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Many Happy Returns: Love & Easter Bunnies

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“Gimme, gimme, gimme, a man after midnight!” Anne sang along to the radio at the top of her lungs as she drove along the Leeds Road back towards Shibden. She pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her nose as her head and shoulders moved to the sound of the beat, mostly in time, as she tapped against the steering wheel. She would normally be more discreet as she indulged in her secret guilty pleasure of car karaoke but typically for April, it was pouring with rain so her activities were well masked behind a sheen of water. Besides, she needed something to keep her awake.

The last time she spoke to her aunt she had told her how she hadn’t been sleeping much the last few weeks. The truth was she hadn’t slept well since the new year, but she hadn’t wanted to worry her unnecessarily. The flat she had been renting in York was comfortable enough, it had a lovely view of the river and the city walls without having to deal with the throngs of visitors trying to visit the Harry Potter store on The Shambles. No, there was another reason she hadn’t been sleeping well and she was hoping to remedy that as soon as she got back to Shibden, and back to Ann.

York was only an hour away but their respective schedules had been a nightmare this year. She had been busy trying to get planning approval on the final stages of the redevelopment. It had been over three weeks since they had been able to steal more than a solitary night together. The Easter Bank Holiday gave her four full days where she didn’t have to think about authentic masonry or conflicting contractor schedules or anything else. She wanted nothing more than to take Ann in her arms and look themselves away in her bedroom, surfacing only for food and perhaps some cake on Sunday for her birthday.

It hadn’t helped that she had to keep travelling down to London to finalise the sale of the house. It should have been simple but Mariana was intent on making the aftermath of an already horrendous divorce as acrimonious as possible. Part of her didn’t want to believe that she was being spiteful just because she had made the apparent mistake of bringing Ann down to London with her one weekend, but that was exactly the sort of thing she would do. Their marriage had long been over but she seemed unable to detach her hooks from Anne. No matter, with the house sold there was no reason for her to ever see her again and that was exactly how she wanted it. She drove those thoughts from her mind as she ploughed through the rain and burst into another chorus.

Ann had taken on more work at the local veterinary clinic. They had asked her if she’d ever considered qualifying professionally, despite Anne’s encouragement she had said that she much preferred to help where she could rather than take it on as a career. That didn’t mean they didn’t keep her occupied. It sometimes felt like she did everything but the medical procedures. She would help on the reception when needed, come up with ideas for fundraising, and most recently she had become the local school liaison. Anne had wondered whether this was to satiate any desire she might have to have her own children but Ann had assured her that whilst she loved spending time with children that wasn’t something she had ever considered would be part of her life. Anne had been relieved at that, she was starting to feel that she could barely keep up with her own life, let alone the life of a child.

That had been one of their more serious relationship conversations. Anne was thankful that those were few and far between. Once she had decided to make a permanent move back up to Halifax everything else between them had largely fallen into place. Anne moved back into Shibden, splitting her time between there and York once the development got underway. Marian had taken on much of the daily running of the estate so that afforded her more time than she ever thought she would have.

Ann was only twenty-five minutes away at Lydgate but she still loved coming up to Shibden so they would only stay at hers when they required more privacy. Ann would also happily jump on the train to York whenever she had a few days off from the clinic. It was a stark difference to her life with Mariana where she felt she had to book her two weeks in advance just to have dinner with her.

They had made it through almost a year together now with her birthday marking their anniversary of sorts. She smiled to herself when she thought of it like that. When the divorce had come through she had believed that her days of marking anniversaries, at least the good kind, were far behind her. Yet here she was, on her way back to Shibden for her birthday, happy in the knowledge that she would also get to celebrate her first year with Ann.

As the rain continued to pour she wondered how much of the estate would be under water by the time she got there. She hadn’t been able to spend as much time as she had wanted over the summer shoring up the defences in the lower brooks but hoped John had followed her instructions carefully. They would soon know as the April showers seemed to be in abundance this spring.

