Skip to main content
Topic: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent (Read 9008 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Heir Apparent 

Chapter 01 – Homecoming 


Oliver Queen is alive! The Starling City resident was found by fishermen in the North China sea five days ago, five years after he was missing and was presumed dead following the accident at sea which claimed 'The Queen's Gambit'. Queen was a regular tabloid presence and a fixture at the Starling City club scene. Shortly before his disappearance, he was acquitted of assault charges stemming from a highly publicized drunken altercation with paparazzi. Queen is the son of Starling City billionaire Robert Queen, who was also on board but now officially confirmed as deceased. Initial reports indicate an unknown female was also found though this, along with her possible identity, are unconfirmed.

So much had changed in the years he had been gone. And yet, so much had not. Staring out the hospital window gave Oliver a sense of perspective that nowhere else had given him. He recognised the city before him. It had been his home. Now, now he wasn’t sure what it was. 

“Beloved?” a voice called from the door to the room. Oliver turned to look at his wife of almost a year. “Are you well?” 

“I am. It’s just a lot to take in,” Oliver said. He gazed at her and wondered how he had been so lucky in his life to have found her. “Have the doctor’s cleared you?” 

“Of course. I am in excellent shape,” she replied, stepping fully into the room, the door shutting softly behind her. “And you?” 

“They are worried about how many scars I have. Also some of my fractures that never properly healed,” Oliver explained. “We knew they would ask questions.” 

“And you told them what we discussed?” his wife questioned. She had full trust that Oliver had held to their story but wanted, needed to confirm in case there were any slight changes that had appeared during discussions with the doctors. 

“I’ve been stranded on an island for five years, alone for two of them. I don’t think they completely believed me but we didn’t expect them too,” Oliver revealed, knowing why she asked him as she did. 

“Then we proceed as we have planned,” she stated, turning to enter the ensuite of the hospital room. Oliver turned back to looking out over the city. He heard voices in the corridor, a man and a woman’s. The man was one of the doctor’s that had examined him, while the woman’s voice was familiar. As they spoke, Oliver realised the voice belonged to his mother, which was soon confirmed by the doctor as he warned her about Oliver. They stopped speaking and Oliver heard the door to his room open once again. 

“Oliver?” his mother called out to him. Oliver turned to look at his mother, tilting his head to the side slightly as she stood before him for the first time in half a decade. 

“Mom,” was all Oliver managed to get out, his voice filled with emotion. He slowly moved over to stand in front of his mother, watching as tears welled in her eyes as he approached. 

“My beautiful boy,” Moira said as she broke down, hugging Oliver tightly and pressing a kiss to the side of his head. She squeezed him tighter, not wanting to release him, reassuring herself that he was real and there. Their embrace was broken by the sound of someone in the ensuite. Moira stepped back and turned as the door opened and a woman stepped out. 

The woman appeared to be about Oliver’s age with long black hair and olive skin. Moira couldn’t pinpoint her ancestry, nor why she was in the room with her son. 

“Mrs Queen, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” the woman said and Moira was taken aback; was she meant to know who this was? 

“Ah, and to meet you as well, nurse?” Moira queried uncertainly. The woman glanced from Moira to Oliver. She appeared to be about to say something when Oliver spoke instead. 

“I think that’s my queue,” Oliver announced, moving to stand next to this woman. “Mom. I’d like you to meet Nyssa. My wife.” 

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow# 

The trip to the Queen Mansion was a quiet one. Moira had barely spoken after Oliver’s pronouncement, and then only to offer directions to first Oliver, and by extension Nyssa; as they exited the hospital and then to the driver to take them back to the Queen Mansion. She had travelled in the Bentley, obviously not expecting Oliver to have company. This had forced Oliver and Nyssa to travel separately; Oliver in the front with the driver while Nyssa sat in the back with his mother. Moira had sat and stared out the window, resolutely opposed to saying anything regarding Oliver’s marriage. Oliver was beyond happy when the mansion came into view, and not just because it offered him the chance to see his sister and his home again. 

The driver pulled the Bentley around to the front of the mansion before pulling to a stop. Moira wasted no time, opening her door and climbing from the car before the driver could open her door. The driver continued to the trunk, opening it and reaching for the box that Oliver and Nyssa had brought with them. A hand on his shoulder stopped him and he turned to see Oliver standing there, reaching for his box.  

“I’ve got it,” Oliver said. This and the look from Oliver was all it took for the driver to back away, allowing Oliver to lift the box out of the trunk. Nyssa stepped up to his side and he offered her his free hand. Looking up, Oliver saw his mother watching him, the briefest of smiles ghosting her face. Oliver and Nyssa stepped up to the front door as Moira turned and opened the double doors into the house. 

“Your room is exactly as you left it,” Moira said as she led them into the house. “I never had the heart to change a thing.” Nyssa released Oliver’s hand as he set the box on the ground just inside the doors, giving him a moment to take in the house he hadn’t seen in years. Nyssa noticed an older man approaching from a room off the foyer. 

“Oliver,” he called happily. “It’s damn good to see you.” Oliver stepped up to the man, looking him up and down before shaking the offered hand. “It’s Walter…” the man, Walter, introduced himself. He had taken Oliver’s silence as not knowing who he was. “Walter Steele.” 

“You remember Walter, you’re father’s friend from the company,” Moira urged. Oliver looked at his mother before glancing back at Walter before stepping past him. He didn’t see the look that Walter and Moira shared behind his back, but Nyssa did.  

“It’s good to see you, Raisa,” Oliver said as he stepped up to an older, raven-haired woman wearing a maid’s uniform. She was smiling with abandon. 

“Welcome home, Mr Oliver,” she greeted with genuine, overflowing excitement. She broke her gaze with Oliver to look past him at Moira. “Mr Merlyn phoned. He wants to join you for dinner.” 

“Wonderful,” Moira said merrily. Oliver didn’t react as she expected him too at hearing that his best friend would be joining them. Instead he looked towards the top of the stairs “Oliver? Did you hear that?” She asked as he moved to the bottom of the stairs. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Thea descending the steps before turning and pausing to look down at her brother. 

“Hey, sis,” Oliver called up in greeting. Thea stared at him for a moment before her face broke into a smile as she practically skipped down the stairs. 

“I knew it. I knew you were alive,” She confided happily as she rushed to hug him. “I missed you so much.” 

“You were with me the whole time,” Oliver reassured his sister as he returned her hug, his hand on the back of her neck. He glanced at Nyssa who seemed to have been forgotten for the moment and noticed that she too was touched by the reunion. Their hug broke apart and Thea glanced around the foyer, noticing for the first time the woman standing just inside the doors. 

“Who are you?” she asked curiously, wondering if Ollie was hurt. 

“Thea, I have someone I’d like you to meet,” Oliver said, wrapping his arm around his sister’s shoulders. “This is Nyssa. My wife.” 

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

Nyssa glided into the room she would share with Oliver. She had wanted to familiarise herself with the layout but now found herself looking at her beloved as he examined himself in a mirror, standing there with only a towel around his waist. 

“What do you see?” Nyssa asked as she stepped up behind him. 

“A stranger,” Oliver proclaimed softly, almost sadly, as he looked over his torso, noting the various scars and tattoos that adorned it and remembering how they came to be marked upon him. “After 5 years, everything that was once familiar when I looked into this mirror is now unrecognisable.” 

“You are my husband,” Nyssa declared as she wrapped her arms around his waist. “Do you recognise that?” 

“I do,” Oliver replied as he wrapped an arm around her. Thunder echoed from outside, causing Oliver to break his gaze from the mirror to look outside. “Storm’s coming.” 

“It is,” Nyssa agreed. “You should dress. Dinner will be ready soon.”  

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow# 

Oliver was looking at a photograph of himself with his father when the front door opened behind him. 

“What did I tell you?” a familiar voice said from the doorway. “Yachts suck.” Oliver couldn’t stop the chuckle that came from him as he turned and looked upon smiling best friend. 

“Tommy Merlyn,” Oliver declared as he stepped into a hug with Tommy. 

“I missed you buddy,” Tommy stated. Before more could be said, Walter called the two men into the dinner room as the food was ready. They men parted and followed Walter through the house to the dining room. Tommy passed his eyes over everyone in the room before settling on an unfamiliar face. “And who is this beautiful woman?” 

“My wife,” Oliver deadpanned to Tommy’s shock as he stepped past him and went to sit next to his wife. “Nyssa, may I introduce Tommy Merlyn. Tommy, Nyssa.” 

“Of course, I have heard so much about you,” Nyssa said, smiling across the table at Tommy. Tommy recovered and stepped around the table to sit in his own seat.  

“Given how I remember us spending our time, nothing bad I’m sure,” Tommy said, back to smiling. He would be having a chat with Oliver later to find out the details of his nuptials; nuptials that no one seemed to have shared with anyone. 

Dinner was filled with innocuous conversation. Oliver ate very little as he sat at the end of the table and observed everyone he remembered so differently. So much had changed while he was away. And they didn’t even know how much. 

“What was it like there?” Thea asked innocently, looking at Oliver. Conversation ceased around the table as everyone looked across the table at Oliver. Oliver glanced at Nyssa before he met Thea’s eyes. 

“Cold,” Oliver said evening. Thea just stared at her brother and Oliver knew that his answer would not be sufficient to quell his sister’s curiosity. 

“Tomorrow, you and me, we’re doing the city,” Tommy interjected, trying to lighten the mood. “You’ve got a lot to catch up on. You’re welcome to join us Nyssa.” 

“Thank you for the invitation, but I think I might rest for the day,” Nyssa replied. “The past few days have been quite an abrupt change to what I have become used too. Oliver, you go. Enjoy time with your friend.” 

“That sounds like a great idea,” Moira stated happily. 

“Good,” Oliver announced. “Then I was hoping to swing by the office.” 

“Well, there’s plenty of time for all that,” Walter hedged. “Queen consolidated isn’t going anywhere.” 

Further speech was interrupted by Oliver catching Raisa as she tripped on the carpet. One hand caught the fruit bowl she was carrying while the prevented her from falling further then she already had. 

“Oh, I am so sorry, Mr Oliver,” Raisa apologised as she recovered. Oliver responded in Russian, to everyone’s surprise. 

“Dude, you speak Russian?” Tommy exclaimed. 

“I didn’t realise you took Russian at college, Oliver,” Walter said. 

“I didn’t realise you wanted to sleep with my mother, Walter,” Oliver retorted calmly, no emotion in his voice. Silence descended upon the room as glances were exchanged. 

"I, I didn't say anything," Thea claimed as her mother looked at her pointedly. 

"She didn't have to," Oliver explained. Moira swallowed and looked at Walter, nodding. 

“Oliver,” Moira started, taking Walter’s hand. “Walter and I are married. And I don’t want you to think that either one of us did anything to disrespect our father.” 

“We both believed that Robert, like you, was, uh, well, gone,” Walter added uncomfortably.  

"It's fine," Oliver said after a moment. He looked at his mother before he rose from the table. "May I be excused?" Moira thought for a moment before she nodded. 

"Hey, don't forget about tomorrow, buddy," Tommy called as Oliver walked out of the room. Nyssa looked around the table and saw the looks of sadness on their faces. She could tell that they were starting to realise that the Oliver that returned to them was not the same one that had left them five years ago. 

"Please excuse me," Nyssa said as she stood and went after Oliver. She found him in their room. "Oliver?" 

"I'm sorry Nyssa," Oliver apologised softly. "I thought I would be able to cope being around them again." 

"You have nothing to be sorry for," Nyssa said as she approached her husband. She could see the struggle that he was going through but she wasn't sure what she could do to ease the pain. "I think that both you and your family will need time to adjust to each other. Five years is a long time." 

"How did I get so lucky to find you?" Oliver asked his wife with a soft smile. 

"You washed up half dead on a beach," Nyssa deadpanned. "And it was I that found you." 

"True," Oliver stated, more relaxed now then he was. 

“We should try and get some sleep. It has been a long day,” Nyssa stated. “The first of what I believe will be many.” 

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

"Couldn't sleep?" Nyssa heard Thea ask as she entered the kitchen.  

"This house, it is not what I am used too. I felt the need to explore a little of it," Nyssa said carefully, not wanting to insult her sister-in-law. "That was an hour ago." 

"Yeah, that can happen," Thea agreed. "And after three years living on a deserted island with only my brother for company. I can see why you would still be awake." 

"It was better then being alone," Nyssa declared coolly, trying to insinuate what Oliver had gone through before her arrival, as their stories went. "I don't think I would have survived if I had been alone." To her credit, Thea remained silent at this remark, considering Nyssa's words. Seeing that she had made her point, Nyssa turned to leave. "Goodnight Thea." 

"Goodnight," Thea called after her as the door shut. Nyssa made her back towards Oliver's room when she heard the sounds of one of Oliver's nightmares. He hadn't had one of those in a while until they had returned to the island; they had become more frequent then. What worried her though was the other sounds; Moira and Walter moving about. 

Rushing ahead, she heard Moira calling Oliver's name, trying to wake him. Knowing how dangerous Oliver could be if startled awake, Nyssa ran faster. She entered the room, seeing Oliver thrashing about beneath the open window, rain pelting him, just as Moira started to try and shake Oliver awake. 

"Oliver, wake up!" She called loudly over the storm as she shook his shoulder. "Oliver..." 

Any further words were cut off as Oliver startled awake and his instincts kicked in. Nyssa watched as Oliver grabbed his mother's arm and flipped her over him onto the floor, bringing his hand down to her neck, intent on crashing her larynx. 

"Oliver!" Walter and Nyssa shouted together. Oliver blinked and looked down at his terrified mother and what he was about to do. Scared, he threw himself away from his mother, backpedalling until he was hunched in a ball beneath the windowsill. Walter moved to comfort Moira as Nyssa slowly approached her husband, trying not to startle him further. 

"It's ok beloved," Nyssa murmured softly, trying to soothe Oliver even as she rubbed his back. 

"I'm sorry," Oliver said shamefully. "I'm so sorry." 

"No, it's ok, Oliver," Moira stated, as Walter helped her up. "It's alright sweetheart. You're home, you're safe," Moira soothed, the mother in her coming out. 

Nyssa couldn't help but think to herself as Moira continued to soothe her son. "For how long?"

 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #1
Chapter 02 – Starling City

Oliver was eventually able to fall asleep about an hour before dawn; spending the intervening time holding Nyssa as she slept. He enjoyed watching her sleep; it reminded him of the first night after the Amazo that he had been able to sleep without a nightmare waking him. It had been their wedding night. She had been so beautiful that evening.

Oliver awoke to the sound of the shower running and the feeling of a warm but empty bed. He sat up against the headboard and waited for Nyssa to finish. Soon enough the water shut off and Nyssa exited the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her body.

“Did you leave me any hot water?” Oliver asked, smiling at his wife.

“Maybe,” Nyssa teased as she sat on the side of the bed next to Oliver. “6 months without a hot shower definitely makes you appreciate them.”

“Imagine what 2 years would do then,” Oliver countered. “But it was necessary. We couldn’t be found in perfect health, it would raise too many questions. 6 months gave us the proper look of a struggling yet surviving couple. Especially as I am supposed to have been there for 5 years.”

“It has also relaxed you more. You seem less like Al Sah-him and more like they would expect Oliver Queen would be,” Nyssa commented. “They may even get a glimpse of the Oliver that only I have seen.”

“He only exists because of you,” Oliver stated matter-of-factly. “If your father had had his way, there would be nothing left but Al Sah-him. You were able to save the Oliver that was born when my father’s boat sank.”

“He was worth saving. He still is,” Nyssa observed as her expression changed. “The plan for today?”

“I’m with Tommy for the day. I’ll have him drive us past the factory so I can check on it,” Oliver said. “You?”

“I thought I might familiarise myself with the city,” Nyssa offered. “And check that our equipment is ready. I feel, uncomfortable without access to all of my weapons.”

“Naked is more the word,” Oliver grinned.

“Perhaps,” Nyssa replied as she stood and dropped the towel. “You should get ready. Tommy will be here soon,” She said as she sashayed back into the bathroom. Oliver groaned softly, considering if he should have a shower now as well.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

Nyssa was in the foyer speaking with Walter when she heard Oliver and Tommy descending the stairs behind her.

“I think that’s my cue,” Walter said as he noticed the two men. “I should be going. Thomas, I expect you to take it easy with him. It is his first day back”

“Oh definitely,” Tommy promised. Walter eyed him for a moment before looking at Oliver.

“And you too. Take it easy,” Walter instructed. 

“I will,” Oliver replied with a smile.

“Nyssa,” Walter said in farewell as he picked up his briefcase.

“Walter,” Nyssa responded as Walter headed out the front door.

“I’ll wait for you outside,” Tommy offered as he moved to follow Walter. “I’ll bring him back in one piece Nyssa.”

“You better. I would hate to have to hurt you,” Nyssa said calmly. Tommy smiled in response before disappearing after Walter. Nyssa turned back to her husband and caught the look on his face. “What is it?”

“I just caught Thea about to sort what I think was Oxycodone,” Oliver described. Nyssa’s face dropped into a scowl, several different thoughts passing through her mind. “You can’t kill her friend.”

“I can,” Nyssa deadpanned, clearly considering it. “But I won’t. It wouldn’t solve the problem.”

“No, it wouldn’t,” Oliver agreed. “Tommy’s waiting. I will see you later.”

“Be safe,” Nyssa offered.

“Love you too,” Oliver replied as he kissed his wife before walking out the door.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

Nyssa had been driven into the city by the same driver that had driven them from the hospital to the mansion. He had left her with a phone number to call him to pick her up before departing to run several errands. Nyssa had quickly contacted the local League safe house so as to ascertain the readiness of their equipment and was informed it was all present and awaiting delivery. Now she sat in a small coffee shop across from Queen Consolidated, quietly observing the world beyond the window. Her observations were disrupted by a commotion behind her.

“Frak! Take a hint. NOT INTERESTED!” a bespectacled blonde told a man standing over her as she sat at her table, trying to enjoy her coffee.

“C’mon, it’s just dinner,” the man tried to reason as the blonde rolled her eyes. “Dinner can’t hurt.”

“No, but what you want after it can,” the blonde challenged.

“You’d enjoy it,” the man countered. “I’d make sure of it.”

“I sincerely doubt that,” the blonde responded. Nyssa was starting to dislike this man. His manner and bearing was condescending.

“Felicity, just say yes,” the man demanded, losing his patience. Nyssa was now annoyed.

“I already said no Brandon,” Felicity stated as she looked up at him. “Now, would you please leave me alone?”

“Felicity, you have been dodging me now for months. It’s time that…” Brandon’s speech was cut off by his yelp of pain as his arm was twisted up behind his back.

“I believe Felicity. It was Felicity, wasn’t it?” Nyssa asked Felicity as she grasped Brandon’s wrist. Felicity could only nod in astonishment. “I believe Felicity made it quite clear that she would not be having dinner, or anything else with you. I suggest you do not pester her anymore. Do I make myself clear?” Nyssa enunciated, applying more pressure to his wrist to get her point across.

“Yes, yes. Let go for god’s sake,” Brandon yelped out. Nyssa released his wrist and he quickly beat a retreat, leaving the store without a word; Nyssa watching him leave.

“How, how did you do that?” Felicity stammered out. “Why would you do that?”

“Just something that my father taught me when I was younger,” Nyssa said as she turned back to face Felicity. As to why. No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men.”

“Wow. I need to remember that one,” Felicity observed. “I’m Felicity Smoak.

“I am Nyssa,” Nyssa introduced herself, catching herself before she said more.

“Good to meet you Nyssa,” Felicity smiled. “Would you like to join me?”

“If I’m not intruding,” Nyssa said.

“I insist,” Felicity confirmed. Nyssa smiled before retrieving her drink and joining Felicity. “So what brings you here today?”

“Just exploring the city. I’m new here,” Nyssa explained truthfully. “And yourself?”

“Lunch break,” Felicity admitted, glancing out the window. “I work at Queen Consolidated.”

“Do you like it?” Nyssa enquired honestly.

“It’s alright. It’s not perfect but it’s a stepping stone,” Felicity said cheerfully. “Have to start at the bottom before you can reach the top right.” 

“You do indeed,” Nyssa confirmed as her phone started to ring. “Excuse me.” Felicity nodded as Nyssa stood and stepped away for some privacy. “Hello. When was this? Are they both alright? Yes, of course I’ll be right there. I’m in a coffee shop outside Queen Consolidated. 5 minutes,” Felicity heard Nyssa’s side of the conversation.

“Everything alright?” she asked as Nyssa turned back to her.

“I’m not sure,” Nyssa said as she pocketed her phone. “I have to go I’m afraid. It was nice meeting you. Hopefully we will see each other again soon.”

“You know where I work if you want to find me,” Felicity stated. “It was nice meeting you too.”

“Goodbye Felicity,” Nyssa said as she turned towards the door.

“Goodbye Nyssa. I hope everything is ok,” Felicity called after Nyssa. She watched as Nyssa waited on the sidewalk before a Bentley pulled to a stop in front of her. She climbed in the back quickly before it left the curb, disappearing into the traffic. Felicity had a gut feeling that she would be seeing Nyssa again soon then either of them thought.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

“Oliver!” Nyssa called as she entered the Mansion. She had passed what were obviously two detectives as they had left the grounds and was now concerned about Oliver. She had been told on the phone that he was fine but to her, fine was a relative concept.

“In here Nyssa,” Oliver called from the Den. Nyssa walked in to find Oliver sitting with Tommy, Moira and Walter. “We’re fine.”

“What happened?” Nyssa asked.

“We were drugged, kidnapped and then apparently some weirdo in a green hood rescued us and killed all three gunmen,” Tommy gushed out. Nyssa glanced at Oliver with a raised eyebrow but was only met with a blank stare. “I need a drink. I’ll see you later buddy,” Tommy said as he got up and left the room.

“I have some business calls to make. I will see you at dinner,” Walter stated as he followed Tommy out.

“Are you sure you are alright?” Nyssa asked as she took Tommy’s place beside Oliver. 

“I’m fine,” Oliver confirmed with a soft smile.

“Nyssa, could I ask you to excuse us for a moment,” Moira said to Nyssa. “I would like a word with my son.”

“I’ll be outside,” Nyssa said after looking at Oliver and seeing him nod. 

“Thank you Nyssa,” Moira acknowledged as she watched her leave. Once the door shut behind her, Moira redirected her attention back to her son. “Oliver, we should discuss what happened today.”

“What about it?” Oliver wondered, curious what his mother was doing.

“Oliver, someone kidnapped you and Tommy today,” Moira explained as if Oliver hadn’t been there. “We need to determine why. Who knew where you were going to be today?”

“Just the people in this house,” Oliver answered, seeing his mother raise an eyebrow at his response. “Are you suggesting Nyssa had something to do with this?”

“I’m not suggesting anything,” Moira replied calmly. “But as you said, only the people in this house knew where you were going to be today.”

“NO!” Oliver exploded, standing. “I trust Nyssa with my life. I’ve had to.”

“I can understand that Oliver,” Moira said, trying to placate her son. “But that was then. Now though…”

“I can’t believe my own mother is suggesting this,” Oliver growled angrily. “She is my wife.”

“No, she isn’t,” Moira stated. “I had some checking down. There is no marriage certificate issued for you and Miss Raatko. You are not married.”

“Perhaps not legally. We married each other on the island,” Oliver argued. “But if you want it legal, we can make it legal quickly enough.” 

“Oliver...”Moira started but was quickly cut off.

“Once I am legally declared alive, Nyssa and I will be taking a trip,” Oliver explained clearly, anger still evident in his voice. “When we return, you can greet your, now legal, daughter-in-law.”

“Oliver, there is no need to do anything rash,” Moira reasoned, desperately trying to assuage her son. “We can work something out.” She watched Oliver get a far off look in his eye as he stared at the wall behind her before he took a deep breath and refocused his attention on her.

“6 weeks,” Oliver said calmly. “I will give you 6 weeks, mom.”

“6 weeks to do what?” Moira asked, surprised at Oliver’s sudden calm.

“You have 6 weeks to organise a wedding fit for a Queen,” Oliver deadpanned. “After that, Nyssa and I will take care of matters ourselves. We’ve gotten quite good at it over the years.” Not waiting for his mother’s reply, Oliver walked out; Moira being too shocked to do anything but let him go. Nyssa met him outside, as she said she would.

“Are you alright?” Nyssa asked, concern evident. “I heard everything.”

“I knew you would. And I will be,” Oliver replied softly. His face then hardened. “We have other problems though.”

“The kidnapping,” Nyssa stated, falling instep beside Oliver as he headed upstairs. “I take it more happened then what will be in the police report?”

“They wanted to know about my father,” Oliver revealed. “If he made it to the island. If he told me anything. I got loose before they could ask anything else.”

“This changes things,” Nyssa pointed it. “We are going to have to move up our plans.”

“We are,” Oliver agreed. “Call Namir. Have him deliver the equipment to the foundry tonight. No deaths but no witnesses either.”

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

“Oliver,” Moira called as he and Nyssa exited the mansion the next morning. Oliver had had another nightmare but thankfully it had only woken Nyssa. “I’d like to introduce you to somebody,” she said as she stood next to Walter and a tall, well-built man. “This is John Diggle. He will be accompanying you from now on.”

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Oliver said with a smile towards Moira before looking at John. “No offence.”

“None taken, sir,” John replied calmly, not having been offended.

“Darling, Oliver’s a grown man,” Walter reasoned. “If he doesn’t feel the need for armed protection…”

“I understand,” Moira interjected. “But this is something I need.” Oliver couldn’t think of an argument and so smiled at his mother before looking at the bodyguard once again.

Soon John Diggle was driving Oliver and Nyssa away from the mansion and into Starling City.

“So what should we call you?” Oliver asked cheerfully. He saw John glance at him in the mirror before focusing back on the road.

“Diggle’s good,” he answered. “Dig, if you want.”

“You were a soldier?” Nyssa enquired.

“Yes ma’am. 105th Airborne out of Kandahar, retired. Been in the private sector a little more than 4 years now,” Diggle answered before looking in the mirror again. “I don't want there to be any confusion, Mr. Queen. My ability to keep you from harm will outweigh your comfort. Do we have an agreement? Sir?" Diggle asked. He heard the rear doors to the car open and close and he glanced into the back to find it completely empty. He slammed on the breaks, not believing that the two of them would exit the vehicle while it was still moving. He jumped out and opened the rear door, finding the backseat empty. He stood tall and looked around, to no avail; Oliver and Nyssa were gone.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

“Any trouble Namir?” Oliver asked as he and Nyssa walked up to the stack of crates and boxes in the center of the abandoned steel factory. The assassin dropped down from where he had been hidden in the rafters and kneeled before them.

“None Al Sah-him. All has been quiet,” Namir reported.

“Good,” Al Sah-him responded impassively. “If you have nothing else to tell us, you are dismissed.”

“As you command, Al Sah-him,” Namir accepted before he stood and left out of the rear of the factory.

"So do you think your mother will approve of our wedding?" Nyssa asked as she walked around the pile of boxes. 

"I would say it is a bit late for that," Oliver said as he stepped up to Nyssa. "We are already married after all. This would just be making it legal."

"I don't care if it's legal," Nyssa said as she draped her arms around Oliver's neck.

"Unfortunately, the rest of the world does," Oliver said before kissing Nyssa deeply. They held the kiss until they were forced to break apart for air. "We should get started. We have a lot of work to do."

"We should," Nyssa agreed as she stepped back and took her jacket off. Oliver followed suit before he pick up the first of the crates and started to move it deeper into the factory.

They spent the rest of the day moving all their equipment into the basement before unpacking and setting it up. Oliver made arrows as Nyssa set up and uploaded files to their computers. Before long they were working out, inverted crunches while hanging from the ceiling pipes or climbing up and down the salmon ladder he had built for Oliver while Nyssa preferred more grounded methods; though she indulged herself with a few trips up and down the ladder.

They then sparred against one another; first hand to hand before transitioning to metal batons and then on to practice swords. After that, came archery. Oliver was putting together his black recurve bow as Nyssa stepped up to him, already prepared.


"Ready beloved?" Nyssa asked as she watch Oliver handle his bow with almost as much love as he handled her. "Sometimes I wonder if I should be jealous of that bow."

"Never," Oliver stated confidently as he finished assembling his bow. He strapped on his quiver and stalked over to where Nyssa had moved too; ready for their little game. "How many?"

"Only 9," Nyssa said as she turned to face the empty space.

"Ready?" Oliver asked. Nyssa nodded calmly so Oliver knocked over the container of tennis balls, sending 9 of them bouncing out in front of them. They each calmly began to draw, nock and fire arrows, steadily pinning the balls to the wall. The final ball was practically split in two as 2 arrows had pierced it.

"A draw," Nyssa observed. "I dislike draws."

"I don't mind them," Oliver said with a soft smile. "Beats losing to you all the time."

"You have yet to beat me though husband," Nyssa stated. "Even with all you prodigious natural talent."

"Perhaps one day, I will," Oliver smirked as he looked at the clock he had hung on an empty pillar. "It's getting late."

"Who will you be starting with?" Nyssa asked as they both walked back to the computers.

"Adam Hunt. A friend is working on a case and I owe it to them to make sure they do not get hurt," Oliver said as he brought up information on the screens. "He has swindled over $40 million from the cities underprivileged, and gotten away with it by bribing or killing those who stood in his way. I think it is time he returned that money. One way or another."

"This friend. She, would be Laurel Lance; Sara's sister?" Nyssa asked.

"Yes," Oliver admitted sullenly, remembering. "I owe it to the family to make sure nothing else happens to them."

"This crusade cannot be about one family, Oliver," Nyssa said calmly. "It has to be about more than them. It must be about the city as a whole."

"And it is," Oliver agreed impassively. "Adam Hunt is just a convenient place to start."




 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #2
Chapter 03 – Time’s Up

"Do I want to know how many weapons you have on you?" Oliver asked as he admired Nyssa. She was wearing an off the shoulder crimson dress that finished mid-thigh, complimented with a pair of Louboutins. 

"If you're lucky I'll let you try and find them all later," Nyssa answered sweetly as they descended the stairs of the Queen Mansion the following evening. Tommy had organised a 'Welcome Home' party surprisingly quickly and now they both were on their way there. Oliver had managed to convince his friend to hold the party at the building located conveniently across the street from Adam Hunt's penthouse. "Do you think he will acquiesce to your demand?"

"I doubt it. Until I have a reputation and a precedent set, most will try to fight rather than cooperate," Oliver answered as they approached the front door, Oliver opening it to allow Nyssa through, then closing it behind himself. "I already have my gear stashed on the roof. It won't take long to convince him that he was incorrect in doubting my resolve."

"Be careful beloved, Nyssa cautioned as they approached the waiting car. "Enough ants can overwhelm the spider."

"I will," Oliver promised as he opened the rear door, only to find John Diggle already sitting there waiting for them.

“Put on your seatbelt, sir, ma’am,” John said with a smile. “Wouldn’t want you to miss your party.” Oliver smiled as he stepped aside to allow Nyssa to enter.

“Mr Diggle, how are you this evening?” Nyssa asked, smiling in amusement.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

Oliver and Nyssa descended the stairs slowly into the party, eyeing the crowd warily; neither of them liking crowds very much even if they were occasionally useful. They paused for a moment so that Oliver could check his phone but no words were exchanged as Oliver showed his wife that Hunt had yet to act. As he pocketed his phone again they saw Tommy approaching them, even as he waved at the DJ to cut the music.

“Everybody, hey!” Tommy called out, getting everyone’s attention. He looked up to the stairs where Oliver and Nyssa still stood. “Man of the hour! Whoo! Now, let us please give him the welcome home he deserves.”

“Go, be Oliver Queen,” Nyssa whispered. Oliver glanced at her before slipping on the face of Oliver Queen, billionaire party boy and descending into the party. Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ sounded out as he made his way up to the stage.

“Thank you very much, everybody!” he yelled out as he accepted a shot from Tommy, downing it without hesitation. “I missed Tequila!” he shouted as the crowd cheered and the music started back up. Oliver descended from the stage and joined up with Tommy as they looked out at the party. “Is there anyone here that I actually know?”

“Well there is him,” Tommy said as he looked at Diggle standing in a corner, watching Oliver. “Does he wipe for you too?” Oliver chuckled as Tommy wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “And then there is her,” Tommy said as Nyssa glided up to them. “Wow.”

“I will take that as a compliment,” Nyssa commented with a smile as she stopped next to Oliver, also gazing out at the crowd.

“It was meant as one,” Tommy confirmed, flashing her a smile before sipping his drink. They watched the crowd for a while before Nyssa felt, more than saw, Oliver stiffen. She followed his gaze and saw what had caused his reaction; Thea buying some sort of drug.

“Back in a minute,” Oliver ground out and Nyssa wordlessly followed him leaving Tommy behind. Diggle saw their movement and followed behind discreetly.

"Ollie, hey!" Thea said in greeting as Oliver gasped her arm and separated her from her friends. "This party is sick! Hey Nyssa."

"Thea," Nyssa said in greeting."

"Who let you in here?" Oliver demanded quietly.

"I believe it was someone who said 'Right this way Miss Queen'." Thea replied, her voice dripping sarcasm.

"Well, you shouldn't be here," Oliver stated.

"I'm not 12 anymore," Thea pointed out harshly as she pulled he arm free, her eyes narrowed at her brother.

"No, you're not," Oliver agreed. "You're 17."

"Ollie, I love you," Thea said derisively. "But you cannot come back and judge me, especially for being just like you."

"He knows it cannot have been easy on you Thea, while he was away," Nyssa said, trying to calm the heating exchange.

"Away?" Thea scoffed, looking at Nyssa then back to her brother. "You died, Ollie. You and dad died. I went to your funerals."

"I know," Oliver started.

"No, you don't," Thea cut him off as Oliver caught a glimpse of the pain that Thea had been holding in. "Mom had Walter, and I had no one. You guys all act like its cool; let's forget about the last 5 years. Well, I can't. For me, it's kind of permanently in there! So I'm sorry if I turned out some major disappointment, but this… me, is the best I could do with what I had to work with." Oliver could not meet his sister's fiery gaze as she turned back to her friends. "Let's bounce," she said and led the group of girls away.

"Are you alright?" Nyssa asked her beloved, her concern evident.

"I will be," Oliver replied, clearly disheartened. "Did you get it?"

"Panache of a thief," Nyssa pointed out as she held up the packet of pills. 

"Thank you," Oliver said as he took the pills and dumped them in the nearest trashcan. Nyssa didn't miss the satisfied look that Diggle shot at Oliver.

"Ollie," a woman's voice sounded out and Nyssa looked around to see Oliver standing before a well-dressed brunette.

"Oh, you're here," Oliver said, clearly surprised that this woman was here.

"Tommy," the woman exclaimed. "He pointed out that we have too many years between us to leave things as we did. And I may have been a little harsh before."

"I don't think your father would agree, Laurel," Oliver replied. Nyssa now understood who she was; Laurel Lance. 

"Is there someplace quieter we can talk?" Laurel asked. Oliver glanced at Nyssa and saw her nod her head minutely. 

"Yeah," Oliver replied, holding out his arm to guide laurel out of the club.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

"Something I can help you with, sir?" Diggle's voice called out as Oliver made his way along the service passage. 10pm at come and gone and Hunt had done nothing.

"I just wanted to be alone for a moment," Oliver answered as he stopped next to his bodyguard. Oliver could appreciate this man's devotion to his job but now it was starting to become an annoyance.

"I would believe you, Mr Queen, if you weren't so full of crap," Diggle said with a light smile as he gestured at a pair of nearby doors. "Party is this way." Oliver sighed as he walked over to the door and tried to open it.

"It's locked," Oliver pointed out. Diggle looked at him for a second before stepping in front of him to open the door himself. As he stepped past his principal, Oliver's arm shot out and wrapped around Diggle's neck in a chokehold, leading to his unconsciousness seconds later.

"A bit drastic, don't you think?" Nyssa asked as she appeared out of nowhere.

"The man is extremely good at his job," Oliver pointed out appreciatively as he laid Diggle out on the floor gently. "Unfortunately, that was becoming a nuisance."

"I look forward to your explaining this," Nyssa said, smiling. "But for now, go. Others are awaiting your arrival."

"Be back soon," Oliver said as he kissed Nyssa's cheek, ignoring the look she was giving him. "I'll be careful."

"You had better," Nyssa called to Oliver's departing back. 

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

As soon as the doors dinged open, Oliver sprang into action. He swiftly launched two arrows, eliminating two of the 6 guards in the hall before using his bow as a quarterstaff to beat the two guards closest to the elevator into submission. He had previously cut the power to the lights and now he used the shadows to mask his movements as he lunged behind a pillar as the last two guards opened fire blindly. 

When they stopped to reload, Oliver sprang back into action. He threw his bow at one guard, disorientating him with a blow to the head while springing up onto a column and down onto the sixth guard who had been distracted by his bow toss. With practiced ease, he broke his neck before retrieving his bow and the still disorientated guard. Lining him up with the glass doors to Hunt's office, he gave him a swift kick, launching him through the glass to the accompanying sounds of more automatic gunfire.

Oliver fired an arrow at the one man he could see before stepping through the broken door. He again used his bow as a quarterstaff as he deliver 3 quick blows to the head of a man, breaking his nose, before a final blow to his throat; crushing his larynx. He turned to face Adam Hunt, even as he pulled, nocked and fired a pre-prepared arrow into the wall behind hunt.

