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When we stand together

Chapter Text

Lian Yu
Morning

Oliver led Laurel and Thea to where he was staying, the fuselage the pair recognized from the recordings.

“Nice place. Homey,” Thea quipped as she and Laurel looked around. “Is this where you stayed while you were on the island?”

“For some of it,” Oliver said as he put his bow and quiver down and grabbed a shirt. “What are you two doing here?”

“We told you, to bring you home,” Laurel said simply.

“How’d you even know I was here?” Oliver asked and it didn’t escape either of them that he was changing the subject.

“Because I know you Oliver. I know you like my own name,” Laurel said and Oliver scoffed. “Ollie…I know.”

For a moment, the room froze as Oliver stared at Laurel, the implications of what she was saying sinking in. He glanced over at Thea and saw from the look on her face that she understood exactly what Laurel was saying.

“How?” Oliver asked, his voice coming out choked.

“In hindsight, it was obvious. All the times The Hood was there for me, how he and I had a connection I couldn’t explain. How he always went out of his way to help me. I never asked why…because I knew. Deep down, a part of me always knew,” Laurel said softly as Oliver looked away, unable to meet her eyes. “The night of the Undertaking, you thought about telling me.”

“I’ve thought about telling you almost every night,” Oliver said with a shaky breath before turning to Thea. “And you? How’d you figure it out?”

“I always thought it was weird how The Hood went after The Count around the time I was in trouble for using Vertigo. When Laurel came to me, we started putting our heads together…it didn’t take us long to connect the dots,” Thea said, going with the cover story she and Laurel had cooked up. “Ollie…the city needs you.”

“I can’t Speedy,” Oliver said with a sigh. “I failed the city.”

“Ollie, what are you talking about?” Laurel asked as she and Thea exchanged a bewildered look.

“I was warned about mom. I was warned that she involved with something dark. But I didn’t listen; I just stayed in my bubble and buried my head in the sand. Maybe if I hadn’t…Tommy would still be alive,” Oliver said glumly and it was silent for several moments.

Laurel and Thea stared at Oliver as he sat down on the crate nearest to him, a look of complete defeat on his face. It was clear how much this had been weighing on him and both of them were kicking themselves for not realizing how much Tommy’s death had affected him. Before they could speak, Oliver spoke up again.

“Tommy knew my secret,” Oliver said, surprising them, as that was one tidbit Arsenal and Mia hadn’t seen fit to share. “Do you know what he called me when he found out? A murderer.”

“He was probably in shock,” Laurel started.

“The way you were when you called me a remorseless killer?” Oliver asked pointedly.

Laurel winced, knowing it was not one of her better moments. But that had been before she had seen the suffering Oliver had gone through, had understood it was not as simple as killer and killed. That the world was not as black and white as she had thought. It was much more complicated than that.

“Either way, you were both right,” Oliver said, bringing her out of her thoughts. “I am what the five years of hell I endured made me. I’m a killer, it’s who I am. That’s why I can’t go back. Anyone I kill will dishonor Tommy’s memory. And when I put on the hood, it is kill or be killed.”

“That is such a load of crap,” Thea said bluntly, causing her brother to look at her in surprise. “Look, I loved Tommy, but he had a way of…looking at things in a very specific way. After The Undertaking, I think it’s fair to say that things aren’t that simple, especially in our family.”

“She’s right Ollie,” Laurel said. “I was wrong when I said that. You’re not a cold blooded killer; you are so much more than that. You can’t see that right now…but I think I know someone who can help you.”

As Oliver watched curiously, Laurel reached inside her pocket and pulled out the piece of paper given to them by Arsenal and handed it to him.

“That’s the location of a woman who helps lost souls find themselves again,” Laurel said as Oliver looked at it curiously. “I heard about it from a client of mine.”

“And you trust their word?” Oliver asked skeptically.

“I do,” Laurel said immediately. “I think she can help you.”

“Please Ollie, do it for me,” Thea said, placing a hand on his arm and Oliver’s will crumbled as he looked into Thea’s eyes.

“Fine, I’ll give her a chance,” Oliver said reluctantly.

“That’s all we’re asking,” Laurel said with a hopeful smile.

Starling City
Same time

At the same time, Roy knocked on the door to Quentin Lance’s apartment. The former detective had called him early this morning, saying he’d needed his help with something. The door opened and Quentin stood on the other side.

“Good, you’re here. We have a lot of work to do,” Quentin said as he let Roy inside.

Roy was about to ask what he meant when he stopped, staring at all the boxes around the room.

“Are you moving or something?” Roy asked.

“No. I asked a few buddies of mine to send these over. This is everything the SCPD has on Justine Clayborne,” Quentin explained and Roy’s eyes widened in realizing. “Plus, I ran over to his old office, took everything I could fine.”

“Chase’s father,” Roy said and Quentin nodded.

“I’m hoping something in here will give us a lead on him. You wanna help or not?” Quentin asked getting straight to the point.

“Where do we start?” Roy asked almost immediately.

Mountain, next day
Morning

Oliver, dressed in winter clothes, climbed up the mountain side. Pulling himself up, he stared at the door to the monastery that stood before him. This had to be the place, Oliver thought grimly. After a moment of hesitation, he walked over and opened the door.

As he walked inside, he saw several people in black uniforms sparing. As Oliver closed the door behind him, they stopped. One of them pulled the cloth cover her face down and approached him.

“Who are?” she demanded.

“Someone seeking guidance,” Oliver said simply. “Where is your master?”