The rush hour traffic had already formed up ahead so she decided to take the quieter Halifax Old Road to the Hall and turned left off the Leeds Road. She hoped the rain would be less heavy tomorrow and then she could finally take a good long walk around Shibden. York was lovely, but she wanted to feel the ground beneath her and not manicured pavements. As she traversed the quieter roads she started to see bright patches of colour through the sheets of rain attached to various lamp posts and pillars. It was much too difficult to see them clearly but she thought to herself that there must be a circus or local funfair in town for the Easter Bank Holiday. As she turned onto the estate she was glad that she never allowed that sort of thing on her land.

The skies were darkening as the evening drew on but the estate was only a short distance away. She could already feel her heart start to fill. She had texted Ann to let her know she was setting off. There hadn’t been a reply but she knew that she had been busy organising some sort of Easter fete. Anne hadn’t caught the details, only that it had monopolised most of what little free time she had. As she turned onto the gravel driveway leading to the back of the Hall a large grin spread across her face. She was home, and she would be with Ann soon.

===

The rain had started to lessen by the time she had to cross the back courtyard though it was still falling steadily. Her great coat had managed to shield her from the worst of it. So much for spring coming early she thought as she hung it up. She could hear the drops starting to hit the cool stone floor. Hopefully it would be dry by the morning. She had quickly glanced up at the guttering as she entered the Hall and it seemed to have coped well with the earlier deluge. The investment she had made in the summer paid off dividends.

The entrance way mirror had never been the most flattering with the dark lighting casting menacing shadows, but even knowing this didn’t stop the heavy sigh as Anne surveyed her reflection. She leant forward as she pulled her glasses down and rested them on the end of her nose. Her eyes were red from lack of sleep. She pulled back swiftly so that she didn’t find anything more that horrified her only to be greeted by the flash of grey at her temples. She gingerly ran her fingers along her hairline. The low pony she’d taken to sporting because she hadn’t had time for a haircut did well to mask the greys most of the time, but clearly not today.

There was a sudden cacophony coming from the parlour. She pointed a finger at her own reflection as she muttered to herself, “You’re too old for this.” With that she started to head into the main body of her house but froze in the doorway. She looked down at her boots. They weren’t muddy but they were wet. From the shrill sounds emanating from the other side of the house it was clear Marian’s voice was in fine form. She reached down and pulled each of her boots off and deposited them by the door. Far simpler than being lectured for traipsing mud through the Hall.

She glanced at her bags, she could easily bypass all of the shouting and retreat to her room but if Marian continued like this she might have to stay at Lydgate. That reminded her, she needed to tell Ann she’d arrived safely. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and saw she had an unread message from Ann. Her eyes lit up as she opened it, “I’ll be there as soon as I can. Disaster with rabbits. I’ll explain when I see you.” She was about to put her phone away when she saw three little dots appear. Her phone pinged as another message came through, “I want you in a thousand ways.” Anne swallowed dryly. As she felt a fire start to burn inside of her chest she hoped that whatever this business was with rabbits she hoped it would be sorted soon.

“No, of course I understand that John. We’ll take care of it. Somehow.” As she crossed the great room towards the parlour she knew she would not like whatever Marian was talking about. “Make sure the bank is shored up, you know what-” Her mouth fell open as she saw Anne’s imperious form standing in the doorway. Anne arched her brow as she heard John’s voice faintly on the other end of the line. She distinctly heard him refer to someone as “her majesty.” It wouldn’t take two guesses to figure out whom he was referring to. She would have to remind Marian to not allow the staff to speak that way in her absence. They certainly wouldn’t dare do it in her presence.

Anne folded her arms across her chest as Marian continued to stare at her blankly. She huffed as she nodded towards the phone in her hand as John’s disembodied voice filled the silent space between them. “Yes…yes John, I’m still here.” Marian lifted the phone back to her ear and finally continued. “Do what you can.” She glanced at Anne out of the corner of her eye, “We’ll have to deal with whatever’s left in the morning.” Marian turned away as she ended the call, somehow hoping that if she wasn’t looking at her older sister then she might avoid the storm that was about to erupt much worse than the one that had raged outside.

“What does John have to deal with?” Marian’s back remained turned to her. “What are you taking care of?” Anne did little to mask her annoyance. “Marian.” Still nothing. Anne had been home all of five minutes and she already felt like she was back on the site trying to manage a dozen contractors all intent on making her life difficult. “Marian!” Anne boomed.

“Oh you’ve told her about the fair then?” Anne spun on her heels at the gentle sound of her aunt’s voice, “What fair?”

