Fandom: Heroes/The Devil Wears Prada
Rating/Genre: G/crossover, femslash
Characters/Pairing: Miranda Priestly and the twins, Angela Petrelli, Alice Shaw, Andy ‘Sachs’ Petrelli, Peter and Nathan Petrelli, Claire and Noah Bennet, Chandra Suresh, references to young Charles Deveaux, Daniel Linderman, Bob Bishop, Miranda/Alice, Miranda/Andy, implied Angela/Noah.
Summary: Neither of them had believed that they were ever going to see Alice again, but if Angela’s dream is true, there is still one more survivor in Coyote Sands.
Word count: 4 455
Spoilers/Warnings: This chapter is very much based on “1961”, Heroes season 3; so it’s a bit spoilery for that. (If you, on the other hand, want to know more about the episode, or refresh your memory, you could always go to Heroes Wiki.)
Previous chapters: 1.Someone You Care About, 2. Flying, 3. A Safe Place, 4. Fishing and digging, 5. Welcome to Coyote Sands.
Notes1: The last part! In this AU, Andy is the youngest member of the Petrelli family, and this takes place a couple of years after she left Miranda in Paris.
Notes2: I’m still inventing Miranda’s childhood/teens here; that’s fun (and yes, writing young!Angela and Alice was fun too!). I hate to beg for comments, but it would be interesting to hear any opinions on characterization (if you read this and find that you have opinions).
Notes3 I realize that logically, Angela is probably more than one year older than Miranda, but oops… please forgive me for taking this liberty with the ages! And I’m not sure exactly how old the twins were in the movie, but I’m thinking that they are around thirteen here.
Even at the age of fourteen, she had begun to learn the art of saying ‘that’s all’, in a way that defied contradictions. Angela was among the ones that were unaffected by her efforts to dominate instead of being dominated because of her ‘ability’ – she did not yet use that word – and they were constantly challenging each other. Which one of them could climb highest up in the tree – the twins would be surprised to know that she used to do that – or stay under water the longest, jump the highest cliff, or later; stay out the longest at night, wear the highest heels or wear makeup in school without getting told by a teacher to wash it off, or get the cutest boy’s attention…
There was only one time when both of them held back a little, and that was when they saw that they left Alice too far behind. In that way, Alice was the judge of all their games, and most of the games ended in a draw.
They weren’t really rivals; it was just that both of them were competitive and hated being second to anyone – but if they had to, they could share the first prize. The only thing Angela said that she refused to share or give up no matter what Miranda did was a date, and she admitted that she was glad that she was a year older than Miranda because that way they could both have the most awesome prom.
Miranda flirted with boys, too – because she could, and because Angela did it. She liked to be admired, but she never even let a boy hold her hand.
She didn’t want to hold anyone’s hand but Alice’s.
That first impression of Alice being a fairy princess never really faded, even as they got older. If anything, it got stronger. Angela and Miranda shared a lot and had a lot of fun, but what they most of all had in common was the bond with Alice; Angela because she was the older sister, and Miranda because she knew that even though Alice loved fairy tales, she held Miranda higher than any knight or prince that would ever come along. Miranda just knew this.
As the time for the prom came closer, Angela had nothing but boys and prom dresses on her mind, and she got all starry-eyed when she talked about one special boy who she hoped was going to be her date.
“Oh, we’ve heard enough already!” Alice complained, when all three of them were doing their homework together in Angela’s room.
“But it’s important to me!” Angela smiled as sweetly as only she could do when she wanted something. “Hey, don’t you like any boy? Even a little bit? I know I did when I was your age.”
“You sound like it was a lifetime ago”, Alice sniffed at her sister. “But I don’t. Boys are boring. Except for maybe Dave Smith. He’s kind, and funny and smart.”
Angela giggled at her sister’s taste in boys.
“You like Dave Smith? Don’t you know what they say about him?” Angela lowered her voice. “He’s not interested in you; he doesn’t like girls. As in, he likes… boys.”
“So?” Alice raised an eyebrow. “I don’t care. We have almost the same taste in books and we have fun. I hope he asks me to go to the prom with him when it’s our turn. He won’t try to kiss me or anything.”
“We’ll see about that”, Angela said, “two years from now, maybe you’ll want him to kiss you. What about you Miranda? Who do you want to go to the prom with?”
Miranda shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know. The boys have time to improve before then. I’ll go with the one who’s handsomest in school at the time. Someone popular and confident. That way we’ll look good in the photos and when we dance.”
“Oh my gosh”, Angela said, “that’s the most unromantic plan I’ve ever heard.”
