Disclaimer: Miranda Priestly and Andrea 'Andy' Sachs are the property of Twentieth Century Fox and Lauren Weisberger, and I am just borrowing them and taking them for a spin. No copyright infringement intended.
Pairing: Miranda/Andy (MirAndy)
Rating: A/U Alternate Universe. PG—NC-17 depending on chapter.
Summary: Miranda Priestly is a resistance leader in the Danish countryside during WW2 with Andrea Sachs as her aide-de-camp. Every new assignments means putting their lives on the line, but other events forcing them closer together on a personal level prove to be just as lethal - to their hearts.
By Gun Brooke
MirAndy A/U Fan Fiction
Clouds rolled in over the fields surrounding the town of Stavnsdal, rendering it a foreboding ambiance that made Andrea Sachs, who usually went by Andy, hold on harder to the handlebars of her bicycle. The cobble street made it dicey at best to navigate on a bike, but in poor lighting and, God forbid, if it rained, it was downright dangerous. She wanted to look over her shoulder, make sure she wasn't followed, but didn't dare to take her eyes off the street. Andy knew she was late, way too late, and curfew would begin within minutes. This meant the whole town going dark, no street lights, no lights shining out from the windows of the townhouses, and if she was caught with the bicycle light on, she could be arrested.
Then again, if she was late getting back to the department store, Miranda would string her up by her shoelaces and have her for dinner. Andy knew she was pushing it when she pedaled faster. She could see the department store at the center of the main street, and she figured if she just pressed a little harder, she could do it.
The car came out of nowhere. A German military jeep, naturally without its headlights, turned into the street just in front of Andy and she tried to brake, but drove her bicycle into its left back wheel. Everything happened so fast; one resounding thud and she went airborne, hovering above the pale German faces of the men occupying the backseat.
Andy hit the cobble street on the other side of the jeep and for a moment she blacked out. When she looked up, she expected pain to be overwhelming, but she couldn't feel a thing. Four men, all wearing uniform, gazed down at her.
"Fräulein," the highest ranking of them said. "Are you all right?" Andy wasn't sure, but he looked like he held the rank of a major, maybe captain. He looked friendly enough, but she knew better than to trust anyone belonging to the occupying forces. Many good-looking German young men had propositioned her, but so far she had always managed to avoid them. Concerned why she wasn't hurting from the impact with the jeep and the street, Andy carefully moved her legs. They seemed to be working.
"Am I hurt?" she asked the men. "I can't feel anything."
"Your scalp is bleeding, Fräulein." The high-ranking officer pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket. "Here, press this against the wound." He carefully lifted her up, and now the pain hit all at once.
"Oh!" Slumping back, Andy moaned.
"What's your name? Show us your papers and tell us where you live." the officer commanded. "We will drive you home."
"Home?" No, no. Andy thought fast. She couldn't let these men know that she lived alone, seemingly defenseless, in a cottage on the outskirts of the village. "My name is Andrea Sachs. I was going to my employer. Can you help me to Nordia department store? I would be so grateful. I can fish out my papers once we get there." She motioned toward the makeshift bandage.
"Yes, of course. Right up the street from here?" The officer placed Andy on the front passenger seat. He ordered the young man behind the wheel to go to Nordia.
Andy clung to the seat, pressing the handkerchief to her head with one hand. She was hurting all over, but nothing seemed to be broken. Relieved about that, she was still battling a cold, gutting fear that the soldiers would somehow subject her to a strip search or an interrogation. She refused to even think of what was hidden under the insole of her worn shoes.
The jeep pulled over outside the Nordia department store. As the last remnant of luxury, despite the curfew where its beautiful window displays were covered with large, black drapes, it rose five stories high in the center of Stavnsdal. The department store was located on the first four floors, and Miranda Priestly, its owner, resided on the top fifth floor. She was the daughter of Nordia's founder, Colin Priestly, who'd left London for Stavnsdal seventy-five years ago to marry the mayor's daughter. Now his only child counted almost as royalty, and she was admired and feared by most.
