"Sara, I know that you're listening. Answer me. This is very simple Sara, I know that you and your new friends have the Mirakuru, you know that I will lay waste to this entire island to get it… It doesn't have to be that way, all I want is the serum, in exchange I promise you and your friends safe passage off this island, I promise. Within ten days you and your friends can be making port in Shanghai, the alternative is that I send my men into the jungle and take the serum from you, they will be under orders not to kill any of you, instead you will remain alive and allow me to indulge in my… scientific curiosity." Ivo's voice was smooth, like that of a polished stone, unlike the madman he had been when he had demanded Oliver to choose between Shado and Sara, when Oliver had taken the other route and sacrificed himself.
Oliver glanced at his family, Slade was gripping his machete with a tight grip, his eyes dark as he looked at the radio. Shado looked at the radio with distaste, hearing Ivo was definitely something she wished to never hear again, she shook her head slowly as she listened. Sara was pale as she listened to Ivo's offer, but she didn't look to be sold on it, which was a relief to Oliver.
Ivo and his choices… He thought to himself with a frown, the rage still burning within him like an inferno. But even though he claims of peaceful exchanges, in the end we'll just have a bullet between the eyes, or worse. He looked at Slade, his brother, and Shado, his mentor and lover. The thought of Ivo getting their hands on them was terrifying to the archer, Ivo had already killed Slade once and nearly killed Shado right after, he was a threat to his friends.
What was it that Slade always preached about threats?
Exterminate them… A voice that didn't sound like him whispered in his ear, the voice as smooth as honey, but reminded him of the voices that plagued him when he slept, the voice of the monsters that ran amuck in his memories and nightmares.
Ivo was a threat, and all four of them had learned what happened when Ivo gave them a choice… that would never happen again, Oliver wouldn't allow it.
The crackle of static suddenly stopped as Ivo cut the communication as he stayed in his lair, his freighter filled with dozens of armed men and even more prisoners and, possibly, scientific experiments. He knew, he had been there.
"I thought you said Ivo was gone," Slade rasped out, his throat still not healed from the screaming when he had been injected, add in his accent and it was nearly impossible to understand him. He held the knife dangerously as though wondering whether or not to just stab the girl, grab his guns and go find their resident nut job.
"H-He should of," Sara exclaimed, her face still pale as a corpse. "He should of left… why hasn't he left?" The last part was whispered, not to them but to herself.
"He said that we have the Mirakuru," Shado stated as she switched off the radio, making sure that Ivo couldn't contact them and possibly trace them. "But he took the box filled with it, didn't he?" She had remembered Ivo fleeing from the raging soldier that Slade had been in that clearing, the ease of how Slade had killed those men still haunted her, it was unnatural, it showed that the Mirakuru hadn't just saved him, it had changed him.
"The ones who survived, they were deformed. In their bones or their minds. They became someone else."
Shado glanced at Sara as she remembered their earlier conversation, the thought sickened her, it scared her. And few things could scare the expert fighter, very few.
Oliver began to piece it together, "Maybe he dropped the box when Slade showed up, or maybe he just wants something better…" He clenched his hands as he realized what Ivo meant when he wanted their Mirakuru, "He wants Slade and I." He announced, the downward gaze of Sara was all he needed to know that he had hit the nail. "We have the Miracle running through our veins, we're the perfect specimens for him to analyze… or dissect." He spat out, his form shaking in rage at the though of Ivo getting him and Slade, only to take them apart piece by piece, trying to see what made them truly tick.
"We're not taking up his offer, not unless we want to be his personal play things," Slade grunted out as he stood up and inspected the radio. "How does he even know our frequency?" He grunted out as he inspected the metal device, looking for a bug or something.
Oliver looked down guiltily, seeing as he had used Ivo's radio when he had been captured, though he had done so to protect them.
"I'll head back to the clearing and see if I can find the Mirakuru, I'm the best tracker." Shado volunteered, the last piece being directed at Slade who didn't like the idea of the young archer going back to the clearing where she almost died in. Where their family had almost died in.
Oliver nodded his head in agreement, if anyone could find that serum it would be Shado. Sara spoke up, "Should we set up defenses? Ivo's spent years looking for the Mirakuru, and now that it's within his reach, he's grown desperate. And desperate men do desperate things."
"The kid and I will do it," Slade gruffly volunteered, he strode over and grabbed the motion sensor, which thankfully showed no signs of danger. He wordlessly handed it over to Shado, "You'll need it more than us," he patted his assault riffle as he spoke, "Bullets are better than arrows."
The young woman rolled her eyes at that, but nodded her thanks. "Sara, you can come with me." She stated as Sara didn't really know what to do, the group before her was so intimate that they seemed to have wordless conversations.
"Be careful," Slade said to the two women, though his eyes were stuck on the darker haired woman before him, a look in his eye that none could place. Slade blinked and the gruff Australian was back to normal, "C'mmon kid, let's see how Ivo likes the idea of TNT."