“I don’t care”, Miranda said, “I know that I’m gonna look good, so I’ll need someone who can be my perfect match, I mean, as long as he respects me and doesn’t get any ideas. But it doesn’t matter that much. I’ll marry Alice anyway when we’re old enough.”
Angela almost choked but Alice laughed.
“Yeah, that’s the way it will be! But I don’t think that’s legal, though.”
“The law is stupid. But maybe it will have changed when we’re grownup.”
Angela stared at them.
“I don’t know if you’re very childish or just crazy. I can’t decide. Probably a bit of both.”
“But it’s not crazy”, Alice said. “Sometimes, men loved men and women loved women in ancient Greece, and people thought that was perfectly normal. So if they could do it…”
“What do you know about ancient Greece?”
“I read about it in a book in dad’s library. There was a poet, a woman called Sappho…”
“I don’t think”, Angela interrupted, “that dad approves of you reading everything you can get your hands on; you’re just a child…”
“I’m not! And dad says that he doesn’t have any books that are inappropriate or harmful for me. Except that he doesn’t want me to read the medical encyclopaedias, because he doesn’t want me to become a hypochondriac. But I’m not interested in reading those books anyway.”
“That’s funny”, Angela giggled, “because the medical encyclopaedias are the only books I’ve read in there. Well, at least certain pages…”
Alice rolled her eyes and called her sister childish.
“No, I’m not. A girl has to find out about the facts of life, it’s not childish at all.”
“But what Alice said”, Miranda remarked, “is also a fact of life.”
Angela was quiet; didn’t try to argue.
“Well, if you’re serious”, she finally said with a deep sigh, “which I doubt because you’re only fifteen and fourteen years old, but if you think that you’re serious, then I ask this of you: don’t go around talking like this in school or in front of mom and dad, don’t do anything in school; I don’t ever want to hear anyone talk about you like they talk about Dave Smith, do you hear me?”
“I hear you”, Miranda said with a sigh.
The older sister fastened her eyes on the younger.
“You have to stop holding hands out in public, God knows what’s next. Say that you promise, Alice.”
“That you promise, Alice…”
Angela rolled her eyes, but smiled, and that was the end of the discussion.
Miranda thinks about how young they were then; so young and innocent. She has changed, and her life has changed according to her plans. But here she is now, back in Angela’s life, she has not chosen to be here, not exactly, but she followed Andrea, and now she understands that Angela brought her there because of Alice.
She remembers that last day. She had been with Doctor Suresh, who had tried to figure her out, but he didn’t seem to understand. He felt like an explorer taking his first steps on an unknown continent; she was one of the natives and he wanted to understand her nature, but he wasn’t there yet.
When she came back from her doctor’s appointment, Alice told her that Angela and the boys were sneaking out.
“They didn’t want us with them”, she complained, “or at least they didn’t want me with them. Angela thinks she’s so grown up… and you’re just the babysitter.”
“Don’t be silly”, Miranda sniffed, “it’s not like that… it’s those boys, they make her do it.”
“What ever. She does it. She left us here, and told me to cover for her, but I’m scared. She told me we’ll be safe, but… I have a bad feeling about tonight, Miranda. Something’s going to happen. To her or to us, I don’t know, but…”
Miranda had tried to reason with Alice, but Alice didn’t want to listen. She was so convinced that something bad was going to happen to Angela out there, that that was the reason why she had wanted Alice and Miranda to stay in the camp.
“Please, Miranda, follow them and make sure that Angela is all right!”
“But”, said Miranda, “if something bad happens, I’d rather stay with you…”
“No”, Alice shook her head and looked pleadingly at Miranda, “I’ll be fine; she said I’ll be safe here.”
Miranda knew that Angela didn’t normally lie to them. But she, too, had a bad feeling, because of everything she had picked up from people’s wishes. She had a feeling that what ever the danger was, it was inside rather than outside.
But Miranda always did what Alice wanted her to do. Because she loved her, she left her to get lost. Get lost in the dusty ruins of ‘Coyote Sands, relocation centre’.
Later, when she asked Angela why she had lied and told Alice that she was going to be safe in the camp, Angela said that she did it to protect her sister. Angela asked Miranda why she hadn’t stayed.
“You could have protected her if you had stayed.”
“I would have stayed if you hadn’t lied.”
“I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
“If you didn’t, how could we have known?”
