DISCLAIMER: I own very little, none of which comprises anything so glorious as Miranda Priestly. So, not mine.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I tried not to cheat on this, but unfortunately, I cannot, cannot write with music on. So, I listened to the song, noted the length, and attempted to complete something in said time frame. Unfortunately, I am also far too anal to not re-read and edit said pieces. I also hate rules. Still, I tried not to cheat and these are as good as it gets for me. Unbeta'd, so all mistakes mine. Again, for the lovely, brilliant flying_peanuts, for good advice and being just a little pushy about Mirandy.
CHALLENGE: 1. Pick a character, pairing, or fandom you like. 2. Turn your music player on and turn it on random. 3. Write a drabble/ficlet related to each song that plays. You only have the length of the song to finish the drabble; you start when the song starts and stop when it's over. No lingering afterwards! 4. Do five of these and post them.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Unchained Melodies
By Fewthistle


1. Ordinary World (Duran Duran)

Andy trudged up the stairs to her apartment, each lift of her foot to the next step a concerted effort, as if each of her limbs weighed a hundred pounds. She had just discarded the massive weight of the world she had been tottering under for the past year, tossing it angrily into the silver laden waters of a Paris fountain. It occurred to her that she knew how Atlas must have felt, the ache in the muscles of her back and arms nearly unbearable.

Slamming the door of her apartment behind her, she surveyed the remains of her former life, a life she had willingly and willfully abandoned for the unintelligible whisper of a siren's song, the false promise of something so ephemeral that even now she couldn't quite bring the image into focus: an image of Miranda, lost and so touchingly real, face scrubbed clean, gray bathrobe her only armor against the world, an image that swam before Andy's eyes for an instant and then dissolved into the haze of cold rain and steam rising from the vents in the street below the window.

Nate was gone and with him was gone the Andy that he had known, the one that had been reflected back to her in his honest brown eyes, the one that she wasn't sure had ever been as real as he had wanted it to be. All around her were mementos of her former life, but it was as if the room in which she stood was a cracked glass out of which all the emotions and memories of the past had leaked out.

Andy sank down onto the edge of the mattress, mind and body numb. Strange that the grief that clutched at her had nothing to do with the man who had occupied the other side of this sloping bed, and everything to do with the woman she had left standing, angry and abandoned on the steps in Paris.

She had left a life of beauty and wealth and privilege. And for what? Her principles. Her pride, even. To prove that she wasn't like her. Callously walked away for little more than her own peace of mind, to ease a conscience riddled with doubt. Selfish. Callous.

So much for not being like Miranda.


2. Don't Cry Out Loud (Melissa Manchester)

The girl stood, shoulders hunched, head down, gaze fixed on the dark gray carpet at her feet. In her slender hand, she clutched a red ribbon stamped, "Second Place" in large gold letters. A single tear made its way down her cheek, tumbling for an instant through space to fall against the dark blue of her school uniform.

"Do. Not. Cry." The white haired woman sitting on the couch intoned severely. "Do not give them the satisfaction of imagining for a moment that they matter to you in the least. In a few years you will have made a name for yourself in the world and they will still be trapped in their mundane, wretched little lives. Even now, they are simply jealous; jealous of your obvious talent, of your drive and ambition. They wish that they were you. Are you listening to me, Miranda?"

Squaring her shoulders, the girl lifted her head, a glint of resolve in her eyes.

"Yes, Grandmother. Next time, I'm going to win. I promise you that. No more second place. Ever." Miranda replied, her voice unconsciously mimicking the lower tones of her grandparent.

"Good. That's all," the older woman said, her gaze returning to the book in her lap. She didn't even glance up as the door closed with a soft click.


3. Only the Lonely (The Motels)

Andy slipped into the front door of the townhouse, the Book clutched to her like a life preserver to a drowning man. It was the last refuge of sanity, because being in Miranda's house for any other reason treaded far too close to the edge of reason for her comfort. Bring the Book, hang the dry cleaning and leave. She promised herself that she would simply do that every night.

And yet, every night she found herself in the fading light of Miranda's study, sprawled half-naked on the couch, the skin of her back and thighs sticking to the supple leather. Or pressed back against the sharp edge of the desk, the hard wood leaving a crease across the soft skin of her ass. Biting her lips and moaning at the feel of Miranda's mouth against hers, the kisses awkward, clumsy; biting her lip at the touch of Miranda's hands on her breasts, of Miranda's slender fingers buried none too gently inside her.

And the next day, in the hallowed chambers of Elias-Clarke, biting her lip and holding back the tears at Miranda's indifference. At Miranda's cool voice and even cooler eyes. At their lonely little game.


4. I Will Follow You Into the Darkness (Death Cab for Cutie)

Andy watched the slow rise and fall of Miranda's chest, listened to the soft exhalation of each breath. Now, in the gauzy light of dawn, the lock of hair that fell gracefully across her forehead could be the palest of platinum. Her face wiped clean of makeup and of all the large and small annoyances of her day, Miranda looked younger than her fifty years.

Andy knew, at least on some rational, intellectual level, that Miranda would die one day. Quite probably long before she herself did. After all, there were twenty five years between them, and yet, there were days when Andy could have sworn that she was on the upper end of the age scale, not Miranda. Miranda who was so full of energy, full of life.

Knowing Miranda, she had already arranged her own funeral. After all, things of that importance couldn't be left to Emily. Later tonight, Andy would ask her about it; ask her where she wanted to be buried. Ask her if there might just be a place available beside her, an empty plot.

Andy could think of far worse things than spending eternity with Miranda Priestly. God knows, it wouldn't be boring.


5. You're Beautiful (James Blunt)

It went without saying that Miranda loved beautiful things. The glorious sweep of a Dior gown. The classic lines of Chanel. The radiant colors of Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne. The subtle curve of a woman's spine. Well, one woman's spine.

One perfectly manicured finger traced the sloping line of Andrea's back and Miranda smiled to see the trail of goose bumps blaze a path along Andrea's porcelain skin. Following the line of her finger with her lips, Miranda breathed in the fresh scent of rosemary and mint bath oil, the skin under her lips fragrant silk.

Honestly, was it any wonder that she loved this gorgeous creature, this woman who gazed at her over her shoulder with such a look of bemused adoration that Miranda's breath caught in her throat.

Not loving Andrea would be like asking Miranda to look at the Mona Lisa and say, "It's a nice enough painting, I suppose, but it would be better if she'd smile".

Never going to happen.

The End

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