One of the lower ranking soldiers held up the door to the store as the officer helped Andy inside.
Squinting at the suddenly piercing bright light inside the store, Andy tried to look for Emily, the hostess that greeted the customers as they entered the first floor.
"Andy!" Sure enough, Emily's piercing voice grated on Andy's nerves and not to mention her brain, as the hostess approached, her heels clacking hard against the floor. "Ah, gentlemen, what can I do to—Andy, whatever happened to you?"
If Andy's head hadn't hurt so badly, she would've found Emily's tone of voice switch hilarious. "I fell. I mean I hit a car. No, I think the car hit me. I'm not sure." Staggering to the side, Andy tried to find something to sit on.
Emily rushed over to the counter and came back with a wooden stool. Andy's knees gave in and she sat down, holding on tight to the seat with her free hand.
Andy winced at the sound of the low, sonorous voice of her employer. Slowly turning her head, her hand shaking as she kept adding pressure on her scalp, Andy looked at Miranda Priestly with apprehension.
Tall, slender, but curvaceous, with her trademark silver-white hair styled in an elegant, austere twist, Miranda walked up to Andy. She was dressed in her usual dark grey skirt, and white cotton blouse, and now she cupped Andy's chin, gently tipped her head back. "What have you done to this girl?" she asked, her voice still low, but Andy could distinguish the underlying fury.
"It was an accident, Miranda," Andy said. "I didn't see them."
"The girl came speeding down the main street," the officer said. "She is right. It was an accident."
"Very well." Her cool blue eyes not leaving Andy's face, Miranda waved her hand dismissively toward the Germans. "I will deal with this. Auf wiedersehen."
"There is the small matter of filing a report why a young girl was speeding down the center of town at this hour—"
"I see." Miranda finally turned her attention to the officer. "Did she violate any laws?"
"No, not really, but—"
"Did she break curfew?"
"She had a minute or two to go—"
"Then I think we've settled that no reports are required, unless Ms. Sachs wants to press charges?" Miranda turned to Andy. "Andrea?"
"Eh, no. No, of course not. It was an accident." She felt herself begin to slide sideways. "I—I just need to wash up…"
"Very well." The German officer snapped to attention. "I'll leave you to tend to your employee. Guten abend."
"Good night." Emily politely escorted the Germans to the door.
"Andrea. How badly are you hurt?" Miranda supported Andy as she began to slide off the chair. "You probably have a concussion. We need to look at that head of yours. Silly girl, you were going too fast again, weren't you? How many times do I need to tell you to be safe?" The question was clearly rhetorical. "Emily, you close up the store and oversee the cash registers and the safe. I will take care of Andrea upstairs." She helped Andy to stand up. "Can you walk to the elevator, or should I have Roy carry you?" Roy was her driver and chef.
"I can walk." Standing up, the floor seemed unusually uneven and slanting, but Miranda wrapped a steady arm around Andy's waist. As much as her head pounded, Andy felt the touch to her core, and her breathing became labored. Grateful for the support, Andy walked with Miranda to the elevator that took them up to Miranda's floor. Half of the top floor was storage and Miranda's apartment made up the rest. Andy had only visited the hallway and the study, when she handed over the receipts and reports from the sales every day. Now Miranda led her to a door at the far end of the hallway that opened up to a bathroom. White tiles covered the walls and the floor was black and white in checkered pattern. Crisp white towels hung on the wall, helping to make the bathroom look entirely pristine. Andy sat down on the toilet seat with a moan.
"I'll just sit here and rest for a bit before I clean up—"
"And you make absolutely no sense. You need help. If I let you out of my sight, no doubt you're going to pass out and hit the other side of your head."
"Yes. Oh." Shaking her head, Miranda helped Andy take her coat off. She busied herself at one of the cabinets and then approached Andy with a washcloth that she just wrung out under the faucet. "Now let's see what mess you caused your poor head."
Andy didn't want to let go of the handkerchief. She had tried earlier and knew it was stuck to her hair in the most painful way. Now she slowly removed her hand and sure enough, the handkerchief didn't fall off.