“Hello dear,” Aunt Anne ignored her question as she leant in for Anne to give her a kiss on the cheek. She gave her a warm hug that seemed to placate Anne a little as her face softened slightly. Aunt Anne had presumed that since the two sisters were in the middle of a row Marian must have talked to her about the fair. “I was going to tell you.” Aunt Anne let out a heavy sigh, apparently not. Marian baulked as Anne’s face hardened again as she stared at her as their aunt took a seat on the sofa between them. “What fair?” Anne asked once again through clenched teeth.

“The one Ann organised, dear.”

“Ann?” Anne’s nose scrunched up. There were too many unanswered questions for her liking and now Ann was being brought into it. “Yes dear.” Aunt Anne patted the empty spot on the sofa to her right and nodded for her to sit. Anne sulked her way over, much the same way she had done countless times as a child when her aunt thought she needed a kind talking to. Aunt Anne turned her left and looked up at Marian. She twiddled with her thumbs as Anne glared up at her. With Aunt Anne between them there she at least knew that Anne wouldn’t kill her. She hesitantly took the other empty seat. Anne scowled at her from across the sofa, “Well?” Marian turned to the side and picked up a piece of paper from the side table and held it out just in front of Aunt Anne. As expected, Anne reached over and took it firmly but not viciously from her hand. Aunt Anne was like a forcefield that even Anne’s darkest temper could not penetrate.

Anne turned the piece of paper Marian had handed her around in her hands. It looked similar to the colourful posters she had seen along the road, only smaller. There was a painting of a rabbit and some Easter eggs. She narrowed her eyes, she was certain that Ann had drawn this. It made sense if she had organised it all. There was some wording about a fair that was happening that weekend. On her birthday to be precise. She certainly wouldn’t be going. She scanned the rest of the page until her eyes stopped at the drawing of Shibden in the corner. Her head lifted, she caught Marian and her aunt both turning away suddenly. Her eyes fell back down on the flyer. She hadn’t been mistaken. The fair was going to be at Shibden. On her birthday.

===

The other part of the wonderful surprise Marian had in store for Anne was that the barn roof was leaking. This was what she had told John she would somehow take care of whilst he was busy shoring up the wall down by one of the creeks on the lower part of the estate. A discussion would have to be had about what additional work needed to be done. Her blissful weekend with Ann appeared to be slipping through her fingers.

She hadn’t understood why wet hay was a problem until Marian explained that if it developed mould then they wouldn’t be able to feed the animals. That had earned her another scowl. In her wisdom, Marian had decided they were going to start keeping livestock. Goats and chickens to be precise. The animals had been purchased and were expected after the long weekend. That was that. Marian had been doing some research and according to her, many years ago Shibden was an old farm. Anne refused to believe it but she had been her usual insistent self and after the news of the fair she had decided the less time she spent in Marian’s presence the better. All she could do was hope that she wasn’t planning on opening a petting zoo.

Anne felt every one of her years as she hefted the final bale of hay away from the leaking roof. She surveyed the barn. That should do it. She had fashioned a clever bucket system that meant any more water that came through would flow out towards the drain without constantly having to empty it. It was a little precarious the way it balanced on an overturned wheelbarrow but it would have to do. She sat heavily on one of the bales of hay and stretched her tired legs out from beneath her great coat as she stared up at the leaky roof. John could climb up onto the roof tomorrow and make the necessary repairs. Though perhaps with his record it might be safer for all involved if she did it herself.

Ann quietly gasped as she entered the barn and saw Anne sat casually not knowing that the sight of her was causing her to become completely undone. She could even forgive her for not wearing her glasses when she knew she needed them almost all the time now. Marian had explained she’d sent her out to do some manual labour so she probably hadn’t needed them. It had been weeks but it felt like months and she could feel her heart pulling her towards the handsome dark haired woman with her head tilted up towards the heavens.

The shiver that ran down her spine could be caused by the cold but she knew it was more likely to be the fault of the slightly muddy boots that sat at the bottom of the dark jeans that clung to her sculpted calves. She moistened her lips as she tried to peek at what might be beneath that impossible great coat she wore. Her heart actually skipped a beat as she imagined Anne touching her with those tight black leather gloves. She was certain Anne had heard her gulp as her eyes finally settled on her face. The strong jawline framed by the loose low pony that she was grateful she hadn’t had the time to cut yet. There surely wasn’t a sight more impressive than Anne Lister.

