DISCLAIMER: The Devil Wears Prada and its characters belong to Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: this story, like so many other things, is Telanu's idea. Thanks to her and to pdt_bear for their invaluable help. No sex, no violence.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Thousand Miles
By The Last Good Name


Andy stared down at her phone. The ring--Miranda's special ring, to differentiate the calls Andy absolutely had to answer from calls from Nate, or her parents, or anyone else in the world that she might actually want to talk to--seemed sharper, more insistent than usual. She hit connect.

"Yes, Miranda?"

"Where are you?" Miranda snarled.

Andy closed her eyes briefly, and then looked over to the steps where Miranda was ascending. Their eyes met.

"Get over here," Miranda bit out.

"No," said Andy.

Andy watched as Miranda's eyes widened, and her nostrils started to flare. "Now, Andrea."

Andy swallowed. "No."

Miranda snapped her phone shut and swirled into the show.

Andy stared at the crowds, and then at the fountain she was standing next to. It was cold, and the spray was--cold. Almost without her permission, her arm moved to the toss the phone in the fountain. But--no. "Oh, God," Andy whispered and clutched her hands. She should go inside and pretend none of this ever happened. She should go change her ticket and go back to New York right now. Or Cincinnati.

There were any number of things Andy should have done.

Instead, she took one step, and then another, and then another, until she was nearly running. Running away from the fountain's spray, away from Miranda. Once she started moving it was a little warmer.

There were teenagers playing soccer in the park, children running and laughing, people wearing ratty jeans and tracksuit pants.

Tracksuit pants.

"Excuse me," Andy asked a pair of joggers, hoping they spoke English. "Where did you get--the suit? The clothes?"

The woman smiled at her, breathless. "There is a store, down this road--"

"No, no," her companion said, "it it better to go to Adidas. To go there, first it is this way--"

Andy nodded and tried to follow their argument and the subsequent confused directions. "Thank you, thanks so much," she said, and got two pleasant smiles in return as they jogged away.

Miranda never smiled.

Ten minutes later, Andy realized that she thought working for Runway had prepared her for most of life's little humiliations, but walking into a sporting goods store wearing Chanel and stilettos was a new one. Thankfully, there was a charming young man behind the counter whose face was covered in pimples, and who ignored both Andy's clothes and her lack of French. In short order, she was equipped with a navy blue tracksuit and a pair of tennis shoes. Plus socks and a new sports bra.

The dress she tossed into a bag from the store, and she was just venturing out the door to pleasant goodbyes from her pimply new friend when her phone rang again.

Andy pulled it out without thinking about it, and was about to answer it--it was the Miranda ring--when she realized what she was doing. The behavior was mostly automatic by now. Pavlovian, Andy thought, and wondered if she'd start drooling anytime soon. But she was still in control of her faculties, she could decide whether to bend to Miranda's will or strike out on her own. And if she could make her own decisions, then--

"What is it, Miranda?" she asked. Maybe her brain was broken, because that was the only explanation for talking to Miranda in that tone of voice.

"Where are you?" Miranda demanded. Andy had a sudden thought of those stupid cell company ads: "Can you hear me now?"

"Well, I'm not where I was before," she said, and then almost laughed at the thought of Miranda's face.

"I can see that," Miranda hissed, and then repeated herself. "Where are you?"

Miranda never repeated herself; Andy was impressed. "I'm not sure, actually. I think I'm a little lost."

"Lost?" Miranda sounded furious, but Andy was strangely unconcerned. Hadn't Miranda figured it out by now? She had quit, she wasn't like Miranda, there was no us, it was over. Of course, continuing to answer the phone when Miranda called might be muddying matters.

"Yep, I'm lost."

"The show is over, Andrea."

"Really?" she asked, and glanced up at a huge street clock. She'd been wandering around Paris for more than an hour. "Yeah, I guess it would be," she said.

"Get back to the hotel as soon as possible," Miranda said in clipped tones. "I will meet you there."

"You're supposed to be going to Elie Saab and then to dinner with Miuccia," Andy said inanely.

"And you are supposed to be here," Miranda's voice was deadly low.

"Yeah, but--"

"Are you questioning me?"

Andy blinked and contemplated that. "I guess I am," she said slowly. Her brain was definitely broken.

There was silence on the other end of the line.

Andy sighed. "Look, I'm not sure--What happened with Nigel--"

"We have discussed this, Andrea," Miranda said.

"No, we didn't discuss anything," Andy said. "You made all sorts of proclamations, and I don't want--"

Miranda hung up. Andy glared at the phone. Unfortunately, there were no convenient fountains for her to chuck the phone into now.

