DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: October 13th – I was stuck in a hotel room late at night, unable to sleep as usual and sick. The television was on with endless reruns of some of my favorite shows. And I missed my dog. And I had this L.L. Bean catalog…and I was high on cold medicine. Well…shit happens. Enjoy.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To brithna[at]gmail.com

The Perfect Crime
By Brithna

 

There was naturally a lot that no one knew about Andy Sachs. Her life was sort of designed that way almost by accident. Especially these days. It wasn't like there was something creepy going on. She just wasn't in the mood to share. And even if she was…what would she share? Every day was essentially the same. Wake up, a bagel for breakfast; but not an onion bagel mind you because that was just gross now, and then there was work with lots of coffee mixed in in between. There really wasn't anything more to know.

So, no…nobody knew that Andy was damn near fascinated with crime. Okay, white collar crimes, money…high stakes theft; that was alright, but murder was better…and had lots of potential. Murder was unpredictable, yet had the potential to be methodical…like her job. Murder was passionate, yet had the potential to be mundane…like her job.

In light of this fascination with…okay, creepy shit and in spite of her limited time, Andy found plenty of seconds, minutes and hours to watch as much NCIS, CSI, and Criminal Minds as she could find. Oh, and let's not forget about her most favorite show of all time: Dexter. Now THAT was a show.

By watching all this, with almost an religious schedule, it was clear that the amount of education one could glean from this sort of intense couch-potato lifestyle was staggering. And it was also clear that most people were just careless when it came to stuff like this. Perfect planning was essential and cleaning up after yourself was the key to not getting caught. You can kill people all day long but what good is it going to do you if you can't get away with it?

Andy was starting to regard herself as somewhat of an expert in this now, in light of how much television she was watching, and had given seriously thought to quitting Runway to start her own clean up business. She could do it. After all, she'd seen shows to be able to clean up after the Valentine's Day Massacre if given the chance. Wouldn't that have been cool? Then again maybe not because that whole situation had been more like leading a herd of cows to slaughter than anything masterfully planned.

And maybe she wouldn't quit Runway just yet since there were still some episodes of Criminal Minds she needed to catch up on courtesy of her Blu-ray box-set. And there was Miranda to consider. How could she leave Miranda for something like that? It would actually be sort of easy in a way…but painful in many others, not to mention the fact that Miranda would probably fall over dead because, hello, the woman had already asked her once not to leave.

But anyway, there was a heck of lot more things to do and think about other than how Miranda would react if Andy up and quit to become a clean-up girl for hire. Things like getting rid of the fucking Book, this fucking dry-cleaning, and catching a cab home to watch more TV because while riding the subway here had been fun; she was plenty over that since the snow was coming down faster by the minute.

Fortunately, Andy had been performing in this dog and pony show for long enough to know she'd never survive in heels in weather like this – hence the change in wardrobe. In place of Chanel there were jeans, a sweater with a thermal shirt underneath and a damn good pair boots; not to mention the nicest, fluffiest coat her money couldn't buy – thank you, Nigel.

Yet in spite of everything: the weather, her nice, normal, boringly creepy life that she was eager to get back to, this Book, and this dry cleaning that was weighting her down with every step she took…Andy stopped dead in the snow almost thirty feet from the door to the townhouse.

Blood. There was blood…not drops of blood, not massive amounts either…but blood is blood so what in the hell was going on?

Everything she'd ever learned in her religiously scheduled, couch-potato of a life-style kept her still. She did not move because these next seconds were very critical. The details at the beginning of a story can sometimes tell you everything you need to know.

If she had to guess, this spot of blood on the sidewalk that stood out so clearly in the pristine snow was about the size of her fist. And it was fresh, only a little covered by any falling snow.

Keeping her place, not moving an inch, Andy turned her head from side to side and listened closely. There was no one, as far as she could hear, around…not even any cars coming. When she lifted her eyes up and let them travel down the sidewalk in front of her it was easy to see more blood in the same sort of pattern…all the way to the doorstep. Yet, the odd thing was that there really wasn't any other sort of track. The snow, while it had failed to cover the blood completely due to its latent heat, was certainly covering any tracks that Andy would have been able to see. But…the street lights weren't that bright either and one of them was out so the lighting was less than great anyway.

She should probably, no…she should call the cops. Like right now. But no, not yet. She was good at figuring this stuff out now and damn-it once they showed up with all their lights, sirens, and big clunky shoes it would just turn into a total mess. Not to mention the fact that Miranda demanded perfection no matter what was going on and besides watching endless hours of television, perfection was Andy's specialty.

