Nec aspera terrent.
(They do not fear the difficulties.)
She wakes up the next morning to the smell of coffee and the sounds of someone walking around in the house. Her eyes fly open, but instead of seeing her all so familiar bedroom, she sees her sister's living room. The events of the night before flood her memory and she falls back on the couch, groaning.
The shuffling around in the kitchen stops, and a few seconds later, Leonard appears in the living room doorway.
"Look who's up." He smirks.
She grunts and throws her blanket off her. That's funny, she thinks, I don't remember having a blanket last night.
She stands up and stretches, groaning again when she feels her sore muscles. She glances down at her outfit, and is embarrassed to see she's still wearing her red dress for her date last night, but never actually went to, because of the painful call she got just minutes before she had to leave. She closes her eyes and rubs her forehead, making a mental note to call Lindsay somewhere later today to explain why she never showed up.
"I um," Sara looks back up at Leonard as he begins to speak. "I took off your shoes and unzipped your dress when you fell asleep, thought that'd be more comfortable. Hope you don't mind." Leonard says, then reverts his eyes to the floor and scratches the back of his head.
She waves him off in attempt to make this moment less awkward. "It's fine."
He looks back up at her, and she just looks back, unsure of what to say. Her, standing in her unzipped dress, her hair messy and her make-up no doubt ruined from the combination of tears and sleep, and he, standing in a long sleeved shirt and jogging pants with a pack of milk in his hand.
If it would have been any other situation, she would have laughed at it. She'd have made some snarky comment, and he'd have said something sassy back. But now they're just both looking at each other, with all of their usual walls down, and neither has a clue where to start.
It's eventually Leonard that breaks the silence.
He points to the bag leaning against the chair. "There's some extra shirts in there that I brought from home before I got here. You can take one if you want."
Sara smiles weakly at him. "Thanks." She takes one of his shirts out of the backpack and heads to the bathroom. Once she returns, the scent of freshly baked pancakes is just beginning to fill the kitchen. She follows the scent to the kitchen, where Leonard is just finished with baking the first pancakes and hands her a dish with one of them on it. He places another plate on the opposite side of the table and places the pancakes and the syrup in between them.
"I'm saving the rest of the batter for when the kids wake up." He explains shortly, before he takes a pancake and starts eating. Sara just nods in reply.
"Have you told them yet?" She asks him eventually, after she's eaten her first pancake, which she has to admit, tastes delicious.
He shakes his head. "No, they're still asleep. Figured you'd want to be awake for it anyways."
She nods. "Thanks."
They continue their breakfast in silence. Sara appreciates it, because it gives her a moment to finally process the events of last night and wonder how they're going to move forward.
So much is going to change now. She doesn't know exactly what will happen with the kids; she knows she and Leonard are their godparents, but usually godparents are in a relationship, and she isn't sure what it would mean that they're not. Even then, they'd have to prove to Child Services that they are capable of raising three children.
The house is another point. She doesn't have a clue what the mortgage for her sister's home is, but she knows that it's way above her paycheck. Then there's also the funeral.
She sighs, dropping her fork onto her plate and shoving it away from her, having lost all of her appetite.
Leonard raises an eyebrow. "Was my cooking that bad?"
She rolls her eyes at him. "Terrible."
He smirks at her and opens his mouth to reply, but their banter is interrupted by a tiny voice at the top of the stairs.
"Mommy?" They hear Rebecca call.
Leonard sits up and looks at her, eyes wide. Sara takes a deep breath, then makes her way to the stairs.
And so it begins.
Telling an eight year old that her parents had been killed in a car accident was a challenge, but when her screaming woke her three year old brother, and they had to tell him what happened, they were faced with a whole new challenge on it's own.
Rebecca understood what had happened and screamed her lungs out before collapsing in Sara's arms, continuing to sob quietly.
Simon, on the other hand, was probably a bit too young to understand the concept of death and dying, and had no idea what was going on. His big sister was screaming, his mommy and daddy weren't there, and in front of him were two adults who he knew but was still shy of, as any three year old would be - reason enough to panic.
Sara and Leonard did their best to calm him down, but with Sara still holding Rebecca and neither of them being very equipped with dealing with emotions, they were completely at a loss.
After what feels like forever, a wailing down the hall joins Simon's screams and Sara mouths to Leonard to go get Laura. He's hesitant to leave her with two crying children, but then he sees the firm look in her eyes and he knows she has it handled. Or as handled as she can, at least.
Once Leonard is down the hall, Sara gets up from where she'd been crouched on the floor with her niece in her arms and the moment she lets her go, the girl starts crying again.
"No! Don't leave me! NO!" She pulls on Sara's arm.
"Shh." Sara grabs her hand and lifts her up. "I'm not going anywhere." She promises as she presses a kiss to her head, hoping that she doesn't hear the waver of her voice as she says it. She's doing her best to be strong, but watching her sister's children like this, grieving and in pain over their mother's death, is not something she ever thought she had to see.
She briefly considers carrying Simon downstairs with them, but the eight year old is already quite heavy, and she doesn't want to risk falling down. So she darts downstairs as quickly as she can and places Rebecca on the couch, pressing another kiss on top of her head, before running back upstairs to fetch him.
