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The return of the Lesbian Godmothers (When Charles dies...)

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Ann was sat with the examinations of her student’s arts projects and she was running out of time – she only had four hours left until she had to report their results into the system of the university. Marian eyed her with worry, as she hummed and sighed quite a bit and loudly, twirling her pen between her fingers.
“You alright over there?”
“Well, I’m under stress and press… the only thing I’m not under right now is Anne, which is a damn shame to be honest.”
“Seeing as you’re stressed, and all that I’m going to pretend that that wasn’t too much information.”
“Mm, you’ve seen worse – you saw my sketches, didn’t you?” Ann murmured, skimming through the next folder and Marian did a double take,
“What? You mean those from your class?”
“Mm, well yes – but they weren’t really from my class.”
“Do not tell me that it was my sister. Don’t Ann! No! URGH.” Marian shuddered, closing her eyes shut as if the images would be gone if she did. Ann looked at her for a second, smirking,
“To my defence they weren’t meant for anyone’s eyes.”
“Oh Lord. Oh no. Oh, you’ve disturbed my equilibrium. Ann… no! Why would you paint her like that – if that isn’t the queerest thing you’ve done!”
Marian was staring at the blonde, who merely continued looking over the sketches and paintings of her students but she was smiling small, licking her finger to turn a page – not turning around in her chair when she answered her,
“It isn’t.”
“What’s that then?”
“Your sister.” 
“Urgh no! Ann!  For God’s sake. NO! I’m putting my foot down. Urgh, I need to move out.”
“Hm it’s true though.” Ann mumbled amused, moving over to a new folder and Marian might have said something else but just then Anne entered the room, dressed to impress – Looking dapper and bright, about to head out for dinner with the trustees for Yorkshire’s universities history departments. Anne said nothing as she entered, and Ann didn’t even turn her head to look at her at first – too engrossed in the art before her. She did look up slightly though when Anne ran her fingers over her shoulders before bending her head down to kiss her wife deliciously. Ann rested her hand over the one that sat on her shoulder, giving it a quick kiss before continuing with her work but Anne didn’t leave her side.
“I have a question about my clothes.” Anne began, a little self-conscious and Ann dropped the folder and turned in her chair to properly admire her wife. Ann ran a hand down her arm, smiling as she saw the cufflinks Anne was wearing – the ones she had given her for their anniversary that year. Ann kissed her fingers,
“What about them? Because you do look handsome, pony.”
“I just, is it too much? Too little? – I…” Anne bit down on her lip, opening her arms and Ann smirked,
“Give me a twirl, dearest.”
Anne blew air out of her nose, about to protest when Ann gave her a stern look and Anne obligingly turned for her wife.
“Oh, no you’re right. They might be distracted by how good you look in that, pony.” Ann grinned and Anne rolled her eyes at her and Ann grabbed her hand,
“Seriously, dearest – you are beautiful, and that suit is perfectly handsome on you.”
“I would prefer it off though.” Ann added cheekily and Marian banged her head against her book,
“I’m still in here! Oh, please don’t. Why am I always around for these things!?”
Anne merely smiled sheepishly, kissing her wife again, and when she tried to pull back, Ann pressed her hand to her neck to keep her in place – running a hand through her dark mane.
“I thought you were in a hurry to get these results done?” Anne murmured against her lips, smiling amused and Ann pecked her lips chastely before releasing her from her grip,
“Urgh, yes, good, uh, alright... Have fun – but not too much fun. If there’s lipstick on your collar, I will kick your arse.”
“In your state?” Anne teased and Ann glared at her, perfectly serious,
“I will disinherit you, me and your unborn child will overthrow you – and then we’ll leave you with only the shed.”
“It’s a chaumiére.”
“Sex hut.” Marian snorted loudly and annoyed, raising her teacup to her lips,
“Chaumi…” 
Anne’ sentence died as she gulped at Ann’s penetrating stare,
“Right… no, of course I won’t. I love you, Adney.”
“Don’t be too late?” Ann glanced at her a bit doe-eyed, and Anne kissed her irresistible pink lips, leaning her forehead against hers for a second,  
“I promise.”
Anne then pressed a kiss to her forehead before heading towards the door,
“Oh, and I love you, Anne.” Ann gave her a shout and Anne ran back kissing her one last time happily,
“God, I don’t want to go – I don’t want to leave you!”
“It’s for a few hours for the love of…” Marian groaned, and their heads turned to her for a moment,
“Anyway…”
Anne turned back to her wife, kissing her on the forehead tenderly,
“I’ll be back before twelve. Or around twelve. I will endeavour to be here at midnight.”
“Learnt not to lie to your wife?” Marian questioned, huffing at the same time, giving her sister an annoyed look, and Anne sighed,
“None of your business, Marian!”
“Anne.” Ann lectured her and Anne forced a smile,
“My wife is my life, and I’ve promised to keep her happy thus no lies.”
“Good, here’s a treat.” Ann laughed kissing Anne before pushing at her, “Now go or you’ll be late.”
“I’ll miss you!” Anne shouted, but Marian pushed her out, closed the door in her face and locked it before turning to Ann who just stared at her a bit stunned,
“I’m sorry but she would’ve never left if I hadn’t done that.”
“I guess that’s true.” Ann agreed, and Marian sat down again to return to her book and Ann slumped down in her seat going over the last few folders.

Ann wasn’t quite sure why but an hour into it, tears began burning behind her eyes and she sniffled trying to keep the tears at bay, and Marian turned in her seat, immediately alerted,
“What’s the matter, Ann?”
“Nothing.” Ann wiped her nose with the back of her hand, turning away but Marian stood up and put a hand on her shoulder,
“Is it something the matter with… are you in pain?”
“No.” Ann forced through her tight throat, gripping her pen tighter in her hand.
“Then what’s happened? Ann, you can tell me, I might’ve been annoyed with Anne before but I’m not with you. Or if you’d rather tell Aunt Anne, I’ll get her.”
“It’s just… It’s ridiculous really…” Ann snivelled, and Marian frowned, her eyebrows raised in confusion,
“Tell me?”
“I miss her.” Ann mumbled, and Marian glanced down at her,
“Who? Your sister?”
“Anne…” Ann said sheepishly and though it was comical she began sobbing nevertheless and Marian was a little at loss of what to do with her, she wasn’t good with people crying – she did a fair bit of it herself but helping others? – She thought herself as pretty lousy at that.
“Oh Ann… she’s only been gone an hour.”
“I know, I know… but I miss her!” Ann laughed and sobbed all the same, and Marian wrapped her arms around her, thinking it might bring her some comfort,
“I mean I can relate to crying over my sister but maybe not because I miss her.”
“She’s so… oh, I love her. I want her to come home now.”
“Do you want me to call her?” Marian wondered and Ann sobered up, straightening in her chair,
“What? No! Marian, that’s desperate.”
“Okay…” Marian held her hands up and after seeing that Ann was alright ventured back to her seat, thinking to herself that Ann’s emotions was a right down rollercoaster at present.

Later that night Ann lay in bed, hardly able to sleep – glancing at her phone non-stop to see if there was a message from her wife but nothing. And she was nearing one in the morning. Ann was beginning to worry quite a bit but remained in bed – trying to sleep. Anne would come back all in one piece as usual – she was always late from these things. Closer to half one there was a soft creak as the door opened and Anne sneaked in, already dressed for bed – having visited the bathroom before trying to creep into the bedroom.
“Are you awake?” Anne whispered softly, and Ann groaned in reply, sleep-drunken but awake, and Anne winched,
“Do you want… Can I sleep with you? – I reek a bit.”
Ann rolled on her back and opened her arms – lifting up the blanket,
“C’mere.”
Anne ran over the floorboards, climbing into the bed and Ann grabbed her face between her hands and pecked her lips before kissing her forehead lazily,
“I missed you.” 
“You did now, did you?” Anne smirked against her lips and Ann pecked them again, 
“Mm, not too much though.” 
“Marian already told me.”
“Urgh, it was a minor break-down and that’s the hormones’ fault.” Ann groaned but then she giggled, kissing her wife again fondly, so happy to have her next to her again.
“I missed you too, Adney – all night. I wish you could’ve come with me.” Anne told her and Ann turned around in her embrace and Anne snuggled into her, wrapping her arm across her abdomen protectively, caressing the bump gently, kissing Ann’s exposed shoulders,
“I love you and the little one.”
“You better love this baby after all the throwing up I’ve done.” Ann smirked and Anne kissed her neck,
“No need to worry, I would die for both of you.”
“Yeah, thanks but don’t do anything stupid!” Ann mumbled, and Anne nuzzled her nose into her hair, inhaling her scent,
“God, I love you – You’re my wife!”
“I am.” Ann snorted, eyes closed – half-asleep,
“You married me.”
“I did.”
“In-front of people.”
“I know I was there.” Ann murmured amused, and Anne hummed into her hair, wrapping herself snugger around Ann, touching her bump,
“We’re having a baby… that’s insane.” Anne told her whilst Ann pushed her back to Anne, wanting her as near as possible,
“I know. There’s going to be a little mini-you roaming around Halifax – poor people really.”
Anne snorted, chuckling quietly,
“Suits them after the hell they tried to give me and then us.” 
“I don’t get it, why don’t the people in town like you?” Ann wondered, tiredly, she couldn’t fathom that not everyone was as in love and in awe with her wife as she was. Anne ran her hand over the bump absentmindedly,
“Because I can do things they can’t.”
Ann turned a little in Anne’s embrace, opening her eyes slightly,
“Like?”
“Mind my own business, for one.” Anne huffed and Ann laughed, turning completely to give her a kiss.
“This is why I love you. So much sass.”
“What did you say about my arse?”
“I was talking about your sass, but I guess one hears what one wants.”
“My arse is golden.”
“Mm, It’s pretty nice actually. I prefer your arms though, and God your thighs and mmm, your tits.”
Ann placed her head against her wife’s breasts and Anne rolled her eyes, running a hand through Ann’s golden curls,
“What’s with you and my tits?”
“They are nice. I like them – they are soft and lovely.” Ann kissed them and Anne laughed,
“Are you too tired or?” 
“I thought you’d never ask.” Ann sat up in bed, throwing the shirt she had worn over her head, seating herself over her wife’s abdomen – completely nude. Anne ran her hands over her thighs, and Ann bent her head down to kiss her deliciously slow and Anne moaned against her lips, running her tongue over her lips before being granted entrance into her soft mouth. Ann grinded a little into Anne’s lap and Anne was happy to help her, lowering a hand to rub against her wife’s bundle of nerves softly making Ann squirm and moan under her touch.
“Oh, I love you, Anne.” Ann whispered hotly in her ear, as Anne stroke her over the top of her queer – feeling her wetness against her hand.
“Not as much as I do you.” Anne mumbled, aroused by her wife grinding into her, raising the other hand to caress her breast and run her thumb against her hardened nipple. Ann bit her lip hard growling and Anne smirked at her pulling her down to kiss her. Ann responded desperately to her kisses, her mouth by Anne’s ear,
“I want you inside me.”
“Are you sure? – In your…”
“Dr Lister you don’t believe that old myth, right?” Ann teased her and Anne kissed her hard before adhering to her wife’s wish, watching her come undone above her. It was an odd thing to have Ann on top, but Anne didn’t mind the view. Ann shook a little, and Anne brought her down to rest against her breasts – Ann panted loudly but glancing up at Anne giggling at the same time.
“How are you so great?”
“I don’t know you tell me.” Anne smiled down at her, and Ann raised Anne’s hand and kissed her fingers, entwining them with hers, making Anne laugh at her.
“You feel alright?” Anne wondered then, “I don’t think you should lie like that for too long.”
“Urgh, no.” Ann sighed, pushing herself up from Anne as she indeed was little uncomfortable lying on her stomach – and to be frank a little worried about the baby.
“You’re gorgeous.”  Anne smiled, running her hand along Ann’s curves and Ann rolled her eyes,
“I’m swollen just about everywhere.”
“You’re pregnant. It’s all baby and water.” Anne told her, caressing her bump, feeling a tiny foot under her hand and her eyes widened as she locked eyes with Ann,
“Did the baby just kick?! Did it?”
“Yeah. Well, you woke it up.” Ann smirked, and Anne’s lips crashed unto hers, and Ann laughed at her merrily – she had been able to feel that for a while.
“Are you crying, dearest?” Ann wondered, trying to sneak Anne’s face from under her neck,
“No…” Anne said strained, and Ann forced her face up, and kissed her tears away,
“You’re just adorable, aren’t you?” 
“Seriously Ann – that’s our baby! – We’re going to have a baby! It’s… I never thought I wanted one but – Ann!” Anne told her, her usually steady voice shaking.
“Yes, it’s incredible. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. What do you think we’ll have?” Ann caressed her wife over the back as she lay snuggled into her side, Anne pondered this,
“I have a feeling it’s a boy, but you never know – but my mother and her mother and hers all had boys the first time around – and seeing as it is my egg – I’m guessing boy. But I’ll be just as happy if it’s a girl. If it’s a goat though I might be a little sceptical at first.”
Ann laughed at her wife, clutching the side of her stomach as a stitch was coming on,
“Anne! What the actual fuck? How drunk are you?”
“What? Point is, I’ll love this little one no matter what.” Anne grinned, leaning down to kiss the baby bump,
“Hello… ‘tis your mother – the cool one.”
“What!” Ann gasped, “I’m the cool one – you’re the jump out of… oh wait I guess you’re the cool one. I’m the responsible and fun mum.”
“Don’t listen to her, she gets cranky this time of night.”  Anne looked at the bump, and Ann laughed at her.
“I thought you said it was ridiculous talking to unborn babies.” Ann mused, playing with strands of Anne’s hair,
“Well they were being ridiculous about it – wanting other people to talk to it – that’s weird. I’m not going to press my face up against a woman I hardly like and talk to her crotch.” Anne said seriously having Ann in almost tears from laughter,
“You are just ridiculous, Anne.”
“Don’t listen to mummy – she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. This way you’ll know my voice when you decide mummy’s womb is too uncomfortable for you (ungrateful twat) and pop your head and shoulders out.”
Ann was crying from laughter, hurting badly from it and Anne just looked at her with a small smile playing her lips.
“It’s going to kick my bladder all night Anne!” Ann complained through her laughter, and Anne frowned and turned her eyes to the bump again.
“Stop kicking your mummy young Sir or Madam! No – stop it! Don’t make me come in there!”
Ann wheezed, she could hardly breathe from laughing too hard, and Anne smirked at her,
“Baby has a noise complaint – I think it’s your laughter keeping baby up.”
“Then stop being ridiculous, pony!” Ann told her, and Anne sneaked her way up her body, kissing her softly muffling her laughter,
“You’re so beautiful.” Anne murmured against her lips caressing her cheek, brushing a few hairs from her face. Ann exhaled deeply, calming her laughter and composing herself whilst Anne kissed her face sweetly.
“Oh.” Ann frowned, “I did mean it though – this baby will be up till dawn now – and so will I.”
Anne glanced down at her bump, running her hand over it – feeling small kicks underneath her palm.
“Do you feel them more on the inside than on the outside? Anne inquired, fascinated by the body and it’s changes,
“Mm.”  Ann mumbled, running her own hand over the bump – tiny bit uncomfortable. Anne kissed her before lying down by her bump again, running her hand over it in soothing movements,
“Don’t laugh Ann but I’m going to sing to it.” Anne told her seriously and Ann bit her lip to keep from laughter.
“And you thought they were being silly?”
“For making random people do it. We’re alone in our bedroom in the dark of night. Besides, as a Doctor…”
“Of Classics!” Ann spouted amused, and Anne rolled her eyes,
“I have a PhD in female anatomy as well, I’ll have you know – And am well aware how pregnancy works. Babies do hear our voices in there – that’s how they recognise their mother’s voice et cetera. So… I’m going to try and sing it to sleep – apparently that works according to Maria who swears by it.” Anne told her smiling, feeling rather silly but still adamant on making her wife comfortable and allow her some sleep. Ann shifted, but nodded,
“Alright then – I won’t laugh.” 
“Here goes nothing urgh… ‘Stars shining bright above you, night breezes seem to whisper I love you, birds singing in the Sycamore tree, dream a little dream of me…’” Anne sang beautifully Ann thought – feeling her own eyes droop and the baby did settle after a little while to Anne’s soft singing.
“It worked.”  Ann mumbled surprised, and Anne smiled wide, coming up to kiss her,
“I told you so. I am always right.”
Anne kissed her forehead, and Ann mumbled and nuzzled into her – making herself comfortable.
“What time is it?”
“Eh, about twenty to three.” Anne replied her, trying to see the hands on the watch in the dark.
“I never took care of you.” Ann mumbled, running her hand down Anne’s body but Anne stopped her hand, kissing it,
“You don’t have to – not tonight. You’re tired.”
“But you gave me – and I know you want…” Ann began but Anne shushed her,
“Not tonight – I’ll live, I promise. You’re pregnant – you deserve to be spoiled.”
“Oh” Ann groaned, twisting and turning for a bit and Anne gazed down at her, forehead wrinkled and looking rather worried for her,
“What?”
“I could just kill for peanut-butter ice-cream with chocolate right about now.” Ann mumbled into her neck, and Anne raised her eyebrows,
“Well, that’s oddly specific.”
“Mm – but it’s the absolute best, isn’t it?”
“You don’t even like peanut-butter?” Anne questioned, “You hate it when I eat it! Once you forced me to brush my teeth before I kissed you after having it.”
“Mm, baby wants it so bad.” Ann groaned, so tired but fully awake, “It’s all I can think about.”
Ann’s stomach growled, and Anne bit her lip not to laugh – uncertain if the hormones in her wife could take being laughed at, at the moment.
“Do you want me to get you some?”  Anne wondered, and Ann glanced at her,
“But we don’t have any?”
“I’ll go out and get you some at the petrol station.”  Anne offered, and Ann’s eyes filled with tears,
“I don’t deserve you.”
“Shush, shush, shush, Ann – love, don’t cry. You deserve everything in the world – and I vowed to cherish you so…” Anne kissed her over the hair before rolling out of bed,
“I’ll be back soon.”
Anne threw on a pair of black trousers and a green jumper that lay across the chair before running downstairs, picking up her car keys before realising she’d been drinking a fair bit tonight. She dropped them sighing, but nevertheless made to run down to Halifax when Marian appeared behind her,
“What are you doing at this time of night? – If you’re leaving Ann, I’m killing you. Aunt will help me hide your body. No one will find it. Ever.”  
“I…uh, mm, she needs ice-cream.” Anne explained and Marian snorted amused,
“Oh, I guess you’re rather sweet for once then.”
“Yes, Um, I might be a little longer – I forgot I’d been drinking so I’ll need to run.”
“Fuck that. I’ll drive you.”  Marian offered, “So long as I needn’t leave the car because I can’t be arsed to change from my pyjamas.”
“Thank you, Marian.” Anne smiled, and Marian waved her hand,
“Don’t mention it. It’s for Ann, right? And for you, idiot. You’re my sister and I love you.”
“I love you too, but if we’re about to get sentimental – you’re dead wrong.”
“No. We’re about to do some… teamwork.” Marian got into the driver’s seat, and Anne jumped in on the other side. Marian turned the key and the car started and from the radio blasted, ‘We are family’ and they looked at each other and without a single word they raised their hands, and they high fived,
“Lister sisters.”
“That was freaky.”  Marian said as they drove down the road,
“Yup – sometimes it scares me how much we think alike.”
“Mm. Ditto.”