The four then set off, each in different pairs. Shado and Sara searching for the elusive Mirakuru, whilst Oliver and Slade prepared for the awaiting bloodbath. They wouldn't let Ivo catch them off guard again, now they had the advantage and they were going to win this war. They had too.
The headache still hadn't gone away, and now it seemed to get worse. He kept hearing things that weren't there, like an annoying buzzing sound that just wouldn't go away. He knew that Shado was watching him, and even Slade was under her sharp gaze. Oliver knew that something was wrong, whenever he had the smallest bit of anger, whether if he stubbed his toe on a protruding rock he hadn't seen or realizing that most of his shirts, which were few by the way, were covered in either tears or dried blood, but when he felt those emotions it suddenly kicked itself into high gear, he had wanted to punch someone, anything.
He had been alone by the riverbed when the rage overtook him, Slade having gone ahead to set some traps. He didn't know if it was the stress of dying and coming back, Slade dying and coming back, Ivo threatening his home and comrades yet again, or the fact that the Amazo was still docked on their shores, Oliver just needed something to take his unrelenting anger upon.
He, in a rash move that was probably not the smartest of ideas, punched the first thing that came into his sight. A large rock formation that easily towered over him and was twice as thick, he should have bruised a couple of knuckles or broken his hand when flesh met stone.
He didn't expect the stone to implode under his fist, creating a large crater as chunks of rubble rained down into the riverbed, the fragments being swiftly carried away by the strong currents. With shaky hands he looked them over, there wasn't even a cut on them, only a fine layer of dust from the rock. He placed his right hand, palm outwards, on the cool stone, he inhaled deeply, scared of what would happen and lightly pressed down, the stone began to crack and crumble until he pulled away as though the rock had burned him, within the hardened stone was the imprint of his hand, cracks spreading its way outwards like an intricate spider web.
"What's happening to me?" Oliver asked himself as he collapsed to his knees, his hands threatening to rip out his golden locks in fear and anger, he was always angry now. His broad form started to shake and shiver as Oliver felt the rage overtake him again, his eyesight darkened by red crimson as the urge to hurt something overcame him, but it was darker than the previous feelings, he wanted to main, to kill-
The sound of Slade broke the confused man out of his thoughts, he easily heard Slade coming towards him as he walked over the pebbles that littered the shore, had Oliver always been able to hear Slade coming near him from such a distance?
Sure enough the burly form of Slade Wilson soon came into his sights, his dark brown eyes darting around the clearing looking for dangers and exits, though he relaxed ever so slightly when he saw nobody but Oliver and plenty of exits to choose from.
Slade raised a brow as he approached, his gloved hand gently running through the destroyed part of the rock formation, he glanced at the remaining shards and the dust coating Oliver's knuckles.
Oliver quickly squatted near the water and sunk his hands into the flowing water, splashing some of the cool droplets against his sweated brow as though trying to convince Slade that he had just come to wash his face and hands.
"What happened to the rock?" Slade asked gruffly as he squatted down besides the blonde, taking out his machete still stained with blood from Ivo's men and set to work cleaning the blade least he wanted his favored weapon to rust and become useless.
The former ASIS member snorted at that; Oliver had always been a terrible liar. "I thought we agreed to never lie to one another, kid." He stated as ran a finger down the flat of his machete, looking for any signs of rust or corrosion.
"When did we agree to that?" Oliver asked as he thought back to the past several weeks, never remembering that certain event.
Slade shrugged his massive shoulders, "When we became allies, when we became friends…" he paused as he looked out over the river, his mind a million miles away. "When we became a team. You, Shado, and I."
Oliver looked down at that, his vibrant blue eyes dark as he pondered on that. "Slade, I'm sorry."
Oliver swallowed nervously, before letting out a bitter laugh. "For being a screw up, like I always am. I found that stupid hōzen, I took it from those Japanese soldiers, I ignored your advice when it came to loving someone on this stupid island, I raced back to the plane when it was being bombarded by Ivo, I'm the reason why you had half your face burned off. Ivo didn't kill you, Slade, I killed you." Oliver admitted bitterly as he sat on the bank, his hands trembling as he looked at the dark, murky water.
Slade grabbed his apprentice by the shoulders and roughly hauled him to his feet in the matter of two seconds. "Do not give me that bullshit, kid." He snarled out as he shook Oliver, the billionaire might have been several inches taller than the Australian but Slade was much stronger and made it look like he was shaking a rag doll.
"You listen to me, and listen good." He jabbed a finger at Oliver, his finger poking him in the chest roughly. "I didn't stop you from taking that stupid piece of rock, I'm the one who is hypocritical when it comes to women, I may have followed you to the fuselage, Oliver. But it was my choice, mine. Shado was in danger, of course I would come after her." He said the last part quietly, no more than a mutter.
Oliver remembered something, something that had been forgotten during this hectic day and previous night. "Y-You love Shado, don't you?" he whispered to his greatest friend, his mentor, his brother in all but blood.
Slade looked down, not ashamed of the statement but unwilling to discuss it. "I do." He whispered back, his voice hoarser than before, watery and desperate. "I love her so much."
