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[personal profile] chainofclovers
Title: Land Fathoms
Fandom: The Devil Wears Prada (film)
Pairing: Miranda/Andy
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I have no rights whatsoever to The Devil Wears Prada.
Summary: My take on what happens between the moment when Andy stupidly drops her phone in the fountain and her return to New York.
Author's Note: I was hoping to have something ready in time for the International Day of Femslash, but it just didn't happen. I have some longer stuff in the works, but this piece is quite short. Enjoy!

Andy leaves; Andrea comes back. Only an hour has lapsed. She waits at the Place de Concorde, gets in the car when it arrives, and resumes her duties without exchanging so much as a word with Miranda. Perhaps Miranda has decided it isn’t such a good idea to talk about important things in a moving vehicle. Vehicles tend to roll to a stop eventually, and passengers who make a run for it don’t always decide to return.

After the day’s remaining shows—ethereal, cold—and the fancy dinner, Andrea is so tired that she almost falls asleep in the car. Her feet and legs ache, and the plush car seat feels like a cradle after a day of discomfort.

“Andrea,” Miranda says when they pull up to the hotel, her voice barely rippling the silence.

Andrea jerks to attention. Apparently, while her eyes were closed, day made a complete transition into night. It’s only been a few days since they arrived in Paris, but this is the first night during which she doesn’t register the lovely, exciting way evenings here flicker and glow.

Once upstairs, they linger outside the door to Miranda’s suite. The moment goes on long enough that a disturbing sort of apathy takes over and Andrea allows her eyes to blatantly roam Miranda’s face. She searches for anger, exasperation—mild irritation, even—and comes up with nothing but exhaustion.

“My two weeks start now.” Regardless of how worn out Miranda is, Andrea has to be clear about this. She came back today because the circumstances of her leaving were idiotic, beyond unprofessional, not because she wants the chance to hold onto her job.

“I should dismiss you immediately,” Miranda says, though the words lack bite.

“You probably should,” Andrea replies. She’s so tired and flat and miserable that she can’t even try for contrition. She feels worse than she sounds.

Miranda doesn’t have dark circles under her eyes, but the skin just around her eyelids is very pink, much pinker than usual, though not as noticeably as last night. It’s actually kind of a pretty shade, Andrea thinks. The color would work nicely in a dress or a summer blouse. Drifting back to the present, she realizes all the awkward silences today have been more than half her fault: within eight hours she’s questioned Miranda’s morality and lorded her own weak excuse for a conscience over her, she’s run away like a child, and even now, when Miranda finally seems ready to talk, she can’t maintain focus long enough for a rational discussion or a proper argument.

“I’ll miss you,” Andrea says before she can stop herself, and then Miranda’s hand is a sudden, unfamiliar weight on her shoulder and they’re walking into the suite. They set their handbags down by the door, Miranda flips the nearest light switch, and a large but dim lamp flickers on. When Miranda takes off her coat and drops it on the floor, Andrea takes off hers and does the same. They step out of their shoes. After a moment’s hesitation, they look at each other and wordlessly decide to unclasp their dresses, to struggle with their own zippers. If they don’t help each other, if they keep their hands to their own clothes, the decision to undress remains in each woman’s personal control. They leave their bras and underwear on, everything black lace to suit the requirements of their dresses, and walk toward the bedroom. Neither of them says anything complimentary about the other’s beauty. They are beautiful, but wearing a hideous day.

Miranda keeps turning on lights, even the one in the bathroom, and Andrea waits for her at the edge of the bed until she realizes Miranda is brushing her teeth. She darts back to her purse and pulls out the small toothbrush she always keeps with her. The bathroom door is ajar, so Andrea pushes her way in. Her boldness wakes her up a little, but not much. “I get to brush my teeth too,” she says, reaching across Miranda to turn on the faucet.

They’re so tired that it takes some effort to wrestle with the crisply made bed, yanking the bedcovers out from where they’ve been tightly tucked under the mattress. It’s odd how hotels force one to start over again and again. You mess up the bed, let water puddle to the side of the sink, leave a tissue on the nightstand, and when you leave the room a maid steals in to put everything back together. Whatever happens here tonight will be erased from the surface of the room within an hour of Miranda’s leaving tomorrow. When she comes back, the bed will be perfect again.

Anyway, it’s not as if there’s anything fabulous left to lose; the stakes aren’t particularly high. They’ve both fucked everything up, and it doesn’t matter if they fuck up some more.

Or, incidentally, if they fuck. Andrea doesn’t know if she likes women or if Miranda likes women or if either of them likes anybody anymore, but when their matching spearmint mouths press together she feels an unexpected relief. She paws at the clasp of Miranda’s bra until Miranda breaks the kiss, makes an agitated sound, and unfastens it herself, sliding the material down her arms. The feel of Miranda’s breasts, soft and heavy and warming up, makes Andrea gasp.

“I’ll miss you,” she says again, wishing she hadn’t as soon as the words leave her mouth.

“Then there must be something wrong with you.”

That makes Andrea stop cold. It dawns on her that she doesn’t want to have sex with anyone who feels this terrible. But even as she pulls away, she takes off her own bra for the sake of fairness and the mirror image. They sit in the middle of the white bed wearing their black underwear, both breathing hard, both saddened by what Miranda has said, so weirdly similar in this moment. Suddenly, this matters quite a lot.

“We have plenty of time,” Andrea says quietly. They might. She gets up and goes into the other room, rifling through Miranda’s bag until she finds her phone. When she gets back to the bedroom, Miranda is already lying down under the covers.

“My phone is gone, so I’m setting the alarm on yours for six-thirty. Don’t say anything,” she adds when Miranda opens her mouth. Andrea walks around the suite, turning off every lamp. When she lies down, she feels the weight of her limbs and her eyelids more acutely. After over seven months of alertness, this feels like her first chance to sleep.

“I don’t know why I turned on all the lights,” Miranda says.

“I don’t know either.” Andrea kisses what she thinks will be Miranda’s cheek but turns out to be the side of her mouth.

Andrea will go home and finish the breaking up that Nate started before she left. She will leave her job, which hopefully will not amount to the same thing as leaving Miranda. She’ll start carrying notebooks again, writing down the little things that interest her, eating and drinking the things that bring her pleasure. And right now, important above all else, is the rest she will get until six-thirty tomorrow morning.

“Goodnight,” Andrea says, as if the circumstances of this night are ordinary. She can feel delicious dreams lapping at the edges of the bed.

“Goodnight,” Miranda says back, as if politeness comes naturally. She rolls closer and places her arm so her wrist is planted against Andrea’s sternum and her elbow presses lightly against Andrea’s stomach. Inexplicably, the position makes Andrea think of a figurehead on the prow of a ship. The gesture is stabilizing, Miranda exerting gentle pressure and Andrea receiving it, and they fall asleep.
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