There was a Metro stop across the way, though. Andy stared at it, and then decisively turned away and started walking again.

She was almost to the hotel when her phone rang a third time. She didn't even bother to check the display when she answered it. "What?" Andy demanded. "What do you want?"

"I--" Miranda said.

"No, I'm not at the fucking hotel, Miranda. I'm three blocks away, I will get there when I get there, and--"

"The show has finished."

"I thought you weren't going to go," Andy said dumbly.

"Some of us still--"

"Yeah, sure, and some of us don't," she interrupted. "Was there something you wanted?"

"You are at the hotel?"

"Almost. Do you ever listen to me?"

"I will be there in ten min--"

This time, Andy hung up first. It was hugely satisfying. She was waiting in Miranda's suite when Miranda walked in. "I quit," Andy said.

Miranda stared at her, complete shock all over her face. It was probably the tracksuit; it had been more than two hours since Andy walked out on her so the news couldn't be a surprise.

"Did you hear me? I said, I quit."

Miranda continued to look poleaxed.

"If that's all, Miranda," Andy said, and started toward the door.

"You can't quit," Miranda said.

"I just did."

Miranda stepped almost tentatively into the room. "So, you wish to discuss this. Then let's discuss it."

"Discuss what? I quit." How many times was she going to have to repeat the same words?

"Yes, fine, quit. But that does not change the fact that you--" Miranda stopped talking and put down her purse. "What are you going to do?"


"You quit your job, Andrea. What are you going to do now?"

"I don't know. I--" Andy licked her lips; she hadn't really gotten that far, what with the righteous anger and the freezing cold walk. "I guess I'm going to look for another job."

"Not in fashion," Miranda said.

"No. Not in fashion. Reporting, I guess. A newspaper."

"You have done that." It wasn't a question, but Andy figured Miranda wasn't looking for confirmation of a fact.

"Yeah, I was the Editor-in-Chief of the--"

"--Daily Northwestern," Miranda finished for her. "You won a Pacemaker Award that year, didn't you."

"Yeah. We did." Andy was shocked that Miranda knew that, and from the look on Miranda's face, Andy's shock was showing on her face.

But Miranda had a different agenda. "So you are fairly well positioned to get a reporting or editorial job in that field."

"Except that I couldn't find anything when I was looking last winter," Andy said, suddenly remembering the long and demoralizing job search and how happy she had been to get the job at Runway. The job a trained monkey could do. The job she had never actually wanted, so it shouldn't be a surprise that she had ended up quitting in a huff. "Miranda, why do you care? I quit. This isn't your business anymore. It was never your business."

"Do you know why I hired you?"

"Because I'm smart." And fat, she didn't say. "A hard worker." And fat, she didn't repeat.

Miranda had a weird look on her face. "You are very smart, Andrea."

"Too smart to quit a job a million girls would kill for?"

"Too smart to be running around fetching coffee."

Andy's jaw dropped.

"This job is beneath you," Miranda said carefully. "I know that. I had hoped that you would learn more from it than--"

"More than what?"

"This is an excellent opportunity, Andrea."

"What is?"

"Perhaps I have not been as available as I should have been. But you are the first--" Miranda didn't finish her sentence. It was the first time Andy had ever heard Miranda just trail off like that; Miranda Priestly was never at a loss for words.

Andy swallowed, the terrible beginning of an idea tickling the back of her mind. "You said I was like you."

"Yes," Miranda said, "I did."

"Miranda, I don't want to be like you."

Miranda's contemplative gaze narrowed into a glare.

"No, really. I mean, Nate and I weren't married, but we broke up for the same reasons you and--"

Miranda's glare turned even sharper, and it stopped Andy from finishing her sentence. They sat in silence for a moment; Miranda was looking out the window now. It was dark.

Andy said, "D-don't--aren't you s-s-supposed to go--"

"That is no longer your job."

Andy gaped.

Miranda fished out her phone and frowned at it.

Andy didn't really have a plan when she mirrored Miranda and reached for her own phone. Miranda continued to stare at her phone, seeming confused by its most basic function. Andy quietly called up Miuccia's personal number on her own phone and handed the phone to Miranda. Miranda took it without looking at her. Their fingers brushed. And then, oozing charm and graciousness, Miranda said, "I'm terribly sorry, something has come up; I'm not going to be able to join you tonight." The person on the the end of the line said something Andy couldn't hear, and Miranda replied, "Yes, yes, I'm sure it will be; you'll have to tell me all about it," and hung up.

Andy swallowed. When her husband had suddenly decided he wanted a divorce in the middle of Fashion Week, it had been ridiculous to consider canceling her evening, but when her assistant--her second assistant--Andy stopped thinking about it.

