Title: Fighter (1/6)
Rating: I'm going with R. There's nothing too graphic but there is violence and slight sexual content, so I feel it's my duty to warn you of that.
Disclaimer: I own nada.
Summary: Andy is attacked one evening whilst delivering the Book and receives help from someone she never thought would care. This is set after Paris as though Andy didn't walk away and she is still Miranda's assistant.
A/N:This is the second ever Devil Wears Prada fic I've posted, and I really hope you guys like it as much as you liked the first one! I live in the UK so if there's any slight spelling differences from the US, that's probably why. The idea stemmed from certain tube experiences of my own, such as a few years ago when a man on the same London tube as me picked me up by the scruff of my neck and threw me down the carriage. And once on a Rome metro an old lady with a picture of a saint on her bag shouted profanities at myself and a friend in Italian. She apparently wasn't a fan of the length of my dress. ;)
For all her faults, mistakes and accidents; Andy Sachs thrived upon routine. Although said routine was regularly interrupted by her ability to say something stupid, fall over thin air or email the wrong person the wrong message; she was not a fan of spontaneity. She'd discovered over the years that being impulsive only served to increase the chance of her screwing something up, no matter what it was. However, since working at Runway to a certain extent she'd had to give up her need to know everything well in advance, mainly due to the fact that Miranda Priestly was anything but predictable regarding everything from when she wanted her coffee every morning to the scheduled meetings with Irv that she frequently chopped, changed and avoided.
At first, Andy had struggled to adapt to hurried decisions that were flipped on their head like a coin, and she had a permanent uneasy and panicky feeling in the pit of her stomach every damn time that Miranda rearranged something. In addition, Andy was sure it was half the reason that Nate had split up with her because her predictable nature had always been something that he'd found appealing. Once that had begun to disappear along with her commitment and devotion to their relationship, his love had also begun to diminish.
The break-up itself had only affected Andy to the extent that she missed the routine that Nate had unwittingly provided her with. He had been a constant in her life, and even when they had been arguing, it had eventually become the norm, and so it didn't really upset her in the way it should. In hindsight, that was a sure sign that they were never meant to be; no matter how much any one person thrived on routine it did not make for a loving, satisfying relationship. She didn't miss his kisses, his touch. She just missed the constant, steady presence of someone else in her life, and that was what she had found hard to accept and move on from.
Shaking her head free of all Nate-related thoughts, Andy hurried onto the subway train not paying attention to her surroundings. It was Friday, and she was on her way to deliver the Book to Miranda at the townhouse as usual, but she was feeling so tired that all she wanted was to fall into her bed which she had a serious craving for right now. Roy had been unable to pick her up as he had given a lift home to Miranda's nanny who had come down with the flu, and had gotten stuck in traffic on his way back to pick up Andy from Elias-Clark. Andy, exasperated and impatient, had told him to go home and she'd take the subway, knowing that if she didn't leave immediately she would be late delivering the Book. As it was, she was already cutting it fine. Although the Book was ready anytime up until ten thirty, if she was any later than ten forty-five p.m exactly Miranda would most likely have her hung, drawn and quartered as punishment. It was already gone twenty past and without a car to travel in Andy wasn't sure she had sufficient time.
Andy shivered, her blouse not being enough to keep her warm. She'd stupidly left her Calvin Klein coat back at the office, and by the time she'd realised she had already left the building. In too much of a rush to waste anymore time, Andy decided to grin and bear the cold; a decision which she was dearly regretting now. Crossing her fingers quite literally, she hoped as hard as she could that it would at least stay dry. Running in the rain without an umbrella was bad enough, but surviving it without anything but her flimsy Chanel blouse and skirt (which would no doubt get ruined) was Andy's version of hell in the way that cold coffee was to Miranda.
Although these past few weeks, Miranda has been more tolerant, Andy mused. She had no idea why but her boss wasn't sending her rushing around the streets of New York trying to achieve the impossible. Oh, there was still the odd manic trip here and there, but whereas they had previously been frequent and at least once a day, they now only occurred two or three times a week. On several occasions it had even looked as if Miranda was about to smile at Andy, but a second glance and the Editor once again wore a neutral expression on her face. At first Andy had debated the possibility that Miranda was taking things a little easier around the office, but no, she appeared to be her usual self, albeit a little more distracted than usual. Andy had just decided to enjoy it whilst it lasted and not get too hung up on what was going on in the world of Miranda; her job was to attend to all of Miranda's wants and needs, not psychoanalyse the woman.
