Hell Hath No Fury - Chapter 7: The Heroine

Laurel put a little more pressure onto the arrow and felt it slide a little more forward. He punched her in the stomach, but she resolutely kept pushing the arrow deeper into his eye socket.

Why didn’t he go down? Damn it, when would the bastard go down? She knew the antidote worked. Roy was back to normal now that Barry has managed to isolate whatever component in her blood that prevented the serum from fully merging with her cells. Oliver’s arrows were laced with the antidote, she’d made sure Barry has accomplished that before she’d grabbed him.

So why was Slade still fighting.

Another punch made her see stars. The guy was strong. Stronger than his followers, definitely stronger than her. She’d known that from the beginning. After she’d come back from the dead—and the light at the end of the tunnel was pure bullshit—she’d felt the strength course through the body, but when she’d tried to attack Slade, he’d subdued her like she was nothing. She’d known then that it would take a lot more than brute force to bring him down, to stop him from exacting his revenge on Oliver. She’d known it would take a lot more to make him pay for all he’s done. Killing people to achieve his goal of creating a super-strong army, killing Sebastian Blood because the man had had a change of heart, injecting her with the serum just to see whether she was strong enough...Trying to make her hate Oliver enough to help him bring him down.

Her plan had started taking shape soon after Slade had taken her under his wing. She’d demanded he train her, teach her everything he knew. She’d claimed strength wasn’t enough, that she wanted to be skilled at combat despite it. That she wanted to beat Oliver Queen even without the extra strength Mirakuru gave her, that drawing out the torture, she’d submit Oliver to, would be more fun than just beat him senseless with only a few punches.

It would seem she was a better actor than she gave herself credit for. Because the bastard had fallen for it. She’d actually succeeded in convincing him she hated Oliver, that she wanted to make the man suffer as much as Slade wanted him to suffer. So he taught her. Hand-to-hand and close-quarter combat, assault techniques, shooting, survival skills...He’d taught her everything he knew, and she’d sucked the knowledge in like a sponge, tucking it away for later, for when she might need it.

She couldn’t believe it he’s fallen for it all. She didn’t hate Oliver. She couldn’t hate him. Not the way Slade expected and wanted her to. Oliver had been a selfish, cheating bastard, yes, but he’d paid for it tenfold. First by being exiled on that island for five years, and he continued paying for it, making amends by donning the guise of a vigilante and keeping the streets of Starling City clean and safe from criminals. She didn’t hate Oliver. She had no idea how she felt, really. Did she love him? Was she still capable of any deep emotions after what she herself has been through? She knew she cared about him, considered him her friend, which had made her plan a bit difficult to pull off. But she didn’t hate him. And she hoped they lived long enough for her to tell him that.

She felt the arrow slide even deeper into Slade’s skull, and he roared. It cut off abruptly as he crumpled onto the floor in front of her, but she knew the damage has already been done.

She turned to Oliver, grabbed his arm and lifted him to his feet.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

He just stared at her, so she slapped him. “Snap out of it, Queen, I need you lucid right now.”

She rushed to her four captives, still restrained in her chairs, and set them free.

“You broke my shoulder,” Diggle spat.

“Not the shoulder, just beneath it,” she explained. “It’s a clean break, it should heal quickly.” She led Felicity to the farthest corner and told her to crouch on the floor. “Or, if you prefer, I could inject you with Mirakuru. There’s a 50:50 chance of survival, though.”

She murmured quiet ‘sorrys’ to Roy and Barry as she directed them to the same corner as Felicity. “You did good with the antidote, Barry,” she said softly. “Keep the syringe in your pocket safe for me, okay, I’ll need it after we’re done here.”

There was no chance she was staying strong. The serum didn’t agree with her, probably because her body kept rejecting it. She could live with occasional muscle cramps, but it were the headaches and nosebleeds that she didn’t want to live with.

She helped Diggle to sit beside the other as he frowned up at her. “It was you. On the phone.”

She nodded. “Guilty.”

“You made me lie,” Felicity accused.

“Slade needed to think you’d abandoned ship. Sorry. If there’d been another way, I never would’ve made you do it.”