Miranda still wasn't looking at her.

Andy's stomach growled.

And now Miranda was looking at her. "Order room service."


"Steak for me. And wine. A great deal of wine."


"Oh, I suppose you can't do that either, now that you're not my assistant? Fine," Miranda said, and stood up. "Give me the phone. What do you want?"

Andy couldn't speak. This wasn't happening. It really wasn't.

"Well?" Miranda asked.

"S-steak too, I guess. Well done."

Miranda scowled.

"I'm not going to eat raw cow like you," Andy said without thinking.

Miranda opened her mouth, and then closed it again without saying anything.

Andy turned bright red. While Miranda called down and ordered their dinner, Andy looked around the rest of the room. It was rich. Luxurious. She didn't belong here. She never had.

"Well," said Miranda.

Andy raised an eyebrow. Miranda blinked, and Andy blushed again; she hadn't intended to give Miranda one of her own looks back, but what was she supposed to do? "Well what?"

"Let's discuss your career."

"My-- Miranda, no. This is not-- No."

"Andrea, just because you--"

"I quit," Andy said. "Y-y-you don't have to--I don't want you to--"

"Andrea, I will not allow you to destroy your career over an ill-advised, spur-of-the-moment decision."

"I'm not going to change my mind."

"I'm well aware of that. I don't expect you to."

"Then what--"

"Rolling Stone is looking for a staff writer; The Atlantic is looking for a contributing editor. If you'd prefer something else, I'm sure we can come up with, well, we'll come up with something."

"You--The Atlantic? Really?"

"Mmm," said Miranda, "Janice has finally quit, and James is beside himself with joy."


"You are vastly more competent than Janice, of course," Miranda said, gazing at Andy. "You could do that job in your sleep."

"Miranda--" Andy tried again.

"Of course, you could have trained the monkeys required to be my assistant."

Andy blanched. Miranda smirked at her.

A knock sounded. They both looked toward the door, but Miranda was the one who got up. "Dinner," she said, redundantly.

Andy looked at her feet.

When Miranda got back with the food, they sat down and ate. Miranda didn't seem to want to talk, so Andy kept her mouth shut, despite all the questions pleading to get out. She couldn't help looking up at Miranda every few bites, though. Miranda ignored her. Andy felt like she was getting whiplash, what with her afternoon and Miranda's weird behavior, and the stress of her whole fucking life. People needed to stop jerking her around. Miranda had to stop.

By the time Miranda took her last, deliberate bite, Andy was long done. Miranda took another swallow of wine, and then said, "So."

"So?" Andy's voice cracked.

Miranda sighed. "Have you made arrangements to get back to New York?"

"No," said Andy.

Miranda rolled her eyes.

"I'm sorry! It was a, a, spur of the moment decision, like you said. I haven't even--"

"Call the airline and have your ticket changed to tomorrow. I will get in touch with James--or would you prefer Rolling Stone instead?"

"I don't-- The Atlantic is fine." Better than fine. It was everything she'd ever wanted.

"I'll let James know to expect your résumé by 10:00 am tomorrow. I assume you didn't bring a laptop?"

Andy shook her head.

Miranda nodded. "You may use my computer; you'll have to recreate your résumé, but that shouldn't be hard."

Andy glared. Miranda merely raised an eyebrow, but Andy refused to back down. After all, that was what had gotten her the job in the first place. Miranda broke eye contact first. "I'm sure James will be able to see you on Friday; you should be prepared to start on Monday."

Andy swallowed, and then said, "Thank you, Miranda."

"Yes, well. I had higher expectations of you than to quit in the middle of Fashion Week, but I suppose you must follow your heart or something ridiculous like that."

"Conscience," said Andy.


"Follow my conscience," Andy repeated. "I--You--I can't--"

"Whoever he is, he is not worth it."


"Your boyfriend. He is not worth the wilful destruction--"

"It's not Nate," Andy interrupted. "It's not about Nate. You're right: he's not--he's got different priorities than I do. And we wouldn't have lasted, even if I hadn't been working for you. But Miranda: you're getting divorced."

"I am aware of that, Andrea."

"Yeah, well, Nate didn't just want me to care less about my job; he wanted me to stop trying entirely. Stephen just wanted you to show up to dinner on time once in a while."

"Stephen is not part of this discussion."

"You wanted to know why I quit. That's why."


"Because you're getting a divorce." Andy blushed and shrugged, struggling to meet Miranda's eyes.

Miranda got a very strange look on her face. Andy couldn't quite decipher it, but it wasn't a bad look. Not at all.

"My relationship has no bearing on--" Miranda said.

