Tickle Tantrum

A/N 1 This was written for the DWP Challenge Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in November 2009.

Prompt 11: Miranda/Andy. Tickling. Miranda Priestly has a hidden fetish that no one has ever known about, until her Andrea. Okay I realise I've taken a very broad view of 'fetish' but this is one of three ideas that suggested themselves from the prompt. And I do actually know someone who has the same problem I've given Miranda.

A/N 2 I've veered from the movie in the cardinal way of having Andy not leave Miranda or Runway in Paris. And Yes I realise I've used a very tired and overused prop to facilitate the action in this tale, but hey, that's why they're overused. Pfft.

A/N 3 I freely admit that a particular phrase that is used near the start of this fic is similar if not the same to phrases, and images in at least a dozen other fanfics, but they were not in my mind when I started writing this piece. And come on kidlets, the film is called The DEVIL Wears Prada, so it's hardly a surprising coincidence now is it?

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to whoever wrote or owns DWP, lucky sods. The characters etc. aren't mine but I'd sure as hell put in a bid if they ever came up for sale. No profit, yadda, yadda, if TPTB didn't know what to do with the characters they should have consulted the Rabid Lesbian Horde, yadda, jabber, rhubarb, I dare ya to sue me, I'd love the opportunity to read femmeslash smut out loud in court.. Pfffftt!

Part 1

Miranda Priestly had spent the previous two decades assiduously cultivating the demanding and intimidating persona that was the Editor in Chief of Runway magazine. She demanded perfection from herself and all those who worked for her, and never, ever, settled for less. This focused, single-minded dedication and complete intolerance for mistakes or shortcomings had justly earned her a number of less than flattering sobriquets, Ice Queen, Dragon Lady, and Demon Bitch from Hell among them.

However, in the two months since her return from Paris Fashion Week, and the advent of her third divorce, those who worked for her had decided that the she wasn't just a visitor from the underworld, nope, she was in fact, the Devil incarnate, and the Runway offices were the 9th circle of Hell itself.

She was now officially impossible to please, no matter how hard everyone worked to produce the perfect and the unachievable. Every single run through had had to be done at least twice and most of them three and even four times before she would send them off with a withering condemnation and the clear understanding that they had only succeeded because of the pressing matter of print deadlines.

Every day the Book was returned with its weight nearly doubled by the number of post-its with Miranda's scathing notations slashed across them. The font was never right, the colour combinations garish, the layout repetitive, the accessories excessive, the editorial puerile and the entire art department incompetent. Three layouts had been trashed completely and the entire theme of the May issue dismissed as trite, infantile and beneath inclusion even in Just Seventeen, never mind Runway. The fact that Miranda was the one who had conceived the idea in the first place was, of course, never even thought about, let alone mentioned by the hapless inhabitants of Inferno Central.

On the 5th floor of the Elias Clark building, Human Resources were considering mass suicide as they scrambled to replace the massive haemorrhage of personnel that had either been fired by Miranda directly, or who had quit of their own accord, seeking their redemption in the most expeditious way possible.

Unsurprisingly, considering they were the ones who spent the most time with Miranda, the sharpest edge of the editor's temper was continually being honed in her interactions with her assistants. The two young women were quite used to the mass of hectic errands, the landslide of lightening fast instructions, the miniscule clues to Miranda's every whim, the complete lack of any indication of appreciation and even the fairly regular slicing comments and dismissive gestures, all these were their daily bread.

But now, oh now it was a whole new arena, an arena much like the Coliseum of old, and Miranda was the lion to Emily and Andy's Christians. No stream of instructions, no command or demand was given now without a predictive scathing comment on the likelihood of their being carried out correctly coupled with a thorough history of every failure by each girl to date.

In addition to the unkind comments, Miranda had started speaking more and more quietly as her mood worsened through the days and weeks. At times she was so quiet it was only the visual clue of her lips moving that alerted them that she was in fact speaking, and both assistants were straining to accommodate this newest torture technique as best they could.

Andy's response was to ensure she was always as close to Miranda as possible in order to best catch her words, that and her ability to lip-read, a skill acquired when she was a Girl Scout, were standing her in good stead. She did sometimes wonder if getting close enough to someone just to hear how useless and incompetent she was supposed to be, was actually worth the effort. But then she would catch something in Miranda's look, a fleeting glimpse of pain, confusion or worst of all, a heart stopping defeat would ghost over the older woman's features. When she saw this, she was immediately back in that Paris hotel room, back with the fragile woman and not the adamantine icon. And remembering the lost look, the uncertainty and the red- rimmed eyes that were dammed against the onslaught of tears, she would dismiss her own hurt and concentrate on the request made of her back then, that what she could do for Miranda was, her job.

Emily on the other hand, was developing a very active tic in her left eye as she struggled to decide which was the lesser of two evils, trying to figure out what Miranda had said and getting it wrong, or asking Miranda to repeat herself and being killed on the spot. She had even dropped the use of her favourite mantra, because she realised only the Grand High Llama of masochists could claim to love her job as she was now experiencing it. She was getting progressively desperate for ways to cope with the situation. Nigel had even caught her Googling hearing aids while she waited for the Book one evening.

No doubt about it, things were bad, and there was no end in sight. It appeared that working for Miranda Priestly had permanently become the 'get out of purgatory free' card for anyone brave enough to stay with the magazine.