But it was a fact the both of them had only done what they thought was best at the time. When Miranda finally had caught up with the gang, she found them in a café, talking, and Angela was angry at first because Miranda had left Alice, but then they told her everything. They told her about Angela’s dreams and about the danger that was coming from Doctor Suresh; they had gone to look for help, but the police didn’t believe them; they thought that a group of teenagers’ stories about experiments on people were nothing but childish pranks, and no one listened. It was only then that Angela’s fear began to make sense to Miranda, and then when the storm came, she thought that she was going to die.
But the five of them formed the Company that night, because Angela told them that they had to. She had seen it. And everything they had done from that day onwards was because of what had happened in the camp. Doctor Suresh could not cure Angela from her dreams. He couldn’t cure anyone. He could only investigate, explore, experiment, damage, and they… they could only run.
“This can never happen again”, Angela said firmly, “not ever. No one can know about us.”
“They already do”, Miranda pointed out to her, but Angela shook her head, and told them with tears in her voice that she had a dream about the future.
“We’re going to form a group, a company, and it’s going to protect people like us.
“We’re just kids”, Bobby Bishop said, and Angela glared at him.
“Not anymore, we’re not!”
And now they are back where it all begun.
The two women struggle in the storm; sand is in their eyes, but Angela walks as if she knows where she is going, and she goes into a building, down under ground, and there, for the first time, they see signs of life, on human presence.
Old papers in piles, blankets, old toys, furniture, ragged pieces of clothing, canned food. The wind can’t reach them down there, and they look around with wide eyes, beating hearts.
Someone is coming down the stair, and they see the feet, the legs, and then the figure of a woman with grey, curly hair in a cloud around her face, and the eyes that look at them are no more than fourteen years old, but the face is older than that, much older.
Miranda thinks that this is going to be too much for her, that she is going to die. Alice is dead. Miranda has kept her hidden in her heart all these years, knowing that they will not meet again on this side of Eternity. But here they are.
Angela speaks. She has tears in her eyes as if she can’t believe what she sees, but she must have seen this in her dream. Alice doesn’t even want to turn around to look at them at first, and then Angela reaches out and touches the hand of the other woman.
Alice turns around. The sisters don’t fall into each other’s arms. They look at each other in silence. Alice looks at Miranda.
“I’m alive”, she says, “you’re not going crazy…”
She tells them that they look old. Does she look old? They tell her that she does not, and she smiles. She does look as old as they do – most people would even think that she looks much older than Miranda – but the expression of her face is strangely childish, familiar.
They ask her how it is possible that she is still alive. Why had she stayed there all these years?
“You told me… Your dream… I thought I’d be safe here, and the world would be safe… from me. When you left… that doctor – Suresh – came for me…”
Alice tells them about that night; how everything became chaos. The doctor scared her, and when she got scared, the wind started blowing, the door opened and papers were flying through the air, and one man was struck by lightning. Doctor Suresh looked at Alice with horror, and she ran out, the fastest she could, through the storm she had created although she didn’t quite know how. The doctor chased her, screamed at her to calm down, and when she didn’t, he slapped her. That was when her daddy came and shot a wave of power – or something - at doctor Suresh – she hadn’t even known that he could do that – and that was when he got shot. People came running, they screamed, more people got shot, and Alice, she hid under a building, and she waited until it was over.
Sitting down, Alice hides her face in her scarf. Miranda and Angela kneel beside her, put their arms around her.
“You don’t have to stay here anymore. Let us help you.”
“Time to go home”, Miranda says. “Guess what; Angela’s got socks for you. She steals socks, you know… whenever she feels lonely and she thinks about you… isn’t that right, Angela?”
“Yes”, she says, “to remind myself that there are simple ways to protect the ones we love. Alice, I’m so sorry”
Alice nods, shaking; her lips quiver.
“Oh Banana”, she says and leans closer to her sister, “it’s not your fault.”
Miranda wants to tell Angela to keep quiet, at least for now; now is not the time, but she can’t stop the other woman; she tells Alice everything; that she lied to her that night.
Alice gets up from the floor and stares at Angela.
“You…” she hisses, “you…”
And there is that wind again; blowing stronger, even down there in the shelter because Alice left the door unlocked when she walked in.
“I’m so sorry!” Angela cries, and Miranda adds:
“Yes, she really is!”
But both of them are struck by bolts of thunder and they fly back against the wall. Miranda barely notices how much it hurts – it’s nothing compared to the look on Alice’s face.
Then all of a sudden, Peter, Andrea and Noah come running down the stair and they stare at the wild-haired woman in disbelief. The thunder is deafening, but Noah tries to reach out for Alice and screams at her to calm down. He, too, is flung to the floor and he doesn’t move.
