Title: Who We Are

Author: Hafthand (Ally)

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury!

Summary: Winter 2005 Dr/Hr Fic Exchange Request for Kelly/Veritasvincit A 'chance meeting in a hallway!

A/N: So yes here is my lovely and hurried fic exchange entry. Literally wrote it in like 2 hours cause I was a back-up writer and didn't even get a chance for Lorett my wonderful Beta to look at it! Also thanks to Ronnie for reminding me to get this up over here! MWAH!

Shout-out to my lovely 3Keys ladies!

Anyways, I tried sticking to the prompts as best I could. I have no idea if this is what you had in mind, but I enjoyed your guidelines and enjoyed writing this. Hope you like it, though I think had I spent a tad bit more time on it it could have been soooo much better! Ah well, enjoy none-the-less.

It was midwinter and Draco Malfoy was dreading the approaching holidays. One couldn't walk through the castle without being attacked by holly and ivy sprigs charmed to float around. The portraits never ceased their caroling and Draco tried not to remember an unfortunate encounter with a statue of a knight that had apparently had too much eggnog.

Draco frowned at the thought and lazily threw his head back. He twirled his quill between his fingers and tried his best to drown out Snape's lecture. It wasn't very hard. Draco heaved a sigh and brought his head back around to the window. He watched as Hagrid dragged several recently cut trees from the forest. Draco tried not to groan as he realized that by lunchtime the Great Hall would be full of even more Christmas cheer.

'Someone kill me now,' he whispered to the inside of his hand as he buried his face in it. This had been an exceptionally horrible year and things were most definitely not looking up. His father had remained locked away in Azkaban since the end of fifth year for which Draco was very pleased. His father had always reveled in making life difficult for him so this sojourn from his tyranny had been a breath of fresh air. On the darker side of things, his father's absence had also allowed Draco to prove his worth within the ranks of Deatheaters. He was no longer in his father's shadow. He was growing up, and fast.

A noise from his right brought his attention crashing back into the dungeon. He turned his head and unsurprisingly found the source of the noise to be Neville Longbottom's cauldron. A garish pink smoke was noisily emitting from it and he watched as Hermione Granger made her way over. Draco tried not to snort at this, but failed miserably. She was so predictable. No matter how many times Snape would dock points from Gryffindor, Hermione refused to give up on attempting to help Neville.

Sure enough, not a moment later, Snape appeared amongst billowing black cloaks and proceeded to take ten points from Hermione and twenty from Neville. Overall, a decent end to a rather dreary potions class. Draco gathered his belongings and made for the door. He ended up behind the Golden Trio themselves and was privy to their not so kind comments on Snape. Draco wanted to laugh as Hermione tried to defend their Potions professor in a way that sounded as though she would rather be doing something else.

He continued following them down the hallway, up the stairs, right down the crossroads, and left into the hallway passing the library. He was eager for his lunch as he had missed his breakfast. He had had a very late night and had slept in. Draco internally chided himself for such an un-Malfoy like action. Then again, there were a few things very un-Malfoy like about him these days, he thought as he watched Hermione break away from the others and start down a side hall.

He considered for a moment his next course of action. Follow her or continue on to the Great Hall? It took only a moment and Draco found himself walking down a side hallway he was fairly positive he had never been down before. He noticed the lack of paintings and windows. He was so caught up in his observations that he almost didn't see the witch in front of him in time to stop himself from tripping most embarrassingly over her. Now that would have been most un-Malfoy like.

He let his eyes travel the back of the witch not a step in front of him. He could smell her shampoo and hear the little breaths escaping her mouth. He may have been lost in his thoughts when approaching her but he had apparently been very quiet. She stood in front of the only window in the hallway staring out onto the grounds. She leaned forwards slightly and sighed quietly.