She picks him up and whispers words of comfort in his ear as she makes her way down the stairs once more, but she doubts that he can hear them over his own screaming. Once she returns to the living room, Rebecca seems to have calmed a little, her breath hitching when she sees her little brother. Sara sits down next to her on the couch, with Simon in her lap. Rebecca immediately curls up against her and reaches out to grab Simon's hand.
Leonard enters the living room with Laura in his arms. The grave expression on his face shows what Sara's been thinking. There's no explaining an eight month old what happened. She's only just learning to crawl, let alone talk or understand what others are saying.
He sits down next to her on the couch and looks down at Simon, who is still crying into her shirt. She looks up at him and she doesn't know exactly what he sees - whether it's fear, or panic, or worry - he holds up Laura for her.
"Mind if we trade?"
"Sure." She replies, not trusting her voice with saying anything more. She reaches over and grabs the toddler, while Leonard reaches for Simon, and pulls him into his lap. Rebecca doesn't let go of her brothers hand, instead stretching herself over Sara and Laura, forcing Sara and Leonard to move even closer.
Leonard begins to rub gently circles on Simon's back and shortly after he's stopped crying, returning to a soft hiccuping instead. Sara closes her eyes and breathes out a sigh in relief, and lets her head drop on Leonard's shoulder. She can feel him tense for a moment, but then relaxes at the gesture and puts the arm that isn't rubbing circles on Simon's back around her shoulder.
Slowly but surely, the five of them begin to pick up their day the best they can. Leonard goes to the kitchen to make them breakfast and Simon trails after him, not leaving him out of sight after this morning.
Laura, mostly unaware of the things going on around her, returns to her toys in the corner and plays with them, until she gets hungry and begins to protest.
Sara turns on the tv for Rebecca, trusting her to find the kids channel, before picking Laura up and taking her towards the kitchen. She's about to ask Leonard if he found any baby food, but he presents her with a bowl of mushed together foods and a bib.
He also found the kiddy chair and takes Laura from her and places her in the chair, and pulls the bib over her head.
Sara smiles at him in thanks. She doesn't know how he sensed that she needs a break from the commotion, but he does, and he juggles feeding Laura and baking pancakes as if he's done it a million times before.
She uses the quiet moment to check her phone and sees she has four missed calls from her father, probably wondering where she is. She doesn't bother listening to the voicemails he's left, and instead walks into the hallway, out of earshot of the others and calls him back.
He picks up after only two rings. "Hey baby." He says softly.
"Hey daddy." She replies, covering her mouth to prevent any cry from escaping.
"Where are you? I stopped by your apartment, but you weren't there."
"I'm at Laurel's."
The other end of the line goes quiet. "Oh. Of course. How are the kids? Did you tell them? Do you need me to come over?"
She thinks back to this morning and takes a shaking breath. "Rebecca has a difficult time, mostly. Simon doesn't really understand. And Laura... She's just beginning to learn how to crawl." She finishes the last question just before letting a sob escape. She can hear her father on the other end crying as well.
"Do you need me to come over? I can help." He asks her again after taking a couple breaths to calm himself down.
"No, um," She turns around and glances through the kitchen hallway, "Leonard is here."
"Leonard? Leonard Snart?"
She can hear the surprise in her father's tone. "Yeah," She leans against the doorway, giving her a better sight of what's happening in the kitchen, "He's..." She searches her vocabulary for a word to describe the scenario in front of her, but nothing seems to come even close. "He's great." She concludes.
"Oh?" He's putting less and less of an effort to hide the tone of surprise in his voice, and she has to do her best to not roll her eyes at him, because if she wasn't seeing what she saw in front of her right now, she probably would be just as surprised.
"He is, daddy. He's making them pancakes and feeding Laura and Simon doesn't go three feet from him, and Leonard hasn't complained once."
She smiles when he sets Simon on the counter to keep him out of the way, and Simon sneakily - or as sneakily as a three year old can be - steals one of the pancakes and shoves it into his mouth. Leonard sees it and feigns annoyance at him, and the three year old giggles.
Sara doesn't know if her father can hear them, or maybe her words alone are enough, but he stops asking about the subject. "Okay, well if there's anything else I can do for you?"
"Actually," She looks down at clothing - she's still wearing Leonard's shirt - and looks up at the scene in front of her, and back in the living room, where Rebecca is still watching tv, and she knows she can't leave. "It'd be great if you could bring me a change of clothes? I came here in a dress last night and didn't bring anything else."
"Kendra lives in the same building, apartment 3B. She has a key. I'll text her to let her know you're coming. She's usually home at lunch time." She tells him, unconsciously fiddling with the hem of Leonard's shirt.
She can hear the rustle of paper in the background, and the click of a pen before her father scribbles down the information. When he's done, he says "Okay baby. I'll see you soon."
"Thank you daddy. See you soon."
She hangs up the phone and joins the rest of them in the kitchen - Rebecca has now also joined her brother's pancake stealing shenanigans - and she takes over feeding Laura. Leonard gives her a grateful look, before returning his attention to the pancake thieves and setting them down at the table for their breakfast.
Sara looks at the five of them, eating breakfast together. Although it's totally not how she expected this day to turn out - or the day before, for that matter - but as she looks at them, Laura happily munching down a piece of fruit, Rebecca and Simon caught up in a pancake eating competition, and Leonard and her, looking on with smiles on their faces, she can't stop the feeling in her gut that she gets, that tells her that maybe, just maybe, they'll be alright.
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