ahhhh okay so i wrote this forever ago but never posted it (or finished it, since this is a multichapter) but i just really wanted to start posting it so here we go

(my mom is a nanny so theres kids around my house pretty much always so i hope i can get the kids right, but since its been forever since i wrote this, all the kids i used as inspiration have aged so i'm winging it)

you taught me

the courage of stars

before you left

- sleeping at last

"Hello?!" Sara calls into the big house, and closes the door behind her.

"Sara!" A young girl with long, brown hair comes running into the hallway, engulfing her aunt in a big hug.

"Hey!" Sara lets out a huff when the girl collides into her, but gladly accepted the warm hug from the seven year old. "How are you?"

"Good!" The little girl beams. The party hat on her head is askew, and Sara readjusts it so that it's back on the top of her head. "Come on!" She grabs her aunt by the wrist and drags her out into the garden, where the rest of the company is.

They enter the garden together. A few guests look up, but most of them are too distracted by the conversations they're having with others. Tommy is by the barbecue, grilling hamburgers and talking to Oliver and John. There's a table in the garden, and by it are Laurel, Thea and Amaya.

"Mommy! Look who's here!"

Laurel's face brightens at the sight of her younger sister. "Sara!" She exclaims, before wrapping her into a tight hug. When she lets go, her eyebrows furrow together in confusion. "Wait, who let you in?"

Sara points to the giddy seven year old. "Your kid did."

"Rebecca!" Laurel scowls, "what did I say about not opening the door to strangers?"

"But she's not a stranger, mommy!" Rebecca replies, then turns around to the rest of the party guests to tell them that her aunt had arrived.

Laurel grunts and buries her face in Sara's shoulder. "Remind me again why I thought having three children was a good idea." She mumbles to her sister's shoulder.

Sara laughs. "I have no idea."

"Hey Sara!" Thea gets up from the table and hugs her friend. "Good to see you!"

"Good to see you too!" She hugs her friend before letting go and moving to Amaya, who is already waiting on her, arms spread. "It feels like forever since we last saw each other!" Amaya exclaims after she's let Sara go.

"It really does!" Sara agreed. She hadn't seen most of them since Maura was born eight months ago, despite being close friends and regularly calling them. She'd just gotten so busy with trying to start a new business with Kendra and Kara, which turned out to be a lot more work than they'd anticipated, that she'd barely had time to take the trip to visit her friends. Any nights that she did have off were mostly spent watching netflix, reading, or babysitting her cousins when Laurel and Tommy's babysitter, Sin, was unavailable.

Sara waves shortly at the men by the barbeque, and Tommy smiles at her before waving back. The others wave too, before returning to their conversation, probably about football.

"How's the business?" Amaya asks once Sara's sat down by the table, before she's even managed to take a sip of the drink that Laurel had given her.

"It's good." She replies. She takes a sip of the cold drink before going into details. "We're finally getting closer to the amount of investors we need before we can start."

"That's great news. So you're finally able to tell us what you are going to call your bakery!" Laurel teases.

"Nope." Sara grins before taking another sip of her drink. The truth was that they still hadn't settled on an official name, but she wasn't about to tell her sister that.

"Oh come on! Just tell us!"

Sara was about to reply, when she heard a soft cry coming from one of the upstairs bedrooms.

"That'd be Maura." Laurel informs them, already getting up to get the youngest after having taken a nap.

Sara stops her sister by covering her hand with hers across the table. "That's okay, I got it."

Her sister smiles at her gratefully. "Thanks."

Sara smiles back, then walks back into the house, making her way to Maura's bedroom. The house isn't too big, despite having four bedrooms, something that surprised Sara when the couple had first bought the place. She expected them to move to a much bigger place, especially considering Tommy's father being a multimillionaire, but they'd settled for a regular family home instead. Although, knocking up a girl in college was apparently enough for Tommy's father to cut all ties with his son - including financial ones, so Sara supposes that there hadn't been much choice, either.

Having been at the house so often, Sara finds the room easily and is greeted by a wailing 8 month old, clutching the bars of her crib, her cheeks red and stained with tears.

"Aww." Sara reached in and picked the girl up, feeling her instantly relax. She lets out a soft sniffle and buries her face in her aunt's shoulder. Sara rubs gentle circles on her back. "Sshh. It's okay girl. Were you upset that mommy wasn't coming, huh?"

