Hell Hath No Fury - Chapter 6: The Hero

Oliver silently slid down the rope, his senses on high alert. His gut was telling him something was off. Way off. Still, he had a mission to do. Save four people, some of whom have once been among the most important people of his life. Most of whom had split the moment opportunity presented itself.

He mentally shook his head. It wasn’t Dig’s or Felicity’s fault. He probably would’ve done the same if the roles were reversed. He’s been a real bastard these past months, lashing out at anyone brave enough to try to approach him, pushing everybody away, pushing his family away. He’s just wanted to be left alone. He wanted to be alone with the grief, guilt, and anger eating at him from the inside.

He still wanted to be alone, wanted people to leave him alone. It was better for everybody if they stayed away. He attracted danger like shit attracted flies, and everybody close to him was in constant danger. He didn’t want anyone else to die because of him. He’s already lost...

He clenched his teeth as another debilitating flash of grief coursed through his body. He shouldn’t think of her in such moments. Those memories were reserved for when he was alone, staring into the darkness outside. In the darkness within. But it wasn’t easy making his mind go blank. Not for the past eight months. Memories of her were his constant—and welcome—companions.

They could prove a distraction in times like these...They have, he observed with chagrin as a body slammed into his, sending him sprawling onto the hardwood of the empty office. He still felt the impact, even after he was back onto his feet. His opponent has obviously been injected with Mirakuru—or whatever the new mastermind behind the serum called it.

Lights flooded the opulently furnished office, and Oliver took a first, wide-eyed, look at the person who attacked him.

It was a woman. A woman with long, blond hair that fell past her shoulders, dressed in tight, black leather, the top half of her face obscured by a black domino mask. She stared at him, unmoving and silent—not even her breathing could be heard—her stance deceptively loose and relaxed.

He reached back, pulled an arrow out of his quiver, and shot it toward her. It had taken less than a heartbeat, yet she slipped out of the trajectory of the arrow and was on top of him half of a second later.

He didn’t care that she was a woman. Chivalry didn’t apply. Chivalry be damned. It was kill or be killed. He didn’t pull his punches, but she was obviously stronger, faster, and enduring. She didn’t acknowledge, not by sound or wince, any of his blows, she just kept pummeling at him. Side, chest, knees, thighs, arms, face.

She was tireless. And she was winning.

He ducked, but her fist still grazed his chin strongly enough to make him see stars. Then she kicked his legs from underneath him, and his head slammed against the floor.

Λ

He resurfaced to cursing, someone calling his name, and sound of crying. His vision cleared, and he spat a curse at the sight of the person looking at him.

Slade Wilson was leaning back against a steel table, ankles and arms crossed, a cynical smile playing on his lips. “Hello, mate,” he said. “Long time.”

Dread coursed through Oliver’s body at the memory of his last battle with Slade. The memory of killing his friend and of the reason for killing him. Have they injected him with something? Was he hallucinating again?

“You’re dead,” he said hoarsely and gained his feet.

Slade shook his head. “Sorry to disappoint.” He straightened and walked to stand in front of Oliver. “You should make sure someone is truly dead before leaving them to rot in the woods, Oliver.”

Oliver lifted his bow—why would they leave him the weapon, but Slade swatted it aside like it was a fly.

“Tell me,” Slade began, “how does it feel to lose everyone you care about? How does it feel to know your friends have abandoned you? Yet you still came to save them.”

“I owe it to them.” He did. No matter what’s happened in the past few months, Oliver owed it to them to try to save them.

He heard Felicity shakily call his name from behind, heard it echoed in Dig’s and Roy’s voices. They were all here, watching and listening to his exchange with Slade.

Slade grabbed him by the throat, slightly lifted him off the ground. “You owed it to me,” he growled. “I was your friend. Shado was your friend. You owed it to her to save her. You didn’t!”