Yawning, Andy stopped her daydreaming and sat back against a seat, counting that there were three stops until she had to switch trains onto another line. Even after all these months of using the subway, Andy still found herself checking the maps plastered on the train wall to make sure she was heading in the right direction, though she now did so much more quickly than she had previously. She distracted herself by staring at the dark walls outside as the train whizzed past, and counted down silently each time the train took off again.
She rushed off the train, moving fast to try and stay warm. It was only when she felt herself run into something solid that in her slightly winded state, she looked up to see a tall, well-dressed man in a navy suit towering over her. His shoes were also navy and he wore a plain violet shirt, but that was all Andy could really take in through her tiredness. He had his dark brown eyes fixed on her face as he leered over her, and Andy found herself thinking that he would have been good-looking were it not for the slightly crazed look in his eyes, and something about his expression that immediately made her feel on edge. His black wavy hair was slicked back with gel, and he was freshly shaven. He really looked quite presentable, but there was something about him that just didn't sit right with Andy.
"Watch where you're going there missy," he said gruffly.
"I'm sorry," she apologised. "I'm just in such a rush and didn't see you."
When the man continued to watch her, saying nothing, Andy began to feel a little freaked. What was with this guy? She'd apologised, hadn't she? Stepping to the side, she walked around him, and without looking back, made her way up the stairs and back down onto another platform where thankfully the subway train was already waiting. Throwing herself on she breathed a sigh of relief, grateful that she'd just made it and that it wasn't long until her journey was over. Maybe after she'd dropped the Book off she'd fork out for a taxi for a change; the traffic should have lessened by that point. She was too tired to eat dinner and so the money she saved from that could go on a quick ride home instead. Besides, she didn't want to come into contact with anymore freaks.
Glancing back, she was relieved to see that there was no sign of the man in the suit. He'd probably just been a little drunk, or maybe exhausted like her; he looked decent enough, after all. It was nothing to worry about; she was just being paranoid and ridiculous. If Miranda were here now (not that there was a chance in hell of her setting foot on public transport) she would no doubt roll her eyes at Andy's suspicion and tell her to compose herself.
Sighing, she was grateful when the train again took off, only two stops away from her final destination now. She didn't think she'd ever looked forward to a weekend as much as she currently did at this moment in time when everything just seemed to be catching up on her. Never before had she so direly needed a break from the insane world of Runway coupled with Miranda's demanding nature.
Miranda. Miranda who she refused to allow herself to think about in anything other than a professional manner, for fear of revealing the inner-lesbian within. It wouldn't have been so bad had Miranda not been heterosexual and twice divorced with a couple of nightmare spawn, but unfortunately that was the reality she was faced with. Andy was sure that if she allowed herself to fantasise in private eventually such fantasies would enter the forefront of her mind when she was actually in Miranda's presence, and that was something that she could never allow to happen. Ever.
She could just picture it now were she ever to look at Miranda in anything even resembling an inappropriate manner. She doubted Miranda would waste any time in telling her to leave immediately, and by the end of the day she would inevitably have been blacklisted by every last Publishing House, big or small, in the entire state of New York. Miranda wouldn't hesitate to destroy all of Andy's dreams without a second thought, because what did it matter to her if Andy's life as she knew it was destroyed? More to the point, for Andy the idea that Miranda would do something so cruel was something she couldn't handle. It hurt badly enough to know that she would never be able to have Miranda as her significant other, but if the silver haired woman ever deigned to take away her desires of becoming a successful journalist... well that was something Andy could never risk happening. It was better to love secretly from afar, because at least then Miranda could only ridicule her for the mistakes she made in her professional life.
Eventually, Andy shook herself from her thoughts as the train came to a stop. She practically threw herself onto the platform, nearly dropping the Book in the process. Cursing, she took careful, slightly slower steps in her Valentinos, trying not to have any stupid accidents that would cause her to destroy the Book and end up fired. She had an inkling that should anything happen to the pride and joy of Runway then Miranda would personally see to it that she spent the rest of her life anywhere except the entire state of New York, as opposed to just the world of publishing itself.
"Need a hand there, sweetcheeks?" A scratchy, slightly familiar voice said from seemingly nowhere. "Your pretty little ass seems in a bit of a hurry."
Spinning around, Andy took a sharp intake of breath as she saw the man in the suit from earlier. He looked even scarier than he had during their first encounter. Trying to remain calm, Andy said in as firm a voice as she could muster, "No. No thank you. I'll be just fine." She turned back around and began taking greater strides, preparing herself to run quicker than she had ever run for Starbucks coffee.