Once Maura has calmed a little, Sara wipes her cheeks and plants a kiss on one of them. "Let's go downstairs to see mommy."

Sara walks downstairs with Maura in her arms and is about to go outside when the doorbell rings. Peeking through the window next to the door, she recognises the person and let out a sigh. She shortly debated leaving him on the doorstep and returning to the garden under the rouse of having her hands full with Maura, but everyone knows that she's like the easiest baby in the world to take care of, so Sara doesn't really have an excuse. Sighing, she opens the door. "Hey, Leonard."

"Hi Sara." He replies coolly. He's carrying a big box which is most likely his gift for Simon. Leonard's eyes soon settle on Maura and he smiles at her. Wow, Sara thinks to herself, I didn't think he was even capable of smiling.

"Hey there." He coos, softly tickling the little girl's stomach, causing her to giggle.

"Party's in the backyard." Sara gestures with her head towards the garden with a hand on the door, indicating that she wants him to move so she can close the door. He nods, then walks - or more stalks - away, to the party. Sara locks the front door and silently curses herself. She should've known the prick would be there, being the children's godfather and Tommy's best friend and all.

She doesn't exactly hate Leonard Snart, it's more of a mutual disgust of each other. Laurel had set them up on a date when they were still in college, and needless to say, it did not go well. Leonard had been a complete ass - although to be fair, she hadn't been nice to him either - and they had agreed that they would never try that again.

A month or two later, when Rebecca was born, it became clear why Laurel had been so eager to set them up on their disastrous date. Sara and Leonard had both been chosen as Becky's godparents, and Laurel thought that it'd be nice for her daughter to have godparents who were actually together.

The date might've been over 7 years ago now, but since Leonard never seemed to have moved past it, neither will she. They'll act friendly around the rest of their friends, but other than that, they avoid each other as much as they can.

Sara follows Leonard into the garden, Maura still on her hip.

"Lenny!" Simon storms towards the man and nearly tackles him in the embrace. "Woah, Simon. Take it easy on Leonard!" Tommy laughs, before leaving the barbeque in Oliver's hands and greeting his friend. He claps Leonard on the back and both men laugh. "Glad you could make it."

"Len!" Rebecca exclaims and runs to him, clinging to his left leg while her brother is clinging to his right.

"How come I never get such enthusiastic greetings?" Sara mumbles to her sister.

Laurel laughs. "Well, you never bring such big gifts." She winks at her sister, before turning back to the scenario in front of them. "Alright kids, time to let him go. Len, do you want something to drink?"

"A glass of water would be great." Len replies when Rebecca and Simon have finally disentangled themselves from his legs. Simon is jumping up and down in front of him and Len crouches down to hand him the box. "There you go buddy."

Simon races off with the box, nearly falling down with it because of it's size, and returns to where he left his cake so he has a good seat to open the present.

"Thanks for getting her." Laurel says as she picks up Maura from Sara's arms, who had just started fussing.

"No problem." Sara smiles at her older sister and pokes her youngest cousin in her belly.

They sit back down around the table, where Thea and Amaya seem to be discussing Oliver's girlfriend, Felicity. At least, until Oliver turns around and interrupts them with; "You know I can hear you, right?"

Sara grabs a piece of the cake which she had baked them per Laurel's request for the occasion. She brought it to the house yesterday, along with Simon's birthday gift. The cake had "Happy birthday Simon" written on top of it in blue icing, but now only the letters 'appy', 'hday' and 'on' were left.

The rest of the day is mostly spent reminiscing stories from their time in college, eating loads of food and laughing together. When she decides that it's finally time to go, Maura and Simon are already asleep, both completely knocked out after the busy day. Rebecca is still awake, but barely, and when Sara waves her goodbye, she waves back while stifling a yawn. She kisses her sister goodbye, thanks Tommy for the nicely grilled hamburgers and promises Thea and Amaya that they will definitely catch up soon.

When she goes to bed that night, still feeling warm and happy from the wonderful day she's had, she crawls under the blankets and sighs.

I hope this never changes, she thinks to herself.

But the world is a brutal place, filled with drunk drivers, slick roads and cars with bad brakes.

And she has no idea how quickly everything could change.

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