Marian drove them quickly – which was surprising, but they were on a mission and when they did collaborate for once – they always did well. Which should inspire them to be on each other’s side more often but much to the vexation of Ann and Aunt Anne – alas no!
Anne threw herself out of the car, running into the Petrol station service shop.
Her eyes immediately found the fridge and after a quick sweep of the Haagen-Daz’s, she turned to the Ben & Jerry shelves – finding one with ‘Peanut butter cups’ which was peanut butter and chocolate – exactly what Ann wanted. Anne took it out, picked up another bar of Ann’s favourite galaxy chocolate bar just to be on the safe side before approaching the counter to pay.
“That’ll be £6.” The cashier told her, and Anne nodded, reaching down into her pocket to take her wallet up only to realise she’d forgot it. Anne felt in her other pocket before staring at the cashier,
“Oh, I must’ve forgotten my wallet – Um, I’ll just pop into the car to get it.”
“We close in a minute, ma’am.”
“Yes, but I…”
“Fear not sister dear...”
Anne turned around to see Marian standing in the door in her pyjamas with a tenner in her hand, and to be fair, looking more chivalrous than she had ever seen her sister – she might’ve never been happier to see her,
“I’ll pay!”
The cashier sighed as if he thought it annoying that Anne could buy the items. But nevertheless, took the note from Marian and handed back the change and they left the shop and got into the car. 
“Lister sisters.” They high-fived each other and then went quiet,
“Let’s never tell anyone we did that.” Anne glanced at her sister who drove, and Marian shook her head,
“My sentiment exactly.”
They got back in record time and Anne glanced at Marian for a second,
“I owe you one.” 
“Just don’t be a twat all the time and we’re even.” Marian told her and Anne stopped with her hand on the handle,
“Oh right, I should give you your £6.”
“Never mind. It’s on me. Besides, you’ve paid for me lots of times. What are sisters for if not exploiting them for money?”
“True.” Anne told her before throwing herself out the car, running inside grabbing a spoon in the kitchen before running upstairs to her wife. 
“I’m here!”
“You really, did it?” Ann’s eyes filled with tears as Anne handed her the ice-cream and spoon.
“Of course I did – no trouble at all. I’ll do anything for you and especially now.”
“I don’t deserve you.” Ann wept, staring at her ice-cream and Anne threw off her clothes that sat over her pyjamas before laying down on bed again caressing Ann’s cheek,
“Of course you do. I think it’s me who don’t deserve you most of the time.”
“I’m fat…”
“Ann, you’re pregnant – 27 weeks and you are still tiny. It’s just a bump – a baby bump poking out. You’re not fat and even if you became fat – who the fuck cares? There’ll be more of you to love and I love you no matter what. Fat is an adjective, by the way – it does not equal ugly. Fuck society for that equation.” Anne told her seriously, kissing her tears away and Ann inhaled, a little shaky, still crying a little.
“It’s just the hormones, love. It’s alright – I’m here. Eat your ice-cream.” Anne put her head on her shoulder and Ann whimpered,
“I feel disgusting.”
“What?!” Anne raised her head, sneaking her arm around Ann’s shoulder, sitting up so she could rest against her instead, running her free hand over her bump,
“I’m disgusting.”
“No. Adney, why would you say that?” Anne wondered, and Ann sniffled,
“Because I feel huge and insanely bloated and I’m eating ice-cream in the middle of the night, that you were forced to go get for me.”
Anne held her closer, kissing her temple,
“Adney, retaining water is common and, it’s fine. And baby wants that ice-cream – that’s why you get cravings. It’s perfectly natural. I’m a doctor, trust me. I’ve seen worse. Here.” Anne took the ice-cream from Ann, scooping up a fair amount on the spoon before eating it,
“Of classics.” Ann mumbled, whilst Anne ate, and the brunette smirked before digging in for another mouthful but holding it out for Ann who were still teary but nevertheless accepted it.
“It’s delicious, hm?” Anne smiled, taking another spoonful herself, drying her wife’s tears away before giving her another spoonful,
“You think I’m pathetic?” Ann wondered and Anne laughed kindly, 
“No. You’re pregnant. This is normal. High levels of hormones do make you emotional and baby craves things - it’s perfectly natural.  I think you’re fun and gorgeous. I mean how often am I allowed to eat ice-cream in bed with my naked wife in the middle of the night?”
Ann pulled the covers higher – self-conscious but Anne kissed her sweetly on the corner of her mouth, licking some chocolate away making Ann laugh at her,
“Pig.”
“Oink.” Anne snorted with a smirk, kissing her forehead -stealing another spoonful of ice-cream only to make Ann feel better about eating it.
“Will you come with me to the check-up next week?” Ann wondered, and Anne kissed her nose, 
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I told you – this baby is ours and you shouldn’t have to do anything alone. I talked to them at work and they said I could reschedule my lecture that afternoon so I can hold your hand whilst you have your bloodwork done and all that.”
“I love you, Anne. You’re the absolute best wife in the world.”
“Ah… second best.”  
“What?” Ann looked at her, and Anne smirked,
“Mm, you see I happen to have the best wife in the world.”
Ann laughed and shook her head at her, and Anne kissed her cheek again, running a hand over the growing bump,
“Can’t wait to see little one again.”
“Me neither.”
“Oh, and before I forget – I got galaxy for you as well. It’s downstairs, if you crave something sweet to take with you to work in the morning.”
“You’re just the sweetest aren’t you, dearest?” Ann smiled, kissing her wife fondly on the lips and Anne grinned wide, noticing Ann’s eyes drooping, and therefore took the ice-cream from her placing it on the nightstand – it could melt for all she cared, and Ann then fell asleep in her arms snoring softly. And though some nights that might disturb and annoy Anne – that sound was also so deeply connected with her wife – so she only smiled to herself and let herself be lulled to sleep by her wife’s snores.

Chapter Text

Ann had spent all afternoon in her office, getting things in place – organising everything for her sub. She knew the university would handle all of it, but Ann was still a little wary about handing over her current students to someone new – she so wished that they would still be judged fairly and that it wouldn’t ruin their scores or anything. She must’ve gone through her papers and notes a thousand times when there was a soft knock on the door. Ann startled, her head immediately turned to face the doorway, only to see her wife standing under it smiling at her,
“Are you ready to go home, Adney?”
“Um, I just need to um, get these things to, to uh administration and then I have a couple of emails to answer um, about the, eh, impressionism that a student sent and then I just have to…”
“Ann, breathe.” Anne had stepped into the room and were now holding Ann gently by her arms,
“You’re worse than me right now. Everything is going to be alright. Your maternity leave began twenty minutes ago. I’ll walk with you to leave the papers with administration, but those emails are not your problem anymore.”
“Right.” Ann exhaled, and Anne pressed her lips to her forehead, lingering for a second longer than necessary, before pulling away – taking her hand in hers, and taking the papers from her other hand into hers,
“Come on then, let’s go.”
“But…”
“No buts, Adney.” Anne urged her by gently pulling her by the hand and eventually Ann followed her out the door and they left the papers, chatting to a few colleagues before exiting the university’s art department – coming out to the parking lot.
“What if I forgot something important?” Ann wondered as she put on her seatbelt, and Anne laughed quietly at her, caressing her cheek,
“Well then, I’ll solve that for you. Now relax, sit back and let the rest of us spoil you.”
“Urgh. Right.” Ann held her hands in-front of herself, trying to calm down a notch before turning to her wife who currently focused on getting out of the parking lot in the late afternoon traffic,
“What’s for dinner?”
“Um, I think Marian said they were making pot steak with Yorkshire puddings and you know some type of gravy and vegetables.” Anne answered a little unfocused on her for the time being, and Ann smiled,
“Good, I’m starving.”
“Yeah? – Did you have your lunch?” Anne eyed her quickly before turning her eyes back on the road, and Ann gave a nod,
“Yes, I did. Not that you’re one to judge!”
“Well, I’m not… did you have a snack?” Anne was distracted by a low rumble from Ann’s stomach and the blonde laughed as she rolled her eyes, touching Anne’s hand gently,
“Yes, mum I did.”
Anne glanced at her, smiling small,
“I’m just concerned about you...”
“I know, thank you, dearest.” Ann ran her fingers behind her neck affectionately before returning her hands to her lap, staring out on the bustling road, counting down the seconds until they would get home and have dinner. She was really famished, and it was making her uncomfortable and giving her slight stomach pains, that to be fair had been coming and going all day.

The table was already set when they got home, and Ann was so thankful for Marian and Aunt Anne who had made a team effort with preparing dinner in time for their arrival. Ann sank down in her chair and groaned as it creaked a bit and Anne was trying to not laugh at her. Mainly because Marian was giving her a death stare – she refused to have any tears spilled during dinner.
“How does it feel, Ann? To be on maternity leave.” Aunt Anne asked kindly, and Ann sighed,
“It’s… um, a bit stressful – just seems so close now and uh, I feel like we haven’t’ prepared anything.”
“Well, the nursery is all set, and everything is ready for baby – but I understand if it doesn’t feel that way.” Marian tried to comfort her, and Ann smiled gratefully at her sister-in-law.
“When do you think the baby will come?” Aunt Anne wondered excitedly, and Anne ran a hand through her hair as she sat back in her chair,
“I think quite soon – Ann’s mucus plug went the other day – it was rather disgusting. It had this almost yellowish…”
“Yes, thank you, dearest – we do not need to talk about that during dinner, or in fact – ever!” Ann hurriedly interrupted her wife, beet red in the face and Anne eyed them confused, not quite sure what it was she had said wrong or why Marian was looking quite green.
“But speaking out of a…”
“Anne.” Aunt Anne gave her a serious look, and she shut her mouth and swallowed her words, giving her wife an apologetic look as she was looking quite upset with her.
“Have you thought of any names?” Marian inquired, as she’d rather not risk Anne delving into the subjects of mucus plugs or alike again.
“We’ve talked a little about that, haven’t we? Um, for a boy we’ve been thinking um, either Alfred or Andrew.”
“I wanted the name Aurelius or Thaddeus, but Ann said no.” Anne complained to her aunt and sister and Ann sighed loudly, staring at her wife with an annoyed look,
“And I said I’m not giving birth to a roman emperor!”  
“Boring.” Anne muttered, but her face brightened as she glanced at her wife,
“You don’t have to look so cross with me. I gave it up.”
“I’m surprised she didn’t suggest Charlamagne for a boy.” Marian huffed and Anne gasped loudly, turning excitedly to her wife who shook her head fiercely, looking like thunder,
“I bloody will not name our child something so ridiculous, Anne!”
“Urgh fine.” Anne pouted, raising her glass to her lips and Aunt Anne shook her head amused,
“Alfred and Andrew are both perfectly lovely names – any suggestions for a girl?”
Ann’s angry expression softened as she regarded the woman, and a smile crept over her features again,
“Well, that was harder because I’d rather not name our child after one of Anne’s former lovers.”
“Oh dear, what were you left with?” Aunt Anne exclaimed, glimmer in her eye and Anne rolled her eyes,
“Quite a few. We talked about Alice or… what was the other suggestion, Adney?”
Anne glanced at her wife, and Ann smirked, clearly amused,
“That was the only name we agreed on – the other ones I liked were associated with other ladies.”
Marian snorted amused but Anne growled at her sister,
“That doesn’t mean anything – it’s just… the women I’ve been with just had pretty names.”
“Alice is a beautiful name though.” Aunt Anne interfered before they could begin an argument, mostly for Ann’s sake as she thought the woman seemed more tired and uncomfortable than usual.
 
Later that evening, Anne helped Ann upstairs to bed – she was experiencing some pain from her loosening joints in her pelvis and Anne had rather she not fall down the stairs, so she had dutifully walked behind her, hands on sides as they ascended the stairs. Ann sat on the side of their bed after brushing her teeth and changing into her pyjamas – waiting for Anne to emerge from the bathroom. She pressed her hand to the small of her back, trying to still the dull ache she was suffering from just as Anne came inside the bedroom. Anne eyed her with worry etched over her face,
“Are you feeling alright?”
“Mm, I just – my back is aching a little.” Ann told her honestly and Anne nodded, frowning – she did not like seeing her wife in pain,
“Do you want me to rub it for a bit?”
“Uh, I’m good. It’s fine, I’ll be better in the morning, I overexerted myself today is all. Standing too much at work.” Ann smiled bravely, and Anne hunched down before her, taking her face in-between her hands, caressing her cheeks before capturing her lips with hers,
“I love you and I’m so proud of you.”
“I love you to, pony.” Ann replied, kissing her tenderly back, running her fingers over her shoulders,
“Come on, get into bed with you.”
Anne stood up, kissing her forehead before walking around to her side, climbing into bed whilst Ann slowly lifted her legs up, lying down on the bed. Anne edged closer, cuddling Ann as well as she could, running her hand over the bump – feeling their baby move actively. And though Anne thought it was exciting and fascinating how the skin would move and so on – she did feel bad for her wife who wasn’t comfortable at all at this stage.
“I can’t wait for this to be over.” Ann said caressing her stomach, trying to settle the life within her and Anne smiled, running her hand over her bump feeling the baby respond to her touch,
“Me too, all though – I will miss this, but I know, I have no right to say anything because it’s not my body.”
“Mm, I think I’ll miss it a little too. But right now – I am so done with being pregnant!” Ann groaned as another dull ache went through her, and Anne kissed her temple sweetly,
“I won’t glorify pregnancy because you and I both know that’s just some patriarchal bullshit but, BUT you are beautiful –and I would be lying if I said I didn’t like knowing that there’s something me with you all the time.”
“You should’ve stuck to your fingers – at least they don’t poke my bladder.” Ann grumbled and Anne had to hide her face in her hair to muffle her laughter,
“How would that have worked!?”
“You have ten fingers – do you really need all of them?” Ann suggested but then she laughed too, loudly, unable to control it at all,
“I’m going to wet myself.” Ann cried through her laughter, and Anne laughed with her,
“Oh-uh. Cross your legs!”
“I hate you!” Ann laughed as tears ran down her cheeks, but then she grimaced as a shot of pain went through her.
“Eh, Adney… I love you and you know I’m a doctor…”
“Of classics!” Ann winched,
“Mm… I understand that weird things sometimes happen et cetera – but are you weeing yourself right now?” Anne wondered as she felt something wet against her legs, and Ann gasped, panicking but little,
“OH Lord. Anne… I think we need to… I think that’s my waters broken?!”
“But baby isn’t due for another fortnight!” Anne replied bewildered and Ann glared at her through her panic,
“Oh yes, sorry Lister – I guess I’ll just cross my legs and hope for the best then!”
“Of course, not – oh shit… Um, yes. I’m calling the hospital.” Anne fumbled after her phone – trying to get dressed at the same time whereas Ann was trying to stop the water from getting everywhere.
“Hello? Lister Anne – um, that’s my name. Yes, anyway is this the hospital? – I’m – oh…”
“BABY. You’re having a BABY!” Ann cried from the bed, pain increasing rapidly,
“Yes, um baby – I’m having, not me, um, but yes there is a baby on the way.”
“Alright, is this her first?” The nurse spoke calmly,
“No, oh, Lord – this is her wife!” Anne told the nurse on the phone who sounded as though she tried to keep her laughter in,
“Yes, I’m aware – is this your wife’s first baby?”
“Oh, yes. It is.”
“Alright, we’ll be preparing for your arrival, someone will meet you at entrance B.”
“Excellent, um, great – I. Thank you!” Anne hung up the phone, grabbing the hospital bag, and running out the room in a hurry,
“ANNE!” Ann shouted, and Anne came stumbling back into the room, hospital bag on her shoulder,
“Yes, sorry – I almost forgot you! – Well, go on then let’s go and have a baby.” Anne extended her hand from the side of the bed helping her wife up and downstairs, trying to find the car keys before running outside in like a whirlwind.
“Anne?!” Marian shouted from the door and Anne rolled down the car window,
“I’m having a baby! Well Ann is – we need to go – tell aunt!”
“But…” Marian tried but too late Anne had already driven off but two seconds later she came back, throwing herself out of the car, stumbling over the courtyard to the door where Marian stood,
“Sorry, Adney – I…”
“You took Argus?!” Ann barked, leaning against Marian who looked quite amused, and Anne flushed as the deerhound ran inside,
“I was stressed! Come on – no time to lose.”
Anne took Ann under the arm this time – she would not forget her more than twice. She got her wife into the car and could drive to hospital without any other issues.