"Why didn't you say anything? You told me that having attachments to people here on Lian Yu was dangerous, you told me to not listen to my heart and be with Shado." Oliver asked with wide eyes, the very fact that Slade had emotions concerning someone that wasn't anger or the urge to punch the living daylights out of them was… surprising.
Slade chuckled at that statement, a low bitter laugh that spoke of pain hidden within the man who had to watch as his student wooed and loved the woman he so desperately wished to tell his true feelings to. He had watched with a heavy and nearly broken heart at the lovers' interactions, wishing that it was him that was loved by Shado and not the kid. It was vain and stupid of him to feel that jealousy, but Slade was human, and humans were always broken and controlled by love.
"Why? Because Shado loves you, kid." His voice would have broken had he not been able to hold in that pain for so long, his heart still ached and the pain had yet to dull after so many weeks.
"She loves you too, Slade." Oliver stated, seeing his mentor in a new light.
Slade's fingers curled into tight fists, the clenched fists shaking ever so slightly. "But not in the way I want her too." He rasped out, his bright brown orbs dull with the pain that followed by heartbreak.
The archer glanced downwards at the murky water, as though trying to find an answer within the currents, but all he saw was the warped reflections. "Things have changed Slade," he argued. "I don't think Shado views me that way either, and maybe I don't as well." He glanced up at the sky, eyes looking at the wide blue sky that seemed to mock them. "I love Shado, Slade. But I don't think we're in love, not anymore." He glanced at his mentor who was listening deeply.
"Slade, it's not my decision if Shado and I stay together, if we have a happily ever after castaway style. Shado has a choice in this as well, and I know that she hasn't forgotten what you said in that sub. Shado isn't an object for the two of us to fight her, if she even thought we thought of her that way she'd murder us with her father's bow and hide our bodies somewhere in the forest," Oliver smiled wanly, knowing that Shado was perhaps the strongest person he knew, not even Slade could compare when the master archer was involved.
"… Thanks kid."
That was it, a gruff murmur that Oliver could barely hear. But since it was Slade that was probably the most heartfelt moment the two would ever share, Oliver may be a bit of an emotional wreck but Slade was just a hard ass with a heart of stone, or so he had previously thought.
"Oh by the way…" Oliver didn't even have time to blink as Slade suddenly whirled around, facing the large rock formation that Oliver had previously punched, and swung a fist at the solid rock. With the same ease Slade tore through the solid rock, creating a crater just as big, maybe even bigger, as Oliver's.
Oliver chocked on air as he saw that, with boggled eyes he stared at Slade who looked at him with a raised brow. "I'm assuming that," he jerked a thumb at Oliver's crater, "Was you."
Oliver just nodded dumbly.
"Whatever this serum did to us, it worked." The older man stated as he lightly brushed off some of the dust from his knuckles, Slade sat down besides his protégée besides the bank. "But we weren't cured, kid… We're infected."
"I was thinking around the lines of 'what the fuck is happening to me, but your theory good too."
"Don't make me hit you, kid. You probably don't want that boyish playboy face to get a scratch, now would you?"
He laughed at that, Slade rarely joked but it was nice to have a kindred spirit during this time. He was glad that he had Slade to help him, and he hoped he could help Slade as well.
"Oliver… Ivo needs to die." Slade spoke suddenly, his tone darkening and his accent turning near guttural as he spat out the name of the supposed 'doctor'.
The Oliver of before would have winced at the mention of killing, but that Oliver had died on Lian Yu. His heart was still there, but barely beating. But his heart didn't beat for the protection of Ivo, but yearned for the chance to kill the man who had dared to come to his home, and threaten his family.
"He's got a freighter…" Oliver noted, but he leaned forward in anticipation when Slade got that look on his face, the look of a skilled solider and tactician.
The smirk on Slade's face didn't belong on Slade's face, it looked like someone had taken an inhumane facial feature and placed it on him, but Oliver couldn't help but mimic the smirk when he heard what Slade said next.
"We've got a missile launcher."
Shado realized that something may have been wrong with her friends when she and Sara stumbled upon them loading up a military standard long range missile launcher.
Slade was angrily punching in coordinates on the monitor, a dark scowl on his tanned facial features. Oliver stood besides his mentor, watching the flickering letters and numbers with his hands gripping his bow. The Queen's face scared the two woman, normally Oliver had an easy going smile or at least a grin, but now only a look of grim determination, like that of a soldier preparing for a battle, as he handled his bow as though preparing to charge to the beach and shoot Ivo in his deranged head and end this nightmare once and for all.
"Nī zài zuì shénme?" Shado screamed out in shock as she saw that they were mostly likely seconds away from shooting the missile at the freighter, taking their only way off of Lian Yu with them.
The two injected men jerked at the sound of her voice, scrambling back as they saw the two racing towards them. "Get back!" Slade yelled at the two with an urgent wave of his hand.
"What the hell is wrong with you two?" Sara screamed as they got nearer, completely ignoring Slade's command. "Do you have any idea of what you two are doing?!"
