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The Sweet Silver-Lining of Miranda Priestly

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Paris. 

A gorgeously sensitive spot in her past. 

The sort of spot that a lover runs their fingers over, which means you have to try your hardest not to flinch. Just so they don’t ask. Just so they don’t notice the fading bruise. 

And even though it hurts, it’s one of those hurts you can’t stop prodding at. Addictive and weirdly tingly and wrong to touch because letting it be is best for every party involved. 

They had done that—let it be. For so long, they let it be. 3 years. 3 years and she hadn’t seen silver hair and blue eyes in person. Not since the day at The Mirror. The day when she smiled and waved and received a wall of impenetrable beauty in response. 

3 years and Paris was still a sensitive spot. 

3 years and Paris was home to her heart again. 

And oh how it couldn’t be any different than it had been last time. There was no car. There was no smell of leather. There was no weight in her heart and no strange satisfaction in her muse’s smile. There was no feeling of rebellion. There was no daylight. No sun. No vulnerability of the daytime. 

No, instead, the moon had decided to cover her in a veil of sweetness. She brought her wind and her stars and the duvet of night to cover that part of the world just so the lights that the city displayed would look all the more beautiful beneath the sprinkling of rain. The same rain that lightly pitter-pattered against the glorious windows and perfectly sculpted walls of the old infamous venue behind her. The same rain that fell on her chilled skin with little muted noises. The same rain that mixed with the pink champagne in her crystal flute.

She considered herself lucky, being able to see the world from that perspective. A balcony in an expensive building, dressed in an expensive dress, drinking expensive alcohol, thinking of an expensive person. And although it seemed like one of those movie moments where she was supposed to cry, despite the fact that her makeup was not fully waterproof, she didn’t. Because she was not sad. She wasn’t depressed. She was… liberated. Overflowing. Full of something she had yet to confess but knew that one day, she would. Without hesitance, she would. And perhaps that was the thing that caused the sweet little smile to cross her red lipsticked mouth. 

Or maybe…

Maybe it was the faint sound of heels. Clicking against stone. Walking a bit closer. Away from the faint sound of a party–with all of those faint voices and faint laughter and faint fake emotion. 

Andy wasn’t an idiot. She knew who it was. She knew she would be there, although she had yet to even catch a glimpse. Perhaps it was time to stop ‘letting it be’. 3 years was long enough, wasn’t it? And Paris wasn’t getting any older. And the lights… oh the lights… they shone brilliantly. Better than anything she’d ever seen. With sharp points of fuzzy brightness and twinkling bulbs and flickering lamps and explosions of gorgeous yellow/white colors as they dotted the Eiffel Tower in the distance. It was a perfect night, with the moon hidden behind her own clouds, with the air smelling of perfume and rain and something so distinctly fresh, with the little droplets on her skin and in her hair, catching the lights of the city and tricking onlookers into thinking it was snowflakes that dotted her short pixie cut, and with the beautiful red dress that clung to her skin and the gold jewelry she wore and the pink champagne in her crystal flute and the presence of the most perfect thing behind her. 

Yes, it was a perfect night. 

A perfect night to break the silence. To give into liberation. To admit and confess and claim that no angel would be able to save her from the warmth and the love and utter adoration that had filled her heart for 3 years and would continue to do so no matter the outcome of her confession. 

Yes, it was time. She was finally ready. 

“I never realized you had a passion for contracting hypothermia,” came the smooth drawl of the refined voice behind her. 

She missed that voice. Oh she missed it so much. The mere sound made her lungs expand with breath, searching for a way to clear her head so she wouldn’t just open her mouth and admit that she was so deeply in love and had been for the longest time. 

Oh how she would never lose her wit. It was a gift, Andy supposed, and it was there to stay. 

“Hello to you as well, Miranda.”

And she took the time then to turn around and lean back on her elbows, pressing them into the cool stone so she could look as relaxed as possible. Yes, her heart was pounding, and yes, her cheeks were flushed, and yes, her lips really couldn’t help themselves from pulling into a blinding smile–but it didn’t matter. Because Miranda was there, some feet away, holding her own champagne flute filled with cream bubbles instead of pink. And she was there, wearing the most flawless pristine white dress with a built-in sash around the waist that wasn’t too overpowering and wasn’t too light and instead brought attention to the shine of her hair and the glint in her eyes and the sweet tint of her lips. With silver accessories and the height to match her ego, Miranda Priestly was an absolute vision

And Andy, like always, was a slave to her beauty. 

Her smile, if it was even possible, grew wider. 