Snarling, she attempted to strike him but Oliver grabbed her arm and threw her to the floor. As the others rushed him, Oliver dodged a strike from one of the students before sending a kick to the chest, knocking them down. Oliver then engaged the others, throwing two to the ground before grabbing another and lifting him over his shoulder before throwing him to the ground as well. The five quickly got back to the feet and Oliver prepared to fight when0

Hold!”

Shocked, Oliver looked up at a railing. Talia stood there and, judging by the smirk that graced her lips, she found his shock at seeing her amusing.

“Leave us,” Talia ordered and her students left. “Hello Oliver.”

“Talia,” Oliver said as he recovered.

“You did not know that I was here,” Talia noted as she walked down the stairs.

“No. I was told a woman was here that could help me. I didn’t know that was you,” Oliver said and she nodded as she reached him.

“It is good to see you Oliver,” Talia said, a warmth behind her eyes. “But why have you come?”

“I failed Talia,” Oliver said as he looked away, unable to look in her in the eyes. “My father’s list, it was part of something much bigger. I tried to stop it and I couldn’t. I don’t know where to go from here Talia.”

“You feel lost, without purpose, the way you were when I found you,” Talia said and Oliver didn’t deny it. “Well then, we have work to do. Come Oliver, it’s time for us to resume your training.”

Chapter Text

Talia’s Monastery, two and a half months later

Morning

 

Oliver sat on the floor in a meditative pose, his eyes closed as a candle, lit, was in front of him. Suddenly, without opening his eyes, he whirled around, blocking the strike from one of Talia’s students. He threw the student down before sending a wild kick out, landing a blow in the stomach of another of Talia’s students. The student fell to their knees, clutching their stomach before Oliver kicked them in the head, knocking them out before three more of Talia’s students jumped out to engage him. Oliver dodged a strike from one before grabbing one and, with a whirl, throwing him into another. Oliver then sent a flying kick to the other student, striking them across the face and whirling around, kicking the first student, who had recovered, in the stomach. They went down and Oliver finally opened his eyes to see he stood in a circle of his groaning opponents.

 

“Leave us,” Talia, from where she stood on the balcony overlooking this, spoke up and the five students got up and left silent except for a few groans. “Well done Oliver. Your training is complete.”

 

“So you think I’m ready?” Oliver asked, not allowing the doubt he felt to enter his voice.

 

“I think only you can decide that. But, so long as you remember what I taught you, I think you can face whatever enemy without fear or hesitation in your heart,” Talia said as she walked down the stairs and walked over to him until they stood face to face. “I have arranged a plan for you. It will arrive several miles from the mountain at the closest town. It’s time for you to return home Oliver and continue your crusade.”

 

Laurel Lance’s apart, next day

Mid-morning

 

“So how’s your mom doing?” Quentin asked Thea as the two of them, Laurel and Roy ere having breakfast in what had been become their weekly meetings since they had returned from the future.

 

“She’s hanging in there, I’m heading up to see her tomorrow,” Thea said.

 

“Give her our best,” Laurel said and Thea nodded.

 

“So anything new on Chase?” Thea asked as she looked at Roy and Quentin, who both shook their heads sadly.

 

“No, just a bunch of dead ends. The guy’s a ghost, we’ve exhausted every lead on him and nothing,” Quentin said sourly.

 

“But we’re not giving up, we won’t,” Roy assured her and Thea nodded gratefully.

 

Before the conversation could continue, Thea’s phone rang. With an apologetic look, she answered it.

 

“Hello?”

 

Starling City Airfield

Afternoon

 

Roy pulled up onto the airfield and parked the car.

 

“You sure this is where Oliver told you to meet him?” Roy asked as he looked over at Thea in the passenger seat.

 

“Yes, he told me to meet him at this airfield at 12:30, on the dot, his words,” Thea said, wondering if she had misheard her brother.

 

Suddenly, a loud sound pieced the air. The sound of a plane, Thea realized with a start. She quickly opened the door and jumped out of the car. Looking up, she saw a plane was descending from the sky, one exactly like the ones her father and brother had worked on when she was little, Thea noted.

 

Roy got out of the car as well and the two stared as the plane descended from the sky and landed on the airfield. The ramp lowered after a moment and Oliver Queen walked down.

 

“Hey Speedy,” Oliver said warmly as he walked over.

 

Thea ran over and embraced him, which he returned warmly.

 

“Hey Speedy, it’s okay,” Oliver whispered as she felt her tears slipping onto his shoulder.

 

“I just…I really missed you,” Thea said as she stepped back, wiping her tears. “So…how long are you staying?”

 

“As long as it takes,” Oliver said simply.

 

“So that woman…did she help you? With Tommy?” Thea asked gently, hoping Talia had.

 

Thea’s question gave Oliver pause as he remembered Talia’s first lesson upon his journey to the monastery.

 

Talia’s Monastery, two and a half months ago

 

Oliver and Talia were sparing with swords. Oliver had some skill with the weapon, due to some training from Slade in the early years of his five years of hell, but Talia was leagues above him.

 

Talia made a strike towards him and Oliver parried, managing to block her strike.

 

“Tommy Merlyn’s death was not your fault Oliver,” Talia told him as she looked into his eyes. “It was his own.”

 

Suddenly filled with rage, Oliver pushed back and Talia broke their stalemate. However, as Oliver tried to strike her, Talia whirled around and struck his leg with her sword. This distracted Oliver long enough for Talia to elbow him in the chest before following up with a kick to his chest. Oliver went down on his back and Talia put her sword at his neck.

 

“Giving into your anger will not change that, only get you killed,” Talia told him.

 

“A building fell on him,” Oliver growled but Talia was unaffected.