"We're going to send Ivo to the bottom of the ocean," Oliver yelled back, the familiar rage swelling within him, how did they not get it? Ivo was a threat to them, and they always exterminated their threats. How was a military long range missile any different from his and Shado and Oliver's arrows, or Slade's bullets? Sure it was a bit of an overkill, but Ivo seemed to be the type who was a cockroach, both in terms of personality and that it would take more than an arrow to keep him down.
"And take our only way off this island with him?" Sara demanded.
Slade snapped at that, the rage that had been building within Oliver having also been building within him, but Slade was a bit more of a loose cannon than Oliver. He grabbed his glock and held it against Sara's forehead, his finger itching to pull the trigger and get rid of what he deemed a loose end. Sara froze as the same thing that had happened two nights previously wash over her; only it was Slade now instead of Ivo with a gun aimed at her head.
"Back up girlie, back up!" He roared at the blonde, his form shaking in violent rage.
"Hey!" Oliver screamed at his comrade, his bright blue eyes alight in rage, a fiery rage that didn't belong with the younger man, it was an inhuman emotion on an innocent human. Suddenly Slade was thrown to the ground, having been tackled by Oliver as he leapt from the missile launcher and rammed against the surly Australian with the force of a rampaging bull.
When Slade crashed to the ground, neither males noticed that the ground had cracked around them, only that suddenly that they had found a target to get rid of the burning rage from within them. With a roar like that of a primal animal trapped, Slade threw Oliver off of him, the blonde soared backwards several feet and crashed into the ground, clouds of dirt flying into the air.
Oliver barely had time to move his head to the side as Slade appeared above him, having crossed large distance in the blink of an eye, Slade attempted to punch the man's face, though instead of hitting flesh his gloved hand connected with the hardened dirt, his clenched fist tore through the earth as though it was nothing but wet parchment, creating a large hole.
Oliver acted upon instinct and the anger still flowing through him, clouding his normally peaceful mind in a fiery crimson haze, all he wanted was to beat out his frustrations on someone, and Slade was the closest person to his fists. The fact that he had held a gun to Sara's face had made something in his chest react, no one would hurt his friends again, not if he had anything to say about it.
His fist slammed into Slade's face, he heard the cracking of bone that broke under the force of his fist, it felt so good. Slade reared back instinctively, his nose broken and blood immediately dripping droplets of crimson blood. A quick but heavy punch to the gut sent the solider flying to the ground.
His hearing seemed to deafen, the roaring sound of his accelerated heartbeat beating with the sound of thunder echoing. He dodged to the left as Slade's fist came near his face, he attempted to punch the former ASIS agent, but Slade grabbed his arm and with a mighty haul sent him careening into a tree, making the tree bark splinter into a thousand pieces.
His back should have broken under the force of the throw, hell neither he nor Slade should be able to pick up fully grown men and toss them around like they were pebbles held in the palm of their hand, but any rational thoughts were gone from the men who had been injected by the Miracle, only darkness, anger, and rage was left.
Slade appeared out of nowhere and grabbed him by the front of his shirt, the faded strands of cotton fabric ripping under the strain, the former agent's gloved fists were a blur as he pounded the young billionaire into a bloody pulp, his face breaking but healing almost instantly as Slade's knuckles left his face, the sound of the crunching of bone as it broke and mended almost instantly was the only horrific sounds in that clearing, Slade continued to rain blows upon his protégé, his tanned face flushed a dark vermillion.
Oliver's hand caught Slade's fist, his knuckles white as his grip tightened enough to bend steel, but Slade didn't feel the pain, only aware of the shot to the jaw that sent him reeling.
The Mirakuru… what did it do to them? Shado thought in horror as she saw her friends fight one another as though instead of them being brothers they were mortal enemies.
Oliver was aware that Sara and Shado were yelling, pleading with them to stop their fighting. Shado appeared behind Slade and grabbed his arm, Slade swung around instinctively, ready to pummel the person foolish enough to sneak up behind him.
Shado just looked at him sadly as she clung to his arm, trying to pull it down and away from Oliver, but despite her great strength, Slade was stronger and it was like trying to bend solid steel in her grip. As Oliver prepare to deliver his own blow to his mentor and teacher, someone grabbed his arm as well.
But when Shado spoke, or more like screamed at him, Slade, the real Slade, blinked as though torn from heavy trance. He glanced at his fist, bloody and stinging, to Shado's look of pure horror and terror, and finally to his brother in all but blood.
Slade's eyes widened in horror and panic, scrambling backwards from the form of his apprentice as though he had been scalded. He held his bloodied fist close to his chest, as though he could hide it from the world. Words couldn't describe the look of horror in Slade's eyes as he gazed upon Oliver, who was still panting from the assault and watched with enhanced sight as he saw the broken bones in his face snap back into place, the bones he had broken.
Oliver still looked ready to pounce on Slade, but Sara's words stopped him as though he had been shot yet again.
"Ollie…. Calm down… Ollie please!"