Miranda’s lips were pursed. Blue eyes were icy, giving nothing away. And they did what they always did–the thing Andy missed for 3 years–and dragged themselves over her body. Up and down, scrutinizing, analyzing, deciding if she liked it or not. 

But it had been a long time and Andrea Sachs had learned quite a few things during her job as a journalist. She no longer cared if Miranda approved, because she knew she was beautiful. The men and women who kept sneaking second-third-fourth! glances at her, seemed to agree. Oh yes- she knew she looked far different than the girl who left La Priestly’s employ some time ago. There were no wide innocent eyes and flowery smiles and nervous giggles and long unsteady limbs. There was no uncertainty and self-deprecation and lack of fire. No, if anything, Andy was on fire. Burning up. Beneath that gaze. 

Well… she may have looked different and held herself different and acted differently… but deep down, she would always flush beneath the captivating eye of Miranda Priestly. Always. 

“Not bad, huh?” Andy couldn’t help but break the silence, instantly dragging said calculating eye back up to her face from where they were staring at the burgundy points of her heels. 

Lips pursed even further, cheekbones accentuating, Paris lights outlining her gloriously. 

Ah yes- the ever-present sweet silver lining of Miranda Priestly. One could never get enough. 

Andy, included.

“Acceptable,” came the barely-there murmur before Miranda was taking a sip from her champagne and stepping forward. 

Like a lioness entering the domain of another. Except Andy did not want to fight, she just wanted to love. 

“Not so bad yourself.” And she knew she was pushing it, but there was no fun in staying safe. Not anymore. She had spent 3 years staying safe. 

Blue eyes grew sharp as they looked at her. A dark eyebrow rose. A challenge? A question? A response? Andy wasn’t sure. It had been a long time–Miranda Priestly’s actions were no longer burned into her brain in the way they had been. Some things, sure, but every tick of every muscle no longer symbolized anything. It all sort of just fell back into that blob of La Priestly mannerisms that she’d have to work at remembering again. 

“I think that’s the first compliment you’ve ever paid me,” Miranda spoke in her airy tone, hinting at a tease of banter that made Andy’s heart warm within her chest. 

“That’s not true!” She spluttered, scoffing. “I always said you looked great- I just don’t think you were listening.” And Andy crossed her arms, tilting her chin up and putting on a dramatic show of acting childish. 

“Well forgive me for not taking notice of the most mundane compliments known to man,” was the quick, lighthearted witty reply.

She came to stand beside her then, gaze fixated on the beauty of Paris, champagne flute resting on the stone next to Andy’s. And how could Andy give up the most blessed opportunity of being able to allow her eyes to roam over the side profile of one of the most beautiful women in the world? How could she not look at the woman she loved?

From the swept waves of a hairline to the slope of a pale forehead, down to the gentle shelf of a brow bone and the curve of beautiful lashes. And oh to her favorite part–the sweet defined hook of a Roman nose, sitting next to the hill of a high cheekbone, both beautiful features illuminated by the city lights. Her lips were relaxed and soft and not as plump as Andy’s, but still just perfect enough to suit her face–and the small chin dipping into the curve of her neck, showing not much of a jawline but that didn’t really matter because Andy honestly preferred to kiss skin that wasn’t pulled taught over bone. And each line and wrinkle and branch of crows-feet made her fingertips twitch, aching to run themselves over the reflection of a lifetime’s worth of emotion. Miranda Priestly always tried so hard not to show what she was really thinking, but her body gave her away. Andy knew there was a time where she had been so happy she smiled nearly everyday (most likely when her daughters were born) and Andy knew there was a time where her stress was so prominent it formed little lines next to the fanning of her brows (current day, honestly) and Andy knew there was a time where she was genuinely relaxed, when the world couldn’t touch her (when Andy was her assistant). 

“Did your parents never teach you it’s rude to stare?” 

Miranda still looked at Paris. 

And Andy still looked at Miranda. 

Her bright smile had become goofy and bashful and a little shy. She cleared her throat and turned around, facing the city as well, mirroring her muse. 

They looked… close. They looked right. White and red. A life of passion and youth and expression and a life of cleanliness and icy-ness and art. They were beautiful like that, together. 

“Sorry,” she finally responded, resuming her staring anyway. 

Blue eyes shifted to look at her, taking advantage of peripheral vision. Then there was a scoff that shook Miranda’s body and brought a chuckle to Andy’s throat. 

“No, you’re not.” 

She was correct. 

“No… I’m not.” 