She was torn between not wanting to disturb the perfect picture before her and the intense need to be completely engulfed by Anne. As she weighed the options up in her mind once more the choice was taken away from her as Anne turned and saw her. The brilliant smiles they both felt spreading through every part of them illuminated the dimly lit space. Anne stood and in a flash Ann was in her arms as they wrapped their arms around each other in a tight embrace as they fell into the deepest of kisses. Ann moaned as she felt Anne’s tongue demanding permission as she parted her lips. As their twinned desire threatened to consume them neither understood how they had managed to be apart for so long.

Ann’s skin prickled from the sudden chill as Anne slipped her coat from off her shoulders and tossed it somewhere to the side. She could feel Anne’s lips curl into a smile as her still gloved hands roamed her back as she tried to find an opening. After a few more moments of not so innocent fumbling Anne finally broke their kiss with a frustrated huff. She pulled back, a small frown on her brow as Ann smiled back innocently, “Something I can help you with?”

“Yes, I need to take this off.” Anne answered with complete seriousness as she took in the sight of Ann in the form fitting short-sleeved knee-length dress that was keeping her from what she wanted. She could appreciate another time how the delicate white flowers with the periwinkle discs in the centre of them were perfectly offset against the mustard colour of the dress. Ann’s laugh echoed around the barn as she smacked her hand playfully against Anne’s chest. “Don’t you want to go into the Hall?” Anne wrapped her arm around her waist and pulled her back in as she started to suck along the length of her neck, “No.” Her lips travelled along her collarbones, “We need privacy.” Ann chuckled as she tried to pull away but Anne held her tightly, “We’re in a barn!”

“Exactly,” Anne continued her path along the other side of Ann’s neck. Her dress was helpfully low enough in the front to accommodate her touches. “None of them want to be out here on a rainy night. We’ll have no interruptions.” She nibbled lightly on the bottom of Ann’s earlobe as she whispered in a low gravelly voice, “I want to hear you.” Ann moaned wantonly before she managed to free herself from Anne’s grasp.

Anne lifted her head as she pulled her shoulders back. There was an air of resistance in Ann as she stepped back. It was the familiar dance they did around each other when Ann was trying to decide whether she would give in. Ann knew that Anne was right, that was the most infuriating part. She loved the family but they did have an uncanny knack for needing to talk to them at the most inopportune time. The rain was softer now but none of the family would venture out in it, whereas they’d been interrupted several times when she had stayed at Shibden.

Inside of her head Anne started the count. One. Two. The highest she’d ever gotten to was eight before Ann succumbed. Three. She opened her mouth in a slight smirk. Four. Next was a raised brow in a silent challenge. Five. She ran the tip of her tongue along her bottom lip. Six. She lifted her right hand and took the tip of the finger of her glove between her teeth and pulled it off. Seven. She repeated the movement with her left hand. Eight. There it was. The change in Ann’s eyes from defiance to desire.

Ann's right hand moved to just above her left hip as she raised her other arm. Ahh there it is, Anne thought. The secret opening. Ann gave one sharp tug to the bow on her side and the wrap dress fell open to reveal the delicate lilac coloured underwear. The smirk soon turned into a hungry wolfish grin as Anne unashamedly raked her eyes along the length of Ann’s body. She was met by a single challenging raised brow when their eyes finally met again. Anne took a commanding step forward. She pinched the thin material of Ann’s dress between her thumb and index finger. “This dress Miss Walker, what were you thinking in this weather?”

“It was nice this morning,” Ann answered. A trace of rebellion still in her voice. Anne carefully lifted the dress off her shoulders and down her arms before she tossed it to where her coat now lay. She placed a gentle kiss on her shoulder, “Darling, I checked the weather. It was far from nice.”

“You checked the weather in York, you know how much it varies between here and the bottom of Old Bank.” Anne took both of her hands and gave a quick glance towards the Hall. They were concealed from view but just to be safe she guided Ann a little further into the barn. “Those weather apps can’t be trusted.” Anne chuckled at how Ann was standing in her barn almost completely naked, save for her underwear and the dark brown ankle boots, and talking about the weather. She was truly made for her. She placed her hands on Ann’s hips, “I think the international space station’s measurements can be trusted.”