Oh how Oliver didn't want to calm down, the rage still flowed through him like the ocean currents, it was cold and oppressive but so expansive it seemed to stretch on forever. Oliver didn't want to let it go. He stepped forward, pulling the struggling form of Sara Lance as though her weight was nothing but air.
"Ollie… think about Thea and your mom! They wouldn't want this!"
That made him stop, Sara nearly running into him from the sudden stop of motion.
A small girl with chestnut locks was grinning up at him with an impish smile, her cheeks round and her dimples deep. "Ollie! Ollie! Ollie!" she would sing out to him as she bounded in circles around him, showing the true and accurate nickname of Speedy. "I love you big bro! You better bring me back something cool from China like… uh," she tilted her head, her tweenage mind fast at work. "Ooh! I know!" Oliver didn't pay much attention afterwards, he just noticed how happy Thea was with him, how she didn't see him for the massive screw up, to her he was just Ollie.
The simple thought of his baby sister quelled the darkness that raged within him, as though Thea's sunny personality took away the shadow's that stained her older brother's soul.
The anger and hatred, strong enough to send him into a bloody frenzy, was shoved in a chained corner, but the chains were weak and durable, but he didn't think about that. He thought of his beloved sister, he thought of his mother, his family that he had left two years ago, the family that was waiting for him to come back home.
The young Queen heir collapsed upon the dusty ground, finally noticing the small and large craters of upturned earth and rubble that had been created during the sudden fight that looked more like a death match between devils. His hands were shaking violently as he wrapped them around his chest, his breath was ragged and his form shuddered as he fought to keep control. He glanced upwards at Slade, only to see the same fear that burned within him in the Australian's brown orbs.
"W-What's happening to us?" Slade rasped out to the two females, still gripping his fist to his chest, his face was pale and his eyes bloodshot.
Shado looked at Slade in concern, the same concern being directed at Oliver as well. "We don't know…" the archer whispered to the man who had told her he loved her, she wrapped her arms around his bulky form, trying to quell the shuddering fear that burned within Slade. She glanced over at Oliver as she spoke, strength pooling into her tone as she looked upon the two injected men, "But no matter what happens, you won't be going through this alone."
The declaration seemed to calm the two down, if only slightly.
The sound of an automated beeping broke everyone out of their trance, the red flash of the missile launcher brought their attention to the automated military weapon. The coordinates had been set, the missiles ready to be unloaded upon the nightmare that was the Amazo.
"Slade… we can't do this," Shado whispered in his ear, but everyone in the vicinity heard her anyway. Shado looked so tired, her form burdened by the unknown fate to the two most important people in her life. "We can't destroy the freighter." Slade wanted to argue, to bluster out a disagreement, but Slade was tired too.
"Don't you want to see Joe again?"
The thought of his son made Slade tense. It had been nearly a decade since Slade had been marooned on this Purgatory, nearly a decade since he had seen his sweet spoken little boy, did Joe even remember him? Or had Adeline found another man who his son would call father?
"And Oliver… Don't you want to see Thea and your mother?"
Oliver looked down in shame, realizing how he and Slade had nearly blown up their only hope of getting off of Lian Yu, the thought of Ivo dying in a fiery blaze had been their goal, to send that death trap to the bottom of the ocean. But he would rather go back on that death trap than stay on the one trap capable of destroying them.
He would do it. Oliver would take the freighter by himself if he had too. But Oliver wasn't alone, not anymore.
He had Slade, a gruff mentor who was like a brother, Shado, a mentor whom he loved, and Sara… who he still had faint feelings for. But despite that, Oliver knew that he would cast aside his humanity and kill everyone aboard the Amazo if it meant they could finally leave.
He would do it for Slade, so he could hold his son in his arms again. He would do it for Shado, so she could return to the life she had led before Fryer's men had kidnapped her to be a hostage. He would do it for Sara, so she could see Laurel and her family again.
Oliver cared about these three, they were his family and though Ivo had tried to destroy it with his mad visions of grandeur and his horrific ultimatums, Ivo had failed.
Ivo had tried to destroy them. To rip apart Slade and Oliver's bond of brotherhood, to shred the loyalty he held to Shado, to obliterate his chance of redemption with Sara.
Ivo had failed.
They huddled close to the fire, the kindling occasionally spatting as the sap meet the fiery embers, but other than that the clearing was as silent as a graveyard. The man who had been shot down by Ivo and his missiles was leaning against the metal body of his small plane, his body cooling as death had already taken him from the cruel world.
Sara wasn't looking at him, she instead continued to gaze at the small photo the man had given her, the picture of his twelve year old daughter, a twelve year old orphan. She was looking at the picture with such tenderness that it reminded Oliver of when he had first arrived on Lian Yu, Laurel's picture his only connection to the outside world that wasn't trying to kill him, not even Slade counted as when he was trained he was still ninety percent sure Slade was trying to kill him with his drills.
Laurel's photo was back in the fuselage, tenderly hidden within the messy confines of the downed plane, too scared of it being destroyed whenever Oliver ran into trouble or was getting shot at, either one happened way too often. He realized that he hadn't looked at the fading parchment since he had realized that Sara was alive. Beforehand he had always looked upon her face, immortalized within that photo, before he went to sleep, as though her face could ward off the nightmares that plagued him.
