Hell Hath No Fury - Chapter 1: The Damsel

Laurel tried her best not to vomit as she listened to the sounds of flesh hitting flesh, ripping skin, and bones crunching. The wails and moans of pain were excruciating. Yet, still they—he, because if was only one man beating another—persisted.

Were they going to kill him? Were they going to beat him to death?

If they were, his death would be on her conscience. It was her fault. She was responsible. Would she be able to live with the burden? Would she live at all once they finished with him?

Suddenly, the sounds ceased. The beating stopped.

Was it done?

A bloody mass of skin, muscle, and cartilage was dropped unceremoniously in front of her, and she swallowed the bile that immediately threatened to rise. She stared at the body that a few hours ago had still had a face, an intact skin. She looked down at the bloody, broken body of Sebastian Blood and prayed for the Arrow to make his entrance. He usually did in situations like this, when she found herself in damsel-in-distress mode, so this would certainly be a great moment for his appearance.

God only knew what the maniacs would do to her. Would she end up as unrecognizable as Sebastian? Would they need dental records to identify her? What would it do to her father? Her mother? Jesus, her parents have already lost one daughter, they couldn’t lose another one.

Come on, Arrow, whoever you are, get me out of here! Please...

“If you’re waiting for the man in the hood to come save you, you’ll wait for a long time, love,” a deep, accented voice intruded.

Laurel looked up from a pair of polished black shoes that stopped a few inches from Blood’s dead body, over a tailored business suit, and perfectly knotted tie, into a dark, rugged face with a black eye-patch covering the right eye. The left one was blazing with a mixture of fury, amusement, and hatred.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Laurel,” the man said and Laurel was finally able to place his accent. Australia.

Who the hell was this guy?

“Who are you?”

“My name is Slade Wilson.”

He cocked his head as if waiting for recognition, but she had no idea who he was.

Slade smirked. “Of course, he didn’t tell you. He didn’t tell you a lot of things.”

“Who?”

“Oliver.”

Laurel swallowed. Now everything was making even less sense than before. “What does Ollie have to do with this?”

“More than you know.” Slade crossed his hands behind his back. “You see, you, darling, are the first and final piece of the puzzle.”

Piece of the puzzle? What puzzle? What was wrong with this guy? Laurel tested the bonds around her wrists just in case, but they wouldn’t give. She wouldn’t get very far even if they did, with Sebastian's executor still around.

Slade continued his monologue that made him look very alike a Bond villain or a comic-book character, which just accentuated the fact he was obviously insane. “...I’ll drive an arrow through his eye.”

Arrow? Through whose eye? Oliver’s? Granted, Ollie was a prick, much less of a prick than before, mind you. Yes, he was a bastard, liar, and a cheat. But to earn such hatred, such thirst for revenge, was beyond even him.

“You hate the wrong person,” she supplied. “What could Ollie possibly have done to you?”

“He killed the person I loved,” he said softly, his voice vibrating with fury. “He did the same to you.”

Sara? Oliver didn't kill Sara. He’d invited her on the boat with him, but it wasn’t attempted murder.

“Tommy Merlyn died because Oliver didn’t help him,” Slade said with a cold smile playing on his lips. “Wasn’t that what you claimed?”

No, in her grief she’d claimed it was Arrow that...Her eyes widened.

“You’re quite smart, Laurel. I wonder how you haven’t figured it out sooner.”

She shook her head. No. Oliver wasn’t Arrow. It was impossible. Wasn’t it?

Slade leaned closer and twirled a lock of her hair around his finger. “Think about it. It does make sense, doesn’t it?”

The secrecy, mysterious disappearances, lies...The eyes. Oliver’s eyes told the entire story, now that she thought about it, now that she knew what to look for. It was everything in his eyes. The look in them was ancient, the look of an old soul that’s seen too much in life and was adamant in righting wrongs. Whatever the cost.

But was it truly possible? He must’ve received extensive training during his exile...She’d seen the evidence of that training—his body was completely different. And the scars, burns...Were they all from torture or something else...

Why wouldn’t he tell her? Why keep it from her? She wouldn’t have told a soul. Why not tell her when she’d hunted the vigilante, blamed him for Tommy’s death?

“He doesn’t trust you,” Slade interjected, as if reading her thoughts. “He trusts John Diggle and Felicity Smoak, two people he knows for only a year and a half, with his secret. But not you.”

She frowned. He had a point. They’ve known each other for more than half of their lives, yet he didn’t trust her with this. With any of it.

“And the way he treats you. A smart, independent woman, relegated to occasional bed-warmer, when he can’t find better company.”

She gritted her teeth. She hated that reminder.

“No better than he used to treat you before his exile. Isn’t that right, love? He cheated on you, lied to you, manipulated you. He took your sister on a cruise with him. He cheated on you with your own sister. And killed her.”

She glared up at him.

“Oh, he didn’t want to kill her.” Slade grinned. It looked as menacing as that of a shark. “If they made it back, you probably would have never known, would’ve probably continued being ignorant, believing his lies and tales. You’d probably be married to the bloke by now, and he’d continue cheating on you.”

She strained against her bonds, but it was futile.

“That’s the spirit,” he said with satisfaction. “I need you angry. Keep remembering, keep thinking about how much Oliver Queen has wronged you.”

She looked down at the bloody mess of a body, then back up at Slade.

He grinned again. “You’d like to see him like this, wouldn’t you, love? What a blood-thirsty little thing you are. No wonder he’s smitten with you.” He ran his finger down her cheek. “You remind me of my Shado. In spirit, if not in body. You’ll do nicely...If you make it through the next few hours.”

Laurel stared up at him with wide eyes, anger mixing with fear as she wondered what he meant. He nodded, almost reassuringly, and walked to a cabinet in the corner and returned with a pressure syringe. She strained against her bonds, and he quickly cupped her cheek in his warm hand, murmuring soothingly.

“It will be over soon,” he murmured and pressed the syringe against her neck.

The pain was quick and sharp, and then the burn started. It spread from her neck down her body in a searing flash of agony, making her scream, making her writhe on the chair...Then everything went black.

Λ

Slade cut the binds on her wrists and ankles and laid her down on the floor beside the chair. He hooked her on a portable heart monitor and stared at the screen. Nothing.

He straightened with a disappointed sigh and looked down at her. Her eyes were closed, blood marring her cheeks, lips, and hair. She was still beautiful. Not as beautiful as Shado, but beautiful nevertheless. He could see why Oliver was in love with this woman. She was smart, sexy, beautiful, courageous, and she had spunk, spirit. A man could spend his entire life searching for a woman like that, both soft and hard, emotional and cold. A walking, talking contradiction that kept him on his toes, kept him guessing, kept him interested. He’d found such a woman in Shado and Oliver in Laurel Lance.

Pity he won’t be able to use her to bring his friend down. Because Laurel would’ve been the last nail in Oliver Queen’s coffin. Betrayed by the woman he loved, the woman whose picture he still carried, the memory of whom had saved his life again and again. The ultimate betrayal. The thing that would’ve finally brought Oliver to his knees.

He glanced once more at the heart monitor. Nothing. He shook his head.

“You weren’t as strong as I thought, Laurel,” he told her. “What a waste.”


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