The Cerulean Dragon
Author's Notes: This is in response to mxrolkr's wonderful prompt found on her LiveJournal page. Thanks!
Author's Notes: This story is a crossover between Harry Potter and The Devil Wears Prada. It begins in April of 2014—fifteen years after my story, The Rising Phoenix, which is a HP Minerva/Hermione story…yes, this is a sequel with a kick. This story begins about seven and a half years after the movie version of The Devil Wears Prada. To combine the timelines and make it a bit realistic (in an AU, this-is-really-impossible-but-I'm-gonna-try-it kind of way) Andy has not been friends with Lily for sixteen years by 2006. Nor did she or her family live in Ohio.
Pairings: HP Minerva/Hermione, DWP Miranda/Andy
Betas are awesome! Please spare a moment or three to give silent thanks and praise to some wonderful individuals—shesgottaread, quiethearted, and peetsden for their support and kind words while I pulled out my hair over little details that you probably won't see but I needed to figure out in order to write the story. I also got great input from those in my writing chatroom, including akasarahsmom (GinStan), ariestess and Ryoshu—thanks!
Disclaimers: I'm still a lawyer and a piss-ant (and I am also called many other "nicknames" given to me over time in bouts of affection, joy, grief, and aggravation, but I won't share them here). Suffice it to say, I am merely offering this story for its entertainment value, and it's protected by the fair use doctrine. I am receiving no profit, but hopefully I will receive kind words for my efforts.
Oh yeah—I do not own Harry Potter, any of the characters associated with the books, movies, audiotapes, video games, theme park, knick-knacks, assorted sundry, or wands (except for the one I made in my backyard with a dead branch—it still doesn't work). Nor do I own The Devil Wears Prada or any of its characters as portrayed by the book or movie.
Runway office, NYC Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Miranda ran one of the arms of her eyeglasses over her lower lip slowly, her eyes trained on the photographs before her, although she didn't really see them. She was having trouble concentrating. Sighing, she closed her eyes for a long moment, allowing herself to acknowledge why as she breathed in deeply and exhaled loudly. Her thoughts kept wandering back to that woman who had so effortlessly changed her life so many years ago. Andrea.
Andrea, her former junior assistant and for a short while her first assistant, who had walked away from fashion, from Runway, from her over seven years ago. Every so often Miranda would see the brunette at some publishing function, and they would hold each other's gazes for a long moment before Miranda would nod slightly and turn away. Miranda had kept tabs on Andrea, watching her writing improve as her articles had quickly inched closer to the front page. It hadn't taken long for Andrea's writings to reach the front page and remain on it. She had become the star reporter for that little rag, the New York Mirror. And then, nothing.
No bylines, no articles, no Andrea Sachs. Nothing. Miranda had not been surprised to hear that the little newspaper had folded and laid off everyone, including Andrea. What surprised her was how Andrea's writing had not turned up anywhere else—not even online at some blog or eMagazine. It was disheartening. Unnerving. Concerning.
Miranda had placed some inquiries around town to determine where the younger woman had gone. Andrea's writings had received recognition, after all, so she should have ended up at some publication within New York. Yet, she could not track the journalist down. Five months had passed.
Five months ago she had disappeared—directly before Christmas—and no one had spoken to her since. Not Emily. Not Nigel. Not anyone from Runway or the Mirror or anywhere else. Or so it seemed.
Miranda knew. She had asked her employees—present and former—directly, no doubt shocking them. She had even gone so far as to try to contact Andrea's parents by using their contact information as listed on Andrea's original employment application. Wouldn't Andrea laugh if she knew that Miranda had kept that generic form for so many years? What Miranda had determined rather quickly was that Andrea's parents did not live in Ohio. Nor did any other relative of Andrea's. And no one—in Ohio or New York or anywhere else it seemed—had an address, or a phone number, or any way to contact Andrea.
Consequently, Miranda could not focus on the photographs in front of her. She could not focus on the upcoming summer issue. She could not focus on her two beautiful daughters' impending graduation from school, or the rising April temperatures, or her thoughts of retiring, or on anything, anything except Andrea's disappearance.
Although they never had shared a conversation after Andrea had left Miranda's employ, the younger woman had always held an elevated position in Miranda's heart…enough so that she had felt all was right with the world while she knew Andrea was well. Now she did not know how Andrea was. No one did. And she was worried. Extremely worried.
Hearing a rustle at the door, Miranda looked up to see Emily standing at the entrance, a file in her hand. Miranda waved her in and donned her glasses as she reached for the file.
"Miranda, these are the latest photographs from Testino. I indicated the ones I would like to use," Emily said.
