Title: Caught

Author: Astra
Rating: M
Characters: Oliver Queen, Malcolm Merlyn
Word Count: 1,786
Spoilers: these pictures from the final episode

Notes: Yesterday evening the pictures I link to above hit the internet, and instead of going to sleep like I should have my imagination went wild what this scene might be about. This is my take on it and I look forward to see how much I predicted right. Also I'd love this to be a challenge – do you have any ideas of your own?
Summary: my take on the final confrontation between Malcolm Merlyn and Oliver Queen. Secrets are revealed but actually it is all pure speculation based on some spoilerous promotion pictures

Oliver had a short moment of disorientation when he came to. He struggled a bit until he realized that his hands were chained way above his head. He felt better once he had gotten his feet back under him and took a firm stance. He seemed unhurt. So far.

Recent events came back to him with a bang. He had gone after Mr. Merlyn this time. When he finally had realized who was responsible for everything, he had went into his office with his usual speech of failing the city. Mr. Merlyn had been alone, just casually sitting at his desk, smiling up at him and he had seemed like easy prey. Only when it was too late Oliver realized that it all had been a trap.

For a guy just sitting at desks all day long Mr. Merlyn had put up a surprising fight, and because Oliver had been distracted by it, he had ended up unconscious. Now he had no idea where he had been brought.

He had put too much confidence into the list. He had gotten careless. All leads had pointed into this direction for a while now, but he had been too blind to see. Once he had learned that Malcolm Merlyn was behind the so called "Undertaking", everything clicked into place. Of course the man who created the list would not put his own name on it. Stupid, Oliver, stupid, stupid, stupid. He wished he had been chained to a wall, then he would bang his head against it. Hard.

And the worst thing was, he was in this alone. No Diggle who would miraculously rescue his sorry ass in the last minute. No Felicity who was able to do wonders with a keyboard and a computer screen. He was alone, utterly alone.

And he would pay with his life. He was under no illusion after what had happened to Walter, to his father, to his mother. His heart tried to burst his chest but he took conscious effort to calm himself down. This was it. No pretending anymore. His luck had finally run out and his cover soon would be blown. He was prepared.

He had been tortured before, back on the island. More than once. He knew what to expect. He also knew that the waiting always was the worst. And he knew that Mr. Merlyn knew that as well.

He still wore the blindfold over his eyes and could only rely on his other senses. He heard footsteps. A whiff of – not perfume, just cleanness told him that Mr. Merlyn approached from the right. The next thing he felt was a knife on his body, carefully cutting away his green suit. The suit he had taylor-made back when he had left the island for the first time and became acquainted with the Russian mob. Now this suit which had been like a second skin for him during the past years lay battered and ripped to shreds down at his feet. He was allowed to keep his pants and his dignity though. Thank God for small mercies.

Mr. Merlyn clearly knew how to handle a knife. Oliver's skin did not even get nicked during the process which left his chest exposed and was supposed to make him feel vulnerable. He refused to let it get to him, though.

Only the hood was left now. Merlyn made quick work of it and the blindfold. For a moment, they just stared at each other, Oliver's eyes slowly watering due to the sudden light. He was able to keep his cool outside demeanor but inside he took a deep breath of relief. He hadn't missed the fleeting moment of pure shock in Merlyn's eyes, which he hadn't been fast enough to hide. It told him that he hadn't expected it to be him. Maybe he would come out of this alive after all.

Oliver simply looked him into the eyes and waited. He had to admire how quickly Merlyn had gotten himself under control again. Once again his eyes were like cold blue steel and only his hand still gripping the hood white-knuckled betrayed his tension. He seemed so different from the man Oliver knew as his best friend's Dad. It seemed Merlyn's suit was as much a cover as Oliver's had been, hidden underneath was a man who knew how to fight, who wouldn't hesitate to kill.


"Mr. Merlyn."

Warily they looked at each other. Oliver didn't want to make this easy so he waited for what the other man had to say. He was surprised to see a hint of sorrow in Merlyn's eyes.

"Oliver Queen is the Hood. I admit, I hadn't expected that," Mr. Merlyn finally took the lead. "It explains a lot, though. This is all Robert's doing, isn't it? I should have known. He always was the weak spot."