She could feel the goosebumps beneath her finger tips, those would soon dissipate. Her lips returned to her shoulder as she resumed her kisses, “And I didn’t just check York, I checked Halifax. Specifically the route between Lydgate and the veterinary clinic.”

“You did?” Ann’s breath hitched as she tried to concentrate on what Anne was saying as her lips tried to distract her. “I always do darling, I want to know what the sky looks like when you look out of the window.” She was infuriatingly good at this. Making her heart soar whilst simultaneously making her brain misfire with her teasing touches and skilled tongue. “You could ask me?” She felt the tips of Anne’s fingers start to draw abstract patterns across her soft stomach whilst the other hand cupped her ass. “I don’t want to bother you.”

“Dearest, you can never be a bother.” Anne gave a firm squeeze as a low growl escaped from the back of her throat. Ann groaned in response, “Except when you’re torturing me like this.” Anne chuckled darkly as her head lifted, “Well you are still talking.” Ann’s mouth fell open as Anne’s eyes sparkled with mischief. She gave her a sharp shove and Anne fell back onto a bale of hay. She licked her lips as Ann sauntered slowly towards her. She looked so smug, Ann thought, but it would be impossible to deny her anything she wanted. Her body craved her, the way Anne’s chest fell heavily told her she was not alone.

Ann rested her hand on Anne’s shoulder as she came to stand between her legs. Even from this position she looked confident that she was still in total control. And she was. Ann leant forward and fell into a slow passionate kiss. Gone was any coldness. Every part of her body was aflame. Anne’s firm tongue slipped into her mouth as she felt her skilled fingers unclasp her bra with a single flick. Her eyes were closed but she could tell that Anne was pleased every time she did that. As their kiss deepened Ann felt the straps being pulled along her arms. Then the hands were clawing at the top of her underwear and she felt them being pulled down until gravity took over.

Ann inched closer. Anne’s hands took a firm hold of her hips. Ann silently begged for Anne to take her into her lap and drive her fingers into her hard and fast. She wasn’t sure if she had voiced her desire or if Anne knew instinctively what she needed as she was swiftly turned and then pulled down into Ann’s lap. Anne wrapped an arm possessively around her waist as she started to suck ardently on her neck. Ann’s breathing hitched as her hands gripped Anne’s strong thighs tightly as she felt Anne press her body against her back, "You can't leave any marks."

Anne growled lowly, “Why not?” Ann felt her teeth graze against the top of her shoulder. She wanted her to leave her mark, showing to everyone that she belonged to her but she couldn’t tonight. Ann gasped for air as she tried to fill her lungs with enough oxygen so that she could speak, “I don't want to have to explain them to the kids.” She prayed that Anne would understand, even if she would never accept it. Thankfully Anne’s kisses became softer. Ann didn’t know if she had enough willpower to ask her to stop again if she hadn’t.

Her head fell back as Anne shifted her attention to between Ann’s legs. Her fingers played through the slick folds, “Have you been wet for me all day?” Ann could only whimper in response. She shivered as Anne’s fingertips ghosted her swollen clit. The strength of Ann’s grip tightened the more she felt herself becoming undone. Her thighs opened wider as her body begged for Anne to enter her. A self-satisfied hum echoed in her ear as she continued her torturous ministrations. All of the air left Ann’s lungs as Anne’s tongue moved from the base of her neck to her earlobe, the movement mirrored by the singular finger that swiped the length of her clit.

Anne buried her face in her neck as her hold tightened. Ann knew a moment later why as she was penetrated with two of Anne’s dexterous fingers as she continued to suck along her pulse point. Ann loved feeling so full. She shuddered as Anne curled her fingers inside of her as she slid in and out. She matched the tempo of her thrusts to Ann’s own rhythm as she felt her inner walls clench around her as she took her in deeply. There was a high pitched cry as Anne tilted her hand slightly as she pressed her thumb against Ann’s aching clit.