 

“Because he allowed his affection for Laurel Lance to pollute his judgement. As you did not,” Talia said before she withdrew her sword. “Laurel Lance may have made the choice to ignore your warning, but Tommy made the choice to go to her when his father’s device activated. Whatever events transpired after that was his own fault, not yours or Laurel’s.”

 

Now

 

“It took me a while to accept what they were trying to teach me,” Oliver told Thea after a moment. “But eventually, I had to accept I did the best I could. Blaming myself for his death won’t help anyone. Eventually, you have to move on.”

 

There were things Oliver wasn’t telling her, like the nightmares with Tommy blaming him and the weeks he struggled with this. But she didn’t need to know that.

 

“You remember Roy,” Thea said as she and Oliver approached the car.

 

“Still here?” Oliver asked an edge to his voice as he held out a hand, which Roy shook firmly.

 

“Always,” Roy said evenly. “How was Europe?”

 

“Enlightening,” Oliver said vaguely as they dropped hands.

 

“Well, you can tell us all about it on the way home,” Thea said as she headed towards the car.

 

“Actually, I was hoping to drop by the club first. There are a few things I left in the basement that I need to pick up,” Oliver said as he shot Thea a significant look. “I was hoping you’d come help me find them.”

 

“Sure Ollie,” Thea said as she caught on, smothering the smile that threatened to cross her face.

 

Oliver nodded before getting in the backseat, completely missing the look Thea and Roy exchanged. It was small for now, but hopefully, they could change the future. They could change Oliver’s fate and the fate o Starling City.

 

Verdant

Later In the afternoon

 

“So, when you left mom on the street?” Thea asked as Oliver led her to the basement.

 

“I was trying to chase down the shooter, who turned out to be Helena Bertinelli,” Oliver explained and she shot him a look.

 

“As in the Helena you were sleeping with?” she asked incredulously and Oliver looked abashed.

 

“Yeah, that wasn’t my best moment,” Oliver admitted before he looked over at Thea. “How is she? Mom. Have you been down to see her?”

 

“Yeah, she’s hanging in there. I was actually planning on heading to Iron Heights to see tomorro. You can come if you want,” Thea offered and Oliver smiled.

 

“I would like that Speedy. But for now, there’s something you need to see,” Oliver said as they stopped in front of a door.

 

“I’ve never been able to open this door,” Thea remembered and Oliver nodded.

 

“There’s a reason for that,” Oliver said before he punched in a code to the door and there was a click.

 

Oliver opened the door and gestured for Thea to walk inside. Thea walked through the door and Oliver followed. Thea let her brother lead, her heart hammering in her chest as she realized the depths of what Oliver was about to show her and what it meant. It was dark in the room until Oliver flicked a switch. The room was flooded with light and Oliver was surprised as Thea looked around in shock.

 

“This is where you plan your vigilante-ing?” Thea asked as she looked around, finding it a little less impressive than his lair in the recordings.

 

“Yeah,” Oliver said and Thea noted he was looking around to.

 

“Something wrong?” Thea asked.

 

“No, just somethings are different. My partners have been busy,” Oliver noted.

 

“You have partners?” Thea asked even though she had an idea about who they were.

 

“You’ll meet them soon,” Oliver promised as he found what he was looking for.

 

Oliver walked over to a crate in the corner and opened it. Thea looked confused as he pulled out an old, worn book. As Thea thought about it, she remembered seeing him go through it in his room shortly after he came home, then it had just disappeared.

 

“What’s that?” Thea asked as she walked over to him.

 

“This is The List. It’s a book of names of the worst of the worst of Starling City, the people who failed it. It was compiled by our father…and Malcolm Merlyn,” Oliver said and Thea shuttered at the second name. “I found it on our father’s body. Later, I found a message from him, explaining The List.”

 

“Why are you telling me this Ollie?” Thea asked after a moment.

 

“Because you are the most important person in my life. And I don’t want there to be any secrets between us anymore,” Oliver said as he turned to her.

 

“No more secrets,” Thea promised even as her insides squirmed as she remembered her trip to the future.

Chapter Text

Verdant
Late afternoon

“So any leads on Oliver?” Felicity asked Diggle as they made their way to the secret entrance of the lair.

“I’ve got a few tips, nothing promising,” Diggle said.

“We’re sure he went back to Lian Yu? Why would he even want to go back there?” Felicity wondered.

“Sometimes, a battlefield is more home than the house you grew up in,” Diggle said simply.

Felicity still didn’t understand but decided to let the matter drop. She punched the code into the lock and the lair was unlocked. They opened the door and started to walk down the stairs when they stopped. The light was on, and they had turned it off the last time they were here. Diggle pulled out his gun and silently began making his way down the stairs. He peered around the corner and saw someone was at the computer. However, he stared in shock as he saw who it was.

“Dig,” Oliver greeted without turning around, looking at whatever was on the computer screen.

“Oliver…you’re back,” Diggle said as he lowered his gun.

“Just got back into town, been catching up on what I’ve missed,” Oliver said as he got up, turning around to face Diggle as Felicity came down the stairs. “It’s good to see you both.”

“I’m sorry, but you’ve been gone for almost five months and now you’re just back? Where have you been?” Felicity asked, in a bit of shock at seeing him.

“I went to see an old friend. They gave me some perspective,” Oliver said before moving on. “So, more copycats?”

“They showed up about a month ago,” Diggle said, deciding to table this conversation. “They’re doing exactly what you did last year, except they don’t have your restraint…or your honor.”

“I disagree,” Oliver said as he looked back at the computers, which was on a news article about The Hoods. “It wasn’t personal for me. And I was going after the people who had failed this city. These Hoods are a bunch of thugs going after the rich and powerful. They’re on a vendetta, just like Helena.”