Peter and Andrea run up to Angela and Miranda and get them up on their feet.
“I have to talk to her”, Angela says, and moves closer to the desperate and scared teenage girl in an old woman’s body.
“She’ll kill you!”
Andrea tries to hold her back, but she can’t do anything.
“Alice, stop. It isn’t their fault, this is your family; this is your niece and nephew, Alice. Miranda has children, too, and they would love to get to know you, if you just…”
Alice looks at Miranda, still at the back of the small room.
“Children? Then you married a boy after all?”
Miranda tries to speak but she can’t. How can she explain to this woman who has lived in isolation all this time that she, Miranda the brave knight, lost all hope decades ago?
“You have a family”, she cries, “and they are the only ones who can make everything all right!”
“Don’t punish them”, Angela tries, “for my mistakes…”
The wind subsides, and the silence is such a contrast that it hurts the ears.
“I’m so sorry”, Angela whispers, panting, “let’s get out of here, let’s go home.”
Alice raises her lowered head, slowly. She looks at Miranda, then at Angela.
“Say goodbye, Alice.”
Miranda almost smiles. That old game. Angela’s phrase, ‘say this or that, Alice’, and Alice repeated it to the last letter, ‘That you promise, Alice’, with a little giggle.
But not this time.
There is no giggle in Alice’s voice, when she opens her mouth to say:
And she turns around and starts walking out; wide-eyed, Angela stares after her, she turns to Miranda and hisses:
“Miranda, say that you will…”
But Miranda can’t say anything. She wants Alice to get back home safely just as much as Angela, but she can’t become fifteen years old again. She realizes this, suddenly: sometimes it’s too late to keep a promise. When they were young, very young, they shared a few sweet, secret kisses, but that was then, and Miranda who has loved the memory of this girl all her life can’t, she just can’t, run after her now and kiss her once again to make her stay and forgive.
Alice runs up the stairs and out, and Angela runs after.
Miranda changes her mind. Of course she has to try – she will remind Alice of their old daydreams, even if it’s just to make sure that Angela can bring her home, but when she’s finally outside again, with Andrea and Peter close behind her and Angela in front of her, she can’t see Alice anywhere.
The afternoon sky is yellow and pink with shades of purple and green; the enormous empty sky over Coyote Sands seems to have swallowed the woman with the grey curly hair.
Of course they look for her. They look and they look, everywhere, but Alice can’t be found. They realize that she doesn’t want to be found. They have lost her, again, and as darkness falls, even Angela has to realize that Alice will stay lost.
The night is cold, and Miranda decides to let the twins go with Angela and Claire in Noah Bennet’s car. Peter and Nathan take off and reach for the sky, and Miranda does too, as Andrea grabs hold of her.
At first, they don’t speak. Miranda feels the young woman’s arms around her and she wants to tell her lots of things, but she doesn’t know where to begin.
“So you were part of the Company in the beginning?”
Andrea’s voice is soft, but curious, eager to understand.
“Yes.” Miranda nods. “But I left because I couldn’t stand the memories of Alice, and the guilt; I think that your mother felt the same. We were constantly reminding each other of the one we had lost.”
“Alice said something about marriage…”
“Yes, we were…” Miranda wipes away a stray tear from the corner of her eye, “we were childhood sweethearts… Later in life, I tried to move on. But I always wanted to remain faithful to her memory… maybe that’s why I married men; because I tried to…”
“I see”, Andrea says, “I’m… I’m so sorry, Miranda.”
“No”, Miranda says, “you don’t see at all. Loosing Alice – and then loosing your mother’s friendship, too – has been the great pain of my life. But then you came. I know that you didn’t see it while you were working for me, and neither did I, I guess. But now? Do you see that I care about you? I mean… that I love you.”
“But I’m…” Andrea’s voice is insecure, she who said in the beginning of this adventure that ‘caring about’ was the least complicated part, “Are you sure? I’m Alice’s niece, so…”
“No”, Miranda says firmly, determined to settle this question once and for all, “I don’t love you because you’re Alice’s niece. But because you are you; unique. You are simply Andrea, the person I learned to care about, to cherish and to love while you were working for me, trying to satisfy my every whim. I love you, too, because you walked away from me in Paris.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Sometimes, walking away is the right thing to do. By not giving in to another person’s wishes, you prove that you have the strength to make your own decisions. I have to respect you for that.”
Andrea doesn’t say anything. Does she not feel the same? Has Miranda said too much?
She can’t ask, because Andrea lands and drops her off next Nathan and Peter, and the brothers reach for Andrea’s hands.
