Happy Valentine's Day! Because of the cliffhanger, I've put the author's notes at the end.



Several things happened at once. Harry broke through the wards guarding the door and charged into the room. He did so in time to see Draco move his wand from the direction of the sound-alike— who, as Harry suspected, was also a lookalike— to his own forehead. Harry could have tried casting a summoning charm or even his signature Expelliarmus, but the only thing he could think to scream was Draco's name. As if that could stop Draco from shouting the second half of the killing curse and disappearing from his life forever.

"Kkkk—" Draco made a choking sound as he opened his eyes. His wand was still pressed against his temple as he spotted Harry— or rather, the Harry by the door— and gasped. "Harry…"

As an Auror, Harry knew he should have disabled the threat (in this case, the lookalike) the moment he entered the room. Instead, he closed the distance between him and Draco and yanked the wand out of Draco's hand.

"Don't you ever think about doing that again," he said, grabbing Draco's wrist and squeezing. "If you do, you might as well kill me first, because that's what will happen."

"That's never happened before," Draco said, a dazed look in his eyes. "Before, I always… I killed…" He trailed off, staring at Potter, whose glasses could have cracked from his venomous glare. "You were wrong, Harry. They weren't nightmares."

Fog started pouring out of Potter's appendages.

"They weren't people either," Harry said, eyeing Potter warily. "What is he— it?"

Potter started hissing. Beside him, Draco froze, tightening his grip on Harry's arm. "The monster under my bed."

At this, Potter disappeared completely in smoke and started transforming into a dark cloaked figure that reminded Harry of a Dementor. Was it a Boggart? Harry didn't think his Boggart produced a Dementor anymore.

"Does it normally do this?" Harry asked as he erected a shield around them.

Draco didn't answer. Harry noticed he was staring at a cardboard box by the wardrobe.

"Draco?" he repeated.

The blond pushed him away and went for the box. The creature's tendrils followed him.

"Draco!" Harry hissed as the fog drew a line between the two of them. At last, Draco looked up through the thin fog, meeting Harry's eyes. Harry was startled at how calm he looked. In that moment, even as the foggy tendrils circled Draco's skull the only word Harry could think of to describe Draco's gaze was fearless.

As if reading his mind, Draco smirked and pulled a stack of papers out of the box. He took a deep breath, as if preparing to utter a spell. Instead, he started reading out loud.


Dear Harry Potter,

I'm afraid my first letter must have gotten lost in the mail. My House Elf Dobby is very sorry and says he will iron his ears in your honor. You see, there is a monster hiding under my bed, and I'm afraid it will hurt me if you don't make it go away.

I saw the prettiest thing in the world today. I was having a nightmare, and when I woke up, I saw the sky turn a million colors. Have you ever seen a sunrise? I hear that at Hogwarts there's a hall that shows the sky on the ceiling. Maybe we could watch the sunrise on it together sometime.

Anyway, I hope you are well and that my letter reaches you safely.


Draco Malfoy

P.S. Do you like Quidditch? I like Quidditch. I'm going to be the best Keeper Slytherin has ever seen. Father says so.

Dear Harry Potter,

I've come to realize that I never properly introduced myself. My mother says first impressions are very important. So let me tell you about myself. (It is one of my favorite pastimes, after all).

I love dark chocolate. The bitterer, the betterer. Don't even try to give me Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, though. The Muggle version— jello beans?— is far superior, although I'll deny it if you tell anyone. I'm also deathly allergic to shrimp. Father says I shouldn't tell anyone because they could use such information in a plot to assassinate me and bring ruin to the Malfoy family. So hopefully you're never in a position where you want to kill me. (But I know you won't be, because everyone loves me. It's one of my many talents.)

Well, everyone except the peacocks. The peacocks hate me. Here I am, sharing said dark chocolate with them— the expensive kind, of course, nothing less for a Malfoy— and they nearly bite my finger off! My mother insists they're not carnivorous, but I don't believe her. So now I'm afraid of anything with wings. Except for owls, of course, because they're incompetent fluffballs who keep misplacing your responses.

My favorite person in the world is my Uncle Severus. He's the head of Slytherin House, and he teaches Potions at Hogwarts. He also makes a great bean dip. I want to be just like him when I grow up. Only with better hair. (I would say I want to be just like you when I grow up, but you're younger than me.)

If you want to know any more of my secrets, you'll have to come visit me in person. I promise I'm worth it.


