When Thea was born, he was nearly eight years old. He had understood, for most of his mother's pregnancy, that he would have a sibling soon. He told any one and everyone as loudly as he could that it was going to be his brother, that he was going to have a real little brother.
When Thea was born, he observed from the operation room them lifting something wet and red and bloody from behind the modesty sheet. His father was crying, and it terrified him.
"Is that- is that blood? What's happened to my brother?" he asked, feeling very dizzy. He looked at Tommy, then Tommy's dad. "Why is - why is there-?"
And then he fainted.
It took Oliver the better part of a year to actually like Thea. To be fair, there wasn't a lot of her to like. She was small and she was either crying or sleeping, so even if she was a boy he'd probably not like her because she was just a baby, and not worth liking.
When he was just turned ten, she was newly turned two, and she hadn't spoken. She made noises, but froze up when his mother tried to get her to speak. When spoken to, once upon a time, Thea Queen used to freeze up and go quiet. It was a trick Moira used when Thea cried, calmly talking her down from her tantrum.
It happened, one night. His mother and father were getting ready to go out at a gala for Tommy's mom's Glades clinic - the speech therapist was once again, with Thea, trying to get her to make a 'ma' sound. All he did was say the word and offer her a candy - Oliver could see she wa trying, but her little mouth didn't cooperate and she just couldn't make the noise.
Finally, frustrated and confused, she began to cry, banging little fists on the floor.
It irritated Oliver, made something new and loud roar in his chest. Not the crying, because Thea cried all the time. The fact that she was made cry is what got him. The therapist muttered something that he didn't quite hear, aiming a profanity at the roof, and he sprung forward, puffing out his chest.
"What did you say about my sister?" he demanded. The doctor jolted, put a hand over his heart. "I said: what did you say about my sister? You're supposed to be helping. That's what you get paid to do! Help her!"
"I'm trying." the therapist said. "She doesn't want to learn, kid. It's not my fault. She's just..."
"She's just what?" he growled, and stormed forward. "My sister is a godsend, and you're lucky to even be in the same room with her!" he didn't know what the loud feeling was, but it was making him madder and madder. He was vaguely able to hear his mother's clicking heels over his own yelling.
"You're not doing your job properly! You're just here for the money, aren't you?"
"No, I'm not-"
"Then why can't you help my sister?" he didn't know why he had hot tears in his eyes. It annoyed him, and he scrubbed his face with his sleeve. "Why can't you help her?"
His father came in behind him, asking what the ruckus was. Oliver didn't even acknowledge him, going to Thea and carefully lifting her off the floor. She clutched his shirt in little sweaty fists and continued to sob on his shoulder.
"It's okay." he said, shakily. "Ollie's got you now, Thea. Ollie's here."
She sniffled, made sad noises, but he just petted her back. Moira crossed the room, pressing a warm kiss to his head.
"Are you okay, darling?"
"No." he grumped, and passed the baby to her mother. Thea's eyes were very round, and she made a loud, shocked noise, little hands reaching for him.
"Looks like she wants you." Moira said gently.
"I don't want to hold her. I don't want her to throw up on-"
"Ollie Ollie Ollie!" the toddler kicked her legs. The whole room went silent. "Ollie!" she said, and flexed her hands at him again.
"I don't think you get much of a choice." Moira said and handed the little girl back to her brother, who accepted her in stunned silence.
"Ollie." the little girl said, with a stupid, gappy grin at him. She went quiet and googly eyed, staring at her brother, a big, dumb smile on her face. "Ollie." she said, and poked his cheek.
"Yup." he didn't know why he was so proud. "Ollie's got you, Thea. Ollie's here."
"Ollie!" she put her head down on his shoulder, chubby legs swinging happily, saying his name over and over, under her breath, as though she'd been meaning to say it for the longest time and had otherwise been unable to.
When Oliver was sixteen, Thea was eight, and she was bawling her eyes out. She was an otherwise happy kid, full of energy and laughs. She had just discovered how to prank people, and he was usually her target of choice.