When she heard the rapid footsteps behind her, her heart slammed into her chest as she force herself to go even faster, no easy task considering the four inch heels she was wearing. She had gone from feeling slightly creeped out and by now had hit fully fledged terror as she tried to get away from her stalker.
Eventually, after what felt like hours but couldn't have been more than a few seconds, she reached the steps leading out of the subway, and her eyes glanced around wildly, looking for someone, anyone to help her.
She was halfway up the steps when she felt the freak's hand grasp her from behind. It was hot and sweaty against her icy skin, and the feel of him repulsed her. She attempted to wrench away with no luck, and in frustration she screamed, "Get off! Don't touch me!"
He had a firm hold of her, but still Andy struggled. "Hmm. You're so sexy, do you know that?" He pressed himself against her from behind. "And you smell so good."
Trying not to gag, Andy whimpered. "Please. Don't."
He ignored her. "You're mine now, and I'm going to have you." He dragged a hand up, underneath her shirt and across her breasts, making Andy want to vomit. He groped her for what felt like forever, pinching and twisting her nipples, and then breathing hard, he pulled his hand out and placed it over her mouth instead. Andy thought she might have been screaming, because why else would he have done that? She wasn't sure. All she knew was that she had never been so terrified in her whole life.
Taking the opportunity, Andy bit down. Hard. It didn't break the skin, but it did cause him to cry out. "Ahh!"
"Get off!" She yelled in retaliation, even louder than previously.
He smashed his elbow into her cheek and nose in an attempt to quieten her. "Shh, shh," he told her. Andy saw stars. She barely had time to focus her vision when she felt a further two blows smash against her torso, before he clasped a hand over her mouth again. "Don't fight it, sweetheart."
She honestly wanted nothing more than to fight it but she froze, suddenly unable to move from the pure terror that she felt inside. She considered her options, but she was seriously limited by the fact that she was nowhere near as strong or powerful as the man clutching her. Her vision was swiftly clouding over and she felt her consciousness slipping away. If I pass out, I'm dead, she thought. I'll never escape from him.
It was then she realised that throughout this entire nightmare she'd still had the Book clasped in her hands, and Miranda's face flashed before her eyes. Miranda. She might never get to see her again. This thought above all sent a sear of adrenaline rushing through her veins, and without pausing to consider her actions, she dropped the Book in front of herself and threw herself back into her captor, sending them both flying down the stairs. She felt her knees bang against concrete on the way down, scraping, but her head was protected for the most part by the madman's torso, cushioning her blow when they finally landed at the foot of the staircase.
Sucking in a huge breath, Andy launched herself into the air, crying out at the pain that sliced through her knees. Ignoring it she turned, seeing immediately that the man was moving, groaning. Wondering if she'd hurt him badly, she staggered backwards, screaming out as she felt his hand close around one of her ankles (Left? Right? She couldn't even work it out) and without hesitation, she lifted her other foot and thrust her heel down into his groin.
He cried out, immediately letting go of her ankle and clutching the surrounding area of where she had injured him. Free from his touch at last, Andy ignored the fact that her entire body was throbbing and sped towards the street above, still wearing her heels in case he decided to come after her and she needed to once again kick out at him. She had enough presence of mind to grab the Book on her way up, and the moment she reached the open air of the street above she gulped in a fresh breath of oxygen, once, twice, and then took off again running as fast as she could away from the station.
Although she was going in the direction of the townhouse, she didn't want to lead the madman towards Miranda's home, and so she periodically checked behind, to the sides, everywhere around her to make sure that he wasn't following. She decided that once she reached the avenue on which Miranda lived, she would pause for breath and see if he reappeared, because under no circumstances was she going to lead him anywhere near to the Priestly family. No way in hell. She would die before she ever put Miranda or her girls in that sort of danger.
After a while it felt like she'd been running for hours, but realistically could not have been more than a few minutes. Her knees were starting to burn as though they were enveloped in flames, and she had developed a limp, for one was worse than the other as far as pain was concerned. She gasped for breath as she reached the familiar row of houses, and she slowed, realising that had she been followed, this was the madman's ample opportunity to come out of the shadows and take her.