“Well, over five hundred people were killed in the quake. It’s gonna be hard to narrow down everyone with a reason to want revenge,” Diggle noted.

“Felicity, compile a list of all their targets thus far, see if you can find a link or a pattern. Maybe if we figure out how they operate, we can figure out their next targets. I’d like to stay and catch up, but I have a board meeting to prepare for,” Oliver said as he picked his jacket off the chair.

“Isabel Rochev?” Felicity asked and Oliver nodded. “Bet you’d rather be crossing another name off the list than have a meeting with her.”

“It’s one in the same, because Rochev is on the list,” Oliver said as he put on his jacket, stunning the pair.

“In hindsight, that doesn’t surprise me,” Felicity said and Oliver smiled slightly.

“I’ll see you both tomorrow,” Oliver said before he walked passed them and out the door, pausing in the doorway. “Nice upgrades.”

Unspecified location
Same time

“And in local news, Oliver Queen has returned home again,” in a dark room, a TV set played a news report as four men watched it, a clip of Oliver getting out of Roy’s car taken on someone’s cell phone playing.

“Why are they paying attention to him when we just took out another One Percenter?” One of them asked disgruntled.

“Guess he’s takin’ over the family business,” another grunted and the first one had a look of realization on his face.

“We’ve been going about this all wrong,” he said and they all looked to him.

“What do you mean?” Another asked.

“If we want real justice, we gotta take this fight to the name who did this to us,” the first one said, gesturing to the picture of Oliver on the screen.

“Queen? He’s just some useless brat,” one of them protested and the leader laughed.

“His company’s Applied Science Division built the Earthquake Generator. If we want real justice, then that family needs to pay for the suffering it’s caused us. In full,” he said darkly.

Limo, en route to Queen Consolidated, next day
Morning

“So where you been?” Diggle asked as he drove Oliver to Queen Consolidated.

“Somewhere cold,” Oliver said truthfully.

“You’ve been gone for almost five months Oliver, Felicity and I weren’t sure you’d ever come back. I thought I’d have to drag you back kicking and screaming,” Diggle said and Oliver smiled thinly.

“I spent the last few months with someone I knew while I was…away. She helped me get perspective on…what happened,” Oliver said, thinking of The Undertaking. “I don’t wanna talk about it John, so please drop it.”

“Okay,” Diggle said deciding to play along…for now.

“How’s Carly?” Oliver asked and noticed Diggle’s shoulders tense for a second.

“Good, she’s good,” Diggle said.

Oliver raised an eyebrow; clearly something had happened with Carly while he was gone. But Oliver decided to table that conversation for the moment. He had a board meeting to attend.

Queen Consolidated
Afternoon

Oliver and Diggle got off their elevator and were immediately ambushed by Felicity.

“They’re in the conference room and FYI, no one is eating the bagels,” Felicity said in a rush.

Oliver nodded silently before he entered the conference room. He saw the board members, some of them he recognized, having seen his father talking to them at one point or another. And Isabel Rochev. As she stood up, Oliver eyed her curiously, wondering what she could have done to be put on the list.

“Ms. Rochev,” Oliver said, plastering on a charming smile as they shook hands. “Sorry I’m late.”

“For this meeting or a career in business?” Isabel asked bluntly and Oliver raised an eyebrow.

“I didn’t realize hostile takeovers were so hostile,” Oliver joked as they sat down.

“On the contrary, I’m actually in a very good mood,” Isabel said and Oliver narrowed his eyes.

“So ruining companies agrees with you?”

“Winning agrees with me,” Isabel said and she was confused by the half amused smirk that crossed Oliver’s face.

“So, you define winning as putting thousands of people out of work? That’s funny. I usually define winning as making sure people are able to keep their jobs, but I guess that’s just me,” Oliver said casually.

At once, Oliver could tell he’d impressed the board, given the looks they shot him, appraising him. But it would take more than impressing them to take back control of Queen Consolidated, he knew.

“I may not have majored in business, or anything, in college, but I’m aware that we each control forty five percent of the company and that the remaining ten goes up for auction in a few weeks. So I guess until then, we’re partners,” Oliver said, trying not to smirk at the look of outrage crossing Isabel’s face.

“And then, I will buy it and you’ll be out, considering you have no money,” Isabel said, confusing at why Oliver’s confidence wasn’t fading. “Companies rise and all Mr. Queen, yours has fallen.”

“You sure about that?” Oliver said calmly.

“Oliver Queen!”

Startled, everyone looked up to see three men dressed like The Hood wielding guns burst into the room.

“You have failed this city,” one of them said as they took aim at Oliver.

“Get down!” Diggle shouted as he pulled out his gun.

A fire fight between Diggle and The Hoods broke out as everyone else ducked under the table. Oliver grabbed Isabel and made for the door, pushing her though and she ran. Oliver ducked back for Felicity and grabbed her. They ran for the door before Oliver grabbed her, tackling her to the ground as one of The Hoods opened fire. The barrage of bullets completely shattered the glass wall behind them before it stopped.

Oliver helped Felicity to her feet as one of The Hoods burst in behind them. Oliver grabbed Felicity and ran for the window. Grabbing onto the chain for the blinds, Oliver and Felicity crashed through the window. Using the chain as a vine, Oliver and Felicity crashed through the window of a room a few floors down. They landed on the floor, hard, a little dazed but very much alive.

“You okay?” Oliver asked as he looked over at Felicity.

“Let me get back to you when my stomach catches up with the rest of me,” Felicity said, looking a little green.

Up above them, Diggle stood up as The Hoods retreated, their prey lost to them.

