Work Header

A Flawed Fragility

Chapter Text

Fragility was such an interesting concept. The things that one would conceive as the most fragile, such as glass and ice and porcelain, were ambiguously items and substances that could cause cutting and lethal injury once broken in any way.

Another thing those words had in common other than their shared danger and fragility was that each and every one could accurately describe Miranda Priestly. Once hurt or provoked, the editor in chief of Runway magazine could wound fatally with a disturbing lack of force or effort on her part. Anyone who dared touch her in any way inevitably came away bloodied, feeling as though they had been cleanly cut from stem to stern.

The whole thing was rather funny, because no one who interacted with Miranda Priestly would think of the word fragile to describe her unless they were speaking unequivocally about her temper.

But she was. Miranda Priestly was more infinitely soft and fragile than any would ever know, Andy thought to herself. Fragile, frigid, flawless…

Removing her glasses and setting them down on the table, Miranda Priestly stretched tiredly as she leaned back in her chair after putting the final touches and last of her notes on The Book. It hadn’t been the most horrendous issue she’d ever pre-edited, but it certainly wasn’t the best and it had still taken her until quarter past twelve to finish. Sighing, she rolled her neck on her shoulders, grimacing at the cracks and pops she heard that to her, sounded like the ticking clock of old age as it set into her forty-seven year old bones.

Before she had time to switch the lamp off beside the arm chair she’d been sitting in, the doorbell rang. Peering through the small glass hole she saw that it was Stephen, the latest addition to her unfortunately growing collection of ex-husbands. But with Stephen, the only unfortunate thing about him being an ex-husband was that the title meant that at some point she had been foolish enough to make him one in the first place.

With a sigh she opened the door and fixed him with her signature raised eyebrow, pursing her lips as she took in his slightly bedraggled appearance, attributing it to the rain that had recently started to come down in bullets from the pitch black sky.

“Yes, Stephen? What is it that you want?”

“I just want to talk, Mir,” he stepped inside out of the rain without invitation and held out his hands beseechingly.

“It’s past midnight and I might remind you that you lost your rights to living here when you took that tawdry blonde nymphet into your bed.”

“God, Mir, what have I told you? It didn’t mean anything! Dammit, I’m the one who agreed to try and make things work after I said I wanted a divorce while you were in Paris. I did that for you. And now I make one mistake and you throw me out without a dime or a second chance?”

“If I gave you a dime or a dollar, Stephen, it would no doubt be slipped into the bedazzled polyester g-string of another hooker…Stephen, just get out. The girls are here tonight and you’ll wake them with your insane ramblings – which I’m sure I don’t want to hear any more of.”

“You fucking bitch,” he spat as he advanced towards her, his 6 foot frame towering over her petite one, and Miranda suddenly noticed the strong smell of gin coming from her former husband, and the way he was swaying slightly on his feet as he gazed at her coldly through drink reddened eyes.

“If you weren’t so goddamn frigid, I wouldn’t have to look elsewhere for entertainment. The papers have got you exactly right, and I’m sure they’d like to know that for all your fucking superiority and style, you can’t even warm up enough to satisfy the current man in your bed. It’s ironic isn’t it Mir? A frigid bitch often means a hotter screw. Are you even capable of that?”

“Get out!” Miranda hissed, her own eyes narrowed into slits now, partly from anger and partly from fear as Stephen staggered even closer towards her and grabbed her wrists before she even had a chance to move. He shoved her roughly against the wall and pressed his mouth into hers, scraping her lips with his teeth before roughly biting her lower lip until he drew blood.

“You’re nothing but a two-bit whore in nice clothes. So now I think you’re gonna show me  just how good a whore you can be. After all, isn’t that how you became so high and mighty? Screwing everyone and everything until you got your way?”

He kicked her feet out from under her so that she fell to the floor without the use of her wrists to break her fall as Stephen still held them roughly in his own.

Wrenching herself out of his grasp, she tried to crawl over towards the bathroom, hoping she could make it there in time to lock the door.

“Oh no you don’t Priestly. You lock yourself in there, what’s going to happen to the precious little bastards you spawned from your first marriage?”

Trembling from head to foot, Miranda let her hand fall from the brass knob, keenly feeling the wrist she knew he had sprained when he pinned her arms behind her head.

“That’s right,” Stephen continued, in a horribly snide tone. “You treat the world as if it’s yours to screw. Shall I do that to you now, Miranda? Shall I remind you that no matter how many husbands you go through or how powerful you are, that you’re still my whore?”

He yanked her roughly to her feet once more, ignoring her cry of pain even as she bit her lip to muffle it, not wanting Caroline and Cassidy to hear the commotion from upstairs and come down.

“No, no, no, you’ll scream for me Miranda - just as you never screamed in our marriage bed.” He slapped her across the face, the fat gold ring on his left hand that now screamed of the mockery of their marriage tearing at her cheek, leaving a series of bloody gashes in its wake as he slapped her again.

Frustrated now that she refused to scream or beg him to stop, he threw her down again, smirking in satisfaction as he heard a dull crack as her body smacked against the marble and she cried out with the impact.

She tried to raise herself again, this time managing to push herself up from the floor until she was on all fours. Eyes blurred from tears and pain, she never saw the Gucci-tasseled loafer swing backwards before it connected with her ribs as he kicked her. Once in the chest and once at the side of her face.

The final lash of his foot caused her neck to snap back violently and her head smacked against the cold marble floor, knocking her unconscious.

Stephen stood still for a moment, breathing heavily as he looked down at the unconscious woman. With the horror of sobriety creeping back at the edges of his mind, he panicked, grabbing a crystal vase and her wallet out of her purse before he ran from the house.

His current girlfriend would give him an alibi, as would his business partner unless he wanted the details of some shady dealings passed over to the IRS.

Whatever Miranda said when she woke up, he’d say that it was a concussion or something. Yeah…that’s what he’d do.

“You think he’s gone?” Caroline whispered, huddled against her sister as they sat behind the locked double doors to their room, listening.

“Yeah, I think so,” Cassidy replied. She looked nervously at her sister, “Car, d’you think we should’ve called 911 or something?”

“I don’t know,” her twin replied, identical blue eyes staring back at her with the same worry. “I mean, we didn’t hear WHAT they were saying, only that they were shouting. You don’t think he’d hurt her do you?”

“Who can we call?”

“I-I don’t know. We’ve only had the new nanny for a week and Gina’s on holiday,” Cassidy thought out loud, referencing the housekeeper and nanny as the other two people who they were around on a regular basis.

“Andy!” Cassidy’s eyes lit up as she reached for her backpack where her cell phone was.

“But she doesn’t even work for mom anymore, remember? The Paris Week fiasco 5 months ago?”

“I still think she cared the most about mom, and the other way around too. Don’t you remember how angry she was after she left? She went through 5 assistants in TWO WEEKS! Even for her that’s a record.”

But the phone was already dialed.