Draco Malfoy

Dear Harry Potter,

It's rude to leave someone waiting this long, even if you are the Boy Who Lived. I'm beginning to suspect you're a big fat fraud. So show yourself, you stupid halfblood. Or I'll set the peacocks on you.


Draco Malfoy

P.S. They bite.

Dear Harry Potter,

There was a mistake with the mail yesterday. You see, the monster put me under the imperial curse and made me write all those awful things. I know all about the imperial curse because Father was under it once. Some bad man forced him to get an ugly tattoo on his arm. I don't see how he can stand it— I think I'd cut my arm off if that happened to me. But, anyway, I'm fine now, except for being haunted by a monster. So if you could come get rid of it, that would be nice in a completely non-Hufflepuff way.


Draco Malfoy

P.S. It's my birthday in a week, and I'd really like it if you came to my party. I peeked in the kitchen, and the cake is bigger than me!

Dear Harry Potter,

If you can't help me with the monster under my bed, maybe you can help me solve another mystery. What's a Death Eater? Stupid Charlie Weasley called my father a Death Eater and said I would grow up to be just like him. (I suppose a witless blood traitor like him would think that's an insult. I'm going to be a very important person someday.) I asked Father about it, and he threatened to feed me to the peacocks like he did Orion. Do you think it's referring to his breath? Because his breath does smell like death sometimes, especially when he eats garlic. But it was still rude of Weasley to say.

You had better respond to this letter. Or else you're a Death Eater too!


Draco Malfoy

Dear Harry Potter,

I saw a man die today. It gave me goose bumps.

I hope it doesn't happen again.


Draco Malfoy

Dear Scarhead,

I hate you.


Draco Malfoy


The imposter had exploded into dust long before Draco had finished reading the letters. Somewhere in there, Harry had started crying. In the silence that followed, Harry pretended to clean his glasses. It was too blurry to tell whether Draco bought his act or not. When he put them back on, he found Draco at his side, holding out his arms. Harry fell into them gladly.

"It was real," Draco breathed. "The monster under my bed. All this time…" He frowned as the shock settled. "But what was it?"

"I think I may know someone who knows the answer," Harry replied with a grimace.


The portrait of Malfoy stared down at them, smirk gone from his face. This Malfoy didn't look as young as he had before. He looked like he'd fought a war. And lost. "It's gone, then?" he asked. "Of course you managed it, Potter. First the Dark Lord. Now the Lord of the Dark."

"Not me," Harry said. "Draco."

Malfoy grimaced—although whether at the name or the feat, Harry wasn't sure. "I doubt that. We've fallen prey to it so many times." The "we" wasn't lost on Harry.

"Why were you trying to kill me?" Draco demanded.

"Because portraits don't have the luxury of nightmares," Malfoy shot back.

"Boys," Harry warned.

Draco folded his arms. "I don't believe you. You could have helped me."

"You could have taken me with you."

"It would have looked tacky," Draco protested. "Plus your voice hasn't changed yet, which is just weird—"

"Speaking of weird," Harry interjected before Draco could get in a fight with himself (because if anyone could manage that, of course it would be him). "What was that thing? You called it the Lord of the Dark?"

Malfoy snorted. "Of course. If you're going to be haunted by someone, it might as well be royalty. It's called a Phoggart. The offspring of a Dementor and a Boggart."

Harry and Draco exchanged an incredulous glance. "How does that even happen?" Harry asked.

Malfoy smirked. "If you want a demonstration, you're asking the wrong Malfoy."

Draco rolled his eyes. "He's flirting with you, you know," he told Harry.

"I am not!" Malfoy protested. "Anyway, all I know is that a Phoggart inherits the worst of each of its parents. It latches onto its victim and never lets go. It doesn't just become your fears. It feeds on them. It drives people mad, but it doesn't kill them." He met Harry's eyes. "Even the things that can't, strictly, be killed."

Maybe it was because he looked identical to his boyfriend, minus a few crucial years, but Harry couldn't stop himself from sympathizing with Malfoy. Even if the boy had mocked Harry for having such a severe reaction to the Dementors back in Third Year, no one deserved to live in a constant state of fear. It didn't excuse Malfoy from trying to kill Draco, just like it didn't excuse George from sending the letters. But if Malfoy was telling the truth, then the Phoggart had been feeding on Draco since he was seven. When Draco had fled, it had turned to the portrait. And when that wasn't enough, it had used the portrait to get to Draco in any way he could: through George, through Toothless, through the knight…

Whatever Draco had felt when he was reading his old letters, it must have been very strong to defeat the creature.

