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Anne Lister and Ann Walker Star in Fairy Tales

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, when the world was younger than it is now, there was a small, sleepy parochial village called Halifax. The people were all quite small minded and anybody they considered to be different was frowned upon or derided. On the outskirts of the town there was a large gothic looking castle, Shibden was incidentally the oldest castle in all of Halifax. The Lister family had lived at Shibden for four generations but unfortunately a terrible accident had occurred about ten years previous.

The village folk all believed the rumours that almost the whole household including the family, servants and even the two dogs had died from drinking contaminated water from the well on the estate. The only survivor was the queer and manly looking Miss Anne Lister. She was an odd one the village folk had decided, always striding about everywhere shouting at anyone who got in her way. It's not right, it was often said, that a lady like her be unaccompanied whilst in town and heavens to be unmarried. Everyone stared at her wherever she went, there was something off about her. The fact that she wore a black top hat and men's boots, scandalous, or was it that Miss Lister was a bit like a man down there?

Many a man had tried to court Miss Lister but to no avail. She always told them the same thing, she was married to her work. She singlehandedly managed the castle as nobody would step foot on the castle grounds as it was said to be haunted by ghosts. Even the postmaster would only drop the mail in a box situated just inside the gate, once he could swear he saw something moving in one of the windows. She was landlady to many a rented property and she managed the Lister coal mine. Coal was king in Halifax as everything needed the black stuff to heat the houses and cook on. The town was situated in the rolling hills and is almost always cold and damp, fires were an essential in the town.

Anne Lister always felt she didn't belong in the village or anywhere really. She had a sense of being ahead of her time, special and almost revolutionary. There was a need in her to seek out answers and be true to her nature, whatever that could be defined as. The fact that she loved the fairer sex, worshipped them almost made her feel alive when it was all going well between her and the other woman. She felt like a failure or incomplete when things were not going her way.

Her one true love Mariana or Mary had married a man and moved away. Anne was heart broke, the life she wanted with her beloved was over. Over the years she had continued to meet up with Mary but it felt dirty and didn't fulfil Anne. Sure the sex was still amazing but it didn't light her up inside like it once did. There once solid connection was frayed and she felt like a dirty secret that Mary was ashamed off. The fact that her lover was critical of her clothing, hairstyle, mannerisms well everything really didn't help.

Her heart began to grow colder and shrink and she began to court women just for sex if she was bored and wanted something to do. When she had slept with them the challenge was over as far as she was concerned and she left them with no further contact. If she didn't feel anything for them she wouldn't get hurt again. Her feelings grew cold and then numb. Everyday and every woman was like the same before.

She longed for the letters off Mary telling her she wanted to meet up in York. Overtime her heart grew numb to these letters and the comfort and joy they once brought her. Nothing and no one fulfilled her or brought any comfort anymore.

Then one day a woman arrived at Shibden seeking refuge from the storm. The family were out enjoying a show in the village and the servants were getting the livestock in the barn. Anne answered the door to a beautiful young woman. Her golden hair hung limp to her head saturated like the rest of her. Anne couldn't take her eyes off the wet dress that clung to the woman's petite frame or the water as it trickled down the front of her corset onto her breast.

Anne looked the woman up and down then invited her in. There was something special about the woman who stood before her profusely apologising for getting the rug in the hallway wet. Anne was feeling a throbbing between her legs as she continued to stare at the woman and watch the raindrops descend down her neck and into her corset. Anne briefly wondered where the droplets stopped and wanted nothing more than to explore the woman's naked body.

The woman had been speaking but Anne had not heard as she was too absorbed in her fantasies. She rapidly blinked her eyes and pulled on her collar whilst politely asking the woman to repeat herself. It was strange the scrutiny she felt from this woman,her gaze seemed to penetrate into Annes soul. It had been a long time since Anne had invited a woman up to her room to have sex with her but she might just do that with this one she decided.