So with perfection, the dry-cleaning, and The Book in tow, Andy made her way carefully forward paying close attention to where she placed her feet. Remembering her steps might be important later on.

The closer she got to the door the darker and bigger the blood spots became and now she could finally see the faint signs of footprints. They were boots but right now it was hard to say what size they were because like it or not, panic was starting to set in. When she got even closer, one foot print was set just right in the light so she quickly took a picture of it with her phone. Yes, definitely boots and she could tell now that they were on the small size. Miranda. Her heart skipped and she started to rush forward to the door but stopped. Rushing in might startle someone. It would be better to just catch them in the act, whatever that might be.

Fingerprints on the door handle weren't something that concerned her too much at this point. If there were fingerprints on the door handle then there would damn well be fingerprints inside and vise-versa. Like usual, when she needed to dig in her pocket or bag for the keys, Andy hooked the dry cleaning on the outdoor light and dug around quickly for her key. She didn't even thing about putting The Book down on the ground but she did at least put it in her handbag. Leaving it outside wasn't something she would do even if someone had a gun to her head. Andy wasn't that stupid.

With her bag looped securely over her head and shoulder, Andy unlocked the door and quickly stowed the key away in her pocket. Slowly, very slowly she turned the handle, she had lots of practice getting in and out of this house undetected, and pushed the door open. There was blood again right there in front of her.

Okay, this was just weird. The blood almost formed some sort of shape but she just couldn't understand what it could be. And there was melted snow of course from the boots.

Andy took a deep breath and closed the door behind her just as quietly as she'd opened it. She listened…there was no sound. "What the fuck," she whispered and set her bag carefully by the first closet, keeping her phone in hand.

The blood and melted snow led toward the kitchen…Andy made sure her finger was poised over the emergency button on the keypad of her phone and she moved forward. If this was bad at least that much would be done and the police would hear every single thing afterward.

Moving slower still and staying close to the wall, Andy kept going, trying to listen…which was hard to do since all she could hear right now was her own heartbeat thundering in her ears.

It might have just been her imagination but in spite of her roaring heartbeat, Andy could swear she finally heard a noise. A whimper of sorts...or a moan…and then a scratching sound. Well fuck…tired of tiptoeing and prolonging the inevitable; Andy closed her eyes for just a second then opened them and turned into the kitchen.

"Holy shit…" she said, letting out a loud breath at the same time. "What the fuck, Miranda?" Andy leaned against the kitchen doorway and surveyed the scene in front of her while she tried to pull herself together.

Miranda was sitting there on the kitchen floor, still in her boots and heavy coat…with Patricia's head in her lap. And of course Miranda didn't say anything. She just looked up at Andy and blew her beautiful silver hair that happened to perfectly match the falling snow outside, out of her face. For a second everything Andy wanted to say was caught in her throat. She'd never been able to picture Miranda in jeans, much less a big fluffy jacket. And those boots…they were just regular, functional insulated boots. Functional wasn't something Andy thought of when she thought of Miranda. No, definitely not. "Wow…" Andy whispered before she could stop herself but then quickly recovered. "I mean seriously…you scared the shit out of me!" Then and only then did Andy see Patricia's left front paw as it lay there beside Miranda's outstretched leg. Bingo. The source of the blood had been officially found. Andy was glad this was all the situation turned out to be but couldn't help feel a tiny bit disappointed. Oh well. Better luck next time, right? Right. One day something big would happen somewhere and Andy would get her chance to figure it all out.

"I scared you?" Miranda finally said then repeated. "I scared you? You're the one tiptoeing around the house…and I might add you don't do a very good job of it and you never have. I hear you every single night." She was trying to sound like her usual, nasty self but it wasn't working. Her voice was off and there was worry written all over her face.

"Okay…well…okay." For a second Andy was taken back to her earlier days of being scared of Miranda and never knowing what to say, but instead of standing around trying to get her bearings back, Andy peeled off her jacket and hung it on a kitchen chair. As she turned back around, Andy said "So, what happened?" and tried to ignore the possible glare Miranda was gracing her with.

"Well…" Miranda started but paused, causing Andy to raise not one but both eyebrows. She was about to cry. Miranda. Priestly. Was about to cry.