Later, after giving statements to the detectives, Oliver was looking for Diggle and Felicity to head out when he stopped, spotting a familiar face.

“Detective Lance?” Oliver called out, shocked to see Quentin in something other than a detective uniform.

“It’s officer now,” Quentin said as he turned around to face him, gesturing to his uniform. “My superiors didn’t take kindly to me working with the vigilante. And after the quake, they needed a scapegoat.”

“I’m sorry,” Oliver said remorse filling him.

“Don’t be. I made a decision to do the right thing. And knowing what I do now, I’d still make the same decision,” Quentin said as he looked at Oliver, knowing that those words would have bigger impact with what he knew now. “Listen, I owe you an apology.”

“An apology? For what?” Oliver said confused.

“When you came back…I was pretty hard on you,” Quentin said and Oliver immediately understood.

“You don’t have to-”

“Oh, but I do,” Quentin cut him off. “You and Sara, you were just kids then. And whether she came back or….I was out of line. I’m sorry.”

Quentin held out his hand to Oliver. After a moment, Oliver reached out and took it. They stood there for a few moments before they dropped ands.

“It was good seeing you Detective,” Oliver said before walking off.

“You to Oliver,” Quentin called after him before lowering his voice. “Good luck.”

Arrow lair
Night

“Clearly, The Hoods don’t have a clear pattern,” Diggle noted as he, Oliver, and Felicity walked down into the lair.

“The way they moved, the way they operated-” Oliver started.

“They have military training, at least the leader does,” Diggle agreed and Oliver nodded.

“That narrows it down a bit,” Felicity said as she walked over to the computers.

“One of them, he held his gun like he had an injury. Cross reference for any veterans with injuries to their hands, arms, or wrists with hospital records of anyone who was affected by the quake,” Oliver ordered.

It didn’t take long for Felicity to take a hit.

“Jeff Deneau. Ex-Marine, had a surgical amputation on his left hand,” Felicity told them.

“He lost it overseas?” Diggle asked.

“No, in the earthquake,” Felicity said and it was silent for a moment. “Says here he and his wife were trying to make it across the 52nd Street Bridge when it collapsed. She didn’t make it.”

“Phone records please,” Oliver said lowly, pushing that aside for now. “I want to know who he’s talking to.”

“Says here he made a lot of calls to a church in The Glades, something called ‘Stranding Strong’. It’s a support group for those who lost loved ones in The Glades,” Felicity explained.

“Great way to meet three other guys as angry as you looking for a little payback,” Diggle noted.

Up above them, the club was in full swing. Roy brought over a tray of drinks and set them down, looking over at Thea.

“You okay?” Roy asked in concern. “You’ve been a hundred miles away all day.”

“I just…Ollie, for maybe the first time ever, is being completely honest with me. And I can’t do the same with him,” Thea said wrecked with guilt.

“What are you gonna say? That you know his secret because his future daughter brought us to the future? I don’t think that’s gonna go over well with him,” Roy pointed out.

“I just…I wish I could tell him everything. About Mia and Sara and Chase and everything else we learned,” Thea said with a sigh.

Roy opened his mouth to speak when, suddenly, there were shots going off. Everyone screamed in panic as Roy grabbed Thea, instinctively pulling her down to the ground as The Hoods made their way through the crowd, shooting off a few more rounds to quiet the crowd.

“Where is Oliver Queen?!” the leader shouted. “He’s back in town, he owns this dump. Where can we find him?”

In the lair, Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity looked up at the ceiling as they heard the shots.

“Felicity, get me a visual, now,” Oliver ordered.

Felicity immediately pulled up the feed from the club to reveal The Hoods. Oliver paled as he saw Thea and Roy in front of them.

Up above, the leader grew unsatisfied when no one moved.

“Alright, fine, plan B then,” he said before grabbing a random girl and throwing her onto the floor before taking aim at her. “I’m gonna start shooting people until Mr. Queen grows a pair.”

Before he could shoot however, Roy rushed him, tackling him to the ground. Roy then stood up and engaged another of the Hoods, grabbing him and throwing him to the ground. As the hood hit the ground, one of his hands came off, to Roy’s shock. As the Hood screamed in pain, Roy grabbed his gun when a scream pierced the air. Whirling around, Roy saw the leader had Thea, his arm around her as he pointed his gun at her head.

“Go ahead, try it hero,” the leader egged on.

Suddenly, an arrow flew out and hit his gun, knocking it out of his hand. Every eye in the room looked up to see Oliver, dressed in his uniform aiming an arrow at the leader.

“Let. Her. Go,” Oliver growled.

The two remaining Hoods opened fire on him, forcing Oliver to take cover. The leader began trying to force a struggling Thea out as Roy tried to follow but one of the Hoods shot at him, forcing him to take cover as he looked at the terrified civilians, cursing his luck.

Then Oliver jumped down, grabbing the wrist of one of The Hoods and bending backwards. The Hood cried out as a crack was heard before Oliver threw him into a nearby table, which toppled over and he was knocked out as he hit a wall. Oliver then whirled around, firing at the second Hood. An arrow hit him in the shoulder and he cried out as he went down.

“You!” Oliver barked as he turned to Roy. “Don’t let them leave.”

Without waiting for a response, Oliver stalked out, going after the leader and Thea.

Outside, the leader was attempting to lead the struggling Thea out when an arrow sailed past them, hitting a car window near them.

“Let. Her. Go,” Oliver growled as he aimed at the leader.

“You wanna save her?! There was no justice for people like the Queens until you showed us how!” the leader snarled as he whirled around, Thea still in his arms.