They parked the car and Ann was in quite a lot of pain, hissing and groaning, Anne wanted to help obviously, with the pain – though there was little she could do,
“Ann, just take deep breaths.”
“Take deep breaths!? It feels like my insides are being ripped out! You take deep breaths ARGH.” Ann cried through her evident pain and Anne shut her mouth for a second, getting out of the car hurriedly and around to help Ann out. This time nothing was forgotten as they made their way quickly to entrance B, were there was a nurse waiting with a wheelchair to whisk them off to the maternity ward.
“How close are your contractions?”
“Was I supposed to count!?” Ann growled upset, eyes shut tight to muddle through the pain, but Anne spoke up,
“They last for about 57 seconds and there is um, mm about 4 minutes and 12 seconds rest between them.”
“Good, thank you. Sisters are a blessing sometimes, right?” The nurse said to Ann who currently was clutching the sides of the armrests tightly,
“That’s my wife, bitch.”
“Ann.” Anne scolded her – surprised at her language and Ann threw her head up, glaring at her,
“Was there something you wanted to say, pony?”
“No. Not at all. You are doing great!” Anne forced a smile, a little bit terrified of her wife at the moment, but mostly she was adamant on not working her up when she was in such pain.
“Here we are.” The nurse left them in the labour room, and Ann was helped up into bed by her wife who bit down on her lip not to whimper at the sheer pain of Ann’s nails digging into her skin through her contraction.
“Hi, I’m your midwife Mrs Weston, and this my assistant, Miss Jones.” Mrs Weston introduced herself and Ann nodded but was unable to answer her just then.
“Pleased to meet you. This is Ann Lister my wife, and I’m Anne Lister.”
“Well, well, we’ll have no problems remembering that then!” Mrs Weston spoke amused, and Anne chuckled though they came out a little strained as Ann was squeezing her hand rather tight.
“How close are the contractions?”
“Every 4 minutes 12 seconds.” Anne answered the midwife and Miss Jones took notes,
“Good, and how long do they last?”
Ann finally let go of her hand and Anne breathed a sigh of relief,
“Uh now – 60 seconds, just before 57.”
“Excellent – good timekeeping.”
Anne gave Ann a smug look – she always used to complain about her obsession over looking at her watch – Ann merely rolled her eyes at her, too distressed to say anything clever.
 “Now, Mrs. Lister – we are going to make a little examination to determine how far along you are – my guess is that it’s still a while to go. And then we will go over your preferred birthing position et cetera. Does that sound alright to you?” Mrs Weston asked her softly,
“Yes. That’s perfectly well, thank you.” Ann answered her, calming down a little seeing as they had arrived and that she wasn’t hurting quite so badly through her rest.
“Right, we’ll need you to change into a hospital gown – no underwear. We’ll give you a minute, maybe your wife can stick her head out once you’ve changed.” Mrs Weston told them, eying Anne who nodded,
“Of course.”
“Good. We will be right outside, if there is any trouble.” Mrs Weston said and then they left them in the room.
“Can’t I…” Ann began awkwardly, gesturing down her body, when Anne started to help her undress, and Anne smirked at her,
“I don’t think you can remain clothed for the birth, no. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before, Adney. You’ll be fine – you are doing so good already and I’m proud of you.”
Anne kissed her glistening forehead, and Ann blew air out of her mouth, trying to still her pain and nerves. Anne kissed her over the lips before continuing to undress her – quickly. Ann helped her by sitting on the edge of the bed as Anne removed her trousers and then underwear – helping her wife by putting on the hospital gown.
Ann clasped her hand tightly when she tried to leave her side, and Anne smiled gently at her,
“I just need to tell the midwives to come back, Adney – I’ll be right here at your side again.”
“Do you promise?”
“Where else would I be?” Anne reassured her, kissing her over the brow, squeezing her hand before walking over to the door, sticking her head out to call the midwives back to the room, and they came immediately. Anne held her wife’s hand, and Mrs Weston washed her hands to her elbows before sliding on a surgical glove,
“I’m going to check your cervix now, and have a feel how far dilated you are.” Mrs. Weston explained as she sat herself down and urged Ann to spread her legs for her. Anne craned her neck to have a look – she was after all fascinated by the human body and to see something first-hand was always good fun.
“What is it that you want to feel when you check the cervix?” Anne wondered, and Mrs Weston glanced up at her, as her fingers did the work,
“That it’s thinning. It needs to be for the birth.”
“Mm. But when you say you measure the dilation – that must be more of an estimation since everyone’s fingers are different.” Anne said almost excitedly as if this was a lecture of some kind.
“Well yes – but um, you get quite good at estimating after several births.”
“Her water broke before, at home – that’s why we hurried in.” Anne told the midwife, and she nodded pleased,
“Good. And from what we can feel and see – baby is in right position.”
“Anne.” Ann groaned, squeezing her hand, and Anne turned to her,
“Are you alright?” Anne wondered, and Mrs. Weston finished her examination,
“Stop bothering them with your questions. You’re supposed to be supporting me.” Ann mumbled, and Anne brushed hair out of her eyes, kissing her forehead,
“Sorry, of course you’re right.”
“Everything looks well, Mrs Lister – you are about 5cm dilated.”
“But… it’s been so quick!” Ann cried, another contraction coming on and the midwife smiled at her reassuringly,
“Yes – sometimes the pain doesn’t really set in until just before you reach active labour. But the process can slow down and there might be another few hours until birth. The first baby usually takes the longest.”
“What do you mean a few hours?!” Ann said exasperated, and the midwife glanced at her from over her shoulder whilst she washed her hands from the examination,
“We usually estimate that you will dilate a cm every hour – so it might be another five – or it might be less time than that, or more.”
“I don’t think I’ll survive the pains if they get any worse.” Ann complained and the midwife turned around,
“You are doing great already. Just breathe through them – and we will be here to help you. Now, when it’s time, would you prefer to give birth on your back, sitting up or emerged in water?”
“I…” Ann’s eyes shut tightly as she breathed through her pain and Anne comforted her whilst also finding an opportunity to say something,
“Did you know giving birth on the back was only introduced during the 17th century, and all because Louis XIV wanted to watch his wife give birth comfortably? – Really it’s quite remarkable that we’ve all hopped on the trend when it’s clearly more beneficial…”
“Shut up!” Ann snapped at her, “I want to lie on my back!”
“Very good, Mrs Lister. We’ll return shortly, if there is anything just press that button. Your wife might be so kind as to time your contractions and she might help you to walk about the room – it will help speed on the process.”
“Certainly.” Anne agreed, and the midwives left them to their own and Anne was beginning to be a little restless from all the nervous anticipation she was feeling, pacing over the floor for a bit.
“Do you want to take a turn about the room?” Anne asked her wife, and Ann stared at her,
“No. I’m in pain.”
“Come on, before there’s another contraction – it’ll help you. You can lean on me.” Anne tried to urge her, she knew it would help her wife, and Ann agreed after a moment of silence,
“Fine. But slowly.”
“Yes.” Anne promised, helping Ann stand, letting her hold onto her shoulders as Anne moved them slowly about the room. Ann mumbled something into her chest, and Anne smiled down at her,
“I’m sorry, what was that, love?”
“I fucking hate you.” Ann growled as her grip hardened on her through her contraction,
“Well, I love you.”
“Spare me the fucking poetry, Lister or I will punch you in the nose.” Ann cried, and Anne just stared down at her wife, shutting her mouth – she didn’t dare take Ann up on that right now, having no doubt that she might in fact punch her in the nose.
“Oh, Lord! Why did she eat the fucking apple!” Ann growled and Anne was confused to say the least,
“Who!?”
“Eve that fucking bitch- she ate the apple and now this hurt!”
“Okay… yes, I’m sorry I couldn’t stop her – wasn’t born.” Anne told her in a light tone, but Ann looked at her dead serious, and Anne swallowed nervously,
“Is there anything else I can do for you, Adney?”
“Get this baby out of me!” Ann moaned, and Anne grimaced,
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, love.”
“Yes, you can, get a knife or something!” Ann spoke desperately and Anne rubbed over the back, kissing her over the hair,
“Ah, love – it’s going to be alright, just breathe.”
“You’ve always liked cutting up humans. Why won’t you do it for me!?” Ann cried all but sobbed and Anne sighed,
“Those were dead and it… um, was for scientific reasons and uh… – do you want to lie down again, or do you want to bounce on that yoga ball?”
“Lie down. Oh Lord – fucking hell – shit, shit, shit this hurt.”
Anne was about to say that this is only the beginning but realised she wanted to live to see her child, so said nothing but helped Ann lie down.
“Okay, Ann – let’s breathe together.” Anne told her, taking hold of her hand,
“Mm.” Ann conceded but only because her contraction was ripping through her, and Anne tried her best to get her to breathe through the pain.
“Fuck!” Ann whimpered, all but crushing Anne’s hand, “I’m going to… I need to get this out now!”
“No, Ann. No! You are not ready to push. Look at me, look at me – Ann, breathe with me instead. The contraction is almost over.”
Ann stared into her dark eyes, trying to breathe with her wife calmly despite the pain, and then the worst pain passed, and Anne kissed her sweetly,
“You are doing excellent, Ann.”
“When will they come back?” Ann asked quietly and Anne smiled gently, drying her forehead with a towel,
“Three and half minutes maybe.”
“I meant the midwives. I want painkillers or pain relief or whatever they give you.” Ann mumbled, and Anne caressed her face sweetly,
“Do you want me to call them here? They might be able to give you something.” Anne offered and Ann lay back against the pillows groaning,
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“Ann, you’re in labour – it’s not… it’s their job to help you.” Anne told her firmly and Ann pressed her hands to her flushed face,
“I can wait until they come back.”
“Are you sure? There is no trouble at all, calling them here.”
“I want to wait.” Ann told her decisively and Anne conceded to her wish – whatever she felt most comfortable with.

The process had been slow, and Ann was on the cusp of giving up – all though she couldn’t really throw the towel in – she hadn’t really a choice. But finally, after eight hours she was ready to give birth. Mrs. Weston smiled at her after she had examined her again,
“You’re ready to push now.”
“What? I’m not ready!” Ann panicked, and for a second the excursionising pain didn’t matter and Anne comforted her,
“Of course you are – I’ll be here throughout it all.”
“Mm.” Ann whimpered, and as she was overwhelmed with pain, she accidentally pushed Anne into an iron lamp behind her. Anne hissed in pain, her hand flying up to feel if her head had split open, it hadn’t – there was just a tiny bump forming under her hand,
“Lord, you have no idea how much that hurt!” Anne blurted before realising what she had said, and Ann glared at her,
“Do you want to die?! Lister? Hm? I will fucking strangle you!”
“I didn’t mean… uh, breathe.” Anne tried to brush past her folly and Ann let her but only because her own pain was so extensive. Anne was certain she had never heard her wife curse so many times as she did right now.
“Push.” Mrs Weston encouraged her, and Ann let out a growl from the underworld as she pushed – crushing Anne’s hand in hers, and Anne bit her lip to not let out sound.
“You’re doing great.” Mrs Weston told her, and Anne couldn’t help but have a look herself – and was stunned first,
“Oh Lord, Oh God – Ann – shit that must hurt!”
“No shit Sherlock!” Ann screamed at her, and Anne gave a nod,
“Is that the head?”
“Yes, it’s crowning.”
“Oh, wow, that’s… it’s a wonderous process, isn’t it? This part here, it’s quite…”
“Mrs. Lister – I need to be able to see.”  Mrs Weston told her as she was getting in her way, and Anne all but blushed as she retreated back a bit,
“Go on then – push!” Miss Jones encouraged Ann who did, and Anne’s head tilted as she watched, and then the head came out but there was a tear and Anne actually became faint – her face paled and her grip on Ann loosened,
“Oh God she’s fainting!” Mrs Weston glanced up at her for a second and Miss Jones got ready to help her to a chair, but Anne managed to stay upright, and waved off any help,
“I just – it was…”
“One last big push now, Mrs. Lister and your baby will be born.” Mrs Weston encouraged Ann and she – though exhausted, used the little energy she had left and did as she was told. Anne watched wide-eyed as their baby was born and a cry filled the room.
“You did great.” Miss Jones told Ann, whilst Mrs Weston prepared for the cord to be cut.
“Is the baby fine?” Ann murmured, drained – and Miss Jones nodded,
“Baby looks fine – it’s a healthy boy as far as we can tell.”
“Do you want to cut the cord?” Mrs Weston then offered Anne and she gulped but nodded – this was exciting. With tears streaming down her face, she cut the cord, and Mrs Weston dried the baby off a little so as to not get cold from the fluids before laying him on Ann’s bared chest and she cried as she saw their baby.
“He’s perfect.” She mumbled, hands carefully caressing her baby, and Anne grinned widely,
“Yes. So perfect! You did so well, Adney! – I love you.”
“I love you too.” Ann murmured, eyes only on the baby that lay on her chest,
“Sh sh sh.” She spoke softly to the baby, and Anne covered the baby’s back with a blanket to shield him from the cold better, running a light hand over his head,
“Hey little one.”
“He needs a name.” Ann said, looking away from their baby for a second to glance at Anne who nodded, kissing her nose,
“It can wait – you just gave birth and it’s not the most important thing right now.”
“But I… I think we should call him Alfred – he looks like one.” Ann told her wife and Anne smiled, lowering her head down to speak to the baby,
“Do you like that name – Alfred?”
Baby made a soft noise and Anne bit her lip not to cry again at the preciousness,
“Alfred it is then.”
Mrs Weston and Miss Jones were cleaning up after the birth, but to be honest neither Anne nor Ann noticed them much – they only had eyes for their new baby and each other.
“You look beautiful.” Anne told her and Ann smirked,
“I just gave birth, and I’m covered in sweat and other fluids – I hardly think that’s true.”
“Mm, but it is.” Anne persisted, kissing her temple, staring down at the baby resting against her wife’s breasts.

As short while after the placenta was delivered, Alfred wanted the breast and through little struggle, he latched on and ate contently,
“He’s a natural.” Mrs Weston praised, and Ann smiled softly, though it was quite a strange feeling. Anne watched in awe,
“I mean objectively I can see that he’s just really red and ‘ugly’ but by God, Ann is he gorgeous!”
Anne kissed her chastely, before kissing the top of the baby’s head carefully and Ann smiled up at her through heavy eyes,
“He looks a lot like you – dark hair and brown eyes.”
“Mm, hopefully he’ll grow up to be just like you though.” Anne commented and Ann laughed quietly,
“I don’t mind either way – but it might be calmer.”
“I’m so proud of you, Ann – for doing all of this – I could’ve never done that.” Anne told her softly, and Ann raised a free hand to dry some of her wife’s tears away before returning her attention to the eating baby,
“Thank you for being here – I’m sorry I hurt you and shouted at you.”
“What?” Anne seemed confused but then she looked down at her bruised hand and laughed,
“Oh – ah, I’ll be alright – I don’t need two hands for the next couple of weeks.”
“You should get that wrapped, Anne.” Ann told her and Anne brushed it off,
“No, I’m fine.”
“Mm.” Ann eyed her suspiciously, and Anne kissed her to distract her,
“You should switch breast – it’s been a little over ten minutes.”
And so, Ann did, but at the end of the feed – she was struggling to stay awake, and Anne watched her amused,
“Ann, do you want me to hold the baby? You need to rest.”
“Mind his head – and against your chest.” Ann told her, and Anne nodded, unbuttoning her shirt entirely before taking Alfred gently from Ann – so afraid she was going to drop him or break him somehow. In fact, she had probably never moved so slowly as she did when she sat down in the chair to rest Alfred against her bare skin.

Mrs Weston came back inside sometime later,
“How is he doing?”
“Um, well – I uh, Ann was tired – and I… uh but he ate before that – I…” Anne for once wasn’t eloquent, she was rather uncomfortable with the woman staring at her exposed breasts though she figured she was probably eying the baby resting against her bare skin.
“Good. Did he eat for about half an hour?”
“Yes.” Anne replied quickly, “Twenty-eight minutes and fourteen seconds.”
“Excellent. I was going to weigh baby and then we’ll have a little look at him and if everything looks well – you’ll be able to go home in just a short while.” Mrs Weston told her, and Anne nodded, and handed the woman Alfred carefully, buttoning her shirt back up again. Feeling rather protective of her new-born baby – watching the woman intently as she weighed him and handled him.
“Does he look well?” Anne worried and the woman smiled,
“Yes – perfectly well and healthy. You’ll be able to go home by lunch.”
“Thank you.” Was all Anne could think of saying, and then she was handed her baby back -
“If your wife wants to shower and have a meal before you leave that’s fine – and you can put baby down here.” Mrs Weston instructed, and Anne listened carefully,
“Alright – I’ll ask her when she wakes up.”
“If there is anything the matter – just press the button.” Mrs. Weston pointed and Anne followed her finger and nodded,
“Good, Excellent.”
And then she was alone with Alfred again, and she was nervous– because she’d never really dealt with babies before.
“Ann.” Anne spoke softly, and Ann sat up in bed startled – winching from the pain it gave her,
“Is something the matter – is Alfred alright?”
“Yes, sorry – I didn’t mean to scare you. But they said we might go home by lunch and said if you wanted to have a shower and a meal before we leave.” Anne said gently and Ann frowned, trying to think clearly – though evidently a little delirious,
“Uh, I’d like to have a shower, but I want to eat at home – the food isn’t any good here.”
“Yeah? – Do you think you’ll manage on your own? Or do you want me to help – I’ll put baby down in the cot.” Anne offered but Ann shook her head,
“I think I’ll manage – hold him – don’t put him down, he might think we’ve abandoned him, pony.” Anne smiled at her,
“I don’t think he will, but I’ll hold him if it makes you feel better.”
“Mm.” Ann nodded, before slowly making to get out of bed and Lord, was she sore as she walked slowly to the bathroom connected to the room, leaving the door open but she was hidden from view in any case.
“Cold water, Adney!” Anne told her hurriedly immediately followed by a hiss from Ann,
“Thank you, I wish you would’ve told me a second earlier – now I know what purgatory probably would’ve felt like.”
“Purgatory doesn’t exist – we…”
“Anne – for once… I know it’s a catholic belief, so please just shut up.” Ann told her – clearly experiencing some discomfort.