Ann’s delicious cries filled the open chamber as her hips rolled against Anne’s hand as her orgasm rushed towards her. Anne moved faster as Ann reached behind her and held her head tightly to her as she met each thrust. Her hips ground desperately against Anne’s hand until finally she felt Ann’s body seize as she let out a loud cry as her orgasm careened into her. Anne’s fingers were slick with Ann’s cum as she slowly pumped her fingers in and out of her until the remainder of her climax ebbed away.

As the shudders lessened Anne pulled her fingers out and leant back on her elbows and watched Ann’s back rise and fall as she tried to capture her breath. She didn’t know how she had managed to stay upright through it all. She reached up and started to slowly rub Ann’s back until she felt her breath start to regulate. After a moment Ann turned and collapsed on top of Anne and rested her head on her chest. Anne pulled the sides of her great coat up and wrapped them up together.

===

The weather had cleared up somewhat over the weekend. By the day of the Fair it was a little overcast and the ground still a bit muddy but it would have to do. Ann had ensured that Anne had woken up in a favourable mood since she was about to spend most of her birthday being surrounded by small children. She had learnt that contrary to the opinion that most people held of her, Anne did actually like children, she just chose not to molly coddle them or give allowances for their behaviour when many of them knew better. There had been more than a few occasions when Anne had met her after she'd done a presentation at a school for the surgery and she had found her deep in conversation with a young child. She often found their opinions refreshingly honest.

With Anne's more lustful needs satisfied, Ann had taken that opportunity to remind her of that and not to pretend to be the dred Mistress of Shibden. "Why am I doing this again?" Ann smiled to herself as she heard the voice coming from behind the screen, apparently she would need reminding. "Because you love me," Ann called out. She tried not to use that reason too often but she could picture in her mind's eye quite clearly the pout Anne was probably sporting right now. As she came out from behind the screen it was exactly as she had pictured it. Grumpily handsome and dressed from the neck down in the most perfect white bunny costume, complete with carrot permanently attached to one of her paws. Anne plodded over as best she could with the giant rabbit feet. Thankfully Ann had gotten very good at not bursting into a fit of giggles when she saw her, though she knew Marian would be unable to control herself. This was why she had been banished from the marquee whilst she was getting ready.

"Hmm, I'm not sure that's quite enough for this." Ann swatted her arm, only half playfully. The corner of Anne's mouth started to curl up as she tried to hide the smile forming. Ann glared at her before she stepped closer and placed her hands on the soft plush white material that covered Anne's chest. She batted her eyelids and looked up at her, "And I’ll be very grateful." Anne felt her core clench at the hidden promise beneath her words as Ann ran her hands over her chest. If only she could feel her touch beneath the large costume. Ann looked over at the disembodied grinning rabbit's head waiting on the table next to the basket full of eggs ready to give to the children. "Besides, we know that fits." Anne was reminded of the fundraiser Ann had held during the summer in which she had first worn this costume. She glanced down once more at the big feet and tried to ignore the fluffy white tail she knew some rotten child would try to pull off. She definitely preferred the hedgehog one. Ann reached up and carefully took her glasses off and hooked them into the front of her shirt. “For safekeeping.”

“If I can’t see how am I supposed to find you?” Anne wrapped her giant rabbit paws around Ann's waist and held her as close as she could to her. There was not a single detail she had overlooked. She made sure there was an egg for every child, as well as some spares in case more children showed up. Anne hoped the weather would hold out, selfishly because she didn't want to consider how heavy the costume would be if it was sodden with rain, but also because of all the hard work Ann had put in. She looked down into the deep blue eyes gazing lovingly back up at her. She was so proud of everything she had achieved, not just that weekend, but the entire time she had been lucky enough to have her back in her life. Ann tilted her chin upward and Anne was just about able to crane her neck enough to press her lips against her in a chaste kiss, “I’m sure you’ll find a way dearest.”

Anne moved over to the table and took the rabbit's head between her hands. She gazed into the big black eyes with the deep brown irises, just like hers. Ann really had thought of everything. At least it didn't look like a maniacal deranged rabbit. She exhaled heavily as she accepted her fate and placed the large head on top of her shoulders. "Very handsome." She had to turn her entire body to face the direction of where Ann's cheerful voice had come from. It was all worth it to see Ann so happy. As she remembered how Ann had shown her gratitude on her last birthday she would also hopefully reap the benefits later. Anne picked up the basket from the table, her costume was complete.