And for a bit, that was that. Miranda looked at the same Paris she had seen so many times before and Andy took turns glancing at the woman beside her and taking sips of her rain-spiked champagne. 

The silence didn’t last for long. Andy craved conversation.

“Ya know,” she murmured, waiting for Miranda’s attention. She got it in a second, with the slightest turn of her head. A mischievous expression flitted over her features. “I never knew you had a passion for contracting hypothermia.” And although Miranda Priestly didn’t roll her eyes very often, she did then. And quite dramatically-nearly turning her whole head away. 

Andy couldn’t help but let out a small giggle. God. She felt like a schoolgirl again, spending time with her crush and the crush wasn’t really paying attention and she thought she was being subtle but she wasn’t being subtle at all.

“I advise you to come up with better small talk that doesn’t include stealing other people’s jokes,” and Miranda turned to look at her, thoroughly unimpressed. 

Oh but she couldn’t hide her amusement fast enough. Andy caught a glimpse of it before it hid back behind that wall. It filled her with a sense of pride. 

“So you were being funny… huh…” she replied lightly, putting on an act as she widened her sparkling eyes and tilted her head. 

The reply she got was a very small, firm slap on her forearm. 

She chuckled, deep and throaty and full of genuine surprise and humor. 

It wasn’t hard to come to the conclusion that Miranda had changed. 3 years had treated her well. It made Andy’s heart fill with a sad weight, but she refused to let it ruin the moment. She was in Paris, after all. Again. With the woman she adored. Again. ‘Like old times, huh?’ She wanted to say, but decided to hold her tongue. Perhaps it wasn’t best to bring up the past - Miranda might not like to think about it, even though Andy did. Yes, it was bittersweet, but it gave her hope. She was ready, wasn’t she? Older. More mature. In all ways! 

Andy was still a size 4, with the abs and slim muscle definition to match. They peaked through the slit of her dress, on display and well-maintained. She was proud of her body, it matched the maturity of her mind - the growth she had slipped into. And so what if it was all secretly in an effort to see those blue eyes linger on her form? So what if it was in an effort to help Miranda see that she was the best obvious choice instead of others? So what? Sue her. 

“I believe,” Miranda started softly in that light, intimidating way she starts conversations, “that congratulations are in order… and long overdue.” 

Andy turned to her, having before decided to resume the small silence and observations of Paris, and hummed in interest. She was pretty sure Miranda was talking about the award she accepted last year, but she couldn’t be certain. Her career had taken off rather quickly, and with great success - that was the whole reason she was invited to that party with its faint laughter and fake people in the first place. They were more than happy to have the Andrea Sachs in their presence, what with her ability to write stories oh so easily - and with such style! Oh yes, journalist to the stars she was. Thanks to Miranda, of course. She would never be able to forget that little favor, no matter how backhanded. 

Blue eyes pinned her with a strange look. There was… pride… swirling around in that gaze. Pride and tenderness and another emotion that Andy was much too surprised to describe. Miranda had never looked at her in that way before, with her otherwise relaxed expression and the very slightest uptick in her eyebrows, making her look… soft. Yes, Miranda Priestly, all sharp edges and perfect curves, was looking at her–Andrea Sachs–with an expression of… softness. Andy nearly fainted. She wasn’t even sure Miranda knew she was looking at her that way, but it didn’t matter. Because she was looking. She was looking. And Andy could do nothing but stare back, slightly dumbfounded. 

“Congratulations, Andrea…,” and a slim, perfectly manicured, pale hand reached up with a crystal champagne flute, motioning to cheers. “...for being better than all of the other silly girls.”

Andy swallowed. 

Oh. 

Oh.

She was… well. Yes, she was better. But she wasn’t sure that’s what Miranda meant. She was better because her career was better, but otherwise she was… well according to Miranda, she was still better. What was she better at, exactly? Living? Loving? Living while loving? Loving someone like Miranda Priestly? And never giving up? She wasn’t entirely sure… but Miranda thought she was better, and she was using those words she spoke all those years ago, and it became clear to Andy then that maybe she was just as important to Miranda as Miranda was to her. 

“Cheers me, Andrea.” That soft voice broke her out of her reverie, causing her dark doe eyes to blink and focus, renewing their Paris-light-filled-shine. 

Miranda looked at peace, with the wind and drizzle causing her coif of silver hair to ruffle in the breeze, brushing lightly against her field of vision. She looked… young. Bright. Andy swore she could spot the Miranda that didn’t feel weighed by a facade. The Miranda that could be free. Stress didn’t claw at her in that moment. Perhaps the good mood was caused by a smooth day of event showings; or maybe it was caused by the nostalgia of Paris; or… or maybe it was caused by Andy. 