First she offered a towel and to show the beautiful almost angelic woman into the parlour room to get dried in front of the open roaring fire. " I could help you out of your wet clothes and get you warm" she suggested as she moved closer to the woman. Had she mentioned her name yet Anne briefly wondered, no mind she would call her Angel like all the other women she had courted (there had been so many she no longer remembered any names so just called them all Angel), no one could take offence then if she called them by another woman's name.

"Now my little Angel why are you out in this terrible storm?" The couple exchanged small talk for about an hour before Anne leaned into the woman. " I think you're a little bit in love with me, tell me have you ever kissed a woman before?" Again she blinked rapidly whilst leaning into the woman.

Within half an hour of their first slow cautious kiss they were in Annes bed. For the next two hours they connected with each other and kissed each passionately. The woman cupped Annes face and slowly traced her thumb along her jaw. "Can I see you again, I feel we have had a meaningful connection and would like to take you out to afternoon tea." Anne looked at the woman, yes the sex was good but did she really want to see her again?

"I think I will be busy for awhile, thanks anyway for the offer." Anne was dismissive and almost waved her away. The woman was looking at her strangely as if trying to decide something. She gave Anne one more chance to prove she wasn't just a heartless player. " But Anne we had a connection and the sex was really good, please reconsider."

Anne looked at the woman, something fluttered in her heart but she bit her lip to stop any words that might fall out unwittingly. "Like I said busy so if you would get dressed I will see if my servant is ready to escort you out. It was fun, bye." Even as Anne spoke she was already being dismissive and not looking at the girl.

Anne reached for her clothes discarded by her in passion at the side of the bed. She had turned her back to the woman and she found it strange there was no noise or sign of movement from the other woman. Please don't let her be a clinger or lord no a crier who refuses to leave. Taking a deep breathe Anne turned around to see what the woman, whatever her name is was doing.

The naked woman had sat up in bed, the bed clothes pooled around her waist. Her breast were magnificent, like goldilocks Anne mused, not to big and not to small. Anne sat back looking at the woman whose face was down in her hands, she seemed to be muttering something. It was to low for Anne to hear but she thought maybe the woman might be praying. Oh, no a bloody God botherer! Bloody great Anne thought quickly getting dressed. The last one she had fucked had wanted them to pray for forgiveness and apologise to the Lord for her orgasms. Please don't be unhinged Anne silently prayed.

"I have seen into your heart and soul Anne Lister and it is cold and barren there. No love or tender feelings grow there, you care for no one apart from yourself."

Anne wondered with unease why the woman had suddenly started speaking in a low deep voice, the hairs on her arms stood up as the woman continued to berate her. Definitely time for her to go Anne thought.

" You are a beast inside and therefore you will be a beast outside. I curse you to spend your life in Halifax, there will be no more travelling for you. The moment you cross any county lines you will physically transform Into a beast. Your family, servants and animals will all transform into magical objects. You will be alone but not alone, you will have to carry the guilt of your actions. The spell will only be broken when you fall in love with a girl who returns your love. Someone who wants to spend their evenings out with you.

This barometer will record the passage of time, do you see here? This says too cold when it reaches freezing the barometer will turn the egg timer over. When the last grain of sand has fallen the changes will become permanent unless the woman shares a loving kiss with you. You need to change your heartless ways Anne Lister or you will be a beast and alone forever."

Anne looked at her sceptically, this woman was clearly a picnic short of several sandwiches. The woman smiled and said "goodbye Anne and good luck in your quest. The sex was amazing but unfortunately you are a cold and heartless individual. This will hopefully teach you a valuable lesson." She blew Anne a kiss and immediately she lay down in bed fast asleep. Getting dressed the woman smiled at Anne, kissed her on the forehead and left Shibden.

Anne awoke the next day, that was a bloody weird dream she thought. It was so realistic and the woman was mighty fine. She heard a commotion downstairs, seriously her family were vulgar and annoying. Quickly getting dressed she made her way downstairs. On the stairway she stopped short and gripped the banister.

In front of her was a golden carriage clock talking to a golden candelabra, the five arms all held a red lit candle in. There were two tea trolleys racing around the room by themselves whilst a foot stool tottered about bumping into things.