Before he knew what he was doing, Draco reached out a hand and delicately brushed the back of her robes, allowing his fingers to caress the soft fabric. Hermione immediately spun around, her hand going for her wand. When she saw who was behind her, the shocked look on her face faded into disdain. Draco noticed she still fingered her wand.

'Clever girl,' he whispered, the words escaping his lips before he could stop them.

Hermione raised an eyebrow in question and glared up at him. Draco enjoyed being taller than most people, but he especially enjoyed being taller than her. It forced her to look up at him. He smiled slightly and noticed a dark gleam in her eyes. He watched those chocolate orbs widen in shock as she realized how close they were standing. He could feel her warm breath on his chin and fought the shiver threatening to go down his spine. Hermione immediately took two steps backwards until her back was pressed against the wall. Her fingers clutching her wand were turning white.

'Malfoy,' she spat at him.

'Granger,' Draco replied smugly. 'Shouldn't wander alone through dark corridors. Some big bad might jump out and eat you up.'

'Some big bad? You mean Deatheater, don't you?' she replied just as smugly.

Draco froze for the briefest of moments before letting out a harsh laugh and leaning against the wall opposite of Hermione in the rather narrow hallway. 'You're a smart witch, Granger, no one can deny that,' he said as he confidently put his wand into his pocket. He noticed colour returning to her fingers, though her death grip on her wand remained.

'Well, Malfoy, when something is so very obvious, you would have to be Crabbe not to notice it,' she snapped out. 'What do you want? Why were you following me?'

'What makes you think I was following you? A little conceited, no?' he asked casually.

'Conceited? Me? That is rich coming from someone like you,' she answered.

'For your information I was not following you but simply taking a short cut. It is not my fault that my progress was halted by the likes of you,' he said, his words sliding through his lips. He pushed the hair away from his eyes and noticed her eyes drilling holes into him. Her hair was in disarray, as usual, and her robes hung open revealing her Hogwarts uniform. He allowed his eyes to travel up her legs and when he had reached her chest noticed that her wand was now pointing at his face. Draco found himself grinning.

'Well, whatever it was you were doing, continue on your way and I will continue on mine,' she grated out to him. He watched her lower her wand, pick up her bag from the floor and turn to go. This might be the last time he would have alone with her. Everything was changing. After the holidays, nothing would be the same.

Ignoring the voices in his head, Draco took a step forward and said, 'I hate you, Granger. I hate you more than you will ever know.'

Hermione froze in her tracks and slowly turned towards Draco. Her face was blank and for once he couldn't imagine what she was thinking.

'I hate the fact that you exist,' he continued. 'You. You should never have been allowed to come into existence.'

'What, another Mudblood to dirty up the purity of wizards?' she spat out, her eyes empty and cold.

'No. Not another Mudblood. You!' he answered her, taking a step closer, his eyes starting to turn frantic as he tried to make her understand; tried to make her stay a little longer.

'Me? Malfoy, it is no secret that you hate me. The whole school knows how you hate the little Mudblood,' she softly said, her eyes still empty and focused on a spot on the floor directly in front of him.

'No! Granger, listen to me! I hate the fact that YOU exist. You, just you,' he growled to her from clenched teeth. He hated himself for speaking to her. He felt dirty and tainted, yet he could no longer control his actions. A part of him did not want to. He took a step closer to her and she stepped back until her back was once again pushed against the stone wall. The little light provided by the window cast her face in shadows.

'Me?' she managed to get out just loud enough for him to hear. 'Me, Malfoy? What have I ever done to you to make you hate me so much.'

Draco let out a chuckle and stepped forward until he was just outside of her personal space. He shook his head and brought up his silvery eyes to meet her dark ones. 'You exist.' He watched her stiffen at his words and try to push herself further into the wall. Her hand was moving slowly towards her pocket where she had put her wand. Draco reached out and let his fingers encircle her wrist, stopping its forward movement. Hermione gasped as she tried to tear her hand away but now that he had a hold of her, he was not about to let her go.

