A/N: As always, thanks to my lovely beta, lwalters5! Round four entry in the Malfoy Manor fic war, prompt: Aggrivation. All my entries into this fic war tie together in a series entitled 'Modal Realism in Practise'. Please do not ask for more in your review! This was written in a manner similar to that of flash fiction (as have all my entries in this fic war), is a one shot, and is not going to have a porny sequel. Sorry.

Disclaimer: All Publicly recognizable characters, setting, etc are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in now way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Hubris

......

There was a thin crack above the door handle, a dark line that ran all the way to the top of the thick slab of wood, deep enough for her fingernail to trace up and down as she stared at the knocker.

He hadn't been living in the apartment long, the Ministry only having released him from supervision a few weeks beforehand, but he had already managed to put his stamp on the place. The knocker, number, and handle were bright, shiny yellow and the door itself had been charmed to appear as if it had been dipped in bleach, a pale ash at the base graduating to a dark oak at the top.

Hermione had never bothered to do anything with her own apartment herself, and she smiled a little as she thought of the vast personality difference between herself and her husband. When Draco had moved in he had grumbled infinitely about the lack of personality, the utilitarian design and décor infuriating him to the point of secretly redecorating when she had been away on Ministry business one week.

She had come home to brightly painted walls, a mixture of her own, predominantly IKEA furniture and antiques that Malfoy had clearly spent a fortune on, and more rugs than you could shake a beating stick at. The resulting argument had been colossal, but she eventually conceded that yes, the apartment wasn't just housing herself and no, she didn't expect Malfoy to live in a sterile grey and white box. The resulting make up sex hadn't been too shabby, either.

And now here she stood, outside an apartment owned a man that was so similar to Malfoy, sharing a name even, smiling at similarities that five minutes earlier had aggravated and infuriated her.

Scorpius Malfoy. Parallel universe interloper. Spitting image of his father. Sex on legs. And in an entirely bizarre twist, older man.

Her job at the Ministry as an Unspeakable had placed her in the chamber that contained the Veil of Mysteries on the day that he had been unceremoniously tossed through. She had been standing directly in front of the arch when suddenly a body which bore an uncanny resemblance to her husband – excepting the startlingly blue eyes – landed on her, causing them both to tumble down the steps that led to the dais, landing in a painful and uncomfortable tangle of limbs.

He had been largely catatonic for the first few days, his brain partially scrambled presumably due to the dimensional crossing. Eventually he sobered enough to converse, the revelation that the veil was a dimensional portal putting to rest a long standing argument that Hermione had been having with older Ministry employees. She freely admitted that her soft spot for the man was perhaps thanks to a combination of both his looks, and his ability to confirm her veil theory. The problem was, her soft spot had led to a rather less than appropriate scenario during the new years party a few weeks earlier.

Apparently she had a penchant for adultery, having learned that an older version of herself from his universe had left Ron, and run off with a mysteriously reappearing Sirius Black years earlier. The assumption on the other side had been that the veil was a time portal, as Black's reappearance had included complete amnesia and, as he was unable to remember any of the events in the two years leading up to his trip through the veil, her alternate counterparts had concluded that he had merely travelled forwards in time by twenty years.

Hermione would be lying if she didn't admit to having a sneaking suspicion that perhaps their Sirius was the Sirius from her universe. It was all rather mind-boggling, and she had begun preparing herself for the possible appearance of the scruffy aristocrat in around ten years time.

She was snapped out of her hypothesising and digression by a loud creaking from down the hall. One of the neighbours was on their way out, and she snapped into action, reaching for the knocker, reflexively rapping it loudly. She was here now, no use looking like an idiot in front of others.

It only took a couple of moments for the door to swing open, and she gulped, taking in his casual attire of a white shirt and jeans that looked improbably worn for his short time in this universe. Her eyes met his and he raised an eyebrow. She glared.

"Well? Can I come in?"

Stepping aside he moved his arm in an extravagant and sweeping gesture, clearly mocking her bossy tone. She breezed past him with more confidence than she was feeling, heading through the foyer and into the apparently well lived in lounge.

"We need to talk." She tugged off her scarf and tossed it over the back of a chair, following it with her thick coat.

"Can you take your shoes off? I don't want dents in my floorboards."

She rolled her eyes. "Are you not a wizard?"

"Are you not in my home?" His tone was playful but had an edge, and she thought better of another retort. She kicked off the bright purple stillettos and didn't bother to line them up neatly next to the chair as she normally would, instead choosing to test his reaction. He glanced at them momentarily before heading for the kitchen.

"Cup of tea?"

She trailed after him, the lack of acknowledgement irritating her. "Sure, whatever."

The kitchen was large and well appointed, and she was again surprised at the speed in which he had made the place homely with the modest compensation he had been awarded by the Ministry. Art hung on every wall, both Muggle and magical, and the space was filled with books and knickknacks.

"Where did you get all this stuff?" She gestured around the space, waving her hands dramatically at a bookshelf that looked dangerously close to collapsing under the weight of a large cook book collection.

