Hope is a Four Letter Word

By JTrevizo

Rating – M for violence, language…

Spoiler: All Arrow seasons through 2x23 "Unthinkable".

Disclaimer: Arrow belongs to DC, CW, Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

Relationships: Oliver/Felicity, Diggle/Lyla, Roy/Thea

Summary: After five years of protecting Starling City, Oliver has finally realized that he can be happy and be a hero. But at what price?

Hi all. Okay, if you have an author alert, you are right now going "WTF?". Yes, I retired. Yes I said no more fanfic. I figured 17 years was more than enough. Then CW has to green light the best DC Superhero TV show in decades and now I'm not just hooked, but have a new OTP! So, when that happens creativity starts and well, damn… Just to be clear, this may be my first Arrow story but FAR from my first fanfic. Now let's get to the story…

-x-

Hope is a Four Letter Word

By JTrevizo

Chapter 1 – The Wedding of Oliver Queen

For the last ten years, Oliver Queen has found himself in his fair share of stressful situations. Two years on an island fighting daily for his life, then another three doing things that he would like to forget for the likes of ARGUS. Those years have been followed by another five years after he returned home where he's fought every villain and evil doer that attempted to destroy Starling City. Yet in all of those years, he doesn't think he's ever felt this terrified…

In less than twenty minutes, he'll be a married man.

His eyes scan the grand expanse of the backyard of his finally restored family home - Queen Mansion. He recalls the first party thrown here following his return from the dead: go-go cages, flashing lights, loud music, flowing liquor and dozens of dancing girls filled the expanse around the pool and surrounding grassy areas, while today he sees tasteful white chairs being occupied by a small group of guests entertained by the lyrical sounds of the string quartet, floral arrangements in bursts of color covering the floral arches behind and in front of him and lining the rows of chairs along the pure white walkway.

He never thought he'd have this day after returning home. His mission came first, his desires were secondary. And, when he thought that his mission would only lead to his death, it made sense not to want something like this. Happiness, a wife, family, love… Yet here he is, after realizing that everything he'd been through had led him here. If he'd never been on the Queen's Gambit, he wouldn't have grown up, become the man that he is today. Still, if he was honest, standing here, minutes away from being married, is bittersweet in so many ways. His father's sacrifice for his son nearly ten years ago had allowed him to become the man who returned to Starling City, and his mother, for all her flaws, hadn't lived to see the hero that he'd become in the days and years following her death. Standing in the shadow of their restored family home, wrested back from bankruptcy, makes him miss them all the more today of all days.

Still, he knows that his emotions were in overdrive for more than just the ache at the people missing from his life. The prospect of the next chapter of his life is overwhelming, filled with so many good things that make him the man he is today. And the most important one should be walking onto the white carpet leading to the floral arch he's standing beside even now.

"You okay, man?"

Oliver's head turns to face his best man, teammate and friend John Diggle, where he stands beside him, dressed in a basic black tuxedo and offers a lopsided grin.

"No."

Dig gives him a look, prompting the younger man to continue. In the five years they've been a lot of things to one another – employer/employee, partners, and then friends. Today they are groom and best man, a reversal from nearly two years ago when Dig and Lyla decided to try marriage yet again, following the birth of their son, Michael Jonas Diggle. Oliver still can't help smiling when he recalls being informed of Mike's middle name. He'd tried to ask them to change it, told them that it was an honor he didn't feel he deserved, but Dig had just said it made sense considering he was going to be a god-father.

At the continuing stare, Oliver sighs and barely stops himself from running a hand over his short hair or groomed five o'clock shadow along his jawline.

"I'm anxious... and nervous and scared as hell. I'm thinking that I should have put my foot down and insisted on eloping… we could have gone to Vegas, except for the obvious reasons."

Dig can't help the bark of laughter that erupts from him with his friend's admission. While the general populace of Starling City had no idea that their favorite billionaire (and soon to be former playboy) was actually the green hooded archer that patrolled the streets and did his best to keep the citizens safe, those that had joined him in his crusade knew that he'd faced so many more dangerous things than getting married. That the idea of him scared was humorous to say the least.