Draco folded his arms. "I've never heard of a Phoggart. How do we know you're not making all this up?"

"I suppose you could always ask the Mudblood."

"Merlin. She'd probably start a movement to put them in the Minister's Cabinet," Draco said, horrified by the idea. "And, er, don't call Granger that."

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was one in the Minister's cabinet," Malfoy sighed. "He's going to be the undoing of the Ministry, mark my words."

"Cheers to that," Harry muttered.

"Speak for yourself," Draco said. "I'm the one who ends up having to clean up his messes." He was smiling a little.

Harry slipped his fingers into Draco's hand. "But I'll bet you learn more state secrets than any other Malfoy, Mr. Janitor."

"You're a janitor?" Malfoy gaped.

"You're a ground-up piece of tree," Draco snapped.

"Redwood," Malfoy shot back. "I'll bet I cost more than you get paid in a year!"

"You know," Harry interjected. "Kennedy once asked a janitor at NASA what his job was. He said he helped put a man on the moon."

The two purebloods stared at him confusedly.

"Who's Kennedy?" Draco asked.

"And who cares about the moon?" Malfoy sniffed. "Mars is much more impressive."

Harry sighed. "It just means that you're a very important person."

Remembering his letter, Draco smiled. He grew considerably warier when he turned toward Malfoy. "Harry was right, then? The people I killed weren't real?"

Malfoy shook his head.

"Then why did you try to kill me?" Draco asked. "Couldn't you have used imaginary victims?"

Malfoy's stare was chilling. "It grew up with us. I had hoped it might die if you did."

Draco looked more resigned than disappointed. "I think I would have done the same thing at your age." He turned his back and walked away. Harry moved to follow.


Harry sighed. If Malfoy said something stupid about the war, or janitors, or really anything that wasn't an apology, he was going to spend the rest of his days as a tablecloth. "What, Malfoy?"

Malfoy bit his lip, looking surprisingly sheepish. "Could I have my Crup back?"


"Did you actually believe the Phoggart was me?" Harry asked when they were back at Grimmauld Place, huddled on the coach under a blanket.

"Did you actually believe I was writing the letters?" Draco countered.


"I knew something was wrong with you," Draco said. "But I didn't know if you were possessed or if it was an imposter. That's why I couldn't risk…"

"I know," Harry said.

Draco's voice grew quieter. "The Phoggart didn't affect you."

"Of course it had a stronger hold on you. You resisted it for fifteen years."

"I don't know," Draco said. "When I think about all of the things I've done…"

Harry squeezed in closer, thinking about the letters Draco had read aloud. Draco still hadn't told him why he'd thought reading the letters would banish the Phoggart, leaving Harry to come up with a theory on his own. It was the same reason Draco had been able to resist killing Potter.

"Love," Harry said.

Draco raised his eyebrows. "Is that supposed to be a nickname or a suggestion?"

Harry smiled. "You defeated the Phoggart with love."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Don't expect me to buy into Dumbledore's nonsense now. His version of love permanently stunted your growth."

Harry didn't bother arguing with him. Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it, Dumbledore had once said. Draco's cries for help had just come a little too early. Harry suspected it was one of the reasons he never asked for it again. But the letters meant something different now. Not an unanswered call or a long defeat, but a triumph against all odds.

"Do you know what this means?" Harry asked.

"I should be thankful because I don't date men who are taller than me?"

"Your greatest fear. It's to kill."

Draco gave him a look. "Even if that was true, is that supposed to make me sound good?"

Now Harry knew they hadn't gotten off the subject of Dumbledore. "And your portrait," Harry continued. "He's afraid of dying."

Draoc snorted. "I highly doubt that was why he tried to kill me."

Harry didn't disagree but shrugged anyway. "I went to the cellar when we visited your house. Not on purpose, but I'm glad I did. It made me realize something."

"That you wanted a snack?"

"That I wanted a new past. Not to replace the old one, just to add to it. A past where you complain how my socks don't match my shirt, and I pretend not to have stolen the crossword pages in your magazines, and we forget our anniversary."

Draco frowned. "That sounds terrible."

Harry grinned. "I know. Shows how far we've come."

Draco had a suggestive look in his eye. "Speaking of coming..."