"You missed," Adam Hunt observed snidely, even as Oliver aimed another arrow at his heart.

"Did I?" Oliver mocked. Before anything else could be said, his bow was kicked aside; the arrow impacting the desk harmlessly. Oliver could do little to prevent Adam Hunt fleeing the room, screaming into his phone, as he was focused on defending himself from the flurry of attacks launched at him by this man.

They grappled, punched, kicked and threw each other around the room before Oliver was able to gain the upper hand; which was promptly snatched away as the man drew a knife from his jacket. Oliver matched him with his own knife; a gift from Nyssa for his last birthday. 

With a blade as long as his forearm, S-shaped cross guard and an inch long pyramid spike on the hilt, it was a formidable weapon; made all the more so by the skill of the wielder. Oliver had lost count of the number of men he had killed with a knife, he only it was less than the number of men he had killed with a bow.

The man was momentarily paused by Oliver’s presentation of his knife but quickly shook it off and lunged forward. Oliver parried and traced his blade up the man’s arm, leaving a nasty cut in its wake. They grappled, stabbed and sliced at one another until Oliver was able to disarm him and flip him onto his back; unfortunately within reach of a previously dropped weapon. Oliver raced for the desk, diving over it as the man came up firing. Oliver felt a bullet impact his chest even as he threw a Flechette. The firing stopped but Oliver didn’t notice; his landing had rendered him unconscious.

Oliver came to with the sounds of heavy footfalls approaching. He guessed it was the SWAT team that had been waiting outside with the other police that were present to prevent his intrusion; even as he had infiltrated behind them. He rubbed his chest and pulled loose the mangled bullet that was lodged in his armour.

“Lay down your weapons, or we will open fire,” the cops screamed as they advanced towards him, unaware of his position. They stopped at the broken door and shined their weapon lights around the room, searching. “I repeat, lay down your weapons…”

Without hesitating, Oliver pulled two flechettes and threw them at the SWAT officers, disarming them. He launched himself around the desk, kicked his bow up into his hand as he passed it and dived through the window; all the while a path of bullets was traced behind him, ironically by Detective Lance. He hooked his bow over the cable he had secured there earlier and rode it down; time to get back to the party.

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

"Detective!" Oliver called as he and Nyssa slipped through the quiet crowd. A SWAT officer had silenced the music while Detective Lance was currently confronting Tommy; or was it the other way round. "This is a private party."

"Yeah?" Lance shot back. "Well, there was an incident at Adam Hunt's building tonight. You wouldn't know anything about that now, would you?" He challenged.

"Who's Adam Hunt?" Oliver asked, his boredom in their conversation evident. 

"He's a millionaire bottom feeder, and I'm kind of surprised you aren't friends," Lance explained snidely. 

"I've been out of town for a… while." Oliver said mildly. Tommy let out a soft laugh. Even Nyssa had to force herself not to smile. 

"Yeah." Lance agreed. "Well, he just got attacked by the guy with the hood. The same guy that saved your asses the other day." 

"The hood guy?" Oliver asked, surprised. 

"Yeah." Lance replied. 

"You didn't find him?" Oliver asked, then smiled cheekily. "How about I help you out? I'm going to offer a reward. Hey, everybody!" Oliver turned around and shouted to his fellow partiers. He held up two fingers. "$2 million to anybody that can find a nut bar in a green hood." 

The crowd cheered in response, and Oliver turned back to Lance. The older cop walked right up to Oliver, getting in his face.

"Did you even try to save her?" he demanded. Nyssa, saw the immediate effect that his words had on her husband, and stepped forward to support him. Hilton, Lance's partner, also saw what was happening and interceded, putting a calming hand on Lance and pushing him away lightly. 

"Ok, he said quietly, "Let's go, partner." Lance, though, wouldn't be deterred. 

"Did you even try to save my daughter?" he demanded angrily. 

"Sara wouldn't want this." Hilton said, leading Lance away. "Partner, let's go." Oliver's face was set in stone, as the cops left, but after a moment he made his way onto the stage. 

"It’s way too quiet in here!" he yelled with a smile, throwing out his arms. "This is a party!" The crowd cheered as Oliver made his way off the stage. Tommy came up to him, giving him a strange look even as Nyssa stared at her beloved, clearly worried about how Oliver was coping with Detective Lance's accusations. She knew what had occurred on the island; Oliver had kept nothing from her when she finally asked what had happened on Lian Yu.

"Some coincidence," Tommy observed, "I mean, you asking to have your party here, and Hunt getting robbed right next door… and by the same guy who rescued us at the warehouse." His tone inferred he was suspicious, and Nyssa couldn't blame him; they would have to be more careful in the future. Oliver, however, just gave him a tight smile. 

"If I were you, Tommy, I'd just be glad you're alive." He advised calmly. 

Tommy stared back at his friend; for the first time since they had met, he truly felt like he didn't know the person standing in front of him. "What happened to you on that island?" he asked haltingly. 

"A lot." Oliver and Nyssa replied simultaneously before walking away. 

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

"The redistribution of the stolen money has been completed," Nyssa stated, turning to face her beloved. She had tried to speak to Oliver when they had returned o the mansion the previous night but he had claimed tiredness and gone straight to bed; in his defence, he had gone straight to sleep, a unique even in itself. Now though, she would not be denied. "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Oliver answered, hoping Nyssa would drop it but knowing that she wouldn't; he wouldn’t have. He turned to face her, being met by her relaxed yet determined face, one eyebrow raised and all.

"You know I hate that word," Nyssa pointed out. "Now I will ask again, and then I will beat an answer out of you husband. How. Are. You?" Oliver exhaled slowly, buying himself a moment to organise his thoughts.

"I'm alright. Just memories and old feelings," Oliver explained sadly. Nyssa let him be for a moment, knowing he would explain as he always did. "I just wondering if things could have been done differently. I maybe events had gone a different path. If I have known then, what I know now..." Nyssa stilled Oliver with a hand on his chest, over his heart.

"What's past is prologue," Nyssa said simply as she looked up into his bright blue eyes. He said nothing, accepting her words as the truth before a smile graced his face. Nyssa couldn't keep the smile from appearing on her own. "What?"

"To think that I had only read one book in the four colleges I dropped out of and it was about a man trying to get home. And it helped me on the island," Oliver started, still smiling. "And now, 5 years later, I recognise that you just quoted Shakespeare's The Tempest." 

"It was an interesting read," Nyssa said in mock protest. She didn't resist as Oliver lent down and kissed her passionately.

"I have to check that they know the money went in," Oliver said after breaking the kiss. "I'll be back soon."

#Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow##Arrow#

Oliver had approached CNRI, hoping to be able to tell if they knew if his recent transactions had been noticed, when he spotted Tommy's car parked in an alley. His curiosity getting the better of him, he approached it when he spotted Tommy and Laurel walking along the alley towards it. He stopped and perched silently on a fire escape as their voices filtered up to him.

"I thought maybe you and Oliver went mano-a-mano again." Tommy threw out, spiking Oliver's interest, "I saw you two head out." 

"There's nothing between Oliver and I," Laurel said with finality. "Not anymore." 


"Here I thought the only thing between you and Oliver was us," Tommy offered.  

"I wouldn't exactly characterize us as an 'us', Tommy." Laurel said teasingly. Tommy stopped and turned to face her. 

"Then what would you call it?" he asked. 

"A lapse." She decided after a moment of thought.

"That's quite a few lapses" Tommy said with a grin. "Your place, my place, my place again…" they both laughed. 

"Oh, come on, Merlyn." Laurel said with a smile. "We both know that you're not a one-girl type of guy." 

"Depends on the girl." He announced. Laurel couldn't help but smile back at Tommy's charm. 

"I have to go back to work." She said finally, turning to walk away. 

"Dinah Laurel Lance," Tommy called out, using Laurel's full name Oliver noticed. "Always trying to save the world." Laurel tuned around and smiled. 

"Hey." She said, "If I don't try and save it, who will?" she gave him a small wave, then turned and walked away. Tommy smiled and got in his car, and unnoticed by either of them, Oliver sat perched on a fire escape high above, watching it all. He couldn't find it in himself to fault them for getting together during the time he was gone. After all, he had been dead and even gotten married himself. Oliver hoped that his friend was more serious than he had been in the past, even as he climbed the fire escape back to the room.

A shift in the wind as he alighted the ladder onto the roof brought a fresh scent to his nose. He had company.

"You can quit skulking about," Oliver called to the silent night. "I know you are there." As if appearing from the shadows themselves, 3 men dressed in the garb of the League of Assassins stepped into the open. Their masks hid their identities however what was interesting was the coiled red viper that was sewn onto the left breast of their jackets. "What do you want?" Oliver growled.

"Our mistress tasked us to watch you," the closest of the assassins spoke. Oliver regard him as he took a step closer. "It is said that she has great plans for you."

"Watching implies not being seen," Oliver stated calmly.

"It does," the assassin agreed. "However, we believe that her plans could be accelerated if you were brought before her."

"Ambition is a dangerous feeling. It often leads to foolhardy actions," Oliver said as his mind worked. "I won't be accompanying you."

"As you wish," the man said as he turned away. He quickly turned back, pulling a knife as he did so only to be met by Oliver swinging his bow at his head; an unavoidable blow. Oliver pivoted around the swing, drew, nocked and fired an arrow into the furthest assassin's heart before blocking a sword strike from beside him.

A flurry of blows ensued, all of which Oliver blocked effortlessly. An opening presented itself and Oliver took it, burying his knife into the assassin’s throat. He turned to face the last assassin, the one he had struck first, only to find the rooftop empty; the assassin had fled.

"So it begins," Oliver said quiet to the once again silent night.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #3
Chapter 04 - Reappearance Repercussions

"Ma'am, I truly do not know," Dig answered Moira Queen honestly. He tried not to think about what Oliver Queen was up to, even as his gut told him that he was most definitely up to something. 

“And he truly doesn’t,” Oliver said jovially as he and Nyssa walked into the room. Moira stared at them balefully before speaking. 

“Then perhaps you would like to share where it is you both run off to,” Moira said, her exasperation clearly evident to everyone present. 

“I’ve been stuck on an island for 5 years. Nyssa for 3,” Oliver began to explain. 

“I know that Oliver,” Moira pointed out. 

“Mom, we were alone,” Oliver said, shooting his mother a look. “Being back, it gets, overwhelming at times. Nyssa and I, we need to get away from everyone, everything.” 

“I see,” Moira said after considering what her son had said. 

“We will try and curtail our disappearances,” Nyssa offered. “Perhaps try and find somewhere on the grounds where we can go to get away.” 

“No, that’s alright. I’d rather that you promised to take Mr Diggle with you when you need to get away,” Moira proposed calmly as she stepped in front of her son. “There is a maniac out there, hunting the wealthy and you have already been kidnapped once since you got back. It’s not safe.” 

“Oliver’s life was saved by that maniac,” Nyssa pointed out. 

“This isn’t a game,” Moira said with a glare at Nyssa. She focused back onto her son, looking him in the eyes. “I lost you once. And I refuse to go through that again,” Moira stated plaintively. 

“Okay,” Oliver replied after a moment. Nyssa could hear the genuine remorse in his voice; something she wasn’t used to hearing. “Dig’s my guy.” 

“Thank you Oliver,” Moira said gratefully, turning to walk out of the room before she stopped and looked back. “About our conversation after you kidnapping. How does Saturday December 1st sound?” 

“That sounds lovely,” Nyssa answered after glancing at Oliver and receiving an almost imperceptible nod in return.  

“Wonderful. I’ll begin making initial arrangements and appointments for us,” Moira stated calmly, still not happy at Oliver’s ultimatum. 

“I’m looking forward to them,” Nyssa said to Moira’s retreating form.  

"Sorry to give you much grief," Oliver said to his bodyguard. Dig walked around the couch, buttoning his suit as he moved and stopped in front of Oliver. 

"I served three tours in Afghanistan, Mr. Queen. You don't even come close to my definition of grief," he declared stoically. "But I will say this. Ditch me one more time, and no one will have to fire me," he stated before he turned and headed out of the room, passing Thea on his way. 

"Hey Thea, where are you going?" Oliver called out to his sister, surprising her as she hadn't seen him there. 

"Not sure. Probably somewhere loud and smoky though," She replied, crossing her arms and looking at her brother and Nyssa. "And don't worry, I'm going to go get drunk. No need to steal my stash." 

"Thea, do you think this is what dad would have wanted for you?" Oliver asked as he stepped closer to his sister. He was worried about how she was acting and was trying to get through to her. 

"You see, that's the thing. Dead people don't want anything. It's one of the perks of being dead," Thea argued. 

"I was dead," Oliver countered. "And I wanted a lot." 

"Except for your family," Thea said spitefully. "Instead you went and tried to start a new one. You went and got married. Or at least as close as you can get to married on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. I didn't even need to overhear you and mom to know that," She pointed out coldly. "You know, you have been home a week and all you have done is avoid mom, ignore Walter and judge me," Thea said as she turned and started walking away. "Don't wait up." 

"She's right," Oliver said as Nyssa stepped up behind him, wrapping an arm around his waist. "I have done all those things. Even though I haven't meant too." 

"We knew it would be hard coming home," Nyssa reminded Oliver. "We spoke about it while we waited." 

"I know," Oliver acceded reluctantly. "I just didn't think it would be as hard as it has been." 

"Nothing worth having is easy to obtain," Nyssa pointed out. "I'm proof of that." 

"You are," Oliver said, somewhat happier. 

"Talk to her. Make an effort. Show her that you are trying and maybe, just maybe, she will meet you along the way," Nyssa proposed. 

"What would I do without you?" Oliver wondered as he wrapped his arms around his wife. 

"That's easy," Nyssa quipped before kissing Oliver. "You wouldn't have made it this far. 

#Arrow# 

"Everything alright, Oliver?" Moira asked her son as their limousine drove through the city on it's way to Queen Consolidated. 

"I'm fine," Oliver replied, staring out the window. "Just remembering."  

The rest of the drive was made in silence and Oliver soon found himself standing on the sidewalk outside his family's company, helping first his mother and then Nyssa from the car. Dig had climbed out of the passenger seat where he had travelled and once Oliver had shut the door, Dig knocked on the window and the car pulled away into the traffic once again. The four of them made their way up the stairs and into the foyer where Walter was waiting for them.  

"I hope the traffic wasn't too bad," Walter offered in greeting. 

"It was fine," Oliver said as he looked around.  

"Yes, well, why don't we head upstairs?" Walter suggested as he motioned them towards a bank of elevators. Everyone started to follow by Nyssa pulled up short. 

"Actually, if it is alright, I might just wait down here," Nyssa said, somewhat awkwardly. "I might go get a coffee of something." 

"Are you sure dear?" Moira asked, actually surprised that Nyssa did not want to come inside. 

"Quite sure," Nyssa replied. "You continue without. I'm sure you have lots to discuss." 

"As long as you’re ok," Oliver said. "Dig might be open to keeping you company if you want." 

"No, he is your bodyguard. He should be with you," Nyssa proclaimed. "Go. I'll be fine." 

"Alright then," Oliver said, leaning in to kiss her cheek. "I'll call you when we are on our way back down then." 

"Perfect," Nyssa said. She stood in the foyer and watch as they all entered one of the elevators, the doors shutting and whisking them up into the tower. As soon as they were gone, Nyssa turned and walked up the main desk. "Hi, could you direct me to a Felicity Smoak?" 

#Arrow#

"Oliver, as you can see, we have modernised quite a bit," Walter pointed out as they exited the elevator onto the executive level of the main tower. While the elevator banks were set into a vibrant, green marble, the rest of the floor was all steel and glass. Oliver whistled in awe as Walter led him, Moira and Diggle along the short corridor towards his office.  

“Are you enjoying yourself?” she asked, seeing the smile on her son's face.  

“Yes, I am," Oliver said truthfully. It was good to be in this building again. He had good memories of being here. 

“I remember when your father used to bring you here when you were a boy.” Walter said cheerfully as they all entered his office. Oliver noticed Diggle took up position by the door, something he doubted his mother or Walter even noticed. “You always were so excited.”  

“Dad let me drink soda in the office.” Oliver revealed wistfully, his mind wandering back.  

“Ah!” Moira exclaimed happily, smiling. “So that is why you enjoyed coming here.”  

“Queen Consolidated’s success of late is a result of its targeted diversification.” Walter began to explain as Oliver looked around the office. “We have been making impressive inroads into cutting-edge fields like bio-tech and clean energy.”  

“That' sounds promising.” Oliver interrupted, as he looked out the window to the city below, his city.  

“Sweetheart,” Moira said, beckoning her son to join them. “Oliver, Walter and I have something we would like to discuss with you. Come, please sit.” She motioned towards one of the chairs in front of Walter's desk. Oliver looked at her warily.  

“Mom, it makes me nervous when you ask me to sit down," Oliver stated. The three stood awkwardly for a moment, before Walter continued.  

“Queen Consolidated is about to break ground on a new site for the Applied Sciences Division, and we would like to honor your father by dedicating the building in his name,” he announced.   

“That’s nice," Oliver agreed, nodding. 

“There’s more,” Walter started. 

“We'd like to make an announcement at the dedication,” Moira added in a measured tone, “That you will be taking a leadership position in the company.”  

“No.” Oliver adamantly said without pause.  

“YOUR company.” She emphasized.  

“No, I don't want to lead anything.” He fired back strongly, then looked at Walter. “Besides, Walter is doing a great job here.”  It was the first…kind….thing Oliver had said to or about Walter since he got back, and the elder businessman was stunned momentarily.  

“You said that you wanted to be a different person,” Moira urged Oliver. “And you are Robert Queen's son.”  

“I don't need to be reminded of that.” Oliver replied, his voice suddenly cold.  

“Well, obviously you do,” pressed Moira, disregarding her son’s change in tone and posture. Walter walked up next to Moira and put a reassuring hand on his wife’s back.  

“Everyone here understands that this transition is going to be extremely difficult for you,” Walter offered, trying to settle the runaway conversation. 

“Thank you, Walter.” Oliver said, the civility he had tried to build crumbling slowly away. “Which part, though? Everyone fantasizing that I got my MBA while I was on the island? Or the fact that my father's CFO…” Oliver caught himself before he finished what was on his mind. It wouldn’t help to antagonize an already tense situation. “I’ll think about it.” 

His mother’s disappointment was obvious to Oliver as she turned away from him. Oliver, for his part, was ashamed at his outburst. Moira walked towards the door, then stopped and turned.  

“You know, five years ago, your irresponsibility was charming, to a degree,” She said. “It is a lot less so now.” She then turned and walked out of the room. Walter studied Oliver for a moment before turning and following after a moment. Dig looked on, no judgment whatsoever on his face. As a soldier, he knew what it was like to come home to a world you didn’t recognize anymore.  

#Arrow# 

“Hello Felicity,” Nyssa said as she stepped around the corner of her cubicle and lent on the edge.  

“Nyssa. Hi,” Felicity exclaimed. She had been engrossed in a computer problem and had been oblivious to the woman’s approach. “How are you? What are you doing here?” 

“I am well, thank you,” Nyssa replied, unable and unwilling to hide her smile at Felicity’s reaction to her presence. “You said that if I wanted to find you all I had to do was look here at Queen Consolidated.” 

“I did say that, didn’t I,” Felicity said, remembering her own words from the previous week. "So why did you want to find me? Not that it’s a bad thing you trying to find me. Is it?" 

"I believe that will be up to you to decide," Nyssa responded, answering Felicity's babble. "I came looking for you because I enjoyed our coffee together last week and I was wondering if you would like to join me again." 

"Ah, ok," a bewildered Felicity said. "I don't usually go on coffee dates with anyone. Actually I don't usually go on dates at all. Long story. This isn't a date date, is it?" 

"No, I don't believe it is," Nyssa replied, off put by Felicity's strange yet oddly endearing speech habits. 

"Oh, that's good then," Felicity said, her relief obvious. "I'm not sure what I would say if it was. I've never had an attractive woman ask me out on a date before. Oh, my god. I just said that out loud, didn't I?" 

"You did," Nyssa said, smiling at Felicity, who was blushing deeper as the seconds passed. "Thank you for the complement." Nyssa's words caused Felicity to blush even redder then what she already had. "So, about that coffee?" 

"Yes, coffee. I love coffee," Felicity babbled, trying to distract herself as she grabbed a notepad on her desk. "Here is my phone number. Call or text me when you wanted to catch up and we'll work something out." Felicity tore off the top sheet and offered it to Nyssa, who took it. 

"That sounds lovely," Nyssa said as she pocketed the piece of paper. "I should leave you to your work. I think I have distracted you enough." 

"From this?" Felicity asked, indicating her workspace. "This I could do with my eyes closed or in my sleep. You showing up is actually a respite from the tedium that is my work here." 

"Well, I'm glad I chose to come find you today then," Nyssa said with another smile. "I will be in touch. Goodbye Felicity." 

"Bye Nyssa," Felicity replied cheerfully. She watched Nyssa walk away before turning back to her work. "And back to the grind." 

#Arrow# 

Oliver and Dig descended in the elevator in silence, Dig already having called for a car. The two walked purposefully through the foyer and out into the sun where they had to fight their way through a sea of reporters to the Bentley waiting at the sidewalk. Dig got Oliver in, then walked around and got in on the other side.  

“The driver will be here in a minute.” He said as they settled into their seats, the reporters still shouting questions to them from outside the car.  

“Okay. I've already texted Nyssa,” Oliver replied tersely, still thinking about what happened in Walter's office. They were silent for a few moments before Dig spoke.  

“You know, I spent the first 27 years of my life in Starling City, and the next five in Afghanistan.” He started. “You want to know what I learned?”  

“There's no place like home?” Oliver replied dryly, not really in the mood to speak. Dig smiled at his response and shook his head.  

“No, just the opposite. Home is a battlefield.” He explained calmly. “Back home, they're all trying to get you. Get you to open up, to be somebody you're not sure you are anymore or could ever be again.” He paused and looked at the young man. “Or I could be wrong. Maybe after five years on a deserted island, you're not as messed up in the head as you have every right to be,”  Dig observed. 

"She is why I'm not," Oliver said as he looked out the window. John followed his gaze and saw Nyssa stepping out of the foyer of Queen Consolidated. She looked around for a moment before she fixed her eyes on Oliver and headed towards him. Dig wondered, not for the first time, what really happened on that island as he climbed out of the car. 

#Arrow#

"Do you think Somers will testify?" Nyssa asked that night as she lay on their bed. "If he is involved with the Triads, I doubt it will be as simple as threatening him once." 

"I agree," Oliver said as he stepped out of the bathroom. "But, he, like everyone else, will get an opportunity to do the right thing. And when he doesn't, I will be there to convince him to do it." 

"I have found you can be rather convincing when you want to be," Nyssa observed. 

"I had a good teacher," Oliver replied as he sat on the bed next to his wife. "My concern though is the Triad. They have a tendency for killing those that get in their way." 

"And currently Laurel is putting herself in their way," Nyssa pointed out. 

"Yes," Oliver stated. "What should I do?" 

"Protect her," Nyssa said simply, as if it was obvious. "Besides, I think it is time I met Laurel Lance myself." 

"Should I wear armour?" Oliver teased. 

"Do you think it would save you?" Nyssa retorted to Oliver's chuckle. Nyssa smiled at him before speaking again. "What are you going to do about Thea?" 

"Thea," Oliver said quietly. "I never considered how my absence would have hit her, and now being back and seeing it. It worries me how much she becoming the person I was." 

"Then how are you going to stop it?" Nyssa asked her beloved. "No one is beyond saving. Talk to her." 

"You said that this morning," Oliver pointed out. 

"I did," Nyssa agreed. "It was good advice then and it still is now." 

"What do I say to her though? I can exactly tell her the truth," Oliver said. 

"No, you can't," Nyssa replied and she lifted her hand to rest on Oliver's chest over his heart. "But you will know what to say when you need to. Trust yourself." 

"Don't suppose you have any ideas about my mother's idea for me to join the company as well?" Oliver wondered idly. 

"I don't," Nyssa declared, amused. "But I am sure that we can think of something. Together." 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #4
Chapter 05 - Relationship Revelations

"Attorney for shipping magnate, Martin Somers, has confirmed his client has no intention of testifying, maintaining his innocence in the wrongful death of Victor Nocenti. Nocenti's body was found four weeks ago. We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available."

"Obviously Somers requires more convincing," Oliver growled as he glowered at the morning news report on the TV.

"We thought he might," Nyssa said as she reclined on top of the bed, admiring her husband's physique, even as he reached for his shirt and began putting it on.

"Wait, how did you get those?" Thea asked as she entered his room through the open door. Oliver scowled in annoyance, even as he turned and tried to close his shirt. Nyssa stayed silent and still on the bed, choosing to watch rather than act. She was curious about what Thea's reaction would be to Oliver's scars, which she had obviously seen.

"Don't you knock?" Oliver grumbled.

"No," Thea declared forcefully as she strode up to her brother and forced him to turn around to face her. "Mum said there were some scars but she didn't..." Thea explained as she gently wrested the edges of her brother's shirt from his clenched hands and drew it open to completely reveal his torso; and all the scars upon it.

Nyssa watched the look of horror appear on Thea's face and recognized what it was; the beginnings of an understanding of what Oliver had gone through in the 5 years he was away.

"I'm..." Thea started before she had to stop. She took a moment to steady herself before she continued. "Oliver, what happened to you out there? What happened to you both?" Thea asked as she looked across the room at Nyssa, looking to see if she had any similar scars. Nyssa did have a few, but they weren’t where you could normally see them.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Oliver said as he pulled his shirt free and began buttoning it. Thea scoffed at his words.

“Of course you don’t,” she said angrily. “You never want to talk to me about anything. The only thing you want to know about me is my social life,” she accused, turning to walk out. Nyssa was about to call out when Oliver spoke.

“Wait!” he called out, stopping Thea from leaving. He took a deep breath as Thea folded her arms in defiance. “I’m sorry Thea,” he started. “I’ve been told that I need to, get better, at talking about what happened to me while I was away. But I’m not ready yet.” Oliver said all this while looking Thea in the eye, hoping she would understand what he was trying to say. “Okay?”

“Do you have a second?” Thea asked after staring at her brother for a moment. Nyssa could tell she meant privately.

“Sure,” Oliver responded simply.

“Good. There is something out back that I want to show to you,” Thea explained before glancing at Nyssa. “I won’t keep him long.” Oliver looked at Nyssa and saw her nod her encouragement as he grabbed his jacket before he followed his sister out.

Thea led him down and out of the mansion and into the backyard to a clearing where two headstones had been erected. They read:

Robert Queen 

1958-2007 

A leader, a husband 

 

Oliver Queen 

1985-2007 

A loving son and brother, whose light was diminished far too soon
  [/b]

“Sometimes I’d come out here, when I felt…whatever,” Thea said as she stopped in front of her father’s headstone. She knelt down and brushed away the stray laves that had settled on it before she spoke again. “Mom stopped going out about a month after funerals. Soon, she stopped talking altogether. I’d come down here because the house was so quiet.” She pointed at her brother’s headstone. “To talk to you.” Oliver could tell from her voice that she was trying not to cry. He knew he should say something but wasn’t sure what to say. “Stupid stuff. What boy I had a crush on or what I was doing that day. Sometimes I couldn’t help it and I’d ask, beg, you to find your way home to me, Ollie.” She stood and turned to face her brother. “And now, here you stand. But the truth is, I felt closer to you when you were dead.” She paused to brush a single tear away before focusing back on her brother. “I understand that it was hell there, but you need to understand that it was hell here too. You gotta let me in, Ollie,” Thea implored her brother. “You have to let someone in. And not just Nyssa.” Finished, Thea stepped past her brother and walked away, leaving Oliver to stand before the pair of headstones. Oliver looked down at his headstone, thinking about everything his sister had told him and wondering how much he could, should share.

#Arrow#

“Still sure you want to do this?” Oliver asked Nyssa as they walked down the hallway, Oliver carrying a brown paper bag.

"I am," Nyssa replied. "You have told me much about her but that is all from the past. I would like to meet the woman that was able to grasp your heart for a time."

"I didn't exactly treat her nicely," Oliver admitted. "Then or now."

"We all make mistakes beloved," Nyssa said as she placed a hand on Oliver's cheek. "But it is how we move on from those mistakes that makes us who we are. You still want her friendship? Show her that you can, and still want to be a friend."

"I love you," Oliver said as he kissed Nyssa.

"I know," Nyssa replied with a smile.

"Here goes," Oliver said as he continued down the hallway to Laurel's door, knocking softly. Shuffling was heard from inside before the door was opened, revealing Laurel standing there, her face blank. "Hi."

"Oliver," Laurel said emotionlessly.

"Are you ok? There are cops parked outside," Oliver asked. Both he and Nyssa had noticed the officers, courtesy of Detective Lance no doubt, stationed outside. They weren't sure how effective a defense they would be against Triad assassins but they might at least give some forewarning.

"I'm fine. They are from my dad. And how am I supposed to stay away from you, like you advised me to do, if you won't stay away from me?" Laurel wondered sarcastically. "What are you doing here?"

"It was pointed out to me recently that since I have been back, I have been cold and distant which has hurt those around me," Oliver tried to explain. "I was advised that it was probably a good idea to change this behavior before the damage I have done becomes too much to fix."

"And what? You thought you would start with the first person you pushed away?" Laurel pointed out angrily.

"By pushing you away, I thought I was protecting you," Oliver reasoned, pausing before continuing on. "But then I saw you at the court house yesterday and it made me realize that I had hurt you. I am sorry for that." 

"You're going to have to do a lot more than a pretty speech, Oliver," Laurel said, still angry.

"I know. But I will do what I need to do to win back your friendship," Oliver declared steadfastly. "And in the spirit of that possible friendship, there is someone that I want you to meet," Oliver said as he stepped to the side to reveal Nyssa behind him. "This is Nyssa."

"I remember you. You were at the court house yesterday. And at Tommy's party for Oliver last week," Laurel said, her mind already working, connecting the dots. "Oh my god. You're her. The woman that was rescued with Ollie."

"I am," Nyssa admitted. "Though I would appreciate it if you would keep that to yourself."

"When I first heard the news, I hoped it might have been Sara, but then Ollie showed up and Sara didn't," Laurel said sadly. "It almost felt like losing her all over again."

"I am sorry for your loss, Laurel," Nyssa consoled. "I too, have lost a sister."

"Then you know what it feels like," Laurel confided.

"I do," Nyssa confirmed. Laurel stared at Nyssa for a moment before glancing at Oliver and stepping back from the door, admitting the two of them inside. "Thank you," Nyssa said sincerely as she looked around.

"Wow. This place hasn't changed. It's still how I remember it," Oliver observed as he too, looked around.

"Well, I haven't had the time to redecorate," sniped Laurel as she walked past the two of them.

"Laurel, I admit I'm a jerk," Oliver announced, stopping Laurel in her tracks. "5 years ago I was a jerk and now, after the island and everything that has happened, I am just a damaged jerk." Laurel turned to look back at Oliver and saw the look on his face. What surprised her though was the look of annoyance on Nyssa’s. Laurel decided to take pity on Oliver, though not before filing away the look on Nyssa's face for later.

"What's in the bag?" She asked, indicating the bag that Oliver was still carrying.

"5 years on an island gives you a lot of time to think. I thought of a lot of things on the island but there was one thing I thought about every day," Oliver said as he reached into the bag. Nyssa smiled too as Oliver had shared this memory with her. "I actually dreamed about it, and I promised myself that if I ever got off that island, that I would do it again with the two of you."

"Oliver..." Laurel started accusingly.

"Eat ice cream," Oliver said as he pulled his hand from the bag to reveal a large tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Laurel couldn't stop the smile gracing her face, joining the ones on Oliver's and Nyssa's.

#Arrow#

"This is better than I remember," Oliver said with a smile as he dug into the carton with his spoon. It had been a long time since he had eaten ice cream.

"It is amazing," Nyssa added happily. "Oliver told me that it was good but this is beyond good."

"You've never had mint choc chip before?" Laurel asked, aghast at the thought.

"I did not have many luxuries growing up," Nyssa revealed evenly. "Ice cream was not one of them."

"I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up without ice cream," Laurel said. "Can you Ollie?"

"No, no I can't," Oliver agreed, thinking. "Raisa always had my favorite in the freezer."

"What's on your mind Ollie?" Laurel asked her ex. She could still tell when he was thinking too hard.

"My mother wants me to take up a leadership position at the company," Oliver replied. Laurel couldn’t help looking at him as if he had to heads. Oliver smiled at her look. "Yeah. Take my rightful place."

"I'm having a hard time picturing you as master of the universe," Laurel remarked casually. Oliver and Nyssa could tell she was being honest, not mean, when she said that, though she missed the quick glance they shared.

"Yeah," Oliver commented Oliver through a tight smile. "After five years on an island, I have plans. Things that I want, that I need to do. I can't be doing them if I am at Queen Consolidated all day every day, attending stockholder briefings and board meetings.”

"Oliver, last time I checked, you were an adult," Laurel pointed out. "You can say no."

"Apparently he tried," Nyssa replied casually. "Moira was, less than impressed."

"Well then show her rather than telling her," Laurel reasoned. "Be the kind of man that you want her to see you as. Trust me. Years’ worth of experience dealing with a disapproving parent here."

"I believe you," Oliver stated. "I have been on the receiving end of your father's disapproval."

"My father blames himself more than he blames you," Laurel admitted as she leant back into the couch. "He thinks that if he and Sara were closer, maybe she would have told him about the boat rip and he could have stopped her."

"It is sometimes hard for fathers to relate to their daughters," Nyssa observed quietly. "Especially if those daughters are strong willed. Something Oliver tells me Sara was."

"He spoke about her?" Laurel asked, surprised.

"Yes," Nyssa answered. "We spoke of many things during our time on the island. Our pasts, our presents and our future."

"Sorry, pasts, presents and future?" Laurel recapped slowly and concisely. "Singular?"

"Yes, Laurel," admitted Oliver. "During the years we have been together, Nyssa and I, we have grown close. Closer than I thought I could be with anyone."

"Even me?" Laurel enquired, a tear welling up in her eye.

"At first, no," Oliver stated calmly. "But after I thought about all the pain and suffering I have caused you and your family, I realized I could never be with you like that. Not after what I had done."

"So you two?" Laurel asked, her implication clear as she wiped the tear in her eye away.

"For almost 2 years now," Oliver said softly, pausing before continuing. "There's more."

"Do not tell me that you knocked her up while you were abandoned on a deserted island!" Laurel practically shouted. "I cannot believe that you are that irresponsible."

"What, no!" Oliver objected. Seeing Laurel calming down, he added the salt. "We married each other."

"What?" Laurel exclaimed, focusing all her attention on Oliver, her intensity almost palpable.

"We married each other," Oliver repeated slowly. At Laurel's continued glare, he tried to explain. "We never thought we were getting off the island. And by that time, our relationship. Too us it felt right to do that."

"I am not going to comment on you getting married on a deserted island," Laurel said, taking a moment to breathe and compose herself. "How did your mother take the news of your marriage? Given its lack of legality."

"She was far from impressed," Oliver admitted with a soft smile. "I may have convinced her to organize a proper wedding rather quickly by threatening to take a trip to Vegas if she didn't."

"I bet she loved that," Laurel deadpanned.

"She was not impressed, that's for sure," Oliver replied before his look saddened. "I am sorry."

"You apologized already," Laurel stated, clearly not wanting to talk at the moment.

"And after everything I have done," Oliver remarked. "It will never be enough." Silence descended on the room as no one spoke or even moved. Then Oliver thought he heard something. "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?" Laurel asked in confusion; she hadn't heard anything. Oliver deftly grabbed the kitchen knife he had used to open the ice cream with; it was dull but his instincts demanded he arm himself and it would work in a pinch. Nyssa had also focused on her senses more even though she was furthest from the window that seemed to have Oliver's attention and closer to the front door. And then she heard a noise as well.

"There is someone at your front door," Nyssa declared at the same time her beloved spoke.

"There is someone on your fire escape," Oliver stated as he climbed to his feet; listening but taking note that Nyssa was also up. He heard more noises so he grabbed Laurel's arm, pulling her to her feet. "Come on!"

"What?' Laurel asked in obvious confusion; she still hadn't heard anything as the three of them began to move through the apartment. And then all hell broke loose.

The front door crashed inwards as a large Asian man wielding an Uzi broke in. Oliver pulled Laurel down and back into the apartment as bullets sprayed above their heads. Nyssa moved back as well but found herself separated from Oliver. The Asian man emptied the clip of his weapon before he spied Nyssa. Smiling an empty grin, he dropped his gun and drew a dagger.

Oliver searched for a way out of the apartment, even as he pulled Laurel along behind him. He was aware of the gunfire stopping behind him but before he could look, a second man crashed through the window into the apartment. Oliver ducked down further and continued into another room, Laurel close behind as he looked for a way to take out the attackers without Laurel seeing what he could really do. Their movement was halted, however, when a short Asian woman with long white hair stalked into the room, a small knife in each hand.

Nyssa was about to engage her opponent when she saw Diggle approaching the apartment, drawing his firearm when he saw the man threatening Nyssa. Nyssa quickly decided that John eliminating him was a better option and stepped sideways even as Diggle entered through the broken door; firing at the man engaging Nyssa. He fell to the ground as Diggle turned and fired at the second attacker, taking him out of the fight as well before he was disarmed by the short, Asian woman.

