This is NOT a part of my Like... series. This was written as an exercise to try and break my writer's block, I do not know if there will be any continuation to it at all. It is fairly stand alone though.
In this 'verse Andy never left Miranda in Paris and still works at Runway.
I of course don't own any of the characters you recognize.
Huge thanks to the wonderful Quiethearted, Jazzy and Dhamphir for beta'ing this mess... and 'encouraging' me to post it.
Rated G, amazingly.. there are shades of Mirandy though. Obviously... I did write it after all. :)
Into the Fire
Andy barely controlled her breathing as the fire trucks raced past the town car. Ever since she turned eighteen she had volunteered at the fire department in Cincinnati and even now after a few years of not answering the sirens, she felt the urge to do so. Shaking off the feeling, Andy gripped the Book a little tighter as she leaned back, closed her eyes, and waited for the car to pull up in front of the townhouse.
Roy's soft curse caused Andy's eyes to fly open and she gasped, “Oh no!”
The firetrucks were completely blocking the street and both driver and passenger could see that it was in fact Miranda's townhouse that was ablaze. Andy exited the vehicle quickly, running out of her heels in her haste to get down the street. One fireman stopped her.
“Whoa there... You can't go any closer...”
“I have to!” Andy struggled in the beefy arms, unable to free herself. “That's my boss's house!”
“Don't worry.” He reassured her, “We pulled the lady out already. Found her in the bedroom. Must have been napping.” He pointed to the ambulance and let Andy go.
Andy dashed to the emergency vehicle and swallowed hard at the sight of Miranda, lying unconscious on the gurney, a smear of soot across her cheek. She heard an EMT say 'smoke inhalation'. An oxygen mask covered the editor's nose and mouth but even though the often hard, blue eyes were closed, the rise and fall of the older woman's chest reassured Andy that her impossible boss was at least alive. Andy was a little surprised at the relief that thought brought her and she smiled a little as she looked around the scene. Her smile quickly faded though as she realized something very, very important. “Where are the girls?”
Grabbing the closest fireman, Andy demanded. “What happened to the children??”
The fireman broke Andy's hold on him and shook his head, “No kids lady... only her.” He indicated Miranda, “The rest of the house is clean...”
“No....” Andy shook her head, “No... the girls will be there, this isn't their weekend with their dad.” She knew for a fact Miranda was taking them to the theater tomorrow; she'd scheduled it herself. “They're there!”
“Lady... I'm telling you... there isn't anyone else in that house.” He pushed her back as gently as he could. “You need to move back now. The house is a loss.”
Andy shook her head, but the fireman had already turned his attention back to the house. A loss, she thought, That means they're just going to let it burn and try to keep it from spreading to the rest of the block. But the girls are in there!! Glancing back at the gurney Andy's heart clenched at the sight of Miranda so helpless. She'll die without her girls.
Remembering one particularly large fire they'd battled in Cincinnati, Andy recalled that they had found the kids in that fire hiding in their bedroom closets. Somehow, Andy knew the same thing had happened here. They're hiding. Again grabbing the fireman by the front of his jacket, Andy tried to get him to listen. “They're hiding... the kids are in there... hiding!”
The fireman was losing patience with this nearly hysterical woman. “I'm telling you lady, there isn't anyone else in there. We looked everywhere... their closets, the trunks at the foot of their beds, laundry hampers... everywhere.”
Andy looked at the burning house and released her hold on the man, her shoulders slumping in defeat. They're in there... I know they are... Moving away, Andy dodged between busy firefighters. Sneaking a jacket, an oxygen tank and a mask from the extra's on the big truck, Andy put on the jacket and strapped the heavy tank to her back. She headed toward the front door of the townhouse thinking about nothing except how much Miranda loved her girls. Sliding the mask over her face, Andy walked through the front door, into Hell.
The fire roared its dominance over the house and Andy watched it lick the ceiling for a moment before moving down the hall from the foyer. The heat was extraordinary and Andy worried that the girls wouldn't have any protection against it. The only consolation she had was that fire safety assignment she had done for the girls. She hoped they had actually paid attention to it before they turned it in. Wrapping wet blankets around them would help, for a while. She just hoped she could find them before that measure became useless.