"And Thea would have had a fit if she hadn't been able to continue to mend fences with you and plan all this. Please say you aren't considering bailing because I don't think I can take Thea's fury at you ruining today," tosses in Roy Harper, having leaned in to eavesdrop on the conversation.

"If he bails, Thea's not the only one who would kill him," reminds Dig, causing Roy to laugh and Oliver to sigh as he shakes his head.

This small wedding on the lawn of the Queen's family residence had been the compromise between the lavish affair Starling City expected from the restored Queen family and the maybe dozen or so friends and family they'd have preferred. However, Thea, in her infinite wisdom of all things social, had insisted they have a large enough event that would allow for the invite of key investors of Queen Consolidated. Seeing the notorious playboy CEO finally settling down would give them a feeling of confidence in the continued resurgence of the company. The fact that his bride to be had agreed with Thea's plan hadn't helped.

Still, the people in attendance aren't all social climbers and millionaire investors. The entire Lance clan had shown up – now Captain Quentin Lance escorted a once again single Dinah, Laurel, and even Sara had come, bringing along Nyssa in what had probably been a bit of shock to her mother. Walter Steele is there, having been touched by the invitation and graciously agreed, since he is technically all the family Oliver and Thea have left. And then there are the friends forged in battle. Barry Allen and his girlfriend, Iris West, have taken a set of seats near the back, along with S.T.A.R. Labs employees Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow. The later had been instrumental in keeping Starling City from becoming a crater, while Barry had been instrumental in saving Oliver's life.

Suddenly the music changes, the string quartet beginning to play the piece selected for the entrance of the bridal party, pulling Oliver out of his thoughts, and he focuses all his attention on the arch of flowers near the patio of the house.

Thea is first, looking lovely in the floor length mint green colored strapless dress, carrying a bouquet of bright yellow sunflowers and some other kind of white flowers in her hand. She gives Oliver a grin before her eyes cut over to where Roy stands as she makes her way to her place opposite the men. Since her return following her decision to leave Starling City with Malcolm Merlyn, she and Roy had renewed their relationship and Oliver reluctantly expects an engagement in the next year.

Lyla is next, being Dig's counterpart in the wedding party. There had been a discussion on having Michael be ring bearer, but Dig and Lyla had decided to leave him with their nanny instead of hauling a possibly cranky toddler around a wedding. Dig gives her a quick once over with a smirk as she walks past them, dressed in the same pale green colored dress as Thea is wearing.

Then the bridal march began and Oliver looks away from his sister and his best friend's wife and stares expectantly down the aisle. He takes a deep breath to steady himself as he prepares for his bride to round the floral archway, but, when she steps into view, he finds it stuck in his chest as his heart stops.

As is trademark Felicity Smoak, she'd gone against tradition, which won't surprise anyone who knows her. While she had pretty much tossed a lot of the rules, she'd insisted on a few traditions, including not letting him see her wedding dress. And now, watching her walk towards him in it, he knows why. The dress, her dress was… it is green.

Or at least it is partially green. The emerald green strapless top ruches into a wide rhinestone a-line waist, then the fabric continues to cling to her curves until it falls open to one side in a floral spray with a ruffle of the same bright green color over a pure white lace skirting below her knees that dusts along the aisle as she walks towards him.

She'd also tossed the tradition of a veil, instead styling her hair down but to one side. Oliver smiles as he recalled staring at her with that same hairstyle years back, but she'd worn a red dress that night and he'd been oblivious to the emotions that were beginning to build between them back then.

Today, though, he knows how he feels about the woman walking towards him. With a huge exhale he lets out that breath and feels his heart speed up at that fact that after nearly five years of working together, supporting one another, three years after saying "I love you" under the guise of a lie, and two since he'd been worn down enough to admit to her and himself that he couldn't keep away from the person that made him a better man anymore, he is finally marrying his girl.