Recovering quickly, he relieved her of one of her knives before quickly parrying several thrusts from the other blade she held. He wasn't fast enough, however, to stop her from sweeping his legs out from under him; sending him crashing to the ground. The woman pounced on him, rendering him defenseless and was about to stab him when the blade she still held was knocked from her hand by a thrown kitchen knife. They both looked sideways to see Oliver recoiling from the throw. A quick glance back at Diggle and the woman lunged out the ruined door, retreating in haste from the suddenly uneven fight.

Oliver watched John climbed to his feet and retrieve his weapon, even as Laurel ran into his arms, crying. Oliver saw Nyssa come around the corner, looking as serene as the day he married her.

"Are you ok?" Oliver asked calmly. Nyssa smiled and nodded as Diggle approached him.

"Mr Queen, are you hurt?" he asked loudly. "Are you hurt?"

"No. No, I'm good," Oliver replied as he mind processed what had just happened.

"This," Diggle remarked as he indicated the apartment. "Is why it is a good idea to have a bodyguard." He continued as he moved around the apartment, checking on the two assailants he had shot and securing their weapons.

#Arrow#

"I can't believe that just happened," Laurel said to Nyssa as they sat on the couch. Diggle and Oliver were across the room, speaking to a Detective. "How can you be so calm? We almost died."

"This is not my first brush with death," Nyssa remarked casually as she looked at Oliver. "After the first few times, you start to react differently."

"You really love him, don't you?" Laurel asked when she realized where Nyssa was looking. 

"Very much," Nyssa replied honestly, switching her gaze to the woman beside her. "More than I ever thought possible."

"How did you know he loved you like you loved him?" Laurel wondered idly, unable to stop herself.

"He did something impossible," Nyssa said slowly. Laurel could almost see Nyssa go through the memories of something in her head. "He saved my life."

"How?" Laurel asked, curious. She had never pegged Oliver for the lifesaving type.

"A story for another time," Nyssa hedged. "Suffice it to say, he proved his love to me, though it was almost a year before I returned it in kind."

"Really!" Laurel exclaimed in surprise. "Now I definitely..."

"Laurel!" Quentin Lance's voice echoed into the room before the man himself appeared through the broken door, stepping past several uniformed police officers. He was clearly out of breath but didn't pause as he spotted his daughter and ran over and enveloped her in a hug.

"Daddy!" Laurel said, glad to have him here.

"Oh, thank God," Lance proclaimed openly. "Are you alright?"

"I'm ok," Laurel assured her father before asking a question she didn't want an answer to, but knew she had to ask. "Those cops that you put on me. Are the..."

"They..." Lance started slowly, not wanting to hurt his daughter.

"I went outside to ask them for a light," Diggle cut in, relieving the Detective who hadn't noticed his approach. "I found them both dead in their car."

"Mr Diggle. My thanks," Quentin said in genuine gratitude. "Feel free to run every red light in this city if you want too."

"Just doing my job, sir," Dig explained evenly. Quentin though, shook his head in disagreement.

"No. Your job is to protect him," Quentin stated as he looked at Oliver, who now stood beside Diggle. He stepped in front of the man and snarled in his face. "It seems that whenever you are with one of my daughters, people end up dead. You need to stay away from Laurel or so help me, the next time that you disappear, it will be permanent."

"Detective," Diggle said in an advisory tone.

"Dad!" Laurel exclaimed at the same time. "If he hadn't been here, I'd be dead right now."

"No, Laurel..." Quentin started, turning to face his daughter but was interrupted by Oliver.

"It's ok," Oliver uttered appealingly. "I understand."

"You better," Quentin said as he moved back to his daughter. "Who are you?" He asked as he noticed who he thought was a detective was actually not.

"I am Nyssa, Detective Lance," Nyssa replied casually as she introduced herself. She was imagining a horrible death for the Detective, but was fighting the urge to actually do it; too many witnesses.

"Right," Lance said dismissively. "Well, make sure you have given a statement before you leave."

#Arrow#

"This should help," Oliver said as he walked and tossed Diggle an ice pack. He had noticed the man massaging his hand since they had left Laurel's apartment. "I'd say thank you, but I'm almost sure that would not cover it."

"Well, like I told your Detective friend. I was just doing my job," Dig replied, standing as he held the ice pack on his hand. "Besides, if I remember correctly, I think it should be me thanking you."

"What for?" Oliver asked as he put a confused look on his face.

"The knife," Dig stated simply. Oliver nodded as if he finally understood what Diggle was referring to.

"The knife," he said. "I got lucky."

"That was a kitchen knife, Mr Queen. It wasn't even weighted properly," Diggle explained. "Yet, you threw it with accuracy across a 10-foot room."

"Like I said, I got lucky," Oliver hedged. Diggle stepped up to Oliver; close enough to be confronting but far enough to be respectful.

"I'm not the kind of man you want to take for a fool, Mr Queen," he stated in a firm voice. "Do you understand me?"

"Yes," Oliver replied back, knowing he was right. Dig just looked at him, as if examining him.

"And I think just beginning to understand the kind of man you are," Diggle said observantly.

"Shouldn't take you long. I'm shallow," Oliver quipped. "And tired, so have a good night," Oliver remarked as he turned and walked off towards his room.

"Good night, sir," Diggle called after him as he flexed his hand before reapplying the ice pack.


 

 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #5
Chapter 06 - Stepping Up

"We have a name," Oliver said as he sat at one of the computers in the Foundry. "Chien Na Wei. Also called China White. She is one of the top assassins for the Triad."

"Mr Diggle again impresses me," Nyssa noted as she read the file over Oliver's shoulder.

"There isn't any way I can change your mind is there?" Oliver queried, even though he knew the answer already.

"No, there is not," Nyssa enunciated with finality as she straightened up before moving to a sealed case on one of the tables they had set up. "Somers will have undoubtedly increased his security since your last visit. And the Triad, after failing to kill Laurel, will be seeking to clean up any evidence of their involvement."

"All true," Oliver agreed as he stepped up behind Nyssa and wrapped his arms around her waist. "But you just want to hurt someone. Having to hold back earlier tonight and allowing Diggle to 'save' you hurt your pride."

"I dislike being coddled," Nyssa said as she fiddled with the combination lock on the case. "And yes, it hurt."

"Alright then," Oliver said, as Nyssa unlocked and opened the case. He released her to go about getting himself ready. "We leave in 20."

"I'll be ready," Nyssa stated as she lifted out the black compound bow.

#Arrow#

"You were right, Somers has increased his security," Oliver observed as he and Nyssa stood atop a cargo crane surveying the docks.

"And that is not counting the 4 Triad assassins entering the dock from the north," Nyssa added. "Though Chien Na Wei is not among them."

"Alright. You take the Triad and I'll get Somers," Oliver said as he started to walk away along the catwalk.

"Be careful husband. She will be out there and it would be difficult to explain new knife wounds," Nyssa pointed out as she continued to observe the assassins.

"You too," Oliver replied before stepping off the catwalk.

#Arrow#

Oliver crept along the top a shipping container until he was above two of Somers' men. Pausing for a moment to check if they heard his approach, however unlikely, Oliver then jumped off the container and landed heavily on one of the men. His arm snapped out and he used his bow to swipe the legs out from the other man before punching the man under him in the face, knocking him out. Standing, he kicked the second man in the head as well, with the same result. As he was about to walk away, a radio crackled.

[Wallace? Wallace, you copy?] A man's voice asked. Oliver knelt to search for the radio and found it as the man spoke again. [Wallace?]

"Wallace isn't here," Oliver said menacingly into the radio. He took a moment for dramatic effect before continuing. "But I am." Oliver dropped the radio and took off towards Somers' office, not even pausing on his way to draw and fire an arrow into another guard on an overhead catwalk; the impact sending him over the rail and plummeting to the concrete below.

#Arrow#

The four assassins moved as one as they made their way through the stacks of containers. Nyssa could almost admire their skill if it wasn't for the large deficit in their situational awareness.

Using the containers, Nyssa moved swiftly and silently past them to a point ahead of them and crouched on the edge of a container. Her black robes and armor combined with the shadow of a tall sack of containers behind her, ensured she was next to invisible to them. Her keen eyes observed their advance as her lips pressed together in anticipation behind her veil. As the four of them passed beneath her, Nyssa stood and stepped off the edge of the containers.

Landing effortlessly and with the agility of a cat, Nyssa charged forward, drawing her sword with her right hand while already swinging her bow at the last man with her left. She struck the man in the temple and his collapse into unconsciousness alerted the other men to Nyssa's attack, but it was too late. Nyssa advanced through them, hamstringing the second to last man before he could turn to face her. Dropping and pirouetting around him, Nyssa lashed out with her leg, catching the next man behind the ankles and knocking him to the ground before finishing her spin and rising up to face the last man.

He pointed the gun he was carrying at Nyssa but before he could shoot, Nyssa pounced forwards and brought her sword across his abdomen, slashing him deeply. The Triad assassin dropped his gun in favor of trying to stem the considerable flow of blood from his wound. Nyssa turned on the final Triad member still able to fight as he rose from the ground, a pair of knives clutched in his hands. 

Nyssa remained still, bow held across her body and sword at her side, waiting for her opponent to make the first move and he didn't disappoint. He advanced on Nyssa, who waited until he was almost upon her before she stepped back, clumsily swinging her bow in a wide, backhanded arc. The Triad assassin stepped back to avoid the blow but was unprepared for Nyssa's snake-like reflexes as she lunged forward and stabbed her sword into his chest; the tip of her blade slipping neatly between his ribs to pierce his heart.

Recoiling, Nyssa examined her handiwork as the man crumpled to the ground; his body twitching spasmodically as life left him. Nyssa wiped her sword clean on his jacket before sheathing it and departing in search of her husband.

#Arrow#

Oliver leapt down to the next walkway beneath him even as he released the arrow from his bow; its flightpath unerring as it struck one of Somers' guards in the chest. Continuing forward, Oliver nocked and fired multiple arrows; each one of them impacting one of Somers' paid gunmen, sometimes with deadly accuracy. As the last guard yielded his life to gravity, Oliver saw Somers run into a building ahead of him.

"Somers!" He yelled, even as he jumped from the walkway he was on to the ground and gave chase. Oliver’s pursuit of Somers was short; his youth and superior foot speed eating up the distance between them. Entering a large, round room; Oliver nocked and fired an arrow, pinning Somers to a crate at the other end of the room as it impacted just above his left shoulder.

“Oh, God, no, no, no…” Somers pleaded as Oliver stalked towards him, making a show of drawing and nocking another arrow.

“God can’t help you,” Oliver growled in his raspy vigilante voice. "Tell me the truth about Victor Nocenti." To intensify his request, Oliver fired into the crate; the broadhead slicing his suit jacket without cutting skin.

"I can't!" Somers declared. "The Triad will kill me!"

"The Triads not your concern at the moment," Oliver snarled in response as he drew and released another arrow into the crate; this one drawing blood from the inside of his thigh as it impacted the crate below Martin's crotch.

"Alright, alright!" Somers cried out. "The Triad was the one who killed Nocenti. It wasn't me!"

"Acting on whose instructions?" Oliver shouted. Once a response was not immediately forthcoming, Oliver shot a fourth arrow into the crate; right over his head. "Whose?"

"ALRIGHT! It was mine," Somers confessed hurriedly, his concern about where the next arrow would land overriding his fear of the Triad. "It was mine. Nocenti said he was going to the cops. That he would testify against me." Oliver watched as Somers' face paled even further as he focused on something behind the archer. Oliver looked behind himself and saw Chien Na Wei standing there, knives in hand.

"Impressive," Oliver complimented.

"Move away from him," she ordered in Mandarin.

"Make me," Oliver challenged in flawless Mandarin as he swapped his bow to his right hand.

Chien Na Wei wasted no time and sprang forward, knives flashing out in rapid strikes. Oliver used his bow as a quarterstaff to parry each strike while retaliating as an opening presented itself. He managed to kick her back but the Triad assassin merely rolled back up to her feet and lunged forward. Oliver was impressed again as her skills rivalled some of the best that both the League and H.I.V.E. could offer. They continued to clash until a loud speaker echoed a voice across the room.

"This is the Police! Lay down your weapons or we will open fire. I repeat, put down your weapons!" the voice ordered. Oliver and Chien Na Wei exchanged a glance before they both retreated in opposite directions; Oliver noticing that during the fray, Martin Somers had slipped away.

#Arrow#

Martin ran. He wasn't thinking about where he was going; all he knew was that he wanted to be nowhere near the crazy archer or the insane assassin. He was almost to one of the employee exits when suddenly his right foot was jerked into the air. 

By the time he got his bearings, Somers found himself swinging gently around in the air in a slow circle, from a cable looped tightly around his ankle. He looked around and caught a glimpse of a hooded figure, dressed in black and holding a short bow. When he swung around again, the figure was nowhere to be seen.

#Arrow#

Oliver exited the row of warehouses and tossed his bow up onto a container before clambering up himself. Grasping his bow, he ran along the row of containers before leaping to the next row and continuing towards where he was to meet Nyssa. As the row came to an end, he dropped to ground and started to run when a familiar voice called out.

"Freeze!" Lance yelled as he emerged between two containers, his service weapon pointed at the vigilante. Oliver froze, his head down. "You twitch and you're dead," Lance promised as he took a step closer, his experienced eyes taking in details.

The vigilante was a male who stood approximately 6 feet tall and appeared to be well built. He was dressed in green leather pants and jacket, boots and had a green fabric hood. A short, curved Japanese sword was attached to the quiver of green fletched arrows, which in turn was strapped to his back while a large knife hung at his right him. A large, black bow, maybe 4 feet long, was grasped in his left hand. His left forearm had small arrows attached to it with more of them in a holster on his left hip.

Lance's eyes were drawn back up as the archer turned his head to look at him, revealing a black mask with dark green nose ridge that, combined with his hood, concealed everything but his eyes.

"Bow down, hands up," Lance instructed, taking a second step closer. They stood there for a few moments, staring at one another before the archer's right hand shot out at him. Lance's weapon was knocked to his hand and Lance couldn't stop himself from looking first at his hand, and then at his weapon pinned to the side of the container behind him. When he turned back to look at the vigilante, the man was gone.

#Arrow#

"Admiring your work?" Oliver asked as he stepped up next to his wife on the overhead crane. Below them, SCPD officers were staring up at Martin Somers as he continued to swing slowly in the gentle breeze.

"Perhaps," Nyssa admitted as she turned and looked at her husband. "And your ministrations?"

"Detective Lance has Somers' recorded confession. Between that and Somers' fear of the Triad, he'll talk," Oliver revealed satisfyingly. "We should go. We can't spend all night watching them struggle to get him down."

"It would be mildly entertaining," Nyssa admitted cheerfully. "But mundane after a while."

"True," Oliver said as they walked along the gantry. "Besides, I need to speak with Walter before the ceremony tomorrow. I have an idea regarding my mother's desire for me to join Queen Consolidated."

#Arrow#

"Thea, can I come in?" Nyssa asked after she knocked on her sister-in-law's door.

"Sure Nyssa," Thea called from inside. Nyssa opened the door and stepped inside, shutting the door behind her. "I'm almost ready," Thea said from her bathroom.

"No need to hurry. We still have a few minutes before your mother expects us downstairs," Nyssa replied as she looked around the room. The style was much the same as Oliver's was, just more feminine. What drew her attention though were several trophies on Thea's desk.

"Whatcha looking at?" Thea asked as she stepped out into the main area. 

"Your trophies," Nyssa answered without turning. "I didn't know you were interested in Archery."

"I was when I was younger. Got pretty good at it too," Thea said thoughtfully. "I stopped a few years back. Didn't seem important anymore."

"My father insisted I learn from almost the time I could walk. I enjoyed it and I became 'most proficient', in the words of my father," Nyssa revealed, turning to face Thea.

"You know, there might still be some of my old stuff down in one of the basement storerooms," Thea said after a moment. "If you want, we can check it out this afternoon after the ceremony and see what's down there."

"I'd like that Thea," Nyssa responded happily. "We should go. Your mother will undoubtedly be waiting for us."

"Eh, she should be used to it by now," Thea half-joked even as she picked up her bag and followed Nyssa out.

#Arrow#

"Well, this is a surprise," Tommy said as he stepped up to Laurel, who smiled back at him, amused. "Did you show up here by mistake?"

"By invitation, actually," Laurel clarified, still smiling. "I was invited last night, by Oliver."

"Last night?" Tommy enquired, trying not to sound jealous.

"Is that jealousy or surprise in your voice?" Laurel wondered, smiling playfully.

"I just, I don't want him to find out anything. Not yet," Tommy said seriously. "Oliver has been through a lot."

"Tommy, we have all been through a lot," Laurel pointed out. "Besides, Nyssa was with him."

"Nyssa!" Tommy choked out, glancing up onto the stage where Nyssa, Moira and Thea sat.

"Yes, Nyssa," Laurel confirmed, her smile now turning predatory. "Someone else you forgot to mention."

"Ah," Tommy started but was saved by Walter as he and Oliver took to the stage; Oliver taking a seat between his mother and Nyssa while Walter went to the podium.

"Good afternoon, and thank you all for coming," Walter began as everyone quietened down. "Welcome to the future site of the Robert Queen Memorial Applied Sciences Centre." The crowd applauded politely. "This will be a building that will stand as a monument to a man, whose company, and vision are his greatest legacies. And to tell you more about it, another one of his many legacies, his son, Oliver Queen." Walter stepped aside to allow Oliver to take the podium while Walter sat in his vacated seat.

"Good afternoon everyone," Oliver began slowly. "I am here today, to help dedicate this building to my father, Robert Queen," Oliver said as he looked at the crowd before him. "And I am supposed to say that I will be taking my rightful place at Queen Consolidated. The prodigal son returns home and becomes the heir apparent. But I'm not going to do that," Oliver continued, much to Moira's dismay. Walter reached across and grasped his wife's hand, reassuring her even as Oliver turned to take in the looks of disbelief on his sister's face and Nyssa's reassuring gaze.

"To do that, to take my rightful place, I would have to be my father," Oliver stated to the crowd's silent confusion. "But I'm not the man he was. I'm not even half the man that he was. I never will be. My name is not Robert Queen," Oliver declared adamantly. "My name, is Oliver Queen. As Walter kindly said earlier, I'm one of his legacies. And it's time I showed I was worthy of being one," Oliver said, pausing to glance at his mother's bewildered face. "To that end. I will be taking up, I guess you could call it, an apprenticeship. Yes, that sounds about right. An apprenticeship, under Walter Steele, to learn about my father's company, my family's company. I never obtained my MBA but I will prove to everyone that I can be better than what my past actions have shown me to be. And, with just a small truckload of luck, I might prove worthy to one day lead Queen Consolidated as ably as my father Robert did, and my Step-father Walter does. Thank you."

The media immediately started to shout questions but the Queen family, Nyssa included, stepped off the stage and walked away from the crowd, stopping only when they were far enough away to allow a modicum of privacy.

“Well, I think that went well,” Walter said as they all gathered round. “Oliver and I still have to have some photos taken but you three don’t need to stay for that, if you choose not to.”

“Nyssa and I were going to check something out back at home, if that’s ok?” Thea asked, still digesting her brother’s speech; and what he had said.

“Of course Thea,” Moira agreed. “You two take the car back. I’ll borrow a car from the company pool. I feel the need for some shopping.”

“Mom?” Oliver asked, unsure how his mother was handling his announcement.

“We’ll talk later Oliver,” Moira assured her son, taking his hands in hers. “But I am proud of you.”

“Thanks mom,” Oliver said as his mother turned and walked away.

“We’ll see later you Ollie,” Thea said as she stepped up to her brother. “Nyssa and I have plans. Oh, and nice speech.”

“Thanks Speedy,” Oliver said with a small smile before looking at Nyssa. “Love you.”

“Love you,” Nyssa replied before walking after the already departing Thea.

#Arrow#

Namir was checking a pair of cameras that monitored one of the approaches to the League safe house when a silver sedan pulled into the open lot. It was rare for a vehicle to come to this area; rarer still for one to stop. Dropping down to the edge of the roof so as to remain undiscovered, he watched as a second car appeared and pulled to a stop beside the first; a long, black limousine. And then he was truly surprised.

Moira Queen, Al Sah-him’s mother, exited the sedan and entered the limo. The windows of the limo prevented him from seeing any of the other occupants of the limo but Moira Queen meeting another car in an abandoned area was important information in and of itself. Al Sah-him would want to know.

#Arrow#

"What are you two doing?" Oliver asked as he stepped onto the grass behind his sister and Nyssa.

"What does it look like we are doing Ollie?" Thea asked as she released her arrow, not turning to look at her brother until it had hit the target. "We are practicing Archery."

"I noticed Thea had several trophies for Archery from when she was younger and I told her about learning it myself," Nyssa related. "She proposed that we see if any of her old equipment was of any use."

"I remember you saying something about wanting a bow once," Oliver replied as if recalling a memory. "I guess I forgot."

"Well most of my gear was in good condition, so we are just mucking around a bit," Thea said as she nocked and fired another arrow. "Nyssa is almost as good at it as I am."

"Your sister is quite a competent archer," Nyssa complimented Thea while looking at Oliver. If Nyssa said that, then Oliver knew that Thea was good but there was still a lot of room for improvement. She had called him competent once or twice before, for various skills.

"See, I still got it," Thea boasted as she fired again before turning to her brother. "Want a turn Ollie? Between the two of us, I think we can teach you."

"Nooo. No thank you," Oliver declined, holding his hands up in surrender. "I am liable to shoot myself in the foot or break a window or something."

"Really?" Thea exclaimed. "The house is behind us. You're shooting away from it."

"Exactly," Oliver pointed out. "Besides, there is something I need to take care of. I will see you both later."

"See you later," Thea said, already reaching for another arrow. Nyssa said nothing, merely smiled and turned to watch Thea again. Oliver smiled at the two of them before turning away and heading through the garden to the clearing that Thea had shown him yesterday. Two workmen stood off to the side at a respectful distance and Oliver crossed the grass to stand before is father's headstone.

"I never realised how hard it would be," Oliver began softly, hesitantly. "Reconnecting with Mum, Thea, everyone, after being away for so long." Oliver took a breath as he struggled to hold his emotions in check. "I didn't know how painful it would be to keep the secrets I need to keep." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Diggle bring the car around closer to where he was and stand by it.

"You asked me to save this city. To right your wrongs," Oliver continued. "I will, I swear. But to do that, I can't be what everyone wants me to be. I have to do things my own way," he explained sadly. "Which means, that sometimes to honor your wishes, I may need to dishonor your memory. I'm sorry," he finished softly, almost silent. He gaze at the stone for a moment before he stood, turned and started to walk away.

"Take it down," he ordered as he pointed at his own headstone. The two men walked passed him to begin their work as Oliver made his way over to Diggle and the car.

"Will you be going out tonight, sir?" Diggle asked as he held the door open for his principal. Oliver climbed in and sat before answering.

"Definitely," Oliver declared as Diggle shut the door.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #6
Chapter 07 - Stepping Out

"You're wounded," Nyssa observed as Oliver set his bow down onto the bench. "What happened?"

"I'm not sure,” Oliver admitted tiredly as he sat on a stool. “Entry was easy, as was taking out his two guards. Made it to the roof and confronted Holder. But before I could get anywhere, a shot rang out.”

“You?” Nyssa asked as she started to gather some medical supplies.

“Him,” Oliver answered as he gingerly took off his quiver and sword. “It was a good shot too. Judging by the wound, his heart was destroyed on impact. I shot off a few arrows towards where I think the shot came from as I sought cover. Two more shots were fired; one missed completely while the other hit the wall I was behind. This is just a fragment,” Oliver said as he indicated his wounded arm before removing his jacket.

"You're probably lucky you were not the target then," Nyssa pointed out as she set the supplies down next to her husband. She had learnt long ago that unless the injury was serious or he couldn't reach it, he preferred to treat himself. "Who else would want him dead?"

"A man as corrupt as James Holder; I doubt he got to where he was without having made a few enemies," Oliver said as he picked up the forceps and began probing his wound for the bullet fragment. "Question is, which one of them wanted him dead," Oliver pondered as he finally grasped and withdrew the fragment. Swapping the forceps for a needle and thread, he began to sew his wound shut.

"We can determine that later," Nyssa stated from the chair where she was sharpening one of her many knives. "You have an early start in the morning. It's your first day at Queen Consolidated as Walter's apprentice."

"Yes it is," Oliver affirmed as he finished with his arm. "I am surprisingly looking forward to it."

"I don't doubt that it will be a challenge for you," Nyssa teased with a smile. "Like me, you find business dealings to be boring."

"True," Oliver confirmed as he stood to put a shirt on before sitting back down, wincing slightly. "And yet a part of me desires the challenge that it will bring."

"Not to mention the opportunities," Nyssa added. When Oliver didn't answer, she looked up at him only to seeing a look of considerable discomfort on his face. He stood up but immediately staggered into the table beside him, using it to hold himself up. "Oliver!"

"The bullet!" Oliver exclaimed as he looked around for the dish he had dropped the bullet into.

"Poison," Nyssa determined. She turned to grab the bottle of water she had been drinking from even as Oliver threw himself across the foundry; practically sliding into the box he had brought with him from the island. Fumbling with the lock for a second, he opened it and searched around for leather pouch. Finding it, he opened it and took a large pinch of the contents; herbs from Lian Yu.

He threw the herbs into his mouth and took the offered bottle from Nyssa, drinking hastily. Once swallowed, he handed the bottle back to Nyssa, who managed to grasp it just before Oliver passed into unconsciousness and collapsed to the concrete floor.

#Arrow#

"Oliver!" Nyssa called joyfully as Oliver gasped awake from where he had been laying on the floor. His eyes darted around the area, taking in everything before his eyes found Nyssa.

"How long was I out?" Oliver asked, having noted the sunlight streaming in.

"Most of the morning," Nyssa said as she pointed at the clock on the computer screen. "It is 10 past 7.

"Crap!" Oliver said as he pulled himself into a seated position.

"Indeed," Nyssa agreed, happy that her husband was still alive. She would need to show him how happy another time. "If we do not leave now, I am afraid that the first impression you give Walter will not be a positive one."

"Let's go," Oliver said as he hoisted himself to his feet.

#Arrow#

"What happened?" Oliver asked as he and Nyssa walked up next to Diggle, who was standing in the doorway to the sitting room. Inside, Thea sat unhappily on the sofa while Moira and Walter spoke with two police officers. 

"Is Thea alright?" Nyssa asked, concerned.

"She is," Diggle answered as he turned to face the couple. "The cops brought Thea home. Her and some friends broke into a clothes store and tried on some dresses last night," Diggle explained. "Lit up the breathalyzer like a Christmas Tree."

"What possessed her to do that?" Nyssa wondered tiredly.

"I have no idea," Diggle replied as he looked first at Nyssa then at Oliver. "So how was your evening, sir? Ma'am?" He asked in a monotone voice. 

"You mean after I went to the bathroom at dinner and never came back?" Oliver retorted smoothly.

"I guess I will be watching you pee from now on," Dig said before turning his attention to Nyssa. "Ma'am?"

"I went looking for my fiancé, Mr Diggle," Nyssa stated calmly. "As you can see, I found him." Oliver couldn't help the smile on his face as he stepped into the sitting room, Nyssa a step behind him. His smile disappeared as he approached Thea.

"Thank you, officers. Moira and I appreciate what you have done," Oliver heard Walter say to the two men. "I'll see you out." Oliver stepped to the side to allow Walter to lead the two men from the room before he refocused his attention on his sister, as did his mother.

"Last time is was public intoxication and now we can add breaking and entering," Moira started dismally. "My, how we are moving up in the criminal world."

"What were you thinking Thea?" Nyssa asked, trying to understand.

"I was thinking they had some pretty killer outfits," Thea replied sarcastically as she climbed tiredly to her feet. "You should check out the merchandise, you know, when you pay off the store owner."

"Go get ready for school," Moira ordered her delinquent daughter. Thea stopped to stare at her mother.

"You know, I was thinking of taking a sick day," she said as she stared at her mother, challenging her. Moira sighed wearily.

"Fine, then get some sleep," Moira conceded. Thea smiled at her as she ambled from the room.

"You look like crap," Thea pointed out to Oliver as she passed him.

"You're going to let her play hooky? Oliver asked his mother in disbelief.

"When Thea gets like this, I've found it best to give her her space," Moira reasoned regrettably.

"She's testing you," Oliver challenged.

"Yes. But who did she learn that from?" Moira pointed out.

"Mom, when I was Thea's age, you and dad let me get away with murder," Oliver described. "Looking back, knowing what I know now; I could have used less space and more parenting," Oliver declared before he turned and left the room. 

"I'm sorry about that," Nyssa apologised. 

"No, it's ok. Perhaps he is right," Moira said contemplatively. "I have let them both get away with a lot over the years."

"I can't say if it was right or wrong what you let them get away with," Nyssa observed softly. "My father was quite strict with my upbringing."

"Robert was always able to get through to the two of them," Moira reminisced. "What about your mother Nyssa?"

"She died when I was very young," Nyssa revealed sadly. "I never really knew her."

"I'm so sorry my dear," Moira said in sympathy. 

"It is quite alright," Nyssa affirmed. "I came to terms with her loss long ago."

"I see," Moira stated. She paused a moment before continuing. "Your father. Will he be coming to Starling City soon? I would like to meet him."

"Regrettably his schedule is quite busy but he has promised to be here for my wedding," Nyssa explained more cheerfully. "He has yet to break a promise to me."

"Well I look forward to his arrival," Moira offered. "Unfortunately it seems he will miss Oliver's and your engagement party then"

"He is aware of this," Nyssa said. "He said that he would be sending someone in his place to represent him. My father is a little old fashioned."

"No, that's fine," Moira conceded as she turned to leave. She hadn't gone far before she turned back to Nyssa. "By the way, we released a press statement announcing the engagement. No pictures were included but that just means that they will be more rabid in their attempts to procure one."

"Perfect," Nyssa whispered as Moira left the room.

#Arrow#

"How much would it upset you if I hurt your mother?" Nyssa asked as she entered their room, barely stopping herself from slamming the door as she closed it. Oliver could quite clearly see from the bathroom that she was annoyed, apparently at his mother.

“I guess it depends on how much you hurt her,” Oliver said as he finished trimming his beard. “What did she do?”

“She released a statement announcing our engagement to the media,” Nyssa stated. “Without our permission.”

“Ah,” Oliver said as he walked into his bedroom, stopping in front of his wife. “Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“I don’t disagree,” Nyssa hedged, distracted by her husband’s attire, or lack thereof. “I merely wish that she had consulted with us before releasing anything. We do not even know what she released.”

“I’m sure we will find out. After all, the media loves my family,” Oliver quipped as he dropped his towel. “Did you discover anything about the bullet? I assume you examined it while I was out.”

“The calibre is indeterminable due to it being a fragment,” Nyssa started slowly as she watched Oliver dress. “But I did determine the poison the bullet was laced with. Curare.”

“Rare, and deadly,” Oliver noted as he buttoned his shirt. “Any leads?”

“Interpol, cross-referenced with the League’s files, gave me a file,” Nyssa revealed. “He is a mercenary, a gun for hire. He has called all over the world. Markovia, Corto Maltese, half of Europe and here in America. Interpol has code named him Deadshot.”

“I hate mercenaries. They will do anything for money. Almost always without any sense of code, morality or honour,” Oliver declared, finishing his tie and reaching for his jacket. “We have to track him down. He just went to the top of the list.”

“We’ll need to find the bullet that missed you,” Nyssa pointed out. “That will give us a trail to follow. I can also check out where he took the shot from. See if he left anything behind. Though I doubt it.”

“You never know,” Oliver said as he straightened his tie in the mirror, taking a slow, deep breath. “I guess I’m ready.”

“You look ready,” Nyssa agreed. “I love you. You will do well.”

“I hope so,” Oliver replied. “Love you too.”

#Arrow#

“I see the media haven’t wasted anytime,” Oliver observed as they approached Queen Consolidated. Even from a block away, both he and Walter could see the army of reporters that were practically encamped at the building’s main entrance. Only a handful of security guards held them back to allow employees, clients and others to gain entry.

“Between your speech last week and the news of your engagement, I’m surprised they weren’t laying siege to the mansion,” Walter joked. “Unfortunately for them, we won’t be using the main entrance.”

Without direction, the driver drove them past the reporters and around to the entrance to the underground carpark. They passed through the security checkpoint without incident and pulled up next to the main elevators. Diggle got out to open the doors but both Walter and Oliver were already exiting the vehicle; neither being the kind of man that required a door to be opened for them. Diggle fell into step behind the two men as they walked the short distance to the elevator. They waited less then a minute before they were on their way up.

Walter led the way out of the lift and onto the executive level; Oliver and Diggle trailing behind as Walter entered his office. Gina was already inside, laying out several folders on Walter's desk.

"Good morning Mr Steele," Gina welcomed her boss. "Mr Queen, Mr Diggle."

"Good morning Gina," Walter replied as both Oliver and Diggle nodded. "Were you able to reschedule the teleconference with the Vancouver office?"

"Of course Mr Steele," Gina confirmed. "It is now at 2pm this afternoon. This leaves your schedule free until 11.30am to meet with Mr Queen."

"Thank you Gina," Walter said as Gina smiled and left the office. Diggle followed her out and took a seat in one of the lounge chairs that were outside Walter's office. "So, Oliver. Where would you like to start?"

"I'm not sure Walter. This is all new to me. I honestly have no idea how to run a company," Oliver admitted honestly. "What do you suggest?"

"Well, I normally start my day much as you watched just now. I arrive and Gina is almost always here before me. She confirms my schedule for the day with me in case of any changes that have occurred," Walter explained. "Gina also organises the first files that I need to review and then exchanges them as the day passes."

"Sounds like I am going to need someone like Gina then," Oliver noted, his mind already working.

"We are already organising someone," Walter stated as he glanced down at the files in front of him. "We have also organised a schedule of sorts for you. At least something to begin with."

"Were you able to work out the details as we discussed?" Oliver asked, Walter now having his full attention. They are discussed his role before the ground breaking ceremony and what his role would entail.

"Yes. It was oddly enough, quite easy," Walter remarked. "Full days Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesdays and Thursdays you will finish at 1pm. I have also had someone look into the title for the former steel factory in the Glades and they assure me that it can be legally re-purposed."

"Excellent," Oliver proclaimed in genuine happiness. "This is going to be great."

"I admit, when you first told me your plans I was worried about your commitments," Walter said, clasping his hands together. "Now, I'm starting to see the positive, and practical side to your plan."

"I've never been one for a lot of theory," Oliver described. "I've always learnt better by doing."

"Something your educational record can attest to, I'm sure," Walter commented in jest. "Now, was there anything else you want to discuss before I show you to your office?"

"Just one thing," Oliver responded. "My knowledge of technology is, at best, 5 years out of date. I think I'm going to need some sort of advisor to help me understand all the technical aspects of the work Queen Consolidated does. At least in the short term if not permanently."

"I had not considered that," Walter said as he stood. "Leave it with me and I'll see what I can do. Now, to your office."

#Arrow#

"So, what do you think?" Oliver asked as he waved his arms at the open space of the ground level of the foundry. "Great space for a nightclub, right?"

"Sweet," Tommy said as he moved further into the factory, Diggle following a few steps behind. "Though I suggest you do not call it 'Queen's'." 

"Dancefloor here. Bar along that wall. Private office up there," Oliver described as he laid out his vision.

"For the private one-on-one meetings, I would imagine," Tommy suggested with a smile. "Maybe the occasional two- two-on-one meeting?"

"I'm married Tommy, or soon will be," Oliver declared firmly. "That was the old me."

"Man, are you sure you want to do this?" Tommy asked his friend seriously. "It's not like you have any experience in this department." Oliver didn't say anything as he shot Tommy an insulted look. "How about tomorrow night, we go and scope out your competition. Max Fuller has a new club opening up downtown. It's called Poison."

"Max Fuller?" Oliver asked.

"That's him," Tommy nodded.

"I slept with his fiancé," Oliver pointed out blankly, a little disgusted with his past actions.

"Yeah, but it was before the wedding," Tommy noted with a smile.

"It was at the rehearsal dinner," Oliver deadpanned.

"The rehearsal dinner is technically before the wedding, right?" Tommy joked. "And besides, who stays mad at a castaway?" Tommy's phone chimed and he looked at it. "Anyway, I have to roll. I'll see you later, man. Good place!" He called as he walked away, slipping his phone into his pocket.

"See you," Oliver said, turning his attention to his bodyguard. "So, what do you think?"

"Well, I'm here to provide security, sir," Diggle pointed out dryly, his eyes playing across the empty foundry. His gut was telling him someone was watching them. "Not a commentary."

"Oh, come on, Dig, do me a favour," Oliver said in earnest. "Please speak freely."

"Well," Diggle started before pausing to compose his words. "This is the Glades, right? Your rich white friends wouldn't come to this neighbourhood on a gamble."

"I AM Oliver Queen," Oliver pointed out. "People would stand in line for 3 hours if I opened my club here."

"And would anyone who actually lived in the Glades see a dime of those cover charges?" Dig asked pointedly.

"I make it a success, we gentrify the neighbourhood," Oliver explained.