They stand like that, all four of them, until the car arrives and they all go in to the diner – is it really the same one? – to get something to eat and decide what to do next. Nathan Petrelli has a huge mess to sort out, Miranda realizes that, one that concerns all of them.
They order their food – not what Miranda normally would choose to eat, but after all, nothing has been normal about the past few days, so why not stuff herself full of carbs while the craziness lasts; surely it must come to an end sooner or later.
It might be later. It feels like the distorted version of a funeral dinner.
Angela goes to the rest room, and after a little while, Miranda follows.
“Oh Miranda”, Angela says, “We’re never going to see her again…”
“We don’t know that”, Miranda tries, but Angela sighs, and both of them know that Miranda is probably hoping in vain, and all that they can do is, like before, to keep on moving and keep on remembering Alice.
“We’ve got to let go of the guilt”, she says, “you’ve got to let go of it. You’ve got to try.”
Angela nods, slowly; her eyes are red.
“I think”, says Miranda, “that it was wrong of us to go our separate ways…”
Finally, Angela’s lips are curved by a small smile.
“I was hoping you’d say that. It would be wrong to do it again, at least. Let’s stay friends, Miranda. Let’s… let’s be family.”
Miranda’s heart flutters.
“If she’ll have me”, she says. “I don’t know that…”
This time, Angela’s smile is warmer.
“You’ll have to ask her…”
“Thanks for giving us your blessing”, Miranda smiles back, “how old-fashioned – and nice…”
They join the others for their salty, carb-stuffed meal; the others – their families, maybe their family, look at them; concerned, loving looks.
“I think”, Cassidy says and leans in closer to Noah Bennet, “that you should give Mrs. Petrelli a hug.”
The man adjusts his glasses and looks at her with a small smile.
“You think so?”
Cassidy nods firmly, and Miranda thinks that she likes his smile.
All the men in Angela’s life – at least as far as Miranda knows – had had their own way of smiling. That boy she had wanted to go to the prom with, and Arthur of course, with his warm grin, and Kaito’s rather cold version of a smile, at least in Miranda’s eyes. But this man’s smile seems to be the most genuine of them all.
“They say that children are truthsayers”, Noah says as he puts his arm around Angela, “and who am I to disobey a twin’s order…”
“Oh Noah”, Angela says and doesn’t pull away from him immediately, “that twin is Cassidy… and you’re right to do as she tells you.”
Miranda can feel that he wants something, and that Angela wants something, but she doesn’t know if it is enough; as she doesn’t have Angela’s powers, she can’t tell if it’s going to be more – or if it has ever been more – than a hug.
“And you”, Cassidy says and nudges Andrea, “I think that you should give mom a hug.”
“If I may”, Andrea smiles, but she doesn’t wait for a spoken permission before she gives Miranda a quick hug.
Andrea’s arms are wrapped around her again – Miranda realizes that she’s almost gotten used to it by now, but this is in fact their first real hug.
“This isn’t a company”, Andrea says as she lets go of her.
“No, it’s a family”, Peter replies, “it’s a big difference. Families have the capacity for forgiveness.”
He looks Noah firmly in the eyes; the older man nods in agreement; he looks at Nathan, who nods back.
Miranda looks at Angela, who doesn’t say anything.
“No more hunting”, Peter goes on, “we’ve got to keep our existence a secret.”
“So what do we do know?” Andrea asks.
Her brother Nathan answers:
“I’ll go back to Washington and take ownership of my mistakes and talk to the President.”
“And you four”, Angela says and looks at her daughter, Miranda and the twins, “you’ll have to go away somewhere until it’s safe.”
“We can go back to the cabin”, Caroline says, “we like it there. We’ll only bring some food this time, and it’ll be great. Don’t you think so, Andy?”
“Well”, Miranda interrupts, “Andrea didn’t say that she agrees to stay with us…”
“But of course I do”, the young woman says and looks surprised. “How could I not, after what you said…”
“Really?” Miranda stares at her. “I wasn’t sure… because you didn’t say anything…”
Andrea looks her in the eyes; a smile lives in her eyes and it melts Miranda’s heart.
“I didn’t know that I had to say it out loud”, she explains, “I said it in my heart. I thought that with your ability, it would be the best way…”
Miranda is still melting in Andrea’s eyes when she says:
“I rarely use my ability in private matters. I didn’t listen with my heart. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to hear anything…”
“Try again”, Andrea says softly, “do you hear it now?”
And just like that, Miranda has a big family again. She doesn’t even care if it’s going to take her another week or even two before she can come back to Runway.
“Yes”, she says, “I do.”