Nodding, Miranda reviewed them with a practiced eye, allowing a small smile to inch over her visage as she approved each choice Emily had made. Looking up, Miranda nodded and held the file up. "Go ahead. I want to see the finished layout by Friday."
Emily smiled, a flush of happiness offsetting the brightness of her eyes. "Thank you."
When Emily did not turn to leave, Miranda raised an eyebrow. It was enough to prompt her former assistant.
"Miranda," she said hesitantly, "I received word today that Andy is in London. She bumped into Nigel, literally, while he was there meeting with that new designer, Marcos. They had lunch together. She is not planning to return to the States."
Fighting to maintain an even voice, Miranda said, "I see. Did she indicate why?"
"She is working for her aunt, evidently." Emily did not say anything more, and Miranda held back her frustration, barely.
"Contact information?" Miranda asked brusquely.
Emily wordlessly handed over a piece of paper with an address. When Miranda looked up, Emily clarified. "She does not have a phone, but that's the address where her correspondence goes, not where she is staying." She shrugged. "That's all he could get from her."
Staring at the address, Miranda said softly, "That's all." She heard Emily turn and added, "Thank you." She was surprised to hear Emily reply just as softly that she was welcome.
Miranda sat staring at the address. What is she doing in London? Turning to her laptop, Miranda typed the address into the search engine and clicked on the Google Earth website. She grimaced as the property zoomed in. The address was at a London Post Office. Of course.
At least she knew where Andrea was. In a very general sense, anyway. She wouldn't write to the woman, of course. She could never allow Andrea to know just how worried she had been. That just was not an option.
In a couple of months, Miranda would be in London, staying at her townhouse. Perhaps she would run into Andrea…
Absurd! What am I thinking? Run into her? As if London were some two-bit hick-town with a population of a hundred. Scoffing at her ridiculous thoughts, Miranda did not allow herself to hope. Instead, a heaviness took residence in her chest as she realized that she would probably never see Andrea again unless she revealed her interest in some substantial way.
She had wasted seven years, seven years of loaded glances and silent lips. And Miranda had so much to communicate. She always had believed Andrea would be around. Miranda had thought that she had time, time to accept her feelings, time for Andrea to make her way in the publishing world so that she could never feel as if she were capitalizing on Miranda's name or giving up her youth by spending time with Miranda. Scoffing at her ridiculous thoughts, Miranda frowned. As if Andrea would have returned her feelings. As if she would have wanted to spend time with her, get to know her. Miranda had lived on hope, though. And now Andrea was gone.
But she is safe. And she is well. Such knowledge would have to be enough. At least, she assumed Andrea was safe and well. For whatever reason Andrea had chosen to start again elsewhere, far away from New York, and Runway, and Miranda.
In London. She was in London. Or somewhere near there. Perhaps she could place some inquiries and see what turned up. After all, Miranda knew the area well. Smirking mirthlessly, Miranda allowed herself to devise a list of people she could contact. She had grown up in London, after all. She knew many government officials. And her family was well-known. In this instance, her family connections would serve her well.
She would confirm that Andrea was there and safe and well. And if she is not? Her mind whispered. If not, Miranda would find the woman, stare into those mesmerizing chocolate eyes, and find out why Andrea's welfare was so important to her.
Why she was so important to her. Perhaps it was past time for her to face such questions regarding the younger woman. Miranda had a feeling that soon the answers would reveal themselves, in all their naked, raw glory. Change was in the air, and Miranda had learned the hard way that to ignore the signals or to fight them would only usher in heartache and disappointment.
Why was Andrea's welfare so important to her? She may not be ready to answer that question just yet, but soon the answers would come, regardless. Soon.
Hogwarts School, Scotland Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Hermione set out the tea just as a knock sounded. "Come in," she called out, finishing her preparations. She smiled in welcome as their fairly new Charms instructor entered. "Hi, Andy," she greeted the brunette-haired, brown-eyed woman.
"Good evening, Hermione. How are you?" Andy replied as she leaned in for a hug.
"I'm good. How are you doing?" Hermione said as she took in the tired eyes and rueful grin. "Uh, oh. Let me guess. More dreams?"
Andy's sigh said it all, as did the way she plopped into a wing back chair gracelessly. "It's the oddest thing! I keep dreaming of flying high above the mountains, and I feel so free, so powerful—but I don't know—I don't feel like me. I feel bigger, more in tune with everything around me. And when I wake up, I feel like this immense being has been stuffed back into my little, itty-bitty body." Andy looked down and patted her stomach deprecatingly. "Or not so little."
"Pulleeasse! You are not fat by any means!" Hermione stated as she looked up to watch Minerva sweep into the room and deliver a smile and a kiss on Andy's cheek. "Minerva, tell her she is not fat."
