Keep in mind that this is 100% subjective and reflects my personal taste in fics in regards to content/tropes/genre/kinks etc. Some of these are acknowledged fandom favorites, but I've noticed that I don't always 100% agree with the H/D classics consensus. I think because I didn't start reading fanfic until well after Deathly Hallows was published, I tend not to enjoy fics written before then that go crazy AU. Again, personal preference, but there won't be many fics written prior to 2008.
I tried to really pick from a wide variety of my favorites. There are eighth year fics, AUs, PWPs, super long fics, different kinks, different themes, different authors/fests/years etc. These are the ones that I have read again and again and I just never get tired of them. Making this list was one of the hardest things ever, which is why I have a fairly long Honorable Mentions list. Those are fics that could basically be on the Top 25, but I couldn't pick any other fic to get rid of.
I decided to put why I chose the fics under a spoiler cut, because the post was getting a bit text-heavy, and there might be minor spoilers in there.
So, in absolutely no order...
1. Hard On The Knees by weasleywench: [Why I Love It]
The relationship dynamic in this one is really excellent and Harry's feelings for Draco are so evident in how much he wants him. The interrupted blowjob is crazy hot and the wall!sex later on is even hotter.
2. Preparation and Blush by closet_bound:[Why I Love It]
These are definitely Hogwarts-era AUs, but since they are both PWPs it's not really noticeable. I have a major thing for dirty talk and innocent!Harry and Draco telling him exactly what he would do to him is pretty freaking hot.
3. Salt on the Western Wind by saras_girl: [Why I Love It]
One of my absolute favs from an author who consistently writes fantastic fics. I loved the more remote, romantic setting, the bonding trope, the slow build made even more emotionally powerful due to the timing of the fic and possible due to their isolation with Ron and Hermione.
4. Party of Two by fireflavored: [Why I Love It]
Friends to lovers trope! I love this trope and this is probably my favorite fic utilizing it. I just love their relationship here, how they go from drinking buddies to friends to fuckbuddies and then realize they are in a relationship and just accept it. Surprisingly little angst and so much fun!
5. Reparations and Foundations by saras_girl: [Why I Love It]
I'm counting this as one fic! Because I can. I mean, you can't just read one, right? Everybody in fandom should know about these. If you haven't read them, do so immediately. There are so many little things I love about these fics I could go on forever. Harry and Draco here are captured beautifully and their relationship development is beyond fantastic. There are so many details that will draw you in and stay with you long after reading.
6. The Incredible Race by dysonrules: [Why I Love It]
Another favorite author mine, it was really hard trying to decide on a favorite of many favorites, but this one won out. I loved the game-show style with all o fthe different locations and the switching between people watching the show and Harry and Draco participating. Draco and Harry competiting with each other instead of against definitely made a very formidable team and I loved how they both got to show off their different strengths and skills. Plus, the sexual tension here was crazy hot and even hotter when things finally came to a head.
7. Draco Malfoy, It's Your Lucky Day by faithwood: [Why I Love It]
I'm a huge fan of this author but this is probably my favorite. I love the way she writes Draco's voice and I really loved seeing his evolution over the course of the fic. This fic is funny and sweet and Harry was so adorable.
8. Azoth by zeitgeistic: [Why I Love It]
I have a hard time articulating how much I love this fic. Harry in this is just wonderfully characterized. His voice was funny and insightful and his interactions with everybody rang so true. Harry has a lot of very different relationships with all the characters, and how these relationships change and affect his emotions was just amazing and really resonated with me. I really connected with the personal journey Harry goes through here, more than any other fanfic I can really think of. I'm bad at explaining things, but it's awesome.
9. Mental by sara_holmes: [Why I Love It]
Long eighth year bonding!fic- you're already sold, aren't you? Loved the literal telepathic bond and how it really showcased and was the catalyst for their relationship and better understanding of one another.