Miranda's eyes narrowed, but she didn't look repulsed. Instead she carefully examined the wound, dabbing with the washcloth until she could remove the handkerchief. She tossed it in the sink. "Good news is that it stopped bleeding. Bad news is you're going to need stitches. I will call Dr. Andersen once I've cleaned you up and gotten you into bed."
What? "Bed? What do you mean?" Feeling dazed, Andy tried to focus on Miranda, but she stood so close it was impossible. Her scent, Chanel No 5, filled her senses and Andy dug her nails into her palms to keep from pressing her face into Miranda's neck. She wanted to greedily inhale the enticing perfume and press her lips to the beautiful skin above the modest neckline. This was crazy.
"For heaven's sake, Andrea, you can't stay in that dreary little cottage alone when you're most likely concussed. You need supervision." Miranda kept cleaning the wound, still sounding annoyed, but there was something else, something soft in her eyes and hard around her lips, that Andy found even more confusing. Probably the concussion talking, she surmised.
"Can you start unbuttoning while I go find you a nightgown and give the doctor a quick call?" Miranda didn't wait for a reply, but left the bathroom, her three inch heels clacking against the hardwood floor in the hallway.
Andy fumbled with the buttons of her cardigan, only now noticing that her arms ached a lot. Her right elbow was throbbing and when she pushed the cardigan all the way off, she saw how swollen it was. "Oh, damn." Andy sighed and unbuttoned her light-blue cotton blouse. She wore a white brassier underneath and she'd be damned if she was removing that in front of Miranda. Instead, she unzipped her skirt, but when she tried to stand up the whole bathroom began to spin and she quickly sat down again. Instead she pushed her shoes off. Moving her feet made her right hip begin to hurt even more.
"This will do— Andrea, your elbow!" Miranda rushed into the bathroom, carrying a dark blue nightgown over her arm. "You haven't broken the skin, but I'm glad I got ahold of Dr. Anderson. He is on his way."
"I don't like doctors," Andy muttered.
"Well, I don't really care. He's going to make sure you're all right."
"I just need to…to lie down. Really. I'm just a little dizzy…" The bathroom began to sway.
"Oh, no you don't." Miranda grabbed Andy and pressed her close to her, keeping her from sliding to the floor. "Stay with me now. Andrea, you hear me?"
"I hear, I hear. No need to shout," Andy slurred.
"I'm not taking any chances. We're getting you to the bedroom before you faint and break your lovely neck."
Had Miranda just said "lovely neck" or could concussions make you hallucinate? Andy had no idea and hope this wasn't true. She rather liked Miranda to think any part of her was lovely. Feeling Miranda tug at her arm, Andy blinked and tried to keep her balance. Miranda had to be stronger than she looked because she hauled Andy to her feet and more or less dragged her out of the bathroom and into the bedroom right across the hallway.
Andy looked at the room, and wondered how a guestroom could look so lived in. Reading glasses sat on the night stand, on top of a pile of books. Silk stockings hung from the back of a chair…this was Miranda's bedroom. Andy flinched and stumbled.
"Here, sit down before you fall over."
A thought of something important, no, crucial pierced Andy's foggy brain. "My shoes. You have to get my shoes."
"I'll get them. Now, sit down."
"No, you don't understand. My shoes. I have to have my shoes. Now."
"God almighty, you must really be concussed, girl." Shaking her head, Miranda left and quickly returned with Andy's discarded shoes and clothes. "There. Happy?"
"Give me the right shoe."
"Clearly not happy yet." Miranda handed over the shoe and watched, looking bemused, as Andy tore the insole out. Underneath it was a small parcel made of waxed paper. Her hand trembling now from pain and fatigue, Andy offered it to Miranda.
"I met up with Fredrik and Mette. They had the new code for tomorrow's broadcast."
"That's why you were…? But you go to the farm on Thursdays." Miranda took the parcel and then tucked it under her blouse into her bra. "Why didn't you let me know?"
"I saw Fredrik in the market, he was selling his vegetables, and he told me they'd gotten word via contacts in Sweden. They've changed their route and schedule again. I needed to act quickly. There wasn't time."