“Should I call Aunt Anne? – Or maybe you want to call Elizabeth first?” Anne asked as Ann emerged from the bathroom, slowly getting dressed in the dress she had brought for going home – anything to not have something press against her sore bits.
“Call Aunt Anne first – she and Marian probably haven’t slept, waiting for news.”
Anne reached for Ann’s phone, and pressed a recent call titled ‘Anne…’ thinking it was her aunt.
“If I’m calling on speaker - Why can I see myself?” Anne asked Ann, but then someone picked up,
“Ann!? Oh God – ANNE!” Maria cried,
“Nice tits, Lister.” Tib laughed,
“Ann – how the f… Why isn’t Aunt Anne – why can they see me!?”
“Oh wait – Oh LORD is that the baby!?” Maria shouted excitedly, getting nearer the camera,
“You had the baby!?” Vere cried enthusiastically as she joined the conversation,
“Why didn’t you call us first?!” Marian huffed annoyed, at the same time as Aunt Anne tried to pry the phone from her to have a better look,
“What’s this… Lister is that a baby!?” Anne Belcombe spouted excitedly,
“I never thought I’d see you with a baby!” Mariana commented in a teasing tone,
Anne was panicking, and Ann was laughing at her,
“I don’t know how to – I just wanted to talk to my aunt – not facetime all of my… why do you have a chat with them?”
“It was from when we planned a party, for your birthday dearest.”
“Ladies…”
“Ann – baby is gorgeous!” Maria cried when she saw her,
“Thank you – um, but we’ll talk later when Anne isn’t flashing half her chest.” Ann told them, hanging up without another word. Kissing her wife over the brow, caressing her cheek,
“Dearest, next time, just press the ‘end call’ button!”
“I forgot about that – I couldn’t think – I was panicking.”
“You’re rather endearing you know.” Ann told her with a wide grin and Anne exhaled – completely red in the face.
“I’ll take Alfred – and dress him, and you call your Aunt from your phone.” Ann took the baby from her and for the second time that day - Anne buttoned her shirt up before fishing her phone out of the jacket to call her aunt

“We do make good babies.” Anne told her wife as they were getting ready to leave and Ann laughed at her,
“Yeah we do – but don’t think for a minute that that’s a good business idea.”
“I didn’t. What do you think I am?!”
“First thing you told me when we were re-acquainted was ‘I dissected a baby once… it was dead… obviously’.”
“I wasn’t suggesting we breed ‘em to kill ‘em.” Anne snorted, kissing her wife’s cheek watching her sleeping son in her arms.
“He’s tiny!” Ann cooed at the baby and Anne agreed – feeling outrageously happy.

Chapter Text

When they were all packed up, and ready to go, Anne put Alfred in the car seat, lifting it up by the handle as well as throwing their bag over her shoulder, taking Ann’s hand in hers.
“Ready?” Anne wondered, and Ann smiled – bags underneath her eyes but looking blissful in spite of it all. Anne kissed her chastely before they made their way out of the hospital to their car. The sun almost surprised them as they came out and Ann immediately glanced worriedly at Alfred, but Anne merely lowered the shield a little to prevent the warm sun from touching his face.
“He’s fine, love.” Anne told her nervous wife, raising her hand to kiss it before unlocking the door to the car. Anne put the car seat behind the passenger seat in the front, clicking it into its place. Ann opened the opposite door, sliding into the seat in the middle next to the baby – winching slightly earning her a worried look from Anne,
“You alright, Adney?”
“I’m fine – just sore.” Ann smiled softly, caressing the chubby cheek of their sleeping son.  Anne leaned over the baby to capture her wife’s lips softly and tenderly,
“I love you, Adney. With all my heart. You did so well.”
“Are you crying again, dearest?” Ann chuckled kindly, and Anne made to draw back, to dry her eyes but Ann leaned forwards, kissing the tears away beneath her right eye whilst drying the tears under her left with soft fingers.
“I love you too – endlessly.”
“Mm.”
“Pony, I do, I love you so much. I cannot even begin to explain how much – but I do think we should get home before this little one needs feeding again.”
“Oh, right of course.” Anne laughed quietly at her folly, kissing Ann one last time before touching her son’s hand gently – closing the car door before getting into the driver’s seat. Anne was always a safe driver – didn’t take any risks or overestimate her own capabilities – no matter what anyone else thought she might do. She had seen too many people leave the earth due to reckless driving. But today – driving home their new-born – she was extra cautious. Driving down Shibden road, she was pleased that they had recently packed the road anew with sand and gravel – no bumps at all. Anne glanced into her rear-view mirror and saw her wife caressing their son’s leg, and Alfred held her index finger in his fist. It was such a sweet picture that Anne almost felt tears well up in her eyes again.
Driving into the courtyard of Shibden, it all suddenly felt so much more real.
“Can you…” Ann trailed off, her forehead wrinkling – she was exhausted, and Anne smiled at her humoured,
“Yes – I’ll carry him. Then we need to get you into bed, Adney.”
“No. Alfred needs and I – I… food.” Ann sighed, rubbing her eyes and Anne reached her hand back to touch her knee gently,
“Okay – but you tell me when you need to rest, right?”
“Yes – let’s go inside – I’m ravenous.” Ann smiled, running her fingers over Alfred’s cheek and Anne got out to take him, carrying him gently over the yard – still in his car seat – Ann leaned against her. They opened the door, and went into the drawing room,
“We’re home.”
Aunt Anne probably hadn’t moved so quickly in about twenty years – she all but pushed past Marian to have a look at the baby, earning her glower from Marian who bumped her hip on the sofa edge.
“Ah, isn’t he a dear!” Aunt Anne exclaimed, and Anne hunched down to pick him up, so her aunt could have a better look.
“This is Alfred.” Anne introduced her son to her aunt and sister who both gazed down at him affectionately,
“I forgot babies could be rather cute.” Marian commented, raising her eyes to look at Ann,
“How are you feeling?”
“Incredibly sore, but so happy.” Ann replied her, and they smiled at her,
“It’s good to have all of you home – and that everything went smoothly.” Aunt Anne told them both,
“Do you want to hold him?” Ann wondered, and Aunt Anne shone up,
“Yes.”
Anne handed her aunt the baby carefully, and her sister caught glance of her purple hand, and snorted at her,
“Been in the wars?”
“Mm…” Anne smirked, eying her bruised hand and Ann took her eyes off their son in Aunt Anne’s arms as she looked at her wife,
“Dress it, Anne – seriously.”
“Later.”
“No, now.” Ann persisted, and Anne sighed but relented, kissing her temple before leaving to do that.
“Oh, aren’t you a beautiful baby!” Aunt Anne cooed at Alfred, bringing him with her slowly as she sat down on the sofa. Ann and Marian sat down on the opposite one.
“Why did Anne call the group chat?” Marian asked the blonde who laughed,
“In her defence she just pressed a recent call and all she saw was ‘Anne…’”
“I tell you, that I saw more of my sister than I ever wanted to see… oh, did you tell her about the girl’s night out?”
“No… but I think she knows those are the girls.” Ann shrugged her shoulders,
“Anne seemed rather sweet with him – you know I never imagined my sister having any children.” Marian continued and Ann grinned from ear to ear,
“She’s been fab – she’s great.” 
“Did our Anne panic?” Aunt Anne wondered – playing gently with Alfred’s hands, and Ann laughed, but Marian butted in first,
“You mean other than taking Argus with her first?”
“Oh, dear God – it was an honest mistake!” Anne said as she came inside the room, “I was stressed!”
“Anne almost fainted once.” Ann teased her and Anne’s neck and cheeks became pinkish,
“I did not!”
“Yes, you did!”
“I was just overwhelmed with sympathy pain for you.” Anne told her embarrassed, “It tore! And…”
“Thank you – we do not need to share those details.” Ann interjected, and Marian laughed at her sister,
“I would’ve liked to see that – the almost fainting not the other thing. Now, are you hungry, Ann? You must be starving – we heated up some left-overs for you.”
“Oh, now that you mention it – I’m famished.” Ann stood with Marian, but Marian pushed her down gently,
“Sit, I’ll get it for you.”
“Thank you, you are too kind.” Ann smiled politely and Anne smirked at her, making Ann raise her eyebrow,
“What?”
“I’m just thinking back on how you were a few hours ago. Cursing worse than a sailor – threatening to murder me…” Anne said impish, and Ann laughed as well as Aunt Anne,
“You probably deserved those threats.” Aunt Anne told her, whilst Marian came in with a tray of food for Ann.
“Thanks.”
“No worries – but I do want to give that baby a cuddle now!”
“You can cuddle him later, Marian dear!” Aunt Anne waved her off,
“I want to greet my nephew now!” Marian protested, pouting, but Aunt Anne refused to give up the baby, fondling him closer to her chest,
“Well I might die any second so!”
“Oh Lord! Aunt you are 67, you are nowhere near death!” Marian told her aunt and Anne and Ann just laughed at them,
“There will be plenty of time for cuddles.” Ann told them softly and Aunt Anne smiled through a sigh,
“Fine, Marian – be careful!”
“I am always careful!” Marian replied annoyed, taking the baby gently from her aunt’s arms, sitting down next to her to cuddle him for a little.
“Hi! I’m your aunt Marian – you can always come to me when my sister’s a pain.”
“Oi!” Anne huffed, and Marian eyed her for a second, before gazing at her nephew again,
“I will always love you, and I’m going to be your fun aunt Marian.”
Anne laughed loudly,
“Yeah, right.”
“What? I could be!”
“Mm, not…”
Anne’s sentence was bit off by her wife, who gave her a dark look,
“I think Alfred will love his fun aunt.”
Marian smiled down at the baby triumphantly,
"I'm going to take you out for ice-cream, push you in the swing - shower you with love and..."
Alfred’s face contorted into a pout before he began crying – Marian turned to Ann alarmed,
“I don’t… I think I overwhelmed him!”
“No, I think he might be hungry again.” Ann reassured Marian, setting down the tray on the table before reaching out to take Alfred from her. He turned in her arms, his mouth searching around her chest and Ann smirked at her wife before turning to the others,
“I think I’ll go upstairs to feed him.”
“If you like – you do not need to feel uncomfortable on our account.” Marian said, and Aunt Anne clasped her hands together, nodding, enthusiastically,
“Yes – free the nipple and all that.”
Ann blushed slightly,
“No, it’s fine. I want to go upstairs – I’m quite drained from it all.”
“Give a shout if you need anything.” Marian offered and Ann thanked her before leaving for the upstairs with her fussing baby.

Anne came upstairs a little while after, finding her wife on their bed - Seeing Ann propped up against their pillows – hair flowing over her shoulders, baby suckling on her breast with the sun streaming in was breath-taking – she looked so idyllic and beautiful – mind, Anne knew that they would soon be smacked in the face by the brutal reality that came with having a baby with all late nights and no sleep et cetera, but for now – Anne would enjoy the peace and bliss.
“Hello.” Ann smirked at her from under heavy eyes, and Anne smiled a little flustered for reasons unknown to her,
“Hi.”
“Look, it’s your Mumma!” Ann spoke to the eating baby in a hushed voice, and Anne’s chest overflowed with warmth, whether it was love or pride, or maybe both.
“He’s a hungry one.” Anne commented, as she came nearer, lying down by Ann’s side, to watch them closely,
“Mm… you know I thought Liz was joking when she said that breastfeeding hurts in the beginning.” Ann mumbled, and Anne frowned, kissing her over the eyebrow,
“I’m sorry.”
“No… it’s fine and it’s not your fault. Besides, I have nipple cream.” Ann told her matter of fact, but they glanced at each other and began laughing.
“Do you need help with that?” Anne smirked and Ann smacked her playfully with her free hand,
“Rogue.” 
“Well, I have a reputation to live up to.” Anne winked at her, caressing the back of her son’s head.
Alfred’s suckling ceased and Ann was going to raise him to burp him, but Anne reached out and gently took the baby,
“Go put on that cream, I’ll burp him.” Anne urged her and Ann smiled, kissing Anne’s cheek as she went to their bathroom. Anne lay the baby over her shoulder, patting his back gently until she heard a burp and then… Anne grimaced – ah the spit-up – she’d forgot that was a thing babies did.
Anne wiped Alfred’s mouth, before putting him down in the cradle that stood in their room for the moment being – just for the first week or two. Gently singing the baby to sleep. Ann came back, kissing her tenderly,
“Thank you – you’re the greatest.”
“No worries – really – it’s my baby too, I’m expected to take care of him.” Anne smiled, kissing her wife again.
“Mm.” Ann smiled, caressing Alfred’s cheek, rocking the cradle a little.
“I just need to change my shirt – this one has spit-up on the back.”  Anne told her wife, who chuckled at Anne’s expression,
“Ah, you’d forgotten that part?”
“Mm.” Anne smiled, kissing her wife one last time before changing her shirt. Walking back in she saw Ann sitting against the pillows in bed, eating a digestive bar.
“Good – you’re eating!” Anne smiled and Ann laughed,
“Well, I’m still starving so. Breastfeeding do require fuel.”
“Do you want me to cook something for you?” Anne wondered then and Ann shook her head,
“This is my third bar since you left…”
“That’s fast.” Anne smirked, kissing the corner of her mouth and Ann puckered her lips in a semi-pout and Anne kissed her crumbles away.
“I’ve just given birth and fed our baby – twice!”
“I was teasing – it’s a good thing you’re eating.” Anne smiled, “Are you sure you wouldn’t want a more substantial meal though?”
“I just had some leftovers, and I want to sleep for a bit – and they were going to make dinner in a while.” Ann told her slightly hyper wife.
“Oh, okay.” Anne told her, seemingly bursting with energy – Ann reckoned it was because she was overtired though she would never admit it. Anne was very adamant on the fact that she hadn’t really done anything but hold Ann’s hand and so was fine. Ann knew better – Anne hadn’t just held her hand. But thought her wife rather sweet.
“I’ll get some work done, and catch up with my journaling then, if you want to rest.” Anne told her but Ann stopped her,
“No, come here – hold me.”
Anne did as she was told and nestling into her wife – she felt all the exhaustion hit her and she sighed content,
“You’re a mummy now! – Isn’t it weird that just yesterday you were at work – no idea that Alfred would be here in just a few hours.”
“Mm… it’s wonderous but let’s just rest our eyes and voices for one moment, dearest.” Ann told her as she nuzzled into her wife’s side, content and happy to finally be able to rest on her side comfortably again. Anne played with her hair, running her hands down her back until they both drifted off to sleep for a little while until their baby craved their attention and care again. 

