Disclaimer: I, alas, own nothing.

A/N: This is a late fill for the Winter Wonderland Ficathon over on the DWP LJ site. It is writtensword's prompt: Miranda/Andrea; Aurora Borealis, reindeer, happiness.


Having Looked Too Long Upon The Sun

She had seen them before, of course. In several different parts of the world, in fact. But, in all those instances, she had somehow missed the simple, elegant beauty of the natural phenomena. Standing ankle deep in snow, breath condensing to white puffs in the frigid air, nose and cheeks flushed with cold, an insistent disconcerting feeling blooming through her, Miranda felt the magnitude of bearing witness to the aurora borealis.

For a moment, she was a relatively insignificant speck on the surface of an infinite universe. A tiny cog in the cosmic machinery that whirred on without her conscious input. She was nothing more than a replaceable piece of a whole. An inconsequential aspect in the entirety of the matter of existence. A wholly unnecessary part in the magnificent physics of energy exploding off the sun and hitting the earth at a million miles per hour. A negligible bystander of electrons being bombarded and pressed to the earth's magnetic field to excite elements present in the atmosphere to create iridescent light.

But, the fact that the editor could appreciate the splendid beauty created by solar winds blowing photons at the speed of light across the protective layer of the earth's atmosphere. That Miranda could look up to the dark canvas of night illuminated by resplendent streaks of bright light and wonder at the utter, effortless loveliness of it all. The simple truth that she could prize the invaluable sight spread wide across the heavens made her feel singularly important. As if she were created for the significant purpose of appreciating the universe that ticked on without her, but was created for the sole purpose of her pleasure.

The dichotomous emotions existed simultaneously and without war within the editor. The juxtaposition did not escape her, it instead solidified the moment. Miranda felt both magnificent and humbled standing atop virgin snow in a valley surrounded by pines in a secluded part of Alaska.

Taking a deep breath of cold air steadied Miranda. The bite of the chill against her warm tissue centered her being. A squeal of laughter brought her thoughts back to earth and grounded her. Arctic blue eyes tracked ruddy faced twins as they chased each other tromping up snow in chunks as they ran unsteadily in the softness of it. She watched in rapt fascination as a white projectile hit a well bundled little body and the brief pause the impact caused. Three sets of blue eyes swiveled to the figure bent and picking up more snow readying a second volley of fluffy projectiles.

The editor continued to observe the now chaotic scene of an all out snow war amongst her family in wry amusement. The bright Northern Lights illuminated the unfolding scene of Caroline and Cassidy using a combined effort to back Andrea into the cover of the sleigh they had ridden out to the little untouched spot of land. Laughter filled the valley. And, the night came alive with things more magnificent than inanimate particles.

An unexpected smile quirked the editor's lips as she carefully glided to where her daughters and Andrea now lay sprawled on the snow making what she could only assume were snow angels. Peering down at three broadly smiling faces, Miranda's heart trembled. Unable to halt the impulse, she stared. It was like looking at the sun in the middle of a summer day. Their happiness and contentment was blinding. She had to look away.

Miranda distantly heard someone speak. She nodded minutely at Andrea's words though she did not register anything the young woman said. She peripherally heard the wiping of outerwear and boots before Caroline and Cassidy stomped up to their seats in their unconventional vehicle. The editor focused out of her stupor at the touch of a hand in hers.

"Hey," Andrea said gently, her eyes alight with the reflection of the night sky. There was something in the young woman's face that intrigued Miranda. It was light and heavy, binding and freeing, anchoring and uplifting; it was as beautiful as the lights aimlessly painting the darkness of night. And, it engendered in the older woman the same conflicting, almost spiritual, feelings.

The editor searched brown depths, looking for something to explain the strangling emotion she felt gripping her. It was disconcerting to not know what accosted her, Miranda wanted to demand an explanation but she did not know the words to articulate such a demand. Chocolate eyes seemed to soften before her. Andrea understood; and Miranda felt safe in that knowledge even though she had yet to fully discern her own emotions. Allowing the young woman to lead her to her place high on the sleigh, Miranda silently decided to be patient. Andrea only released the editor's hand when she took the reins.

Feeling the initial abrupt pull of the sleigh, Miranda recalled the young woman pulling up to their temporary vacation home in an ornate red sleigh pulled by eight lively, robust reindeer. When questioned as to its acquisition, Andrea had cheekily replied that she had borrowed the vehicle from Santa. The twins were ecstatic; Miranda less so.

Until Andrea had leaned close and whispered in her ear that every White Witch deserved to ride a sleigh of her own. The statement earned the young woman a glare and pursed lips, to which she received a hearty laugh and a beaming smile. When Andrea proceeded to sit her high on the sleigh, she indulged the young woman because even her considerable will bent to the desire of pleasing the people she loved. The editor was prepared to be silently aggrieved the whole evening, until Andrea tucked the twins into the front seat of the sleigh, took the reins, and leant over to softly say she always thought Jadis deserved as much rescuing as the rest of them.

The statement somehow, inexplicably, validated and justified Miranda. She ignored the warmth that spread through her at the sincerity in Andrea's simple words, and only sniffed in response to it. The young woman irrationally beamed at the editor, further spreading the persistent warmth in her chest.

Sat atop the commandeered sleigh, pulled by eight heaving reindeer, chauffeured by a lovely brunette creature flanked by two excited redheads, wind coldly licking her exposed skin, Miranda felt powerfully significant. She felt settled and right. And, she felt something else. Something bigger.

Miranda curiously wondered at the unusual feeling coursing through her. It was odd, and out of place. And if she was honest, she had never felt it. Not this overpowering sense of feeling that overshadowed and highlighted everything. It was disconcerting in its intensity and ferocity. Subtle, as well. It had crept over her unawares; when she was looking the other way. It bloomed and thrived in her blood. Expanding and overtaking other emotions with every beat of her heart.

Her mind whirred and turned it all over as they stopped in front of the large cabin. It needled at her as she ushered her girls inside and allowed Andrea to attend to the animals. The puzzling emotion grew as she tucked Caroline and Cassidy into bed and kissed each good night, luxuriating in the moment that she so rarely experienced as they grew older.

It finally coalesced, spiked, and engulfed Miranda as she felt the bed dip with Andrea's weight. This feeling, she realized. This overwhelming, over stimulating, overtaking feeling. It was happiness.