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Story Notes:
The television is the worst thing that Hermione’s ever bought. She hates the bloody thing, and she has to resist zapping it with a charm to destroy it every night. When she first decided to get it, she thought it would be a nice way to blend her Muggle past with her current life in the magical world. It’s a small television, operated by batteries, so it could actually be played without electricity. It seemed a good idea to have it for watching Muggle news programs and interesting mystery programs.

Instead, she’s been replaced by a stupid box filled with wires and tubes. As soon as Charlie gets home at night, he gives her a kiss and goes immediately to the lounge to watch the telly. He watches every sports program that they can get. When there aren’t any sports programs, he watches nature shows about bugs and bears and any number of other creatures. He also loves horrid Muggle dramas with ridiculous plots and actresses with huge breasts that flounce around while whinging about their evil twins or murderous ex-husbands/boysfriends/girlfriends or plotting the murder of ex-husbands/boyfriends/girlfriends.

It’s been a month of competing with the television for her husband’s attention, and she’s starting to lose her patience. She’s asked him for ‘us’ time, only to have it scheduled around his programs. She’s tried to enjoy programs with him, only to have him feign snoring because he found her choices boring. She’s even tried to watch his programs, only to have him get irritated because she made fun of the melodramatic stories. The latter has led to more than one fight because he seems to find it okay to make fun of her choices but can’t tolerate her teasing him about his, which isn’t fair at all.

If she didn’t love him, she’d have already got rid of the blasted thing. It’s pathetic, really, to be jealous of a television, but she can’t help it. She misses their nights of snuggling on the sofa and talking. She misses the impromptu sex and the way he couldn’t keep his hands off of her. She misses being the most important thing to him and resents to being second to a footy match when he never even watched footy until she bought the bloody television.

She shuts the cabinet door harder than necessary and glares at it. She can hear an announcer talking loudly in the other room and crowds cheering as Charlie watches his football program. He basically pushed her out of the room when she was trying to talk with him, and she’s still angry. He can make his own dinner tonight. They generally share cooking duties, but she doesn’t like the feeling of being ignored except when she brings him food to eat in front of the television because he can’t be arsed to come eat the table with her anymore most the time.

Instead of cooking dinner, she grabs an apple and a bottle of wine. He can fend for himself. Let his precious television cook him a meal. She storms into the lounge and glares at him as she gets her book from the table by the sofa. He glances at her and frowns before he looks back at the match. “I’m going upstairs,” she informs him coolly before she deliberately walks in front of him to block his view, even briefly.

“Bloody hell. I missed that kick,” he mutters. “Hermione, walk behind the sofa next time.”

“Oh, just--bugger off!” she says, stomping her foot once before she leaves the room and hurries up the stairs. She strips off her clothes and slams things, not caring that she’s behaving immaturely because she’s so irritated, and slamming things keeps her from going downstairs and hexing Charlie.

She turns on the tap and fills the tub, adding a scented bath salt that is supposed to relax her. When it’s full, she steps into it and opens the wine. After taking a large drink straight from the bottle, she closes her eyes and leans back. The bath salts don’t seem to be working because she’s not relaxed at all. She frowns and reaches for her apple, taking a bite as she taps her foot impatiently against the tub.

“Bloody false advertising,” she mutters crossly.

“You’re acting like a child.”

Her eyes fly open and she scowls at Charlie. “I didn’t invite you in here. I’m relaxing. Go back to your football. It’s more important to you.”

“It’s my bathroom, too, so I’ll stand here if I want. Fuck, I can even get naked, if I want.” He pulls his shirt over his head and tosses it on the floor before he starts to unfasten his denims. “And what the bloody fuck do you mean ‘it’s more important to you’?”

His imitation of her distracts her from staring at his chest and she reminds herself that she’s angry with him. “I don’t sound like that,” she snaps. “I think it’s a clear statement. Even you can understand it.”

“Even me?” He stops unfastening his jeans and narrows his eyes at her. “Even me, the stupid dragon keeper who isn’t nearly clever enough for ‘the brightest witch of the century’ or whatever the fawning masses are calling you now?”

“Don’t. You’re not stupid.” She feels the fight leaving her as she realizes what she inferred. She looks away from him and sighs. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t what I meant.”

“What did you mean then?” He laughs dryly. “You know where to hit, Hermione, just like I do. You might not think that way, but that’s exactly what you meant.”

She pulls her legs towards her and rests her chin on her wet knees. “I don’t want to fight, Charlie. It seems like all we do lately is fight or fuck. I’m just tired of it.”

“Language,” he scolds, which makes her roll her eyes at having her usual warning tossed back at her. He sighs before she feels his hand on her back. “Me too.”

“What’s happened?” She turns her head to look at him, resting her cheek on her knees as she studies him. “It’s not just the television, is it? I keep blaming that, hate the bloody thing, but it can’t just be that.”

“You blame the telly?” He moves his hand up and down her back, rough skin sliding against her. “I don’t know what’s happened. You’d been working on your project and shutting me out, then you got the television, and I started filling my hours with that since you never had time for me. Then, you finished it and seemed to think that I should just be there at your inconvenience, and I don’t know. I got frustrated.”

“Why didn’t you say anything? You usually always tell me if I’m working too hard or if you’re annoyed.”

“I shouldn’t have to tell you, Hermione. You should have been able to see it.”

“I know. I've never intentionally shut you out, though. I just get busy and focused." She frowns. "So, what? Your television fixation has been payback for my having an important project?”

“Not deliberately. I mean, it started out that way, when I realized it was bothering you, but I lost focus. I knew that you were annoyed and, well, I sort of thought that was only fair, after how I felt competing with your job. We've been fighting more, sure, but, like you said, we've also been fucking, so I thought things were alright. I didn’t realize that you were unhappy, and it makes me feel like such a fool because I should have been able to see that, you know? We both fucked up, I guess.”

She considers it and has to agree. “Yeah, we did. I’ve been so miserable recently. I miss you, miss us, and I couldn’t figure out how to get it back when I had no idea how we lost it.”

“I’m right here,” he says as he moves his fingers into her hair. “You haven’t lost me, Hermione. It’ll take a lot more than a few bad weeks for you to get rid of me.” He hesitates and ducks his head. “I haven’t lost you, either.”

“No, you haven’t. You might lose that telly, but never me,” she tells him as she raises a soapy hand to touch his cheek.

He snorts. “I can’t believe you thought that stupid thing was more important to me than you. You’re crazy sometimes, you know?”

“Says the man who watches a program about twin sisters shagging everyone they meet then plotting to murder anyone who annoys them?” She arches a brow. “I know that you only watch that because they have huge breasts.”

“Pshaw. Fake tits don’t appeal to me. I prefer the real thing.” He snakes his hand down to touch her breast. “This size is perfect. Besides, why would I want some other birds when I have you? That’s just ridiculous.”

“Good answer,” she informs him as she leans towards him and presses her lips against his. She kisses him thoroughly, wanting him to know exactly how she feels because it’s always easier showing him than trying to put it into words.

When he pulls back, he rests his forehead against hers and sighs. “So much better than watching a footy match.”

“And don’t you forget it.” She shifts in the tub and reaches over the edge to move her hand down his chest. Things aren’t completely resolved, and she knows that they need to talk more, but this is good right now. What they both need. He laughs and suddenly moves into the tub without even removing his jeans. Water spills over the side as he kisses her, but she’ll worry about cleaning it up later. She’s got more important things to focus on at the moment.