"Oh good heavens!" They both turned sharply towards the entrance of the marquee. Marian was grasping her stomach and in a fit of giggles as she pointed at the large rabbit she knew to be her sister. Ann could feel the rage emanating from beneath the costume as Marian doubled over. Ann took the carrot holding paw between her hands and held it close to her. Even if she couldn't feel her hands Anne felt herself calm from the gesture. Marian finally straightened and tried to compose herself. There would surely be swift retribution, but for now she had to enjoy the perfect sight of Anne Lister in a rabbit costume. She took a deep breath and managed to stifle the laughter enough. She lifted her chin and looked directly at the rabbit, "You look good in white. You should wear it more often."

===

Today had been perfect Anne mused as they slowly wandered up the path towards Lydgate. Even though she had to spend most of her day dressed as a rabbit, at least she had been with Ann. She had also successfully fended off a potential paint attack from a group of wild children whose hands were covered in paint. She had declared she was good friends with both the Tooth Fairy and Santa Calus, and anything to ruin her white plumage would result in them being very firmly placed on the Naughty List. It was clear some children suspected whether she did actually know them but they weren't brave enough to test it. She had even managed to turn the attack towards Marian and she was soon covered in multicoloured hand prints. That served her right for taking such delight in seeing her dressed up as a rabbit.

Anne waited behind Ann as she took her key out to open the door. She wondered if the off the shoulder dress that she wore had been why Ann had insisted that she not leave any evidence of their activities along her neckline. The floaty white cotton dress with a black bodice had been the perfect near summer evening choice, with the billowy sleeves offering her some cover. It also gave Anne the perfect opportunity to hold her close whenever she saw her start to shiver. She looked at the delicate freckles on her back and knew she could make no promise not to mark her tonight.

Ann tossed the keys onto the side table in the hallway as they entered her home. She had always loved Lydgate, and it certainly felt more homely than the vastness of Crow Nest, but it felt so much fuller when Anne was there. She slipped the shoes from her feet and wandered into the living room. She heard Anne removing her three-quarter length coat behind her. Of course she had shown up to a casual dinner in a full-three piece suit. She said that she had wanted to dress up for her since she was taking her out to dinner. Ann had appreciated the perfect cut of the suit, as well as the pop of colour as Anne had paired a crisp white shirt, with a herringbone waistcoat, and had sealed her fate with the use of a dark plum tie.

“This is starting to become quite the tradition,” Anne said as she flopped onto the sofa next to Ann. “Birthday dinners, just the two of us.”

“Is that alright?” Ann asked worriedly. She had considered asking Anne’s family if they wanted to join them for dinner but it felt like after a full day surrounded by people Anne would want some time for just the two of them. Anne placed her hand on top of Ann’s and smiled warmly at her, “I wouldn’t want it any other way.” She saw Ann visibly relax as her shoulders lowered. “Though I could have done without you running your foot along the length of my calf through the entirety of dinner, darling.” Ann looked off into the distance as she feigned innocence. “Well it was only fair since you insisted on wearing this.” Ann gave a sharp tug of her tie. It was amazing that they had even made it through a full two courses before they left. Anne chuckled heartily, she may have had a point.

“But you did enjoy yourself today?” The same uncertainty that used to colour their youth still sometimes crept into their relationship, even now. Anne lifted her hand and gently stroked Ann’s cheek. She wondered how many times she would have to tell Ann she, and everything she did, was perfect before she started to believe her. “It couldn’t have been better.” Ann tilted her head and placed a single kiss against her palm. Anne felt her smile and wished she could hold it in her grasp. “Please tell me you haven't got me rabbit shaped cufflinks though.”

Ann’s eyes were bright with mirth as she stuck her tongue out a little, “From what I recall you quite enjoyed the last present I gave you.”

“Remind me?” Ann’s eyes narrowed at her question. She knew that Anne remembered everything. Ann had noticed the hedgehog cufflinks she had gifted her last year the last time she had been in York. Anne had told her then that they had become her favourites, alongside the ones her father had gifted her which were somewhat of a family heirloom. It had warmed Ann’s heart to know that she loved them as much as such a cherished part of her history. Ann pushed herself up from the sofa and stood in front of Anne, “I think we can do better than that.”