Minerva's eyebrows rose steeply as she focused on Andy. "You, my dear niece, are not fat or overweight or even pudgy. Why would you think otherwise?"
Andy waved her hand dismissively. "It's just a hold-over from when I worked in the fashion industry. I felt overweight every day I worked there, and compared to everyone else, I was." Her eyes gained a far-away look. "But that was a long time ago."
"You are referring to Miranda Priestly, aren't you?" Hermione said with a smirk, having heard some of the stories over the years.
Andy nodded sheepishly.
"How are her daughters doing in your class?" Hermione asked as she sat down on the sofa and tucked her legs under her. She smiled her thanks when Minerva handed her a cup of steaming tea.
"They are doing a wonderful job. Surprisingly so. Obviously, they have matured over the years. Hogwarts has been good for them. They seem eager to learn, and they are not afraid to take risks. That can work either way, of course, but they come to class well-prepared." Andy drank some of her tea, her eyes focused on the roaring fire in front of them.
Hermione had taught them for several years, but knew next to nothing about them other than that they lived in New York City during the summer break and in London while on holiday. She had been quite surprised when, after Andy's first day of teaching, she had arrived at her and Minerva's private rooms looking spooked. Andy had asked Minerva point blank what she knew about the twins, but Minerva had gently but firmly rebuffed all inquiries. Hermione knew better than to ask, but her curiosity was piqued.
"Are you ever going to tell them that you know them?" Hermione asked.
Shaking her head, Andy said, "No. I'm sure they don't remember me. It was over seven years ago, and Miranda has employed countless assistants over the years. I didn't even work for Miranda long enough for them to notice, I'm sure. My claim to fame is delivering the Harry Potter manuscript." Andy smirked. "They must have been quite shocked to find out how accurate those books are to the wizarding world."
"They may remember you from that alone. That series was quite popular, as I recall," Hermione commented. She laughed. "Harry was not amused when he found out someone had written about his life. He said he sounded like a real cry baby in the first few books." Hermione's smile faltered. "Not that it was particularly complimentary to me, either."
"Don't take it so hard, Hermione. Those books were fairly accurate with your role in the war," Andy said.
"I disagree," Minerva interjected. Hermione looked at her wife, curious. She hadn't realized that Minerva had even read the books. "They do not do you justice, Hermione. They fail to scratch the surface of your intelligence, beauty, or courage. Nor do they reflect our connection—relegating it to just another professor-student relationship. We always had a special bond, even then."
Smiling broadly, Hermione just stopped herself from kissing Minerva. She would make up for it later, though. She planned on showing her wife just how much she loved her, how that love continued to deepen as they shared life together. "Thank you," Hermione said, her voice husky. Breaking their heated stare, Hermione returned her attention to Andy. "You shouldn't sell yourself short, Andy. You are very memorable," Hermione teased.
"Mm. Well, they have never indicated knowing me, and they have always treated me with the utmost respect. So, no, I don't believe they have recognized me, and I am not inclined to reveal our past dealings. What's the point?"
"You do realize that their mother will most likely be present for their graduation ceremony?" Minerva asked, her green eyes reflecting concern. Hermione and Minerva had shared several discussions on the nature of Andy and Miranda's relationship. Andy always seemed melancholy when discussing her former employer, and Minerva had speculated on several occasions that Andy harbored unresolved romantic feelings for the twins' mother.
Andy nodded. "Yes, but I am sure she will not remember me, just as her daughters do not. Plus, I am known as Professor McGonagall here, not Sachs as I was in the States. It will be fine," she muttered, looking toward the fire once more.
Hermione and Minerva shared a knowing look. Hermione didn't believe Andy for a minute. She was quite sure that Miranda would recognize her, and Andy needed to be ready for it.
"Would it be so bad if she did recognize you?" Minerva asked softly.
Andy's fearful gaze answered the question. "She won't," Andy maintained, her voice shaking.
Picking up on Andy's agitation, Hermione asked, "Are you all right, Andy?" Andy remained silent.
"Is there something you are not telling us, dear?" Minerva asked gently.
"I ran into Nigel yesterday. He's the art director at Runway. He mentioned that Miranda was looking for me," Andy admitted with a sigh. Hermione watched her burrow into the chair, arms crossed in front of her like a shield.
I knew it! "So there is the possibility that she might recognize you. You should be prepared for that," Hermione insisted, leaning forward to place a hand on Andy's arm. Andy stubbornly shook her head. Hermione sighed and squeezed the arm beneath her hand before letting go. "Just think about it, Andy."
After a few minutes of silence, Hermione said, "You know, the girls remind me of another set of twins I knew while attending Hogwarts: the Weasley twins. The Priestlys do everything together, they are bright, and they are constantly playing pranks."