"I see." Miranda stood silent for a few moments. "Good job."
Andy's mouth fell open. Miranda's highest form of praise was normally something along the lines of "that wasn't too shabby," or "I'm not entirely displeased." For her to say "good job," was unheard of. At the age of fifty-one, the beautiful owner of Nordia department store was also the fearless leader of the underground resistance movement for their part of the Danish mainland. With the large city of Aalborg less than 40 kilometers away, it meant being in charge of several large cells. After almost eighteen months, Andy still found it mind-blowing that she was Miranda's aide-de-camp. Andy figured being a young woman who was very proficient with explosives, knew her way around firearms, and who was physically strong, was something of an asset in Miranda's opinion.
"Let me help you out of the skirt and into the nightgown. Dr. Andersen will be here any minute." Miranda didn't wait for Andy to acknowledge her words, but helped her to her feet and pushed down the skirt and the slip Andy wore underneath.
Andy sat down again, shivering. Miranda suddenly wrapped her arms around her, while looking over her shoulder. Andy could hardly breathe as more of the Chanel No 5 perfume wafted toward her. As Miranda straightened, she held Andy's bra in her hand. Her cheeks just a faint pink, Miranda reached for the nightgown, which was made of a thin, soft cotton fabric, and slipped it over Andy's head. "There. Can't let you get any colder. Now, your stockings. Oh my. They are in a bad way. Did you break the skin on your knees?"
"I—I don't know." It was true. Andy's head pounded with each beat of her heart and her elbow and hip as well. Had she damaged her knees, her body was probably so busy aching everywhere else, there wasn't enough room for any more ache to manifest itself.
Miranda rolled down her thick, and not very stylish, stockings. Who would go for style when it was still so cold despite them being half-way through April? Unless your name was Miranda Priestly and you could afford to use whatever your car ran on and go places in a warm vehicle. Andy had been on several stakeouts with Miranda, though, where the other woman had proved she was by no means only a pampered hothouse flower. Granted, after such events, she spent a whole day at the department store's own beauty salon, but still.
"Looks like you didn't skin your knees, at least. Good." Miranda threw the stockings into a wastepaper basket. "I don't want to see those ugly things on you ever again."
"They're warm…" Andy said, slurring, as Miranda helped her into the bed, covering her up with a sheet and blankets. The bed smelled of Miranda, and not only the Chanel, but of her, her own special scent. Andy rubbed her cheek against the pillow, feeling as if that somehow helped take the sting out of her scalp on the other side of her head. As tired as she was, she was still mindful of not messing up Miranda's expensive bed linen. Andy glanced up at Miranda. She was hovering above Andy, looking closely at her, a slight frown pulling her perfect eyebrows closer together. She looked concerned, and mystified. Andy wondered why, if it had anything to do with her.
The doorbell rang, startling them both.
"That'd be Dr. Andersen," Miranda said and left the room. She returned with a middle-aged balding man who placed a large black bag on the nightstand and gazed down at Andy.
"I see you've done quite some damage to your head, Ms. Sachs," he said brusquely. "Still, nothing we can't fix."
"Good. Stitch me up and get it over with. Please," Andy added as an afterthought. She really disliked having to deal with anyone remotely connected to the medical profession. As a child she had undergone several painful procedures, and now she made a point of staying away from doctors and nurses.
"Not so fast." Dr. Andersen examined her closely, and Andy had to concede that he was fast, thorough, and quite gentle. Still she was grateful that Miranda stayed in the room. She sat on the other side of the bed, not taking her eyes off Andy.
"Does she need stiches?" Miranda asked, as if Andy wasn't even in the room.
"Yes. As for numbing, all I can offer is ether—"
"No." Andy was suddenly completely alert. "I hate the stuff. Makes me throw up and I feel sick for days. "Just do it."
"You don't understand," Dr. Andersen said, drumming his fingers at the nightstand. "It is a matter of at least eight stitches. It will hurt."
"Andrea. Let him use the ether."
