Author's Note: I really love Hyacinth Bucket. My friends have always said that if I were to break with reality, I would become her. And I also really believe that Richard loves her, deep down. She's just utterly oblivious. So here's how I think their relationship should be saved. Please review and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Honesty

"Richard!"

Richard Bucket put down his newspaper for the tenth time that morning and sighed. "Yes?"

Hyacinth bustled into the kitchen, complete with her unwrinkled floral print dress, matching polished shoes, immaculate makeup, and perfectly coifed hair. She took the plate of toast away from her husband before he had even taken a bite. He rolled his eyes and went back to his paper.

"Richard!"

He put the paper down again. "Yes?"

"Do you think we should insure my Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinkle?"

"No, Hyacinth, I don't think so." Richard attempted to go back to his paper, but didn't get too involved, knowing that this would not be the end of this conversation.

"Are you sure? What if something were to happen to it? I know that burglars would be very happy to take my Royal Doulton. And what if, heaven forbid, one of the teacups were to break? Elizabeth does get very clumsy sometimes." Hyacinth began washing the breakfast dishes, getting more and more worried about her precious china as she did.

Richard's usual habit of letting his wife's ridiculous ideas slide to the back of his mind was failing him. He could feel himself getting a bit hot under the collar. Everyone got flustered by Hyacinth, but Richard prided himself on dealing with her in stride. But something about today was different.

"Richard? Are you listening, Richard? I think you should call our insurance man this afternoon, before anything horrid befalls my china." She removed her rubber gloves from washing dishes and began wiping down the counters. Richard's newspaper was in her way, so she pushed it out of the way.

That was it. He couldn't take it anymore. Richard Bucket snapped. "HYACINTH! Stop this right now!"

Hyacinth froze. She had never seen her husband so irate. However, she quickly recovered her cheerful demeanor, albeit tentatively. "Richard, whatever is the matter?"

"Everything! Everything is the matter! The way you act, the way you talk, the way you spend my money! Everything! It's no wonder everyone hates you!" he shouted. He threw his paper down and stormed out of the room.

Hyacinth was scandalized. Whatever could he mean? No one could ever hate her. She was the very essence of a proper lady. How could anyone hate good manners? She quickly ran after him into their bedroom. "Richard?" Her voice was quiet. This outburst was so unlike her Richard. Whatever could have come over him?

He was packing a suitcase when she came in. This wasn't a very good sign. "Richard?" she repeated, her voice a little stronger than before. "Richard, who hates me?"

Richard scoffed as he stuffed a few of his shirts into the bag. "Emmett, the Vicar, the Vicar's wife, Onslow…"

"In other words, everyone we know." She was becoming cross. He was surely just saying these things to hurt her.

Richard closed up his suitcase and turned to her. "No, not everyone. Your sisters don't hate you, as far as I know. And Elizabeth is too terrified of you to hate you."

Hyacinth sat on the bed, her mind reeling with this new information. Was he right? Did people really hate her? "Why, Richard? What's wrong with me?"

Richard sighed. Where to start? "Well, you make people uncomfortable. You try to make everything so perfect. It makes everyone else feel either inferior or just plain put off. No one can take you seriously because you take yourself far too seriously. In the end, you're just a pretentious pain, Hyacinth." He turned to walk out the door. "I'm going to a hotel. I'll call tomorrow, and we can talk then."

Hyacinth looked up, tears pooling in her soft brown eyes. She asked him in a very small, quiet voice, "Do you hate me, Richard?" The tears fell freely down her face. She didn't bother to wipe them away. Her husband was leaving her. What did it matter if her mascara got smeared?

Richard put down the bag. He couldn't see her cry. In twenty-three years of marriage, she had only seen her cry on a handful of occasions, and it broke his heart every single time. She was so vulnerable, so defeated. Hyacinth Bouquet was never defeated and never vulnerable, but it seemed that Hyacinth Bucket sometimes came through on these rare occasions. Richard walked over and sat beside his wife. "No, Hyacinth. I could never hate you."

"I don't see why not. It seems I'm a nightmare." Hyacinth took out one of her clean, white handkerchiefs and blotted her eyes.

Richard took her hand in his. "Not all the time." He smiled. "Whatever happened to the girl I married, eh? You weren't like this when we met. What happened?"

"Richard, you were this wonderful, ambitious Council member. I was from a poor family with no class and nothing to offer a gentleman like you. I knew the moment you asked me to marry you that I had to change. How else could you be proud of me?" She had never told him that before. Her sisters knew, of course. Violet had been especially proud of how her older sister had adapted to middle-class life. Daisy and Rose thought it was a bit much, but were happy for her nonetheless. It seemed to Hyacinth that she had taken it a bit far…

Richard had to laugh. "Are you telling me that we've lived through twenty years of insanity because you thought I'd be ashamed of you?" Hyacinth nodded. "I married you all those years ago because I fell in love with the girl you were back then, and I've never stopped loving that girl. I'm just sorry I lost her along the way."

"You never lost me, Richard."

"So what does this mean?"

"It means that we don't need to insure my china. It isn't genuine, anyway."

Richard smiled brightly and gave his wife a heartfelt kiss for the first time in as long as he could remember. Everything would be alright, now that they could be honest with one another. There was no need to pretend anymore.