Before he can recognize it, she is standing before him and his heart threatens to burst. Reaching out to take her hand, Felicity hands Lyla her bouquet and then turns to give Oliver a bright smile as she slides her hand into his. Oliver guides her to his side, his mouth turned up into a grin, before they turn towards Starling City's Judge Marcus Gray, who Oliver and Felicity had agreed on as a perfectly good compromise considering Felicity's Jewish upbringing.

The tall, lanky, gray haired man looks between the two before adjusting his glasses, making both bride and groom smother smiles at the memory of more than a few times when Felicity had adjusted her own set of glasses in the course of explaining something to Oliver.

"We're gathered here today to join this man and this woman in the state of marriage…"

Felicity and Oliver stand, holding hands tightly, eyes having drifted from the officiate before them and locking with one another. They hear the drone of the judge's voice in the haze of happiness surrounding them, as they lose track of the words being spoken. It is only when they hear a question finally being posed that they break from their trance.

"If anyone can show just cause why these two may not be lawfully married, speak now or forever hold your peace," states Judge Gray as he briefly scan the assembly.

Felicity rolls her eyes as Oliver grimaces slightly. Considering more than a few of Oliver's exes, including Sara and Laurel, are in attendance, as well as Felicity's near flame Barry, Dig had sworn to give the attending guests a death glare worthy of the Arrow to keep them silent and in their seats. And Thea had been adamant that no one and nothing was keeping her from getting a sister in law that she had become quite fond of as well.

When there isn't a word spoken, Judge Gray nods and begins to pick up where he left off when suddenly the patio doors to the house burst open and the sound of automatic gunfire rips through the air. The guests begin to scream as what has to be at least a dozen men, all dressed in black tactical clothing and balaclavas, storm through the yard. Scared for their lives, some of the guests start to try to run, and the men simply begin firing into the crowd, prompting people to drop to the ground, hiding under chairs and huddling together in fear.

In that first assault, the bridal party all sees Barry fall as a bullet struck him, causing Iris to push him to the ground as Cisco and Caitlin help her try and stop the bleeding while others scream and moan from their own wounds.

Quentin looks towards Oliver before glancing to his daughters. He desperately wants to take out his service revolver and try and whittle down these thugs, and knows his girls would be more than willing to fight along with him, as would Nyssa, but he could immediately tell that these men have no qualms about continuing to shoot innocent people. Standing and trying to take them on wouldn't just get him killed, but anyone around him. Frustrated, he kneels with Dinah as he sees Sara, Nyssa and Laurel look between themselves, him and the bridal party, searching for some kind of opportunity to fight.

"Where the hell is the security?" growls Oliver towards Dig as he shoves Felicity behind him while the men continue to approach the bridal party.

"I think we're on our own," replies Dig as he watches the military precision of the team before them. There are some very rich and important people in attendance, but none of the men are searching through the guests. They are taking flanking positions…

Another set of gunfire sounds, prompting the wedding party to duck, the floral archway above their heads exploding into a shower of petals as Judge Gray falls backwards, a pool of dark red blood beginning to expand from beneath his head.

"Lyla, you and Thea okay over there?" Dig calls out, even as he holds Roy down beside him as the younger man had tried to get up and move to Thea.

"I got winged, but am okay. Thea's fine," she calls back, prompting Dig to give Roy a dark glance, causing him to settle slightly. He then sees the black on black stain of where a bullet has cut through Roy's thigh and wonders if any of them are going to get out of this alive.

"Any ideas boss?" asks Dig quietly as six of the twelve men who've burst into the wedding have moved to stand before them, machine guns and pistols pointed towards them as the leader motions for them to stand up.

"Stay calm," replies Oliver thickly as he stands up, bringing Felicity up with him as Dig and Roy slowly stand as well, forming a human wall in front of them, and Lyla presses Thea back a bit behind her.

"Mr. Queen," speaks one of the men, the one with the pistol who stands right in front of Dig and Roy that seems to be the leader, "this can go very easy or very hard. It all depends on you."