10. Very Important Meeting by icmezzo: [Why I Love It]
I think this was the first fic I read by this author and I immediately fell in love. This fic is so funny and sexy and has a wonderfully observant Luna. Super light and hot and full of public!sex and poor Harry trying to stay composed.
11. Savage by marguerite_26: [Why I Love It]
This is the creature fic. Draco's characterization here both as a person and a werewolf is perfect and the sexual tension between Harry and Draco is scorching.
12. Sex, Lies, and Veritaserum by lettered: [Why I Love It]
This was one of the first fics I ever read on Ao3 and I remember it just about killed me. I am ALL about the dirty talk, so Harry and Draco talking all about their dirtiest fantasies? YES, PLEASE! I'm normally not a huge established relationship lover when reading fics, but I really loved it here. I thought it made perfect sense that they would have to be more comfortable with one another before really opening up. And I loved the aspect of the Veritaserum and why Draco wanted to use it. Just fantastic.
13. On One's Knees and On One's Knees (schmoopy alternative ending) by pir8fancier: [Why I Love It]
This fic was just really freaking fantastic. Both Draco and Harry are so fantastic in this, but Draco especially was just phenomenal. The things he goes through and how he picks himself up and just does what he needs to in order to survive is so powerful. The connection between Harry and Draco is so real and beautiful and you just want them to be together, and then you have the ending which was so bittersweet because you know it's the right choice, the only choice really. But I definitely prefer it with the alternate ending added on. :)
14. In the Company of a Rubber Duck by birdsofshore: [Why I Love It]
I really adore this author and this fic was one of my favorites from a really fabulous fest. The concept was super interesting and Draco is particularly amazing in this. He's funny and witty and so hilarious in all his object reincarnations. I loved the relationship between Harry and Draco- it felt very well-paced and believable. Just a really enjoyable, relatively light read, with a hilarious surprise cameo at the end ;)
15. Defendere by lomonaaeren: [Why I Love It]
Seriously amazing fic that really explores how Harry might be affected by the emotional abuse he received from the Dursleys as a child and all the death and darkness he had to deal with in being the Chosen One. It always kind of bothered me how unconcerned many of the "responsible" adults in Harry's life seemed with his emotional well-being after all of the traumatic incidents he faces, so I loved the concept of this fic and how it explores those issues. Plus, it has accidental bonding, a wonderful Draco, and some amazingly hot sex.
16. Stepping Stones by lomonaaeren: [Why I Love It]
I'm in love with Harry in this fic. What he goes through and his decision to marry Ginny and then getting partnered with Draco and watching how everything starts to change for him. How he realizes what a mistake he's made and tries to fix it and ultimately realizes that he can't change who he falls in love with. Such a lovely and bittersweet journey with harry going after what he wants and taking ownerships of the mistakes he's made.
17. Changing of the Guard by lomonaaeren: [Why I Love It]
It was nearly impossible trying to limit myself to just three fics from this author but this one had to make the cut. IN the wizarding world homosexuality is not socially acceptable, especially among purebloods, and that mentality plays a huge role in this fic. It's rare to see that stance in fic since many use fanfiction as a way to escape the issues in RL, so I enjoyed getting to see a different magical world than the ones I usually see. The fic definitely gets heavy, and there are a lot of issues that are touched upon, but it's wonderfully written with great characterizations. I especially loved Draco and how his understanding really helps bring Harry back to himself and lets him start accepting who he is.
18. All Our Secrets Laid Bare by firethesound: [Why I Love It]
The development of Harry and Draco's relationship was perfectly paced, the tension and build-up was believable, and the dialogue was witty and funny. I loved characterizations of Harry and Draco here, and the side characters and original characters were truly fantastic (Ron in this fic is one of the best I've read). Plus, it has some of my favorites; tattooed Draco, Draco in glasses, powerful Harry, and awesome friend Ron.
19. Coffee, Cakes and Doorknob Snakes by omi_ohmy: [Why I Love It]
I think this fic kicked off my obsession with cursebreaker!Draco. I really love when Draco is intelligent, and competent, and I thought he was just so believable in this fic. The sexual tension between Harry and Draco was so scorching hot and the build-up was fantastic (even better when they finally give in). There is a line at the end of this fic (from Luna I believe) about why they still call each other Potter & Malfoy, that has stuck with me to this day.