Chapter Text

There was a little bit of chaos going on at Shibden presently, they were preparing for Alfred’s christening that would take place in the morrow in Halifax Minster. Currently there was a lot of people moving about the Hall making preparations. They even had all the staff on call – which wasn’t always the case. Cordingley and Hemingway were slaving away in the kitchen, following Anne’s orders by the letter – maybe a little wary of making a mistake.
John and Joseph Booth – normally outdoor staff, helped prepare the dining room for the number of guests that would attend the christening – which were closer to twenty in total.
Anne kept a close eye on all of them, helping with whatever she could, whilst Ann looked after Alfred in the company of her aunt, seeing as Marian had left them all for work in the morning. Alfred was currently sprawled out on the floor on a blanket made for him by Aunt Anne, his mother sitting next to him entertaining him with a rattle that used to belong to herself when she was a baby. He held his head up, trying to look at his mother and Ann made a face at him and he spluttered amused, before laughing gaily, making Ann’s heart soar for him.
“He is such a happy baby.” Aunt Anne commented, crocheting on the sofa, and Ann smiled up at her,
“Yes – he’s a joy to be around. Yes, you are Alfred – huh? Is that your Auntie? Yeah.”
Alfred giggled and his big dark eyes turned back to his mother, and he reached out a chubby hand to grab the rattle – managing to make it sound – laughing loudly again, almost screeching from amusement.
“Can I have the rattle, Alfie?” Ann reached out, and gently took it from his hand, and he pouted, but Ann shook it next to him, and he tried to turn to grab it.
“Come on you can do it, love.” Ann encouraged him gently, and he pushed his tiny hands against the blanket vigorously before turning onto his back instead – Ann’s mouth widened into a big grin,
“Good lad! Oh, no – Alfred…”
Ann reached her hands down, picking him up to hold him, bouncing him gently whilst running a hand over his back to stop his cries.
“Already turning on his back?” Aunt Anne smiled, “He will be walking before we know it.”
“Oh, was that too much pressure for you, love?” Ann asked Alfred amused, as he began fussing more and Ann stood up, resting him on her hip, front facing out as he liked being able to see whilst she held him. 
“I think he needs a feed – don’t you love?”
“I won’t be going anywhere if you want to come back after.” Aunt Anne told her, and Ann smiled, sitting down on the sofa opposite of her,
“I thought I’d do it here – if you don’t mind?”
“No, oh no – of course not, dear!” Aunt Anne spoke hastily, smiling at her.
Ann opened up her shirt, and undid her bra from the front, letting Alfred latch on, cradling him in her arms – leaning back against the pillows.
“Are you excited for tomorrow?” Aunt Anne asked, and Ann smiled,
“I am, though right now – it feels a little overwhelming with all the people arriving.”
“Someone in particular?” Aunt Anne raised a brow and Ann ran a hand through her hair,
“I mean I’m excited to see my sister but, not her husband and then there’s the question of whether anyone in the tribe will make an appearance. Aunt Ann promised to come, and Catherine is coming but other than that – I don’t know and it’s stressing me out a bit.”
“If anyone unpleasant comes tomorrow and tries to ruin the christening – trust me Anne won’t let them – she’ll take care of it.”
“I know. I know – I just, worry a lot as usual.” Ann brushed it off with a soft smile and Aunt Anne hummed quietly,
“It will be fine...”
“Ann!”
Ann turned her head towards the door and saw Maria Barlow stand in the doorway and she smiled at her,
“Mia, I thought you wouldn’t arrive until this evening!?”
“Change of plans. I took the Eurostar from Paris to London and then met up Vere at their place – I drove us here – she wanted to keep an eye on little Anne during the journey. They’re upstairs talking to your wife I believe. Now, let me see this beauty!” Maria came forwards, sitting down next to Ann, kissing both her cheeks before gazing down at Alfred who was partially hidden as he ate. She ran a hand over his dark hair,
“Oh, isn’t he just a beau! You did well – he seems sweet. I remember when my Jane was his age – it goes by so quickly let me tell you! Though you’d hardly believe when you’re up every other hour every night.”
“How’s Jane?” Ann wondered and Maria’s features softened further as she thought of her daughter,
“She’s well, she’s at university in Paris, studying to become a teacher.”  
“Oh? Really – she should be proud of herself for getting in – which subjects?”
“French and uh, English.” Maria replied, and Ann nodded,
“What a pity she couldn’t join you.”
“Yes, I think she would’ve enjoyed a little get away, but she has exams on Tuesday, so. But I’m glad to be here – I’ve missed all of you!”
“We’ve missed you as well, Maria!” Aunt Anne agreed, and Maria turned to her,
“Yes, and how are you?”
“As always – but I have great company.” Aunt Anne said, not one for wallowing in self-pity,
“The baby’s not disturbing your nights?”
“Oh, heavens no! He’s an absolute dear – Anne was way worse before she settled – used to come in at all hours – making terrible noise.” Aunt Anne waved a hand making both women laugh with her,
“Especially when she and Tib had been out…”
“Did someone say my name?”  Tib came into the room and Aunt Anne lowered her hook to give Tib a kiss on the cheek as she greeted her. Tib was looking rather well despite her illness – how else could someone describe her misuse of alcohol? But she was perfectly sober at the moment – or at least not noticeably drunk.
“Tib, how was the journey?” Ann wondered,
“It was lovely – I do like getting my old motorcycle out now and again for a ride.” Tib replied and Ann’s eyebrows raised,
“You didn’t go too fast right?”
“Nah – I only got one ticket – that’s a good ride.” Tib winked and Ann rolled her eyes at her amused, 
“In Paris you would’ve probably been commended for your great riding – the traffic there I tell you. There was once this hilarious article in the newspaper of this Swedish woman who had owned up to bumping into another car – leaving her details so she could pay for the damage – the French were amazed – they had never heard such a thing.”
“Maybe I should move to Paris then – where the coppers aren’t arseholes.” Tib told Maria who huffed,
“There’s a baby in here!”
“Sorry.” Tib grinned, before leaning over to have a look at him, “That’s a fucking cute baby you’ve got!”
“Tib!” Maria chided her and Ann laughed,
“It’s alright – he doesn’t understand… yet. You have another couple of months to stop cursing in-front of the baby.”
“Will do – I need to grow into this role of Godmother.” Tib said seriously, “Might need to get my shit together as well.”
“Um…” Ann began, but Maria scowled,
“What? I’m the Godmother! I’m the natural choice – I was very close to Anne and now Ann.”
“Yeah – I don’t think helping Lister perfect her tongue game qualifies you to be godmother – and in that case I taught her lots of things – I should be!”
“What? I’m not Godmother!?” Vere cried out as she entered the room, “But I named my child after Anne!”
“Hold on – no, I’m not the godmother? I was engaged to Anne!” Mariana complained as she entered the room and her sister, Anne, huffed,
“Obviously I am though – I helped her a lot through her first heartbreak.” 
They all turned to Ann who was rather uncomfortable with them all staring at her like that whilst she fed Alfred – and she felt sweat break out, this was too stressful,
“Which one of us is it?” Tib wondered, and Ann was panicking a little,
“Ann – tell her!” Mariana pushed, and Ann bit her lip in a nervous tic,
“It’s all of you.” Ann cried out, flustered by their stares,
“All of us?” Vere questioned and Ann tried to nod convincingly, 
“Sure. We want all of you – the more the merrier.” 
“I knew it.” Tib made a victory fist, “I knew I’d be picked.”
“To be fair – all of us were.” Mariana told her and Tib glared at her,
“You cannot bring me down today – I’m so happy. Now do I get to hold this baby or what?”
“When he’s finished eating.”
Ann spoke too soon, as Alfred let go – to curious probably by all the voices in the room, and Maria offered to take him whilst Ann covered up.
The women stood around the sofa admiring the baby, and Alfred made the rounds – having a go in everyone’s arms,
“He looks so much like Lister, it’s actually freaking me out a little.” Anne Belcombe said as she held him, making faces at the same time to keep him happy and the other women agreed heartily.
“Where is Anne even?” Mariana wondered and Vere spoke up,
“She’s with Anne upstairs in her study – she was showing her something with her… uh, yeah.”
“Hopefully not a dead thing or she’ll be in tears before they come back.” Maria said, and they laughed,
“I had a word with her about that – so I don’t think she will.” Ann smirked, as she was handed her son back by Maria who had a last go with him.
“I’ll be back after I’ve put him down for his nap.” Ann told them, leaving the bustling room for the quietness upstairs – reaching Anne’s study just as little Anne made her way out to go down to her mother,
“Hello, Anne – did you have fun?”
“Yes.” The child replied gleefully before running down the stairs quickly. Ann poked her head into Anne’s study – seeing her wife craned over her papers,
“Are you finished soon?”
Anne’s eyes found hers and she smiled at the sight of her wife and son,
“I am – well, I can do this another day.”
Anne shut her folder and threw her pen on the desk, standing up and making her way over to Ann to give her kiss.
“Is it a madhouse downstairs?” Anne wondered, resting her forehead against hers for a second, and Ann laughed,
“Yes. ‘Tis.”
“Came upstairs for a little refuge?”  Anne asked amused, and Ann nodded, kissing her wife before pulling away,
“Maybe a little but Alfred needs a change and then he is supposed to be napping.”
“I’ll do it.” Anne took the fussing baby from her arms, smiling wide at him,
“Hello, Alfred – did you miss you mumma? Was mummy boring you?”
“Hey!” Ann gasped, and Anne grinned at her, lifting her son up above her head gently making him laugh – and how she loved that ringing sound.
“Come on then young Sir, let’s get you a clean nappy.”

Anne brought the baby with her to the bathroom to change him, speaking to him softly all the while – Ann thought she’d been long and so went to look for them in the bathroom only to find her wife standing with Alfred over the sink,
“And then, yes, Alfred, listen closely to Mumma – then the vicar will lower you just like this, yeah? And she will pour some nice lukewarm water like this...” Anne poured water over his dark hair, and he giggled eliciting an even wider smile from Anne and from her wife of whose presence she was unaware.
“And she will bless you! And then…” Anne dried his head off, kissing him over the head,
“We will put our hands on you – me, your mummy, the godparents and the vicar- and we will pray for you – but you’ll be a good lad, right? It’s not scary, I will be…” Anne caught Ann in the mirror, and she smiled, before turning around with their son,
“I was just going over tomorrow’s big event.”
“You are just the sweetest, you know that right?” Ann couldn’t resist giving her a kiss, before caressing Alfred’s cheek,
“I think he needs a nap now though – you will have plenty of time to rehearse the christening with him when he refuses to sleep tonight.” Ann smirked and Anne laughed,
“Well, it’s always good to be prepared. Wouldn’t want to shock him tomorrow – now he knows.”
“Mm.” Ann agreed, not bothering telling her wife that he probably wouldn’t remember his mother’s rehearsal in the morning.

Anne sat with Ann as they lulled Alfred to sleep in the nursery, both relishing a little in the quietness, knowing the downstairs would be anything but quiet.
“I’ve been thinking a little about who to ask about being Alfred’s godmother…” Anne began, and Ann suddenly remembered the conversation earlier downstairs and became rigid and flustered,
“I’ve been thinking we might ask my aunt, or you know if you like we might ask Marian and, or Elizabeth?” Anne suggested but Ann was silent, making Anne worried,
“Is something wrong?”
“I might’ve promised someone already by accident.” Ann mumbled and Anne’s eyebrows raised in surprise,
“Oh- who?”
“Um, all of them; Tib, Maria, Vere, Anne & Mariana…” Ann shyly confessed, and Anne frowned,
“Why?”
“Because they all thought they were, and then they asked me to… and I panicked.”
“Marian will be livid.” Anne chuckled, finding it rather amusing, but Ann groaned, covering her face with her hands,
“Oh no…”
“It’s fine – Really! - Now, don’t look so distraught.” Anne told her gently, kissing her cheek, before turning her face to kiss her properly,
“You’re not cross?” “
“No – not at all. Not with you. I think the vicar might have a good laugh when she realises, we’ve got a whole crew of godmothers for him though – with them being almost half of the guests as well.”
Ann chuckled quietly, afraid that they might wake Alfred up,
“By the way we’ll need to ask Marian to be too, or she’ll kill me.” Anne turned to her, she did owe Marian after all, and Ann smiled,
“That’s fine with me – at least we’ll never have to worry about him being without one.”
“Lots of spares.” Anne winked, and her wife shook her head laughing softly,
“Come on, Dearest – let’s face the downstairs so we can retire early.”
“Oh?”
“Don’t get any ideas, Pony – I just want to cuddle and sleep.”
“I wasn’t suggesting anything else!”
“M-hm.” Ann eyed her suspiciously, but Anne kissed her chaste,
“I wasn’t! Now, let’s go before we wake him up and disturb the equilibrium of the whole household.”   

The next morning was just a whirlwind of people getting ready and having breakfast at the same time – forgetting one thing after the other until they were finally off to Halifax Minster at precisely 11 o’clock – sometimes, Ann thought, it was a good thing her wife was such a nit-picker when it came to keeping the time. They’d all but arrived at church at the same time. The whole party consisting of Elizabeth and the children (her husband had fortunately been unavailable), Catherine, Tib, Maria, Marian, Mariana, Vere & Anne, Aunt Ann, Aunt Anne, Anne, Anne, Ann and Alfred.
The bells had chimed, and they had gathered around, well most sitting around in the pews surrounding it, the stone font with its 15th century richly decorated cover that stood in the middle of the aisle. The Vicar held an introduction, led a prayer, and then offered Anne and Ann to pray for Alfred, after which they had sung a hymn. Aunt Anne then read aloud from Mark 10:13-16 about Jesus and the children. The Vicar then looked at the gathered congregation before turning back to Anne and Ann,
“Which godmothers have you chosen for your baby?” The Vicar said, unsure of which ones of the ladies they had said it was,
“All of them.” Ann pointed at the women in the front,
“I’m sorry who.”
“It’s all of them.” Ann sighed, and the women smiled brightly pointing to themselves happily and the Vicar raised her eyebrows,
“Oh okay – if you could please join me here in-front of the font all of you. Traditionally the role of the godparents – usually two – is to take care and nurture the baby in the Christian faith and its values.”
“On second thought, maybe I’m not the right fit.” Tib whispered to Anne Belcombe who snorted, and Maria rolled her eyes,
“To be fair none of us are.”
“Um, right.” The Vicar looked confused to say the least, “Well tradition is meant to be broken. Jesus broke with tradition after all.”
“As you can see – we’re not the traditional type.”  Anne smiled, and Tib cried, probably already a bit in her cups,
“We’re the lesbian godmothers!”
“When Charles dies.” Anne Belcombe added, and the Vicar looked appalled,
“Who’s Charles?” 
“Her husband.” Anne Belcombe pointed to her sister who looked uncomfortable, and a little ashamed of their behaviour in church. The Vicar opened her mouth, shut it again, furrowing her eyebrows before glancing in her book of common prayer,
“I…
“Every woman is a lesbian at heart…” Tib began singing as she thought she’d try and fill the awkward silence and Anne Belcombe joined and Ann was starting to panic,
“Not now - there is still a christening going on.”
“Oh, sorry – just thought I’d contribute to the service – shame the organist didn’t play along.” Tib apologised and Marian raised her hand as if she was in school and the Vicar sighed,
“Yes?”
“Just for the record – I’m not gay.”
“Good for you.” The Vicar uttered a bit baffled, fiddling with her book of common prayer nervously.
“And I’m not her former lover – I’m just her sister.” Marian further clarified and the Vicar looked as though she regretted saying yes to the gays.
“Can we continue?”  Anne wondered, looking less than amused with them, “This is about Alfred.”
The women conceded, apologising, thoroughly for another few minutes before the service could commence. 
“People of God will you welcome this child and uphold him in his new life with Christ?”
“Hell yeah!” Tib replied happily and the others just smiled,
“Of course!” 
“You’re supposed to answer, ‘With the help of God we will’.” Aunt Anne told them rolling her eyes and the Vicar smiled gratefully at her, and Ann nudged Anne,
“In hindsight, you should’ve probably practiced the christening with them and not with Alfred – so far he’s the only one following protocol.”
 “Well, that’s because I practiced with him yesterday.”  Anne grinned, and Ann blew air out of her nose, praying this might all be over soon.
“Shall we try again?” The Vicar asked, and they nodded, and she repeated the question and this time they all answered, as a choir,
“With the help of God we will.”
“Excellent.” The Vicar’s forehead was looking a bit shiny as she stood herself in-front of Maria who had taken Alfred in her arms, and using three of her fingers she read,
“Christ claims you as his own. Receive the sign of the cross; On your forehead;”
“On your mouth;”
“And over your heart.” The Vicar signed the cross a third time before turning to Anne and Ann,
“What names have you given your child?”
“John Alfred James Lister.” Anne answered her and The Vicar took Alfred from Maria in her arms after blessing the water. She stood with him over the old font, smiling at him gently before pouring water over his head,
“I baptize you, John Alfred James in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” 
The Vicar dried his head with a cloth, and he was perfectly well behaved, and Anne gave her wife a proud look at that. She then proceeded, to raise Alfred over her head,
“We welcome John Alfred James into the family of God and to this congregation. May the name of Jesus always remain on your heart.”
The Vicar then walked around with baby Alfred who laughed gaily at all the people,
“Look, there’s your Auntie and your cousins – this is how a newly christened Alfred looks – oh I could walk around with you all day – but I think I might just need to return you to one of your many godmothers.” The Vicar handed him over to Marian.
“Let us pray for Alfred – please lay your hands on him.” 
They did – though it was rather crowded with six godmothers, two parents and the Vicar around the one baby. Alfred was then given a candle by the Vicar – well to be fair, Mariana held the candle,
“Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God.” The Vicar prayed over Alfred, and then just like that – they had made it through the service and though it was not without some minor issues – at least Alfred was christened… eventually.

Chapter Text

The first few months of having a baby was starting to take its toll on both Anne and Ann who ran on little to no sleep. Especially Ann who had to feed him every few hours. That’s why Anne had decided that Ann should have a day of rest – and she would bring Alfred with her to work – it had been rather spontaneous and may or may not have been due to Ann bursting into tears that morning from sheer exhaustion. Alfred hated the bottle but would have it if Anne tricked him into thinking he was getting the boob. So, she had brought their eight-month-old son with her to University – it couldn’t be that difficult to teach with a child on her hip. Alfred was most of the time a rather happy child – at least during the days.