Andy grinned crookedly. "At least I am no longer the focus of such pranks from the Priestly twins."
Hermione chuckled. "I am sure that is a relief. Do you know any of the Weasleys?"
"Only by name." Andy smiled. "Aunt Minerva often told us stories of the twins' pranks." Andy laughed. "They drove her crazy, but I think they impressed her with their inventiveness."
Minerva huffed, but Hermione laughed, knowing well how true Andy's words were. As she thought of Fred, killed in the last battle against Voldemort, a pang of sadness struck her. A warm hand rubbed her back, and Hermione smiled at her wife, appreciating how well Minerva knew her. She settled back into Minerva's warm embrace, and reveled in the feelings of love and comfort that Minerva evoked so easily.
They sat in comfortable silence, listening to the fire snap and crackle. They had spent many evenings in just this way. Hermione loved the easy camaraderie and sense of family that connected them.
She remembered the first time she had met Andy during summer holiday in 1999. It had boggled her mind to learn this woman had apprenticed with Filius Flitwick while Hermione had been attending Hogwarts. How had I not noticed her? Hermione had also found out that Andy had been training for her animagus mastery when her parents had been killed while attempting to thwart Bellatrix Lestrange's and nine other death eaters' escape from Azkaban—events engineered by Voldemort in January 1996. In honor of her parents' last request and at the urging of Minerva, Andy had returned to the United States, where she had previously attended the Salem Witches' Institute instead of Hogwarts, and studied Potions with the world-renowned witch, Lenore Cabiness. Minerva had asked Andy to teach at Hogwarts during their visit that summer, but Andy had decided to return to the States to study English and Journalism.
Evidently, Andy loved books, just as Hermione did. During many subsequent visits they discussed Muggle and wizarding books for hours, their debates often interrupted by Minerva in the wee hours of the morning. And eventually, Andy had procured a job in New York City and regaled them with stories of her fierce boss, Miranda Priestly. Then the stories had stopped, and when they had seen Andy next, her outgoing, vibrant personality had seemed dimmed. It had been quite a marked change.
Eventually, Andy had admitted her change in jobs, but she refused to discuss what had happened to cause it. Hermione doubted she would ever really know what had happened between Andy and Miranda, but one thing was certain—Andy was heartbroken.
"Aunt Minerva, if the offer is still open, I would like to resume my animagus training," Andy said softly, breaking into Hermione's musings.
"Does that mean you will be remaining after the end of term?" Minerva asked, her eyes lighting up with hope.
"Yup. If the offer for me to remain as the Charms professor is still open."
"Of course it is," Minerva said. "What changed your mind?"
"I didn't realize how much I had missed it here." Andy shot a sad smile at Minerva. "Besides, there's nothing holding me in New York anymore."
Minerva patted Andy's arm. "Things have a way of working out, dear. You'll see." Andy didn't look convinced, but Hermione just smiled encouragingly at Andy.
"Well, I should get back to grading the seventh-years' essays on the dangers of memory charms," Andy said with a grimace. "Have a good night."
Hermione rose as Andy did and walked her to the door. After Andy left, Hermione rejoined Minerva on the sofa with a sigh.
"Don't fret, Love. Change is in the air. Andy will resolve her feelings one way or the other," Minerva said.
Hermione wasn't so confident, but she had learned long ago to trust Minerva's judgment. She melted into Minerva's side, resting her head on a strong shoulder. "It's hard not to worry. She seems so—I don't know—incomplete. I wish there was something I could do to help."
"You are helping her by being her friend. She will find her way."
Feeling familiar fingers slide down her side, Hermione shivered. They rested on her hip as Hermione lifted her head to look into warm green eyes. Smiling, Hermione leaned in to claim a kiss.
"Tha gràdh agam ort," Minerva whispered when the kiss broke.
"I love you, too," Hermione replied. She instigated the next kiss, exploring every inch of Minerva's addictive mouth with her tongue and reveling in the sounds she evoked from her wife. "Let's go to bed," Hermione suggested softly, all thoughts of Andy dissipating in the wake of the desire roaring through her. It was always like this. Their kisses demanded she yield to their love, and she had no intention of resisting. She laughed joyously when Minerva swept her up in strong arms and strode toward their bedroom.
"As you wish," she said, her Scottish burr sliding over Hermione deliciously.
Moments later Hermione was lowered onto their bed gently. She pulled Minerva on top of her and recaptured receptive lips, allowing the bond that pulsed between them to intensify. Hermione wasted no time with removing Minerva's robes and reacquainting herself with her wife's alluring body, her sole focus on expressing just how much she loved her. Hermione didn't think she would ever do an adequate job, but she certainly intended to keep trying.