Oliver grabbed her wrist and turned her toward him. His eyes were narrowed and he looked angry. Who wouldn’t be? “You have a lot to explain.”

She nodded. “Later,” she said. “After we get out of here.” She effortlessly lifted the steel table and placed it, on its side, in front of the four figures crouched in the corner. “This should do it. Don’t move. Don’t even think about it,” she said sternly to Diggle. “You stay put or I’ll break your other arm as well.” She looked back at Oliver. “Grab your bow and get ready to shoot. Not everyone is under the effect of the serum, so use the arrows sparingly.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Barry laced your arrows with the antidote.”

Barry looked at her then nodded. “I did. It works quickly, as soon as it hits the system.”

There was a rattle on the other side of the door, and she knew it wouldn’t take long for Slade’s followers to crash the party.

“I’ll tell you to shoot or not to shoot,” she said, looking at Oliver.

He was silent for a heartbeat and then nodded. She smiled slightly. They were far from okay, but at least he trusted her. She met four pairs of eyes over the edge of the steel table. They all trusted her. Even after all that’s happened in the past few hours. She’d be damned if she let them down.

“Okay,” she said and walked to the center of the lab, feeling Oliver place himself a few steps behind her and to the side to have the best line of sight.

Something slammed against the door, and she slowly wiggled her fingers at her side and rolled her shoulders. This was it.

The door crashed open...And all hell broke loose.

She called to Oliver to shoot and charged the first man who came through the door. What came next was a battle that to a casual observer might’ve looked like it has been carefully rehearsed by her and Oliver. It didn’t look at all like an impromptu partnership between two ex lovers who weren’t exactly on the best of terms at the moment.

She took care of the assailants that weren’t Mirakuruised, and Oliver’s arrows took care of the rest. When she stopped calling to him to shoot, he quickly joined the fray, and proved to her that his bow could be used for more than just shooting arrows.

“What now?” Oliver asked when their assailants were either unconscious or writhing on the floor. “Did you devise a plan for ‘after’ as well?”

She sighed softly at the angry tone and the militant gleam in his eyes. Maybe she could put off this moment of reckoning for a little while longer.

“The Arrow came to save his four friends, who, by the way, have abandoned him only in order to draw out the enemy,” she said as she helped Diggle to his feet. “While on the mission, he succeeded in rescuing another person whom the bad guys had held hostage for months.”

“Oh, let me guess,” he interrupted. “Laurel Lance.”

“The woman everybody thought dead,” Roy added, his eyes conveying a reluctant admiration.

“I think it’s a good plan,” Laurel said. “Don’t you?” She extended her hand toward Barry. “Hand it over.”

He stared at her for a few heartbeats, then reached into his jacket pocket, and retrieved a syringe with a reddish liquid. She made to take it, but he quickly pulled it back. “It’s only been tested on a subject with a regular reaction to the poison.”

She snatched the syringe from him. “I’ll take my chances.”

“Wait—” Oliver warned, but she has already injected the antidote into her neck.

There was no burn, no feeling of...Something. Nothing. Did it even work? There was only one way to find out. She took a step toward the steel table, when her knees gave out.

She didn’t hit the floor, Oliver was there to intercept her. “Are you okay?”

She smiled wanly. “Just weak...” The words sounded slurred. “And tired.”

Λ

Oliver slowly lowered her onto the floor, placed her head onto his lap, and frantically indicated to Barry to do something.

Barry quickly crouched beside them and grasped her wrist. “Pulse is steady. She should be fine.”

Oliver looked down at her. “I guess you’re going to the hospital as well.”

She smiled softly and closed her eyes.

Oliver looked at his four friends, who have never truly abandoned him, and shook his head. As Felicity called Quentin Lance, he looked back down at Laurel and grinned. She was in his arms again. “If you think this will get you out of the big talk, think again.”

She wouldn’t get out of it so easily. They would talk. They’d talk some more. And they would plan. She might not be super strong anymore, but that didn’t mean team Arrow couldn’t get another member. Interesting concept.

But first she’ll have to wake up. And the original team Arrow needed some patching up.

He stood, hoisted her up into his arms, and winked to his four friends. “Let’s get out of here.”


The End


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