Anne was getting ready for her first class, taking Alfred with her from her office to her lecture hall and she was greeted by her second-year bachelor-degree students outside, and Miss Long did a double-take,
“Is that a baby, Professor?”
“Yes, this is my son, Alfred – my wife needed a few hours of undisturbed sleep.” Anne replied her curtly, and Mr. Felton furrowed his brows,
“Your wife?!”
 “You’re taking Classics Mr. Felton, the concept of homosexuality can hardly be novel to you.” Anne bit – opening the door to her lecture hall with her cardkey, turning on the lights and making her way down to her desk, where she had prepared some slides for today’s lecture on viewing philosophical thinkers and their work in a new light. The students all scurried into the lecture hall – and there weren’t that many, around twenty-two – but it was good turn-up for the course. 
“Now, in today’s lecture we’ll be talking about these famous philosophical thinkers, that have some of them been labelled ‘The greatest thinkers of all time’. Can anyone name one such?” 
Several hands raised, and Anne pointed to the back,
“Yes, Miss Reed?”
“Renée Descartes?” She stated a little uncertain and Anne gave a nod,
“Well, yes – that’s certainly true but I was thinking during ancient times. I apologise, I should’ve made that clearer.”
Miss Reed’s cheeks became beet red, and Anne felt a little bad for the young woman who clearly had some sort of performance anxiety.
“Anyone else? -  Yes, Mr Jones?”
“Socrates?”
“Why – yes, he’s one of them eh, but what’s truly fascinating with him – is that we have no remaining philosophical texts written by him personally. Most of what we know about his thoughts comes from his student – Plato.” Anne explained to them, turning her back to fix a slide on ‘Aristotle’ to show her students, a little difficult managing with Alfred on her hip, but eventually the picture appeared behind her and she turned to the students,
“Right so this is Ari…” Anne’s sentence was muffled as Alfred had grabbed her cheeks and pushed them together making her student’s laugh loudly and Anne gently removed his tiny chubby hands from her face, giving him a quick kiss on the nose, 
“As you see my son clearly doesn’t want me to mention Aristotle as one of the greatest thinkers in history – and he’s right – I don’t want to mention him either but I am obliged to…” Anne paused, to shift Alfred onto her other hip for a while,
“You see – this is where it gets curious, and why I like to challenge these ideas about how we view these old men. Because what’s been consistent throughout most of history? Yes Miss McClean?”
“Patriarchy?” She looked unsure but Anne pointed her whole hand at her,
“Exactly. Excellent – yes, so. Bearing that in mind, we can ask the question of to whom is he considered the greatest thinker? Because he certainly didn’t say much that rings very true for me. He claimed that women weren’t equal to men and that it in fact was entirely right for a man to rule over a woman. And he’s to say the least, problematic in other instances – he had this idea that some people are born slaves – meant for slavery and that it is a kind of law by nature – this was later used by Europeans to legitimise the transatlantic slave trade…”
Alfred decided that he was fed up with his mother and interrupted her by beginning to cry, and Anne sighed as she bounced him gently on her hip trying to soothe him
“Shh, shh, shh, Alfred.”
Alfred pulled her hair upset and she winched slightly – feeling a little flustered in-front of her whole class.
“You know what, love… here, let’s get you down.” Anne sat Alfred down, pulled her jacket off and lay it on the floor – and put Alfred on his tummy upon it, giving him a lanyard to play with and he stopped crying immediately – wriggling on the floor, making funny noises that had her students in laughter again. Anne exhaled, laughing a little nervously, before glancing out over the class again,
“As I was saying Aristotle was problematic… is… yes?”
“But, I mean, he was a good thinker for his time – he didn’t know any better!” Mr Harris argued, and Anne ran a hand through her hair, furrowing her eyebrows,
“I always find that to be a poor argument, and whereas such an argument might sometimes explain the actions of historical figures, it doesn’t excuse them but, in this instance, – he did in fact most certainly ‘know better’ – that is to say there were more humanistic views available in his day and age.” Anne turned around to change her slide, and Alfred grabbed her leg, banging his hand on her shoe – and Anne smiled down at him,
“You want to come up to mumma again?”
Anne hunched down to pick him up, but his face contorted, and she put him down again,
“Nope. All right… who can tell me who these people are?” 
“The sophists, professor!” Miss McClean stated loudly, and Anne looked pleased,
“Mm, spot-on. They sported a different set of values than Aristotle did, they thought women…”
Alfred disturbed her lecture again by beginning to cry and fuss and Anne sighed as she picked him up from the floor, and realising he was hungry, she took the bottle off the desk and hid the bottle part in her armpit, tricking him into taking it and he calmed.
“Maybe this is the reason why women weren’t and isn’t suited for these kinds of jobs but are meant to stay at home.” A boy, she vaguely remembered as Mr. Avery stated and she was actually taken off guard for a second – stunned by his words, but not for long.
“Oh, what a brilliant way to show some patriarchal views that still remains with us today to some extent. Well, Mr. Avery, tell me why you think it’s a woman’s job to take care of babies and not a man’s? Anne tilted her head, almost feeling sorry for the poor sod, Mr Avery looked as though he thought it was obvious and gestured with his hands,
“Because women carry them, and give birth to them – not men!”
“Mm, so, correct me if I’m wrong, but you believe that because the baby is grown in the womb – it’s the woman’s sole responsibility?”
“Well yeah. I mean that’s just how it is. I think women should be grateful to their men though for staying and working for their bread and I mean, some men help with their babies.” Mr Avery continued and if Anne hadn’t been cradling Alfred in her arms, she might have face palmed.
“Help? Oh Lord. How do you suggest me, and my wife get by then? If neither of us work because we’re women? – Should I work because I didn’t birth him? Or should we just hope that some kind man will drop in with some money?”
“Well, the father might…”
“My son doesn’t have a father!” Anne bit his sentence off, and the tension in the room could be cut through with a knife. No one else dared say a thing - you could hear a needle drop. It took Mr Avery a few seconds to argue back, 
“But you’re not a man! So…”
“Great observation, Mr. Avery. But yes, if I had been a man taking my son with me to work – I would’ve been told I was a great parent, the greatest in fact – I wouldn’t have been told to stay at home. People – students would’ve photographed it and put it on social media – gushing about how fantastic I was for it. This is the problem right here – and this problem exists because of Aristotle's ideals, among others, to tie it back to the lecture… Miss Reed put down your phone – I don’t want to end up on tumblr again!”
Miss Reed became beet red as she lowered her phone, and Anne almost felt sorry for the girl - but she had had enough women 'sliding into her dm's', as Ann phrased it, on that messenger app Ann forced her to have, from last time she had been mentioned and shown on tumblr for her lecture about 'Sappho'. She was quite certain Miss McClean was the reason for it last time though. Anne was brought back to the ridiculous discussion taking place when she heard him speak again. 
“I don’t think this feminist lesbian bullshit has a place in a classics course – and I don’t think the university should let its professors promote same-sex relationships and them having children – it’s unnatural!” Mr Avery huffed seemingly wanting to continue a discussion, in which he obviously thought he had the upper hand.
“Well, by all means, Mr Avery – you may leave my lecture if it isn’t to your liking! If you leave now – you might just get out in time before the gayness gets to you.” Anne told him, nodding towards the door, calmly though her eyes were dark, and threatening and although he seemed disinclined to get up and leave at first – he did so at all the dirty looks and comments from the other students – making a lot of noise as he did so.
“Mm, Where was I before I was so rudely interrupted? Right - the sophists are not unproblematic but did have…”

Anne gave up around three o’clock, after her last lecture but she hadn’t finished grading the papers that needed doing before Friday. But it was proving more difficult than she thought to teach whilst simultaneously taking care of Alfred’s needs. She packed up, and drove them home, only to find her wife and sister gone out and her aunt upstairs napping. Anne, took Alfred outside in the pram, bringing Argus with them on their afternoon walk – and for once it was rather peaceful – Alfred sat spluttering and babbling to Argus for a while – laughing at the big grey deerhound but eventually fell asleep. Anne adjusted the back of the pram so he was lying down, and she tucked him in – to shield him from the cold, wishing she could burry herself under a blanket as well – misjudging the cold wind and wearing a much too thin coat, but nevertheless enjoying some peace and quiet for the shortest amount of time. Alfred woke up just when they got inside, and Anne lay him on a blanket spread out on the floor, and Argus curled up next to him – Anne almost felt sorry for the poor beast as Alfred leaned on him, patting him rather forcefully but Argus merely turned his head and licked his hands and cheek – making Alfred laugh loudly and Anne watched them amused – wondering briefly at what she’d done with all these feelings before him, and how and when she’d become so fond of children – well her child anyways.

Chapter Text

Ann had been down in Halifax with Marian doing the food shop in Tesco, and they had been gone for above an hour and half – and Ann had to admit that, whereas she had missed her son and her wife during the day, it was nice to get out for a bit, without having to worry about Alfred.
To then come home, unloading the bags only to find her wife and son on the floor in the drawing room, crawling about – was a sight that warmed her heart. Well, to be fair – Anne was crawling – Alfred not equally so.
“Alfred, look at Mumma, love – like this!” Anne used her elbows and knees to move forwards and Alfred kicked his feet to try and imitate his mother, and she cheered him on,
“Good lad – and knees, like this – yes, look at Mumma.” Anne showed him again and he laughed loudly at her rocking back and forth trying to crawl.
“Yes, that’s it, Alfie – try and come to Mumma. Come here.” Anne patted the rug in front of her, trying to urge him to her and he was trying so hard – matching his mumma in stubbornness.
“You’ve almost got it, Alfred – you did it before – come on- you can do it!” Anne encouraged him and he looked concentrated – almost constipated as he tried to get to his Mumma.
“Do you need me to show you again, love?” Anne cooed at the baby, but Alfred had spotted his mummy and suddenly he got the gist of it and crawled over to her and Anne was losing it- she was cheering and praising him and then her eyes found her wife’s and she realised why her son had crawled and also slowly realised that she had witnessed that display.
“How long have you been there?” Anne wondered, her cheeks red and Ann laughed at her as she picked Alfred, who was standing against her legs, up into her arms – kissing his face fondly.
“Long enough to see my beautiful baby boy crawl and his equally handsome Mumma have a go at it.” Ann said with a smirk, kissing her wife obligingly,
“Well, I was trying to help him – and I thought that might be the most educative way of teaching him.” Anne defended herself, and Ann kissed her again,
“You are wonderful – and I love you.”
“Why, I love you too.” Anne smiled, kissing her forehead, before kissing Alfred’s cheek,
“I do need to grade some papers now though – I’ll be done before dinner or rather I will be done for today by then.”
“Have fun – we’ll miss you!” Ann called to her and Anne turned around,
“Fun? Hm hardly! I have a student who has written a paper on how Aristotle was the greatest thinker in history – I wanted to hurl when I saw it… he was an idiot. Didn’t know any better!? The sophists literally told him that women were created equal to men but noooo… the knob had to establish the modern patriarchal society.”
Ann laughed at her wife’s passionate re-telling,
“Well then, enjoy giving him an F then.”
“Oh – I will. Seriously – I’ve been over this with my students – today even. In any case, there is actually quite an interesting paper on the influence Sappho has had throughout history by Miss McClean, that I’ve been looking forward to grading – they have done a great job.”
“Good luck then, Dearest.” Ann pulled Anne by the collar to give her another kiss before she went off to her study to work.
Ann kissed Alfred’s head, inhaling his scent, hugging him tightly to her,
“Oh, I missed you so much today, love. Did you miss your mummy?” 
Alfred slapped her over the chest, giggling – spitting everywhere as he spluttered and Ann laughed,
“Of course you didn’t miss me – you missed my breasts… a bit rude!”
“MMMMMM.”  Alfred made humming sounds and demanded her attention – beginning to fuss and Ann smiled kissing his nose,
“Right then – let’s get you fed and then we might play with Argus for a bit – and then, my beautiful baby boy – it’s time for bed.”

Ann hadn’t really seen her wife since their encounter in the drawing room – she had locked herself in her study – working on grading a pile of papers and Ann though a little annoyed with her for not coming down for dinner nor helping with Alfred’s bath- and bedtime, she didn’t really begrudge her, her wife had taken Alfred with her to work, and Ann knew it must’ve been incredibly limiting and they did have deadlines at University. So, instead of having a skirmish with her wife about that Ann had let her be and gone to bed eventually, reading a good book after having a nice hot shower, her hair hanging in a braid over her shoulder. Closer to eleven, Anne sneaked into the room though Ann paid her no heed but continued reading her book. Anne slumped down on bed, taking Ann’s book from her hands and throwing it away,
“I was reading that!” Ann huffed displeased but Anne bit her lip looking anything but innocent,
“Not anymore.”
“Anne.” Ann sighed at her, leaning forwards to run her hands through her hair, kissing her forehead,
“Go fetch my book back.”
“What if I didn’t?” Anne smirked, taking her hand in hers, playing with her fingers – kissing the inside of her wrist and palm, Ann closed her eyes snorting amused,
“Well, you’d have to make up for it, dearest.”
“What could that be then?” Anne wondered, lowering Ann down against the pillows – leaning over her, hands next to either side of her head. Ann’s breath hitched a little as her skin became flushed,
“You could start by kissing me, pony.”
Anne got closer to her face, stopping an inch from her puckered lips, breathing onto her face,
“Where do you want me to kiss you, Adney?”
“Don’t tease me, Anne! – We don’t have a lot of time.” Ann whined, trying to capture her wife’s lips in a kiss, but Anne held her arms down over her head and moved her face just out of reach,
“Pony! Just kiss my lips, my face – whatever you want but please do it now!”
Anne kissed her gingerly, pulling away just when Ann tried to deepen their kiss and she groaned,
“You’re the worst!”
“Am I now?” Anne smirked, but she gave in and kissed her properly, trailing kisses down her throat, pulling her nightshirt over her head as she continued to kiss down her chest – gently kneading her breasts as she continued to kiss down her stomach – kissing her stretchmarks by her hipbones, stopping just above her queer. Looking up at her with a teasing twinkle as Ann was writhing against the covers,
“Pony! I need you – now!”
Anne gently rubbed her thighs edging down to give her wife what she craved and begged for – she placed a soft kiss on top of the golden wet curls first, making her wife moan from frustration, but Anne did relish in teasing her.
“Pony! Just…”
Anne flattened her tongue out and made a broad lick through her wife’s folds when a scream startled them both – Ann tried to cover herself with a duvet and Anne fell off the bed.
“For the love of God!” Marian was still screaming panicked – covering the eyes of baby Alfred who was crying loudly at this point – possibly frightened by all the screaming adults or maybe he was just hungry. Ann wanted to sink through the mattress and die as she without much success tried to cover herself up properly – breastmilk literally leaking all over the duvet at hearing Alfred’s crying.
“What’s all this fuss about?” Aunt Anne entered the bedroom, and Anne groaned, sitting up on bed – at least she was still dressed,
“Please get out!”
“Alfred was crying!” Marian defended herself, “And I had to walk in and see this – and he! Oh Lord! Anne!”
Ann covered her hot face with her hands – unable to look at anyone whilst Anne merely stood up – owning all her usual confidence, marching up to Marian to take her crying son from her.
“Get out, Marian – Aunt, we’ll talk about this never.”
“Alright, dear – come on Marian – leave them alone!” Aunt Anne ushered Marian out of their bedroom though she had seemed inclined on fighting with her sister about the horror she had just witnessed with the baby no less.
Anne went to bed with Alfred and sat down, running her hand over Ann’s back as she still sat with head in her hands – completely mortified by what had just transpired.
“Adney – it’s all fine.”
“It’s not.” Ann sobbed into her hands, she was embarrassed beyond what she was capable of handling, and Anne sat Alfred between her legs – leaning him against her stomach as she lifted Ann’s head from her hands, letting her lean into her shoulder. Anne kissed her over the hair, rubbing her arm,
“Marian was overreacting – Alfred has no idea what took place, and you know what – he wants his mummy.”
Alfred did want his mummy, he was fussing and wriggling quite bit – on the verge of crying again as he was hungry. But Ann was still sniffling into Anne’s shoulder, cheeks beet red,
“I can never come downstairs again.”
“Of course, you can – don’t mind Marian – she’s just dramatic.” Anne reassured, pressing her lips to her temple,
“Aunt Anne… oh. I won’t be able to look her in the eye!”
“She saw nothing but a little boob – which she has seen before. Breathe, Ann – it’s all fine and you know, Alfred does need you now, hm? – Will you be alright? I mean I can go downstairs and prepare a bottle if you’d rather not.” Anne gazed at her wife tenderly and Ann exhaled deeply, trying to calm down, sitting up a little and Anne dried her tears gingerly – kissing her over the eyes to cool them down – imagining that it did anyway before handing her Alfred who immediately brightened at the sight of his source for food – actually managing to make both of them laugh despite of it all. Ann turned her face up and kissed Anne whilst Alfred ate contently,
“We need to get a holiday soon I think.”
“Exactly my sentiment, Adney. My journal is becoming a bore.” Anne smirked and they watched their son eat before Anne tucked him into bed again – thinking they might resume what they’d been doing, only to find Ann snoring once she came back, and with a soft sigh Anne climbed into bed, cuddled into Ann and her last thought before falling asleep was ‘No kiss’. 

Chapter Text

For reasons wholly unknown to both Tib and Anne – Anne and Ann had trusted them to look after Alfred for a day whilst they went away to stay in a hotel and have some time to themselves. It might have been due to the fact that Aunt Anne had gone away, as well as Marian and that didn’t leave a lot of options for them.
They had, however, accepted eagerly both of them convinced that they could look after nine-month-old Alfred without a problem – hell they were grown women! And how hard could it be? – Turns out it was bloody hard work. They had started out fine with him – he was as happy as anyone, playing with them on the floor with his toys - blabbering on about ‘mumma’ though they hardly thought he knew what it was he was saying exactly.  
“I don’t know why Lister and Ann were looking so rough – he’s an absolute dear!” Tib cooed at the baby, looking up at Anne who shrugged her shoulders,
“Beats me. I could easily do this every day – It’s not that hard.”
As mentioned, - it did take a turn for the worse. By the evening Alfred was fussing a lot - he was crying loudly but refused to take the bottle with the breastmilk and Tib and Anne were slowly going insane,
“Shit – we’re going to kill their baby! He needs to eat!” Anne cried exasperated, trying to coax Alfred to take the bottle but he shut his mouth tightly, wriggling in her lap whilst crying loudly. Tib was panicking – there was porridge all over the floor from when they had tried to give him some solid food – yet most of it had ended up in her hair, where it had dried into grey lumps.
“Let me try!” Tib took Alfred from Anne, hushing him stressed – bouncing him in her arms, trying to make him take the bottle but he still refused. 
 “Call Mariana or Marian – just get someone to help us! – Do not call Anne – I refuse to admit defeat.” Tib spoke through the thick lump in her throat – she was near tears from frustration. Anne fished her phone up, trying to get hold of Marian without any success, and then Mariana – but nothing,
“Call Vere!”  Tib instructed her, almost aggressively rocking baby Alfred to stop him fussing and crying, rather frightened by his red face, afraid she might damage their baby. Anne dialled the number forcefully, waiting for Vere to pick up - biting her nails whilst her leg jumped up and down – eying the crying baby with some distress.
“Fuck – she’s not picking up, Tib - what the fuck are we supposed to do?”
“Call Mia – she’s got a child!” Tib suggested desperately and Anne found her number and called, 
“Oui allo?”
“Mia – you’ve got to help us!” Anne cried into the phone – tears burning in her eyes,
“What’s happening? – Is that a baby in the background?”
“Tib and I are babysitting Alfred for the night, and he won’t eat and he won’t stop crying and I’m afraid we might damage him!”
“Listen to me, Anne – you take a shirt and you cut a hole where your breast would go – then put the bottle through it and make him think he’s getting the boob.” Maria instructed her seriously.
“Yeah? Tib – cut a hole through a shirt and put the bottle where your tit would go – so he thinks he’s getting the real deal!”
“You want me to scam the baby into thinking he’s getting my tit?” Tib shouted back at her and Anne nodded,
“Just do it for the sake of peace!” 
“Anne – pull yourself together – it’s a baby, not rocket science!” Maria chided her and Anne took a deep calm breath – with Maria on the other end,
“Thank you – Oh Lord - I’m never having children.”
“No, and let’s thank God for that.” Maria sighed, “Are you at Shibden?”
“Yes.”
“Why did they leave the baby alone with you two?”
“I don’t know!” Anne sobbed, holding her hand against her forehead,
“You are useless the pair of you. Don’t forget to try the milk – so it isn’t too hot. Ta ta.”
Maria hung up on her, and Anne put the phone into her back pocket, wiping the tears off her cheeks, exhaling loudly before bracing herself to go help Tib with crying Alfred.
Tib was currently trying to balance Alfred on her hip whilst cutting a shirt and Anne hurriedly took him from her – afraid she might drop him, and she didn’t put it past Anne that she would actually horsewhip them both if her baby boy had even the tiniest of bruises.
“There.” Tib held the shirt up in-front of them, and Anne nodded,
“You do it.”
Tib sighed as she pulled the shirt over her head, getting the bottle through the hole, whilst Anne stared at her, bouncing Alfred on her hip,
“We need to try the milk according to Mia.”
“What?” Tib grimaced, reaching for the bottle and Anne nodded,
“Tib – we’ve already fucked up so much! What if we give him bad milk too!”
“Oh fuck. Fine.” Tib squeezed a little out on her wrist, and then hoovered over Anne’s,
“If I have to, you have to – I don’t know what bad breastmilk tastes like!”
“Alright.” Anne closed her eyes as Tib squeezed some out on her arm and then they licked it up as if they were licking salt before a tequila shot.
“Oh, that’s sweet.” Tib commented, possibly pleasantly surprised.
“It’s a bit like that super-expensive almond milk Mary drinks all the time.” Anne nodded, and they looked at each other, for a second forgetting the bellowing baby in the room,
“I cannot believe we just gave a review on Ann’s breastmilk.”