He wondered why he hadn't thought of Laurel since he had been shot, surely Sara would always remind him of her sister, but she had been forgotten as more trouble came. With a start Oliver realized that he could barely remember her voice, even with the photo the memory of Laurel's face had started to fade from his mind and memory.
But the emptiness that followed upon the realization surprised him, why wasn't he upset when he realized how much of Laurel, and thus his humanity, was becoming nothing but a vague memory, a memory of a lifetime long since passed?
Because you don't have any humanity left. The dark voice that had plagued the corners of his mind since he had awoken from his death spoke from within him. The voice seemed so familiar, as though Oliver had heard it all his life, but somehow the name eluded him, like the thick, dark swirling fog that clung to Lian Yu in the morning, before being dispersed by the bright rays of the sun.
Oliver clutched his head with shaking hands, his form tense as the words burned within his mind. "That's not true," he whispered to himself, the sound hidden under the crackling fire. Sara glanced up from the photo when she saw her former lover clutch his head, his eyes burning from unshed tears. She couldn't tell if it was from grief or fear, but she had an inkling of which one it was.
Oh Ollie, the voice crooned, it's tone as sweet as a rotting carcass. You're a murderer, a monster. Oliver shook as though fever had struck him, perspiration clung to his temple despite the cool breeze that accompanied the darkness of night. He wanted to scream, scream until his voice was hoarse and his throat bloody. He wanted to get up and run, run from the voice inside his head that spoke of things he often wondered himself before he fell asleep. You can't run from me, Oliver.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a hand brush against his shoulder, he scrambled backwards before stopping when he realized it was only Sara. The young Lance was looking at him with sadness, as though he was a dying man and nothing she did could help him. It made him angry, but then again he was always angry now.
"What's happening to me, Sara?" He whispered as he clutched at his head, as though he could squeeze the dark voice created by a super serum out of his thoughts and head by mere force. Sara's hand found his own, her slender fingers wrapping around his own bloodstained ones. Oliver leaned against the woman's shoulder, tears silently streaming down his cheeks in steady rivulets, the pent up fear and grief finally breaking through the glass dam, shattering it into a million pieces.
"I don't know, Ollie," she whispered back, her free hand finding its way on his back, she began to slowly rub circle along his back, the movement slowly calming him down. There was something about that simple action that made the anger and pain and every hidden emotion recede back into his damaged body. "I don't know…" she looked at him in the eyes, and he saw that she wasn't looking at him like a dead man walking, but a man with a chance of life. "But we'll figure it out, okay?" she whispered to him as the fire continued to warm them, "Shado and I, we can help you two."
He didn't realize he had his arms wrapped around her until she tensed, but he just didn't care. He brought her closer to his chest, not in an intimate way that he was used to, but a way that brought two hurt souls together. Sara nestled her head in the crook of his neck, Oliver's face pressed against her lighter locks, tears still streaming from his bloodshot eyes. "Back at the missile launcher, when Slade threatened you and I-I," he swallowed nervously, "I attacked him," he held back the shudder of horror from wracking his body. "I attacked Slade and he attacked back. We never do that, sure we fight in matches, but we've never tried to murder one another… We're going crazy, aren't we?"
Sara didn't answer, but her silence just confirmed his worst fears.
Oliver swallowed back the bile rising in his throat, he tried to focus upon something besides his gradual descent into madness, he focused not on the memory of Laurel like he used to do, he didn't focus on his family who thought him dead, he didn't think about Tommy who used to be his wingman and closest friend, he focused on what was right in front of him, alive and in his reach.
He focused on Sara.
Oliver chuckled slightly in morbid amusement, the only source of amusement that was available to them. "What's so funny?" Sara asked, still pressed against him, clinging to the tormented soul that matched her own.
"I-I," he fought back another wave of laughter. "I never did apologize." He stated with a small smile, one that was as fake as a nice Ivo.
"For?" She questioned.
"Everything." He admitted as he held her in his arms, he noticed that the rage that had burned through him had disappeared, but he knew it would come back eventually. "For bringing you on that stupid yacht, for cheating on Laurel with you, for being a spoilt manipulative prick, for you being manipulated by Ivo, for destroying your life… I'm sorry Sara."
She leaned backwards so that their eyes could meet, the shadows from the fire flickered across her face, her lips pursed and her eyes dark. "Don't apologize, Ollie… I'm the one who agreed to go to China with my sister's boyfriend, I'm the one who choose Ivo over death or worse, you didn't do anything Oliver." She looked downwards, as though afraid to look him in the eyes as she spoke again. "I'm the one who fell in love with you."
