A/N: *Sneaks in and deposits the newest chapter, covering the last update date-stamp with her hand so you won't realise how long it's been*

*Backs away slowly, hands raised placatingly*

*Runs from the room when you begin hurling things because of the monstrously long wait.*


Give Unto Me

By Kittenshift17

Chapter 13: Tentative Touches

Hermione twitched in the bed, her heart beating erratically and her mind alive with questions. He hadn't followed her into the shower, despite his nagging, and he'd been quiet during dinner when their meals arrived.

There was only one bed. It might be a penthouse suite, but it'd obviously been made for a couple. Despite having spent the entire day with him, and despite unknowingly spending the past few nights sleeping beside him, she was jittery and nervous and she couldn't stop fidgeting.

She watched from the corner of her eye as Malfoy sauntered out of the bathroom, a towel slung across his shoulder while he scrubbed it against his blond hair to dry the fine strands, his body bare but for a green pair of silk boxers. She traced her eyes over the smooth expanse of his chest and his abs, loathing the way her mouth went dry at the sight. Merlin, she almost wished he'd followed her into the shower as she watched him move.

Part of her thought it was wrong. The logical side of her brain seemed intent on pointing out that if not for this ridiculous contract, they'd never have looked sideways at each other, and that if that was the case, it was wrong to consider shagging for non-conceptionary purposes. The other part of her brain continued to repeat what Draco had said about the changes her body might soon undergo, and she was uncomfortably aware that in as little time as a month, she might be irreparably changed.

"You're staring, Granger," Malfoy teased softly, and Hermione blinked, realising that he was right. She'd been staring at him even as he hung his towel over the back of a chair in the corner before sauntering toward the bed.

He didn't look the slightest bit nervous about having to share the bed with her, and she realised as she watched him peel back the covers on the far side before sliding between the sheets that he was used to sleeping beside her after the days she'd spent unconscious and being cared for by him at Malfoy Manor. He turned on his side when he was under the covers, smirking at her across the pillows as he'd done that morning.

Hermione blushed, trying to pretend she hadn't been drinking in the glorious sight of him half-naked, and trying to think of something to say to distract him. She didn't imagine it would be easy, since his enormous ego was obviously fond of the fact that she was perhaps, passingly attracted to him. She wondered if it was a good thing or a bad thing, given that in a few days she was going to shag him silly with the hopes of having him get her pregnant despite the fact that she hadn't even finished high school yet.

"You didn't join me in the shower?" she said, blurting the first thing she could think of when he was half-naked and looking at her lustfully.

Her cheeks grew hotter when she realised what she'd said, hoping he didn't think that she'd said so expecting that he'd join her. Merlin, she didn't want him to think that she wanted to jump his bones right at that moment, even if there was a part of her that was strongly considering it. The last thing he needed was encouragement.

"You were being huffy about it," he shrugged, having the decency not to immediately taunt her when it was clear she was uncomfortable and more than a little nervous to be so close to him and to be sharing the bed with him when they barely knew each other. "Far be it from me to force myself on a witch, Granger."

Hermione furrowed her brow at him.

"You've been being nice to me all day," she pointed out. "For several days, even, though I was unconscious for some of them. Are you feeling alright? I confess, I was almost expecting to have to fend you off had you invaded the shower alongside me."

"I'm actually not as big an arsehole as you've been led to believe, Granger," he said, looking amused and smirking a little, obviously pleased to know she'd been thinking about him while she'd been showering, even if it had been thoughts of how best to ensure he kept his hands to himself – though Hermione blushed even harder recalling that some of the thoughts she'd had about him whilst showering had been very far from self-defence and much more in the neighbourhood of how best to seduce him completely. "Don't get me wrong, I'm still a pretty big arsehole, but I'm not some barbarian prone to taunting a witch suffering as you have been and I'm no brute. If you'd wanted me to join you in the shower, you should've said so."

"You were the one who suggested it," Hermione argued.

"And you were the one who told me 'no'," Draco replied. "I'm prone to throwing the idea out there, Granger. But I'm a Slytherin, not a Gryffindor. I prefer to be cunning and to test the waters before diving headlong into something, regardless of the danger."

"You were scared?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

"I was conscious of the fact that you and I are practically strangers, no matter the past few days and no matter the time spent sharing the classroom before the war. I was also aware that had you seriously meant your refusal to let me join you, it'd have been an awkward end to the trip if I'd pushed my luck and forced my way into your shower only to be told to shove off, yeah?"

Hermione blinked at him, supposing that this must be what it was like to interact with a mature and thoughtful wizard, rather than an impulsive one. She found she rather liked it.

"Oh," she said. "Well… thank you. That was… thoughtful of you."

"I'm a thoughtful sort of wizard, Granger," he assured her, looking entirely too arrogant for his own good. "Though it seems that despite your refusal, you actually did want me to join you in the shower."

He smirked wickedly, looking like he wouldn't mind doing to her in the bed some of the things she'd imagined him doing to her in the shower. Hermione's blush brightened even more and she had to unstick her tongue from the roof of her mouth when he chuckled knowingly.

"I didn't say that," she argued.

"You didn't have to," Draco smirked. "It's written all over your face. You should really work on that unless you want me to know your every passing thought when you look at me."