Her first instinct was to go upstairs and check the girls' rooms but the fireman had been adamant about having checked everywhere she realized that course of action would be pointless. Plus the safety protocols from the school assignment clearly stated to go as low as possible. Therefore she thought the girls would be downstairs, somewhere. Trying to avoid the burning spots on the floor, Andy slowly made her way through the thick smoke and down the hall. Leaning over to get lower to the ground, all the interaction she'd ever seen between Miranda and the girls flashed through Andy's mind. The affectionate “Bobbsey” nicknames, the tears in Miranda's eyes when she spoke of the effect the divorce might have on her children, the softened voice Miranda always used when speaking with her girls... the impossible tasks Andy had been given on their behalf.
Moving carefully through the smoke and flames, Andy chuckled, I can't believe I managed to get that Harry Potter manuscript for them. She gasped, Harry Potter!! Of course! Sliding her hand along the mold work, Andy found the panel she was looking for and pushed it. She'd opened it once before on accident while delivering the Book. She hated her clumsiness most of the time, but at this moment it was paying off with interest. The click of the magnetic latch was lost in the roaring of the fire, but Andy pulled the panel, that hid the cupboard under the stairs, open. Relief flooded through her as two sets of frightened eyes looked back at her from under wet blanket hoods. She removed the mask and motioned for the children to come out of their hiding spot, “Girls! C'mon... we've got to get out of here.”
With one arm around each child's waist, Andy carried the girl's out of the house quickly. As soon as she cleared the smoke, Andy's gaze went unerringly to the ambulance and saw that Miranda had regained consciousness. It was taking three large people to hold her back and she heard a sound that she never ever wanted to hear again. Miranda's voice, unusually loud rang out through the chaos; desperate and pleading, “My girls!!”
Speaking as loud as she could, Andy carried the girls as quickly as possible toward the ambulance. “I've got them.... Miranda... I've got them.”
Shocked blue eyes turned toward the reassuring voice, “Andrea?” Then the soot covered burdens took shape and Miranda gasped, “Girls!!”
Andy released her hold and watched, tears barely held in check, as Cassidy and Caroline climbed onto the gurney with their mother in a joyous reunion. The EMT's gave the trio a moment to reunite. Andy smiled at the scene until the annoying fireman blocked her vision.
“You're one stubborn gal...” He smiled at her and looked down her long frame, eyes widening as he got to the end of his perusal. “Come with me.” Leaning down, he picked her up, cradling her in his arms as he carried her on over to the ambulance, yelling, “I need a gurney!”
“Put me down!!” Andy struggled against the treatment but the man held her tightly.
“You don't want me to do that.”
“Yes I do!”
They were next to the hastily set up bed on wheels,which was very close to the one Miranda and the girls now occupied. The fireman smiled kindly and agreed, “Okay... just stop struggling for a minute.” He let her down, slowly, and as soon as he released his hold, grabbed her again when she began to fall. “I gotcha...” He eased her onto the gurney and nodded, “... Here ya go... Hero.”
Andy blinked and tried to clear her eyes of the tears that had sprung to her eyes. The pain when he had put her down was excruciating. Looking down her legs she saw the reddened and blistered skin on her feet. “Oh, right.... my shoes.” She looked back down the street to where she'd initially lost them and almost couldn't believe she'd been stupid enough to run into a burning house, barefoot. Hissing as the paramedic gave her a shot in the arm, Andy watched as he gently lifted her foot to slather some numbing gel on it and bandage it up before moving on to the other. Andy's forehead wrinkled at an unfamiliar sensation. She looked down at her forearm to see an elegant hand resting there. Following the arm up to grateful blue eyes, Andy smiled and tried to focus as the pain meds they'd shot her with kicked in, but all she could think of at the moment was how beautiful Miranda was.
“Andrea,” Miranda removed her hand from her assistant's arm, squeezing her children tightly to her. “Thank you.”
Nodding, Andy reached over and gently wiped the smear of soot off Miranda's cheek, then Andy closed her eyes and lay back on the cushioned surface. Only one response was possible from her now pleasantly drugged brain, “You're welcome, Miranda. Always.”