"I like shopping." She narrowed her eyes, looking at him dubiously and hoisted herself up onto the large concrete top of the kitchen bench. He turned casually towards the sink and filled the kettle. "I like paying people to do my shopping."

She smirked and shifted a little in place, tugging on her wide legged grey slacks. "So how's it all going then?"

He ignored her, dropping the kettle down on the stove forcefully and turning to her, "Why are you here, Granger?"

"Can't a girl come check on her husband's genetic son?"

"That's a load of bat shit and you know it."

"How so?"

"Oh, come on. You've been avoiding me like the plague for the last three weeks. You haven't even come in to run any tests or prod me with wands or instruments or dangle fucking crystals over my forehead..." He took a breath and scratched his scalp. Turning, he opened an overhead cupboard and snatched up two mugs, dropping them loudly on the bench and stuffing a couple of tea bags into each.

"Excuse me? You're the one who shoved his tongue down my throat!"

He ignored her, calmly pouring the boiling water into the mugs. "Milk and sugar?"

"No."

He added a spot of milk to one of the cups and handed her the other. Their eyes met and he ran his tongue over his lip, catching it in his teeth as he leaned back against the counter on his side of the kitchen. "So come on, why are you really here?"

Hermione took a sip of her tea and set the mug down on the concrete, leaning back on her hands she looked up at the ceiling and took a breath. "I just wanted to clear the air between us."

"Consider it cleared."

Her head snapped upright and she glared at him. "You don't have the right to make that call."

He narrowed his eyes and took a step toward her. "I'm really, really sorry for kissing you." There was no sincerity in his voice whatsoever and she moved to jump down from the bench. He picked her up by the waist and sat her back next to her mug, not loosening his grip on her until she stopped wriggling. He dropped his guard momentarily as her hand ran up his arm, and she shoved him roughly in the chest, causing him to step back to keep his balance. She took the opportunity to jump back down to the floor and slip away quickly, heading for the armchair she had left her overcoat on earlier.

"Hermione-"

"Don't even bother. All you're after is an easy lay while you're stuck in the wrong dimension and you think I'm it. Well you can go fuck yourself." She snatched up her scarf and began wrapping it around her neck, but was stopped short by a large hand enclosing hers.

"Stop."

"Why? I thought you would have come to your senses and realised I love my husband. I married him because I love him more than anything in the world, and you have the audacity to assume that you can change that!"

"How does one turn a relationship filled with ill will and acrimony into one of eternal devotion?" Bitterness laced his question and she picked up her coat and turned, shoving him once again and stepping past him. She tugged the sleeves onto her arms as she walked towards the door. She turned back momentarily, one hand on the door handle and her breath caught when she realised he had followed her. Pressing her up against the door, his hands slid up her body and into her hair.

"You know nothing of my relationship with Draco. Things are different here. People are different. Lives are different." Her own fingers were trailing up his torso, gripping his shirt lightly and lacing one long digit between where the fabric met, hooking around a button.

"Not that different." His lips met hers and she didn't protest, her eyes fluttering shut and lips responding without thought, catching his harshly, angrily. Eventually she came to her senses, turning her head away, his teeth tugging on her bottom lip as her face moved from his.

"This is wrong." Her voice was quiet but firm, her eyes focussed on a single knot in the wide floorboards. His hands were still in her hair and one slid down her cheek, turning her back towards him. "This is so, so wrong."

"It doesn't feel wrong."

"It sure as hell doesn't feel right." Her voice held a dangerous edge, one that he was used to hearing in the Ministry halls when she was commanding wizards who believed her inferior. He knew it was false bravado.

"Are you sure about that?" He was teasing, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

"Yes."

"Do you want me?"

"Yes." Her eyes had drifted to his mouth and one of the hands that was rested on his chest slid upwards, over his neck and chin to trace the lines of his plump lips, nails scratching at the day old stubble at the edges. "And I hate myself for it."

"Don't." His hands moved, picking her up once again and lifting her high enough for her legs to wrap around his waist. Pressing her back against the door, he sucked a finger into his mouth as he roughly shoved his hips against hers. "He'll only hurt you, Granger. Nothing good will ever come of that man."

She dropped her head back, knocking it against the solid wood that her back rested on. "Merlin you make me want to... fuck, I don't know." She looked down, not bothering to move her head and caught his eyes with hers. Shaking her head softly she frowned. "You don't know that."

He gave up. Their words were pointless and circular neither would ever be able to justify their actions that afternoon. His mouth was on hers again, this time tongues tangling as teeth and lips bit and sucked, gasps and breaths the only sounds in the quiet apartment.

Their clothes were gone only minutes later and as he took her roughly against the door, her whimpers and cries of encouragement, filling him with hope that he could make this woman his.

After all, he hadn't crossed dimensions and time, risking being tossed into an unknown and unfamiliar world, and possible insanity or even death, to be usurped by his own father.

No, Hermione Granger was his. There may have been too many obstacles where he came from, but where he was now, there was only the one. And comparatively, this was an easy bridge to cross.

End.