"Are you suggesting that you're a Legilimens?" she asked, frowning a little.

Draco's lips twitched.

"Not a very good one," he admitted. "I'm a better Occlumens. But I have some grasp of the magic form. I have to really be focusing to get whole thoughts, as one might to communicate telepathically, but I can pick up on impressions and flashes of images if I'm paying attention."

"And you're paying attention to me?" she asked.

"Your mind is an intricate and complex hive, Granger," he said, eyeing her almost as though he could see into her brain. "It's hard not to pay attention to the amount of thoughts rattling around inside your head every second."

Hermione didn't know if she should blush to know he might've been picking up on some of her thoughts and emotions, or if she should be flattered that whatever he'd seen inside her head thus far had intrigued him into wanting to look again.

"Well, I'd appreciate it if you didn't spend too much time trying to peel back whatever natural occlumency I have just to peek at my thoughts, Malfoy. I prefer some things to be private, and the inner workings of my mind is certainly one of them. I shudder to think what you might think of me if you were privy to every thought that occurs to me."

He smirked at her like he already knew she'd been wondering what it would be like to kiss him and what it might be like to shag him.

"If that's what you wish," he conceded, though she rather got the feeling that while he might refrain from prying at all times, he wasn't going to make any effort to keep from catching her thoughts if they were being projected in his direction.

Hermione narrowed her eyes on him, trying very hard to think about anything other than the fact that he was half-naked in bed with her, close enough to touch, and looking entirely too lustful for her peace of mind.

"You make me nervous when you smirk like that," Hermione informed him, and Draco's smirk grew wider.

"I can tell," he said, before his smirk was cut short when a yawn suddenly escaped him, belying his exhaustion after their busy day.

Hermione almost laughed, rather hating the fact that when he blinked sleepily, looking like he could drop right off to sleep, he looked completely adorable. Merlin, she needed help. She wasn't supposed to be thinking him adorable, and she wasn't supposed to be entertaining thoughts of sharing the shower with him, or wondering what his lips might feel like on hers. This was supposed to be nothing more than a mutually beneficial business contract an she wasn't supposed to let her emotions get involved, no matter how nice he might be being to her, and no matter how her still tender heart after Ron's betrayal throbbed pleasantly at the thought of being patched with the soothing balm Draco Malfoy was turning out to be.

"We should sleep," Hermione said gently. "It's been a very exciting day."

He nodded, covering his mouth with one hand when another yawn escape him.

"Did you have a good time today, at least?" he asked quietly, shuffling his shoulders closer before reaching across the mattress and snagging his fingers into the chain-links of her bracelet and holding it up to examine the many charms dangling from it.

"I did," Hermione nodded. "Thank you. Did you?"

Malfoy nodded, smiling genuinely.

"I was especially fond of the dragon sanctuary in China," he said, shooting her a wicked grin and Hermione self-consciously reached for her hair all over again.

"I can't say it was my favourite part of the day," she said, laughing a little in her embarrassment.

Malfoy chuckled.

"What was your favourite part, Granger?" he asked.

"Probably getting to hold those panda cubs in China," Hermione smiled widely. "And racing you along the Great Wall."

He smiled.

"Those little fluffballs were pretty cute," he admitted.

Hermione nodded, toying with the panda charm on her bracelet fondly.

"I like your hair like this," Malfoy said, surprising her when he released her bracelet and reached across the bed to card his fingers through her unruly curls. "I can't say I blame the dragon of forcing you to cut it."

"It's harder to control when it's short," she said, sighing as her eyes fluttered closed at the comforting touch. "When it's long, the added weight pulls some of the curls down so that it doesn't go so wild."

"I like it wild," he whispered, his nails scraping delightfully against her scalp and lulling her almost instantly toward slumber.

The soft touch combined with her exhaustion washed over her, and Hermione smiled softly, her eyes still closed even as he flicked his wand to douse the lights, plunging them into darkness. Despite her nervousness to be sleeping beside him, the tender touch and his sweetness throughout the evening soothed her.

"Granger?" he asked softly, shuffling closer across the bed.

"Hmmm?" Hermione hummed without opening her eyes.

"Thank you for today," he said in a whisper. "I had a nice time."

"Thank you," she said. "You're the one footing the bill."

Draco chuckled softly at the reminder, obviously not at all concerned by the expense of the trip thus far.

"Let's sleep in tomorrow," he murmured. "I imagine that when the sprog comes, sleep will become a luxury we can ill afford."

Hermione chuckled.

"Almost certainly," she admitted.

She opened her eyes in surprise when she felt him press his lips to the middle of her forehead tenderly.

"Sweet dreams, Granger," she heard him murmur gently before he laid his head back down on the pillow, his face close to hers in the dark, but not quite close enough to touch.

She felt him slide his fingers out of her hair, trailing his fingertips over her bare shoulder and down her arm before sliding around her waist and curling around her protectively.

"Sleep well, Malfoy," she whispered in return, tentatively tracing her fingers over his bare chest before curling her arm over his hip, shuffling across the bed a little closer to him when she noticed how warm he was.

Before she could even think about learning the feel of his body, sleep rushed up to claim her and Hermione drifted off to sleep with a little smile on her face, snug in Draco Malfoy's arms.