"I'm not going to be like you. Not about this. I'm going to take what you've taught me about being an editor, about managing a magazine, about being a boss," Andy said, realizing for the first time what this was really about. Why she quit. Why she bothered to confront Miranda. Why she cared. "But I'm going to make time for my personal life. I can't be you, Miranda. I'm not going to."

Miranda's face was closed.

"And--" said Andy, and took her heart and her life into her hands. "And I'm not going to let you be like you anymore, either."

Now Miranda's jaw dropped, again. "What?" she said.

"Y-you enjoyed dinner, right? So we're going to do it again. I'm going to be booked into your calendar--in stone--once, no, twice a month for the next six months."

Miranda's face was white, and her teeth were clenched.

"I understand if things have to be rescheduled. But you don't get to cancel on me: twice a month. I'll drag you out of the office if I have to, Miranda. Do you understand?"

Miranda's nostrils flared, and she opened her mouth.

"Do you understand?" Andy repeated.

Miranda gave a short, sharp nod, and then Andy stood up.

"What are you doing?" Miranda demanded.

"To get your computer," Andy said.

"Oh," said Miranda. "I--"

Andy raised an eyebrow.

"I'm sure I have things to do," Miranda said and disappeared.

Andy smiled and sat down at the desk, Miranda's computer laid out in front of her.

Three hours later, her résumé was finished. She emailed it to herself and to a few friends for comment, and then shut Miranda's computer. Miranda was still in the bedroom, and Andy chewed on her lip for a very long time, wondering how much it was worth to go tell Miranda good night and thank you. She had certainly pushed her luck well beyond any sane point, but Miranda seemed to--maybe not like it, but she wasn't reacting the way Andy thought she might. Instead, Miranda was actually supporting her; the more Andy pushed, the more Miranda treated her like a real person. Like an equal.

Andy grabbed the computer, tucked it under her arm, and strode to the door purposefully. Her steps faltered as she neared the door, but then she bit her lip, tugged down her tracksuit top, and opened the door.

Miranda was in bed, her face scrubbed clean, wearing her glasses and the same grey bathrobe as the previous night. She looked up from her book--a trashy historical romance, if the cover was anything to go by--when Andy opened the door. "Yes?"

"I'm done."

Miranda held out an imperious hand. Andy handed her the laptop, and said, "It's on the desktop, Sachs résumé three," then wondered where she was supposed to go. Miranda was in bed, and there was a bench all the way on the other side of the room, covered with Miranda's discarded clothes. "Sit," said Miranda, and nodded at the side of the bed. The side of the bed where she was currently laying, Andy thought inanely. Andy sat.

Miranda opened the computer said, without looking up, "What happened to Sachs résumés one and two?"

"They're in the trash. I, um, I emailed them to myself, for my records, but--"

Miranda merely opened the recycle bin. Andy stared at the wall.

"This is fine," Miranda said. "You should change--" and she started typing. Without thinking, Andy scrambled up the side of the bed until she was peering over Miranda's shoulder watching her type. Miranda smiled and glanced at her.

Andy's face went florescent, but she didn't move, and she didn't take her eyes from the screen.

Miranda finished what she was typing, and then said, "There."

Andy read it over one more time. "I guess that's okay. Email it to me."

"You'll send it now," Miranda said.

Andy rolled her eyes. "I want a copy for my records."

Miranda frowned and complied anyway, and when she was done, she shut the computer and handed it to Andy. Andy, in turn, put it on the bedside table. When she straightened up, she realized that she was sitting on Miranda's bed, with Miranda right next to her. In bed with Miranda.

She moved. Fast.

Except that before she could go anywhere, Miranda's hand was on her arm. "Stay," she said.

Andy settled back against the headboard, strung tense and trying not to breathe too loudly.

Miranda cleared her throat. "Dinner twice a month?" she said. It was a question.

"Yes?" Andy asked, and then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them, she was looking at Miranda. "Yes."

Miranda nodded, and her gaze flitted across Andy's face: mouth to eyes to neck to mouth again.

Andy licked her lips. It made Miranda blush.


"Yes?" Miranda whispered.

"I'm going to kiss you now," Andy whispered back.

Miranda nodded, not taking her eyes from Andy's lips. "Yes," she said breathlessly.

Andy nodded, too, and then leaned forward. She didn't have far to go.

Miranda's lips weren't particularly welcoming; her breath wasn't sweet; her hair wasn't soft. On the contrary, her lips were chapped, her breath tasted of too much pepper, and her hair was stiff with hairspray. She seemed unsure what to do with her hands.

Andy grinned and thought, Lao-tzu was right.

The End

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