"I was wondering when you would get to that," Dig scoffed loudly. "The rich, white knight swooping in to save the disenfranchised. And all by his lonesome with no one to help him."

"Wow!" Oliver exclaimed. "You really don't think much of me, do you?"

"On the contrary, sir," Dig disagreed. "I actually have a very high regard for how, perceptive, you are," Diggle said before he turned and walked out of the foundry. Oliver cast another look around his future nightclub, waiting for Diggle to be far enough away.

"Namir!" Al Sah-him summoned once he was satisfied with the bodyguards position. The assassin dropped from the rafters directly above him and kneeled. "Why are you here?"

"Ra's al Ghul commanded us not to aid you in your crusade to save this city," Namir explained. "However, I observed something recently that I believe you should know."

"But you cannot decide if it would be breaking his command or not?" Oliver finished.

"I cannot, Al Sah-him," Namir confirmed.

"Rise, my old friend, and tell me what you saw," Al Sah-him stated firmly. "I command it."

"Thank you," Namir said in gratitude as he rose. "The afternoon after the Queen Consolidated ceremony. Moira Queen drove herself to an abandoned lot near our safe house. There, she met with someone in a black limousine. I could not make out the license plates on the vehicles, nor who was inside the limousine. The meeting lasted perhaps 15 minutes before the two parties departed separately." 

"Thank you, old friend, for this information," Al Sah-him expressed. "Fear not that you have broken Ra's al Ghul's command. This information..."

"Sir!" Diggle called as he stepped back into the foundry to his principal standing there alone. "It is time we leave. You wouldn't want to be late for your jeweller's appointment."

"Definitely not," Oliver asserted as he walked towards Dig. "Thanks Dig, what would I do without you?"

"Oh, I'm sure you would manage sir," Dig said as Oliver walked past him. "You appear to be doing well enough so far." Dig turned to follow Oliver but stopped to look around the inside of the Foundry once more. His gut was telling him that someone else was in there. Seeing nothing, he exited the foundry.

#Arrow#

Nyssa was annoyed. She had spent almost the entire previous day searching for the bullet that had missed her husband but had not been able to find it. She would be returning to the area again this morning to check the last few buildings that she had not checked the day before.

Oliver had already left for the morning with Walter and John Diggle, allowing Nyssa to make her way through the mansion without disturbance; at least until she heard Moira and Thea arguing. 

"No, we are paying off store owners to keep your record clean, so clearly, it hasn't been working," she heard Moira say.

"And what? You're going to teach me?" Thea scoffed. Nyssa could imagine her standing there with her arms crossed. "It's Oliver, isn't it? His judgemental hypocrisy is rubbing off on you."

"I do not need my son to tell me how to parent you," Moira retorted. "You'll be home by 4."

"Or what?" Thea challenged snidely. "You're going to call the cops on me?" Nyssa heard Thea pick up her bag before heading to her door. "Tell them I said hi."

Nyssa had enough time to duck back against the wall and watch as Thea sauntered down the hallway. Nyssa knew that Thea was on a destructive path. She just hoped that she could redirect Thea's course before she hit something that wouldn't give way before her.

#Arrow#

"That was not easy to find," Nyssa said as she watched her beloved examine the bullet she had finally found. They were sitting in his new office on the executive level of Queen Consolidated; Nyssa off to the side and hidden from the door by a large, leafy plant. Diggle had left to get some lunch after extracting a promise from Oliver not to leave his office for anything other than an emergency. 

"Drain pipe?" Oliver asked nonchalantly, rolling the bullet between his fingers; trying to judge its size through the bag it was in.

"Not quite, but it was halfway up the wall of a building," Nyssa revealed. "If anyone had seen me scaling from the wall, it would have been quite difficult to explain."

"Good thing no one saw you then," Oliver teased, casting a smile at his wife as he put the bullet away in a draw. "American 7.62 millimetre round. Has Namir contacted you with any information about our shooter?"

"No, he has not," Nyssa answered as she watched her husband. "Expecting company?"

"Walter arranged for someone to be assigned as my Technical Advisor, at least temporarily, to help me understand all the new technologies I will be dealing with. They should be here any moment," Oliver explained.

"Should I go?" Nyssa wondered, though she knew the answer.

"No," Oliver replied. "You're to be my wife. They will meet you sooner or later. Sooner is better."

"Does this, Technical Advisor, have a name?" Nyssa enquired, curious.

"Ah," Oliver paused as he searched his desk for a piece of paper, finally finding it. "Felicity Smoak." Nyssa was about to comment when the subject of the conversation stormed into the room; her irate focus squarely set on Oliver. 

“I’ve got one question,” Felicity demanded as she stopped directly in front of Oliver’s desk. “Why am I being fired?”

“Miss Smoak, is it?” Oliver asked so he could confirm who he was speaking too.

“Yes,” Felicity answered before continuing. “And I am without a doubt the single most valuable member of this company’s technical division. That's including my so-called 'supervisor'. Letting me go would be a major error."

“So I have been told,” Oliver agreed calmly. “Which is why you aren’t being fired.”

“I’m not?” Felicity asked, her righteous fury and indignation dead. “Uh, I assumed that was why I was called up here.”

“It’s not,” Oliver stated clearly. “You know who I am?”

“Of course I do,” Felicity said, now unsure of her position. “You’re Mr Queen.”

“No, Mr Queen was my father,” Oliver clarified, maintaining his calm demeanour. 

"Right, but he's dead." She shook her head, suddenly embarrassed. "I mean, he drowned." She closed her eyes, trying hard to compose herself. "But you didn't, which means you could call me up to your office and listen to me babble. Which will end." She lowered her gaze and counted. "In 3… 2… 1…" she raised her head again.

“As I was saying,” My name is Oliver,” Oliver said, introducing himself. “And as I’m sure everyone that work’s here is aware. I’m new here. I was told you could help me?”

“Uh? Am I being made your Executive Assistant?” Felicity asked, indignation rising up in her again. She seethed again and exploded before Oliver could speak. “Did you know I went to M.I.T? Do you know what I majored in? Here is a hint; NOT the secretarial arts.”

“Again, that is not why you have been called up here,” Oliver stated before looking behind Felicity. Felicity turned to see a woman, perhaps mid-30s entering the office, holding a tray of three coffees. “Thank you Hanna. I trust you got one for yourself as well.”

“You’re welcome Oliver,” Hanna addressed Oliver. “Mine is already at my desk.”

“Good,” Oliver said.

“One Earl Grey tea for Oliver. One Green Tea for Miss Raatko,” Hanna said setting two of the cups on Oliver’s desk before turning to Felicity. “One Caffe Macchiato for Miss Smoak.”

“Ah, thank you,” Felicity said in astonishment as Hanna left the office. “How did you know how I like my coffee?”

“Because I told him,” Nyssa revealed as she finally spoke up from where she was sitting. She had been enjoying the interaction between Oliver and Felicity but now she felt it was time to calm things down. And judging from the look on Felicity’s face, it might take some effort.

“Nyssa?” Felicity exclaimed, shocked to find her friend in Oliver Queen’s office. “What are you doing here?”

“Visiting.” Nyssa said with clarifying.

“You know Oliver Queen?” Felicity asked in surprise. “I thought you were new in town.”

“I am new in town Felicity,” Nyssa assured her friend as she stood. “But I have known Oliver for some time.”

“You have?” Felicity quizzed, clearly confused. “I don’t understand.”

“Felicity, have you read the news this morning?” Oliver asked, thinking that would clear things up.

“Of course. You’re the headline,” Felicity said, calming a little. “Oliver Queen Engaged! Oliver Queen to wed Island Sweetheart! The headlines continue.”

“Were any names mentioned in those articles?” Nyssa guided her friend as she walked over to Oliver’s desk and picked up her tea, takin a sip.

“Obviously,” Felicity stated as if Oliver was asking a stupid question. “Oliver Queen and Nyssa Raat… You!”

“Yes, Felicity,” Nyssa confirmed to her friend serenely. “Me.”

“Oh my God!”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #7
Chapter 08 – New Acquisitions 

“That wasn’t very nice Oliver,” Nyssa said in an amusing tone as they entered the club Poison. “He does have a job to do.” 

“Yes, and if he was inside, it would be to kill the mood,” Tommy jested as they looked around the dim, loud club, the sounds of music and laughter filling their ears. “I need a… Oh wow!” Tommy exclaimed in surprise. Nyssa followed his eyes and saw Laurel approaching them. “Doesn’t you going out and having fun violate some kind of a law? Either your father’s or the ones they carved on stone tablets?” 

“That’s cute, Tommy,” Laurel quipped, shooting Tommy a look. "Oliver, Nyssa. I didn't think I would see you here." 

"Just checking out the competition," Oliver explained. Further conversation was stalled by a new arrival stumbling drunkenly into Oliver. 

"Big brother!" Thea shouted in greeting, stumbling again. "Oh! I am so wasted right now. There is... there is literally two of you," she said, waving a finger between Oliver and an imaginary Oliver.  

"I thought you were grounded Thea," Oliver said sternly. 

"I am," Thea noted, crossing her arms in defiance. "Thanks for that, by the way." 

"Thea, I think you should go home, " Nyssa offered, not happy about seeing Thea this way. 

"Nope, I think I want another drink," Thea disagreed, turning to walk away. 

"You're done for the night," Oliver stated, grasping Thea's arm. 

"Let go of me Ollie," Thea ordered. When Oliver didn't she pressed on. "What are you going to do Ollie? Drag me home? Tell mom?" 

"Thea!" Nyssa exclaimed. "I think you're hanging with the wrong people." 

"Really! You're one to talk," Thea replied as she looked at Laurel and Tommy with an evil glare. "How much do you know about these two 'friends' of yours anyway?" 

"Thea, maybe you should just..." Tommy started but Thea cut him off. 

"Tommy, I think your BFF deserves to know," Thea said snidely. 

"Let's go Thea," Oliver said as he tried to lead Thea away, but she wasn't going anywhere. 

"What? You going to tell me that they told you they have been screwing while you were gone?" She shot back as she gave Laurel and Tommy a satisfied look, even as the two of them found it hard to face Oliver. Oliver meanwhile, maintained his gaze at Thea. 

"Look man, I-" Tommy began to say. 

"Tommy," Oliver spoke softly, cutting his friend off. "It's ok," he said earnestly as he glanced at his friend before looking back at Thea, his anger evident in his gaze. "You and me, we're done for tonight." 

"Take your hands of me!" Thea yelled, pulling her her arm free. "You're not my father," she hissed angrily. "And you're barely my brother." Oliver just stood there and watched as Thea stormed off into the crowd. 

"I'll find her," Nyssa announced as she pursued Thea, hoping to prevent her from getting into, or more appropriately at the moment, causing trouble. Despite her best efforts though; Thea was gone. 

#Arrow# 

"Laurel, where is Oliver?" Nyssa asked as she returned to the bar to find Oliver and Tommy gone. 

"Max Fuller and his bouncers took them off somewhere," Laurel replied. "Probably to beat them up. Max doesn't like Oliver very much." 

"Are we going to allow that?" Nyssa enquired.  

"No," Laurel answered, suddenly determined, as she pulled away from the bar and going in search of the boys; Nyssa in tow. Soon enough they found a curtained off area with the sounds of a struggle beyond. Laurel led the way in and Nyssa watch as she efficiently handled the smallest of the men she didn't recognise; almost effortlessly putting him on his ass. "So is this over Max? She asked her target, confirming to Nyssa that this was Max Fuller. "Or are you going to have your boy's pound on me next?" 

"You four," Max started as he ungracefully and gingerly pulled himself to his feet. "Consider yourselves banned for life. Now get the hell out of my place!" 

"Your club sucks anyway," Tommy called out as Max and his bouncers left. 

"Are you both alright?" Nyssa asked as she ran her eyes over Oliver. 

"We will be," Oliver replied with a smile to his wife before looking at Laurel. "Where'd you learn to do that?" 

"Cop dad, remember?" Laurel reminded. "He made me take self-defence classes." 

"Laurel," Oliver began gently. "About what Thea said." 

"Oliver, Tommy and I don't need your blessing," she pointed out abruptly. "And I don't need your forgiveness." 

#Arrow# 

"Alright," Diggle said as he led Tommy, Oliver and Nyssa into the Big Belly Burger restaurant. He waved at a woman behind the counter who returned his wave with a smile. "Why don't you guys take a seat while grab a couple of burgers and some ice for those faces." 

"She is pretty cute," Tommy said casually as he also smiled at the woman. 

"Tommy!" Nyssa exclaimed at the same time Diggle spoke. 

"That's my sister in law," he said, levelling he steely gaze at the man. 

"Who I will never speak to or look at," Tommy immediately declared. "Ever. And now I am going to go grab a booth. Far over there." 

"She isn't wearing a wedding ring," Nyssa noticed as Tommy headed towards the back of the restaurant. 

"Brother not in the picture?" Oliver asked politely. 

"Yeah, you could say that," Diggle replied as he headed towards the counter, leaving Oliver and Nyssa to follow after Tommy. Nyssa’s phone rang before they reached him and she stopped to answer it. Oliver continued on and as he sat down, Tommy spoke. 

"Hey, about Laurel," He began shakily. “I was going to tell you. I was. I was just trying to work out the best way to do it.” 

“To tell someone that was legally declared dead that you slept with their girlfriend?” Oliver asked seriously. “Tommy, there is no greeting card for that. And you don’t have to explain.” 

“Look, it was wrong,” Tommy stated, equally serious. “And I am sorry.” 

“I was dead, Tommy,” Oliver said quietly. “Dead.” 

“No, man, you were with Laurel,” Tommy cut him off. “And whether you were dead or not. You are my friend and being with Laurel; I violated that friendship in something like 50 different ways.” 

“Thank you,” Oliver replied honestly. “But it is alright.” 

“You are being really cool about this,” Tommy observed after a moment. Before Oliver could respond, Nyssa sat down, a phone held to her ear. 

“Beloved, your mother has a question about the wedding,” Nyssa said, glancing at Tommy. 

“Tommy, could you give us a minute please?” Oliver asked his best friend. 

“Sure,” Tommy said cheerfully as he stood. “I can see now why you are being so chill about this.” Oliver and Nyssa watched him walk away before Nyssa put her phone down. 

“Namir called,” Nyssa explained. “He was able to find the address that this Deadshot stayed in the last time he was here in Starling City. And he got us a name; Floyd Lawton.” 

“Then we hope he is a creature of habit,” Oliver said coldly. “The address.” 

“1700 Broadway Pell Hotel. Room 52,” Nyssa replied. “I will go with you.” Oliver was going to say something to dissuade her but Nyssa’s glare caused the words to retreat from his mind. 

#Arrow#

“Approaching room 52,” Nyssa heard Oliver say through the earpiece she wore. He was across the street in the hotel where the mercenary assassin Deadshot stayed last. 

"I am ready," Nyssa replied. She was currently perched on the rooftop across the street with a clear field of view in case Deadshot tried to escape out of the window. She crouched lower to the roof to hide her silhouette as she waited and watched. She reached to draw an arrow but flung herself to the side instead as a familiar sound pierced the night air; an arrow impacting the roof where she had ben moments before. 

"Nyssa al Ghul, our mistress demands your presence," a male's voice announced. Nyssa stood and turned to face her attackers. She found two of them, a man and a woman, dressed the same as the 3 who had confronted her husband during their first week in Starling City. 

"I think not," Nyssa countered and was about to warn Oliver when gunfire erupted from the hotel behind her. Her attackers took advantage of the distraction; the man nocking and loosing another arrow as the woman advanced on Nyssa; drawing a katana. 

Nyssa avoided the arrow while launching one of her own at the archer before redirecting her attention to the swordswoman as she drew her own sword. They exchanged strikes and were soon joined by the archer wielding a gladius.  

"Nyssa, do you have Deadshot?" Oliver asked in her ear. 

"Priorities beloved," Nyssa replied while parrying the gladius with her sword and blocking the katana with her bow. Nyssa was impressed by their teamwork as they left very few gaps to exploit. Nyssa was about expose one of the gaps when an arrow hit the man in the shoulder. 

Nyssa searched for the source of the arrow and found Oliver standing in the broken window of a hotel room, a second arrow nocked. Nyssa turned back to her attackers only to be blinded by the detonation of a smoke bomb. When the smoke cleared, she was alone. 

"Are you alright Nyssa?" Oliver asked concerned. 

"I am beloved," Nyssa assured him as she retrieved her own and Oliver's arrows. "What of you? I heard gunfire." 

"I'm good. But Deadshot escaped," Oliver said, disappointed. "I have his laptop though, complete with bullet holes." 

"Perhaps your new Technical Advisor can be of some assistance," Nyssa offered sweetly. Memories of the earlier meeting fresh in her mind. 

"Perhaps," Oliver agreed as police sirens drew nearer to them. "We should go." 

#Arrow#

"Good morning Felicity, how are you?" Oliver greeted Felicity as he almost ran into her when he stepped off the elevator, briefcase in hand. 

"Good morning Mr Queen," Felicity replied in surprise, not expecting her new boss to arrive right then. "I am alright thank you. Though still confused about what my new job is." 

"Felicity, remember our conversation yesterday? My name is Oliver," Oliver chided gently as he walked into his office ahead of Felicity. "As to your new job. It's rather simple. My knowledge of up to date technology and its current and possible future applications is, to be fair, virtually non-existent. Your job, help me to understand that technology. I can't very well run a multi-billion dollar company without knowing what is and is not possible." 

"I don't believe anything is impossible," Felicity quipped without thinking. 

"Excellent," Oliver noted cheerfully. "My friend was in some sort of accident yesterday and his laptop was damaged. I told him that I would have someone look at it and see if anything could be retrieved." 

"Well, I can't be sure until I see the laptop," Felicity started as Oliver pulled said laptop from his briefcase and placed it on his desk. "But I can have a look. What kind of accident was your friend in? Cause these look like bullet holes." 

"He didn't specify," Oliver hedged before continuing. "I know he likes to use guns and is a pretty good shot." 

"Uhuh," Felicity expressed, pausing in her examination to look at him over her glasses. 

"If there is anything that you can salvage from it, it would be greatly appreciated. Now, I have to go see Walter about the auction tonight," Oliver said before he stood and headed out of his office just as his executive assistant sat down. "Good morning Hanna." 

#Arrow# 

“Thea, may I come in?” Nyssa asked after knocking on Thea’s door. She heard some shuffling from in the room before the door was opened. Nyssa immediately noticed that Thea had been crying. “Are you alright Thea?” 

“Yeah. Just been thinking, and remembering,” Thea explained, wiping her face with her sleeve. "What did you need?" 

"Nothing Thea. I just came to see you, to see how you were," Nyssa explained. 

"I'm fine Nyssa," Thea replied, causing Nyssa to glare at the 17-year old. "Really. You don't have to worry." 

"And yet I do, Thea," Nyssa said. Thea said nothing in response so Nyssa switched tactics. "Do you know what a crucible is?" 

"Something in chem class?" Thea retorted, no idea what Nyssa was getting at. 

"Correct. Oliver had no idea when I asked him the same question," Nyssa replied, smiling at the memory. "But not what I was referring too. I'm talking about an event or experience that is very difficult." 

"Never heard of it," Thea stated, growing impatient. 

"Well, someone once told me that, sooner or later, we all go through a crucible," Nyssa explained. "Most people believe that only two types of people that go into a crucible; the ones who survive it and grow stronger because of that experience' and those that perish," Nyssa said, hoping to be getting through to Thea. "But, I was told, and I believe they were right, that there is a third kind of person. They choose to stay in their crucible, accepting the pain and embracing it because it is all they know anymore. To them, it is easier to learn to love the fire, until it consumes them." 

"What does this have to do with me?" Thea queried, confused. Nyssa said nothing, hoping that Thea would understand what she was trying to say. "The island. That was Oliver's crucible." 

"One of them," Nyssa confirmed. "Just as Oliver's and your father's death was one for you. And now, with Oliver's return, I think that you are in another crucible. So, what kind of person are you?" Nyssa questioned before departing without a word, leaving Thea to ponder. 

#Arrow#

"Were you able to recover anything?" Oliver asked as he entered the room set aside for Felicity. It was bigger than her old cubicle but wasn't as large as his office. 

"Yes, and it was not easy," Felicity said as she indicated the disassembled laptop, wires coming off various parts of it and going to another computer. "It looks like the last few images your friend was looking at were the blueprints to the Exchange Building." 

"Why does that building sound familiar?" Oliver asked as he stared at the screen with the blueprints on it. 

"Because it is where the Unidac Industry's auction is to take place tonight," Felicity supplied cheerfully. 

"Right," Oliver deadpanned. 

"I don't know if this is overreaching or not, but your friend, why couldn't he get his own people to look at his laptop?" Felicity asked. 

"Floyd Lawton has a company?" Oliver asked incredulously. 

"No, but Warren Patel does," Felicity replied, looking at Oliver curiously. "Who is Floyd Lawton? Your friend?" 

"An employee of Mr Patel apparently," Oliver answered calmly. "And no, not anymore." 

#Arrow# 

"Here he comes," Nyssa announced steadily from her place on the rooftop. “I hope you are sure about this.” 

“We don’t have a choice,” Oliver said. “The Exchange Building is surrounded by three towers. Lawton could get a shot off from virtually anywhere and we can’t cover an area that big, especially as we will be at the auction. We need the SCPD’s help.” 

“Here it comes. Detective Lance just exited the building,” Nyssa stated, sinking lower onto the roof. She watched as Oliver pounced on Detective Lance from behind and pinned him to the hood of a patrol car using an arm lock. She listened as he explained the situation before leaving the reassembled and wiped clean laptop as evidence. As Oliver disappeared into the shadows of the alleyway, Nyssa slinked off into the night; they had an auction to attend. 

#Arrow# 

“Good evening Detective Lance and how are you?” Nyssa said cheerfully, smiling as Oliver and her walked up to the Detective, who was absently rolling his shoulder. “Are you injured?” 

“I’m fine thank you Miss Raatko,” Lance replied cordially before looking at Oliver. “Well, don’t you scrub up nice?” 

“We’re here to support my family,” Oliver said with a tight smile. 

“Yeah! Well, god help me, me too,” Lance remarked somewhat crossly. 

“Thank you,” Oliver said quietly, almost whispering. Lance scoffed at him before walking off into the crowd. Oliver and Nyssa watched him walk away before they spotted Diggle and moved over to speak to him. 

“Hello John,” Nyssa said in greeting.  

“Ma’am, sir,” Diggle replied, glancing at them before returning to his scanning of the room. 

“Dig,” Oliver greeted his bodyguard. “Got your eyes open?”  

“That is what I am here for, sir,” Diggle replied, shooting Oliver an annoyed look. “That and answering patronizing questions.” 

“This guy better hurry up, the auction is about to start,” Oliver noted plainly. “He is out of time.” 

“Sir?” Dig asked, worry and confusion clear on his face.  

“We heard the story on the radio,” Nyssa offered. 

“Oliver, Nyssa!” Walter exclaimed happily as he joined the three of them. “I am so pleased you were able to attend.” 

“It would have been irresponsible of me not to,” Oliver reasoned before dropping his voice. “Walter, the radio said that some of the Unidac bidders were murdered. Shouldn’t we be a bit more careful? My mum has already lost one husband.” 

“Well, if Moira shared your concern, she wouldn’t be here,” Walter replied, unconcerned. “And she definitely wouldn’t have brought your sister.” 

“Thea!” Nyssa exclaimed as they both looked up in shock to see Moira and Thea standing nearby. They made their way over to join them leaving Walter behind. 

“Hi,” Oliver greeted as he signalled Diggle over. 

“Oliver, what a nice surprise,” Moira started but Oliver ignored her. 

“I need you to get them out of here,” Oliver told Diggle. “Right now.” 

“Oliver?” Thea asked, suddenly worried. Any reply was cut off as Detective Lance tackled Walter to ground at the same time as the sound of glass shattering filled the room; a waiter falling to the ground, his white jacket turning red. 

Screams erupted from the frightened attendees as Oliver and Diggle grabbed Moira and Thea and hurried them from the room. More shots echoed into the room and several more people dropped. 

"Are you ok?" Oliver asked Thea once they were out of the line of fire. She shook her head and Oliver redirected his attention to his mother. "Are you hurt?" 

"No, I'm fine," More replied, shaken. "Where is Walter?" She suddenly asked, terrified. Oliver glanced back into the room long enough to see Lance leading Walter out of the room. 

"He is fine. Lance has him," Oliver reassured her. "Nyssa, we... Nyssa!" Oliver couldn't see his wife. 

"Sir, I have to get you out of here," Diggle started, trying to usher the three of them before him. 

"No, them. Them!" Oliver ordered sternly. "I have to find Nyssa." 

"Oliver!" Moira called after her son as he ran off. 

"Go, go," Diggle demanded, pointing at an exit. "I'll find him ma'am. I will find him." 

#Arrow# 

"I was wondering when you would join me," Nyssa said as Oliver appeared on the roof; already stripping out of her evening dress. 

"Had to get Thea and my mother out of sight," Oliver said as he started stripping. Once down to their underwear they each pulled a duffle bag from where they had earlier hidden it and proceeded to gear up. "Deadshot is in one of those two buildings. You take the one on the left. And be careful," Oliver advised as he returned their bags to where they had been hidden. 

"I always am beloved," Nyssa stated even as she drew and nocked a grappling arrow; Oliver soon doing the same. They each fired at their respective buildings before stepping off the roof and zipping away. 

They never noticed Diggle appear on the rooftop behind them. He began to search the roof but was interrupted by the sound of shattering glass and gunfire from a neighbouring building. Approaching the edge, he saw the cable stretching between the two buildings. Making a snap decision, he re-entered the stairwell at a run. 

#Arrow# 

"Drop your guns," Oliver yelled as he took cover behind a column. 

"I admire your work," Lawton replied as he reloaded his wrist gun. "No point in asking for some professional courtesy then. 

"We're not in the same line of work," Oliver snarled. "You are a paid murderer." 

"You have taken lives as well," Lawton responded, slowly searching. 

"For the good of others, unlike you," Oliver retorted, slinking away from Lawton, looking for a better position. 

"So I'm smart enough to get paid for my services," Lawton scoffed as he moved to where he thought Oliver was hiding. "Makes me the smart one," he said as he sprang forward for the kill. But Oliver wasn't there. 

"Not there," Oliver said from behind him. Lawton dove to the side, his arm out and firing at Oliver even as the archer released his arrow. Lawton felt the pain in his side from the arrow but pulled himself upright and drew his backup Glock 18. Struggling to his feet, he lent out from the column and sprayed bullets at where Oliver was hiding. 

Oliver ducked as bullets ricocheted around the room and as soon as the gun clicked empty he threw himself out into the open, nocking and releasing before he hit the ground; firing at a recoiling Deadshot. He landed with a thump on the hard floor but was rewarded with a second thump moments later. Standing, he saw the body of the assassin on the ground, an arrow in his right eye. 

The glass shattered behind him as Nyssa entered the building, surveying the area even as she landed. 

"What is it with the eyes beloved?" Nyssa quipped playfully. "Always the eyes." 

"Just lucky I guess," Oliver replied. He was about to say more when a groan sounded from behind them. Turning as one, Nyssa with an arrow nocked and drawn, they found Diggle slumped against the stairwell doorframe; blood flowing from a gunshot wound in his left shoulder. "Shit!" 

They ran over to him and quickly triaged his injuries. Along with the gunshot, he had a further two grazes on his left arm. And then there was the Curare. 

"Give him this," Oliver ordered as he pulled out a small ampoule. "It will slow the poison." He handed it to Nyssa as he tore off John's sleeve and tied it around his shoulder as a makeshift dressing. "Help me get him up." 

#Arrow# 

John awoke later, he wasn't sure when. Minutes, hours, even days could have passed for all he knew. He looked around, examining his surroundings; he was in some kind of industrial building. He struggled to sit up, his vision blurring slightly as he did so but he finally managed it. 

As his vision cleared, he was met with the last thing he expected to see; the familiar face of Oliver Queen, dressed as the Vigilante but with his hood down. 

"Hey Dig."

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #8
Chapter 09 – Revelations of Innocence and Guilt

“Hey Dig,” Oliver said to his bodyguard as Diggle struggled to his feet.

"Oliver?" Diggle asked, shocked at what he was seeing. His eyes flicked around, taking in his surroundings before refocusing on Oliver." You're the vigilante." He stepped forward and took a swing at Oliver, but he was still weak from the Curare and his technique was slow and sloppy. Oliver sidestepped him and Diggle crashed into the table that Oliver had been leaning against.

"Easy Dig," Oliver advised calmly, somewhat expecting this kind of reaction. "You were poisoned."

"You son of a bitch," Diggle growled, though it sounded more like a groan. He tried to throw another punch but Oliver caught it and forced Diggle back against the table.

"Come on," Oliver started as Diggle glared at him. "I could have taken you anywhere, could have taken you home, the hospital. I could have left you," Oliver explained. "Instead, we brought you here."

"We?" Diggle asked before he heard the footsteps behind him. He turned and was shocked to see Nyssa walking into the room wearing a combination of black and red robes and armour while carrying a bow and two duffle bags. "Nyssa, you're helping him?"

"Of course I am," Nyssa replied as she set her bow and bags down. "Why would I not help my husband?"

"I don't believe this," Diggle exclaimed. "You both lost your minds on that island."

"Found a few things along the way though," Oliver quipped. "My beautiful wife for one."

"Her and archery classes it seems," Diggle scoffed. “Have I forgotten anything?”

"I also found clarity," Oliver stated as he moved to stand right in front of Diggle. "This city, our home, is being slowly poisoned. It is being killed by a criminal elite and as long as they maintain their wealth and power, they do not care who they hurt."

"And what? You two are going to take them out one by one?" Diggle asked scathingly. "Just the two of you?"

"No, John," Nyssa denied. "We would like for you to join us."

"Special Forces out of Kandahar. It's practically perfect," Oliver stated. "You're just like us."

"Oliver, Nyssa. Neither of you are soldiers," Diggle scoffed as he stood up straighter. "You're criminals. And murderers," he declared before turning and staggering out of the lair. Behind him, Nyssa and Oliver stared at him calculatingly, Oliver letting out a sigh.

#Arrow#

"Where have you two been?" Laurel asked before Nyssa and Oliver were even through the front door. 

"Laurel, how nice to see you," Nyssa greeted politely, ignoring her question.

"What are you doing here Laurel?" Oliver questioned tiredly. 

"I heard about the shootings at the auction. And I wanted to make sure that everyone was OK," Laurel explained.

"You did?" Oliver asked, surprised.

"Yeah," Laurel replied, her expression hardening. "Except that when I got here, I found a family terrified for the both of you. They had no idea where you were."

"Oh," Oliver said simply. He had been so caught up that he had completely forgotten to let them know that they were OK.

"That is my fault I'm afraid," Nyssa admitted. She withdrew her arm from under Oliver's jacket and presented her bandaged wrist for Laurel to see. Even Oliver was surprised at her forethought; her wrist wasn't injured as far as he knew. "In the panic, I slipped and hurt my wrist. Oliver took me to the hospital to have it looked at. It is just a sprain though. It will be fine in a few days."

"He should still have called someone Nyssa," Laurel argued. "He needs to remember that people care about him and they are going to worry when he disappears after being shot at."

"I don't think he was shooting at me," Oliver offered softly. "But you're right. I should have at least called."

"Your family deserves better, Oliver," Laurel stated. "Someone who cares about them too," Laurel said. Finished, she stepped past the two of them and headed for the door.

"Thank you for coming Laurel," Oliver said as he turned around. 

"Despite everything that has happened Oliver, I still care about the lives of those in this house," Laurel admitted. "Maybe you should too." Oliver said nothing as the door shut behind her.

"Wow, that was a little harsh," Thea said as she walked up behind Nyssa and Oliver. "You both OK?"

"We will be, Thea," Nyssa answered. "My wrist will heal and ruffled feathers smoothed. And she was right; we should have contacted you."

"I'm not going to lie, that would have soothed a lot of frayed nerves to know you were both OK," Thea declared smartly. "Ollie?"

"I'm good Speedy," Oliver replied. "Just the second time in a few hours that a friend has pointed out major flaws in my character. It tires you out."

"Yeah, it does," Thea agreed. She closed her eyes as Oliver kissed her forehead before he headed for the stairs.

"Good night, Thea," Oliver said as he began to wearily climb the stairs.

"Good night," she called back.

"I'll be up in a moment Oliver," Nyssa said. Oliver waved his hand before he disappeared from sight. Thea turned to walk away as well but Nyssa stopped her. "Thea, can I speak with you for a moment?"

"Sure," Thea replied, brought up short. 

"I want to ask you a question and I do not want to upset you by asking it," Nyssa stated, trying to warn Thea. 

"Sounds serious," Thea said, crossing her arms. "Ask."

"What would you say if I asked Oliver if we could move out of the mansion and get an apartment in the city?" Nyssa enquired. "Not that I don't like it here. This place is unlike anything I have lived in before. Just, with the wedding coming up, I feel that we should have our own place to call home."

“At least I will have a place to crash if I get too wasted to come home,” Thea noted casually. At Nyssa’s sudden glare, she continued. “I don’t know how mum will react to it, but I think it’s a good idea. And I don’t think I want to live in a house with two married couples.”

“Thank you, Thea,” Nyssa said as she turned to walk away. Another thought came to her and she stopped. “Would you be interested in going in search of an apartment with me? I am still unfamiliar with the city and could use the knowledge of someone who was born here.”

“I think I’d like that, Nyssa,” Thea stated with a smile. “This is going to be great. Oh, don’t forget, the caterer and the decorator for the Engagement party will be coming around tomorrow afternoon.”

“I remember, Thea. But thank you,” Nyssa said. “I think I will head upstairs now. Good night.”

“Good night, Nyssa,” Thea replied.

#Arrow#

Oliver shot upright, instantly awake and breathing hard. Focusing, he got his breathing under control before checking to see if he had woken Nyssa. Thankful that he hadn’t, he slipped from the bed; sleep would not be returning to him tonight. Though they were now few and far between, Oliver still had nights where his memories plagued him, and on those nights, sleep was not to be had. Padding carefully across the room, he threw on a robe before slipping quietly through the door and heading downstairs; maybe some TV would relax him.

He was surprised to find that Thea had beat him to it as she was sitting in the lounge in her own robe, munching on a packet of chips as a news report played on the TV.

“Couldn’t sleep either?” Thea asked as Oliver entered the room. Oliver shook his head as he sat down beside her, taking a handful of offered chips.

“No,” he said as he looked at the TV. “What’s this?”

“Peter Declan,” Thea replied, as if the answer was obvious.

“Who is he?” Oliver asked, clearly not knowing who Peter Declan was.

“The guy that killed his wife,” Thea explained, though her explanation did not change the uncomprehending look on Oliver’s face. “Right. The guy killed his wife in their daughter’s bedroom. Complete psycho.” Oliver studied the news report, listening to Declan proclaiming how much he loved his wife Camille. “So why can’t you sleep?”

“Bad dreams,” Oliver declared.

“About?” Thea queried, hoping that Oliver would open up to her, even if only a little.

“The past,” Oliver said, pausing a moment to straighten his thoughts. “Things that I have done to get to where I am today. Things that I have experienced.”

“Sounds like a lot,” Thea noted, trying to get Oliver to continue.

“It is,” Oliver confirmed. “More than I ever thought I would go through. Or could survive.”

“I wish I had been with you,” Thea declared, trying to bond with her brother. “I could have helped you get through it.”

“Thea, you were 12 when the boat sank,” Oliver noted with a soft smile. “And I never want you to have to go through what I did. To do the things that I have done just to survive.”

“You haven’t turned out so bad,” Thea said. “At least when you’re not being a jerk to basically everybody.”

“There is that,” Oliver said, causing Thea to try to hold back a smile. “I know it may not seem like it most of the time, but I am not the same person I used to be. I wish people would see that.”

“Ollie, people will see that,” Thea stated calmly. “But you need to be yourself as well. And you need to be relaxed about it.”

#Arrow#

“Good morning Moira,” Nyssa said as she entered the sitting room to see Oliver’s mother reading the newspaper while drinking a cup of coffee. In the room with her was a tall man with a rigid bearing, dressed in a suit.

“Good morning Nyssa,” Moira greeted her future Daughter-in-law, her eyes not leaving the paper. “How is your wrist?”

“Feeling much better thank you,” Nyssa replied as she rubbed the re-wrapped bandage on her wrist. She was about to speak again when Oliver entered the room behind her.

“Oliver, how did you sleep?” Moira asked, still not looking up.

“Fine, thank you,” He responded calmly, his eyes noticing the man. “We have a visitor.”

“Yes,” Moira confirmed. “Mr Diggle’s replacement.”

“Replacement?” Nyssa questioned in a concerned tone. “Is John alright?”

“I believe he will be fine Nyssa, despite his injury,” Moira replied. “He did however, tender his resignation this morning.”

“His reason,” Oliver asked, trying to seem nonchalant.

“He said that that he didn’t approve of the way you were spending your evenings,” Moira explained in a disapproving tone. “Especially as they usually start with the two of you ditching him. I can’t say that I disagree with him.”

“Hmm,” Oliver hummed in relief as he crossed the room, extending his hand in greeting to the man. “Hi.”

