Title: Miranda Priestly is Like an Onion (1/1)
Summary: Miranda has layers. Some cute, some not so cute - and some both.
Andrea very nearly collapsed as she reached the last step. Her legs were trembling, although whether that had more to do with the hundreds of steps she'd climbed, or the dragon's den she was about to enter, she couldn't say. She did sit down, though. She would need to collect herself if she was going to get through this alive.
There were certain places which were considered sacrosanct by Runway staffers. To intrude meant swift retribution that would make the payload of an F-16 Tomcat seem mild and dawdling. One of those was the upper floors of Miranda's townhouse - something Andrea could attest to. Another was Runway's offices on Christmas Eve. The rule was simple, clear, and blazed across the sky. All Runway employees were expected to do their work from home on Christmas Eve. Miranda had the floor to herself for the entire day. No one knew what she did. But it had always been that way.
Wild drunken orgies, one theorized.
A satanic ritual where Miranda bathed in the blood of the last person she'd fired, in order to preserve her immortality, another had suggested. (Someone should probably call Jocelyn tomorrow, just to be sure.)
Nigel had guessed that Miranda simply wanted a single day where she could work with people who never disappointed her.
Whatever the reason, the fact remained that Andrea was going in. She'd left her Blackberry on her desk, with all her address book information on it. She knew many of the most important people's numbers by rote, but she needed the contact info for a lot of midlevel staffers and executive assistants. Without that, certain key tasks on her to-do list wouldn't get done until after Christmas - assuming she could get down from the cross Miranda would nail her to.
Damned if she did, damned if she didn't. At least she'd avoided the elevator, so Miranda wouldn't hear the chime or the doors sliding open.
Andrea sighed. Why hadn't she just resigned by now? Paris would have been a good idea. She'd felt particularly self-righteous one day. What had she been thinking? Maybe she'd still be with Nate then.
So, she slowly rose to her feet, put her hand on the doorknob, turned it ever so slowly, and pushed.
Nothing. No noise. The floor was too quiet.
She slithered through the opening, got on her hands and knees, and methodically began making her way down the hall.
Even as she approached the Runway main entrance near her desk, the place was quiet as a tomb. It wasn't until she reached the wheels of her chair in an agony of expectation that she finally heard sounds. The babbling brook and the twittering birds helped sooth her.
. . . The babbling brook?
Snatching her Blackberry, Andrea carefully stood up. Now that she thought about it, she could almost imagine she smelled grass and trees. Gradually she shifted to her left so she could get a better look inside Miranda's office.
Which, from what she could tell, had turned into a forest glade.
I'm dreaming, she thought. Like the time I was a Muppet, and Nigel, Emily, and Serena were jewel thieves planning to steal Miranda's diamonds. No, I'm hallucinating. Miranda caught me and killed me, and these are my last delusional thoughts before my brain shuts down completely.
Miranda's desk had become a mossy log. A small creek went glub-glub past. A butterfly came floating out and landed in Andrea's hair. She brushed it off and realized she could feel its wings.
"Oh - my - God."
Oh shit, she said that out loud!
"Is someone there? Hello?!"
Andrea froze. Miranda was calling out from inside. Apparently Miranda had been inhaling helium.
Either that or ingesting Alice's mushrooms, because much like the monarch butterfly, out fluttered a pixie.
Andrea stumbled backwards.
"Oh thank goodness, the assistant!" the fairy squeaked. "You came! You brave, brave girl, you came!"
She could make it back to the stairs. She didn't have to crawl this time. She could run for it.
"Please, don't run, no!" the pixie pleaded, whizzing past to block Andrea's path. "You have to break the curse first!"
"This is fucking crazy," Andrea muttered to herself. "I'm dreaming, right?"
"No," the fairy said sadly. She looked much like the creatures in fairy tale books, all gossamer wings and big green eyes. "You're not. Just a Christmas miracle, if you like."
"I don't remember fairies in Christmas stories. Elves, yes. Fairies, no."
"A winter solstice miracle would be more accurate, although that was a few days ago," the fairy replied. "Do you want to break the curse or not?"
"An evil witch placed a curse on me several centuries ago in the place you call Scotland," the fairy explained melodramatically. "She turned me into an ogre."
"An ogre," Andrea said. "Wait. You're saying you're Miranda?"
The fairy bobbed up and down in the air.
"I thought she was an ogre in the figurative sense only."
"The legends don't get everything right," the fairy grumbled. "Ogres look like everyone else. They just lack souls. Heartless, cruel monsters, they are."
"And let me guess," Andrea replied, finding that at least ONE part of this day had become clearer. "On one day every year, Miranda turns back into you."
"Yes. Well, I turn back into me. You know."
"That's why she has to be alone every year. Because she doesn't want people to know - "
"That she's an evil spirit? That she turns into a pixie once a year? Yes."
The first part, Miranda probably wouldn't mind. In fact, she'd probably like it. But the second part, yeah, Miranda wouldn't want THAT getting out. "So how do I break the curse?"
"You have to let me kiss you on the lips."
"That's IT? You've had centuries to find someone! Why do you stay in here? Why not just find someone in the building and - "
"My kind is vulnerable to iron, and Miranda has gone to great expense to work iron rods into all the entrances and exits here. I've tried to get out, but I can't!" The fairy's lips trembled.