"No. I'll throw up all over your pretty bed and not just once. Last time they used ether on me, I threw up for three days and got a migraine that lasted just as long." Andy knew she was starting to hyperventilate, fearing they might force her. "Please, Miranda. Please." She scooted back against the pillows, feeling trapped. "Don't let him," she whispered.
"I don't have time for this kind of drama," Dr. Andersen said and began to pull out instruments.
Miranda moved closer to Andy and took her gently by the shoulders. "Andrea, listen to me. You don't have to. If you can handle the stitches without the ether, then that's what we'll do."
Dr. Andersen huffed, staring at the two women, clearly displeased. "This is not what I advise."
"Perhaps not, but that's the way it's going to be." Miranda's voice left no room for more objections. It was obvious who was in charge, and it wasn't the doctor.
Relieved, Andy placed herself on her side and let the doctor clean and prepare her scalp for the procedure. She was glad that she got to keep her back to him the whole time, facing toward the left side of the bed. Once the doctor announced he was ready to proceed, Miranda shocked Andy by climbing up on the queen size bed, taking both Andy's hands in hers.
"Just focus on me, on my voice, Andrea. If it gets unbearable, tell us, and the doctor will take a little break. Won't you, Doctor?"
"Sure." Dr. Anderson answered grumpily, but Andy trusted Miranda to make sure he did.
"Tell Andrea when you begin so she's prepared."
Andy loved how Miranda pronounced her name. Her English accent came through much more, making it sound so soft. Glancing over at the other pillow, where Miranda rested her head while overseeing the doctor's work, Miranda looked calm and collected as usual.
"You will feel the first stitch go in now," Dr. Andersen said, not sounding grumpy at all, but instead entirely concentrated.
The first stick wasn't so back, nor was the second. When the doctor tied the skin flaps firmly together and pulled, it hurt so much, tears were pouring from Andy's eyes down onto Miranda's pillow. Miranda magically produced a handkerchief, much like the German officer had, but this one was scented and entirely feminine. She silently wiped at Andy's tears. When the fifth stitch was in, Andy was finding it hard to breathe.
"Wait. Wait-wait-wait." She gasped for air. "I'll be all right. Just let me…breathe…"
"You're fine. He's almost done."
"Really? For sure?" Andy stared into Miranda's ice blue eyes, looking for something…something she couldn't even describe to herself. Miranda's flawless complexion, her pink lips added to the stunning beauty and still there was more. Indefinable and esoteric, Andy felt something pass between them and she was stunned when the pit of her stomach clenched as in fear and arousal at the same time. "Miranda…"
"You ready, Andrea?" Miranda placed a gentle hand on Andy's neck and slid it in under her hair.
Andy knew it was only because of Miranda's gentle touch and unwavering eyes that Andy managed to go through the tying of the knots another four times. Afterward she was exhausted. She barely registered when Dr. Andersen told Miranda what she needed to know about Andy's expected recovery. Soon the lamps in Miranda's room were turned off, all but one, and Andy saw she was dressed in a similar nightgown as the one she herself wore.
"I didn't mean to take over your bed like this. Surely you have a guest bed I can use, or a couch?" Andy tried to sit up, but Miranda firmly pushed her back against the soft, luxurious pillows.
"Dr. Andersen explained I need to make sure you don't take a turn for the worse tonight. I don't mind, but I won't spend the night in a chair. I fully intend to sleep in my bed as usual." Miranda folded back the bed sheet and the blankets and slipped in next to Andy.
This stole the last breath Andy had left in her lungs. Without makeup, Miranda looked different, but also softer and more approachable, which Andy knew was an optical illusion. Miranda had taken down her white hair and wore it in a braid down across her left shoulder. It reached almost to her breast— Andy stopped her thoughts right there. Absolutely no way would she graze the thought of Miranda Priestly's breasts. Not even once.
Still, having Miranda so close, and simply knowing she was there, was enough for Andy to relax and let sleep take over. She thought she felt a hand on her shoulder, and a voice whispering, "Just sleep, Andrea. I'll be right here if you need me," but it might just as well have been a dream.