20. "What You Do With Your Life, A.H.K.B.C.B." (After the Hero Kills the Batshit Crazy Bastard) by oldenuf2nb: [Why I Love It]
I loved this fic. I am normally not crazy about fics where the boys are in serious relationships with other guys to start out, but this one was really fabulous and the other relationships really didn't bother me at all, especially considering how they end up really bonding the boys together. The opening scene with Draco helping harry save face was just brilliant, and then when Harry returns the favor with the tequila shots...YES! Funny and sexy and just a wonderful development of their relationship and feelings towards one another.
21. Collect Your Courage by mervab: [Why I Love It]
I am not a huge fan of infidelity fics but this is just perfect. Draco and Harry are both characterized beautifully with their own issues and way of dealing with things. Draco as a healer coming into his own, making friends, learning to forgive himself and believe he deserves good things is such a beautiful and powerful journey. I adored watching the side characters really come to Life (Lavender is perfection) and seeing the evolution of Draco and Harry's relationship becoming something they were both worthy of.
22. Slightly Silly Codpiece-Ripper Porn and Bedfellow by pingrid: [Why I Love It]
Very AU and super freaking hot. Love me some power dynamics (and Dom!Draco is love) and these fics with Lord Draco and pageboy Harry were so sexy. Straight up porn. Sexy, sexy porn.
23. The Arc of the Pendulum by brummell: [Why I Love It]
I loved this twist on Beauty and the Beast and I thought that seeing how Harry was affected by the curse was so fascinating. Draco was wonderful as you watch him struggle with his feelings towards Lucius and how his feelings towards Harry evolve. The way he handles Harry and tries to help him stay anchored to his humanity was beautiful and the ending. God, it was just so powerful, so many feels!
24. Teach Me, Life; Guide Me, Love by kiraohara: [Why I Love It]
This is a very Draco-centric fic and spans his life from before Hogwarts to well after the war. I loved getting to see this side of Draco, why he acted the way he did and the way he really felt about everything. Definitely portrays the whole Malfoy family in a much more positive light, and it features probably my all-time favorite Lucius. Seeing Draco grow and evolve and really find himself and what he believes in was just such a beautiful journey, and the books, were such a wonderful concept. Of course, the H/D in this is fantastic and how their friendship and relationship develops is perfection, but more than anything, Draco's journey really sells this fic for me.
25. A Tale of Horns Series: The Inaugural "Tongues of Fire" Photographic Wall Calendar,
Mating Rituals of the Winged Predator: How Mr. February Got Almost Everything He Wanted, Claws That Catch: The Fierce Beast in His Lair, Dragon Riding for Beginners – How the Cover Boy Finally Got It by pushdragon: [Why I Love It]
I think that this might be the absolute hottest series ever written. One of these fics is literally 20K of straight(lol), scorching hot porn. I didn't even know that was possible. It's got a dare-devil Draco, a bi-curious seeker!Harry, a sexy Charlie, and starts with a good old fashioned suggestive calendar photo shoot. These fics are fun, and ridiculously hot, and feelings even manage to sneak in.
Turn by saras_girl
Big Dick, Come Quick by calanthe
Building With Worn-Out Tools by lomonaaeren
In Pieces by dysonrules
Counterpoise by faithwood
In the Toilet of the Leaky by marguerite_26
A Brick by dysonrules
A Most Memorable Christmas by ifyouweremine
*edit*I knew I would miss something! I 100% thought this was on the top 25, but I guess not. i don't want to kick any of the others off, so this will be an honorable mention, but it is amazing and I love it forever.
Light as Iron, Singed as Pearl by snegurochka_lee
What are your favorite fics? Are there any fics I totally missed? I love hearing about other people's favorites, squeeing about all the wonderful, and adding to my "to-read" list! :)