Andy swallowed hard and yep, here it came. Tears. Holy Fuck. There was one thing on this Earth that Andy never wanted to see again and that was Miranda crying. Once was enough. Once had nearly killed her. Once had driven her into some idiots bed to avoid dragging Miranda to her own. Once had nearly made her quit her job and move to Siberia. Once had changed Andy's entire life.

"It's my fault," Miranda sniffed and Andy's heart melted. "The house is so quiet since the girls are gone right now." She sniffed again and Andy knelt on the floor beside her with a kitchen towel that was near the sink. "I…I don't know…I just felt like going for a walk and she needed to go out anyway. We went much farther than usual and when I crossed the street on the way back…" She turned her head to the left and motioned, "There was a wreck earlier and those imbeciles, I intend to have them fired…remind me on Monday, did not properly clear the street of debris. Glass…I didn't see the glass mixed in with the snow."

"Hm…" Andy looked at her and shook her head. "I'll remind you on Monday." She smiled and somehow that seemed to smooth out a few of the stress lines around Miranda's mouth. "Are you hurt? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine of course…but she is obviously not. Your sense of reasoning is still appalling after all this time." Miranda said sharply which Andy didn't mind at all. That was much better than her being in tears. And thank God those were drying.

"Yeah, I know. I was only scared shitless that something had happened to you for no reason, right?" Andy, after all this time, had learned to give as good as she got and she was over her earlier nervousness now…for the most part.

"I have no idea why you would care about that."

Andy rolled her eyes and said "Whatever." then gently picked up Patricia's paw and began to be even more gentle as she pressed the dishtowel to it.

For a while neither of them said anything as Andy continued to work on Patricia's paw so she could get a better look at what was going on. She really wanted to give Miranda a pat on the back for not telling her step-by-step how to do this task or straight up yelling at her for even touching Patricia. Very few people had ever guessed at just how attached Miranda was to this dog. Patricia was not Caroline and Cassidy's dog…Patricia was Miranda's dog. Period.

Just as Andy was almost finished, Patricia whimpered. Then Miranda whimpered. Andy swallowed and looked up…yep, Miranda was crying again. Oh, boy. Miranda said, "I can't believe I didn't see the glass…" in between the tears and smoothed her hands over Patricia's head and neck.

"It's okay, Miranda." Andy put her free hand over Miranda's, stopping its movements. "She'll be alright. It was just an accident…and think of the snow. You didn't see it. No one would have. I promise she'll be okay." But would Andy be okay because this was wreaking havoc on her nervous system. Serious havoc because, hello, Andy was actually holding Miranda's hand now instead of letting go of it like she should have done seconds ago.

"I suppose you're right." Miranda broke through Andy's inner rambling and basic stupor. "Thank you."

And here we go. What the fuck? She wanted to say 'Miranda, you can't fucking do this to me! You have to stop! It's insane! You can't say shit like that because it makes me even crazier than I already am for you!'…but of course she didn't. Andy just patted her hand and turned her attention back to Patricia.

"You're welcome. So, I guess you haven't called the vet yet, right?"

"No. It was into the house then straight here for the both of us. I must admit I was a little…" Andy could hear Miranda swallow hard.

"It's fine…seriously. Can you hold this, "Andy nodded toward the towel and Patricia's paw "and I'll call him? His number is in my phone."

Miranda nodded and took over while Andy got up from the floor and went out of the kitchen. She didn't want Miranda to hear her on the phone since all Miranda would do is try to tell Andy what to say anyway. And it was a good thing too because the conversation didn't go as Andy had hoped it would.

Bill was out of town and his son Jamie, who was supposed to be taking care of all the emergencies, was happily spending the night partying in New Jersey. He wouldn't be able to do anything for Patricia until the morning…late morning at that. In the meantime, Bill's only advice was to make sure no glass remained in the cuts, wrap her paw in some gauze and take her to the vet in the morning. Great. Miranda wouldn't be happy with that. At. All.

And yes, as she feared if Miranda hadn't been on the floor with Patricia's head still in her lap, she would have hit the ceiling. Seriously hit the ceiling. But as things were, instead of hitting the ceiling she just sighed and leaned her head back against the cabinet while Andy kept waiting for her to explode.

Stilling waiting, Andy said "I think it'll be fine…really. Let me just check her paw for glass while you stay down there with her. She'll be calmer that way, don't you think?"

Miranda just nodded.