She decided that she'd give him until sixty in her head, and then if there was still no sign of him she would go to Miranda's, drop the Book off and then hide behind Miranda's wall, waiting for a taxi to pick her up. The moment she got home she would call the police and seek medical assistance if she needed it, but she would not bring the emergency services to Miranda's road and cause a huge fuss when one didn't need to be caused. Besides, she didn't want to spend a moment outside than was absolutely necessary; the longer she waited in the vicinity of the madman, the greater the chance that he would hunt her down.
"Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three," she muttered, her eyes still darting around, waiting for a further attack. No longer cold, the adrenaline pumped through her veins, driving her vigilance and energy. She was poised ready to defend herself, back to the wall, looking up and down the street in all directions. She wiped her nose and saw blood on her trembling hand. He'd hit her? She didn't really remember that, or what exactly had just transpired. It was all so fuzzy and confusing, and her vision blurred as she tried to stay calm and not cry, not breakdown. She had to be brave now. Stay strong.
"Forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty..." she continued to chant, getting more nervous now that she was nearing a minute. It would be just her luck that with a tenth of a second left the madman popped back out and grabbed her like something out of a seriously bad teenage horror movie. Then she would give a predictable scream, he would finish her off painfully, and that would be that. Done. Over.
"Fifty-nine, sixty," she uttered, hardly believing she had made it. She waited for a tenth of a second more, wondering when the finale was going to begin. Except it didn't. She was alone, less than a hundred metres from Miranda's house, and she had escaped.
Dizzily, she walked up the pathway to the familiar townhouse, and quietly as possible opened the door. The warmth of the home immediately hit her as she stepped through the doorway, and she hastened to shut the door behind her, preventing more than just the cold from gaining entry to the hallway. He would not come in here, not near Miranda. She'd throw herself back onto the street and run in the direction of the subway station if his hideous face appeared; under no circumstances would she scream and attract Miranda's attention thereby putting her in danger. She cared too much for the older woman to ever allow that to happen. Miranda's safety was so paramount to her that despite it not being her house nor her decision to make, she drew across the chain lock on the door, followed by the two bolts. She may only be in the townhouse long enough to drop off the Book (she spared a brief moment to be thankful for there not being any dry cleaning this evening) and then on her way home, but it was best to keep it locked just in case. She'd take a couple of minutes to catch her breath, and then she'd leave as planned.
She wanted so badly to have a shower, to get the smell of him from her. The sensible and rational parts of her dictated that she had to wait until the police had told her it was ok; she didn't want to destroy any possible evidence. It wouldn't be that long really, as soon as she'd called them she was sure they'd take the evidence before doing anything else, and then she would be able to wash away any mere fibres that the freak had left behind, tainting her.
Swaying, she made her way over to the table that the Book was always placed on, and set it down carefully. Glancing over it, she panicked as she saw that there was a small stain of blood on the front, and the corners were slightly battered. There was nothing she could do to straighten out the corners, but she'd have to try and get rid of the blood. Frantically, she began to rub at it, trying to make it disappear.
"No, no, no..." she hissed as it refused to budge, terrified at what Miranda's reaction was going to be. She was so unemployed if she couldn't make this vanish. What could she do? She couldn't focus her thoughts, the pain that was coursing through her body making it impossible to think clearly. God, the horrible, shooting pain. "Fuck. Fuck!" She moaned in agony.
Just when she was beginning to think that things couldn't possibly get any worse, she heard the voice that she knew so well. "Andrea? Do you care to give me a reason as to why you are using such eloquent language?" Miranda asked sarcastically, appearing from the study.
"I'm sorry, Miranda," Andy managed to croak out, avoiding eye contact and allowing her hair to fall around her face to hide the state of it. She couldn't deal with this now. She'd just have to leave and hope that in the dim lights Miranda didn't notice the damage she had done to the Book. Like hell that would happen, she thought. She notices everything. "I'll just get out of your way and leave." She still refused to look over at the Editor knowing that one glance and she would be torn between crying and running. Or maybe she would be hit with an overwhelming urge to hug the Editor, and when she uncontrollably acted on her feelings Miranda would slap her, causing her pain beyond what she had already experienced this evening. All she knew for certain was that she absolutely, one hundred percent could not look at Miranda. Carefully turning the other way, she began walking back towards the front door. Miranda would think she was rude and punish her in the morning, but she would deal with that then. She doubted Miranda would go so far as to fire her. She hoped. But what other choice did she have?
"Wait," Miranda said firmly from behind her. It was the tone of voice that blatantly stated do-not-fuck-with-me-or-you-shall-suffer.