“Taking innocent people hostage. Targeting unarmed civilians. Kidnapping a teenage girl. You call this justice?! You’re not a hero, you’re a thug,” Oliver growled. “Let her go.”

“You’ll have to kill me,” the leader sneered.

Calmly, Oliver let go of his draw string. The arrow flew out of his bow and struck the man’s jugular. Letting Thea go in shock, the man stumbled back before falling to the ground, dead.

“Ollie…” Thea trailed off, in shock.

Oliver walked passed her, over to the leader and picked up his limp boy, throwing him over his shoulder before walking back into the club.

As he walked back into the club, everyone looked up as he reentered. Roy had his gun aimed on Jeff Deneau as Oliver stopped in front of them, throwing down the lifeless body of the leader.

“You are going to send a message for me,” Oliver growled. “Make sure that everyone in this city knows the Queen family is under my protection. And should anymore so called vigilantes attempt to seek justice on the Queen family for their alleged crimes, I will find them and show them true justice.”

Unspecified location
Later

A man was watching a news report on The hoods attacking Verdant when Isabel Rochev walked in.

“Looks like your plan worked,” Isabel said and the man chuckled.

“My plan has just begun,” the man said as he eyed footage of Oliver leaving the club. “Soon kid, we’ll meet again. Because I keep my promises kid.”

Queen Mansion
Same time

Oliver was in his room, going over the list when the door opened. He looked up to see Thea walk in.

“Hey,” Oliver said as he closed the book and put it on his desk. “How are you doing?”

“Not every day you get kidnapped, but I think I’m doing okay, all things considered,” Thea said shakily as she looked up at her brother. “As grateful as I am, you realize you just painted a target on your back for every psycho with an axe to grind against our family.”

“I can handle them Speedy, I had to send a message,” Oliver said as he walked over to her. “I was not going to risk anymore Hoods coming after you. No one comes after my family. If anyone wants to try, they’ll have to go through me first.”

Thea looked up at him, feeling like, for the first time in her life, she was really seeing her brother for who he was. It was silent between them.

“So…Roy. What he did before I got there,” Oliver started and Thea shot him an annoyed look.

“Really, you’re gonna be mad at him for doing exactly what you do on a nightly basis?’ Thea asked annoyed.

“No. On the contrary, I was impressed by him,” Oliver said, surprising her. “He was brave, if a little reckless. With proper training, who knows, he might give me a run for my money.”

“You’re planning something, aren’t you?” Thea realized and Oliver only smirked.

“It’s been a long day Speedy, I’m gonna take a shower and head to bed. Night,” Oliver said cheekily before he turned and headed to his shower, leaving Thea staring after him, torn between amusement and exasperation.

Starling City Graveyard, next day
Morning

Oliver was standing in front of Tommy’s grave, a look of sadness on his face when he heard someone behind him. Turning around, he smiled as he saw who it was.

“Hello Laurel,” Oliver greeted, happy to see her.

“Ollie, hi,” Laurel said and they hugged.

“You come here often?” Oliver asked as he pulled back.

“At least a few times a week,” Laurel said as they turned to face the grave. “So, you’ve been busy.”

“Isabel Rochev, The Hoods, I have a feeling I’m going to be busy for a while,” Oliver said with a slight smile and she nodded.

“That women I sent you to…did she help you?” Laurel asked gently, looking over at him and Oliver was silent for a few moments.

“She helped me move beyond my guilt. But move past his death? No. I don’t think I’ll ever get passed it,” Oliver said grimly.

“Me neither, “Laurel said quietly as they looked at each for a moment, an understanding passing between them.

“The woman, she tells her students to move on, grow. Some do. But not me. Not us,” Oliver said calmly.

“Not us,” Laurel agreed as they took each other’s hand, staring down at Tommy’s grave sadly.

Iron Height
Afternoon

Oliver was sitting in the visitors section as Moira walked in in a grey jumpsuit.

“I’m sorry I didn’t make it here sooner,” Oliver said as she sat down across from him. “Things have been busy.”

“I understand Oliver,” Moira said as she reached out, taking his hands. “Oliver…I know.”

For a moment, it was silent as Oliver stared at her, the implication seeking in. Then; he simply stared at her in shock, his mind whirling.

“But…how? When?” Oliver managed, trying to process this.

“The night of The Undertaking. Everything became so clear that night. It’s also the night I stopped sleeping,” Moira said with a week smile.

“Before you say anything else-” Oliver started.

“There’s nothing else to say,” Moira cut him off. “Except that I could not be more proud.”

“Mom…” Oliver trailed off, not knowing what to say.

“I wish we could stay in this moment, but there are things you need to know,” Moira said with a sigh. “Isabel Rochev. Do not trust that woman Oliver.”

“She’s on the list,” Oliver said after a moment and Moira nodded. “Why?”

“She used to be an intern back when she was still in business school. She came to our company. The pretty intern who caught the CEO’s eye,” Moira said and Oliver realized what she was getting at.

“They were together,” Oliver whispered and she nodded.

“Your father was going to leave me, leave you and Thea, for her. Then Thea fell off her horse. It proved a wakeup call for him. He terminated her internship and never spoke to her again,” Moira explained and Oliver as silent as he processed this information.

“That’s why she’s so desperate to control our company, because he chose us over her,” Oliver realized and Moira nodded. “Thank you for telling me this. I know it couldn’t have been easy.”

“It was easily…compared to what I’m about to tell you next,” Moira sighed as Oliver looked at her confused. “I’m sorry Oliver. I should have told you this a very long time ago. I told myself I was protecting you…but I was really protecting myself.”

“Protecting me? Protecting me from what?” Oliver asked confused.