“Good morning Mr Queen,” the man said, shaking Oliver’s hand. “My name is Rob Scott and I will be your new body man.”

“That is quite the handshake you have there, Rob,” Oliver said cheerfully.

“I spent 5 years with Monument Point M.C.U. SWAT,” Rob explained.

“Ah,” Oliver said, nodding sagely. “I feel safer already.”

“Thank God, we can finally stop hearing about this awful man,” Moira declared, drawing Oliver’s and Nyssa’s attention to the TV where a news report about Peter Declan was again playing.

“Declan's execution is set for midnight 2 days from now.” The news anchor was saying. “Camille Declan's former employer, Jason Brodeur, released a statement saying, quote, 'I hope this gives Camille the peace she deserves.’''

“Jason Brodeur?” Oliver remarked, glancing at Nyssa to see that she had caught the name as well.

“What was that Oliver?” Moira asked, looking at Oliver.

“The murdered wife, Camille Declan, she worked for Jason Brodeur,” Oliver noted.

“Apparently so,” Moira agreed, looking at her son curiously. “Why?”

“No, reason,” Oliver said nonchalantly as he turned to his new bodyguard. “Say, Rob, it’s time for me to head into the office. Could you please get the car ready for me?”

“No offence, Mr Queen, but I have been briefed on your tendency to disappear with warning,” Rob revealed. “If it is all the same to you, I would prefer to keep my eye on you at all times.”

“Mr Scott, we are over 20 miles from the city,” Nyssa pointed out bluntly. “If you do not drive us, how else are my fiance and I supposed to get into the city?”

“Right,” Rob noted with a nod before exiting the room. Oliver looked down at his mother with a smile.

“I like him,” Oliver remarked before walking out of the room.

“I will see you this afternoon Moira,” Nyssa said as she followed Oliver out. She found him waiting for her. “We are not taking the car are we?” Oliver just smiled in return before leading her though the house towards the garage. Checking to make sure that Rob had already exited with the Bentley, they entered and approached where Oliver had parked his new bike, a Ducati Diavel; out of sight behind another car. “Do you plan on letting him catch you at all today?”

“Sure, I’m at Queen Consolidated most of the day,” Oliver quipped as he put on his helmet. Nyssa didn’t reply as she put on her own helmet and climbed onto the Ducati behind Oliver. Starting the bike, he revved the engine before accelerating out of the garage. They roared past the front of the house, waving at Rob as he stood beside the Bentley waiting for them. Nyssa turned to watch as he unthinkingly waved back at them before shouting something that she had no hope of hearing over the powerful engine of the Ducati.

#Arrow#

“I like this bike,” Nyssa announced after removing her helmet. 

“I told you that you should have bought one,” Oliver said as he held out his arm to help Nyssa off; climbing off once she was down.

“I think I might return and purchase one,” Nyssa proclaimed, gazing at the bike. Oliver could tell that she was hooked. Nanda Parbat didn’t have bikes so she didn’t own one, despite knowing how and in fact being quite a good rider.

“Go ahead, just try not to hurt anyone when they ask you if you can afford it,” Oliver joked.

“I would never try to hurt them,” Nyssa noted casually. “If they are hurt it is because they deserved it.”

“Uhuh, and that pub owner in London?” Oliver questioned snidely. 

“He was a pig. No man but you may touch me without my permission,” Nyssa declared adamantly. “And he should have regained most of the use of his arms by now. I cannot be sure about his hands though.”

“Hmm,” Oliver hummed in agreement. “What about this Peter Declan?”

“His wife worked for Jason Brodeur. A name from your father’s list,” Nyssa said. “You think something is amiss.”

“I’m not sure,” Oliver commented. “But I think that we should look into it. See what SCPD found as evidence.”

“It cannot hurt,” Nyssa agreed. “If Mr Declan is innocent, then we must do what we can so that his daughter does not become an orphan.”

“Alright then. Take my bike,” Oliver said as he wrapped his arms around his wife. “Have your new bike delivered to the Mansion. I will meet you at the Foundry later.”

“You will,” Nyssa agreed before kissing Oliver. Enjoying the embrace, Nyssa reluctantly broke it to climb back onto the Ducati. Oliver lent in once more to kiss Nyssa as he handed her the key.

“Be safe,” Oliver said.

“And you Beloved,” Nyssa countered before starting up the bike. Oliver stepped back and watched Nyssa depart the parking garage before he turned towards the elevator; time to be a businessman.

#Arrow#

Nyssa pulled up next to the Foundry just as the sun was beginning to set, parking inside so that the bike was out of sight. As she removed her helmet, the sound of a girl’s screams assaulted her ears. While not uncommon in the Glades, these screams were both quite close and quite desperate. Hooking her helmet onto the handlebars, Nyssa quickly slipped out of the warehouse and onto the roof of the neighbouring building; heading towards the origin of the screams. Adjusting her course as the screams moved, Nyssa realised someone was being chased and redoubled her efforts to close the distance. Soon enough she was standing on the edge of a building, looking down into a dead end alleyway as three large men approached a short, slim girl.

“Comere girl, we aren’t gonna to hurt ya,” one of the men slurred as he took a step forward. The girl said nothing, just kept backing away from them; her head turning constantly, her eyes searching for a way out while checking that the men hadn’t got closer. Nyssa could easily see she was terrified, and also trapped.

“Stop running girl,” another man ordered, his voice clear and steady. “Save your strength. You’re going to need it for what we have planned.”

“Yeah, you might even enjoy it,” the third man said even has he rubbed his crotch. “If you try really hard.” 

Nyssa had seen and heard enough to know what they had planned and she was incensed. Scanning the alleyway below her, she spotted a metal pole she could use as a serviceable weapon before she dropped off the roof. Her descent and landing accomplished without noise, Nyssa retrieved her weapon before advancing on the trio from behind and announcing her arrival.

The girl could do nothing but watch as the exotic woman appeared from behind her would be rapists and commenced her attack. First, Nyssa twirled her pipe around her body to build momentum before lashing out at the last man to speak; the pipe connecting with his head and dropping him. Keeping the pipe moving, Nyssa danced to the side and used the ends of the pole to deliver a flurry of blows to the legs, arms and body of the next man before kneeing him in the head as he collapsed in pain. The third man, the drunk, overestimated his abilities and charged at Nyssa, clearly intending to crash tackle her. Nyssa merely dodged to the side with the nimbleness of a cat before lashing out with her pole again; this time catching the drunk across the lower spine, hard. He collapsed to the concrete, his stomach contents cushion his fall somewhat. With one last twirl and flourish, Nyssa turned to examine the girl.

This close to her, Nyssa could actually see that what she thought was a girl was in fact a young adult, perhaps 20 years of age. She had short black hair and some bruising around her face. Her clothes were functional and a little ragged but her boots were new and hard wearing.

“Are you alright?” Nyssa asked as she slowly approached. The girl’s eyes, previously locked on the fallen forms of her attackers shot up to look at Nyssa.

“How did you do that?” the girl asked, astonished. “Why did you do that?”

“How is easy if you know the way,” Nyssa stated clearly. “As to why. No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men.” 

“You’re new around here aren’t you,” the girl observed. 

“No, I have not been in Starling long,” Nyssa confirmed. “I am Nyssa.”

“Sin,” the girl replied, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her pants.

“Why are you out this late, Sin?” Nyssa asked, curious but already guessing the answer.

“Nowhere else to be,” Sin stated. “No one to go home too.”

“Do you have a home?” Nyssa enquired.

“I have a few places I can crash,” Sin answered. Nyssa examined the girl for a moment before coming to a decision. She pulled a pen and a notepad from her jacket and scribbled an address down before tearing the piece off and handing it to Sin.

“If you want a place to stay for a while, be at that address at 11am tomorrow,” Nyssa said, turning to leave. “If not, I wish you well for your future.”

“Why would you help me?” Sin asked, suspicious.

“Why not?” Nyssa retorted without stopping or turning back to face Sin. Sin just stood there, staring at Nyssa’s retreating form before a groan from one of the men startled her. She raced out of the alleyway and looked around; but Nyssa was nowhere to be seen.

#Arrow#

“What kept you?” Oliver asked as Nyssa entered the basement.

“Had to deal with a situation,” Nyssa answered. “It was dealt with. And yes, they are alive, unfortunately.”

“Killing everyone is not the solution,” Oliver intoned, as he turned back to face the computers. “But anyway, I have the research on the Declan case.”

“And?” Nyssa asked, moving to stand next to Oliver.

“Open and shut case. No alibi, and all the forensics pointed at him. Including the murder weapon,” Oliver explained. “He was tried, convicted and sentenced.”

“But…” Nyssa offered knowingly.

“But, Camille Declan worked for Jason Brodeur,” Oliver said. “And Jason is on my father’s list so I think that there is a good chance that Peter Declan is being framed. I don’t know why yet, but if he is, then I am going to find out.”

“He is to be executed in less than 48 hours, Beloved,” Nyssa stated, reading the files on the screen. “That is not a lot of time.” 

“No, it is not,” Oliver agreed as he stood. “Peter Declan is going to need a good attorney.

#Arrow#

Nyssa waited and watched as Oliver entered Laurel’s apartment. She could hear their conversation from inside but couldn’t make them out as Oliver had disabled the lights. Shifting her footing a little, she suddenly felt like she was being watched. Mindful of the previous attacks on her and Oliver, Nyssa bolted upright and nocked an arrow; scanning the rooftops around her slowly. There!

On a taller building on the next block stood a figure on the corner of the roof. The distance was too far to make out a lot of details but Nyssa could tell that the figure was female, was dressed in black and the lower half of her face was covered. But what puzzled her the most was that the woman allowed her blonde hair to hang freely and billow in the night breeze. Considering what to do with this woman, Nyssa slowly relaxed her arm though she kept her arrow nocked. She was again surprised when the woman simply turned away and disappeared.

“Nyssa, I’m finished here,” Oliver’s voice echoed into her ear. “Meet me at the bike.”

“Moving Beloved,” Nyssa replied, casting a last glance up to where the blonde had been perched. Seeing nothing, Nyssa returned her arrow to her quiver before moving off across the rooftops to meet with Oliver. Things were starting to get complicated. First the assassins and now this blonde woman. What would be next?


 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #9
Chapter 10 – The Potential To Do Good

"You have improved since I first saw you shoot, Thea," Nyssa remarked as they gathered their arrows from their targets. 

“You can talk,” Thea replied as she pulled her last arrow free. “You rarely miss the 10 ring now and even then, it’s in the 9 ring.”

“As I said, I became most proficient,” Nyssa described casually. “And my lessons are coming back to me.”

“I’ll say,” Thea commented as they walked back to their bows. “Can I ask you something Nyssa?”

“Of course you can Thea,” Nyssa said as she laid her arrows onto the bench they used. 

“How did you and my brother meet?” Thea asked hesitantly. Nyssa paused, considering her answer. “If you don’t want to tell me, it’s alright.

“No, it’s not that,” Nyssa said reassuringly. “Just so much has happened since then. It was three years ago.”

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

“What is it?” Nyssa asked as she stepped onto the bridge of the small freighter. They were headed through an island chain in the South China Sea, travelling from the Philippines to Southern China, when Nyssa was called to the bridge.

“An explosion Nyssa, off our port bow,” an assassin, Hakim was his name, Nyssa remembered, answered. “I cannot make out the source as yet.”

“What is our position?” Nyssa asked as she moved to look out the window. It was after midnight and the clouds had covered the moon that had been out earlier, darkening the sky.

“We are approximately 15 km off the coast of Lian Yu,” Hakim replied. Nyssa considered the situation. Lian Yu was meant to be uninhabited but something had occurred that had caused a large explosion.

“Take us around the island. Locate the source of the explosion,” Nyssa ordered. Hakim bowed his head before turning away to do the Heir’s bidding. “I will be below.”


#Arrow#

“It was a freighter,” Hakim announced as he and Nyssa examined the wreck ahead of them through binoculars. The sun had risen an hour ago allowing the assassins a much better view of the source of the previous night’s explosion. “The hull states that it was called the Amazo.”

“It will never be leaving Lian Yu,” Nyssa declared. “That much is obvious.”

“It appears that some sort of explosion tore out the bottom of the freighter amidships, sinking it,” Hakim hypothesised. “What do you wish to do?” 

“Anchor us out of sight of the wreck and prepare the RHIB,” Nyssa ordered, setting her binoculars down. “Hakim, you will accompany Saqr, Rasha and myself ashore. We will investigate further on foot.”

“As you command,” Hakim said as he set down his binoculars and followed Nyssa off the bridge.


#Arrow#

“Saqr, do you see anything?” Nyssa asked as she exited the tree line. Saqr was known for his keen eyes and Nyssa had relied upon them more than once. And again, he did not disappoint.

"The freighter appears devoid of life," Saqr replied from where he stood atop a rocky outcrop. "On the beach below us are several bodies, some clearly dead."

"Check the bodies," Nyssa ordered to Hakim and Rasha. They moved off as Saqr descended. "Anything else?"

"The remnants of a large aircraft in a clearing," Saqr answered. "Several kilometers inland."

"Let us rejoin Hakim and Rasha," Nyssa said, turning to follow the path the two assassins took. "We will inspect the aircraft afterward." Saqr said nothing as he followed Nyssa down to the beach where Hakim and Rasha stood over the body of a man. Nyssa couldn't make out any details but his clothes were torn, he was wearing a green hood and his hair was shaggy, wet and unkempt.

"This one yet lives," Rasha announced as she rested the tip of her sword on his shoulder. "Though who knows for how long." Nyssa walked around the man and crouched near his head. He had an unruly beard and bruising covering most of his face but his skin lacked the pallor of a dead man.

"He is a survivor," Nyssa stated, noticing a collection of scars on his lower torso; blade and bullet wounds. She then examined his hands. "And he is an archer."

"What do you wish done with him?" Hakim asked. "He is the only survivor on the beach. And we found no tracks." Before Nyssa could reply, the body below them stirred, elicited a groan and rolled over on to his back. Bright blue eyes starred up at the four assassins, looking at each of them in turn before focusing on Nyssa.

"Who are you?" A ragged voice asked. Nyssa looked at each of her companions before looking back to the man.

"I am Nyssa, daughter of Ra's al Ghul, Heir to the Demon," Nyssa announced as she stood up.

"Mouthful," the man gasped out. "Don't suppose you're here to rescue me?"

"No, we're not," Nyssa proclaimed.

"Damn," the man gasped out again. His head rolled away from Nyssa followed moments later by his hand snapping out and grasping Rasha's ankle and pulling hard. Unprepared for this, Rasha couldn't prevent herself from being knocked to the ground; even as several shots rang out.

Though caught unprepared, the three other assassin's reactions were immediate as they scattered and rolled to their feet before Nyssa and Saqr both drew and released arrows at their attacker; a man of African descent. Their aim was lethal.

Recovering, they looked back to find Rasha struggling to her feet holding her arm while the man lay still, fresh blood staining the sand below him. Hakim dropped down beside him and applied pressure to the bullet wound he found in his side.

"It is bad Nyssa," Hakim stated, even as he pressed harder. "If he stays here, he dies." 

"He deserves our help," Rasha proclaimed as Saqr bandaged her wound.

"Nyssa," a voice crackled from the radio that Nyssa carried. Retrieving it, she pressed the transmit button.

"Yes?" she asked.

"A helicopter approaches," the voice announced. "We must go."

"We will be return immediately," Nyssa agreed, lowering the radio. "Bind his wounds as best you can. We will treat him onboard."

"As you command," Hakim replied as Saqr dropped down opposite him. Together, they bandaged the man as best they could given what supplies they had. As they finished, the man regained consciousness, groaning loudly as they moved his body. "What is your name?" Hakim asked.

"Oliver," the man, Oliver answered through teeth gritted in pain as consciousness fled from him once again. "Oliver Queen."


#Present#

"Wow," Thea said in astonishment. "That's not cool at all. I thought it would at least be something resembling heroic. Rescuing you from the water or something," Thea said disappointedly. "Stumbling across each other while walking along the beach, that sounds kinda lame."

"It is what happened though," Nyssa stated as she looked down at her watch, noting the time. "Forgive me Thea but I must go. I have to see a friend before lunch. I will meet you at Oliver's Office at 1pm."

"I can't wait," Thea said excitedly. "We can check out all the convertibles. I need to pick which one I want for my birthday."

#Arrow#

"You can come in Zayda," Nyssa said from her position on the couch. She had been waiting for perhaps 15 minutes before she had heard the girl, Sin, approaching the apartment. She had paused outside the door and Nyssa wondered if she was going run but was reassured when Sin knocked on the door. "It is unlocked."

"Hey Nyssa," Sin greeted the woman that rescued her as she entered the apartment, closing the door behind her. "You know, you should keep that door locked in this neighbourhood. Safer that way."

"I will remember that," Nyssa noted, gesturing for Sin to sit. "Please, sit."

"Why am I here?" Sin asked as she sat in the lounge chair opposite Nyssa, leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees. 

"Why do you think you are here?" Nyssa countered, wanting to get a better understanding of Sin. "Why did you come?"

"A girl in my position doesn't always have a lot of options. She has to take a chance now and then," Sin justified, standing back up. "And I don't know why I am here. Maybe I'll just go and save us both the trouble."

"Sit down Zayda," Nyssa ordered, her voice taking on a forceful tone. Sin stared Nyssa for a moment before feeling compelled to do as she was told. She sat back down. "Better."

"So you say," Sin challenged.

"I asked you here because I see something in you Zayda. Something that most people have to one degree of another but few ever tap into and use," Nyssa explained. At Sin's blank expression, she continued. "You have potential. A great deal of potential."

"Mean's nothing when you live in the Glades," Sin declared.

"Where one lives, where one came from, what one did before," Nyssa said calmly. "That all means nothing. It is what we do when opportunities arise in front of us that matters."

"And is that what this is?" Sin asked, gesturing her arms at the apartment.

"It is," Nyssa agreed.

"So what's the deal?" Sin enquired, she was in a rough situation currently but not so rough that she didn't want the details; she wasn't stupid by any means.

"The deal, as you put it, is simple," Nyssa stated. "This apartment is yours, so long as you earn it. No drugs, you keep your consumption of alcohol to a minimum and you maintain a job."

"Jobs don't come easy in the Glades," Sin said, considering what Nyssa was offering. "And everywhere else turns you away once they hear you come from the Glades."

"Leave that to me, Zayda. I will take care of it," Nyssa assured her young friend. "Do you have any more questions? Or do we have an agreement?"

"Just one question," Sin replied. "What does that word, Zayda, mean? Nothing bad I hope."

"No, it is nothing bad," Nyssa confirmed. "It is an Arabic name. It means fortunate, or prosperous." 

#Arrow#

"Good day Felicity, and how are you?" Nyssa said as she appeared at the door of Felicity's workspace. Felicity's head shot up at the sound of Nyssa's voice, still not used to her friend being able to waltz into her place of work.

"Ah, hi Nyssa," Felicity exclaimed. "I'm good, how are you?"

"Very well, thank you," Nyssa replied happily. "I was just on my way to see Oliver and thought I would say hello."

"What a coincidence, I am on my way to see Oliver as well," Felicity said as she stood up from behind her desk. She picked up a stack of folders and headed for her door; Nyssa falling easily into step beside her. They exited into the hallway in time to see Moira and Walter exiting his office, Walter apologizing about being late for lunch.

"Hello Moira, Walter. How are you both?" Nyssa called in greeting.

"We are fine Nyssa," Moira replied steadily, too steadily for Nyssa's liking. "I didn't realise you knew anyone here at the company."

"Miss Smoak, wasn't it?" Walter asked. "Oliver's Technical Advisor."

"That is correct Mr Steele, Mrs Queen," Felicity answered shakily. It was obvious to Nyssa that Felicity was unused to dealing with those in positions of great power. "I am helping your son understand technology," she explained. "Not that he doesn't understand it because he does. It is the more complicated..."

"What she means, is that after our time away, Oliver needs a little help to catch up with how much the world has changed," Nyssa interjected, rescuing her friend from further embarrassing herself.

"And that is nothing to be ashamed of," Walter proclaimed. "I would be more worried if he tried to do his job without knowing everything that he might need to know. And with that, we must go. I have already caused us to be late enough. Ladies."

"Enjoy your meal," Nyssa offered. Moira smiled slightly in return before she and Walter disappeared into the elevator. "Shall we?" 

"Yes please," Felicity answered, still trying to get over her horror. She decided to change the subject. "So how are you finding Starling City?"

"It is, quite different, to what I am used too," Nyssa described slowly, choosing her words carefully.

"It is unique," Felicity agreed. "And yet I still choose to live here."

"Speaking of living," Nyssa began. "Oliver and I are considering buying an apartment here. Would you be interested in joining me while I hunt for one?"

"Apartment hunting," Felicity stammered. She wasn't used to people, even what friends she had, asking her for help in non-tech related situations. "I guess I can help you. But I don't know what help I can be. I'm not exactly a decorating guru or anything."

"You are my friend," Nyssa stated with finality. "That is enough."

#Arrow#

"So, are you going to tell me what car you bought?" Oliver asked as they got out of the car that Rob had used to drive them into Starling.

"No, I am not," Nyssa stated with a warm smile. "It is a surprise."

"Given that Thea went with, I am almost assuming she talked you into a convertible," Oliver said, returning his wife's smile. They walked towards the door of the restaurant, allowing Rob to take the lead and 'protect' them.

"Now Oliver, when has anyone ever talked me into doing anything that I do not want to do?" Nyssa wondered, knowing the answer.

"Never," Oliver chuckled as they walked through the door after Rob, their eyes scanning the inside of the Big Belly Burger.

"Area is secure, sir," Rob stated professionally.

"Thank you very much, Rob," Oliver replied curtly as he stepped into the restaurant fully and headed towards where Diggle was seated; Nyssa close behind him. He saw that Carly had apparently delivered some food to Diggle and decided to introduce himself. "Hello, Diggle's sister-in-law Carly," he said warmly, offering his hand. "I am Oliver Queen and this is my fiancé Nyssa."

"I know who you are Mr Queen," Carly replied darkly, holding his hand for a curt shake.

"No, you really don't," Diggle interjected as Carly walked off. Oliver and Nyssa stood before Diggle for a moment before taking a seat on the bench opposite him.

"Good evening Mr Diggle," Nyssa greeted her husband's former bodyguard. "How is the shoulder?"

"It's fine," Diggle answered emotionlessly. He didn't know what they wanted or why they were here.

"We noticed that there was a distinct lack of police vehicles waiting for us today," Oliver noted casually. "I knew you wouldn't drop a dime on us."

"Have you considered our offer, Mr Diggle," Nyssa asked.

"An offer?" Dig scoffed. "That is one way to describe it. You are both insane."

"Perhaps I am," Oliver observed sardonically. "God knows, I have every right to be given what I have seen and done. But this," Oliver said, pointing at the table between them. "This is a chance to do good. The kind of good that we believe compelled you to join the military."

"Please," John countered. "I don't know about you Nyssa, but Oliver, you were born with a platinum spoon in your mouth. You think being on an island for 5 years with no room service gives you the right to judge me?"

"No, it doesn't," Nyssa responded. "But it is what we believe and given that you have not notified the authorities, it is a well-founded belief."

"Believe me, I'm considering it," Dig threatened coldly.

"That would be, unwise," Nyssa pointed out, her voice turning icy.

"We didn't come here to threaten John," Oliver pointed out, placing a small, faded notebook onto the table. Diggle picked it up and flicked casually through the pages, seeing it contained a list of names. "This book was my father's. I found it when I buried him." Diggle's eyes shot up at this new information.

"I thought you said that you father died when his boat sank," Diggle asked, confused. "You were the only survivor."

"He and I, along with one of the crew; we made it to one of the life rafts. But there wasn't enough supplies for all of us, so he shot the other man and then himself in the head, right in front of me," he said to an astonished and shocked Diggle.

"And as much as Oliver believes that Robert did that to give his son the best chance to survive," Nyssa continued. "We also believe that he did it so as to atone for his sins."

"That notebook contains a list of names of everyone who as benefitted by hurting others," Oliver revealed sternly, his voice hardening. "It is time they repaid the debt they owe."

"And you two are the collectors?" Diggle asked.

"If not us, then who?" Oliver questioned. "As I said when you woke up. Starling City is dying. We need to act now before it dies completely."

"So now you are doctors too?" Diggle asked derisively. 

"I need to right the wrongs done to this city by my family," Oliver pleaded softly. "Just as I am offering the opportunity to correct the wrongs done to yours."

"Oliver," John said, leaning forward, his attention squarely focused on the man across from him. "What are you talking about?"

"Your brother's killer," Oliver stated before being angrily cut off.

"Leave Andy out of this!" Diggle demanded.

"The police never caught him. His bullets were laced with curare. That is a very particular M.O," Oliver observed, looking John in the eye. "Only one man has it. His name is Floyd Lawton and I put an arrow in his eye seconds after he shot you."

"Are you telling me that you took down my brother's killer?" Diggle asked in clear disbelief.

"What Oliver is saying... what we are offering, is a chance to help other people, and their families," Nyssa said earnestly.

"I remember a time when people in this city helped each other. They can't do that anymore because a collection of people," Oliver remarked, pausing to choose his words. "People like my own father, see nothing wrong with taking everything they can from those around them and raising themselves up above everyone else," he said animatedly as Diggle sat back to consider what he was hearing. "It needs to stop and if neither the cops nor the courts are going to, then Nyssa and I will. Before others decide to take action."

"Our hope, Mr Diggle, is that you will join us," Nyssa declared as Oliver picked up the notebook and stood. 

"I'm going to the washroom, Rob," Oliver said, holding his hand up to his approaching bodyguard. Rob stood stock-still next to Diggle as Oliver disappeared into the back of the restaurant. After a moment, Diggle looked up at the bodyguard.

"Oh that boy's long gone, man," Diggle said, waving his hand in the air. Rob looked up in dismay before heading for the washrooms. Neither of them noticed the smile on Nyssa’s face; a smile she quickly schooled.

"You have an opportunity and a decision before you, John Diggle," Nyssa said as she stood up from the bench. "I would consider my options both wisely, and carefully." Without waiting for a reply, Nyssa walked out the front door.

#Arrow#

“Do you think he will join us?” Nyssa asked as she and Oliver walked down the path towards the mansion. They had had a busy night meeting Laurel, who directed them to a Matt Istook, who directed them to his office to retrieve a file which they then delivered to Laurel. Nyssa was tired from all the back and forth and ready for some sleep.

“I don’t know,” Oliver admitted, his uncertainty clearly obvious. “I hope he does. We could use his local knowledge. And his skillset.”

“I agree. And as he was becoming suspicious of us, it was either kill him or recruit,” Nyssa said. “And I was loathe to kill him as he had not wronged us. His being wounded unfortunately required us to accelerate our plans.”

“Who knows, perhaps it will be a good thing that he joins us sooner rather than later,” Oliver pointed out.

“You speak of these assassins that have attacked us,” Nyssa said. “The ones wearing the red viper.”

“We do not know who they swear allegiance too and that concerns me,” Oliver explained. “I also am concerned about the blonde woman that you saw. She is an unknown to us and we will need to be prepared in case she decides to make a move.”

“Let her, husband,” Nyssa proclaimed. “I will educate her on why I am Warith al Ghul.”

“Of that, I have no doubt,” Oliver declared as they walked up the steps and entered the mansion.

“Ollie! Has Nyssa told you?” Thea asked excitedly as she bounded down the stairs to join the two.

“Told me what?” Oliver wondered cheerfully.

“What kind of car she bought,” Thea clarified. “It is wicked!”

“No, she hasn’t told me what it is yet,” Oliver stated before getting a conspiratorial look on his face. “You could tell me though.”

“Nope, these lips are sealed,” Thea declared adamantly. “You should have seen her. The sales guy was like ‘are you sure you want that car ma’am. Are you sure you can afford it?’ And Nyssa was all ‘have it ready by tomorrow morning I’m buying it outright.’ It was awesome!”

“Is that right?” Oliver questioned, happy that his sister was happy. “Where was this again?”

“Nice try big brother,” Thea said as she turned away. “But you are just going to have to wait and see.”

“Worth a shot,” Oliver said as he watched Thea climb the stairs. “Good night Thea.”

“Night Ollie, Nyssa,” Thea called back down.

“Good night Thea,” Nyssa replied as Thea disappeared from sight.

“She seems much happier,” Oliver observed as he wrapped an arm around his wife. 

“I think she is happier,” Nyssa agreed. “And without chemical intervention too.”

“Then it is the best kind,” Oliver noted as they heard a car pull up outside.

“It would seem that your bodyguard as finally caught up with you,” Nyssa pointed out as she heard footsteps. They both turned to face the door as it opened to reveal an exhausted Rob entering, his jacket over his arm and defeat etched into his face.

“Rob,” Oliver greeted his bodyguard. “You gotta keep up.”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #10
Chapter 11 – Justice At The Prison

“Good morning Felicity, and how are you this morning?” Oliver asked as he entered his office. Felicity was already in there, laying out a few folders and setting up a projector she would need to show information about several technologies that could be beneficial to Queen Consolidated. Truth be told, she was actually starting to enjoy her new position. Especially as it was away from her previous supervisor, as he liked to be called.

“Good morning Oliver,” Felicity replied to her boss. He was still attired in the jeans and leather jacket that he wore when he rode his bike to the office. She had heard that Mr Steele had offered to carpool with him each day but Nyssa had said that Oliver liked his independence. “How was your ride this morning? On your bike.”

“It was quite enjoyable, thank you,” Oliver replied, not commenting on Felicity’s unintentional double entendre. He actually rather liked them as they could brighten up an otherwise boring day. “Has Walter been in yet?”

“No, I haven’t seen Mr Steele as of yet,” Felicity answered as she adjusted the projector. “Perhaps he has not arrived yet?”

“He left before Nyssa and I did, though Thea was with him,” Oliver said thoughtfully. Felicity looked up just in time to see something catch Oliver’s eye. “Never mind, here he comes.”

“Good morning again Oliver,” Walter called as he entered Oliver’s office. “I trust the trip was enjoyable.”

“Always is, Walter. Always is,” Oliver remarked. “I take it Thea didn’t accompany you upstairs.”

“No, she said something about meeting Nyssa in a coffee shop across the street,” Walter replied, as he set done the file folder he had been carrying.

“Probably the same one that she mentioned meeting Felicity at on her first trip into Starling,” Oliver noted calmly.

“Possibly,” Walter agreed, before turning to look at Felicity. “And how are you this morning Miss Smoak? Are you enjoying your new job?”

“I am quite well Mr Steele. Thank you for asking,” Felicity responded, looking up at the CEO. “And I am enjoying this job more than I thought I would do.”

“Excellent,” Walter said before turning back to Oliver. “So, has Nyssa told you what kind of car she bought?” 

“Does everyone know that but me?” Oliver wondered out loud.

“I don’t,” Felicity chirped. “But I haven’t seen Nyssa for her to tell me.”

“Well I’m sure she will tell you when she sees you,” Oliver said. “But no, she hasn’t told me.”

“Well, from what I understand it is quite the car,” Walter commented with a smile. “Thea couldn’t stop talking about it.”

“Of course she couldn’t,” Oliver groaned. He walked over to a disguised cupboard and pulled out one of several suit bags from within. “Give me, 5 minutes to change and we’ll get started,” Oliver said before departing the office. Walter almost shook his head at Oliver’s behaviour, but he also couldn’t quite find fault in it. He had been at Queen Consolidated on time, every day that he was supposed to be and had even stayed back on his half days when he did not have any business for his club that required him to leave. If riding his motorcycle to work and then getting changed was a concession for this, Walter was happy to say nothing.

“Miss Smoak,” Walter called, drawing Felicity’s attention once Oliver had been gone a minute. “I know you are quite busy with work for Oliver, but I wonder if I could impose on you a little.”

“I am assuming that this is something you would rather not be discussed with Oliver around,” Felicity said calmly. “Given that you waited for Oliver to leave.”

“You would be correct,” he replied as he picked up the folder he had brought into the office and held it out for Felicity to take. “This contains information regarding a variance of $2.6 million dollars from an apparently failed investment 3 years ago. It was authorised by my wife Moira.”

“Mrs Queen. Oliver’s mother,” Felicity noted as she skimmed the file.

“Yes,” Walter confirmed. “I was hoping you would look into it for me and perhaps find out some of the details regarding the transaction.”

“Find out…” Felicity began, looking at Walter over her glasses.

“Dig up, discreetly,” he stated, giving Felicity a look. “I believe you are quite skilled in that regard.

“I’ll see what I can find out,” Felicity said, stashing the folder into one of the projector bag’s pockets just as Oliver stepped back into his office, looking every inch the businessman.

“Shall we begin?” he asked.

#Arrow#

“Oliver is going to freak when he sees this!” Thea exclaimed as she ran her hand along the side of the car.

“You don’t think he will like it?” Nyssa asked from across the car. She had been to several dealerships and seen many cars that looked nice but none of them had been what she was looking for. And then she came to this dealership.

“Trust me, he is going to love it,” Thea promised. “But I still think you should have bought the convertible instead.” Before Nyssa commented further, she heard the manager approaching.

“I assume everything is in order, Miss Raatko?” he asked carefully. The looks he had received from the raven-haired beauty before him were still making his skin crawl, and not in a pleasant way.

“I don’t know, Mr Sywood,” Nyssa said, turning to face the manager. “Are they?”

“I can assure you, Miss Raatko,” Sywood replied, stumbling over his words. “Everything has been prepared as contracted.”

“Then I do not foresee any issues,” Nyssa stated calmly. She was aware of the feelings her very presence could cause if she wanted it too, and sometimes it even proved useful. “Shall we conclude our business then?” Sywood said nothing in reply, merely gesturing towards his office where they would complete the last of the paperwork and transfer the remaining funds. Less than 30 minutes later, Nyssa and Thea drove out of the lot; Nyssa the happy owner of a brand new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 the colour of midnight.

“So, how did you end up falling for my brother?” Thea asked as they travelled along. “That must be some story.”

“It is, some story, as you say,” Nyssa replied, glancing at her sister in law before looking back to the road. “And quite lengthy.”

“So spill,” Thea urged. She wanted to know how her brother and Nyssa got together on a deserted island. 

“Another time, Thea,” Nyssa said. “And your brother should be with us. It is as much his tale as it is mine.”

“Now I really have to hear the story,” Thea declared adamantly.

“You will. I promise,” Nyssa responded.

#Arrow#

“What has happened?” Nyssa questioned as Oliver returned to the Foundry.

“Laurel went to court today. Tried to get a stay of execution,” Oliver explained as he typed at the computer. “She failed.”

“Then Peter Declan is to die,” Nyssa observed calmly. “Unfortunate.”

“Not yet,” Oliver declared sincerely, standing up from the computer. “There is still time to acquire the signed confession from Jason Brodeur that would save Declan.”

“And that is where you are headed,” Nyssa noted, moving to the container that held her armour. “I will join you.”

#Arrow#

Infiltrating Jason Brodeur’s building was child’s play to the two master assassins. Witness to this was the owner of the building being held at arrow point in his own office as both Oliver and Nyssa confronted him. 

“What do you want from me?” Jason asked, terrified by the pair of archers. News reports had said there was a vigilante archer out there targeting the rich but not that he had a partner. And now they were both here.

“You will confess that you conspired to kill Camille Declan and have her death blamed on her husband,” Oliver growled out, his bow steady as a rock.

“So I take his place in prison?” Peter asked. “Not happening.”

“A confession will prevent your death,” Nyssa reasoned. “By either the law’s hand, or ours.”

“Except, if you kill me then you don’t get your confession. And if I don’t confess, then I won’t be facing the death penalty,” Brodeur realised, his voice growing in confidence at this. “Admit it, you need me to exonerate Peter Declan.”

“That is true,” Nyssa admitted; it was true after all.

“You could always try and force me to sign a confession but…” Brodeur’s boasting was stopped by Nyssa’s arrow pinning his hand to the wall behind him.

“That would not be difficult,” Nyssa remarked casually as she drew another arrow. “Or painless.” Further conversation was stalled by the ringing of Brodeur’s phone. Glancing at each other, Oliver moved over and pulled it out of his jacket pocket.

“Just answer it,” Oliver threatened as he answered the call and held it up.

“What?” Brodeur questioned, his voice laced with pain, anger and frustration.

“It’s Ankov,” the voice on the other side said. “It’s all set to go down in one hour. Lance is already on her way to Iron Heights.” The phone disconnected and Oliver threw the phone at the wall, its impact echoing through the quiet room.

“What is happening in an hour?” he snarled. “WHAT?”

“Let’s just say, that Iron Heights Prison is about to have a riot. With some unfortunately casualties,” Brodeur replied. He never saw Oliver’s arm move as he swung his bow around.

“We have to get to Iron Heights,” Oliver said.

"It is unlikely that we will be able to enter the prison completely unseen with such haste," Nyssa pointed out. "Do you have a plan for concealing yourself?"

"Steal a guard's uniform probably," Oliver said as they began their exit of the building.

"Not very subtle," Nyssa noted as they breathed in the night air from the roof.

"I didn't plan for this Nyssa," Oliver said in frustration, lowering his mask. "Laurel was just supposed to work the legal side while I did the dirty work. And now she is in harm's way because of it."