"Okay, okay, um, I guess if you've been trapped like this for centuries - wait, so what happens when I kiss you?"
The fairy looked hopeful. "Then I stay a fairy for good, and I can go back home to the British Isles."
"And Miranda Priestly just disappears?"
"Pretty much, yes."
Andrea had fantasized about that several times, but faced with the reality, she suddenly wondered if that was such a good idea. "What about the twins?"
"What about them? Their father will raise them. They'll be better off, trust me."
"Yeah, but they'll go the rest of their lives wondering where their mother went! Why she abandoned them! I mean, okay, Miranda spoils them too much, but I know she cares about them too. And Runway! Do you know what would happen to this magazine if Miranda disappeared? A lot of people would lose their jobs!"
"I'm sorry," the fairy said, the green in her pupils darkening, "but I've been stuck in a human body for hundreds of years, and you're thinking of leaving me in it because of a couple half-ogre brats and a few jobs?!" Then she paused. "Oh great. You're one of those assistants, aren't you?"
"What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?"
"The ones who fall in love with Miranda. Believe me, it happens all the time. They learn. You will too."
"I am not- "
"Uh-huh. Here, give me a second." She flicked two fingers in Andrea's direction. Feeling a sensation like sand being blown into her eyes, Andrea sneezed.
"Pixie dust," the fairy explained. "Tell me again how you're not infatuated with Miranda."
Andrea tried. She really tried. But the words wouldn't come out of her mouth.
"Mmhm. You can't tell a lie for the next few minutes. I can't compel you to speak truthfully, but your silence speaks volumes. You dream about her, right? Maybe you don't remember it, but you do."
Andrea was horrified when the best response she could make to that was "I don't remember dreaming about her."
"But deep down inside, you know you do."
Andrea's cheeks burned while her lips betrayed her by saying nothing.
"It's unnatural, you know. Two women? Believe me, I know, I'm a nature spirit."
"No, it isn't," Andrea replied instantly.
The fairy looked at her. Then she shrugged. "You believe something firmly enough, it's true for you. Liberals. Still, you don't have to kiss me. I just have to kiss you."
Andrea's eyes widened as the fairy darted toward her face like a guided missile. She ducked her head, raised her left shoulder, and dashed past her.
"Oh, no you don't!" the fairy shrieked.
Andrea kept running, even as a bolt of something pink flew past her and left a scorch mark on the door to the emergency stairs. Somehow she doubted that, if it had hit her, she would have merely changed colors like in Sleeping Beauty.
"I'm kissing you even if I have to melt your face off to do it!"
Nope, not that kind of pink magic.
Instinctively she ducked as another bolt sailed past her head. She ran past multiple closed doors, afraid to take the time to open one, before she spied it. The Closet! And the fairy had said every door had iron inside it!
Andrea dove for the Closet, turned, and slammed the door shut just as a cute little pink orb of death was about to pass the threshold. Andrea felt it burst against the door, then what sounded like two tiny fists hammering.
"Let me in, let me in!"
"Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin," Andrea muttered as she put her back against the door and bonelessly slid down to the floor.
She put up with a half-hour of what had to be fairy insults (just what was an elderberry anyway?) before she blessedly fell asleep.
She woke up when she felt something very large collide with the door. Andrea scrambled away from it. Uh-oh. What she needed was a bigger bolt.
Andrea gasped, then looked at her watch. "It's Christmas!" she couldn't help exclaim.
"Unlock this door at once."
Gulp. Now she was truly frightened. Hesitantly she unlocked the Closet door and opened it.
Miranda Priestly stood there, looking regal and unruffled as ever. Not a glimmer of pixie dust on her. She glared at Andrea. "Was I unclear when I told you not to come in to the office today?" she asked coldly.
"Um, well, you see, I forgot my Blackberry, but I'd never tell anyone! Not that anyone would believe me, but - "
Andrea stared at her, stunned. Well, no one ever said gratitude wasn't a foreign concept for her.
"I make it a rule," Miranda continued, "never to have a relationship with one of my employees."
Wait. Did she say she was stunned? No, now she was stunned.
Miranda approached her and put a hand on her shoulder. "What she told you was true," she said. "I have had other assistants who were infatuated with me. I never cared. But you - you didn't just do it for me. You did it for my children. And I think, perhaps, this one time I could care about you - very much."
Andrea tried to speak once, then twice. She suddenly remembered dreams she'd had while hiding from the fairy. Very vivid dreams, involving Miranda. Holy SHIT. She'd been dreaming like THAT and not remembering it? Finally she was able to croak, "Thank you."
"Now get your things. I need you to wrap a few last-minute gifts for Caroline and Cassidy."
Naturally. "Miranda, just what the hell was yesterday - "
"We will never discuss it again."
Right. She shouldn't expect two Christmas miracles in a single day. This one was more than enough.
Author's Note – I believe this was written for a challenge on LJ, although I forget what the specific request was. That being said, I wasn't happy with the ending afterwards, I thought Miranda returning Andy's affections didn't have enough substantiation in the story. So like my other DWP fics, I stashed it away.
The title, obviously, was inspired by "Shrek".