Oliver paled when he realized what he thought was a floral pattern on her skirt was actually a pool of blood. She had burst in through the door and swung around on the bannister, trying to run up the stairs.
"Thea!" She nearly fell back down them again, falling into the wall, hand over her mouth, still howling. "What's wrong? What happened?!"
She flew into him, and he caught her. She was thin and starting to grow taller now, light as a feather.
"My kn-knee-...Rich-chard P-P-Peters pushed m-me-!" was all he managed to decipher through the cry-speak. It was all he needed to hear.
"I'm gonna kill him!" he vowed, and held onto her tighter. "I'm gonna break his nose! What the hell-? Does he know who you are? Does he know who I am?! Richard Peters - Richard. Peters! I'll make his life a living hell." he thought a long moment, therapeutically stroking her hair down her back.
He was so over come by the instant need to go and call Tommy (The plan was to harass the Peters' eldest son Greg, until he was satisfied that justice had been served from one sibling to another), he pulled away, going to the phone with half growled swear words pouring from his mouth.
"Ollie!" she had arms out for him, still crying hard enough her breathing was a concern. "Ollie!" she said again, and he huffed shortly, going back to wrap her up in a hug again.
"Don't worry, Thea." he said. "I'll take care of it. I'm gonna take care of it, okay? Don't worry about him. I'll end him. He will rue the day he messed with Thea Queen, you hear me? I've got it, okay? I'll take care of it."
And he did.
When he was twenty one, Thea was twelve, still just a baby but not for very long.
He was very drunk. Very, very drunk. He stumbled into her room, banged the light on, and said:
"The hell 'z ma room pink?" then he blinked at her. "Shpeedy, why're you in ma bed?"
"This is my room, jack off!" she rolled over, cracking open an eye. "Jeeze, I can smell you from here! Go to bed!"
"Uh huh, yup, will do, my bad, sorry bout that."
Then he fell over.
He didn't remember how he managed to get up, he remembered Thea's laughter, calling his name and coaxing him through the blur of his memory. He remembered her saying: "Ollie! Smile, Ollie!" and doing as she bid, with his eyes clamped closed against the flash of a camera.
He woke the next morning in a pink bed with what appeared to be a floral night gown ripped over the seams of his arms, half way up his chest, his jeans still on but the shoes off. He was hugging something frilly and there was a two litre bottle of water being waved in front of his face.
"Ollie." Thea cooed, stupid grin on her face. "C'mon, brother dear. Drink this. Dad said it would help."
"You're the best." he croaked, and guzzled half of it.
"I know." she replied. "I took the liberty of sending Laurel a happy birthday bunch of flowers, by the way, seeing as you can't even sit up right now."
"Best." he wheezed. "Sister. Ever."
"Oh, I know." she beamed, and took the bottle from his sleepy hand. "Don't throw up in my bed."
"Won't..." he was already dozing.
"Ollie." she said firmly, shaking his arm. "I mean it. Don't throw up in my bed!"
"Oh-kay!" he aimed a pillow at the sound of her voice and totally missed her. "Go 'way, now!"
"Yeah, yeah. You're welcome, big brother."
"Love you." he told her, but was sound asleep before he could hear it parroted back.
When it was the coldest, when he was at his lowest, when he had to remember why, aside from revenge, it was so important he got home, he thought of Thea, and it warmed him, brought him back up, motivated him. He remembered Thea and her first crush going terribly wrong and he remembered threatening the boy until he went out with his sister.
Then he threatened the boy when he was with her, too.
He remembered when she developed a taste for horror movies but not the nightmares that followed, crawling into his bed at all hours just to feel safe.
He remember that, when she went on her first camp, he spent a lot of time sitting in her room, texting his friends or trying to read Treasure Island.
He remembered Thea, and how much he missed her, and how much he needed to survive to get back home to protect her.