"Might I suggest you call Detective Lance?" Nyssa offered calmly as she dropped her veil. She knew her husband well and when he became frustrated, his ability to think clearly and concisely faltered despite all of his training and experience. It was part of the reason she loved him. Despite all the efforts of the League, Oliver retained his emotions; he was not just another weapon of her father's.

"So I can apologise for causing the death of both his daughters," Oliver sniped.

"I was thinking rather that he can get into the prison faster than we could," Nyssa explained calmly. "If he can get Laurel and Declan outside, we can protect them from the guard towers."

"I love you," Oliver declared, instantly calming as he assessed his wife's plan in his head; finding no fault in in it, as expected. He kissed her firmly before pulling his phone from his pocket. Switching modes, he dialed the detective.

#Arrow#

"Hello," Quentin Lance said as he answered his phone.

"Good evening Detective Lance," an electronically distorted voice replied. 

"Who is this?" Lance questioned. "I don't have time for prank callers."

"How is the hand Detective?" The voice asked. "I hope it was not injured by my relieving you of your weapon on the docks."

"You," Lance snarled, realising to whom he was speaking. "You stay away from my daughter. Or so help me..."

"Save your threats Detective. They mean nothing to me," The distorted voice, no, the vigilante said. "It is about Laurel Lance that I am contacting you. She is in danger."

"Only because you went to her in the first place," Lance growled angrily.

"Allow your anger to cloud your judgement at some other time, Detective. You need to get to Iron Heights Prison," the vigilante told him.

"Why is that?" Lance demanded, his anger simmering.

"Because Jason Brodeur has organised a riot to occur tonight so that one of his men can sneak into the prison and kill Peter Declan, and your daughter," the vigilante explained. "I need your help to save both their lives."

"I'll call the prison and warn them while I'm on my way there," Lance advised, already in motion. "Where will you be?" 

"Nice try Detective," the vigilante said. Lance swore he could almost hear him laughing. "I will be close by. If you cannot get them both out of the prison before the riot starts, then get them outside. I will be able to assist you from there."

"Whatever you say," Lance said as he hung up. Pocketing his phone and grabbing his service weapon, he left his apartment in a rush, his door slamming shut behind him.

#Arrow#

"Lance is on his way," Oliver said as he tucked his phone back away.

"That will make things easier for us," Nyssa replied. They moved to descend from the roof when Nyssa's phone started to ring. Staring at it in surprise for a moment, Nyssa answered it. "Hello."

"Nyssa! Thank god," Sin's voice echoed from the phone loud enough for Oliver to hear it. It was full of fear.

"Sin? What is wrong Zayda?" Nyssa questioned hurriedly in concern; Oliver raising an eyebrow at the name she called Sin.

"One of those guys from the other night. He came looking for me and he brought some friends," Sin explained hastily. "I was on my way back to your place when they found me. I'm in trouble."

"Run," Nyssa ordered immediately. "If you cannot make it back, run and keep running. I will find you."

"You promise?" Sin asked softly.

"I give you my word, Zayda," Nyssa promised, surprising Oliver again. Nyssa rarely promised anything. "Now run."

"Go," Oliver stated when Nyssa turned to look at him. "I can handle the prison. Save your friend."

"Thank you Beloved," Nyssa said before leaning in for a quick kiss. Breaking it, the two of them stepped off the roof into gravity's embrace.

#Arrow#

"I've been here before," Declan said to Laurel. "These lawyers, all holding out little nuggets of hope."

"Laurel!" Quentin called as he entered the room, racing over to his daughter.

"Dad!" Laurel exclaimed just as the lights went out and alarms started ringing. The guard listened to the reports coming across his radio as shouting could be heard in the distance.

"The warden's setting up a perimeter in 'C' Block," he announced as he backed towards the door. "Stay here." Before Quentin could say anything to the contrary, the guard had raced out the door.

"Dammit," Quentin said as he moved to the doorway. Looking out, he saw prisoners in the hallway, taking out the guards as they approached. "We gotta go."

"What?" Laurel asked, not quite understanding what was happening. First her father showing up, then the alarms and the guard running off. "What's happening?"

"I'll explain later," Quentin said, turning to his daughter. "Just trust me. We all have to leave this room. We need to get out of the prison or get outside, either one. If we stay here, we are all dead." Quickly absorbing the new information, she gestured at Declan and the two of them left the room after Quentin.

They raced down the hallway and turned into another only to run into a group of prisoners beating a guard unconscious. They looked up at the new arrivals and recognition dawned on them. 

"There's Lance!" One of them called and then Laurel, her father and Declan turned and ran the other away, the group of escaped prisoners following close behind them.

#Arrow#

"Come on, where are you?" Oliver asked himself from his perch on top of the guard tower. The guard that should have been manning this tower was notably absent when he arrived and Oliver made a note to check on this at a later date. He could hear the sounds of the riot inside the prison but as yet had not seen either of the Lance's or Declan outside. 

He was just about to reconsider his plan of not entering the prison when one of the doors to the building closest to him slammed open as the aforementioned trio exited at a run, a motley collection of prisoners exiting after them and continuing their pursuit across the exercise yard. Time to go to work.

Drawing and nocking smoothly, Oliver began to launch arrows into the prisoners but they largely ignored those falling and continued onwards. As the Lances and Declan came to the end of the exercise yard and realised they were trapped, Oliver nocked a cable arrow and launched it across the open space. As soon as it was anchored, he used it as a zip line and descended into the yard. Releasing over the encircling horde, Oliver dropped onto the prisoners and set to removing them as threat.

None of the prisoners were seasoned fighters and Oliver was presented with little challenge as they realised he was among them. Holding his bow in his right hand, he used it as a quarterstaff and swung it with precision; a prisoner being removed from the engagement each time. Seeing Detective Lance in trouble, he threw a pair of flechettes into the backs of the two prisoners engaging the detective before his eyes went in search of Laurel. He found her being straddled by a large man, his hands wrapped tightly around her neck.

Seeing red, Oliver ran at the man, firing an arrow into his shoulder right before he kicked him off Laurel. Hearing her gasping for air, Oliver refocused on the man he now recognised as Ankov, Brodeur's bodyguard. Switching his bow back to his right hand again, he descended on Ankov with a fury he hadn't felt in a long time. His arms and legs executed a combination of attacks long burned into memory and Ankov could do naught but try to resist the ever increasing wave of pain that descended upon him, soon collapsing to his knees.

Oliver dropped his bow and moved to stand behind the now kneeling Ankov, drawing his knife as he did so. His empty hand grasped Ankov's hair and he tilted his head back.

"Ankov, you have failed this city!" Oliver announced, his voice distorted electronically but his words clear, before drawing his blade across Ankov's exposed throat, opening it to the cold, night air. Blood flowed down the front Ankov as Oliver kicked the body into the dust. Kneeling, he wiped his blade clean and retrieved his bow before standing to look into the horrified faces of Detective Lance, Laurel and Peter Declan. "Justice," was all Oliver said as he sheathed his knife.

Detective Lance was unable to find words to reply to the callous act he had just witnessed. Before anyone was able to say anything, the vigilante ran towards the closest building and nimbly scaled it, several shots impacting the wall around him as he climbed and disappeared onto the roof and the darkness. 

Turning to find the source of the gunfire, Lance found a combined group of riot and regular guards entering the yard to secure the prisoners. Happy everything was over, he ran to his daughter and wordlessly embraced her.

#Arrow#

Nyssa was worried. She couldn't find Sin anywhere. The apartment was empty, as was the surrounding area. She had begun an ever widening circular search pattern, looking for the wayward girl when she got the feeling she was being watched again. Stopping, she heard a noise and lunged to the side just in time to avoid a blow to the head. Regaining her footing, she turned see the blonde woman from the other night standing there, a metal bow staff held in her hands.

"I warn you now, leave," Nyssa said as she rested her right hand on the pommel of her sword.  "I do not know who you are, therefore I have no quarrel with you. Depart."

The blonde did not utter a sound as her staff swung out. Nyssa ducked beneath it, drew her sword and rose to attack. The blonde pivoted away, her hair flailing about as she split her bow staff in half. The two woman exchanged blows between sword, bow and staff; each equally matched to the other in the pace and strength of their attacks. Nyssa managed to sweep the legs out from under blonde with her bow even as the blonde struck Nyssa a glancing blow to the side of the head.

Nyssa backed away to clear her head even as the blonde acrobatically kicked herself up to her feet. Staring a Nyssa for a moment, the blonde suddenly ran in the other direction. Nyssa, angry that she had been struck and wanting answers, gave chase.

Her pursuit of the blonde took her across several rooftops as the blonde showcased her athletic abilities to the full, though Nyssa was slowly gaining on her thanks to her experience. The blonde disappeared around a corner for a moment and Nyssa lost sight of her but redoubled her efforts so as not to lose her. The last thing she expected when she rounded the corner was to see the blonde standing there, waiting for her. Sliding to a stop, Nyssa didn’t see the tripwire until it was too late. Lunging back at the last second, she wasn't prepared for what happened next.

From at least 4 points around her, intense light and sound erupted, disorientating her and causing her to stumble around blindly. Bumping into something, she slumped to the ground as her senses were overwhelmed. Her mind registered a slight pain in the skin near her neck and the last thing she remembered seeing as her eyes became droopy was the blonde woman standing before her, her reassembled bow staff held in her right hand, tucked under her arm.


Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #11
Chapter 12 – Between Sharp Point And A Hard Place

"Good, you're awake" a voice said as Nyssa slowly awoke. Her mind was still fogged and her movements stilted as she slowly sat up. "I was beginning to think that you would be unconscious all night."

"Where am I?" Nyssa asked as she looked around, trying to focus her eyes. It looked like some sort of warehouse but she couldn't be sure; her eyes wouldn't focus properly and the lighting around her was very bright, causing her to shut her eyes again.

"The effects of the tranquiliser should wear off in the next half hour or so," the voice, Nyssa determined it was a female's voice, said. "By that time, your husband should be well on his way here." Nyssa's eyes shot open at this and she jumped to her feet, both her eyes and body objecting to the sudden light and movement but Nyssa ignored it. 

She was in a cage, Nyssa discovered, centred in a large open area with numerous powerful lights focused on her, shrouding everything past them in darkness. Searching the darkness slowly and carefully, Nyssa picked out a shadow that was not one of the walls; it was standing just outside the lights near a pair of tables with unidentifiable equipment laid out on them.

"Where am I?" Nyssa asked again, staring at the shadow.

"A warehouse on the outskirts of Starling City, Miss Raatko," the shadow answered in a clipped tone. "Easy enough for your husband to find. Especially as I just texted him the address."

"I'm not married yet," Nyssa responded. "Don't you read the newspapers?"

"Spare me, Miss Raatko. Or is it Mrs Queen?" the shadow asked. Nyssa swore she could hear the smirk the woman was wearing. "Or perhaps you prefer Miss al Ghul?" At Nyssa's silence, she continued. "I see I now have your attention."

"Unquestionably," Nyssa stated, her voice hardening in just one word.

"Excellent," the shadow announced. "Now we just have to wait for your husband to join us."

"Why would Oliver come here?" Nyssa questioned, wondering how much this woman actually knew. "Why would he not just contact the police?"

"Oh, Oliver Queen probably wouldn’t," the shadow agreed. "But Al Sah-him, he would come himself. As he has before."

"Then I promise you this," Nyssa said, dropping all pretence. This woman obviously knew much about them. "You won't like it when he arrives. Believe me, I have witnessed what he will do."

"Oh, I have seen the images, Miss Raatko. And I cannot wait for his arrival," the shadow declared, stepping into the light to reveal an African American woman in a crisp skirt suit "In fact, I have been waiting to meet him for almost 4 years."

#Arrow#

Oliver was worried. Nyssa wasn't answering her phone and she had yet to return to the Foundry. Not being very good at sitting still and waiting patiently, even after years of practice, Oliver grabbed his bow and headed out to find her; deciding to start at Sin's apartment.

The ride over passed quickly as Oliver wove through traffic, concealing his bike in an alleyway a block from the apartment. Climbing up, Oliver made is way along the rooftops, careful to remain unseen. Seeing no signs of Nyssa, though not expecting to find a trail, he approached the last rooftop edge that would give him a view of the apartment. A shadow shifted to his left and Oliver had an arrow nocked and aimed in the blink of an eye.

“Show yourself,” Oliver demanded, his arm steady. “Slowly.”

“As you command,” the shadow replied as he stepped forward, his hands held out from his body. Oliver noticed the compound bow held in his left hand as the shadow stepped more into the light, revealing the assassin’s garb he was wearing. “It is good to see you again, Al Sah-him.”

“Saqr,” Oliver said, recognising the voice and lowering his bow. “What are you doing here?”

“Ra’s al Ghul,” Saqr replied. It was the only answer needed.

“We’ll discuss why you are in Starling City later,” Oliver said. “I meant, what you are doing here?” he asked, gesturing at the rooftop around them.

“I was commanded to report my arrival to either you or Nyssa. My path to your sanctuary took me past Nyssa’s safe house, so I decided to check if she was there,” Saqr explained. “My arrival coincided with the arrival of a teenage girl being pursued by 4 men. I was surprised when she pulled a set of keys and attempted to access Nyssa’s apartment. When she managed to unlock the apartment, I was very surprised.”

“What happened to her?” Oliver asked quickly, knowing that wherever Nyssa was, she would be worried for Sin. “She is important to Nyssa.”

“I assumed that,” Saqr said. “She did not have a chance to enter the apartment before the men arrived. They hit her twice before throwing her to the ground. Observing that their intentions were less than honourable, I intervened.”

“How many are dead?” Oliver asked, somewhat dreading the answer though only because of the mess that would need to be cleaned up.

“None,” Saqr revealed calmly. “Though 2 will never walk again and none of them will ever bother a woman again.”

“Good,” Oliver declared. “What happened to the girl?”

“She retreated into the apartment and locked the door. I heard her trying to call Nyssa so I decided to wait for her arrival. She has yet to arrive.”

“She is missing,” Oliver stated, his unhappiness and anger evident. “The last I saw of her, she was heading here to assist the girl while I dealt with another issue. I have yet to hear from her.”

"I saw no signs of a struggle during my travels this night," Saqr said, trying to reassure his friend. "Fear not, Nyssa is quite capable."

"I don't doubt her capability. Never that," Oliver said, exhaling. "But enough ants can fell even a tigress." Saqr was about to reply when Oliver's phone beeped. Checking it, Oliver couldn't prevent the roar of anger that escaped his lips as he dropped his phone, lest he crush it. Retrieving the phone, Saqr saw what had invoked so much anger in Al Sah-him.

He had received a message that showed an image of Nyssa locked in a cage with text beneath it that read: 212 Waterhen Road. No One Dies Or Nyssa Joins Them. 

Saqr was shocked. They had locked Nyssa, the wife of Al Sah-him in a cage and then told him where to find her. No one had done such a thing since his master's great enemy had managed to subdue her 2 years ago. The death and destruction wrought on that occasion was still whispered about in the hallways of Nanda Parbat.

"Saqr," Al Sah-him said, his voice full or malice and rage yet still tightly controlled. "My phone." Saqr quickly handed the phone back and watched him make a call. "Namir, gather all those available and meet me two blocks north of 212 Waterhen Road. One hour," Al Sah-him commanded before he hung up. "Saqr, scout the address then meet us where I commanded. I have to change."

"As you command," Saqr replied though Al Sah-him was already walking away, fading into the night. Saqr whispered a short prayer for those that had angered Al Sah-him by stealing his wife before he too faded away.

Neither of them noticed that they had been watched by a single figure in the apartment below them. A figure who now had many questions and couldn't wait to ask them.

#Arrow#

"You have never worked with Al Sah-him?" Namir asked the assassin beside him.

"No," she replied, once again looking around. "But I have heard stories."

"We have all heard stories of Al Sah-him," Namir commented. "The truth can be far different."

"Why have we been summoned here?" She wondered. 

"Our place is not to ask questions. It is to do as we are bid," Namir reminded the female assassin as his eyes picked out movement. "And we will find out soon enough." The female had no time to respond as Saqr jumped onto the roof from the neighbouring building and slowly approached the two waiting assassins. "Saqr, it has been many months since we last saw each other."

"Indeed it has, Namir," Saqr replied as he joined the two of them. "Your presence is missed in Nanda Parbat."

"I doubt that," Namir said. "Most never know I am there until I want them too."

"True," Saqr agreed. Namir's ability to remain unseen was well known. Rumour had it that Ra's al Ghul himself would test his abilities against the short assassin. "He has not arrived?"

"We have not seen him," Namir stated noncommittally. "That does not mean he is not here. He was my finest student." 

"Why are we here?" The female asked. Namir held back the chastisement on is tongue. This newest breed of assassin had not learnt the art of patience well.

"Because someone committed the worst offence to Al Sah-him,” Saqr said. “They took his bride.”

“They captured Nyssa?” Namir asked in shock. He, Saqr and two others had seen the aftermath firsthand of the last time Nyssa had been captured; before Al Sah-him and Nyssa had even been married. After that incident, it was rumoured that the organisation that had managed to capture Nyssa had issued orders to make sure that that single act of insanity was never to be repeated.

“They did,” Saqr confirmed. “And then they announced it to Al Sah-him.”

“They have signed their own death warrants,” Namir declared adamantly. “And we will be witness to the wrath of Al Sah-him.”

“There will be no deaths this night,” A voice proclaimed for the darkness around them. They all turned to see the black garbed figure of Al Sah-him materialise out of the night. “No one dies unless I command it.”

“Your will be done,” Namir and Saqr stated. Without warning, Al Sah-him’s Dao was pressed against the female assassin’s throat.

“You will accede to my commands or you will be food for the crows,” Al Sah-him threatened, pressing his sword in harder. “I don’t know you.”

“I am Faridah,” the female assassin said, staying absolutely still, lest she provoke a response. 

“Faridah, you know who I am?” Al Sah-him questioned. At her answering nod, he continued in a voice that promised death. “Then you know I will not hesitate to end your life if you disobey.”

“I will obey your commands,” Faridah declared, unable to resist the chill that passed through her at the look in his eyes. As she finished, the sword was removed and sheathed.

“See that you do,” Al Sah-him said before turning to Saqr. “Tell me what you saw.”

#Arrow#

“I am disappointed, Miss Raatko,” the woman said as she walked back into sight, her heels clicking on the concrete floor. “I had thought that your husband would have arrived already.”

“Are you sure he hasn’t?” Nyssa gibed. She was calmly sitting cross-legged on the floor of the cage, her eyes shut, looking for all intents and purposes without a worry in the world. Truthfully, she had but one worry, and that was for Sin. But she could do nothing until her husband released her.

“Believe me, Miss Raatko, your husband could not approach within a block of this facility without alerting me,” the woman boasted, her confidence showing.

“And I would believe you,” Nyssa retorted, her eyes still shut. “If it were not for my husband standing behind you.” Nyssa could hear the woman turn around slowly and opened her eyes to see her husband standing there, his sword held up to her heart.

“Release her,” Al Sah-him commanded, his voice barely above a growl. 

“Impressive,” the woman said, ignoring the command. “You didn’t trip a single alarm. Including the heart beat sensors on my men.”

“They are alive, for the moment,” Al Sah-him said, his voice unchanged. “Release her.”

“Not so fast, Mr Queen,” the woman countered, causing Al Sah-him to glance at Nyssa and catching the minute shake of her head. “First, we have some business to discuss.”

“Our business extends to you releasing my wife, no further,” Al Sah-him said, his arm unwavering. "Unless you would like to add your death?" To Nyssa's surprise, the blonde woman that had confronted her earlier and then led her into a trap dropped from the ceiling where she had been silently perched to land behind her husband. Before she could move to strike with her bo staff though, Oliver had swung his sword to press against her throat while drawing his knife to hold against the African American's. "Or hers?" Oliver asked menacingly.

"And before you could kill us both, your wife would be dead," the woman promised, raising her hand to show the remote she now held. She pressed down on one of the buttons and 4 lasers came to life in the room, all of them pointed at Nyssa. "This is a dead man's switch connected to four M249s which are now armed and pointed at your wife. You can kill us, Mr Queen, but you will leave this building a widower."

"Speak," Al Sah-him said after a full minute of silence. He had considered his options but with only Namir, Saqr and Faridah as assistance, it was better to be patient.

"I thought you would see things my way," the woman said, smiling at the control she now held. "My name is Amanda Waller," she introduced herself.

"A.R.G.U.S." Al Sah-him growled through his mask. Both he and Nyssa knew who Amanda Waller was, they had just never seen her face. 

"That is correct, Mr Queen," Waller confirmed. "But we are not here to discuss my affiliations; nor yours, such as they are."

"They why are we here?" Al Sah-him questioned, his patience waning.

"We are here because of the ever increasing number of assassins, agents and operatives from multiple organisations that are converging on Starling City," Waller stated, her tone severe. "And it all began the day Oliver Queen came back from the dead."

"And this concerns me?" Al Sah-him asked.

"Your reappearance would seem to be the trigger for this, Mr Queen," Waller argued. "It would be valid to believe that your disappearance would stem the tide, if not cause it to recede altogether."

"You trapped me, to lure my husband here so that you could kill us?" Nyssa questioned, no longer willing to remain silent. "That would not be a prudent course of action. Rather it would be the cause for the deaths of millions."

"I do not believe that Ra's al Ghul would condemn millions to death in vengeance for his daughter," Amanda argued. "Especially as he all but condemned her to death just 3 years ago."

"It would not be out of vengeance that millions would perish, Miss Waller," Nyssa declared. "It would be that they have proven that they could no longer be saved."

"What do you mean?" Waller asked, her concern growing despite her attempts to conceal it. 

"It is why Oliver Queen has been resurrected. It is why Al Sah-him and I are in Starling City," Nyssa revealed. "This city has been shown to be rife with crime, corruption, greed, evil and the death that they all cause. We have been sent to cleanse it of those ailments. And you would much rather that we did so, than having my father perform the task." 

"I never said that I brought either of you here to kill you," Amanda said, shaken up by Nyssa's proclamation. She had just described half the cities in the modern world, in one way or another.

"Our abandoning Starling City would cause the same response," Nyssa stated. She could see Miss Waller's mind at work and so continued. "Your best response now would be to release me and allow us to leave and continue our work. We have more meticulous methods."

Silence descended on the room as Nyssa and Oliver waited for Amanda Waller to decide their fates. Neither of them wished for death yet they were both resigned that it would one day occur. And if nature was not the cause, then vengeance would follow.

"Canary, stand down," Amanda Waller said as she pressed a second button on the remote, causing the lasers to disappear. The blonde woman stepped back and lowered her staff to her side. Seeing their movements, Oliver lowered his blades which allowed Amanda to walk over to the cage and enter a code on the digital lock. The door clicked open and Nyssa climbed to her feet and exited.

"My weapons?" Nyssa asked.

"On the table," Waller answered, pointing at the two tables Nyssa had seen earlier. As Nyssa walked over to the table, Waller turned to face Al Sah-him again. "We will see each other again, Mr Queen. I promise you."

"Faridah, assist Nyssa," Al Sah-him commanded, ignoring Waller's words. Amanda was surprised when another assassin dropped from the ceiling and joined Nyssa in checking her weapons and other equipment. Not surprising her, they found and removed all of the tacking devices that she had had hidden on them. She also saw Nyssa remove the 3 devices that had been placed on her clothing. "I am disappointed, Miss Waller. I had expected more subtlety."

"Leave, Mr Queen," Amanda Waller commanded, disliking being mocked. "Before I change my mind." Oliver grinned under his mask before turning to leave. He stopped to stare at the blonde, thinking that she somehow looked familiar despite the platinum blonde hair and fabric mask concealing everything but her eyes. Shaking it off, he sheathed his blades and followed Nyssa and Faridah out of the building.

#Arrow#

"What of Zayda?" Nyssa asked in concern once they had moved away from the warehouse. 

"Saqr took care of the problem," Oliver replied, easing Nyssa's concerns. "She is safe."

"Thank you, Saqr," Nyssa said, grateful that her friend was safe.

"None, required," Saqr stated simply. 

"We should go," Namir observed. "Ra's al Ghul will want to hear of this meeting and the audacity of this woman."

"Inform him but give no details," Al Sah-him commanded. "They are best delivered in person."

"I want to check on her," Nyssa declared, who she meant being obvious to Oliver.

"I too, would like to see how the young one is coping," Saqr added. 

"We will look in on her," Oliver agreed, not even bothering to try and dissuade his wife. "Namir, Faridah. Return to you duties but be watchful. There are other forces at work in this city."

"As you command," they said together before melting away into the night.

#Arrow#

"I assume you are going to check on Sin today?" Oliver asked the next morning as they descended the stairs. They had gone to Sin's place the night before but she was asleep when they got there and they did not feel the need to wake her. Saqr had offered to keep watch during the night and Nyssa had kindly accepted.

"I am," Nyssa confirmed. "I want to know she is alright and I have a feeling that I will have some questions to answer." Saqr had explained how he had saved Sin.

"You should invite her to our engagement party," Oliver said out of nowhere.

"I don't think that your mother would approve of Sin's presence at our engagement party," Nyssa commented. "As much as I would like her there, she will stand out in a crowd; despite her stature."

"So?" Oliver asked. "The party isn't until the 10th, that's a week away. I'm sure you can teach her enough to blend in by then," Oliver said, leaning in to nuzzle his wife's neck. "After all, I know how good a teacher you are."

"I will ask her," Nyssa said, smiling at her husband’s actions. They broke apart and entered the sitting room to find John Diggle standing there, gazing out the windows. Oliver cleared his throat to announce their presence.

"By chance, are you here about the bodyguard position?" Oliver asked jovially. "Because the new guy just quit."

"No, I'm not," Diggle said as he turned to face them, a soft smile on his face. "Oliver, Nyssa."

"Good morning Mr Diggle," Nyssa greeted. "How are your injuries healing?"

"Oh, they're fine, thanks," Diggle replied. "I'm here about the other position I was offered." Oliver stepped forward and held out his hand but Diggle didn't move. "Just to be clear, I am not signing on to be some sort of sidekick."

"I'm no hero," Oliver stated. "Only heroes have sidekicks."

"But you're right," Diggle continued, not commenting on Oliver's words as he approached the billionaire. "This city needs to be fought for and I know you both will do that, with or without me."

"Yes, we will," Nyssa affirmed as she stepped up next to her husband.

"But with me, there will be fewer casualties. Including the two of you," Diggle said, stopping in front of the pair. 

"Diggle, we're not looking for anybody to save us," Oliver argued, smiling wanly.

"Maybe, maybe not. But you need someone just the same," Diggle said. "You two are fighting a war, but neither of you realise what war does to you; of how it strips off little pieces of your soul." 

"We do not need spiritual guidance, Mr Diggle," Nyssa stated. "Or protection."

"But what you do need is someone to remind you of who you are, of what and who you are fighting for," Diggle contended, looking at Nyssa and then at Oliver. "And not this thing that you are becoming. Because that is a slippery slope with an abyss at the end of it."

"I did not take you for a philosopher, Mr Diggle," Nyssa observed with a warm smile.

"I have my moments," Diggle said as he held up his hand. Oliver nodded and took his hand, shaking it firmly. 

Their reverie was disturbed by the sounds of the front doors to the mansion being forced open. They all moved to investigate as raised voices filtered to them.

"Oliver Queen!" A voice the three of them recognised as Detective Lance yelled out. The three of them exited the sitting room to find Lance, his partner Hilton and half a dozen uniforms all standing in the foyer.

"What is the meaning of this?" Walter demanded as he entered the foyer. "You can't just barge in here."

"Yeah?" Lance questioned as he stopped in front of the CEO to give him a satisfied smile. "I have a badge and a gun that say differently."

"Detective Lance, what the hell is..." Oliver started.

"Oliver Queen," Lance announced, cutting off him off as he walked up to him. "You are under arrest on suspicion of aggravated assault, obstruction of justice."

"What is going on?" Moira questioned as she entered the foyer.

"Walter, stop them!" Thea shouted from the top of the stairs, having come to investigate what all the noise was.

"Trespassing, breaking and entering, acting as a vigilante..." Lance continued as he cuffed Oliver's hands behind his back. Nyssa went to step forward but Diggle's hand on her arm stopped her movement. Glancing at him, he saw him shaking his head softly.

"Are you out of your mind?" Oliver shouted at the Detective as he was finally cuffed.

"And murder," Lance finished as he gave the scion a look of victory. He started to lead him out of the mansion, already reading him his rights. "You have the right to remain silent..."

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #12
Chapter 13 – Accusations And Explanations

"And that is when the man, Ankov, you said his name was,” Laurel explained slowly. “That was when he knocked me to the ground and started choking me.”

“And what happened next,” the detective asked her gently. This was a fellow officer’s daughter after all. “Take your time, no rush.”

“It’s ok,” Laurel said. “I could hardly breathe, seeing stars. And then he was there.”

“The vigilante?” the detective prodded.

“Yes,” Laurel confirmed as the detective made a note on the form before him. “He kicked him off me and I could suddenly breathe again. I struggled to catch my breath and when I finally did, I looked around.”

“And what did you see?” the detective asked.

“The archer, the vigilante,” Laurel corrected. “He had Ankov on the ground, kneeling. He dropped his bow and walked around behind him. He drew a knife and pulled the man’s head back. He said one word and then he cut Ankov’s throat.”

“One last question, Miss Lance,” the detective said gently. “What was the word he said?”

“Justice,” Laurel answered. “He said Justice.” The detective made a few final notes before he stood.

“Thank you for your time Miss Lance. You have been very helpful,” he said as Laurel stood as well. “If there is anything else, we’ll be in touch.”

“You know how to find me,” Laurel replied before turning to leave. Her exit was blocked though by a sudden inrush of patrolmen; patrolmen surrounding one Oliver Queen as they herded him towards an interrogation room. Spotting her father following the group, Laurel stepped forward. “Dad, what’s going on?”

“What’s going on?” Detective Lance repeated victoriously. “I just arrested the vigilante. That’s what’s going on.”

“Oliver?” Laurel questioned, stunned. There was no way Oliver could be the vigilante in her mind.

“Yeah,” Lance stated. “I gotta go. I have an interrogation to begin.” Laurel stood in shock and watched as her father turned and walked away.

#Arrow#

"I hope the cuffs aren't too tight," Lance said as he entered the room, flicking the door shut behind him. "We wouldn't want you diving out another window."

"Detective Lance, I know you don't have a high opinion of me, but this," Oliver said, lifting his hands to show him the hand cuffs. "Is ludicrous. I am not the vigilante."

"Actually, my opinion of you is practically non-existent. Has been for quite some time. But that is not why you are here," Lance replied as he sat down opposite Oliver, dropping a file on the desk. "You are here because you are a bow wielding vigilante. And that, in case you haven't heard, is against the law."

"Have you forgotten, Detective Lance? The vigilante rescued myself and Tommy Merlyn from a kidnapping attempt just days after my return," Oliver pointed out.

"Yeah, convenient timing on that one," Lance observed. "Especially as Mr Merlyn cannot corroborate your version of events."

“There is no ‘my version’ of events,” Oliver argued calmly. “There is just the truth.”

You want to know the truth?” Lance asked pointedly. “The truth is that I should have shot you down at the docks when I had the chance.”

“Detective, I am not who you think I am,” Oliver tried to reason. 

“Oh, you are exactly who I think you are,” Lance replied angrily. “You’re a menace to society who doesn’t care about hurting others. Whether it is with bows a arrows or trust funds and yachts.”

“You hate me Detective. I understand and probably deserve that,” Oliver said calmly before his voice solidified. “But that does not make me a vigilante.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Lance agreed. “But evidence does make you a murderer.”

“What evidence?” Oliver asked, still remaining calm. Lance was about to answer when there was a knock at the door followed by a patrolmen opening it.

“His parents and fiancé are here,” he announced to Lance. Oliver noticed that the detective actually grimaced at those words.

“Tell them to wait,” Lance ordered. “I’m conducting an interrogation here.”

“I demand to see my son,” Moira Queen said as she stormed into the room; Walter and Nyssa following close behind.

“Excuse me!” Lance exclaimed, staring in askance at the patrolmen who was already exiting the room. “Can’t you see I’m busy here?”

“Detective Lance,” Moira began, focusing her ire onto the man who had arrested her son. “I know you hate my family but I did not believe that your anger would extend into a vendetta against it. You have no grounds to arrest my son.”

“Oh, I got plenty of grounds to arrest him on,” Lance stated. “Your son is a murderer and I have the evidence to prove it.”

“Well, as Mr Queen’s attorney is on his way, I’m sure you will be willing to present that evidence to him when he arrives,” Walter said in his usual business tone. “Until his arrival, however, this interrogation is over.”

“Sure thing,” Lance said in a snarky tone as he stood, picked up the folder and headed out of the room. “You got fifteen minutes.”

“That man is becoming intolerable,” Moira declared once the door shut.

“Detective Lance does appear to be on some kind of personal vendetta,” Walter observed.

“He probably is to one degree or another,” Oliver agreed with his step-father. “He blames me for the death of his daughter. And I don’t completely disagree with that.”

“Oliver,” Nyssa called, speaking for the first time since entering the room. “We talked about this. What happened five years ago is in the past. You can try to make amends but do not wallow in the past or it will swallow you up.”

“Quite true Nyssa,” Walter said.

“Be that as it may,” Moira broke in. “The important thing is not to say anything to Detective Lance, or anyone, until your attorney is present.”

“I agree,” Oliver said calmly. “I want Laurel.”

“Really Oliver,” Moira scoffed with Walter equally disbelieving. “I don’t think her objectivity can be countered on here.”

“Besides Nyssa, Laurel knows me better than anyone,” Oliver explained. “She knows that I could never be this green-hooded vigilante.”

“Laurel,” Nyssa began. “She does seem to be quite determined when she sets her mind to a task. Perhaps that can be of use here.”

“Exactly,” Oliver continued. “Detective Lance raised her to do the right thing which includes defending an innocent man. So mom,” Oliver pleaded. “Please, just ask her.”

“Alright,” Moira agreed with a bow of her head. 

“Thank you,” Oliver said gratefully. “Now if I could speak to Nyssa for a moment.” Moira and Walter said nothing as they exited the interview room, leaving Nyssa behind.

“Oliver, I do not like this,” Nyssa expressed as soon as they were alone. “This is too soon.”

“We knew that this was likely to happen sooner or later,” Oliver replied, still maintaining his calmness. “We planned accordingly.”

“It was not supposed to happen yet,” Nyssa argued. “But what is done is done.”

“Exactly,” Oliver said as he reached up with his handcuffed hands. Nyssa sat down opposite her husband and held his hands. “Now, as planned, we need to carry on as if this is nothing but an inconvenience. I am innocent and we are not worried about whatever charges Lance can bring against me.” 

“I am not comfortable leaving you restrained and confined husband,” Nyssa said, barely above a whisper. “It does not become you.”

“It’s not actually that uncomfortable,” Oliver whispered light-heartedly. “Training with the league was worse.”

“Oliver…” Nyssa started.

“How’s Zayda?” Oliver interrupted, trying to distract Nyssa. It almost worked, as Nyssa levelled a glare at him before smirking.

“You know I don’t know the answer to that,” Nyssa pointed out.

“I do know that,” Oliver confirmed with a smile. “Go see her Nyssa. I will be fine here.”

“That is yet to be seen,” Nyssa said as she stood. She walked around the table and kissed her husband, hard. “Be careful.”

“I will. Promise,” Oliver promised. Nyssa looked at him one last time before turning and exiting the room.  

#Arrow#

“Zayda!” Nyssa called as she stood outside the door of the apartment. She had a key and truly didn’t need one to gain entry but that was not her way. “It’s Nyssa, Zayda. Can I come in?” She heard movement from within the apartment and then the door was unlocked and open before her, revealing Sin standing there with a large bruise around her left eye. “Are you alright Zayda?”

“I’ve had worse. Where were you?” Sin asked in an accusatory tone, blocking Nyssa’s entrance.

“I am sorry I was not able to get to you before those men did,” Nyssa apologised. “I was unexpectedly detained.”

“That have anything to do with the guy in black that rescued me or the other man that he met with later on that roof up there?” Sin questioned as she pointed up at the rooftop across from her door. “Not that I’m ungrateful for him stopping those guys. I probably wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for him.”

“It is distantly related,” Nyssa admitted. “But I cannot go into that.”

“Why not?” Sin demanded. “That guy, he fought like you did.” 

“Zayda,” Nyssa said softly. “What you are asking about is not something to be spoken of outside.” Without hesitation, Sin stepped aside and allowed Nyssa to enter before shutting and locking the door behind her.

"So spill. What's with the guy in black and why weren't you able to come?" Sin asked. Nyssa had worried about this. That someone would catch her out, she just never had thought it would have been Sin.

"The questions that you are asking, the answers, they come at a price," Nyssa cautioned. She knew that someone would find out eventually; not even her father could keep people alive and still keep something a complete secret forever. But she was unwilling to directly involve them in something that could very easily get them killed just for knowing about it. "And it is not, as you say, cheap."

"Seems like the answers are worth the price," Sin reasoned, her hands in her pockets. "Especially if it leads to me being as badass as you or the guy who saved me."

"What is this, badass?" Nyssa asked, clueless. This caused Sin to stare at her in complete shock. 

"Really?" Sin asked in exasperation.

"I do not know what that word means," Nyssa said, still having no idea.

"What have you been living under a rock or something?" Sin questioned as she sat down on the couch.