"Okay, then." Andy was suddenly nervous and unconsciously wiped her hands on her jeans. Jeans. Miranda hadn't said anything horrible about Andy's jeans. Jesus. Clothes….fuck! The dry cleaning! "Okay, um…I'm gonna need some tweezers just in case and some gauze…first aid kit?" What sort of sentence structure that was, Andy didn't know.

"Yes," Miranda looked up at her and blinked a few times with her head tilted just so…Andy loved it when she tilted her head like that. It was so innocent or something. So genuine. And…cute. "In the cabinet under the guest bathroom sink. First floor. Could you…could you help me out of this?" Miranda touched the collar of her jacket. Duh, she had to be burning up.

"Yeah, yeah. Sorry." Andy shook her head and went back over to her. The dry-cleaning would be okay for another minute. Hopefully.

Quickly, Miranda unbuttoned as much of the jacket as she could then gently moved Patricia's head, because she seemed to not give a damn about what Miranda or Andy were doing at the moment, and unbuttoned it the rest of the way. Of course by now Andy's normally sure and steady hands were shaking. It was a rare occasion that she touched Miranda and this would by far be the most intimate move yet. Carefully, with hands that were…yep, sweaty again, Andy maneuvered the jacket around while Miranda did her best to get her arms out of the sleeves. Finally free of it, Miranda leaned up from the cabinets and Andy pulled the jacket out from behind her.

"Whew…" Miranda let out a breath. "That jacket is certainly worth its meager advertising dollars."

Andy snuck a glance at the tag and almost fainted. L.L. Bean. Miranda Priestly…wears L.L. Bean? Oh, boy. But anyway…Andy put the jacket over another one of the kitchen chairs and took care of the now frozen dry-cleaning that was miraculously still hanging on the light outside the door. Next was the first-aid kit which, cha-ching, already had tweezers in it. There was a little bottle of betadine next to it so Andy grabbed that too and an extra towel. Thank God there was always a twin in need of a band-aid around here.

When she got back Miranda almost smiled…no…she did smile as Andy came back into the kitchen. She did smile…

"Are you ready?" Miranda stopped smiling and rolled an eyebrow.

"Yeah…yeah, sorry." Andy shook her head and moved forward.

For the next little while Andy simply worked her magic at keeping Miranda calm as she worked on Patricia's paw. Patricia hardly made a sound but when Andy started looking her paw over for any remaining glass, she started to get a little antsy.

"Shhh…" Miranda whispered to her and started stroking Patricia's head and neck again. "It will be over in just a moment." Then she looked up at Andy. "It will be over soon won't it? I do not want you recklessly digging around in there all night. She has been in enough pain."

"Miranda…" Andy sighed and looked up. She wasn't in the mood for this. "Once I'm done she'll feel better. Please try to relax. Please."

"Fine then." Miranda averted her eyes from Andy's but continued to watch every move she made.

With the wound clean, there had only been one tiny piece of glass in her paw, Andy enlisted Miranda's help in bandaging the area like Bill had instructed her. All in all it went well and the only thing left to do was to figure out what exactly they were going to do next. Miranda couldn't very well stay on the floor like this all night long.

"Okay, we've got to move her so you can get up. You can't sleep here."

"I don't want her sleeping in here either." Miranda said sternly.

Andy looked at her with the same eyes she used when she needed to talk Miranda into not making a schedule change that would fowl up the entire week. "Well no." and then she smiled. "She won't have to. Her bed is in the living room, right? Bill said it would be alright for her to get around a little bit if she wasn't bleeding anymore and the living room isn't far."

Her smile and charms worked, causing Miranda to give in. "Alright, if you're sure."

"I'm sure." Andy nodded her head and together they moved Patricia over. Then the thing happened that Andy had been dreading. Miranda stuck her hand out for Andy to take. Of course she would need a little help off the floor after being here for so long, right? Right.

Andy cleared her throat and stuck out her hand. Miranda took it…but didn't move. She only held it and Andy didn't know what to do. Miranda just held her hand and looked up at her with that innocent face that tore at Andy like nothing else and said "Thank you, Andrea. Thank you for being worried…about me, and thank you for helping her. You know how much she means to me."

Well, fuck.

Like an idiot Andy knelt back down because Miranda, who was apparently capable of being quite emotional when she wanted to be, was tearing up again. "I was worried," Andy said and like an idiot…wiped a tear off Miranda's smooth cheek with the back of her hand. "You know all I do is watch crime shows…like all the time. I guess it just makes the time go by, and I…really….she'll be fine."