Andy, who picked up her champagne flute without another word and mirrored her muse’s actions, clinking the glasses together with joy. Andy, who gazed at Miranda with a look of pure adoration and love–not even veiled by a mask of polite courtesy. Andy, who simply couldn’t stop the shy smile that crossed her features when she watched the way Miranda’s throat moved with the swallowing of her drink. 

“Thank you,” and neither of them commented on how soft and hoarse her voice was when she spoke. 

Miranda just inclined her head in acknowledgement as she placed her glass down again. Andy kept hers in hand, needing something cold to ground her, and the cut of the glass dug into her palm and suddenly she felt like she was on cloud 9. Perhaps she had actually fallen off of the balcony and made it to heaven. Perhaps Miranda was an angel. It would explain a lot, honestly. 

Silence reigned again. The city continued to live. Miranda continued to admire the lights. Andy continued to admire Miranda through split-second glances. Everything was right. 

There were no wedding rings on their fingers. The twins were 14. Andy didn’t have anyone. Miranda wasn’t dating. Runway was still thriving. Andy’s journalist career hadn’t even reached its peak yet. 

The timing was perfect. 

Paris was at their fingertips. 

Beckoning them. 

‘Fall back into each other,’ it called. ‘Fall back into each other. Orbit. Your souls have been begging, haven’t they? You both know it.’

And internally, Andy had a conversation with the moon and the Eiffel and the couples in the streets, embracing and whooping and half-delirious with love on that beautiful Saturday evening.

‘What do we know? What do I know?’ Andy asked in reply, breathing in the fresh air of France. 

‘You know this is fate. You know the stars are your audience tonight. She feels it too. Paris is here for you. Fall. Fall.

Andy swallowed, hands clenching around her glass.

‘I’ll try.’

“Miranda,” she murmured, heart starting up a steady pounding in her ears. 

“Yes, Andrea?” And for some reason, she sounded oddly expectant. 

They turned to each other at the same time. As one. A well-oiled machine - just like they were once upon a time. Just like they were always meant to be. 

Brown crashed with blue. Oceans against tree bark. Blueberries against chocolate. Icicles against mulch. Beauty upon beauty. Staring into each other’s eyes, dressed in white and red, from two different worlds, from two different minds and two different hearts. And yet? 

Andy was pretty damn sure she wasn’t the only one in love.

After all, Miranda wouldn’t share such an intense moment with anyone else–no matter how good of a mood she was in. Definitely not in a place like that. Not in Paris. Not on a beautiful balcony. Not while the Eiffel Tower stood tall in the background, lighting them up–the symbol of a time of sadness and a symbol of the renewal of feelings. Yes, Paris was the sore spot, sensitive and aching, but Andy had a feeling it was going to change. 

Because Miranda was looking at her. She was looking at her and she was raising an eyebrow and- oh she was pursing her lips. Ah. Well. Andy hadn’t exactly answered now, had she? No–she was far too busy admiring the woman she loved. 

“I- um,” she swallowed, “I…” 

Well it was sort of going really bad–because she didn’t know what to say. What could she say? Yes, the atmosphere was unbelievably romantic, as was the scenery, but that didn’t mean she could just… confess. Paris spoke to her, sure, but maybe she was just going crazy. Or maybe she was overthinking it! Maybe she was looking too far into what wasn’t there…. 

“Andrea.” 

Andy blinked and tilted her head, giving Miranda a questioning look. The woman arched her eyebrow even higher. Oh. Right. Well.

Um- um- what could she- well- 

“Do you remember the last thing you said to me?” 

That was NOT what she wanted to say. She did NOT want to bring up bad memories. She did NOT want to piss Miranda off or ruin her good mood or cause herself some grief. 

But it was too late to take it back. 

Already spoken into the quiet night air, already being processed through the cogs of Miranda’s mind. Andy looked back at the Eiffel, dragging her eyes over every single light–beginning to count them to distract herself from the silence that met her after she spoke. Blue eyes were still burning into her body, tracing over her side profile and returning the favor from what she’d done earlier. Scrutinizing her. Committing her to memory, maybe. Andy wasn’t sure. She just knew she couldn’t face Miranda head-on. Not after asking such a loaded, yet simple, question. 

“Yes,” came the very soft spoken, yet serious, response. 