“I never thought I’d stage breastfeeding in my life – but hey-ho. And I’m not even drunk.” 
Anne handed her Alfred and, Tib rested his head against her arm, coaxing him to take the “nipple” in his mouth and he did, and they sighed in relief,
“That’s right! Good lad, Alfred.” Tib praised him, and Anne sank down on the seat next to Tib – already exhausted. She now wondered at Anne and Ann being alive at all at this point.
“How many hours have we done this?” Anne asked, staring into the ceiling, Tib glanced at the watch, 
“Four.”
“Oh shit.”
“My sentiment exactly.” Tib agreed, focusing her eyes on Alfred as he ate hungrily. But when the bottle was finished, and Anne had taken Alfred from Tib to allow her to get out of the shirt and put the bottle away – he began crying again, and it didn’t matter that Anne tried singing him songs or bouncing him about – he wouldn’t stop, and it was driving her mad… slowly. Eventually, after an hour or so he burped loudly and farted simultaneously and he stopped crying for a blessed second,
“He was just gassy.” Anne whimpered – her head throbbing from all the crying he had done, and Tib looked at her from under the arm that draped over her eyes,
“Ah, I should’ve remembered that you need to spank the gas out of them.” 
“I don’t think you spank them, Tib – you pat them.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“Oh God…” Anne groaned loudly, and Alfred began crying again and Tib screamed into a pillow,
“Why did you disturb his peace!? I need a drink.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him!?” Anne sobbed, just staring at Alfred’s contorted upset face as they cried at each other.
Tib came over, and her nose scrunched,
“He’s definitely pooped. That’s what’s upset him – not you, or I don’t know maybe both.”
“You do it!”
“What no! You do it – I fed him.” 
“I helped him release gas.” Anne argued, and Tib crossed her arms,
“Well, I refuse to. So, good luck.”
“You owe me one, Tib!” Anne told her angrily as she stood up, making her way upstairs to the bathroom were all the things were. But Anne hadn’t got far when she was befuddled – how did one change a nappy? – She sure didn’t have a clue about things like that.
“Tib!” Anne shouted,
“No!”
 “Seriously – what do I do!?”  Anne cried desperately, “I can’t…”
Anne’s voice died as something wet struck her face,
“He’s weeing on me!” Anne screamed, panicking covering him with a towel as Tib came running in – laughing at her wet face,
“It’s not funny!” Anne huffed, trying to wash her face off, using up a whole pump of soap. Tib tried to keep her laughter in but wasn’t that successful.
“It’s not that difficult.”
“Shut up – and do it yourself then!” Anne barked and Tib raised the towel and was too struck in the face by urine, and Anne smiled wide,
“Not so funny now is it!” 
“Shut your mouth.” Tib spoke slowly wiping it off and Anne switched places with her again and they did the very best they could – somehow getting a clean nappy on him again after a lot of fuss and faff – and it still looked a bit wonky.
 They took him downstairs again and tried to play with him to keep him happy, but he was seriously displeased however they tried.
“Bloody hell – this baby is harder to please than Anne fucking Lister!” Tib groaned, after another failed attempt to play something like peekaboo.
“No kidding – this baby is her 2.0.” Anne huffed, laying down on the floor next to Argus defeated. 

Another four hours passed, and the clock struck nine and Alfred was still awake, though they tried to lull him to sleep – they took turns trying to walk him to sleep, read him to sleep and sing him to sleep – nothing would work and they were slowly caving into calling Anne and Ann and ask them to hurry home when there was a knock on the door.
“That must be the pizza I ordered.” Tib told Anne who went to open the door and bustling in came Maria Barlow with a bag on her shoulder,
“Maria!?”
“Look at the pair of you! Useless! Give me the baby!” Maria marched into the drawing room, and Tib handed her the crying baby.
“Oh, poor Alfred – don’t fret – your good godmother is here now!”
“Oi!” Tib exclaimed and Maria took one look at them both,
“Go wash or something useful.” 
“Did you fly all the way from Paris during these four hours since I called you?” Anne wondered and Maria nodded,
“Of course – I did! He’s my godson and you were killing him!”
“We’ve tried everything, but he won’t stop.”
“Hm… he has a rash – didn’t you powder his bum?” Maria asked them and they grimaced,
“Powdered his what?” Tib asked confused, and Maria sighed,
“Honestly - I don’t know why they left him in your care. Come on, Alfred – let’s get you a nice warm little bath to help soothe the rash.”

Maria left the both of them – letting them eat whatever meal they had ordered whilst tending to Alfred. She sat him in the bath only to get him perfectly clean from the other women’s pathetic try and he giggled at her,
“Does that feel good?” Maria grinned wide at him, rinsing him with warm water and he stared wonderous at the tiny soap bubbles flying around the bath. She lifted him out of the bath with a towel, drying him gently before rubbing in some baby oil to help treat his tiny rash, dressing him in his pyjamas – kissing his head gently, and he was struggling to keep his eyes open.
“Aw, are you feeling tired, Alfred? Well, no wonder – your bedtime was hours ago!”
Maria took him to the nursery, turned off the main lights, and lit a nightlamp before tucking him in in the cradle, kissing his head again,
“There-there, you’re alright now.” Maria caressed his cheek, softly humming him to sleep, and to sleep he went – in seconds’ flat.

Maria emerged downstairs and they turned their eyes to her as she entered the sitting room where they had sat eating their pizza.
“Where’s the baby!?” Anne asked bewildered and Maria huffed,
“Asleep – as he is supposed to be – and has supposed to for the past three hours.”
“You got him to sleep? No faff? – Are you a witch?! Did you make a deal with the devil!?” Tib exclaimed, and Maria rolled her eyes at them, sitting down,
“Next time they ask you two to babysit – unless it’s for under an hour, you say no.”
“Trust me – I will never… well, I won’t do it again until he’s at least six!” Tib promised and Anne agreed wholeheartedly, looking knocked for six. Maria sighed, leaning forwards to take a piece of pizza, grimacing as she bit into it,
“Why would you do this to your bodies? – It’s so not good.”
“Snob.” Tib smirked, and Maria shook her head at her,
“The French cuisine is…” Maria made a chef’s kiss,
“You should’ve brought some with you then!” Anne teased and Maria burst out laughing,
“Oh Lord – I really did just fly all the way from Paris…”
“Yes, thank you – you saved our arses.” Tib said gratefully,
“Anne would’ve literally killed us if she came home to find out we’d ruined the baby.” Anne agreed, and Maria ran a hand over her face tiredly,
“I think I’ll try and get some sleep before he wakes up for a night feed.”
“He eats at night to!? But we’ve fed him like, I don’t know – thrice!?” Tib’s eyes widened, and she looked beaten, but Maria could do naught but laugh at them,
“Seriously – was Lister under the influence of opium when she allowed for you to take Alfred for the night?!”
“I’ll get the shirt.” Tib sighed,
“If you give me it, I’ll feed him when he wakes up and you two can get some sleep. Where’s the breastmilk?”
“In the fridge – there’s even more in the freezer though – you’d think she was feeding a whole company – Ann.”  Anne told her, and Maria gave a nod,
“Excellent, now off to bed with you.”
Tib threw the t-shirt from the stairs and Maria caught it one-handed,
“Nice catch! Enjoy tasting breastmilk.”
“What?” Maria did a double-take and Tib as well as Anne stopped in the middle of the staircase,
“You know – so it isn’t bad…” Tib explained with a look at Anne, who nodded,
“Did you drink breastmilk?” Maria wondered, forehead scrunched together as she eyed both women and Tib turned to Anne angrily,
“You said I had to drink it!”
“She said we had to try it!” Anne defended herself and Maria burst out laughing,
“Yes – on your arm so it isn’t too hot for him after you’ve heated it!”
“Oh, for the love of God – Anne!” Tib complained and Anne hit her head against the wall,
“I hate myself.”
“Great ladies - good night.” Maria was still laughing at them.
“Yeah, night!” They called over their shoulders and Maria got the downstairs cleaned up after the mess they’d made trying to care for Alfred. She then sat dozing in the chair inside the nursery – thinking it wouldn’t be long until he woke up for a feed. He woke up at precisely three o’clock,
“You’re punctual – just like your mother.” Maria commented, as she got him out of the cradle, and offered him the bottle through the shirt she wore, and he ate eagerly and was soon out as a candle once more, possibly exhausted from his day.

By noon the next morning the door burst open, and Anne and Ann stumbled in – the blonde was looking rather anxious as she tumbled into the drawing room, but Anne was looking worse as she literally fell into the room, looking up at them from the floor,
“Is he alive?!”
Tib rolled her eyes at her old friend, offering her a hand off the floor, which she for once took,
“Seriously, you have so little faith in us, Lister!”
“It all went perfectly well.” Anne B agreed, cooing a little to Alfred on her knee at the same time but he was fussing, reaching his hands out for his mummy – and Ann took him – showering his face with kisses,
“I’m never leaving you again – I missed you so much!”
“If everything went smoothly – then why is Maria here? – Hello.”  Anne turned to Maria who sat reading in the chair, and she looked up at her from over her glasses,
“I was just passing.” 
“Passing through Shibden on your usual evening walk?” Anne wondered amused, and Maria chuckled,
“Um, no, of course not! I was on my way to visit some family- thought I’d pop in – surprised to find none of you home but these two here.”
“Hmm…” Anne didn’t seem thoroughly convinced but Maria rolled her eyes at her,
“Do you for a second believe that these two would fuck things up so badly that they would call me in desperation and that I would drop everything to fly here privately to help?”
Anne’s expression softened as she laughed, walking over to her wife and son,
“No, that’s ridiculous!” She acknowledged, before kissing Alfred, and giving him a good cuddle, happy to be home again.
“Right, so I’m off.” Tib stood, taking her bag, giving Alfred a squeeze before patting Ann on the shoulder,
“Great breastmilk.”
“You tried my wife’s breastmilk?” Anne gaped and almost looked angry, and Anne shrugged a shoulder,
“We both did – it was excellent.”
Ann flushed, glancing at Maria who shrugged her shoulders, but Anne butted in first,
“Has everyone tried my wife’s breastmilk?! That’s like…”
“You think my breastmilk is gross?” Ann’s expression turned from embarrassment to that of annoyance and Anne’s eyebrows raised slightly,
“Well, no? But when they drink it? – yes. Or I mean that they drank it, is gross – but the milk isn’t disgusting.”
“Nice save, Lister – good luck.” Tib grinned before taking her leave and Anne hurried with her – happy for the escape and the promised drink.

Chapter Text

“I’m not sure this was a good idea.” Ann mumbled as they drove off, rain smattering loudly against the roof of the car. Anne glanced at her, placing her hand on her thigh for a moment’s comfort,
“He’s fine Adney – I mean I know Anne and Tib can seem a little…”
“Irresponsible?” Ann suggested, looking rather worried and Anne grimaced,
“Well yes, but they can take care of a baby – they are not complete morons.”
“Oh Lord – I mean I want to have some alone time with you – and oh do I want to sleep but I miss him.” Ann ran her hands over her face, and Anne traced her fingers against her cheek, not taking her eyes off the road,
“I miss him too – but it’s going to be all fine. He is probably having the time of his life with two of his many godmothers.”
“Urgh, oh – ah I guess you’re right. But maybe I should call them just in case…” Ann unlocked her phone, but Anne locked it for her,
“No – we weren’t supposed to do that. They’ll call if something happens.” 
“Fine. Where are we going?” Ann tried to redirect her focus on Anne instead and her wife smirked at her,
“We’re going to York, I have booked a table at this Italian restaurant and then I booked a room at the Black Swan inn – because that’s where we went on our first escape from all the madness at home.”
“How romantic.” Ann smiled, and though she was teasing her wife – she did mean it. She had missed being with just her wife – though of course she loved her child to death. But by God did they need some time of their own too.
Little did Ann know that it took every ounce of Anne’s self-control not to turn around and go back home – she missed her son, and she was growing increasingly less certain that it had been a wise choice letting Tib and Anne babysit him without anyone to supervise them.

Anne brought Ann to one of her favourite restaurants in York – Piccolino which lay just by the river running through town. Figuring that whereas they couldn’t actually go abroad at the moment – they might enjoy a little taste of Italy anyhow – in more senses than one.
Ann’s worried expression changed to excitement as she saw the place, it was situated really nicely, and made for a good view and most importantly the smell coming from there was incredible.
“Do you like it? Or would you rather we go somewhere else?” Anne wondered before they stepped inside and Ann kissed her cheek, smiling wide,
“It’s perfect – I’ve been craving good Italian food.”
“Mm, it’s nice having some time just you and I, right?” Anne glanced at her as they walked closely together, hand in hand to the door and Ann’s eyes observed her face, she suspected her wife was a little more anxious about leaving their son than she would let on,
“Yes, we needed it in any case.”
They stepped inside and was immediately ushered to the bar whilst they got their table ready for them. Anne ran a hand through her hair, feeling a little uneasy because her thoughts were constantly wandering off to Alfred and how he was doing with Tib and Anne looking after him. Wondering for the thousandth time that day if that had been her worst decision ever, setting aside the sabbatical she had taken to follow Vere to Hastings like a good lapdog only to find out she never intended anything other than being roommates. Forced to return with her tail between her legs and beg them to take her back sooner. No wait, Anne thought – this was worse, she was potentially damaging her son for life by letting them babysit him.
A light hand touched the small of her back, and Anne was startled out of her thoughts and was met with Ann’s bright eyes and smile,
“Would you like some wine?”
Anne’s forehead creased, almost confused for a second before she realised the woman behind the bar had asked,
“Yes, I’ll have the Merlot, what would you like Adney?”
“I’ll have that too.” Ann shrugged a shoulder, not really a big wine fantast other than on special occasions and for the more part she only drank the dessert wines such as the madeira wine.

The woman poured the wine and handed it to them, and they sat enjoying their peace talking about what improvements they might do to the grounds, Ann wanted to add something for Alfred – swings or alike and Anne suggested they might make an obstacle course for him close to the chaumiére.
“I do think, pony that we can postpone that. He cannot even walk yet let alone climb a tree.” Ann laughed at her wife’s big plans and Anne pouted,
“He is crawling, it’ll be no time before he…”
“Professor?”
Both women turned their heads to the source of the call and Anne’s eyebrows raised as she eyed the group of women before her,
“Miss Reed, Miss McClean and your friends I presume? Good evening.”
“We just saw you and thought we’d say hi.” Miss Reed explained and Anne gave a nod,
“How kind.”
Ann gave her wife a stern look, nudging her with her foot and Anne turned her face to her trying to discern why she was displeased and realising that Ann thought her curt and uncivil, she turned back to the heap of people, who were all eying Ann with some wonder,
“Ah, so, this is my wife, Ann Lister. She works in the art department at campus.”
“Lovely to meet you!” Miss McClean smiled and was seconded by the rest of them,
“It was so sweet when Professor Lister brought your son with her.”
“Yeah, all though this guy was acting up, but I think we all learnt a good lesson that day on patriarchy and its lasting effects.” Miss Reed smiled and Ann listened intently, though she was side glancing her wife with a teasing look.
“I have no doubts this one put him in place. She can be quite fierce and intimidating when she wants though I know of course that she’s the softest sweetheart around.”
“Ann!” Anne glared at her wife, neck turning slightly pink as her students and their friends chuckled with her wife,
“Sorry, dearest, I didn’t mean to ruin your reputation.” Ann told her, caressing her cheek fondly much to the liking of the young women who all sighed happily, and Anne was growing increasingly more uncomfortable knowing her wife was going to push her boundaries for a laugh and also with the knowledge that these… well at least two of them were a little bit in love with her. Thankfully, just then the waitress came over to tell them that their table was ready, and they bid them a good night. But just as they were heading towards their table and the young women were disappearing off, they heard one of them say,
“Bloody hell, I could’ve had a chance if she hadn’t been married – her wife can’t be more than thirty!” 
Ann bit her lip to keep from laughing too loudly, leaning onto her wife’s arm as they were led to their table.
“Did you hear, pony? – No more than thirty!”
“You’re thirty-one, love – turning thirty-two. It’s not the greatest compliment.” Anne rolled her eyes at her as they sat down and Ann kicked her foot under the table lightly,
“Shush you! I’ll take it – I don’t get that many nowadays.”
“I compliment you!” Anne huffed offended, “All the time – and you reply, ‘Thank you, dearest – but I hardly think that’s true’.”
“I meant from other people.” Ann said only to taunt her wife a little and Anne became a little flustered,
“Why would you need other people to compliment you?”
“To remind you of what an absolute treasure I am.” Ann winked, and Anne sighed – laughing,
“You are such a tease! And come to think of it – other people should give you compliments because, well look at you – your mind is beautiful. You are so good, so kind-hearted…”
“Ma’am, I’m sorry but I just wanted to give you your menus.” The Waitress said tersely though trying to look overly polite and Anne sat back and accepted the menu as Ann did hers and she left.
“How long had she been standing there?” Ann wondered, laughter tickling her as she eyed her wife from over her menu and Anne smiled,
“I don’t think she left.”

