out and touch him. “I know you, Draco. I like who you are.”
“I’m not all good all of a sudden. I’m still sarcastic and competitive and a little bitter.” Draco said fiercely. “I haven’t changed completely. I don’t want to be involved when you realise all of that and decide I’m not all that great after all.”
“Draco. I haven’t forgotten how snarky you are.” Draco huffed out a laugh. “Or how good you are at sulking. I don’t like a small part of you, I like all that too.” Draco crossed his arms and looked at the ground. “I like how you challenge me. How you never liked me just because of who I am and that you really see me. Look, I’m not going to lie and say I’ve fallen for you because I haven’t had the chance.” He finally gave in and brushed his thumb over his cheekbone. Draco let out a shaky breath. “But I wouldn’t be pushing this if I didn’t think it would happen.”
“I’m scared.” Draco admitted quietly.
Harry smiled widely. “That’s okay, I’ll be brave for both of us.”
Rolling his eyes exaggeratedly, Draco said. “That was exceptionally cheesy.”
Offended, Harry started to protest, “Hey it’s-” but he was promptly cut off when Draco stepped forward and pressed their lips together.
Letting out a soft, relieved sigh, Harry moved as close as he could and placed his hand in Draco’s soft hair, cupping the back of his head. Draco grabbed onto his wrist.
After a soft, satisfied moan Draco pulled away. He leaned his forehead against Harry’s. “Okay.” He said softly. He cleared his throat and disentangled himself.
“Fine.” He said more clearly. He straightened his robes.
Harry was grinning stupidly at him. With a raised eyebrow Draco spoke again. “You may proceed with the wooing.” Harry sputtered as Draco turned on his heel and strode away with a swish of his cloak.
“But you just kissed me!” Harry shouted after him.
Draco turned and regarded Harry. “To make sure I wasn’t wasting your time. Now don’t waste mine.” With a wink and the cheekiest smile Harry had ever seen he turned and walked away.