Andy stopped, stared ahead. She stood resolutely still and in as normal a voice as she could muster, she replied, "Yes, Miranda?"
"Turn around," Miranda commanded.
No. No, she couldn't do that. She couldn't. "I'm sorry, Miranda, but I really have to go," Andy said, trying to sound regretful as she began walking towards the door again. Only a few steps and she would be in danger, but also free of interrogation from the silver haired Editor.
"Andrea!" Miranda almost exclaimed her name this time, the closest she'd ever come to raising her voice in Andy's presence. It emphasised her very individual pronunciation of Andy's full name even further, and caused a pang of regret within Andy's heart at the emotions she was drawing out of Miranda. At the memories of the first time she'd walked away, that time she would not allow herself to think about. "Do not even think of disobeying me."
Ignoring her, Andy raised a trembling hand and removed the chain lock from the door. She hoped Miranda didn't comment on the fact that they had been drawn. What would she say to justify it? Sorry Miranda, a crazy guy attacked me. Miranda would probably only roll her eyes, deliver her infamous line, That's all, and tell Andy to wait outside whilst she called an ambulance to have her carted off to a crazy ward.
Andy's eyes were watering by this point, and she bit back a sob knowing that she couldn't control her emotions for much longer. All she had to do was pull back the two bolts and she would be free to leave. "I'm sorry, but I have to," she offered by way of an apology. She wasn't sure if she should keep speaking, but then it was unforgivably and inexcusably rude to leave without saying goodbye, wasn't it? Her voice breaking with emotion, she forced out, "I'll see you tomorrow."
Except now Miranda and her heels were clicking over towards her, and who the fuck wore heels in the comfort of their own home anyway? This wasn't going as planned, this was all one big, stupid mess and now Andy had no idea what to do. The pain was still blazing through her, her legs were wobbling and she felt as though she would pass out if she didn't sit down pretty damn soon. What should she do? She didn't have it in her to run, and besides, she wasn't thinking as quickly as usual and Miranda was going to be next to her in no time at all, and then she would see the stain on the book and the state of Andy and...
"Andrea," Miranda spoke softly this time, a contrast to all previous tones that she'd thrown at Andy this evening. "Look at me."
Andy looked steadfastly ahead, refusing to acknowledge Miranda's words. She tried to stop her teeth from chattering, her body from shivering. She was going hot and cold, back and forth. The constant changes in temperature made her want to scream out loud and never stop.
"Please," Miranda said, still just as gently as she had previously spoken. She waited a few moments, seemingly giving Andy the opportunity to change her mind. Apparently she was just as impatient as ever because within ten seconds she had given up seeing if Andy was going to act of her own accord, and she carefully placed a hand on Andy's arm, turning Andy around herself. It was the first time Andy had ever been touched by the Editor, and her heart felt as though it were ripping in two at the thought that it was probably never going to happen again.
There was no energy left in Andy to fight, and so she allowed Miranda to do as she pleased, all the while knowing that this was going to break what was left of her into a million little pieces. She caught a flash of silver hair as she hazily attempted to look anywhere but Miranda and inhaled the scent of Chanel No. 5 which made her struggle to keep her breath steady. Her final undoing was the moment that her own chocolate brown eyes settled on Miranda's lightening blue orbs, and she let out an uncontrollable sob, no longer able to stop the tears from cascading rapidly down her cheeks.
"What is wrong?" Miranda asked, an unfamiliar emotion in her voice. Had Andy been anyone else she might have considered it to be worry. But she had to be misreading the situation; didn't she?
"N... nothing," she sobbed. "I'm fi...fine."
"You're not fine," Miranda countered, a hand still resting on Andy's arm. Fleetingly, Andy wondered if she was the first assistant Miranda had ever touched. And then she was brought back to the present by Miranda speaking again. "Your face. What happened to your face?"
Andy opened her mouth to say that she'd walked into a wall, or that she fell down the stairs (half true), or that she had been running in heels and tumbled down. She tried desperately to lie, but no words would form in her mouth, and her vision clouded over entirely. Knowing that she was powerless to stop the inevitable she allowed the last bit of energy to leave her legs, giving way to the exhaustion that had enslaved her body. It would hurt when she hit the varnished wooden floor, but at least then she'd probably just pass out completely. If she was lucky enough then Miranda might even call an ambulance, and they'd give her wonderful drugs so that it didn't hurt anymore. The sirens as they hurried to get her may even scare away the madman if he was still out there searching, and she'd be safe once again.