He was interrupted by the sound of the floo, followed by a string of bickering punctuated by Rose's wails.

"The pasta," Draco groaned. In all the excitement, they'd completely forgotten to retrieve the recipe. Or any recipe for that matter. They hurried to the kitchen.

"Er…" Harry surveyed the room. A box on the counter made him smirk. "I don't believe we've ever introduced Teddy to Coco Puffs."

Draco matched his grin until he spotted the letter sitting on their counter from that morning: We're out of milk. At the same moment, Ron and Hermione entered the kitchen. Hermione was bouncing Rose up and down in attempts to get her to stop crying.

"Look at Daddy, Rosie. Look at Daddy." Said "Daddy" was crossing his eyes and sticking out his tongue.

Rose was not amused. Neither was Hermione. "Ronald, you're making her cry even more." She spared at glance at Harry. "Hello, Harry. RONALD!"

"This always works with Percy's kids!"

The floo went off again. Seconds later, Andromeda and Teddy entered the kitchen amidst the chaos.

"My," Andromeda sounded. "She could give Dora a run for her money."

Teddy stuck his face in front of Rose. "PEEK-A-BOO!"

Rose started crying harder.

Teddy frowned. "What did I do wrong?"

"You didn't do anything wrong," Hermione reassured him. The baby seemed to calm down a little as Hermione swayed her back and forth. "She's just hungry."

"Me too," Ron said. "What's for dinner?"

Harry exchanged a glance with Draco. "Uh… The, er, catering is a little late, so in the mean time, we've decided to do all-you-can eat appetizer buffet. Just make your way to the cabinet, and take whatever you want!"

At the words "all-you-can-eat," Ron perked up. "Brilliant idea, Harry! Do Red Vines count as app—MERLIN'S BEARD!"

Rose started screaming again.

"Well, what do you expect when you stick your hand in someone's mouth?" Scorpius demanded, shuddering from his perch on the cabinet.

"Is that what a hand job is?" Albus wondered.

The floo went off again. Narcissa wandered in the kitchen, grimacing. "For Merlin's sake, she sounds just like Draco did." Draco's mouth dropped open, horrified. Narcissa brushed right past him to her sister's side. "What happened here?"

"Uncle Ron gave Scorpius a hand job," Teddy explained.

"Did you know we redecorated our living room a few weeks ago?" Draco asked loudly before any more chaos could break out. "It's very… yellow. Why don't you all go admire it? No, not you two!" he protested as the doorknobs started hopping away towards Rose.

The baby stopped crying as Albus and Scorpius approached.

"What is it?" Scorpius asked, marveling at the small bundle.

"New wall decoration to replace the House Elf heads?" Albus suggested.

"Don't worry, Rosie, I'll protect you!" Ron shouted, conjuring his wand into a sledgehammer.

Hesitantly, Rose reached out her little finger and touched Scorpius. The doorknob fell backwards into Albus like a domino. The baby exploded in laughter.

In his shock, Ron dropped the sledgehammer onto his toe and let out an anguished cry, causing Rose to laugh even harder.

Teddy inched towards the baby and tried again. "Peek-a-boo!"

Rose threw up over the floor.

"A waterfall!" Scorpius declared, delighted as the adults scrambled to clean the mess up.

From the other side of the room, Harry sighed in relief. "Neville said he could stop by the Three Broomsticks to pick up food," he told Draco quietly.

"And Blaise and Susan are taking care of refreshments," Draco replied. "We have to give him Weasley's firstborn child, though."

"Which Weasley are we talking about here?" someone asked.

Draco's smile turned cold as he turned to find George Weasley leaning against the counter. "He wasn't on the guest list."

"I invited Angelina and told her to bring a plus one," Harry said, squirming a little. He wouldn't have invited George if he had known Draco would have to face the Phoggart on the same day. But perhaps it was good to get everything over with in one blow.

George offered an uncomfortable smile. "Harry did tell you he's part Slytherin, right? I'm assuming that's one of the reasons you two get along so well."

"Get along?" Draco repeated. "I was under the impression that he was a 'stupid son of a Mudblood.'"

George winced. "About that. Listen, Malfoy, I'm sorry I…"

"I hate apologies, Harry," Draco said loudly as he stormed off. Harry had expected as much, but with a lifetime's worth of family reunions ahead of them, he'd had to start somewhere.

George frowned. "To be honest, I'm not sure why you invited me."

"Because, like it or not, you helped Draco and I get together," Harry replied. "And we plan on staying together."