Oliver froze at her words, his arms tightening around the blonde woman in his shock and surprise. He hadn't known that. He shook his head in denial, it was his fault. Everything was always his fault. But Sara's declaration made him pause, "Sara…"
She laughed breathlessly, finding the situation morbidly amusing. "I know, how cliché. The younger sister falls in love with her sister's boyfriend, but I didn't fall in love with you when you started to date Laurel, it was before." She admitted as she gazed at their fire. "Do you remember when you spilt beer on me at Tommy's party?" she asked, it took a bit but Oliver vaguely remembered accidently spilling his expensive drink on a young teenage Sara, who had blushed profusely but Oliver had been too drunk to even apologize.
"I wasn't even supposed to be there," she admitted as she gazed upon the soft fire with an expression Oliver couldn't place, he could feel her steady heartbeat lulling him into serenity, he hadn't felt so peaceful in a long time. "But I snuck out of the house because I knew you were going to be there, and I had this embarrassing crush on you." She laughed slightly, Oliver could feel her smile against his chest, he smiled too but it was a sad smile. How had he never noticed? Probably because he was drunk off his ass.
"Laurel, she knew it. And that's why the party got broken up by the cops, she tipped off our dad. And I was grounded for a month and the next thing I knew…" she trailed off in melancholy thought, before she continued. "You and Laurel were together."
"She called the cops on you on purpose?" He asked her with no small amount of shock, Laurel was the goody goody of the sisters, she always kept him in line (or at least tried to) and the fact that she called the cops, and thus their father, on her baby sister was surprising to say the least.
"Not everybody is what they seem." She whispered to him, the truth embedding itself in his thick skull.
No one is who I thought they were, he thought to himself as he held Sara in his arms, listening to her heartbeat, strong and silent, just like her. Ever since I first arrived here, since Yao Fei shot me in the chest with that arrow, I don't even know what's real anymore. I've changed, Slade's changed, Shado's changed, and Sara's changed… what's real and what's not?
"Sara, the Oliver that you had that embarrassing teenage crush on, he died when the Gambit sank. He drowned in that unforgiving ocean, I'm not Oliver Queen, he died a long time ago…" the castaway stated with a face set in stone, his brow furrowed as he spoke to his former lover.
"I know that Ollie. But the Sara Lance who had that embarrassing crush on Oliver Queen died on the Gambit too, she drowned in that unforgiving ocean. And I know that you've changed, Oliver, but I think it's for the better." Sara admitted as she continued to lean against him, his fast beating heart underneath her head.
"I'm not a good man, Sara. I'm a killer, a murderer, a monster," he repeated the words the voice in his head had stated.
She whacked him on the shoulder, it didn't hurt but it made him look at her. "You died for me, Ollie. You died for Shado. You gave up your life for ours, even when you could have looked the other way and let one of us get a bullet between the eyes. But you didn't, the Oliver Queen I once knew would have never done that, he was too much of a coward. But you aren't that Oliver Queen, not anymore." Sara's eyes were blazing as bright as crackling lightning, daring him to say different.
"Than who am I?" He whispered to her, fear burning in his bright blue eyes as the fear started to set within him again, right next to the burning anger that lingered within his already blackened heart. His hands started to shake violently, who was he? What was he?
Sara's hands found themselves wrapped around Oliver's shaking hands, her slender fingers holding his hand that had slowly stopped shaking uncontrollably. "You are Oliver, the man who saved my life. The one who has become the better man. You may think that your heart is filled with nothing but darkness, but I can see a bright light glowing within you, waiting to be unleashed. You're a good person, Oliver, and we can all see it, we love you. You're Slade's protégée, Shado's apprentice, and my friend."
Oliver wasn't ashamed in the slightest as he felt his vision blur from unshed tears, had Slade been there he would have laughed and called him a softie, Oliver would have brushed off the tears and say it was because of the smoke, but his friends were still on their way back with medicine for a dead man. It was just them, and Sara was someone he trusted, Shado had told him of how she had taken the radio during the middle of the night, how she severed all ties with the supposed doctor, she really was on their side.
It made him happy. So happy that he momentarily forgot about the darkness that was lurking within his heart and mind, the corrupting venom that were his crazed thoughts. He felt as normal as he could be, and he wanted things to go back to normal so bad.
He yearned for morning sessions of sparring with Slade and Shado. Slade would have kicked his ass within a minute, but each fight got longer and longer with each passing day. Shado would go easier on him (though that didn't mean she didn't kick his ass every single time) and help him on his form. Slade and him would joke as they spared, friendly banter flowing between them as intimate as brothers could get.
Shado would then take his bruised form and help him with his archery, the days of slapping water were over, and now he could actually hit the target. Slade still recalled the days where he couldn't even hit a tree twenty meters away with glee, ribbing his friend of his mistakes but, in his own gruff and surly way, proud of his student's growth.
He could easily imagine Sara being with them, maybe they could double tag Slade and finally Oliver could get his revenge for all the bruises, maybe Sara and Shado could become the sisters to one another, like how Oliver secretly thought Slade and he were brothers.