The dinner as well as a late stroll through the streets of York, passing the church where they had got married two years prior had served as the perfect tonic to set their mood for when they finally arrived back to their room. They had barely closed the door when Anne pressed Ann up against the same, pressing her lips desperately to hers and Ann’s hands flew up to run through Anne’s long dark strands – savouring their kisses. Their tongues met in a dance they knew all too well but still gave them just as much excitement and thrill. Hands began to wander and fumble with getting their clothes off as quick as possible. Anne moved them to the bed, pushing Ann down gently on it, capturing her lips with hers again – relishing in the soft moans that escaped her wife. She trailed her kisses down her throat, and neck – well excited when Ann’s hands stopped her,
“Wait!”
“What?!” Anne was confused why Ann had stopped her – drunk on passion and excitement but nevertheless stopped – obviously. Ann sat up, and Anne seated herself next to her,
“I need to pump.”
“Huh?” Anne’s eyebrows furrowed and Ann glanced at her – cheeks pink, be it from embarrassment or the alcohol they had been drinking.
“I need to pump – my breasts hurt and they’re beginning to leak. I’m sorry.”
“No… no – don’t be. Of course.” Anne reassured her wife, though she was a little stumped, but they could just resume their activities once she was done all though it might not be quite as desperate and passionate – which was fine, just a little disappointing. But nature has no law. Ann sat down in the chair, and when the sound of the pump echoed through the room, they could do naught but look at each other and laugh,
“I feel like a cow.”
“Well at least you don’t look like one.” Anne smirked and Ann rolled her eyes,
“This is off-putting, isn’t it?”
“No?” Anne seemed bewildered, “I mean I don’t get all excited from it, but I still want to have sex with you once you’re done.”
“Mm.” Ann mumbled, still feeling as though she might have ruined the mood with the interlude. Once she was finished though she took the bottle with the content and poured it out in the sink and Anne looked at her astonished, her eyes widening,
“Why are you wasting that!?” 
“This might be infused with alcohol and I’m not going to give my child his first drink.” Ann told her, shaking the bottle to assure its emptiness before washing it through with water.

As soon as she had finished, she came back to bed, and Anne ran the back of her hand against her cheek and down alongside her body,
“You’re gorgeous.” Anne mumbled, pressing a light kiss against her pink ones and Ann smiled, about to compliment her wife in return when she felt herself being gently pushed down on bed, Anne’s hands on both sides of her head, lowering herself down over her to kiss her hard.
“Lord, Anne.”  Ann moaned, running her hands through Anne’s long dark mane and Anne grinned against her lips, running her tongue along her bottom one before teasing her way inside to run it along her palette. Ann’s hands grabbed her shoulders to get her nearer, responding to her kisses hungrily – both of them working up quite the heat. Anne ran her fingers over Ann’s soft – warm skin and traced them alongside her inner-thighs before finding that pleasant wet warmth she longed to feel.
“Anne.”  Ann moaned against her mouth, making Anne grin wide, biting her lip teasingly, continuing to glide her fingers from her entrance up to her bundle of nerves where she slowly worked her middle- and ring finger in wide circles, softly touching and handling her – exciting her the more.
“Pony.”  Ann begged her writhing and Anne kissed her sweetly, teasing her and Ann bucked her hips to get Anne’s hand to work faster.
“What’s the matter, Adney?” Anne rasped in her ear and Ann glared at her exasperated, her passion high,
“Press it harder.” Ann mumbled, pulling Anne closer her by her shoulders, and Anne lay closer to her, their breasts pressed against each other and she succumbed and increased the pressure by making smaller circles. When her wife was nearing her ‘kiss’ Anne switched and moved her fingers back and forth instead and Ann whimpered loudly,
“Anne, I need… you! Please!”
“I’m not quite done with you yet.”  Anne smirked at her, pecking her pouting lips before sliding her body down, across Ann’s body having her in stitches by her mere breath to her queer.
“Oh Anne! Fuck.”  Ann gasped as Anne bent her head down making a broad lick through her folds, grinning all the while as her wife writhed with pleasure. Anne used her fingers to open her up more for her, changing the shape of her tongue to better the sensations and Ann had to bite down on her fist not to let too loud sounds escape her. She was evidently much excited, Anne was pleased to find, and it weren’t long before Ann shook and closed her first kiss. Anne kept on going throughout it though slowly, to let her enjoy the kiss for as long as possible and when Ann’s legs stilled, Anne sneaked up across her body to give her a good snog. Ann held her face between her hands, panting heavily though she smiled like an idiot as she kissed her wife sore – and her wife looked pretty pleased with herself, just like the cat who got its cream.

“Was it worth the wait?”  Anne teased, caressing her wife’s warm flushed cheeks,
“Mm.”  Ann gushed running her fingers from Anne’s cheeks through her hair, “But I believe you’ve waited long enough…”.
Anne let herself be turned on her back, for a change, as Ann climbed in-between her legs,
“Ann. What are you… ah.” Anne masked her gasp with her hand as Ann put her fingers to her, running them, a bit clumsily up to the top part of her queer, deliberately moving slow.
“Adney….” Anne grumbled trying to get her to move faster,
“Didn’t you like it slow, pony?” Ann smirked amused kissing her wife deliciously as Anne growled at her, lifting her hips to meet the palm of Ann’s hand, urging her again to which Ann relented – too weak not to give her wife what she wanted.
Ann teased and rubbed her whilst kissing her, tongue and all until Anne tensed up and sealed her kiss – falling back against the pillows, Ann still atop her.
“I love you.”  Anne panted into her mouth and Ann kissed her fondly,
“I love you too, pony!”
They lay there panting for a little while before they proceeded to experience a little death and another few kisses before finally getting in under the covers for some well-earned sleep.
 
However, Ann couldn’t for the world fall asleep. Her heart was beating hard in her chest, and she felt some pressure over it – Anne had fallen asleep above an hour ago. The wind did rattle the windows something terrible and frightening shadows travelled over the floors. Ann was working herself up over thoughts about how Alfred was doing without her – he did fuss during the night sometimes and might he not feel abandoned by them? What if he thought his mummies had packed up and left him, never to return! Could babies think that? – Ann’s chest clenched with anxiety and eventually she shook Anne’s shoulder,
“Pony.”
Anne didn’t answer so Ann shook her with more vigour, staring at her wife’s chest but no it moved steadily – so why wouldn’t she wake? She was always so easily disturbed.
“Dearest?”  
“Anne!” Ann was beginning to panic, and Anne startled, eyes still closed though,
“Mm?” 
“I can’t sleep.”  
“Hm?”  Anne mumbled, raising her hand above her eyes to try and get them to open,
“I’m worried – what if Alfred’s missing us? What if he thinks we’ve left him? What if he won’t eat and he’s really hungry! Anne!” Ann nudged her and Anne patted the pillow,
“Come lie here, Ann. Everything’s fine – or they would’ve called us. It’s only natural to feel worried the first night away.”
Ann did as she was told and Anne snuggled into her, wrapping her arms around her, kissing her neck sweetly.
“It’s going to sound insane but I can almost hear him fuss – so I can’t sleep.”
“It’s just the wind and the rain.” Anne told her calmly, running her hand over Ann’s stomach and hip soothingly.
“Do they even know how to take care of a baby? – How could we leave him all alone! We should go back now…” Ann whimpered, and Anne held her tighter, kissing her by the ear,
“Sh sh sh sh, Ann, they might not be supernannies but they can take care of a baby, or they would’ve called – don’t work yourself up – he’s fine, love.”
“What if…” Ann wasn’t allowed to finish that sentence as Anne shushed her, running her hand over her arm,
“Adney, love – don’t worry. I’m right here, our phones have no missed calls – now let’s get some sleep whilst we can – I haven’t slept for nine months.” Anne kissed her again before nestling into her and slowly falling back asleep but Ann though she did try couldn’t fall asleep, despite being calmed by Anne’s words – because she still worried about her beating heart and her flushed cheeks.
When another thirty minutes or so had passed without it disappearing, Ann turned in Anne’s embrace, anxiety eating away at her,
“Anne.”
No reply.
“Dearest?”
“What? Mm I’m awake.”  Anne startled but then relaxed with Ann in her arms again, 
“I still can’t fall asleep.” 
“What’s the matter? Is it about Alfred?” Anne yawned as she spoke, too tired to function properly – tracing lazy patterns across Ann’s arm and abdomen,
“My heart hasn’t stopped beating hard since… we, and I feel so weirdly flushed and the sounds from outside…” Ann were close to tears and Anne kissed her cheek,
“Mm. It’s perfectly natural – sometimes it takes a while for your pulse to go back to normal again.”
“But it feels weird.”
“Yes, but it isn’t dangerous.” Anne assured her and Ann chewed her lip nervously,
“You sure?”
“Positive. It’s happened to me too. And I’m perfectly well and alive.” Anne mumbled into her neck and Ann turned around in her embrace, 
“D…”
Anne was already fast asleep again, resting against Ann and Ann shut her mouth and eyes, trying her hardest to focus on her wife’s calm breathing and sounds. But when the time neared four, she couldn’t help but wake her up again and Anne groaned a little,
“Ann, for the… can’t you just let me sleep, when for once Alfred isn’t keeping us up!”
“Well, I figured if I can’t sleep then you can’t either.”
Ann kissed her softly and Anne sighed into her lips, raising her hand to run it lazily over Ann’s cheek, raising her lips to press them against her nose, trying to reel her irritation in,
“Why can’t you sleep?”
“I just can’t.” Ann shrugged her shoulders, “I guess my mind is in a whirlwind. It feels odd not to have Alfred around.”
“Mm…” Anne was trying her hardest to keep her dark eyes open – but it was difficult, she was so tired – months of restless and sleepless nights had worn her down – she ran her nails over Ann’s naked back as the blonde sat up next to her, hoping to bring her comfort somehow.
“About what? Alfred?”
“Everything and nothing. I’m just… are you tired of me?”
“I’m tired love… but I’m not fed up with you.” Anne murmured, still running her nails up and down her back and Ann shivered pleasurably from it, closing her eyes for a second – it was rather nice.
“I thought… and then the wind is so loud and the rain – I just can’t seem to find any rest.” Ann mumbled starting to feel rather guilty for waking her wife up – three times no less. Especially when they had gone away for the night partially to be able to sleep.
“Mm. Sometimes it helps to just talk about what fills the mind – or write it down.” Anne told her gently, and Ann glanced down at her,
“I feel stupid, and uncaring for having left him – he’s only a babe and I… am I a terrible mother for leaving him?”
“Ann… you’re not stupid nor unfeeling or… you’re so much more intelligent than you give yourself credit for. I could never live with someone who was stupid. Mind you, Marian still lives with us, but she came with the house.” Anne told her and was earned a playful push from her wife who half-smirked,
“Marian is a saint for putting up with you! And us. She also helps, without her we would’ve been two walking zombies by now.”
“Point is – you’re not a terrible mother, I’m not a terrible mother for leaving him for one night. We will be better parents to Alfred when we come home because we will be rested.”
Anne told her, and Ann gave in and nodded,
“I guess you’re right.”
“Of course, I am. I am always right.” Anne grinned and Ann rolled her eyes at her, raising her hand to her lips.  
“Mm – I think that’s up for debate.” Ann mumbled straddling Anne but only to lie down on top of her warm wife beginning to grow quite cold again from sitting up in the chilly room. Anne pulled the duvet over them both before wrapping her arms around her wife, feeling that if she wanted to, she might have some success but… Ann had nestled into the nape of her neck – placing lazy kisses there and her breathing had turned slower and heavier. Knowing her wife’s troubles with sleeping sometimes she didn’t want to rustle her awake to make love. They could do that once morning came before going back home.
“Ann?” Anne whispered but there was no answer but for a soft snore which almost made Anne laugh. She ran her hands over her wife’s back, kissing the top of her head, holding her to her feeling perfectly warm and toasty – though knowing full well that she would be sore in the morning and so would Ann – but it was worth it. Anne sighed content, closing her stinging eyes to let her dreams take her away again when a crystal-clear picture of her baby boy appeared before her inner-eye and she was overcome with anxieties and doubts – on the cusp of throwing Ann off her to be able to run to the car and drive back home to check if he was alright. Anne fumbled after her phone on the nightstand – no notifications at all – shouldn’t they’ve sent them a photo? Or at least a text saying he was doing fine? What had gone wrong? Did they try to hide something from them? Had they hurt him? Anne painted all kinds of horrifying pictures and guilt weighed her down – she shouldn’t have left him in the care of Tib and Anne.
They had a lie in the following morning, relishing in spending it in each other’s arms – well at least Ann did – Anne was tired, she hadn’t slept well after Ann had fallen asleep and she was still worried sick about Alfred once morning came though she wouldn’t let that on, worried she might upset her wife who might then become even more anxious.
Anne had with no difficulty persuaded Ann that they might have lunch when they got back and so they hurried through a late breakfast, neither one of them acknowledging to the other how desperate they were to get home. All though Ann might’ve guessed Anne’s worry – she had never seen her wife fumble so much – dropping everything from cups to cutlery. Which Ann normally would’ve found rather amusing but seeing as she was worried herself she didn’t laugh or taunt her with it… at the moment.
The car ride back to Halifax and to Shibden was rather quiet – they did try and keep up some normal conversation, but they were too distracted both of them to say anything intelligible or worthy of reply. Ann didn’t even remark on the fact that Anne was speeding quite a bit.
When they finally came home the car stopping might as well have been the firing of a gun on a racetrack – they threw themselves out of the car, not bothering to take their bags with them but sprinting over the courtyard to the house. Anne had to stop herself from literally kicking down the door as she struggled for a second to open the old front-door.

Anne and Ann stumbled in – the blonde was looking rather anxious as she tumbled into the drawing room, but Anne was looking worse as she literally fell into the room, looking up at them from the floor,
“Is he alive?!”
Tib rolled her eyes at her old friend, offering her a hand off the floor, which she for once took,
“Seriously, you have so little faith in us, Lister!”
“It all went perfectly well.” Anne B agreed, cooing a little to Alfred on her knee at the same time but he was fussing, reaching his hands out for his mummy – and Ann took him – showering his face with kisses,
“I’m never leaving you again – I missed you so much!”
“If everything went smoothly – then why is Maria here? – Hello.”  Anne turned to Maria who sat reading in the chair, and she looked up at her from over her glasses,
“I was just passing.” 
“Passing through Shibden on your usual evening walk?” Anne wondered amused, and Maria chuckled,
“Um, no, of course not! I was on my way to visit some family- thought I’d pop in – surprised to find none of you home but these two here.”
“Hmm…” Anne didn’t seem thoroughly convinced but Maria rolled her eyes at her,
“Do you for a second believe that these two would fuck things up so badly that they would call me in desperation and that I would drop everything to fly here privately to help?”
Anne’s expression softened as she laughed, walking over to her wife and son,
“No, that’s ridiculous!” She acknowledged, before kissing Alfred, and giving him a good cuddle, happy to be home again.
“Right, so I’m off.” Tib stood, taking her bag, giving Alfred a squeeze before patting Ann on the shoulder,
“Great breastmilk.”
“You tried my wife’s breastmilk?” Anne gaped and almost looked angry, and Anne shrugged a shoulder,
“We both did – it was excellent.”
Ann flushed, glancing at Maria who shrugged her shoulders, but Anne butted in first,
“Has everyone tried my wife’s breastmilk?! That’s like…”
“You think my breastmilk is gross?” Ann’s expression turned from embarrassment to that of annoyance and Anne’s eyebrows raised slightly, and her mouth opened as she thought carefully about what to say,
“Well, no? But when they drink it? – yes. Or I mean that they drank it, is gross – but the milk isn’t disgusting.”
“Nice save, Lister – good luck.” Tib grinned before taking her leave and Anne hurried with her – happy for the escape and the promised drink. Anne stared after them until they closed the door shut behind them and then she turned to Maria, pointing to the closed door,
“They fucked up that bad, huh?”
“Oh God – yes!” Maria made a gesture with her hands and Anne exhaled, running a hand through her hair,
“Well… at least I didn’t worry for nothing then.”
“Come here – mummy’s never leaving you again!” Ann took Alfred back from Anne, kissing him over the head, though he looked happy as anyone,
“Mummy.”
“Oh Lord.” Ann gasped, and her wife was just about to add that he probably didn’t really understand what he was saying but seeing her wife so happy, she refrained from it – merely smiling with her and praising their son who laughed gaily at the attention.
“If you ever need a babysitter… for the love of God – call me, I might just be available.” Maria told them as they fussed over their baby.
“Oh believe you me – we will!”