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Three Lions
By Lesley

Part 6. Thirty Years of Hurt

The atmosphere in the house changed after the replay of the 1970 match. It was fine, great even, during the programme. I can't remember when I smiled like that. Know it was a bloody long time ago. But, knowing the result does reduce the stress factor; allows you to enjoy the game, be at one remove, so to speak.

I saw Wes pass Giles a note during the match. Still got the eyesight. Saw Giles face drop when he read it. But it was only for a moment, and he did the whole stiff upper lip thing, and if you were Willow you wouldn't have noticed.

I did notice he gave Red twice her usual dose of sleeping pills in a hot chocolate.

It was bleeding obvious that I was supposed to go to bed pretty dammed quick. So I did. Still got the hearing though. The mews got remodelled in the 60's too. Humans can hear through plasterboard, no problem whatsoever for a vampire. I mean if I concentrate I can hear the tube a mile off, the French couple 2 doors down shouting at each other; two watchers in the kitchen is a piece of piss.

So I did the good boy bit. Went to bed after the match, left the boys to it. Even shut the door. Don't make any difference at all to whether I can hear stuff.

So I heard Wes give Giles the potted version of Red nicking his moby and what she told the Whelp. I tried you know. Always liked the little witch. That hurt. I mean, know I deserve it, done some pretty shite things to her, but tried to help too you know? Tried since I got here an all - and that ain't easy. All those screams in my head, makes it bloody difficult to hear anything else. But I tried, and doing that helped me. Giles tried. Never knew Wes before, heard about him sure, on the ol' demon grapevine. Heard he'd started out a complete tosser but was now a bit of the old force to be reckoned with. But he tried too, and it's bleeding obvious he's got his own problems - starts visibly every time the post comes. If Giles mobile goes off he practically leaps through the roof.

Once Giles had stopped shouting at Wes for leaving his phone alone, and berating himself for not thinking of the possibility, he became Action! Watcher!

He got his phone out and called Buffy. Know it was her 'cos he was muttering, "Come on, come on Buffy, pick up the phone! Pick up the bloody phone!" Nobody answered. Not sure how I feel about that. I mean I'd be able to hear her voice even from here, and I'd love to hear her voice. But right now? Not sure I could take the pain. Know I've got an Olympic Record level pain threshold. Not sure I could manage hearing her voice though.

I was lucky. Giles switched to Plan B. Tried ringing fatboy dim. Didn't work either.

Watcher Boy don’t know the meaning of giving up. 'S what I admire most about him. Tried Plan C. Called Anyaka's mobile phone. Can't have been easy for him, he's been avoiding the Anya subject all the time I've been here.

Got hold of the girl. Demon or not, there's no way Anya's going to be away from her mobile and potential customers. So he was all, "Anya? Yes…lovely to speak to you too. The repairs have started? Great! No..right now we have a problem." He described the conversation Wes overheard. "Yes! Buffy and Dawn are patrolling? Oh! But you can teleport to the house? That would be wonderful. Thank you Anya. You'll call me as soon as you get there?"

Short interval.

Giles moby went off. "Anya? You found it? Wonderful! No Xander? Oh?…Was that quite necessary? Yes he does have a hard head." He whispered, "It's ok she's got it" to Wes and I heard both of them exhale in relief. Giles continued, "Do you recognise it, or would you like to describe it?" Then his tone of voice just dropped. "Oh. You're sure? Sorry, yes of course you'd know D'Hoffryn's talisman when you see it. Wonderful job Anya, we all owe you a great deal." I could hear his heart thrashing in his chest and the pain in his voice. "If he's conscious can you put me on to Xander? Thank you Anya…again."

Short break.

"You Stupid Boy!" Knew we shouldn't have watched the Dad's Army repeats before the matches. But I prefer Private Pike to that git any day. "No listen! You nearly gave Willow the means to turn herself into a vengeance demon. Her collar won't work on a demon, and she'll go straight back to what she was trying to do! No I'm not interested. Yes…you deserved to be knocked out! You know better by now! Not it's not enjoyable at all.  If you remember I do have rather a lot of practice in that area! Now put me back to Anya."

Giles took a few breaths to calm himself. Wes put the tea on. Could hear the kettle boiling. "Anya? Could you take the talisman somewhere safe? Thank you. No, we'll deal with that end. Can you warn Buffy? Yes, I know she might not listen. But you'll try? Thank you. Yes, warn Dawn too. Good idea! You'll take care of yourself? Yes… you too. Good night, and thanks."

I can hear the glasses being put on the kitchen table. I have to visualise the bridge of the nose being rubbed. But I'd lay odds it was.

Wes's voice. "Disaster averted?"

Giles. "This time…I'd hoped to avoid this."

"We always do." Wes said, with an intensely sad tone to his voice. "Never works though? Does it?"

"No." I'm not sure I've ever heard Giles voice so defeated. I heard it cracking with grief as he spoke a eulogy over Buffy's grave. I heard it in pain and defiance to that bastard Angelus. I've never heard that tone before though.

Heard the tea hitting the mugs. Then Wes. "Doesn’t have to be you."

Giles supping his mug. "Should be. Has to be. No…they can't do it. They'd enjoy it. No, no choice."

Wes supping his. "You've helped me. You didn't have to. Let me."

"No, my responsibility. I'll deal with her. I wish…no, Anya couldn't even grant that."


"She's been stopped for now. Emergency averted. I'll talk to Joe in the morning, see what can be done. Then…we'll see."

"Good doctor that! Very understanding. Nothing I can do Giles? I'd like to help? If you'll let me?"

"Nothing Wesley. Thanks, go on up. I'll see you tomorrow."