Was it selfish of him to yearn for that normalcy? Was it terrible that he wished that Ivo and his pirate crew would sink to the ocean floor and leave them in peace? They needed to get off the island, but Lian Yu had become his home. Sure, he wanted to leave, oh how he wished he could go back to Starling City and chase after his little sister, or to be able to hug his mother again. He wanted that so bad. But he had become a better man here, despite the tortures of the island, his eyes had been opened. Here he had found clarity.
He didn't want to think of what would happen if they did leave the island. Would they stick together? Or would they leave one another? He knew it was selfish to want to keep the three with him forever, he knew that Slade had a son, Joe, back in Australia, and he would be the first thing on the ASIS agent's mind, just like how Thea and his mother would be on Oliver's mind. Shado had been a lawyer before she had been kidnapped, would she return to Hong Kong? And Sara… Well he was pretty sure that her family practically hated him now, which he deserved, but if she came home would they forbid her from seeing him?
"How did you do it?" He asked, trying to leave that train of depressing thought well away from his mind, but it lurked in the back of his head, the Mirakuru encouraging it. "How did you calm me down at the missile launcher?"
He had been so angry, Slade had been angry. Add in a mysterious World War Two super serum and something was bound to happen, but they had literally tried to kill one another. That scared him.
But Shado and Sara had calmed the two men down with but a few words. Shado he knew would be capable, she calmed down Slade on a daily basis, and him being on some miracle drug wasn't going to change that. But Sara had spoken to him about his family and knew exactly what to say to calm him down, he didn't think Sara knew so much about him. Before the island, he hadn't paid much attention about Sara, aside from her availability, but now he saw her in a clearer light. Like a fog had dispersed .
"I don't know Ollie," Sara sighed as she thought back to that event with a frown, it just proved that something was wrong with her friend and his mentor, and from all the reports she had read, none of them had a happy ending. But she would try her hardest no matter what, Slade was a complete ass but Oliver cared for him, and she cared for Oliver.
"The Mirakuru, it's like a disease. It destroys you from inside, you can shrug off a bullet or a scratch, but a wound from within the body can rarely be healed. The Mirakuru, it's like darkness, a suffocating abyss of despair and hatred. So I gave the serum a new medicine," she tightened her grip on his hand as she spoke next, "I focused on the light. Love and happiness. Thea and your mom… They're your bright spots in your heart, the island has split your views on a lot of things, but they haven't changed in your mind. To you, Thea is still that annoying but lovable baby sister who adores her big brother and loves to play with him, and your mother is a kind woman who loves you more than the world, she cared for you when you were a sick as a child or you scrapped your knee and she kissed your boo-boos to make it better, she held you when you had a nightmare or was scared of the monster in the closet. They're waiting for you, Ollie. I know that it's been over a year, but I know that they're still waiting for you on that port, they're waiting for you to come home."
Oliver thought of his mother and sister, his Speedy and his mom. He could practically hear Thea's childlike laughter in the wind that whistled throughout the clearing, he could feel his mother embracing him, her form as warm as the fire crackling besides them. He closed his eyes and for a minute he was slowly sailing back to that port, and Speedy and his mother were there waiting for him. They didn't say anything, they just smiled as though asking with bemused smirks 'what took you so long?'.
Oliver's ears perked up as he heard rustling to their left, he saw the bright light of a flashlight shining in the darkness. He prepared himself to lunge at the threat, but relaxed when he realized that it was only his mentors with the medicine for a man who wouldn't need it anymore. "We got it," Slade announced as he waved the small bag in front of Sara. Shado, who was holding the flashlight, had aimed the device at the man, seeing the paleness in the man's face.
"You're too late." Sara said simply, looking at the dead father before glancing back at the picture of the smiling orphan. "He's gone." She tightened her grip on the picture.
Slade sighed and threw he bag of medicine down, Shado averted her eyes in respect for the dead.
"We're all going to die here, just like him," Sara whispered out, her voice cracking as she looked down upon the cooling body with watery eyes. Oliver wished he could comfort her but he couldn't, he had just died a few days ago as well as Slade, none of them were safe on Lian Yu.
Shado had aimed the beam of artificial light in the cock pit, making sure to be wary of any broken glass or fizzling wires. "No we're not," Shado stated with a grin of relief, she wrestled something caught on the seatbelt and pulled it out of the wreckage.
Oliver leaned forward, Slade looked at it with a raised brow. "We just found our way onto Ivo's freighter," the Chinese woman stated as she showed the parachute to her friends.
For the first time in days Slade looked hopeful, a spark of the old Slade coming back. The original trio shared looks, words not needing to be spoken as the ideas and plots began to settle in their heads. Finally, some luck. And they were going to use this for their advantage.
Ivo had failed to destroy them, and now he was going to get an arrow in the head for it.
Some of you may be wondering why Slade isn't currently a ticking time bomb of anger issues, the reason why he was like that in the show, aside from the Mirakuru, was Shado's death. But she didn't die in that clearing, which means that the woman he loves is still alive, Oliver didn't choose between them, he chose himself, and they will always know that. Also people have been wondering about the pairings, and as I've right now I'm leaning more towards OliverxSara and SladexShado, because Slade deserves to be with Shado and we can see in the show how much he cared for her.