“Samantha Clayton. When she told you she lost the baby, that was a lie,” Moira said and watched as Oliver paled, staring at her in shock.

“N-No. Samantha, she wouldn’t lie to me about something like this,” Oliver stammered and Moira smiled tightly.

“Yes she would…because I paid her to,” Moira revealed and Oliver stared at her, shock and betrayal in his eyes. “When you told me about her, I arranged a meeting with her. I paid her one million dollars to tell you she lost the baby, leave Starling City and never come back.”

“Why would you do that?” Oliver asked lowly, staring at her like he had never seen her before.

“I thought I was protecting you. You know what you were like back then Oliver; I wasn’t sure what kind of father you would be. I’m so sorry Oliver,” Moira said as tears rushed down her face. “Please, say something, anything.”

For a long moment, Oliver simply stared at her silently. Then, with a face of stone, Oliver pried her hands off him and stood up. He turned around and walked out without a look back at her.

Chapter Text

Iron Heights
Afternoon

“So how are you doing?” Thea asked as she sat across from her mother in the visitor’s section.

“I’ve been better,” Moira said with a weak smile. “Your brother visited me a few days ago.”

“Oh,” Thea said awkwardly, knowing where this was going. “How’d it go?”

“About as well as I expected. I told him everything. About Isabel Rochev and…William,” Moira said with a sigh.

“He just needs some time mom, he’ll come around,” Thea said but the words sounded hollow even to her own ears.

“You didn’t see the look on his face. I’ve never seen him so angry and I don’t blame him. I honestly don’t think Oliver will ever forgive me…and I’m not sure I deserve his forgiveness,” Moira said with a sigh.

Arrow lair
Same time

Diggle groaned as he was thrown down on his back, Oliver standing over him.

“You’re almost making this too easy now,” Oliver said, offering Diggle a hand up.

“Well maybe that’s because you’re a lot better now. Wherever you went after The Undertaking, you picked up some new tricks there,” Diggle noted as he accepted Oliver’s hand and was pulled to his feet. “Must be some old friend you’ve got.”

“Trust me, you don’t want to meet them,” Oliver said vaguely.

“So why have you been so aggressive lately?” Diggle inquired.

“What happened with you and Carly?” Oliver deflected, almost smirking at the look of astonishment on Diggle’s face. “I see the look on your face every time I bring it up. What happened John?”

“I tell you, you tell me?” Diggle asked and Oliver shrugged. “We decided to put a pin in things.”

“Couldn’t handle living the double life?” Oliver asked with a little guilt and Diggle shook his head.

“It wasn’t that, well, not just that,” Diggle said and Oliver raised an eyebrow. “Another man came between us: Deadshot. My brother’s killer, still out there, still breathing. I guess I couldn’t hate him and love her at the same time.”

“I’m sorry John,” Oliver said quietly as Diggle sighed.

“It wasn’t your fault Oliver, it was mine. Nothing you could have done about it. So what’s been bothering you?” Diggle asked and Oliver was silent for a few moments.

“I went to see my mom,” Oliver said finally. “She told me something, something she’s been keeping from me for years, since before the Gambit.”

“She was part of a conspiracy to destroy The Glades. What else could she have been keeping from you?” Diggle asked and Oliver smiled tightly. “That bad?”

“Sara…she wasn’t the first girl I cheated on Laurel with,” Oliver admitted without looking at Diggle. “About a year before the Gambit, Laurel and I were at this party where we got into this fight, I don’t even remember about what at this point. She left and the rest of the night is kind of a blur after that. The next morning, I woke up in bed with Samantha Clayton.”

“Okay, that’s pretty bad, but what does that have to do with anything?” Diggle asked, not sure why this was bothering Oliver.

“About a month and a half later, she called me, told me she was pregnant,” Oliver said, finally looking at Diggle, his blue eyes meeting Diggle’s shocked brown orbs. “I told my mom and less than a week later, Samantha called me, told me she lost the baby. But it was a lie, all of it. My mom told me she paid Samantha a million dollars to lie to me, move to Central City and never come back.”

“You mean…” Diggle trailed off as Oliver nodded.

“I did some research that night; Samantha gave birth to a boy named William almost seven months after moving to Central City. It tracks with what my mom told me,” Oliver said with a humorless chuckle. “I have a son I never knew about. I’m a dad John.”

“I’d say congratulations, but I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Diggle said once he got over the shock. “What are you gonna do?”

“I don’t know,” Oliver admitted with a sigh. “The only reason I haven’t gone to confront Samantha is because of who I am. Not just Oliver Queen, but The Hood as well. Both sides of me come with all this baggage. Do I have any right to bring all that into William’s life?”

“A boy deserves to know his father Oliver,” Diggle said simply. “I’m not gonna tell you what to do, but, for the record, any boy would be lucky to have you as his father.”

Starling City
Night

A FEMA truck was driving down the road when two bikers drove up behind it. As they began harassing the truck, a red mustang pulled up behind them. From behind the wheel, Roy pulled to the side and turned his headlights on. Blinded by the light, one of the bikers swerved and crashed into a parked car.

Smirking, Roy continued pursuing the remaining biker. Seeing Roy, the remaining biker turned around and headed for him. Roy whirled his car around and gunned it, heading straight for the biker. Suddenly, the biker pulled out a gun and opened fire and a barrage of bullets hit Roy’s car, causing sparks that blinded him. When it faded, Roy saw he was in front of some unused road signs that he couldn’t avoid. Roy’s car flew into the air before landing with a crash.

Not far away, the truck was heading down the road until the driver spotted a figure down the road. Whirling two knives, China White threw them and they went through the windshield, killing the driver and his passenger.