"Tea everyone?" That's Mrs Coordingleys voice Anne thought as she saw the brightly coloured orange tea pot pour tea into cups. Anne thought back to what food she had eaten the day before, is this a bad dream or hallucination she briefly wondered.

"Look it's Miss Anne, why are you still human?" The teapot had asked in wonder, the whole room stopped and looked in Annes direction. " Typical, bloody typical why did you not turn into a carriage clock? This is your fault, I don't know how it is but this has Anne written all over it." Anne watched in fascination as the carriage clock rolled it's eyes and folded its arms together while stamping its foot. Even as a clock Marian was annoying.

Anne felt the air grow thick around her and sat down quickly while taking deep breaths. The candlestick hopped over, maybe it was the cheese she ate last night interfering with her mind and upsetting her equilibrium. The kind and concerned voice of Aunt Anne was spoken through the candlestick holder. " Are you ok my dear, you do look pale. It's all been a bit of a shock I'm afraid, unfortunately the whole household apart from you has been transformed into something. I mean folk will have something to say in Halifax when we don't make an appearance again. You are going to have to think of a cover story my dear."

Anne felt nauseous and decided she was stuck in a dream that she needed to wake up from. She needed air, yes fresh air sounded good to her. Anne couldn't take this and did what she always did, she ran. She flung open the door to Shibden and ran, ignoring the shouts and pleas from her family.

It took her 25 minutes to reach the town line and she didn't stop. Crossing over the line she felt a sense of joy and freedom. Let the family sort themselves out, there was nothing she could do for them anyway. After a few seconds she began to feel strange and looked down at her hands to see them grow fur. Her hat fell off when two horns began to grow out of the top of her head. Anne sank to her knees, noooo she wailed. Her drawers were almost ripped when a large thick tail spouted out of her back near her bottom. Her hands began to turn into hooves like a horse.

Crawling on her hands and knees whilst feeling utterly defeated Anne re-entered Halifax. A metre or so in and the fur, horns and tail began to recede back into her body. She watched as the hooves faded back into her hands. Lord knows how long she sat for crying and feeling sorry for herself. Eventually it began to turn dark and she slowly headed for home.

"Oh thank the Lord your back Anne we were so worried about you." The kindness in her aunts voice made Anne feel more wretched about her actions. " Your so selfish, only ever thinking of yourself. Where did you go? Have you figured out a way to turn us back yet? What did you do Anne?" Marian was screeching and the hands on her clock face were spinning around furiously.

Anne gathered everyone she could find in the household together. It was a bit awkward as she wasn't sure what was a magical object and one of her servants or which were inanimate. She stood at the door to each room and coughed whilst asking if anyone was present could they go in the parlour room.

Once everyone was there in their various guises she explained what had happened the previous day. There was much noise and muttering amongst everyone as she spoke. "See I knew it was something to do with you, fix it Anne because I don't want to be a clock forever." Marian was shouting at her and giving Anne a headache and for the first time but certainly not the last Anne spun the clock hands around. Marian was immediately lightheaded and wobbled from side to side. Anne noticed with glee it immediately shut her sister up from her infernal noise, must remember that one Anne mused.

"Well Miss Lister this shouldn't be a problem, you do have a certain reputation with the ladies shall we say. Getting one to give you a kiss is not usually such an issue for you, I hope you don't mind me speaking and not thinking it out of turn." Anne looked at the stuffed toy pony, it was black and white and reminded her of Percy her cart horse. Maybe it was Percy but it certainly sounded like John Booth to her.

"Yes I do have a way with the ladies John thank you." Anne looked in disapproval at the overfamiliarity from her servant. "But I don't think you heard me rightly, it has to be true loves kiss and who could ever learn to love a beast like me?" Anne fled the room and going up to her room flung herself down on the bed. What strange fate province had brought her, why did nothing go right for her? She wasn't sure how she would cope not being able to travel anymore. She felt like a prisoner in her own castle and village.

Would anyone ever share true loves kiss with her?