"Yes." Miranda blinked and cleared her throat. "I'm sure." She said then let go of Andy's hand and got up all on her own.

"Yeah…I'm sure."

There was an awkward second or two, trying to figure out how to get Patricia into the living room; then all of the sudden Patricia got up and moved her own self to her bed without much of a problem. Seeing this caused Miranda to instantly relax.

While Miranda got out of her boots Andy cleaned up the now dried blood and puddles of water. She felt silly now, not being able to see that it was a paw print…but honestly it really did look like a big huge spot of blood with no shape at all. But, nevertheless, Andy would be studying more, watching more. Soon she would have the hang of it and be solving even the simplest of crimes.

Andy found herself done with clean-up duty and Miranda was finally out of her boots…she had on purple socks….purple socks…God, could this woman get any cuter? More unpredictable?

"Why don't you…are you hungry?" Miranda asked her as they both stood in the kitchen looking at nothing at all.

"I…well." Andy stuttered and Miranda waved her off as her posture stiffened.

"Very well then. I'm sure you have plans."

"No!" Andy practically jumped forward. "No…no plans." She tried again and managed to keep her voice calm this time.

Miranda smiled…again. Miranda smiled again and Andy was pretty sure that her heart would seriously break by the end of the night. "Meryl made some tomato soup…and I've been told I can make a decent grilled cheese sandwich." She put a hand on her hip and leaned back against the counter looking even cuter.

Tomato soup? Grilled cheese sandwiches? Purple socks? Andy fought hard not to pinch herself. Maybe for once she really did fall and smack her little head. Seriously… Andy managed to smile and say "Okay." Which only made Miranda smile even bigger than before.

A little over an hour later…yes, over an hour later…they were done with the soup and sandwiches and into their second bottle of wine. Oh, boy. Something told Andy that getting drunk with Miranda was the worst idea ever but it would be damn near impossible to stop. Everything was warm and quiet and the entire house smelled like tomato soup and Miranda's perfume. Andy was more comfortable right now than she'd been in a very long time.

They were in the living room, since Miranda refused to be away from Patricia any longer than necessary, and of course Miranda had her feet, in those purple socks, propped up on the coffee table right there teasing Andy. Every now and then she would roll her ankle or tap her foot on the edge of the table. It was hard not to stare and taking into account how comfortable Andy felt, she didn't deny herself the pleasure.

"What size shoe do you wear?" she said before taking another sip of wine.

Miranda looked at her hard and rolled her eyes. "You know that already, Andrea."

Duh. "Right…sorry. Size seven…but six and a half sometimes, depending on who makes them."

"Correct." Miranda smiled again.

"I wear a size eight." Andy dumbly replied. Like Miranda would care or even want to know.

"I know that." She said, again rolling her eyes.

Oh. Andy felt her face burn with embarrassment. "Sorry…"

"No need. Have you seen the newest L.L. Bean catalog? I'm sure they have some very practical things you would find enjoyable."

Here we go with the L.L. Bean again…Andy had almost forgotten about that and oh, boy here we go with the laughing. Wine, red wine specifically, always made Andy laugh. She couldn't help it…so for the next minute Andy laughed like she hadn't laughed in ages.

Finally Miranda's voice broke through. "Are you quite done? I hardly find that statement amusing." Her voice was firm but her face betrayed her and a second later she snorted then broke out into laughter too. "You think…" She sucked in a breath in between laughing into her hand. "I've lost my mind by mentioning it, don't you?"

"Well!" Andy tried to continue but failed so she just laughed; they both just laughed and let the moment end when it was ready.

Finally it was, and then there was that awkward silence that always follows every bout of drunken senseless laughter like this one.

"I haven't had this much to drink in a very long time, Andrea. A very long time."

"Neither have I. Hey, are you see…" Realizing what she was about to say, Andy shut her mouth. What in the fuck was that! She's almost come ridiculously close to asking Miranda if she was seeing anyone. Which…in all honestly, Andy should probably know that answer but never tried to assume anything about Miranda.

"No." Miranda replied and looked right at her. Andy's face burned again but now it wasn't from embarrassment. It was from the look on Miranda's face and the fact that she'd known what the rest of Andy's question was. "Why would you ask?"