"Something like that, Zayda," Nyssa answered ruefully. "Now tell me, what is a badass?"

"A badass is you," Sin said simply. At Nyssa's look she tried to explain further. "A badass is tough, strong, a fighter. She doesn't take shit from anyone. It's a good thing, trust me."

"I do trust you, Zayda," Nyssa replied, surprising herself with how truthful she felt she was being. "And you wish to be a badass as well?"

"Hell yes,' Sin agreed without hesitation. “No one would mess with me if I could fight like you can."

"Then it is a good thing that I can teach you," Nyssa said, thinking up a solution to her problem. 

"You can?" Sin asked, wanting to be sure.

"I can," Nyssa confirmed with a smile. "Again, it will not be easy. But I will make you a promise."

"What promise is that," Sin asked, curious.

"The day you complete your training or can take me down," Nyssa described, careful to put in the option. "Then I will answer any and all questions that you wish to ask."

"Really? Anything I want to ask?" Sin queried in excitement.

"Anything Zayda," Nyssa declared, smiling at her young friend's excitement. "Assuming of course that you do one of those two things that I have said."

"When do we start then?" Sin asked, her excitement overflowing.

"Right now," Nyssa said, her face and voice hardening a little. "First lesson..."

#Arrow#

"It's not as bad as it looks, mom," Oliver said, trying to comfort his mother who stood with Walter.

"It is not?" Moira questioned as she watched the police officer attach the monitor to her son's ankle. "Then would you kindly tell me what is worse than my son being under house arrest and facing a murder charge, because I don't know what is."

"That's it," the officer said as he completed his task. "Now, this device is directly connected to the precinct. Stay within 100m of the house and you're golden. Any questions?"

"Yes, what about going to the garage, pool and front driveway?" Oliver asked immediately to the confusion of his family.

"Garage and pool are okay," the officer replied swiftly. "Step on the gravel and a SWAT team will be by to forcibly subdue you."

"Thank you, officer," Oliver said. The cop nodded and showed himself out. Once he had exited, Oliver turned to Walter. "Walter, do you think it would be possible for me to work from home. It seems that my ability to come to the office has been severely curtailed for the foreseeable future."

"I don't believe that it will be a problem," Walter said after thinking for a moment. "I will speak to Hanna and Miss Smoak and have them organise things with you. But Oliver, don't you think you should be more concerned about your defence?"

"Walter, I'm not a lawyer. I will let Laurel handle the legal things while I continue on with my life. I am innocent of these charges and a trial will prove that," Oliver explained. "Thank you for speaking with Hanna and Felicity," Oliver said before looking at his mom. "Mom, would you be open to converting one of the spare rooms we have into a home office for me? I probably shouldn't work out of the sitting room and I'm not even contemplating working out of my bedroom."

"If you are determined to continue on as normal then I don't think it would be too much to ask for a room to accommodate your travel restrictions," Moira acquiesced after looking at her son a moment. "I believe there are a few suitable rooms in the east wing."

"Thanks mom," Oliver said cheerfully as he climbed to his feet. "Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to walk around a bit to get used to this."

#Arrow#

"That is going to complicate things," Nyssa observed as she pointed at the monitor strapped to her beloved's ankle. "Removing it would be simple. Removing it without alerting the police to its removal would cost you a foot."

"Which I am not prepared to lose," Oliver stated. “I’ve called Diggle to come and speak with us. We are going to need his help with Mueller.”

“I could do it alone, husband,” Nyssa said. “I have done so often in the past.”

“I know. And I fully intend on you participating,” Oliver said as he sat down next to Nyssa. “But it will be easier with his help. And a gauge of his loyalty.”

“You can come in Saqr, no need to be shy,” Nyssa called out towards the bay window. She heard one of the doors unlatch and open before quietly shutting again.

“I failed again,” Saqr noted as he knelt. 

“Saqr, the day you successfully sneak up on the two of us together, we will be very dead,” Oliver pointed out calmly. “Now, why did Ra’s al Ghul send you to Starling City? His proclamation was quite clear. This is our crusade and we are not to have any help from the League.”

“As a precaution Al Sah-him,” Saqr answered, still kneeling.

“Precaution against what?” Nyssa asked. “My father is not known for going back on his word.”

“Precaution against the actions that might be taken by other parties that are even now converging on this city,” Saqr explained. “Word reached Nanda Parbat of multiple H.I.V.E agents and operatives being directed here along with several federal agencies. There is even word that She has sent assassins here.”

“Oh, She has,” Nyssa confirmed without pause. “But they were subsequently dealt with when they confronted us.”

“More will come, as you know,” Saqr said. “I was commanded to report here to you both and remain close by in case more direct action was required. I was also commanded to not interfere with your mission to cleanse this city.”

“Waller told us much the same thing, though she was less forthcoming on who exactly was coming,” Nyssa said, her voice carrying a hint of her anger. Further speech was stopped by a knock at the door. Nyssa nodded at the window even as Saqr was already disappearing out it.

“Yep?” Oliver called out as the window was shut. The bedroom door opened and Diggle entered quietly. “Thank you for coming.”

“Shut the door, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa added quietly. Diggle complied with the request before walking across the room.

“I guess it was just a matter of time before the police or someone caught up with you,” Diggle said.

“Except that they didn’t,” Oliver stated calmly.

“All of the evidence that the police have is circumstantial at best,” Nyssa described, equally calm. “Most of it is barely past coincidental.”

“It was always part of the plan to be arrested Dig,” Oliver said to Diggle’s surprise. “It just happened a little earlier than planned.”

“You wanted to get arrested?” Dig asked incredulously.

“Well, sooner or later someone was going to make the connection between my return and the appearance of the vigilante a few days later,” Oliver pointed out. “This way, we were supposed to control when it happened.”

“Oliver, your family is freaking out downstairs,” Diggle revealed adamantly. “Was that part of your plan when you decided to deliver yourself to the cops?”

“They will recover, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa said. “A little hardship now will bring great reward later.”

“I hope you’re right Nyssa,” Diggle replied, calming slightly. “Because your mother and sister just got you back Oliver, and now you are going to put them through a trial?”

“There won’t be a trial,” Oliver declared as he stood and walked across to his desk. “But enough of that. The mission comes first.” Oliver opened his laptop to show Dig a news article.

“Who is he?” Dig asked.

“His name is Leo Mueller and he is suspected in the theft of over a hundred M249 Squad Automatic Weapons,” Oliver explained. “Last night, he arrived in Starling City to sell those weapons.”

“I think you’re in more than enough trouble this week to consider taking on this guy aswell,” Dig argued.

“As I am sure you are aware, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa spoke up. “The M249 is a military-grade weapon. It would turn the streets of Starling City into a warzone.”

“And Oliver is under house arrest,” Dig pointed out. “How do you plan on working around that?”

“I have a few ideas,” Oliver hedged. “For now, I just want you and Nyssa to track this guy and try and figure out when and where he plans on selling the weapons.”

“And how am I supposed to track him?” Dig asked pointedly. “My nose isn’t that great.”

“Well you know us billionaire vigilantes,” Oliver said with a smirk. “We do so love our toys.”

“Come Mr Diggle,” Nyssa commanded, standing. “The night is young.”

#Arrow#

“The foundry?” Diggle asked as Nyssa led him deeper into the abandoned building. “Now I see why Oliver wants to build a club here. It’s the perfect alibi.”

“It is sufficient for our purposes,” Nyssa said as she led Diggle down a flight of stairs. At the bottom, she turned on the lights to reveal where she and her husband worked from to cleanse Starling City. Diggle stepped around her and began to explore. He stopped at one of the tables and carefully touched the tip of one of the arrows; testing it.

“Ow!” he exclaimed, rubbing his finger. “That’s sharp.”

“Indeed it is,” Nyssa agreed. “The trackers should be in the small black case behind you.” She watch as Diggle found the case in question and opened it up. 

“Oooh,” Diggle orated in admiration as he picked up one of the devices. He turned it on and listened to it beep once. “Oh, that is sweet.”

“Welcome to our parlour, John Diggle,” Nyssa said invitingly. 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #13
Chapter 14 – The Hunt Begins

“Good morning Felicity, how are you today?” Oliver said as he stepped aside to allow Felicity to enter the mansion. Seeing the look on her face as she entered, he made a guess. "First time in a mansion?"

"Ah, yes, it's my first time, ah here, or anywhere like here," Felicity mumbled, her eyes darting everywhere. "It's so big."

"Its home," Oliver said, again ignoring another double entendre from his Technical Advisor. He wasn’t sure if he should acknowledge her comments or just continue to ignore them. So far, ignoring them was working out. “Did Walter explain the situation to you?”

“That you are housebound because everyone thinks you are the vigilante?” Felicity quipped. Realising what she had said, she backtracked. “Not that I think that you could be the vigilante or that you are. I mean you could be but that you aren’t. I mean, I don’t think you are the vigilante. I should really stop and think before I speak.”

“Thank you Felicity,” Oliver said patiently. “However I was referring to setting up a home office to allow me to work from here while I am, housebound, as you say.”

“Yes, he did,” Felicity answered, glad to be back on topic. “I don’t see a problem with setting up a workstation here at your mansion that would allow you to work securely.”

“Excellent,” Oliver announced. “A room has been set aside that we can convert into an office of sorts. I hope it will be suitable.”

“I’m sure it will be,” Felicity assured her boss. Oliver was about to say something when he heard footsteps above.

“Felicity, how good to see you,” Nyssa greeted as she walked down the stairs. Felicity’s hearing was obviously not as good as Oliver’s was as she was surprised by her name being called. “Oliver told me that you might be coming by to help him set up his new office.”

“Hi Nyssa,” Felicity replied, recovering from the surprise. She still wasn’t used to one of her few friends being engaged to Oliver Queen; who was also now her direct boss. “Yes, I am here to set up a secure office for Oliver to work from while he is unable to travel. And I am well thank you.”

“Unable to travel is putting it mildly,” Nyssa said harshly. “Oliver is under house arrest because one detective cannot separate fact from fiction.”

“Nyssa,” Oliver cautioned softly. “Detective Lance is entitled to his opinion, no matter how wrong it is. I am innocent of the charges and that will be shown in court, if it ever reaches there.”

“I dislike that man,” Nyssa stated coldly. Felicity could almost feel a chill run up her spine at how cold those words were.

“So you have said,” Oliver said. Felicity got the impression that it was not the first time that Nyssa had made her feelings known. “Have fun with the apartment shopping.”

“You’re going apartment hunting today?” Felicity asked. Nyssa was sure she had heard disappointment in Felicity’s words.

“Do not be concerned Felicity,” Nyssa soothed. “It is just the preliminary round. Thea has concocted a list of almost 20 locations that she insists we must see. I believe that she intends to remove half of them from her list before we do the serious inspecting. When that happens, you will be there.”

“Oh,” Felicity said, mollified. “Alright then.”

“Besides, my fiancé appears to be occupying all your time today,” Nyssa said with a smile before her eyes darted up at the same time Oliver’s did. “Thea is coming.” Felicity was again surprised when not a moment later, Thea appeared at the top of the stairs. “I am glad you could join us Thea.”

“I wouldn’t miss this,” Thea announced cheerfully, as her eyes gave Felicity the once over. “I don’t believe we have met. I’m Thea Queen.”

“Felicity Smoak,” Felicity replied. 

“Ah,” Thea acknowledged. “The unlucky person who has to make sure my brother can safely use a computer again. I feel sorry for you already.”

“He isn’t that bad,” Felicity replied without thought. "I mean, his ability to use a computer is quite good, given his history. I'm just going to stop talking."

"You should keep this one around Ollie," Thea said as she hugged her brother. "She is funny. Ready Nyssa?"

"For some time already," Nyssa replied, herself smiling at Felicity.

"Let's go then," Thea called as she walked out the front door. "These apartments won't show themselves to us."

"Be careful today beloved," Nyssa warned as she hugged her fiancé. "Detective Lance will try to aggravate you into slipping up."

"I know he will," Oliver said, kissing Nyssa. "But he won't succeed."

"See that he does not," Nyssa stated as she broke the hug. "I will see you both later. Be nice to her Oliver."

"I will," Oliver promised.

"Take care Felicity," Nyssa said before she followed after Thea, shutting the front door behind her.

"She is not like anyone I have ever met before," Felicity observed.

"You have no idea," Oliver agreed as he heard the sound of a powerful engine start up. It struck him as the engine moved away, he still didn't know what kind of car Nyssa had bought. Putting aside that train of thought he turned back to his Technical Advisor. "Come on, I'll show you the room."

#Arrow#

"Alright. This is apartment number 3 on my list for today," Thea announced as they climbed out of the Camaro. "Again, it is a penthouse. Custom designed by some guy whose eyes were bigger than his wallet."

"I do not understand," Nyssa said as they walked in the front door of the 22 storey apartment building.

"Some guy, he spent all his money designing and constructing this building," Thea explained. "Except his wife filed for divorce and now they are selling this place on the cheap."

"I see," Nyssa said as they waited for the elevator to arrive. "Would it not prove difficult to purchase just the penthouse apartment then if the whole building is for sale?"

"It might. I don't really know," Thea admitted as they stepped into the elevator. "I'm mostly just looking at them to arouse interest in sellers and to divert suspicion about which one you will actually want. If they want to make a sale and they think you will be buying someplace else, they lower their prices to steal your attention back."

"An effective tactic," Nyssa concluded. The elevator didn't take long and soon they were stepping out into the foyer of the penthouse where they were met by the realtor.

"Miss Queen, Miss Raatko, how are you both today?" She greeted them politely, even if Nyssa could tell it was put on for their benefit.

"We are fine, thank you Mrs Davidson," Thea replied as she stepped forward, taking the lead as she had at the two previous apartments. "We have a rather busy schedule for today so if we could get straight to the inspection, that would be excellent."

"But of course," Mrs Davidson said with the same false tone. "Allow me to give you the tour."

The apartment was actually spread over two levels. The ground level held most of the living spaces; the usual kitchen, lounge and dining rooms along with the unusual addition of open area gym with high ceiling and a pair of bowling lanes. The upper floor held 5 large bedrooms in addition to a master bedroom complete with walk in robe and ensuite, bathrooms and a study. It was a rather extravagant affair in Nyssa’s opinion and she definitely knew she couldn’t live in a place like this.

“Thank you for your time, Mrs Davidson,” Nyssa said, keeping her voice neutral. She wasn’t one for false platitudes. “This apartment is quite a spacious and luxurious place but I am not sure if it is for me and Oliver. We are not one for too many luxuries.”

“If you were to buy the apartment though, Miss Raatko, then you could renovate it to whatever design you wish. This building also features a concealed freight lift that can transport building supplies to this level,” Mrs Davidson explained. “This is quite a unique ownership opportunity.”

“Oliver and I value our privacy and you have just informed me that there is now a 4th point of entry to this level,” Nyssa argued. They had already been shown the two emergency stairwells that provided alternate means of entry and exit. “That does not seem very safe and private for us.”

“I can assure you Miss Raatko, this level is quite secure,” Mrs Davidson assured the two women. “All four entries are protected by coded keypads and security cameras. And all the external windows and doors also feature alarms that can be activated from a keypad in the living room.”

“We were able to get to this level without entering any code,” Thea pointed out.

“That is because I disabled the codes upon my arrival to make it more convenient for you to inspect the apartment,” Mrs Davidson replied. 

“It would probably have been better if you had left it enabled and walked us through the security features as part of our entry,” Nyssa advised. “We will be in touch, Mrs Davidson.”

“Thank you for the tour,” Thea thanked as she followed Nyssa back to the elevator.

“You’re both welcome,” Mrs Davidson said as the elevator doors shut behind the two.

#Arrow#

“Alright, we’re all set,” the operator said as he attached the last of the leads to his computer. “When he answers your questions I will be able to see the readings here.”

“Is your name Oliver Queen?” Detective Lance asked as he sneered at Oliver across the table.

“Have you forgotten who I am, Detective Lance?” Oliver asked calmly. 

“These questions are to calibrate the polygraph. Please answer yes or no,” Detective Lance explained. “Is your name Oliver Queen?”

“Yes,” Oliver replied.

“Were you born on May 16th, 1985 in Starling City?” Lance asked.

“Yes I was,” Oliver said.

“Is your hair blue?” Lance questioned.

“No, it isn’t,” Oliver replied. With that ridiculous question asked to provide a negative response, Oliver knew that the real questions would begin now.

“Have you been to Iron Heights Prison?” Lance asked, staring at Oliver.

“Yes, I have,” Oliver replied. “I, along with your daughter and multiple other students went there on a field trip from school once.”

“I remember that trip,” Laurel said from her spot beside Oliver. “I can provide over a dozen witnesses to our presence there.”

“Yeah,” Lance moaned, already thinking of his next question. “Have you been to Iron Heights Prison within the last 2 years?”

“No, I haven’t,” Oliver replied calmly. Lance glanced at the operator and saw him nod his head.

“Are you the man in this picture?” Lance asked as he held up the police sketch of the vigilante.

“No, I am not Detective Lance,” Oliver said. “The man in that picture rescued me from a kidnapping attempt just after my return. You know that detective, you interviewed me about it.”

“Yeah, I still have my doubts about that,” Lance stated dismissively as he again glanced at the operator who nodded once again. Licking his teeth, Lance decided on a different approach. “Did you steal $40 million dollars from Adam Hunt?”

“No, I didn’t,” Oliver said, curious about where Lance was going now that his initial questions had not worked.

“Were you marooned on an island called Lian Yu for 5 years?” Lance asked aggressively.

“Yes,” Oliver replied quietly.

“Why ask that question?” Laurel demanded, wanting to know what her father was up to. “It has no relevance.”

“I don’t need to show relevance counsellor,” Lance argued, glaring at his daughter. “But since you asked, whatever happened to Oliver Queen on that island turned him into a cold blooded murderer,” he stated before looking back at a still calm Oliver Queen. “The physician that examined you when you returned to Starling City reported more than 20% of your body is covered in scar tissue from various wounds and injuries.”

“You need to ask a question for the machine to work,” Laurel said even as she tried to get past her shock at the revelation of how much Oliver was scared.

“Did that happen to you on Lian Yu?” Quentin asked bluntly.

“Yes Detective, it did,” Oliver replied after a moment.

“When you returned to Starling City, you and Miss Raatko claimed that you were alone on that island,” Detective Lance noted. “Are you claiming that Miss Raatko inflicted all these scars on you? Or that they are self-inflicted?”

“Neither,” Oliver admitted after a moment. “We weren’t alone on the island.”

“Then why did you say that you were?” Detective lance pried.

“Because neither of us want to talk about what happened to us on the island,” Oliver explained.

“And why is that?" Detective Lance questioned. “Got something to hide?”

“We don’t want to talk about the island,” Oliver said slowly, staring at the Detective across from him. “Because the other people that were on the island kidnapped Nyssa and tortured me,” Oliver admitted, both happy and disappointed to see the shock in Lance’s eyes. He refused to turn and look at Laurel but knew that her face would look the same; or worse.

“Have you killed anyone?” Lance asked after regaining his composure. Oliver took a deep breath, closing his eyes to clear his mind of all the faces that popped into his head.

“Yes,” he admitted, looking up to stare at Lance. The detective’s eyes flickered to his daughter before Oliver’s words caused them to look back. “5 years ago, when I invited Sara Lance to join me on my father’s yacht for a trip to China,” Oliver explained slowly, his calm demeanour slipping as the words left his mouth. “I killed your daughter,” he admitted before he tore the sensors off and marched out of the room; leaving a fuming Detective and a saddened Lawyer in his wake.

#Arrow#

“Well that was a bust,” Thea said as she marched out of the lobby and onto the street; Nyssa following close behind. “That is the last time I trust the internet to provide me with penthouse apartment listings.”

“I have always found it better to deal with people directly then to use an intermediary,” Nyssa disclosed as she looked around. She had a feeling that she was being watched and given recent events, she was suddenly very wary and focused on the world around her. “Thea, I think we should go back inside,” Nyssa said casually, trying not to panic Thea. “I want to ask them another question.”

“Forget about it Nyssa,” Thea advised as she kept walking, putting more space between her and Nyssa. “They obviously do not have anything worthwhile in that building that could even come close to the standards that I would allow my brother and you to live in. And that isn’t anywhere near what my standards are.”

“Thea, I really think…” Nyssa’s words were cut off by the sound of screeching tires as a van skidded to a stop next to them. The side doors flew open and 4 men jumped out, splitting into pairs and rushing at Thea and Nyssa. “THEA! RUN!”

“NYSSA!” Thea screamed as she turned to run. She didn’t get far though before her shoes, not designed for running, betrayed her and sent her tumbling to the pavement. Before she could regain her feet, the two men after her had seized her arms and began dragging her towards the van. “NYSSA! HELP!”

“THEA!” Nyssa yelled as she squared off against the two after her. Judging by how they were moving and lack of obvious weapons, they knew nothing about what she was capable; which led Nyssa to believe that this was not related to her and Oliver. They would never send such untrained thugs against them, especially not so few of them. Judging that offense was the best defence, Nyssa advanced on the two men.

The first man assumed she was foolish and unhesitatingly tried to grab her. Nyssa corrected his assumption with a kick to the shin and a knee to the head, laying him out. The second man observed this and tried to punch Nyssa in the head. Nyssa simply ducked below his attack and double punched him in the stomach. Winded, the man doubled over and, like his partner, received a knee to the head, with similar results. 

“NYSSA!” Thea screamed and Nyssa turned to see her sister in law being hauled into the van even as another man jumped out carrying a Kalashnikov pattern rifle with a drum magazine; a weapon he immediately levelled at Nyssa. She barely had time to dive to the side, interposing a car between them before the gun began firing, spraying bullets left and right. Nyssa stayed down as the gunfire continued, the car windows above her shattering and showering her in glass. As she brushed the glass off, the gunfire stopped. Careful in case it was a trap, Nyssa looked out, just in time to see the doors slam shut on the van even as it was accelerating away. 

#Arrow#

“ARRRGGGHHH!” Oliver raged as he punched the wall again. His wife attacked in broad daylight and his sister kidnapped by the same attackers. 

“Oliver, that isn’t helping,” Diggle advised as he watched Oliver thump the wall again. While he could sympathise with feeling helpless, beating yourself up was never a good option. 

“But it is taking my mind off what is happening,” Oliver stated angrily as he punched the wall again. “At least momentarily.” Noise downstairs stalled further words as the two men looked at each other before exiting the room and heading to investigate the source. There they found a multiple police officers, uniformed and plain clothed, entering the mansion; along with Nyssa. “Nyssa!” Nyssa barely had time to turn before she was grasped by Oliver and pulled into a hug.

“I am alright, Oliver,” Nyssa stated once Oliver let her breathe again. “But what of Thea?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t heard anything,” Oliver admitted as he put his hand in his pocket. Nyssa noticed the movement and looked first at Oliver then at Diggle.

“The wall?” she asked knowingly. Diggle just smiled in reply and Nyssa knew she was right. “Now is not the time for self-recrimination. We must find Thea.”

“Where do we start though?” Oliver asked as he saw Detective Hilton walk into the Mansion. “Detective Hilton. Is there any news about Thea?”

“Not yet,” Hilton replied. “They dumped the stolen Chevrolet Express they used and torched it to destroy any evidence. The two men that attacked Miss Raatko were pronounced dead at the scene from gunshot wounds, most likely from the AKM we recovered at the scene. Right now we are combing through traffic cameras trying to trail the van as it moved through the city before it was dumped and hopefully discover which vehicle they swapped to. I’m sorry.”

“I am sure you are doing all you can Detective Hilton,” Nyssa said, resting her hand on Oliver’s forearm, feeling how tense it was. “We appreciate it. Don’t we, Oliver?”

“Yes, thank you Detective,” Oliver ground out. Hilton said nothing as his words were interrupted by a phone ringing. Everyone ran into the sitting room where Oliver found his mother and Walter standing with several detectives; including Detective Lance. One of the detectives was sat at a computer and nodded once before pressing a button. And a familiar voice echoed through the room.

“Good Evening Mrs Queen, and the fine members of the Starling City Police Department who I am sure are in attendance and already at work tracing this call,” the voice of China White said. 

“Please, release my daughter,” Moira begged tearfully.

“Oh, I will,” China White said. “As soon as my demands are met.”

“And what are they?” Walter asked sternly as he embraced his wife.

“Nothing too grand, Mr Steele, I assure you,” China promised. “Merely the transfer of $100 million into a numbered account of my choosing. I will call you again 6 hours. That should be enough time for you to organise the transfer.”

“Wait! Let me…” Moira started but was met with the sound of the call disconnecting. “Oh no.” Oliver could only watch as his mother broke down in Walter’s arms as his only feelings of helplessness slowly increased.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #14
Chapter 15 – Actions Speak Louder Than Words

"We never planned for this," Oliver said simply as he sat on his bed, his head in his hands. 

"Oliver, you never plan for these kinds of events to occur," Diggle pointed out. "All you can do is prepare for the possibility that they might happen and react accordingly."

"Well my reactions are telling me to slip this bracelet and to find my sister," Oliver said angrily to Diggle.

"I wouldn't recommend that beloved," Nyssa said, surprising the two men by her appearance in the room. "Detective Lance just arrived downstairs. He wants to see you."

"Great. Just great," Oliver moaned. "Now I really am stuck in this house."

"I told him you would be down in a few minutes," Nyssa offered calmly. "That you needed a moment to process everything."

"The only thing I want to process is beating China White's face into the pavement with my boot," Oliver stated, his tone still filled with anger. Nyssa knew she had to calm her husband if he was to go downstairs, and he needed to go downstairs.

"Wait, you know who took Thea?" Diggle asked, having caught what Oliver had said.

"During the kidnapping, I paid no attention to the faces of the men attacking us. It was only afterwards that I noticed they were of Asian appearance. And the voice on the phone, it belongs to Chien Na Wei also called China White," Nyssa explained calmly. "She is the white haired assassin that you fought at Laurel Lance's apartment."

"Triad," Diggle commented in realisation.

"That's right," Oliver said. "Which is why we need to find Thea as soon as possible."

"I will head to the foundry," Nyssa declared. "I can monitor the police investigation there and check in with our sources to see if they know where she might be hiding. Oliver?"

"Yes?" Oliver responded, his anger ebbing now that there was a plan.

"What of Mr Mueller?" Nyssa asked.

"Damn, I forgot about him," Oliver said as he pulled his phone from his pocket and opened it. "His car has been at the same spot in the warehouse district of the Glades for the last 30 minutes," he said as he held up his phone.

"Yeah, I know that area. It's a good spot for an arms deal," Diggle noted. "And with all the media and police attention focused on Thea's kidnapping, no one is going to care about an arms deal."

"I will be caring," Nyssa proclaimed calmly, though the voice carried an undertone that promised pain and suffering when she caught them. "I feel the need to vent my frustrations and as I will need a clear head to retrieve Thea, this is a fitting opportunity."

"You're not going to let her go out there on her own?" Diggle asked Oliver, surprised.

"I'm not positive I can stop her," Oliver stated firmly with a shrug of his shoulders. "Especially when her mood is like this. I'd rather she hit arms dealers then me."

"Are you questioning my abilities, Mr Diggle?" Nyssa asked, half challengingly. "Do you feel you need to protect me?"

"Well, I believe that you can defend yourself. You have already demonstrated that," Diggle hedged. "But I am an ex-special forces bodyguard. I'd like to think that counts for something."

"We shall see," Nyssa affirmed casually, sizing up the large man.

"Keep your phone with you. If I hear anything, I'll call you," Oliver said before he left the room, his anger once again under control. It helped when Diggle thought Nyssa needed defending from arms dealers.

"Come Mr Diggle," Nyssa announced as she headed towards the window. "Allow me to demonstrate my abilities to you."

#Arrow#

"Detective Lance," Oliver called as he once again entered the sitting room. "You wanted to see me?"

"I just wanted to make sure you were still around," Lance said as he turned to face the scion of the Queen family. "In case you decided to, you know, slip you leash and go put arrows in people."

"Detective Lance," Oliver said calmly, fighting his anger. "I am not the vigilante. I do not know how many times or different ways I can tell you that before you believe me. But at the moment, I don't care. Think what you will of me. All I want is my sister back, safe and sound."

"That is all any parent or sibling wants when one of their family gets taken from them," Lance said spitefully. "Too bad that it doesn't always work out for the better."

#Arrow#

"When are you going to tell me what really happened on that island?" Diggle questioned as Nyssa led the way downstairs into the basement of the Foundry. "The way you and Oliver move speaks of training, even though you try to hide it."

"I don't know what you mean," Nyssa replied innocently as she headed directly towards her case. 

"Oh, I'm sure you do. Oliver's skill with a bow. The way Oliver threw that knife at Laurel's apartment. The way you judge a situation and use it to your advantage. Like when you saw me approaching the busted door and stepped aside to give me a clear shot," Diggle explained as he lent back onto a table. "You don't learn all that on a deserted island."

"No," Nyssa agreed as she unlocked the case before her. "You don't."

"So, I am going to ask again," Diggle said resolutely. "What happened to the two of you on that island?"

"A lot happened, Mr Diggle," Nyssa stated as she opened her case and reached inside. "More than we have time to speak of now though."

"Woah," Diggle exclaimed as he watched Nyssa withdraw a sword and check its edge. "I guess you're right. For now," Diggle said as he pulled out his Glock. "I don't suppose you have another gun around here for me to use? This one is registered to me."

"No Mr Diggle, we do not," Nyssa said as she pulled what Dig recognised as a compound bow from the case next. "I have something better for you," she revealed as she set the bow aside and stepped across to another box, opening it without preamble. "This should fit you well enough," Nyssa declared as she lifted out Oliver's green jacket.

"Excuse me?" Diggle questioned as he stared at the jacket. "Was this your plan all along? To have me dressed up as the vigilante while Oliver was tucked away back at the mansion surrounded by witnesses."

"Yes, right along with having the Triad kidnap Thea and a German arms dealer arriving to flood the Glades with machine guns," Nyssa said sarcastically before calming down. "It was originally going to be me wearing it."

"You wouldn't be able to fight in it?" Diggle observed. "It would be too bulky."

"Correct, I wouldn't. But I would be able to move in it well enough," Nyssa noted, her calm demeanour returning. "The plan was for me to wear the hood and be seen, all while Oliver had multiple witnesses to his whereabouts. Now though, we must adapt our plans to the situation at hand."

"You should have told me back at the mansion that you now planned for me to wear the hood," Diggle argued. 

"And what would you have done, Mr Diggle? What would you have said?" Nyssa enquired as she set the jacket down onto the table next to the box and waited for Diggle to reply. When no reply was forthcoming, Nyssa continued. “That is it, isn’t it, Mr Diggle? There is no argument you can make,” Nyssa reasoned. “The best plan given the resources available and present circumstances is for you to wear the hood and for me to accompany you.”

“I still don’t like it,” Diggle said, almost resigned to wearing the hood. Nyssa was right that it was the best plan given the current circumstances. It dealt with the arms dealers and provided an alibi for Oliver. “Yes, I have killed before but I am not a killer like Oliver, and I assume you, are.”

“And neither Oliver nor I will deny that we are killers. We have long since made peace with that,” Nyssa stated clearly. “But we only kill if they deserve it or if it is necessary. Killing is not our first option. But nor is it our last one either. If you do not want to kill then don’t, just don’t expect me to abide by your decision.”

“I can live with that, for now,” Diggle agreed as he stepped forward, unzipping his jacket. “I hope he washed that since he last wore it.”

“I believe he did,” Nyssa said as she pulled out the other articles of clothing that made up Oliver’s gear. “You can change back there,” Nyssa indicated as she pointed towards the back of the basement. “Return when you are ready. But do not tarry long.” Nyssa watched Diggle disappear out of sight before she returned to readying herself. Not surprisingly, she was completely ready before he had gotten the outfit on.

“The outfit is tight,” Diggle noted as he walked back over carrying his own folded clothes. "As are the boots."

"Will you be able to move in it and fight if necessary?" Nyssa asked seriously.

"I'll make do," Diggle assured her as he set his clothes down.

"Excellent," Nyssa said. "Time for your weapons." Diggle watched as Nyssa laid out the weapons that he had seen Oliver wearing when he had awoken from his curare poisoning. Stepping forward, he strapped on the harness with its attached quiver already stocked with arrows and the sword, a wakizashi if Diggle was right, already sheathed. Next was a belt that held a large knife at his right hip and a holster filled with flechettes at his left. The ensemble was completed by several flechettes being hooked onto his left gauntlet.

"Does Oliver carry enough weapons?" Diggle pondered as he practiced moving around with the load he now wore.

"Oliver IS the weapon, Mr Diggle," Nyssa clarified without looking at him as she reached into the case for one last item. "All of those instruments that you carry, like the last one I am about to give you, are just tools for him to use," she intoned as she lifted Oliver's recurve bow and turned to face Diggle. "I would suggest you handle this carefully, Mr Diggle."

"It's John, Dig or Diggle," Diggle said as stepped forward to accept the bow. "And I am no archer, Nyssa. I barely know the fundamentals."

"I'm not asking you to be an archer, John. But you will find that that bow is also a rather effective melee weapon as well. It might be of some use," Nyssa explained as she passed him the bow. "Oh and two last things."

"Yeah?" Diggle wondered as he hefted the bow to judge its weight before examining it more closely.

"Unless your life absolutely depends on it, do not draw the sword," Nyssa said with gravitas.

"Got it," Dig confirmed. "And the second."

"You may use the knife as you will, but if it is lost or broken," Nyssa threatened, her voice turning to ice. "I will hold you responsible. Am I clear?"

"Quite clear," Diggle affirmed solemnly. 

"Excellent," Nyssa said, he voice back up to its usual timbre. "Shall we go then?"

#Arrow#

"The M249 machine gun," Mueller described as he took one of the weapons from one of his men to demonstrate. He worked the bolt once as he continued his sales pitch. "Gas-powered, air-cooled and capable of firing up to 800 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition per minute," he said as he pulled the trigger so they could all here the weapon dry fire. He tossed it to the leader of the gang before him and listened to his whistle of appreciation. "I also offer a good price on the ammunition."

"How good?" The leader asked as he handled the gun. Mueller's response was nullified as the warehouse they were in was plunged into darkness. Mueller looked around in alarm even as an arrow whistled out of the gloom from above and into one of his men's shoulder.

"We need to move, now!" Mueller yelled as he snatched the weapon out of the gang leader's hands. He ran for his Mercedes as Dig stepped out of the shadows and engaged the gang members. Using the bow as a staff, he knocked one unconscious before a leg sweep and punch to the face settled the second. The last one tried to run around him to the exit but Dig caught him in a chokehold and held him until he passed out.

Meanwhile, Nyssa continued her onslaught of arrows, surgically removing Mueller's men before putting an arrow into the arms dealer's calf, sending him collapsing onto the hood of his car, the gun he had been carrying clattering to the ground. Having cornered her prey, Nyssa dropped from the rafters and walked towards the injured man; drawing and nocking an arrow as she did.

"Leo Mueller," Nyssa called as she drew her arm back purposefully, arrow pointed at the German's heart. "You have failed this city," she judged before releasing the arrow. 

"Are we done?" Diggle asked as he approached Nyssa, stepping past the injured bodies of Mueller's men as they groaned and whimpered from the arrows piercing them.

"We are," Nyssa declared before turning to walk away. "You can contact the SCPD now while I call someone else about information on our other issue."

"Right," Diggle said as he pulled out his phone even as he moved out of the warehouse.

#Arrow#

"Man in the hood, two. Gangbangers, zero. Arms dealers, zero," Diggle said over the phone to Oliver.

"Good work," Oliver replied quietly. He was in a quiet part of the mansion but with the number of police around, he wasn't taking chances. 

"Thanks," Diggle responded with gratitude. "Hold up. Nyssa wants to talk."

"Beloved," Nyssa called over the phone. "I contacted Namir. He has no information on the current whereabouts of Chien Na Wei. And as predicted, my father's mandate prevents his involvement. We are on our own."

"Unfortunate but not unexpected," Oliver said simply. "Head back to the foundry. Monitor the police from there. I'll call if anything develops here."

"Stay calm, Oliver. She is strong. We will find her," Nyssa proclaimed before ending the call. Oliver exhaled slowly to try and release the tension in his body but it did little to ease his worries. Pocketing his phone, he headed back towards the sitting room. He was almost there when he was intercepted.

"Ah, Oliver," Felicity called from behind him just before he entered the sitting room. "Could I, ah, talk to you for a moment?" She asked, pointing back towards where his office was located. "It's important."

"Sure," Oliver replied. He knew it had to be important as Felicity wouldn't waste his time with everything that was happening. He followed along behind her and into his makeshift office where she shut the door.

"I heard about what is happening. Although most of the city probably knows that Thea has been kidnapped by now," Felicity rambled. "But that is not why I asked you in here. I think I found Thea."

"What?" Oliver immediately asked, Felicity having his whole and complete attention now. "How? You haven't left the mansion."

"I didn't need to," Felicity said as she led the way across the room and sat down at the computer she had set up earlier in the day. "I did it from here."

"Show me," Oliver demanded as he leaned on the desk next to Felicity so as to see the screen better.

"Well, what I’ve done might not necessarily legal,” Felicity warned carefully.

“Felicity, I don’t care if you hacked the CIA or the NSA,” Oliver declared adamantly. “If it finds Thea, your secret is safe with me.”