Andy nodded, sucking her bottom lip between her teeth and biting down nervously. God, where was she going with that? What did she want to say? 

“Don’t be ridiculous, Andrea. Everybody wants this…” she sniffed, “everybody wants to be us.” Andy remembered that day clearly–perhaps more clearly than any other memory in her life. She couldn’t help the bitter laugh that bubbled up from her throat. 

“I-...,” she huffed, losing her mental footing. Her heart lurched within her chest. Her eyes still adorned the Eiffel. “I… didn’t realize what that meant at the time. Hell, I don’t know if I even realize now. I just know- I…” Andy inhaled deeply and steeled her nerves. “I just know I still want there to be an us. Just… not in that capacity.” And putting it that way felt so stupid, but it was true. It was what she wanted. Plain and simple. She wanted a ‘them’, finally she wanted a ‘them’. 

But not the assistant and boss ‘them’.

The lovers ‘them’. The ‘them’ that had hopes and dreams and love. 

It was so silent for so long, Andy thought Miranda had left. 

And she would have turned–would have looked to see–if only there hadn’t been the sound of glasses clinking. Brown eyes shot down to the crystal in her hand, sparking with surprise as she saw the lip of the other glass–the one with cream bubbles instead of pink–tap against her own. 

She looked up. Miranda was looking at her again, in that way she had before. Softly. Warmly. Knowingly.

“In what capacity then, Andrea?” 

And Andy knew that cheers was to say that she wanted it too–but she wouldn’t make it easy. Egg shells it was, then. Strong egg shells. And she would walk them with grace. They stared into each other’s eyes, stars reflected like mirrors. Bright and beautiful and glowing. 

Andy smiled, a sweet soft little smile that told Miranda she knew exactly what she meant. 

“I think you know what capacity.” 

And Miranda did. 

She always did. 

A shuddering breath filled the Parisian air. Andy tilted her head, watching the way Miranda’s features changed into something akin to hesitation. 

“I… am a difficult woman to be with Andrea, as you already know,” and it seemed it was the editor’s turn to huff out a bittersweet laugh. Her cheekbones grew sharp as she smiled–not a grin, but something that showed her teeth and her laugh lines and the trepidation beneath her facade. “You are young… full of- life and… energy.” Miranda’s voice was as smooth as melted caramel as she gestured vaguely with her hand, waving it around briefly without direction while trying to explain herself. (Something she rarely did, Andy noted.) 

“We could not be more different, Andrea,” and Miranda was very very right. Very very right and very very smart but also very very silly. 

Andy smirked and rested her elbow against the stone balcony edge, propping her head up on her palm. Brown eyes glimmered as they faced away from Paris–the city of love–and fixed themselves on Miranda–her own love. Always her love. Her difficult, correct, smart, silly love. 

“And I-” Blue eyes snapped to her, picking up on her expression. They flickered with amusement before falling back into something grey and irritated. “Are you listening?” 

Andy didn’t even flinch when she snapped–she just nodded, not bothering to hide the growing white sparkling grin on her face. Miranda squinted in response, suspicious.

“Repeat what I said.” 

“Excuses… excuses… excuses,” Andy shot back, slow and soft, shaking her head as she spoke. 

The incredulous expression she got in response was enough to keep her going. 

“I want an ‘us’ because we are different. Why stay with someone who is exactly like you?” And she knew she was making sense, just as she knew Miranda was listening. “Why stay with someone…,” and Andy really simply couldn’t help herself when she leaned forward and took Miranda’s hand, sandwiching the cool palm between her own. Her fingers traced small slow circles over soft skin and long veins. “...who isn’t you?” 

Blue clashed with brown again. 

When had they gotten so close? 

Was it Paris that pushed them together without them noticing? Was it the moon that made Andy grab Miranda’s hand? Was it the light drizzle, threatening a downpour, that made Miranda do what she did next? 

The smooth hand held between Andy’s slipped out of her grip and instead went to run itself over her forearm, sending sparks through the younger woman’s body. They still stared at each other, but Miranda was moving and Andy was helpless when caught in her gaze. 

“Come along now, Andrea,” came her mind-melting murmur, “It’s no use being in Paris if you’re sick in Paris.” 

And Andy’s grin, accompanied by the sudden giggle that bubbled up from her throat, was enough to make Miranda smile and shake her head. Her attitude was aloof, but it veiled the only three words she knew she’d say at a later date.

The only three words Andy wanted so desperately to blurt out on that sweet Paris night. 

The only three words that Paris, Miranda, and Andy had in common. 

‘I love you.’