'You are everything I want, Granger. Everything I want, everything I desire, everything I despise. You are everything I am not allowed to have all wrapped up in one little package,' he whispered to her, his body hovering over hers. He watched her reaction to his words and heard her breath hitch and the disbelief radiating from her eyes. 'How is it you exist? You tempt me, you force me to doubt and I hate you for it.'

'You hate me for existing because I am everything you want but cannot have?' Hermione asked, a hint of laughter and disbelief hidden behind the sarcasm of her tone. 'You want me? You, Deatheater extraordinaire, Slytherin prince hate me for existing because you want me but are not allowed to have me because of my blood?'

'Yes,' Draco stated clearly and quickly, his eyes conveying the truth to her. He watched as horror and understanding began to seep into those brown eyes of hers. Her body trembled for a moment and she closed her eyes shaking her head from side to side.

'It's just blood, Malfoy. If what you are saying to me is true and not some sick, pointless joke,' she whispered, her eyes slowly finding his, 'than it is just blood. We both bleed red.' He watched her mouth as she spoke and heard the utter belief behind her words.

He reached out and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. Her eyes widened slightly and he let his hand rest on the stone wall beside her, his body leaning into hers.

'We could exist until the ends of the earth, you and I, and still we would never agree on this,' he whispered onto her skin. Her eyes were glued to his and he found it impossible to look away. 'There are things I believe, believe in to my very core…you would not like them and I will not change them simply because you are pretty.'

'Simply because I am pretty?' Hermione asked, her eyebrows raised. He noticed her relaxing slightly beneath him. Whether from bravery or belief in his words, he did not know.

'Well perhaps not so simply. Things are never simple with you, are they, Granger? There are many things I have dreamt of saying to you. But things are never as simple as in dreams,' Draco whispered his eyes turning inward as he thought of the things he still must do.

'You've never had trouble saying what you wished before. Why should now be any different?' Hermione asked softly, her curiosity obviously getting the better of her.

'Why now? Because I dare not say such things aloud. I already told you…you tempt me. I will not betray who I am simply because I choose not to control my emotions. I am leaving soon,' he said.

'Leaving?' she asked, unsure of what he was talking about.

'There are things I have to do, things more important than finishing my last year at this place,' he said, his eyes flicking to the walls around him.

'If you are leaving then what do you have to lose by speaking to me?' Hermione asked. He still could not read her face and that unsettled him. 'What do you have to lose?' she whispered again.

'Myself,' Draco admitted his head moving forward so his nose gently brushed hers. He let out a sigh, his breath mingling with hers.

'You're the only thing I would ever love, Granger, were I allowed such luxuries, were I capable of love. Merlin knows I saw this coming from day one,' he said sadly. He saw the shock in her eyes at his bold statement and scolded himself for revealing so much. It was too late now to change things, too late by half.

'You may have seen it coming, Draco Malfoy, but I didn't,' she spat out at him, her body trembling as he pushed his forward into hers. 'Why? Why have you treated me so horribly then?'

He smiled and brought his other hand up and tangled it into her hair. 'Just because I am sorry now, doesn't mean I didn't enjoy torturing you at the time, Granger. Never forget that. I am not going to suddenly change because for some reason, a reason beyond me at the moment, I chose to pour my cold, black heart out to you before I disappeared. It doesn't happen that way.'

'People do change, Malfoy,' she said evenly.

'Do they? Do they ever really?' he brushed the side of her cheek softly with his finger. He slowly trailed it from her nose down to her lips. 'Can a man truly ever turn his back on truths that are ingrained into his very being? Would he ever truly be free of it all?'

Hermione had stopped breathing as his finger caressed her face. Now, as he moved his finger down to trace along her collarbone, he felt her breathing return to her in uneven gasps.

'All a man can do is try,' she whispered so softly he thought for a moment he had imagined it.