"I still don't like him," George said. "But he seems to like you, and I guess that's what's important."

They followed Draco into the living room and found Neville, Zabini, and Susan helping Draco pour glasses of Firewhiskey.

"Zabini…" Harry began.

"I have an alibi," Zabini interrupted.

Harry frowned. "I was going to apologize for accusing you of attempted murder."

"What did I say about apologies, Harry?" Draco said, glaring at George. From the rim of his wine glass, Albus leaned in, trying to sneak a sip of whiskey. Draco promptly shoved the wine cork into his mouth like a pacifier.

"In that case…" Harry grabbed a wine glass, downed it in one gulp, and banged it against Albus, who'd been attempted to scale the side. The partygoers quieted down. "Draco and I have an announcement."

Susan clapped her hands. "Are you getting married?"

"I know, it sounds crazy, but… what?" Harry stared at her. What rumors had Zabini been spreading? "No, we're not getting married."

Yet, Draco mouthed with a smirk.

"You're breaking up?" Ron asked hopefully.

"No," Harry repeated. He frowned. "Do you all already know that we're dating?"

"We knew you were dating before you did," Narcissa replied, grabbing a wine glass.

"Yeah, I really didn't think Kreacher had taken up gardening," Neville said. "Plus Draco kept kicking me when he was hiding under the table."

"I was aiming for Harry," Draco protested.

"Oh," Harry sounded. "And you're all okay with it?"

George bit his lip but stayed silent. Draco surveyed the room. "Weasley?" he prompted, inviting Ron to disapprove.

Ron shuffled his feet. "I think Rose might have something to say about it, but since she can't talk yet, I guess it's okay." That was the closest they would get to Ron's stamp of approval.

Harry smiled as he glanced around his room at his guests. His family. Rose was currently using Scorpius as a pacifier. Teddy had transformed his nose to look like Albus and was attempting to teach Narcissa how to play "Kid-itch," a game he and apparently Rose had invented. Hermione was snuggled against Ron on the couch. Even Zabini appeared to be smiling, although he scowled when he caught Harry looking.

Harry raised his glass. "To love."

"To not acting like a Hufflepuff," Draco revised.

"Hey!" Susan protested, instigating a lawyerly debate with Zabini about what exactly a Hufflepuff was. Harry grinned. It was times like these that made Grimmauld Place feel like home.


Later that night, Harry snuggled close to Draco in bed. "Are you asleep?"


"Good." Harry took a moment to appreciate the silence. Then, he reached over and shoved what he was holding his lover's face.

Draco sputtered as he came into contact with the furry thing. "Is that— no way!"

"Remember Orion?" Harry had found the half-eaten teddy bear hidden in Draco's closet and had smuggled it out when the blond wasn't watching. "He told me all sorts of secrets about you."

"Did he now?" Harry had strategically plotted to give the bear to Draco in the dark of the night so the blond wouldn't feel the need to pretend to be beyond caring about teddy bears for the sake of his dignity. Moonlight revealed only the tips of his smile. "And who said you could talk to him?"

Harry grinned. "Oh, but he's mine now."

"What do you mean, he's yours?"

Rolling over, Harry leaned against Draco's shoulder. "You promised to give him to me if I investigated your bed."

"So I did."

"Unless, of course, you can think of another… handsome reward."

"Handsome? Hmmm. I don't know about handsome. Would you be interested in an upgrade to gorgeous?"

Harry drew Draco into a kiss. "Yes. Merlin, yes."


Dear Harry Potter,

Thanks for investigating under my bed. However, I think there's something on top of it too. If you could come and check it out, I think you'd find it quite rewarding.


Draco Malfoy

P.S. Please hurry.

A few author's notes to answer any lingering questions:

Is a Phoggart real?

You should check under your bed to be sure, but no, Phoggarts are not part of the Rowling canon. The prefix "pho" comes from the Latin word phobia. It is also a phonetic play on words with the word "faux," as in fake. So Phoggart both means "fear-evoking creature" and "fake Boggart."

Does Harry give Toothless back to Malfoy?

Eventually, yes… with a few modifications.

Thank you to everyone who reviewed, favorited, followed, called me evil, begged me to update, and turned the doorknobs' cameo into a full-fledged role! I certainly couldn't have finished this story without your support. I'd love to hear what you thought of the ending or any thoughts or questions you have about the story as a whole. Thanks again!