Oliver found himself flying through the air and slammed against the wall. Slade was strong. Stronger than Gold had been, stronger than the woman who ruffed him up in the office. He’d seen his Mirakuru-induced strength before, and foolishly thought he could kill his friend with an arrow through the eye. Was it any wonder Slade had survived?

Slade’s face was once more composed into a calm mask as he stared at him across the room. “Now you know how it feels to lose the woman you love.”

From the corner of his eye, Oliver saw Felicity burst into tears again. Now he knew how it felt to lose the woman he loved...Did that mean Laurel...That Slade had killed her? The son of a bitch was dead. No matter the strength or regeneration, Oliver would find a way to kill him. No matter how long it took, Slade Wilson was a dead man.

“You will live, Oliver,” Slade continued. “You will live, live with the knowledge you don’t have anyone, that everyone you care about has abandoned you. I will even return the favor,” he touched his right cheek, “and leave you one eye. So you can watch your former friends as they fight the effects of the serum. As they bleed from their eyes.”

Oliver gritted his teeth against the pain in his ribs and prepared to lunge.

“But first,” Slade said, “I want you all to meet my acolyte. The one who brought you all here.” He chuckled. “Some in better state than others.” His eyes on Oliver, he called. “Come in, pretty bird.”

The woman in black leather silently entered the lab, closed the door behind her, and moved to Slade’s side. He caught a lock of blond hair in his hand, and let it slide through his fingers. He murmured something, and the woman nodded and walked forward, stopped again a few paces from where Oliver stood.

“Meet Canary,” Slade introduced. “My favorite acolyte. She died and was reborn thanks to my blood, my serum. I trained her. I shaped her. I made her.” He grinned at Oliver. “And she hates you almost as much as I hate you.”

Oliver looked at the woman, trying to discern from her hidden features who she was. The light was slightly behind her, so her face, framed by her long hair, was cast partly in shadows. Coupled with the mask, it made her face foreign. Who was she? Why did she hate him? What has he done to her? Who was she?

“Remove the mask, pretty bird,” Slade prompted. “Let him take a good, long look.”

She lifted her gloved hands, brushed her hair back over her shoulders, and slowly removed her mask.

Laurel!

It was Laurel. She was alive. His beautiful Laurel stood before him, staring at him with cold, detached eyes. She was alive. And she was working with Slade Wilson. She had Slade’s serum running through her veins. She'd kidnapped Dig, Felicity, Roy, and Barry. She’d ambushed and attacked him earlier.

Laurel was alive.

Laurel hated him.

Laurel was the enemy.

After all he’s done to her, was it any wonder she hated him? He’d cheated on her. He’d cheated on her with her own sister. He’d caused Sara’s death. He’d lied to her, deceived her, pushed her away, kept secrets...And he’d failed her when she’d needed him the most. When Slade captured her and injected her with his serum. He’d failed her that day and now had to face the consequences. The serum and Slade’s manipulations only finished what Oliver himself had started.

She was alive!

Jesus!

Laurel was alive. That was all that mattered. As long as she was alive...He simply didn’t care what happened to him. Slade could torture him. She could torture him. They could kill him. He didn’t care, as long as she was alive.

Oliver fell to his knees and stared up at her, willing her to do whatever she wanted. He was at her mercy. He’d always been at her mercy.

Slade laughed, Felicity started crying harder, and the three men tied to their chairs shared vehement curses. Oliver had eyes only for Laurel. Her expression was blank, her eyes cold, and not a flicker of movement showed on either her face or in her body. She looked back at him, still as a statue.

“You know what to do, pretty bird,” Slade called softly.

She finally moved. She leaned over him, and he fought the urge to close his eyes. This was it. He wanted to look at her, wanted her to be the last thing he saw. When she straightened again, she held one of his arrows. She looked at the sharp tip, and he finally saw a flicker in her eyes. He was unable to decipher it, though, for she turned and walked back to Slade.

Slade grinned as she twirled the arrow between her fingers. He extended his hand, waiting for her to hand the arrow over...

And she rammed it straight into his good eye.


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