Draco knew that going back to Hogwarts for the so called "Eighth Year" would be an excersize in patience, humility, and healing spells. But he was determined to finish school and make a name for himself. Fuck the Malfoy name - all it had ever given him was a shit attitude and the feeling of being a colossal failure. According to his father he was never good enough, smart enough, quick enough, straight enough - fuck. He had promised himself he would quit thinking about his past life of being a Malfoy or his father or that nightmare hellscape he once called home.
His former father now resided in Azkaban and his mother had died by the hands of a vigilante never caught. But he thinks she would be proud of the choices he has made. He took her maiden name, Black, to honor the only parent that had ever loved or supported him. He'd been seeing a muggle therapist since a week after the war and she had suggested a new name for a new start. Daily counseling sessions helped to heal Draco in a way he never thought possible. He was no longer suicidal or patricidal, he had written almost a hundred apology letters, and had even met once for coffee with Potter. He knew a letter would never be enough...
After the Death Eater trials and his release on probation (thanks to Potter) Draco moved his small trunk and eagle owl Merlin to one of the small muggle Malfoy rental houses. He would rather die than step foot in the manor ever again. He sent the elves to Hogwarts and burned the manor to the ground. No one had even shown up to see what had happened. After making sure everything was gone, and the fire hadn't spread he went to his new home, #27, and owled Potter. He wanted to meet, to say thanks, apologize, and HOPEFULLY move on from his pathetically earth shatteringly humungous crush.
They agreed to meet at a coffee shop down the road from where Draco now lived. Their meeting was short, awkward, and resolutely final. Potter returned Draco's wand, gave condolences over his mother, listened to Draco's lengthy apologies, wished him all the best and then disappeared. As Draco left, feeling empty and drained he saw a help wanted sign in the window and decided to work. He had nothing else to do to fill his days and he still wasn't sleeping. That's the story of Draco's summer between the war and September first. He worked almost all day in the coffee shop, Burt's Beans, and either went to therapy or spent almost all night writing apology letters and trying to make ammends.
Draco was absolutely shocked to receive a Hogwarts letter in August inviting him back for a last year. Mcgonagall had been kind after receiving her own apology letter in May and allowed Draco to visit Dumbledore's portrait, another apology, and Professor Snape's portrait. He had spent an entire afternoon with Severus telling the man how much he missed and admired him. How sorry he was for sixth year, and about burning the manor to ashes. It was Severus' idea to see a muggle therapist, and since he trusted Snape he went.
And now here he was, settling into his new bed in the temporary eighth year dorm with 4 Gryffindors, 2 Ravenclaws, 3 Hufflepuffs and one Harry Potter. Draco Black was doomed because he thought it was over, that his feelings for one savior of the world were buried in the ashes of his old manor home along with his old name. He was fucking doomed.
****** time skip *******
This year wasn't as bad as Draco had imagined. With Christmas hols beginning tomorrow Draco had plans to stay at Hogwarts, study, and wank himself raw in the privacy of his empty dorm. Everyone else was leaving, and Draco was ready to be alone. The reason things weren't so bad was because the bloody golden trio had befriended him, which in turn caused the entire school to forgive him his tainted past.
And while Draco was thankful things were going smoothly, being friends with Harry (who he could no longer call Potter no matter how hard he tried) was the best and worst thing that had ever happened to him. Since Weasel and Hermione had become a couple, in the Chamber of Secrets?!, Harry had started to spend a majority of his downtime with Draco to give his best friends time alone.
They had so much in common, and MERLIN, that laugh. It somehow simultaneously sent electricity straight to Draco's heart and cock. If that is even possible. How is that possible?
****** Christmas morning *******
Draco had planned to sleep in on Christmas morning. He had explicitly mentioned to his new and old friends that he didn't want presents and expected a quiet day filled with coffee and his healing text book. Imagine his surprise to be woken up before 10am by a disgruntled and snow covered Merlin holding an envelope in his beak. After drying his owl, grumbling about dripping birds and settling back in under the covers he opens the envelope. He recognized the untidy chicken scratch instantly.
What are you so afraid of? Could it be three simple words? The very secret that you're trying to conceal is the very same one that I'm dying to reveal... so tell me how you feel. Draco Black, I think I'm falling in love with you. I'm sure you had planned on spending the day by the fire guzzling coffee and studying, but meet me in Hogsmeade instead. It's been a week and I miss you.
Draco had never gotten dressed so quickly in his life and had a bruise on his forehead when he met Harry for coffee 11 minutes later.