A string of curse words repeated themselves ten times over in Andy's head. How in the fuck was she going to get out of this? But maybe she shouldn't try to get out of it. They were drunk, right? Right. Miranda had been giving Andy funny looks lately, right? Right. And this had been on Andy's mind for a long damn time, right? Right. And she was drunk right now and didn't care if she got fired, right? Right. So okay…here goes!

"I don't know…" Oh, that's fucking perfect Sachs, try again. "I just…do you miss it? Having someone?" Okay, that was better…but just a little.

Miranda tilled her head to the side just the way Andy liked again and stared at her. There was a slight sparkle in her eyes that registered like a warning shot. This probably wouldn't end well because usually when Miranda's eyes sparkled that meant someone's death was right around the corner. In light of this thought, Andy filled her wine glass again from the bottle they'd brought with them from the kitchen and after a decade of time passed by, Miranda finally answered her.

"I can hardly miss something I've never had to begin with."

"Huh?" Andy was officially lost, almost forgetting what she'd asked in the first place.

"You asked if I missed it…having someone. And frankly I don't think I've ever had something like someone such as yourself is describing."

What? "Okay, wait." Andy turned sideways to face Miranda and curled her legs under her. "What do you mean? 'someone such as yourself'?"

"Oh, Andrea." Miranda set down her wine glass and gave her an annoying look. "You are far from realistic. I'm sure you think relationships are all about endless romance, roses and God knows what else." She waved her hand in the air. "But they are not. At least I've never seen it."

"I don't think that's fair. I know that." Andy said defensively.

"Well then…what is your idea of 'having someone' then? I know you're not merely speaking of the physical. That seems a little…beneath you."

Beneath? Yeah, Andy could think of plenty things to do while Miranda was benea…wait. What? Oh… "Right…well. Um…I just mean someone. You know…around. To talk to. To just…I don't know. Be with." She shrugged, trying to think of a better way to describe it. Well…the best thing to compare it to was just this. Like them sitting here right now. So… "Like this." Andy said.

Now Miranda tilted her head about ten more degrees and raised an eyebrow. "Like this?"

"Yes!" Andy said a little louder than she intended. "Like this…sitting around having tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches together…taking care of the dog together…just someone to…be with." Now all of the sudden Andy was sad because, hello, it wasn't like this night was going to last forever. And, hello, it wasn't like Andy really had anyone to do this sort of thing with either.

"Well then," Miranda said as she straightened her head. "No. If this is your definition of having someone…tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and an injured dog…then no. I honestly don't know what that's like; therefore, I can hardly be missing anything."

"Hm." Yep, that was all Andy could say because what she really wanted to say right now, in what was turning out to be a very drunken state, was 'Hello! Yes, you can! Cause I'm right here just waiting for your retarded, bitchy ass to wake the fuck up!'

"Hm?"

Shit. "I just mean 'okay'. Like…I get it. Understand."

"You're drunk." Miranda chuckled…she actually chuckles? Really? Yep…Andy was drunk.

"Not by much." Andy smiled and tried her hardest to see as un-drunk as possible.

"I believe you are. But I find myself headed in the same direction. Let me ask you…do you miss it? Having someone?"

Yeah, cause Miranda knew she was single already. Everybody knew Andy was single because Andy had absolutely no life beyond the television and Miranda. But…had Andy really had this? Grilled cheese sandwiches and wine; yes. An injured dog; no. This warm comfortable feeling that had absolutely nothing to do with too much wine and had everything to do with too much Miranda? No.

"In some ways I do...the grilled cheese sandwiches, maybe. But in others…I've never really had this either."

"Which part? The injured dog?" Miranda smirked.

"Well yeah…but it's more than that. Just this." Andy didn't know what else to do but gesture between them to describe what she meant, so she did. Undoubtedly, Miranda raised a questioning eyebrow. "Like…" Andy blew out a frustrated breath. "Just this! Just being with you…us, sitting around talking at the end of the day…just being…I've never had that. Not in this kind of comfortable way." There. Now she'd officially made a complete ass of herself. And okay, maybe she was drunk because… "Like this, Miranda." Andy leaned over and took one of Miranda's feet off the coffee table. She opted for not paying attention to the look on Miranda's face and just pulled gently at her leg until her foot was in Andy's lap. "Like this, Miranda." She repeated and held that incredibly cute, purple foot and squeezed it a little. "Just sitting here, late at night, having a glass of wine…or a bottle. Relaxing. Talking about whatever…your day…or nothing. Just sitting here unguarded for once. Unafraid. I've never had this." Okay, she wasn't sure where that unguarded and unafraid part had come from but she was proud of it. It was brilliant.