For the second time in as many days Anne found herself filled with desire as she looked up at Ann. She needed no reminder. This memory was etched forever in her mind. The smell of Ann's perfume. The weight of her in her lap. The touch of her skilled fingers as she sent her over the precipice their first time together. Ann bunched up the material that hung loosely around her hips in her hands as Anne licked her lips slowly. The hunger she felt meant that she would have happily taken Ann fully clothed but this was even better.

Her gaze followed the cool material as it travelled up along Ann’s shapely calves and then over her thighs capable of a vice like grip. Anne’s breathing became shallower as Ann’s soft belly came into view as the material moved past the daffodil coloured lace knickers. Her mouth hung open as the rest of the dress was pulled clear over Ann’s head and she saw the matching bouquet lace bustier she wore. Ann smirked at the visible sight of Anne’s mind starting to misfire as she took in the delicious sight before her. Her grin widened as she sank to her knees and Anne realised what was happening.

Ann’s small hands made quick work of Anne’s belt and zipper. Anne lifted her hips just as swiftly when Ann gave a small tug to her trousers. Her eyes sparkled with a dark desire as Ann pulled her trousers and boxers down simultaneously all the way down and off her legs. It seemed she was just as eager as Ann was to give her her birthday present. She inhaled Anne’s intoxicating scent deeply as she pushed her legs a little further apart. Anne scooted forward on the sofa, her actions betraying the deep need she had for Ann.

Anne groaned as her head fell back against the sofa at Ann’s first tantalising swipe of her tongue along the length of her clit that culminated in an unforgiving flick. Anne’s hips shot up as it immediately sought more. She was more than ready. Ann felt Anne’s strong hand bury itself in her hair as she opened her legs wider. Ann continued with the long slow licks as she dragged the tip of her tongue from Anne’s entrance to her clit repeatedly. She wrapped her hands around Anne’s muscular thighs as she tried to stop her seemingly uncontrollable movements.

Ann drew her clit into her mouth and started to suck the sensitive flesh softly. Anne’s grip tightened as she held her firmly against her. She was so close. Another groan escaped as Ann’s warm tongue flicked against the sensitive bud. “Fuck.” Ann loved it when Anne was reduced to single word sentences. “You’re so fucking good,” Anne struggled to say as her orgasm neared ever closer. “Don’t stop.” Ann increased the intensity of her movements as Anne willed her to drive her straight over the edge. With one final swipe of her tongue she felt Anne come hard against her with another single word sentence repeated on her lips, “Ann.”

Anne was grateful that Ann hadn’t suggested they move to her bedroom yet. She wasn’t sure her legs had begun to work again. Instead, they stayed cuddled up on the sofa, both half-naked but completely happy. They exchanged lazy kisses as they revelled in the knowledge that they had absolutely zero plans for the next day. Anne pulled back, “I’m almost scared to ask what fundraiser you have planned next.” Ann looked back at her with a sleepy smile on her face.

“Oh…I don’t think there’s anything before Christmas. Plenty of time to get you a new costume.” There was a mild look of horror on Anne’s face. Sometimes she made it too easy. “Reindeer perhaps? You'd look very cute with antlers.”

Anne scowled, “I don't do cute darling.” Ann pinched her lips together as she resisted reminding her of the fluffy white rabbit she’d spent most of the day playing. “A Christmas pudding then?” That suggestion earned her an admonishing glare. “Perhaps not.” Ann bit her bottom lip as she appeared to be deep in thought, or deep in mischief. “An elf! I’m sure we can come up with something suitable. There's plenty of time.” As Ann’s bright laughter filled her ears and her legs wrapped around her waist Anne knew there was nothing Ann could ask of her that she would ever say no to.

She let out a heavy sigh, she wished she had never asked. Anne held her closer, safe in the knowledge that there was lots of time for Ann to forget the less than wonderful ideas she was having. Ann gazed back at Anne, she hoped that they could spend many more nights, not just birthdays, wrapped around each other like this. She had a sudden idea. She quirked her brow as she smiled mischievously, “Maybe next time I’ll dress up for you.” Anne knew immediately that she would not say not to that.