Bunkmate headed upstairs. Doesn't take much for a vampire to feign sleep. Just close the old eyes. But this can't be good.

Wes was restless all night. Heard Giles pacing for most of it. Red snored. I'm worried, but they're the good guys right? They took me in, didn't have to. Got me some help when I got myself all screwed up with the soul thing. They're the good guys. It'll all work out. More pills, some knocking of sense into witch's head, rejoining the World through connecting with the footy. It'll work! Won't it?

Must have zonked out as I just caught the tail end of Giles call to his cousin. "You're sure? Yes. OK. You'll get that sorted? Thanks."

It was a funny sort of day. There was no football on the telly. Wes went down to the supermarket and brought back pizza, cream cakes and some nice red wine. Listened to some music. Had a nice sit down around the telly watching Godfather 2. Haven't seen that for ages. That bit where Fredo does the rosary then sleeps with the fishes always gets me.

Early night. Early start after all. Coverage starts 6.30 a.m, kick off at 7.30.

We were doomed from the start. The usual local didn't have a special licence. Wes had been sent on recon yesterday afternoon to check. But he did find a great alternative.

We all headed down to the new place. Superb! Huge screens. Big open area with slavering hoards of England fans all supping pints at 7.00 a.m. Even served some good real ale. The roads were empty and it was cloudy so there was nobody to notice my umbrella and big coat. People had really made an effort though. Blokes with face paint and the flag like a cape. There was even 2 blokes with trumpets and a geezer with a drum. Like being on the terraces. Better than being in a Latin American crowd too - not gonna have to take days to get all the confetti out of the clothes.

Found ourselves a spot where all 4 of us could watch. Good job we got there early 'coz the place was packed by 7.20. Had all the music going. 'Sven, Sven, Sven Goran Eriksson he's from Sweden',' Goldenballs…that's Mr Beckham to you', and of course 'It's Coming Home'. Everyone joined in, "No more years of hurt, Jules Rimet still gleaming, it's coming home, it's coming home!"

Beer in hand the whistle went off.

"Seaman!!!!!" Duh, duh, duh, duh da da da.

"Nice run" Dambusters theme on trumpet major.

"Ouch." "Inger-lund, Inger-lund!!!" From the crowd.

"Seaman! Go David!" And the band played the theme to The Great Escape.

"Get up you big baby! Not gonna work twice you know!"

"Go on my son. Go on. It's Michael Owen! Yesssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

1-0. The pub went mad. Everyone was jumping for joy, arms in the air. Hugging each other, shouting "Yesssssssssss." Everyone except Red, who just looked at the crowd of joyous people with contempt.

The picture on screen moved to Big Phil the Brazilian coach. Everyone shouted, "Losing coach!"

"Ouch! Book the bastard!"

"It's the foot? Which foot is it? Bastards! No! Becks!!!!!"


"Phew! Nice tackle Rio! Go on my son!"

Argggghhhhhhh!!! Seaman!!!!!!!!! Bloody hell he isn't getting up! Bloody hell we're screwed!"

"Injury time, just got to focus! Hold on! Bugerrrrrrrrrrrrr! Ronaldo." 1-1.

More beer, a quieter pub senses it's just not our day. Senses that the luck isn't flowing the English way this morning. But will Seaman come out for the second half? And can Giles make it back through the slavering hoards with more beers before the second half.

He did. So did Seaman.

Don't help much.

Free kick. Ronaldinho. Bastard scores. Fantastic goal. Hurts like hell. The pub goes quiet for a bit, but the boys with the trumpets don't give up. Neither do the boys. 1-2.

"Nice run Millsy!"


"Bloody hell he sent off Ronaldinho! Gotta have a chance now? Don’t we?"

"Heskey!!!!!!! You donkey!"

"Teddy! Teddy!!!!! Teddy!"

"Penalty!!!! No, bugger!"

"He's taking off Owen? No!!!!! Fowler? No? Bollocks it's Dariusl."

"Close him down! The're on 10 men we gotta do it!"


"Becks! Go on!!!! No!!!!!!!"

"Yes! It's Teddy!!!!"

"He's taking off Ashley Cole? Not Heskey?"

"Well gotta go for it."

"Not our day, mate."

The boys tried, the pub willed 'em on. The blokes with the drum and trumpet played the lot. Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, I'm H A P P P Y, I know I am I'm sure I am, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Dambusters, Great Escape.

Didn't help. Full time. We're out. Everyone comes down from the high of the last few days. Music blasts '30 years of hurt'. We go home.

Giles put the kettle on.

Willow went upstairs to lie down as we'd had a late night and early morning. Wesley followed her after 5 minutes. Must be question time I suppose. I'd make myself scarce, but I'm still under supervision at all times. I mean I've been doing better, but there's still some bad times you know?

Giles put the tea out. Wes came downstairs.

He looked at Giles and said, It's done."

Giles blanched and said, "She was my responsibility - my fault! How dare you!"

Uh? Confused soul having vampire here.

Wes closed his eyes, rubbed his forehead, and said wearily, "And you couldn't have lived with yourself with her on your conscience. You know that. I know that. I have to do something right. I did this. Now I'm ready to pay the price."

I ran upstairs to Red's room. I pushed open the door. I'm not sure why I did. I couldn't hear a heartbeat behind the door. There's only two in the house now. There was a pillow over her face and she was gone.

I could hear shouting going on downstairs but my thoughts just roared in my ears so I couldn't take much anything in. She didn't have to end like this. Did she? People with souls aren't supposed to do this. Are they?

Continued in Part 7. Please Don't Let Me be Misunderstood

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