As the biker and White began taking the truck, Roy crawled out of his mustang, injured, and looked up to see three cops surrounding him.

“Just so you know, the real bad guys are getting away!" Roy snapped.

They paid him no mind and he was pulled to his feet roughly as he was cuffed.

Verdant
Not long after

“So how’s your night going?” Thea asked as she made her way over to Oliver. “Your list getting any shorter?”

“Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow,” Oliver said and she nodded in understanding.

“So, mom mentioned you saw her a few days ago,” Thea said casually and Oliver nodded stiffly. “What happened? It clearly didn’t go well.”

“She told me something she lied to me about, something I had every right to know,” Oliver said an under tone of anger entering his voice.

“Are you two gonna be okay?” Thea asked carefully, already knowing what he was so angry about.

“I don’t know,” Oliver said honestly.

Before Thea could respond, her phone rang. Pulling it out, she frowned as she saw it was a number she didn’t recognize.

“Hello…Yes, this is she…of course that’s where he is,” Thea said with a sigh.

Starling City Police Department
Later

“Maybe you should leave the vigilante-ing to The Hood,” Laurel said as she sat across from Roy in the interrogation room. “You’re clearly not very good at it.”

“I know a biker who’d beg to differ,” Roy shot back.

Laurel internally sighed as she saw the amusement dancing in his eyes. The two of them both knew this was for show but Roy was clearly taking far more amusement out of this than she was.

“So, are you gonna charge me with something or not?” Roy asked bored.

“I could, if I wanted to,” Laurel pointed out.

“But you don’t,” Roy said knowingly and Laurel barely resisted the urge to start banging her head on the table.

Not long after that, the door opened as Laurel and Roy walked out to find Oliver and Thea waiting on the other side.

“Are you okay?!” Thea exclaimed worriedly, rushing over to Roy as she saw how banged up his face was.

“I’m fine,” Roy quickly assured her. “I just got into a fight with a steering wheel.”

“By playing vigilante,” Laurel interjected and Roy almost winced at the look on Thea’s face. “We’re not pressing charges, so long as he gives up playing Hood Jr.”

“Might as well as ask him to stop breathing,” Thea muttered as she began to drag Roy off, leaving Oliver and Laurel behind.

“He’s a good kid you know,” Laurel mentioned.

“That would be so much more impactful if we hadn’t just come prepared with an attorney,” Oliver said dryly and Laurel chuckled.

“He just really cares about this city and the people in it. Wants to make it a better place. Remind you of anyone?” Laurel asked with a pointed look over at Oliver before frowning. “Are you okay? You seem pretty on edge.”

“I’m just dealing with some stuff. Thank you for bailing Roy out,” Oliver told her before walking out.

He met Thea and Roy by the car, Diggle standing guard in case something happened. Which, given how the city felt about the Queens these days, was probably a good idea.

“So Roy, can we give you a lift to the hospital?” Oliver asked as he reached them.

“I’ll pass. I’m better off dead than in a hospital,” Roy said and three pairs of eyes looked at him confused. “Stopped by Glades Memorial lately?”

“No, but I heard that it wasn’t hit in the quake,” Oliver said, confused about Roy’s attitude.

“Yeah, but someone’s been hijacking the FEMA trucks that have been delivering the medicine,” Roy explained and Oliver started.

“Who?” Oliver asked lowly.

“I don’t know, I heard the cops say something about a white haired woman caught on traffic cams,” Roy said and Oliver started.

“A white haired woman, you’re sure?” Oliver demanded as Roy, Thea, and Diggle looked at him oddly.

“Ollie?” Thea asked but she was ignored as all of Oliver’s attention was on Roy.

“Yeah. Why?” Roy asked confused by Oliver’s reaction.

“It’s nothing,” Oliver lied, not that any of them believed him. “How about we get you home Roy, you should probably lay down.”

Arrow lair
Later

“So someone’s stealing medicine from Glades Memorial? Just when I thought criminals couldn’t sink any lower,” Felicity said as Oliver and Diggle made their way down to the lair.

“It’s not criminals, it’s the Triad,” Oliver said and Felicity looked over her shoulder at him.

“What makes you say that?” she asked.

“Thea’s boyfriend said he heard the police talking about a white haired woman,” Diggle started.

“And I don’t know too many white haired women in Starling City that are involved in this kind of crime,” Oliver said grimly.

“Why are you so sure it’s the Triad?” Diggle asked suspiciously.

“China White and I have a history, I know how she works. Something like this is just up her alley,” Oliver said grimly.

Unspecified location
Same time

China White stared in shock as all her men were on the floor, unconscious. They had been beaten, savagely. And in a chair, sitting calmly at the table, was a dark haired man with a matching beard, an eyepatch over one eye. He was dressed in an orange and blue suit with two swords strapped to his back, a helmet on the table.

“Chien Na Wei,” he said with an Australian accent as he regarded her calmly. “I’ve wanted to meet you for a long time.”

“Who the hell are you?” White demanded, feeling for her knives.

“If I wanted you dead, I could kill you where you stand without even getting up,” he said and she stopped. “My name is Slade Wilson. And we have a common enemy: The Vigilante.”

“I can handle him,” White said confidently and Slade chuckled.

“I sincerely doubt that. If you could ‘handle’ him, he would already be dead,” Slade said as he got to his feet. “But I can give you an advantage.”

“What kind of advantage?” White asked as she raised an eyebrow, clearly interested.

“I can tell you his name. You already know it, you simply have not connected the dots,” Slade said, smirking as he saw the look of confusion and frustration grow on her face. “His name…is Oliver Queen.”