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the smile that you gave me (even when you felt like dying)

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Ava hated dresses. 

She wasn’t sure why, but they were always so uncomfortable. The same went with skirts, really. Pantsuits were always much easier to move around in, and in her opinion they were far more flattering with her leaner figure. Even if people had always told her that, in the right dress, she looked beautiful. Obviously, she believed they were only saying that to make her feel better.

But here she was, wearing a dress.

Because Sara said she looked good in it.

Because it felt genuine coming from her, for whatever reason.

And she wanted to impress her.

As foolish as that felt.

Before she had left the house, she had already reapplied her mascara three times. Her tears had streaked her face with black rivers, and then, once she had stepped outside, she allowed her emotions to be carried away on the slightly chilled breeze coming from the East. There were many people at the ceremony, that’s what you get for being one of the most popular bartenders at a ridiculously successful bar, but Ava had simply looked over them with glossy eyes and a tense jaw.

Quinn was there.

Of course she was.

What was Ava expecting?

Her social worker (Annie-something-or-other) had shook her hand, before reaching down to take Quinn somewhere else, but then, before she could really process anything, Quinn had hugged her legs.

“Do you think she’s in Heaven, Ms Sharpe? With my mom and dad?” Quinn had asked, teary-eyed, so quiet Ava was sure she had imagined it. They had made some progress in their relationship, but the way Quinn talked it felt like they were back at square one.

A beat of silence.

Ava knelt down to brush a lock of the child’s hair from her face.

“If anyone deserves to go to Heaven, it’s Sara. I’m sure she’s up there, with them. She’s happy.”

At least that was enough to satisfy her, allowing herself and her social worker to move on to greet someone else. Ava didn’t understand why Annie was doing that, making Quinn talk to everyone. Just let the kid be alone, she was clearly not in the best frame of mind.

All of Sara’s friends were there.

Mick, the owner of the bar, who she knew somewhat well. Charlie, another bartender. Nate, Sara’s friend from ‘around’. Then there were people from the SCPD force, like Oliver, Thea, Roy, Dinah, and Rene. Quentin was there, too, but she hadn’t the heart to talk to him; he had lost both of his daughters in such a short period of time. What was he supposed to do with himself? Ava didn’t spend too long thinking about it, though, far too caught up in her own grief. If grief was even the word for it at this point. Her mind had turned to static long ago. Zari had tried to check on her, but she wasn’t saying much. Apparently, the only words Quinn had spoken were to her. She didn’t know how to feel about that, so she opted for not feeling anything towards the matter at all. 

The entire ceremony had gone by in a haze, just as everything else had since she received that fatal text from Zari. 

So here she was.

The last one to leave.

Well, except… for Quinn.

(She didn’t know where Annie was, didn’t care too much, either.)

“What do I do now?” 

Quinn’s voice filled the air between them.

A bird chirped happily somewhere. It was an insultingly gorgeous day. How dare the Sun shine so bright when the world had never felt so dark?

Ava didn’t know how to respond.

Quinn was just a kid, after all.

She was supposed to have the world in front of her, in the palms of her hands.

But it was taken, first by an accident, then by a bullet.

It wasn’t fair.

Ava didn’t even get to tell her…

“We go forward.”

Tell her…

“How?”

Tell her…

“With her memory in our hearts.”

I love you...