"Hm…if tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and wine garner me a foot rub every night…minus the injured dog of course, then I suppose it might be worth it, to have someone…"

"Yeah…"

After this long merry-go-round of a conversation, they just sat there quietly. Andy kept rubbing Miranda's foot and Miranda refilled their wine glasses, but they remained nearly full. Which was probably a good thing. Soon Miranda moved her other foot into Andy's lap and she took her cue. Miranda of course seemed pleased and closed her eyes.

Andy couldn't ever remember seeing Miranda with her eyes closed for longer than a blink of time. It was fascinating. With her eyes closed Miranda looked peaceful, like nothing bored her or was ever incompetent. In fact…right now, everything seemed as right as it could be. Right now, seemed like the perfectly natural time to…kiss Miranda.

Andy slowly picked up Miranda's left foot and placed it down on the floor then picked up her right and set it down between her and the back of the couch. Right then Miranda opened her eyes. "What are you doing?" She wasn't looking at Andy with any sort of expression that Andy could read. Miranda was just looking at her…intently.

It would have been easy, very easy for Andy to lose her nerve but somehow, it was probably the wine, she felt confident. Everything about this was perfect. Like the perfect crime that you totally get away with because you meticulously planned it right down to the very last detail. Yes, how could this go wrong?

"I was just thinking that this has been so perfect. This…us. Right now." Andy got a ridiculous lump in her throat and almost lost her cool anyway but managed to keep it…and moved in closer. "And I was thinking that even though this has been so perfect…and something neither of us has really had; there's something else I've never had Miranda." Andy paused for a second to gauge Miranda's reaction as she moved closer yet again, just a fraction of an inch.

Miranda did nothing but raise an eyebrow and say, "What would that be?" in a quiet, almost shy voice.

"The end. I've never had the end. The most important part. Because you see, Miranda…" Again she moved in another inch and put a hand on Miranda thigh, right above her knee. "You see Miranda," She started again, "you're more important than the wine, or the grilled cheese sandwiches…or even the injured dog…anything. Nothing has ever been more important to me than you…and you can…you can fire me in just a minute but first let me…kiss you. Just once…" By the end Andy was whispering and closing the last remaining distance. Her heart was roaring in her ears but she could still hear Miranda whisper…

"Just once?"

"No…not if you wanted more." Andy whispered back and just once she brushed her lips gently against Miranda's. Just once.

When she pulled back a little Miranda followed her, placing a hand on the back of Andy's head. "I do…I do want more." Miranda whispered and Andy went back in.

But, Andy went back in for more than just a kiss. Andy went back in for more grilled cheese sandwiches, bottles of wine…even an injured dog; next time it would be a seriously nasty scratch to the nose received at the dog park…and Andy went back in for the most important thing of all. The ending to the long list of things she'd never really had: Miranda.

It would not all be smooth sailing, mind you. There would be rough patches…fights, because not everything can be perfectly planned.

There would be Caroline and Cassidy, approving of their relationship one second then slamming their bedroom doors in the very next. There would be the press and Miranda's split second decision, that she would inevitably make all by herself, to tell a group of reporters that the rumors were true, and that she was in fact in love with Andrea Sachs. There would be Andy's parents, Miranda's father, and the whole of Runway to get through. And much more…

There would be good times too, good times that would erase all the rough patches and less than perfectly planned moments.

Times like the girls finally realizing that Andy wasn't going anywhere, because they'd been more afraid of that than Miranda ever had. Times like Miranda breaking a photographer's camera when he got in Andy's face and kissing Andy right there in the street afterward. Times like Thanksgivings and Christmases spent with Andy's parents, Miranda's father, and holiday parties at Runway. And much more…

So in the end you see…there was naturally a lot more to Andy than just her endless hours of sitting in front of the television. Especially back in those days. It wasn't like there was something creepy going on. She just hadn't been in the mood to share. And even if she had been…what would she have shared? That she was spending days, weeks, and months in love with someone who had been far out of reach? No, she couldn't have shared that so every day was essentially the same; filled with bagels for breakfast, work, the television, and lots of coffee mixed in in between.

But, now all that was over. Now no day was ever 'essentially the same' as the one before it, even if it was still filled with work, only a little television now, and still lots of coffee mixed in in between; it was never the same.

The End

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