'True. All a man can do is try,' he said strongly, 'and I choose not to.' He watched her process his words and then nod in understanding. He knew she would understand. He knew. 'If this were a different time or place-'

'But it isn't. We exist only here, now,' she cut him off. She reached up slowly and wrapped her hand around the one resting against her collarbone. Draco felt himself stiffen at her touch. 'I will miss you when you go, and I will mourn you when you fall.'

Draco nodded in gratitude. He knew it was more than he deserved. Hell, it had been more than he had ever hoped for. She understood and that was all he had wished for. He firmly believed in what he was doing, believed it to his core. Nothing would ever change that, nothing. The fact that she caused him to doubt had been a very disturbing discovery on his part. But doubting was not enough to make him change. He knew this, and now she did. Her eyes were still locked on his. Her breathing was heavy and he felt her chest rise and fall against his.

'I am going to kiss you now and I want you to kiss me back,' he whispered against her lips. He didn't wait for her to respond. He closed the little distance between them as he slammed his eyes shut. He did not wish to see his sin. He could not bear it.

His lips met hers in a crushing descent. He molded his body to hers and pushed her further into the stone wall. His hands traveled along the sides of her body reveling in the feel of her. His lips were still pushed harshly against hers and he tried to ignore the exploding stars threatening to overpower him. Suddenly things changed. Her lips pushed back against his and he felt the warm wetness of her tongue running along his mouth. Not willing to break the moment just yet, he opened his mouth to her and slid his tongue along hers. He slowed their kiss into a deep caress and tightened his grip on her hips. In the back of his mind he registered that her hands were still beside her, but the fact that she was eagerly kissing him back soon made him not care.

Her mouth was warm, wet and softer than he had thought possible. Her kiss was fierce and soft. His was possessive and desperate. Regaining what little control he had left, Draco finally pulled his mouth away from hers and rested his forehead against hers, forcing his breathing to slow. He opened his eyes and met hers staring back at him. He pulled back slightly and noticed the hint of a smile on her swollen lips. He hated her, but her lips, oh how her lips made him desire her. He forced the thoughts out of his mind.

'I meant what I said before. I hate you,' he said between breaths. She nodded. He caressed the side of her face softly before pushing himself away from her. 'If I see you on that inevitable battlefield we will all meet upon, I will kill you.'

'I'm not that easy to kill,' Hermione said evenly.

'I will kill you…then I will mourn you,' he said softly.

She glanced sadly at him before standing straight and fixing her robes. 'Then why kill me?' she asked.

'Because, Hermione,' he said softly, his lips caressing her name, 'we are who we are.'

They stood for a moment in silence, each smiling sadly at the other. Neither had woken up this morning knowing this would happen. Neither would have ever guessed. Draco took a deep breath, stepped forward and place the briefest of kisses against her lips, so brief that in years to come she would wonder if it had even happened, and then he was gone in a billow of black robes.

Hermione reached up and touched her lips. 'We are who we are,' she said to the silent hallway. She retrieved her bag once more and continued in the opposite direction.

A/N: Well there it is. Probably could have fleshed it all out a bit more, but it is meant to be vague, mysterious and quick….just like their encounter.

Here is the request:

Name/Pen Name: Kelly LJ Username: Veritasvincit
Rating(s) of the fic you want: Anything is a-ok with me Three things you want your fic to include:
1. One of those "I-hate-you-so-much-I-could-kill-you-but-wow-your-lips-look-so-soft" moments. LOL 2. Relative canon interaction, we all know (SOB) that Draco and Hermione aren't getting together. Draco is an SOB...not a fairy princess. 3. Hogwarts Three things you do not want your fic to include:
1. I don't want any "romance" rushed...it needs to seem plausible, you know?
2. Hermione/Voldemort interaction.
3. Pregnancy

Love, Ally 'Goodness knows I saw it coming, or at least I'll claim I did, but in truth I'm lost for words. What have I done, it's too late for that. What have I become, truth is nothing yet.' - Snow Patrol 'Chocolate'