Oliver said nothing. There really wasn't anything to say. But the casual vilification of his father made his blood boil.

"So what do I do with you now?" Merlyn mused. "I could give Detective Lance a call – bet he would like that, wouldn't he? But why waste such talent? I'd rather give you a chance. Come work for me. You and me and Tommy together – we can bring this city to greater heights!"

"You are murdering innocent people for your own benefit. And you expect me to work with you? After what you did to my Dad, to my Mom?"

"Nobody is innocent. You have to remember that. Look, I'm really sorry, Oliver. They betrayed me and they got what they deserved. I thought we would be friends, but it was your mother who tried to kill me. That is unforgivable. I won't hold their actions against you though. This city is ill and needs to be cured. It's better to remove a few bad teeth which threaten to poison the whole body. We are on the same side. Can't you see that I'm right?"

"You are ill!" and with that Oliver spat into Merlyn's face. He put all his anger and fury into it. Then he quickly raised his legs and intended to kick Merlyn into the gut, but again the man easily avoided him and danced almost cat-like out of the range of his legs. Under this expensive suit a dangerous man was hidden. It became more and more obvious to Oliver.

He received a resounding slap into his face for his troubles, but it had been worth it to see Merlyn's well-mannered façade break at least for a little moment. They both were back to silent staring now, only their ragged breathing could be heard in the quiet of the room.

Merlyn was the first who broke the eye-contact. He took out a handkerchief and carefully wiped the spit from his face. Then he turned, grabbed a bottle of water from the nearby table, opened it and held it to Oliver's lips. Oliver pressed them tightly together.

"Oh come on Oliver. Do you really think I'll just poison you? That's not my style. But if it helps for you to trust me…" Merlin took a swift sip from the bottle. After that Oliver reluctantly allowed the water to be fed to him. He had not realized how thirsty he actually was. Must have been out cold for quite a while.

Merlyn spoke again. "I want you to think about my offer. You have saved my life and I don't want to be ungrateful. But surely you'll understand that I have no use for you if you don't want to join me. I have known you all your life, and to be honest, recently I often wished Tommy would be more like you. You are the son I always wanted. He's too soft for this world but I will get rid of that soon. I'm training him now and you could help me with that."

Oliver paled. A cold fist seemed to wrench his gut. He had seen the disgust in Tommy's face when he had learnt about Oliver's secret – which he never had intended to share with him. Tommy had been shocked to find out that his best friend was a killer. What had went wrong in their relationship that he felt working for his Dad was the only choice he had? Oliver felt responsible for all of this. If he only could find a way out.

Just when Merlyn turned to put the empty bottle away, the door to the room suddenly burst open with a loud bang. All he was able to see was a blur of red, kicking out at Merlyn who fought back with an experience and gracefulness Oliver again had to admire. Certainly there was more to him than met the eye. He needed to investigate it further.

The fight was fast and hard, but finally the guy in the red hood got lucky and sent Merlyn sprawling on the floor with a blow to his head. Breathing heavily, he then threw back his hood and Oliver recognized Roy Harper, Thea's boyfriend.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" he yelled.

"Paying back my debt." Still panting, Roy got the keys for the handcuffs out of Merlyn's pockets. It seemed to take ages. Oliver kept an eye on his prone form to be able to shout a warning, should the faint only be faked, but he really seemed to be out cold. Finally his hands were released and he hissed when the blood started to flow again. "What about Merlyn?" Roy asked. "Leave him, go, go, go, go!" and they both made a dash for the door.

"This way," Roy shouted and Oliver saw a car waiting, the driver already starting the engine. He groaned when he recognized her. "Thea?!" His sister was the last person he wanted to get involved. Knowing her, she would now insist in helping him, learning to shoot arrows his way. She had no idea what she had gotten herself into.

While they drove through the night Oliver contemplated what to do with Mr. Merlyn.

The man knew his well-kept secret now. But Oliver also knew his. Or he would once he started investigating. That gave them mutual blackmailing stuff, and it would be hard to try to take Merlyn down without exposing himself. Surely Merlyn would realize this as well. The dynamics between them had changed now, with things out in the open, and for the first time since he was back from the island he had no idea what to do next.

All he wanted to do at the moment was look out into the dark streets of his city.

He'd find a way to keep it safe.


The End