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Three Lions
By Lesley

Part 3. Hasn't Stopped Me Dreaming

Don't remember much on how I got back to London, let alone how I arrived on Giles doorstep. Once the initial agony was past it's all fuzzy. I know I should remember. Some things did stick. I remember the sheer weight of humanity on the ferry across Lake Victoria. Heat outside, even at night, and the air con of the terminal at the airport in Nairobi. The night flight and arriving back at Heathrow at dawn. I remember that. Catching the Piccadilly line from Heathrow to Chelsea. That's familiar.

Wondering how I knew where Giles was? Piece of piss really. Don't leave your post hanging around your flat with a vampire room-mate. Once a vamp, even a soul positive one, has an invite it don't matter what Country it's for. One invite covers it all. Inherit a nice little mews house in Chelsea, no worries, I'm in, Giles present or not.

I'm glad he was.

You try over a hundred years of my life. Bloke pisses you off. How dead do you want said git? Bored? Bit of slaughter livens things well up. Some tosser insults you? Wear his entrails for ear-muffs. It's fun. It's easy. No soul? AgainÖpiece of piss. Get chipped, not easy but brain? Yep, it works. Wankers say killing innocents bad. If I wanna fit in, yep it's bad, kill the bad guy. If lucky get shagged, or accepted by the waste of space, if un-lucky well what have do you got to lose? You try turning your life around from that and I'd like to see how well you do. 'Specially if instead of encouragement you get kicked in the teeth on a regular basis.

Then you screw up big time, and decide the only way to sort it out is to get all soul-having. Tell me you'd be all level headed and unchanged. You get over a century of the things you''ve done that are unforgivable suddenly drop into your thoughts. Yeah, sure you'd be fine - like buggery you would.

Wasn't sure where to go that morning. Had half a mind to head to Kensal Green, and greet the sunrise, from the grave I fought my way out of 120 odd years ago. Least I'd have been among family.

I didn't, as is bleeding obvious. Did what I did couple of years back. Knocked on the door. Shade wasn't a problem. Weather's as crap as usual. Same result too. Got let in. Donít know why Giles keeps giving me a chance - I wouldn't. After what happened I was pretty sure there would be a stake with my name on it on the other side of that door. There wasn't.

He gave me a chance.

I owe him everything for that.

He'd already got Red staying. Missed all what went down after I left. Bugger. Shouldn't. But no alternative really. Canít see me being allowed to help. Always liked Red. Tried to help since we all ended up roomies. She don't want my help. Keeps checking out anything of the wooden persuasion in the near vicinity. She don't want Giles help either. She thinks I don't notice her looking at the household bleach when we're cooking up a curry. Might be fighting my way back to me. Doesn't mean to say I'm blind.

All this psychiatrist stuff is weird. The Victorian in me thinks all this namby pamby stuff is rot. Supposed to grit your teeth and be a man. Ok, being a man might be tricky with a demon inside. But, hey, never been one for the easy way out. Giles was dragging (almost literally some days) Red out to the shrink and told me it'd be easier on her if she had company - AKA me. So, I went. Bloke looks much like Giles. Same kindness too. Didn't realise 'til later it'd be the way forward. Took the pills like a good boy. Less fun than those I've had, second hand or direct, over the years. Of course, initially I wasn't exactly court jester material. Got some very high scores on the ol' depression and anxiety scores. Felt the need to know what exactly I had to feel bad about, hence my little autobiography. What with saving the world, and the multiverse, over the last couple of years I needed the clarity.

Got an unexpected saviour. The World Cup. Thought we were doomed since the original draw. Group of Death and all that. Being in the States for the last couple of years made it more distant, you know? But being back home, it's revitalising you know? The whole country knows and understands why everyone in their right mind hates Argentina. I'm not in the only country on the planet (except maybe Canada) not to understand this is the most important event there is.

When Giles got me a shirt I thought I'd like to die (again) right now. Watching the Argentina match with Giles, and him treating me like any other English mate. Can't put into words how much that meant. Still got a terrible taste in adjectives, you wouldn't want me too.

It helped; I can see that in the charts from the shrink. Don't need the pills so much now. Wish it'd work for Red. Giles tries. I try. Tried leaving her be - Giles lost his Aunty's antiques collection. Bought her some music - she won't listen. When we went to Waterstones for the self help books we got novels too - she wouldn't buy either. She glares at the screen when the football's on. She glares at me and Giles when it isn't. We both try and introduce her to things we love about home. God, it's good to be home. It's the little things; beer served at the right temperature at the local; a decent curry delivered to the house. Tried the local Mexican stuff in SunndyD - far too weak, course any sensible Mexican cooks do a runner from the hellmouth asap.

We all went to the local pub today. England vs Denmark. Willow wasn't keen, but how do you leave someone who tried to destroy the planet at home alone? You can't. We both tried to make her feel included. It didn't work.

We got there an hour before kick-off. Like the Ireland match. Even though it was a Saturday it wasn't as crowded. Suppose, unlike Argentina, we as a country don't have anything in the last millennium against Denmark. Nice though to have a fairly stress free match.

Didn't start that way of course.

You had Giles, me, and the Witch sitting on bar stools, talking to an English and an El Salvadorean hairdresser. All four of us were convinced we were doomed, due to the horrors of both wearing the white shirts of bad luck and playing Emile Heskey up-front. Red was doing her best to sulk and ignore the atmosphere. Weather was home-like enough to let me go to the pub, so my scores were still going up.

Started rough.

"No, don't give 'em the bloody ball! Done too much of that against Sweden and the Argies!"

"What do you expect not having Gerrard in midfield!" From the Watcher.

"Go on my son!"

"Come on Ref! Across the Line!!!!!!"

Yessssssssssss. Ferninand!!!!!!!!!!!! Bobby Moore you've been supplanted!"

"1-0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" From both us and our new mates.

"Ooooh nice pass Scholsey!!!!!"

"Oooh, Heskey! You donkey!!!!!!!!"

"Why are they playing the donkey? Teddddddddyyyyyyy"

"Argggggggh, phew! Possession! Keep the ball! They can't score if they haven't got the bloody ball!"

"Whatta pass!!!!!!! Go on, go on, go on, yessssssss!!!!!!!! Michael Owen!!!!!!"

"Another 2 pints of Bass and a half a shandy please mate"

"Heskey, you pillock!! Take 'im off Sven!!!!"

"Ooh nice pass! Go on. Yes! Donít screw it up now! Yes! Heskey shoots, he scores! Arise Sir Emile!"

"Lady Emily more like!"

Half time.

More beer. Kids running around the pub. Red tries to do a runner. Giles has me stand by the exit, no chance. If looks could dust - if it wasn't for that choker it could.

Second half.

"Fowlers on!"

About time too!"

"Who's off?"

"Mills? No. Sinclair, No the left'll be all screwed now! No there he is. Who's off?

"Bugger! Scholesy's coming off. Mind you we're through, gotta save something for Brazil."

"Where's Owen? He's off. We're doomed. Remember 3-0 turning to 3-3 earlier this week, and if we draw then it's penalties!!!!!! Southgate, Pierce! Doomed!""

"Argggggggghhhhh, well over the bar!"

"Seaman, Seaman, Seaman!"

"Is Fowler on the pitch?"

"Becksssssssssss. Arggggggghhh."

He's looking much fitter though."

"Pretty fit" from the Witch.

Nice to see her taking at least some interest.

Whistle blows. Yessssssssssss. We're though!!!!!!!! Brazil next. We're doomed.

Continued in Part 4. Don't Cry For Me

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