The AR-15 in his hands pointing at Oliver says he means business. Behind him, the other five keep their weapons pointed at the wedding party. In the guest seating area, which is filled with injured, dead or hiding guests the remaining six men flank both sides. There isn't a good way to fight their way out of this without significantly more bloodshed and Oliver refuses to let any more people die because of him.

"What do you want? Money? I can pay whatever you want if you let me," Oliver begins, his right hand holding Felicity's securely as he continues to shield her.

"I see you are willing to be reasonable. Wonderful," says the man with what seems to be a deep East Asian accent, prompting Dig and Lyla to think of Afghan deserts. "However, I doubt you have the amount we require in your pocket, so I'm afraid that, for the moment, I need to take some collateral."

"Fine, take me," Oliver offers, taking a step forward even as Felicity tightens her grip on his hand, unwilling to let him go.

"Ah, but that's a problem. How would you get us our money if you can't meet with your bankers or lawyers? No… we need a different 'hostage', so if you'll step aside and let us 'borrow' your blushing bride, then we can do business."

The dark look that settles over Oliver's face belongs under the hood he wears at night. There is no way they are leaving with Felicity. He feels more than sees Dig and Roy shift beside him. Years of instinct within Team Arrow tells him that, if there is a moment that they can overcome the gunmen before them, it has to be now.

"Now," cries Dig, rushing the leader who stands before them, surprising him.

As his hands grapple with the pistol, knowing that a punch would leave him vulnerable to being shot, Dig struggles to force the man to drop the weapon. Beside him, he can tell Roy had launched himself at another of the gunmen, the surprise allowing the younger man to strike the man.

Oliver has broken Felicity's grip and charges two more of the men, going for the rifles he knows are the threat. Another of the gunmen finds himself being engaged by Lyla as Thea runs to Felicity, who has started to retreat a few steps from the fight before them.

Once the six gunmen confronting the bridal party have been attacked, Quentin sees their only opening, and he calls out to his family, "Laurel, get your mom out of here! Sara, Nyssa, I'm going to help them!"

Pulling his service revolver, Quentin stands quickly and fires at the first of the gunmen guarding the left side of the seating, and catches him squarely in the chest, putting him down before he turns towards the two gunmen closest to the action. Behind him, he can hear Laurel grab up Dinah and rush for the side of the mansion while Sara and Nyssa move to engage the other three gunmen who are now running towards the front of the assembly and the fight going on.

But hand to hand and one lone handgun are no match for men with machine guns, and the sounds of fighting are quickly drowned out by the sound of gunfire. Felicity shrieks in astonishment and fear and Thea screams as Roy is shot nearly point blank in the chest and crashes to the ground. Then Dig crumples after being shot twice in the torso. Moments later, Lyla is prone on the grass after her leg buckles under her after being shot as well, and, in the chaos of the crowd, Quentin, Sara and Nyssa are all running from gunfire.

"Oliver!" screams Felicity as she watches him take a bullet to the stomach and another to his left knee, the same one Roy damaged years back, causing him to drop to the ground, his right knee and arms holding him up as he looks at the men before him, weapons trained at him.

Two more gunmen shove past the leader who stands over Oliver now and grab Felicity by her arms, pulling her from Thea's grasp. Oliver shoves himself up, forcing himself to disconnect from the burning pain in his abdomen and knee to try and stop them from taking Felicity.

With a last desperate cry, he charges the leader, only to have the butt of the man's pistol slam into the back of his head.

"We'll be in touch soon Mr. Queen," says the leader as Oliver finds himself succumbing to the blackness of unconsciousness, the last sound he hears is that of Felicity screaming his name.

-end chapter 1-

Okay, so I have the story outlined all the way to the ending (so I know where this is going), however there's so much fic in this fandom, I'm going to ask for feedback if anyone is A. Reading B. Interested in the whole fic so I know if I should continue… But thanks for getting this far!

You can find the dress Felicity is wearing here: i58DOTtinypicDOTcomSLASHvdpl79DOTjpg , and the bridesmaids dress here: i61SOTtinypicDOTcomSLASHnl6i6tDOTjpg