“Right,” Felicity said as she started to type. “Well it was actually the FBI. I hacked into them and borrowed their Facial Recognition Software.”

“You hacked the FBI?” Oliver asked, clearly astonished.

“Is that disapproval in your voice?” Felicity questioned.

“No, astonishment,” Oliver deadpanned.

“Huh,” Felicity exclaimed. At Oliver’s look she continued. “Well, anyway, after I borrowed their software, I hacked the traffic cams on the street where Thea was taken and got facial captures of the kidnappers. And then I have literally scanned every piece of footage from every traffic camera in the city. It took a while but I eventually found a match,” Felicity explained as she pulled up a video. It showed two Asian men bundling a hooded figure that matched Thea’s body shape and clothing into a car before it sped off. Then she pulled up a second video that showed the same car pulling into a warehouse hours later and the same two men climbing out before dragging what looked like Thea back out of the car. “I can’t be sure that it is Thea under the hood, obviously. But the body dimensions and clothing match so it’s a good bet that it’s her. And she hasn’t left the warehouse since she got there.”

“Felicity, you are remarkable,” Oliver declared happily.

“Thank you,” Felicity said. “Now all we need to do is make an anonymous phone call to the police and let them check it out.”

“Good idea,” Oliver stated as he pulled out his phone. Before he had a chance to dial though, Felicity snatched his phone from his hands. 

“Are you crazy?” Felicity questioned as she turned back to her computer and started typing. “The police could back trace the call to your phone.”

“Right,” Oliver said. “I knew that. Can we text them then?”

“Why?” Felicity asked as she turned back around, holding out Oliver’s phone. “I just masked your next phone call. Go ahead.” Oliver slowly took back his phone, glancing at Felicity slyly before he dialled the number set up by the SCPD.

“Hi, um, I’m calling about that missing girl, Thea Queen. I think I saw her getting dragged into a car on Trieste Street,” Oliver said into the phone before hanging up.

“Why didn’t you tell them about the warehouse?” Felicity wondered.

“Because if I did, they would wonder how I knew. The triad wouldn’t let people see them bring in my sister,” Oliver explained. “A random person seeing them swap cars is much more likely. And it protects you.”

“Right,” Felicity said this time. 

“Thank you Felicity. For everything,” Oliver said sincerely. “You should head home. It’s late and you’ve had a long day.”

“Thank you, Oliver,” Felicity said as she stood up and picked up her bag. “I hope they find your sister soon.”

“I’m sure they will,” Oliver replied and watched as Felicity smiled and then walked out of the office. He gave her a minute in case she returned and then he made another call. “Nyssa, I think we found Thea.”

#Arrow#

"Damn, that is a lot of Triad," Diggle observed from his vantage point on the roof of the warehouse. "And that is only what we can see."

"I have surmounted larger forces," Nyssa pointed out from next to him as her eyes examined her target. "All it requires is the right strategy."

"Well I hope you come up with a good one, and soon," Diggle said. "It won't take the SCPD long to track the car that Thea arrived in back here now that they have a starting point."

"It is a pity you are not an archer, Mr Diggle," Nyssa lamented. "It would be much simpler to just kill them all to gain entry."

"I'm better with guns or my hands," Diggle remarked. 

"Indeed," Nyssa agreed. "As that is the case, we will use more stealth than steel to enter that building. We do not wish for them to panic and harm Thea."

"What's the plan?" Diggle asked.

"This side of the building is too well guarded due to the main entrance. But the right side is only protected by three men, none of them heavily armed," Nyssa explained calmly. "I can eliminate them swiftly and silently allowing us access to the roof which is unguarded. We then drop down onto the roof supports beneath and begin our search for Thea."

"I hope the roof beams don't creak," Diggle prayed as he moved back across the roof to the ladder he had used to climb up. 

"You are smaller than Aziz," Nyssa proclaimed casually. "You will be fine," she stated before stepping off the roof. Diggle watched her descend to the ground with more grace than any gymnast he had ever seen.

"One of these days, someone is going to sit down and give me some answers," he said to himself as he started to climb down the ladder. "And they better be good."

#Arrow#

"I am sorry that we had to gag you, Miss Queen," Chien Na Wei said as she walked into the room. "But your voice, was starting to disturb my calm." 

Thea grunted and tried to speak through the gag but anything she might have said was unintelligible to the Chinese Assassin. She was securely tied to the chair around her waist as well as having her hands and arms restrained. She struggled against her restraints but again, they held.

"Calm yourself Miss Queen," Chien Na Wei advised as she leaned down to look into Thea's eyes. "This will all be over soon." Thea tried to shout through the gag again but, as before, it blocked most of the sound. She had been unable to do anything as the Chinese woman had called her mother and demanded the $100 million ransom. While she knew that they could afford it, she also knew that it would take time to gather that much money and would hurt a lot of other people doing it. "It is almost time for me to call your mother again."

"That won't be necessary," an electronically disguised voice said from behind the assassin. She walked around her hostage so that they could both see a woman in black and red standing there; hooded and veiled with a bow and nocked arrow pointed at them. "Release her."

"I don't think so," Chien Na Wei replied, careful to keep her body as much behind Thea's as possible, shielding her from the archer. "You're the other archer, the green male's companion. My men told me about you attacking them at the docks."

"Release her now or I will end your life," Nyssa demanded sternly. "She is of no further use to you."

"I think you would have already, if you could," Chien Na Wei rebuked. "And she is going to make up for the losses your man caused us to lose at the docks."

"That won't be happening," Nyssa stated as her arm remained steady. Gunfire and the sounds of men engaged in a melee echoed through the factory and the Triad assassin used the miniscule distraction to press a karambit knife to Thea's throat.

"I see you didn't come alone," she said as she tapped the blade against Thea's skin. "Drop the bow or she dies." Nyssa hesitated, weighing her options and judging her opponent before slowly releasing the tension on her bowstring and then setting her bow on the ground. 

Thea stamped her feet lamely and mumbled something through the gag but neither of the assassins could make it out.

"Hush, Miss Queen," Chien Na Wei advised. "The killers are talking. And I think it is time this discussion moved forward." With a flick of her wrist, Chien Na Wei threw the karambit at Nyssa who dodged out of the way. As she centered herself, she saw Chien Na Wei pick up a Jian from the bench behind Thea and so drew her own sword and advanced on the Triad assassin.

#Arrow#

Diggle was finishing off the last of the 4 men he had been fighting when he heard the first of the police sirens approaching. Cursing to himself, he released the sleeper hold he had on the Triad thug, dropping him to the ground and set off in search of Nyssa, gathering up Oliver's bow as he did.

#Arrow#

"You are impressive," Chien Na Wei observed as she swung at Nyssa's throat. Nyssa easily ducked below it and sliced at her target's legs but she dove to the side to evade the strike.

"Your skills are also remarkable," Nyssa complemented her foe as she settled into a flexible guard stance. And she was surprised, there were not many that could keep up with her in a sword fight and while this Triad assassin couldn't beat her, Nyssa found herself actually having to block and parry attacks made against her rather than simply evading them.

"I've been learning since I was a child," Chien Na Wei pointed out as she again sized up the veiled woman before her. She had made several attempts to remove the veil in one fashion or another but was thwarted each time. "As have you, I would guess." When Nyssa didn't respond, Chien Na Wei continued, even as police sirens converged in the background. "But like my fight with your companion, it would seem that the SCPD are going to interrupt us."

"We shall meet again," Nyssa said as the Triad assassin back away. She could pursue her but at the moment, Thea was more important. "I promise you."

"I look forward to it," Chien Na Wei replied before she turned and ran into the shadows of the warehouse. Nyssa turned to Thea and, using her sword expertly, cut her free. 

"Thanks," Thea said once she pulled the gag off.

"You are welcome, Miss Queen," Nyssa said, though her voice was disguised. Sound to their left heralded the approach of Mr Diggle.

"Time to go," he said as he came into view though his voice was similarly disguised. "The police have arrived to retrieve her."

"This is where we part ways, Miss Queen," Nyssa said as she stepped back. She accepted her retrieved bow and arrow from Diggle as he stepped up to her and with a single nod at Thea, ran off into the warehouse, Diggle following close behind. Thea just stood there, staring after them, until the first police arrived.

#Arrow#

"You alright?" Diggle asked as they crouched on the roof and watched the organised chaos below them. 

"I am fine, Mr Diggle," Nyssa said as her eyes scanned the mayhem. "Thank you for your concern."

"It's my job," Diggle stated as he stepped away from the edge. "And we are going to work on that," he replied, referring to her referral of him.

"As you wish, Mr Diggle," Nyssa responded with a smile hidden by her veil. "And you will get your good answers too. One day." Diggle merely grunted and Nyssa turned back to the scene below just in time to see Thea being led from the warehouse, wrapped in a blanket. As Thea looked around, Nyssa stood up, somehow catching Thea's gaze and with a single nod at her sister-in-law, she turned and stepped away from the building's edge and out of sight.

 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #15
Chapter 16 – An Engaging Gathering

“Where is my daughter?" Moira demanded sternly as she stood in front of the lead detective. "Why isn't she here yet?"

"I don't know Mrs Queen," the detective replied.  "The last report I had said that they had left the warehouse where she was being held. A quick evaluation at the scene by paramedics didn't turn up any injuries besides some bruising at her wrists and ankles from the restraints. This, coupled with Thea's own words that she wasn't hurt meant they released her and I have a pair of cruisers escorting her home. They should be here at any moment."

"Any word yet?" Oliver asked as he walked into the sitting room, his almost ever present shadow, Detective Lance visible behind him. He saw that the majority of the police officers had already left but several still remained as they packed up equipment or just stood waiting. "Shouldn't she be here by now? It's been ages."

"Yes, she should be here by now. And no, there has been no further word," Moira said as she turned to look at her son, her eyes flashing angrily at Detective Lance before darting back to her son. "Did you reach Nyssa?"

"I did, yes," Oliver replied smoothly. "She and Mr Diggle are on their way back up to the mansion. The walk through the grounds was exactly what she needed to calm down."

"I still don't quite understand how walking around outside in the dark is calming," Moira commented distractedly.

"It reminds us of simpler times," Oliver explained as he glanced at Detective Lance as he walked past him; Lance noticing his look but ignoring it. "When there was no chance of people shooting at us or others trying to kidnap us." 

"Well, be that as it may, Nyssa should be here when Thea gets home," Moira stated. "It will calm her to know that Nyssa is ok."

"I told them to hurry," Oliver said as the sounds of several cars pulling up outside reached their ears. Moira was past Oliver in a flash leaving Walter and Oliver to follow along behind as she uncharacteristically bolted for the door. Outside, they found Thea wrapped in a blanket being tightly embraced by her mother. 

"Thank god you’re safe," Moira could be heard saying over and over again as her eyes brimmed with tears. Thea's eyes were also spilling tears as she squeezed her mother.

"I'm okay, mom," Thea said as she released her hold and stepped back from her mother. "I'm safe."

"I'm glad you’re safe Thea," Walter said as he stepped up next; Oliver hanging back. 

"So am I," Thea replied softly as she hugged her stepfather. Walter eventually stepped away from the hug and Oliver took his cue and approached his sister.

"Hey Speedy," he said softly as he opened his arms to his little sister. "How are you?"

"I'm tired Ollie," Thea replied equally softly as she stepped into her brother's arms, feeling the strength in them, the promise of safety. "I feel like I could sleep for a week."

"Well, you will get the opportunity," Walter announced stoically. "It's important that you take the time to recover fully from this ordeal."

"I'm just glad that the police were able to rescue you in time," Moira said as she saw Lieutenant Pike step out of another car that had just pulled up and begin walking in their direction. "Who knows what else might have happened to you."

"Actually, the police weren't the ones to rescue me," Thea revealed, turning her head without leaving her brother's arms to look at her mother.

"What does she mean Leftenant Pike?" Walter asked as he turned to the senior police officer.

"Initial reports from my men suggest that the vigilante was present and had already incapacitated the majority of the Triad resistance," Pike replied reluctantly. 

"He was there, but he had help. There was a woman in black and red. She had a hood and a veil to hide her face," Thea described. "She had a bow and a sword too. She was the one who fought the white haired Chinese bitch."

"Thea!" Moira admonished lightly though she didn't have the heart to take it seriously. Truthfully she was thinking the same thing even if she would never admit it.

"What? It's true," Thea replied. 

"There have been reports of a female vigilante, dressed in black and red, accompanying the first one, the male," Pike admitted, again reluctantly. "They had remained largely uncorroborated up till now."

"Well, it sounds like you have a vigilante problem, Leftenant Pike," Walter observed. 

"We'll need Thea to come down to the precinct tomorrow at some stage to give us an official statement that we can file along with Miss Raatko's," Pike explained. "We'd also like them to look at some photos to see if they can specifically pick out the ones who kidnapped them."

"I don't think that will be a problem, Lieutenant," Moira said offhandedly. 

"Oh my god!" Thea suddenly exclaimed as she broke out of her brother's arms. "Nyssa? Where is she? Is she ok?"

"I'm here, Thea," Nyssa called calmly from the front doors of the Mansion; Diggle standing behind her and to her right. "I am quite alright."

"I was so worried about you," Thea said as she rushed up to her future sister-in-law. "When I saw that man shooting at you, I didn't know what to think."

"As you can see Thea," Nyssa said as she hugged Oliver's sister. "I am fine." 

"Lieutenant Pike," Moira called, casting one last look at her daughter before turning to the police officer. "As my daughter is now home safely, could I please ask that you and your men leave?"

"We just have one last item to take care of, Mrs Queen," Pike replied. "Detective Lance!"

"Sir," Lance replied as he stepped forward.

"Would you remove the tracking bracelet from Mr Queen?" Pike ordered, much to Lance's consternation. He was about to object when Pike continued. "Given the evidence and witness testimony currently available, the District Attorney is dropping the charges against him."

"Sir, that is a mistake," Lance argued. "Oliver Queen is the vigilante. I promise you that a full investigation would prove that."

"Detective Lance, please do as I have ordered or you will find yourself on permanent traffic duty," Pike threatened sternly. "Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes sir," Lance replied bitterly before turning to face Oliver.  He stepped across to stand opposite him before crouching down and removing the ankle monitor. "Don't think this is over," Lance said as he stood back up. "I'll find something and when I do, I'll be back."

"Detective Lance, I hope that your zeal for upholding the law doesn't impair your vision or your judgement any further," Oliver said calmly and without any emotion. "I would hate to have to file harassment charges."

"I am truly sorry for what's happened your family, Quentin," Moira said to the Detective before turning her gaze to the Lieutenant. "If that will be all Lieutenant Pike, would you and your men kindly get the hell off my property."

#Arrow#

"Thea?" Nyssa called to the teenager, warning her over her approach. It was the next morning and Nyssa had expected Thea to indulge herself and sleep as long as she could. She was surprised to discover Thea's room empty and the girl in question nowhere to be seen. She had searched the mansion before seeing her from one of the upstairs windows in the same position she was now; drawing her bow on the target before her. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine Nyssa," Thea replied before releasing her arrow. It struck the target dead center.

"I doubt that. Especially since you are up before lunch time and have fired at least 15 arrows into that target already," Nyssa stated as she stepped closer. She noticed the almost imperceptible shudder in Thea's arm as she nocked and drew another arrow. She mentally multiplied her count by at least 3.

"It's probably closer to 60 or 70 by now. I haven't been counting," Thea said after releasing her arrow. "I woke up early and needed to work off some energy."

"Understandable, given what you have been through," Nyssa acknowledged. "And you are Oliver's sister. He is the same way."

"Really?" Thea asked as she turned to look at Nyssa.

"Yes," Nyssa confirmed as she stepped forward again to join Thea. "It may not seem like it but Oliver can get quite worked up. I am not sure if he was like that before I met him but he has been like that ever since I met him.

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"What are you doing?" Nyssa questioned as she stepped into the room. She had expected to find the man they had rescued, since confirmed to be the previously thought dead Oliver Queen, lying in bed resting and still healing from the bullet wound in his side. 

Instead, she found him pacing back and forth across his room. And judging by the amount of perspiration soaking his shirt, he was either doing it with great difficulty or for a long time.

"I'm walking," Oliver responded between breaths, not stopping in his movement. "It's the only kind of exercise he will allow me to do and I need to move. I can't stay still any longer." Nyssa turned to see the assassin standing in the corner, eyes locked on the castaway.

"Hakim, what of his wounds?" Nyssa asked, having recognised the assassin.

"The bullet wound has healed sufficiently to allow him to move around but any form of strenuous movement will reopen it," Hakim explained.

"See, I'm healed," Oliver exclaimed as he continued to walk.

"That is not what he said, Mr Queen," Nyssa pointed out.

"Either way, I can't lay around any longer," Oliver argued as he kept walking. "I need to move around. I need to do things."

"Continuing to overexert yourself will only set back your recovery, Mr Queen," Nyssa explained calmly. "We have an extensive library here in Nanda Parbat. Might I suggest you read a book? It might be one of your last opportunities to while you are here."

"I'm not much of a reader," Oliver replied smoothly. "Will I be leaving soon?"

"One way or another, Mr Queen," Nyssa said casually yet equally smoothly. "One way or another."

"What does that mean?" Oliver questioned, suddenly interested enough to stop his pacing.

"It means, Mr Queen," Nyssa began, fixing her gaze on the billionaire before her as if he were nothing more than prey. "When my father returns home tomorrow, that you will be summoned before him. There, he will judge whether you are worthy or not."

"Worthy of what?" Oliver asked, on edge.

"Worthy of life within the League of Assassins, Mr Queen," Nyssa revealed before she turned and headed for the door. Stopping to open it, she looked back at the disheveled castaway. "Or death," she finished before walking out and closing the door behind her.


#Present#

"Doesn't sound like the Oliver I know," Thea said quietly as she bit her bottom lip. "But then again, the Oliver I know apparently died five years ago."

"Oliver is still Oliver, Thea. And he is still your brother," Nyssa stated as she looked at Thea. "But that is not what is bothering you, is it?" Nyssa surmised.

"Not really," Thea hedged, turning back to face the target.

"You can talk to me, Thea. About anything," Nyssa assured her. "I might even be able to help."

"You probably could," Thea replied harshly though Nyssa could tell it was directed at Thea herself and not at anyone else. "I mean, you were able to fight off the two guys trying to kidnap you."

"I have had many years of training that allowed me to do that, Thea. You can't expect yourself to be able to do the same thing without all that experience," Nyssa argued, trying to placate Thea.

"That's just the thing, Nyssa. I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to fight like her," Thea announced, forcing Nyssa to adopt a confused look, lest she give something away.

"The woman who rescued you?” Nyssa presumed. At Thea’s look, Nyssa explained. “Oliver told me.”

“Yeah, the woman in black,” Thea confirmed. “She was able to fight the Chinese bitch easily and I saw the number of guys she dropped just to get to me. I want to be able to fight like she does. To be as strong as she is. As strong as you are.” 

“Thea, as I have already said, I have been training for years,” Nyssa tried to reason. But Thea was seemingly prepared for that argument.

“And you are marrying my brother. That means that you will be around for a while,” Thea countered deftly. “Long enough to teach me a thing or two.”

“If I teach you, and I stress, if,” Nyssa declared. “There will be no teaching of a thing or two. You will learn everything I choose to teach you. And you will learn it perfectly.”

“Sounds good,” Thea concluded.

“I’m not finished. You will listen to everything I tell you to do, and you will do it when I tell you to do. And there will be no more late night parties and abusing of drugs and alcohol,” Nyssa clarified, watching Thea’s face digest what she had said. First there was disbelief, then anger. And finally, her face hardened as her determination took over, bringing a soft smile to Nyssa’s face. “Still think being taught by me sounds good?”

“No, it sounds draconian,” Thea responded snidely. Nyssa watched her consider what she had said again before her face hardened once again. “But I agree. What you say, when you say it.”

“And no more drugs or alcohol,” Nyssa said as Thea sighed.

“And no more drugs or alcohol,” Thea agreed sullenly. “When do we start?”

“You start learning once we buy an apartment and renovate it,” Nyssa answered. “Your fitness training, that starts tomorrow.”

“Why wait until after you buy an apartment?” Thea wondered curiously.

“That was the first lesson I was ever taught Thea,” Nyssa declared, earning Thea’s complete attention. “If your opponent does not know what you are capable of, then they are already disadvantage. Just remember, that lesson goes both ways.”

“I’ll remember," Thea promised.

#Arrow#

“So, what happens now?” Diggle asked as he stood in the basement of the foundry watching as Oliver and Nyssa sparred with practice swords.

"Now, we go back to what we have been doing," Oliver replied between blocks and strikes at his wife. "Crossing names of my father's list."

"Will you be alright on your own tonight, beloved?" Nyssa asked as she struck again. "I need to go and see Zayda."

"I'll be fine," Oliver assured his wife as he parried one of her attacks before riposting. "Have you invited her yet?"

"Who is she inviting to where?" Diggle questioned seriously.

"I was going to tonight," Nyssa revealed as she stepped back and lowered her sword, signaling a stop. "That reminds me, I need to find something."

"Should I ask?" Oliver asked. At his wife's look, he knew his answer, even as she disappeared into the back of the basement where they stored some of their gear. "Didn't think so," he said to himself before looking at Diggle. "It's alright Dig, it's just a friend of Nyssa's that she met right after we returned to Starling."

"How many people have you lied to since your return from the dead?" Diggle wondered out of nowhere. He couldn't speak for everyone else but he was getting tired of it. "Or gave versions of the truth, or omitted something that you didn't want them to know about."

"I tell people what I think they need to know," Oliver retorted, unhappy about where this conversation was heading. "What they need to hear."

"You know, sad thing is, I think you actually believe that," Diggle countered. "But I don't think you counted on so many people have questions that you didn’t want to answer. That wasn't part of the plan, was it?"

"If they get too close," Oliver tried to reason. "Then it could, would be dangerous for them."

"Perhaps," Diggle conceded. "But did you ever wonder what happens when you lie to everyone around you, especially those that love you the most? When you were planning your grand return from the island or wherever you really were; I don’t think you considered the cost and the effect it would have on you and those around you. How much it would hurt them?"

"You're wrong, Mr Diggle," Nyssa said as she reappeared in the main area holding a wrapped bundle. "We considered every aspect of our return. And while we could not guess at all the ramifications of it, we planned for them as best we could."

"And just to be clear, Dig," Oliver intoned softly but seriously. "Lying to those around me, to those that love me. It hurts none of them more then it hurts me."

"It is better this way," Nyssa said as she rested her empty hand on Oliver's back. "You know this."

"I do," Oliver confirmed. "You find what you need?"

"I did," Nyssa said as she held up the bundle. "I will see you both later."

"Take care," Oliver called after his wife as she climbed the stairs out of the basement.

#Arrow#

"How are you feeling, Zayda?" Nyssa asked as she sipped her tea while sitting on the couch in Zayda's apartment.

"Sore, Nyssa. Just as you warned me I would feel," Sin replied as she sat beside Nyssa, also drinking a cup of tea. She hadn't been a tea drinker before meeting Nyssa but after taking her advice and trying it once after one of her prescribed exercise sessions, she found it had helped to relax her and assist her recovery. She had been drinking it ever since. "But I am feeling better. I can't describe it any other way than that. Just better."

"That is good to hear Zayda," Nyssa said as she set her cup down on the coffee table. Sin noticed this and set her cup down as well. "Do you remember what I said during your first day under my tutelage?"

"Sure. I do what you say, when you say it and without asking why," Sin summarised easily, having taken those words to heart. "I told you, I'm good with that."

"I hope that you are, Zayda," Nyssa said as she locked eyes with the girl. "Because you will be attending the engagement party for Oliver Queen and myself." 

"Excuse me?" Sin exclaimed in surprise. "Do I look like someone who rolls with royalty?"

"I'm sorry, did I mumble?" Nyssa questioned, her tone hardening and demanding an immediate answer.

"No Nyssa," Sin instantly replied.

"Good, because we have a lot of work to do beforehand," Nyssa revealed.

"To somehow make me look like a high society girl?" Sin wondered offhandedly.

"Something like that," Nyssa said as she picked up the bundle she had brought with her but had been sitting on the chair next to her since she herself had sat down. "These should help," Nyssa offered as she passed the bundle to Sin.

"What is it?" Sin asked as she rolled the bundle between her hands. "It doesn't feel heavy. A dress? Cause I do not look good in a dress."

"No, it is not a dress Zayda," Nyssa stated as Sin began unwrapping. "I have given you a pair of stilettos to wear."

"Shoes?" Sin uttered as she continued to unwrap, until what was in the bundle lay before her. "Not shoes."

"No, Zayda," Nyssa asserted. "Not shoes."

#Arrow - 10/11/2012#

"I feel like an idiot," Sin said as she climbed out of Nyssa's car. Not having any other realistic way for her to arrive, Nyssa had probably upset Moira by leaving before the party began to pick up her young protégée. Not that she overly cared.

"If you would prefer, I have a dress upstairs that I think will suit you," Nyssa offered with a smile as she walked around the car.

"I'm good, thank you," Sin replied as she balanced carefully in the heeled boots she was wearing. Perhaps not considered the best attire, given the weather and Sin's pant suit style outfit, they were an acceptable choice.

"Remember, today you are just a friend of Nyssa Raatko. Nothing more," Nyssa reminded Sin. "Not even Oliver knows more than that about you. And certainly no one knows what I can do or that I am teaching you."

"I remember. Lesson number one, got it," Sin reassured her teacher. "Anything else?"

"Relax. Believe that you belong here and others will too," Nyssa advised as she started walking towards the mansion where she could see a few of the guests were stating to arrive.

"Easier said then done," Sin said as she fell into step beside Nyssa. "Especially when I have a pair of knives strapped to my calves."

"They don’t know that and I would urge you to not let them discover it," Nyssa said, smiling as she continued to walk. "Besides Zayda, I have double that number of blades on me."

"I am not even going to ask where," Sin deadpanned as they stepped up to the front door of the mansion. Nyssa led her inside and she got her first look at the inside of the Queen family home. And it was big.

"Nyssa!" A high pitched voice squealed and Sin turned to see a young woman rushing up and wrapping her arms around Nyssa. "We were starting to worry you wouldn't make it back in time."

"I wouldn't miss this Thea. Not for anything," Nyssa assured the younger Queen.

"And you look great," Thea said as she stepped back to admire her future sister-in-law. "That dress is smoking."

"Thank you, Thea," Nyssa expressed. "Your advice about that dress shop was quite good."

"I've been there a time or two," Thea said dismissively, turning her gaze to Sin. "Who's this?"

"This, is Sin," Nyssa introduced. "A friend I met while exploring the city."

"Well, welcome to the Queen Mansion, Sin," Thea offered in greeting. "Can I show you around a little?"

"I'd like that," Sin replied after catching Nyssa's almost imperceptible nod. 

"Great, let’s go," Thea said as she grasped Sin's hand and gently led her deeper into the mansion. Nyssa watched them go before catching Moira approaching from the other direction; a well-dressed yet stern looking man beside her.

"I see you made it back," Moira observed in greeting. While they had grown accustomed to one another, every so often, Nyssa did something the Moira didn't approve of and she liked to make it known, or so Nyssa believed.

"I did, Moira," Nyssa responded. "I hope I haven't missed anything important."

"No, not even half the guests have arrived yet so it is fine," Moira assured her future daughter-in-law. "Oliver is mingling but there is someone I would like you to meet first."

"This distinguished gentleman beside you, I assume," Nyssa surmised casually.

"Yes, he has been a friend of the family for a very long time," Moira declared happily. "Nyssa, I'd like to introduce Malcolm Merlyn."

 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #16
Chapter 17 – Meetings And Conversations

"Wonderful to meet you, Mr Merlyn," Nyssa replied as she looked at the man. Something about him struck her as familiar somehow but she dismissed it due to Malcolm being Tommy's father. "I am glad you were able to join Oliver and myself today as we celebrate our engagement."

"I wouldn't have missed it," assured Malcolm as he examined the woman before him discreetly. Something was tickling his memory about her. "I must say, you name is rather unique. I believe I have only heard it used once before, a long time ago." 

"I have never looked into the commonality of my name, Mr Merlyn. It has never bothered me one way or another," Nyssa replied politely. "What about your name? Is it a common name?"

"Somewhat, yes." Malcolm responded smoothly, his mind still at work over this mystery woman. "I was shocked to hear about what happened to you. Being stranded on the island must have been quite terrifying."

"It was at first. But then Oliver and I found each other," Nyssa explained. "And now we are all here to celebrate our engagement."

"And the rest is history, as they say," Malcolm commented.

"Indeed it is, Mr Merlyn," Nyssa agreed.

"I have to ask, what do your mother and father think of you marrying a billionaire that you met while marooned on a deserted island?" Malcolm asked, not catching the look that Moira shot him for bringing up Nyssa's parents. "Speaking from a father's perspective, I don't think I would approve of Tommy marrying someone he met while confined."

"Regrettably, my mother died while I was quite young. And as to my father," Nyssa said, staring into Malcolm's eyes. "While he may still try to guide or control my actions, I have long become adept at getting what I want. And he knows this. Besides, as you pointed out, Oliver is a billionaire."

"Quite true," Malcolm agreed to Moira's perturbation.

"If you will excuse me, I would like to find my fiancé," Nyssa said before walking away.

"She is an exceptionally unique young woman," Malcolm observed as he watched Nyssa depart. "I cannot wait to meet her father."

"Yes, she is unique,” Moira agreed as she sipped her champagne. "And neither can I. He is quite the man, apparently."

#Arrow#

"This party is sweet," Tommy exclaimed as he clapped Oliver on the back. "And I never thought I would be saying that about Oliver Queen's engagement party. Or that I'm actually attending it."

"Don't let Laurel hear you say that," Oliver observed as he looked around at all the people here to celebrate his engagement to Nyssa; more than 70% of which he didn't even know. He had yet to see Nyssa since she had left but he knew she had returned as he had seen Sin being shown around the house by Thea. Oliver had to admit, he was impressed; Sin didn’t look like Sin, she looked like one of Thea’s usual friends, though obviously more grounded. Oliver even had to look twice to discover that she was indeed armed as he suspected she was. “So how are you two going?”

“We are, going,” Tommy hedged carefully. He wasn’t sure himself how things were going but he hadn’t crashed and burned yet so that was a good thing. “To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how we are going. I don’t exactly have a lot of experience in this whole being in a relationship deal. My previous experience has been more in line with wine, dine and leave the next morning.”

“Trust me when I say this. Waking up next to someone you love is the best feeling in the world. I can’t even begin to describe it to you but I wouldn’t trade it for all the money and women in the world,” Oliver proclaimed emotionally. Tommy was actually surprised by how emotional Oliver had gotten with his words.

“Beloved, you say such wonderful things. Always reminding me why I love you so much,” Nyssa said as she stepped up behind the two men. She nodded at Diggle where he stood watch off to the side before refocusing on the two men. “You should take lessons from him, Tommy. I am sure Laurel would appreciate it.”

“I like to think that I’m charming enough,” Tommy quipped as he sipped his drink. “It’s worked up till now.” 

“Tommy, never assume what you have will always be there,” Nyssa warned casually. “You never know when everything can change.”

“Although that change is not always bad,” Oliver added cheerfully. “I’m proof of that.”

“Right,” Tommy said in bewilderment before letting it pass. “I’m still getting used to how much you have changed. It’s like you’re the opposite of what I remember you being.”

“I have been away for 5 years Tommy. Stuck on an island without alcohol or anything else,” Oliver reasoned. “I had to grow up. I was forced to grow up. You might think about trying it one day. You never know what it could bring you. And I’m sure that Laurel would approve.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Tommy said dismissively. He gulped down the last of his drink. “I need a refill. Excuse me,” he said before walking off.

“I do not think he appreciated us telling him to grow up,” Nyssa observed as she looked around at the guests. “Even if we did try to do it gently.”

“Tommy is the eternal child. He has always had pretty much everything he has ever wanted,” Oliver said as he watched his friend walk away. “The only thing I have ever known him to want was his father back in his life.”

“I just met Mr Merlyn,” Nyssa revealed. “He seemed very, business-like.”

“Yeah, that is quite an accurate description,” Oliver agreed with a smile. “He’s been like that since he got back after Tommy’s mother died.”

“Got back?” Nyssa asked, curious. “He went somewhere?”

“Somewhere,” Oliver said. “After Rebecca died, Malcolm disappeared for two years. No one knows where he went but when he came back, he was different. Where before he was happy and smiling, now he was stern and hard, all business. He was never the same and he and Tommy never really interacted as father and son ever again.”

“I cannot really comment on how a father should interact with their child. I am certain most people would not approve of my fifth birthday gift of a Tanto,” Nyssa pointed out as she looked around, her eyes suddenly locking onto one of the guests as they approached the prospective bride and groom. 

#Arrow#

"So, how did you meet Nyssa?" Thea asked as she and Sin walked through the gardens. She had shown Sin around the mansion and now they were just wandering, avoiding the large crowds inside of her mother's guests. When Sin had asked why she called them that when it was Nyssa's and Oliver's engagement party, Thea had simply replied that neither of them probably knew even half of the guests in attendance.

"Ah, at a coffee shop. I was being harassed by some guy and she scared him away," Sin explained calmly. "After he left, we got to talking. She was new in Starling and we have just kept in touch. I was shocked to discover where she was taking me today."

"She didn't warn you?" Thea asked, astonished.

"No, she did not," Sin enunciated slowly. 

"It must have been quite a surprise then," Thea pointed out. "Arriving here today."

"Oh, you have no idea," Sin embellished. “If I had known I was going to be standing up this much, I would have worn more comfortable shoes.”

“I hear ya,” Thea agreed. “I’ve been wearing these Jimmy’s around a little bit each night just to break them in.” 

“Must be rough,” Sin mumbled under her breath as a cold breeze swept through the garden, causing both girls to shiver slightly.

“Pardon?” Thea asked, not having heard Sin’s words clearly.

“I’ve had enough,” Sin covered quickly. “I’m going to head back inside.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll join you.” Thea said as she wrapped her arms around herself.  “It’s getting a little chilly out here.” The two girls headed back inside where Sin immediately noticed Nyssa and Oliver speaking with a man who she thought looked Japanese.

#Arrow#

“What are you doing here Sarab?” Nyssa questioned. “We were expecting Al-Owal.”

“From recently gathered information and after your recent brush with Amanda Waller, your father believed that a more overt display from the League was required. I was chosen because of my previous familiarity with Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. I am to become your bodyguard,” Sarab explained. “I was also chosen as his representative to be here today as it was, convenient.”

“I do not need a bodyguard,” Nyssa stated firmly.

“Neither does Al Sah-him,” Sarab pointed. “And yet Oliver Queen’s bodyguard is standing against the wall not 10 meters away. I am here to be the future Nyssa Queen’s bodyguard. And given the recent kidnapping attempt on yourself and Thea Queen, I believe my presence would be beneficial.”

“So now my father chooses to change his mind?” Nyssa wondered.

“That I cannot answer,” Sarab replied. “My instructions were clear however. Maseo Yamashiro is to protect you and those around you from any threat. Sarab is disallowed from assisting you with your crusade. He may only act on League-related matters.”

“You mentioned recently gathered information,” Oliver noted, changing the subject. “What is the information?”

“Too much to go into here,” Sarab said. “Briefly, your father learned that his greatest foe has plans in motion to again take you hostage.”

“What happened to the order he gave directly ordering that to be avoided?” Oliver asked with a smirk. The entire league knew of that order from the enemy and why it was instituted. 

“It would seem it has been withdrawn,” Sarab responded. 

“Interesting,” Nyssa observed quietly, deep in thought. “This changes things.”

“Yes it does,” Oliver agreed. “Is there anything else?”

“Yes, I was not sent alone,” Sarab revealed. At both Oliver’s and Nyssa’s looks, he continued. “Aziz volunteered to accompany me.”

“Aziz volunteered!” Nyssa exclaimed, struggling to maintain her composure.

"I was surprised as well," Sarab concurred as he looked around. "He has been directed to be your shadow Nyssa, and only to reveal himself if your life is directly threatened."

"I'm still shocked that Aziz volunteered to leave Nanda Parbat," Oliver said. "He never leaves unless he is ordered too."

"One of the reasons I believe your father accepted him," Sarab stated. "Also, it has put all of us that were present that night in the same city. A force greater than the sum of its members."

"I agree," Nyssa declared as she glanced around casually. "We will speak more about this later. For now, we should re-join the party. Oliver's mother appears to be looking for us." No sooner had Nyssa said that then Moira made her appearance known.

"Ah, here you both are," she said as she stepped up between Oliver and Nyssa. "I was beginning to wonder if you two had disappeared again."

"No, mother, we haven't disappeared," Oliver replied lightly. "We have been right here speaking with an old friend of Nyssa's.

"Really," Moira responded, somewhat surprised.

"Yes," Nyssa said cheerfully. "It has been several years since I have seen him but before that, we got along quite well."

"Allow me to introduce myself," Sarab said as he bowed slightly. "Maseo Yamashiro."

"Japanese?" Moira asked curiously.

"Yes, Mrs Queen," Sarab confirmed. "I work for Nyssa's father and was sent here today to be his representative. He asked me to tell you that he is looking forward to meeting such a strong woman as yourself."

"Well, I will have to thank him for the complement," Moira said graciously. "I had hoped to meet him today. But Nyssa told me that he was unable to attend due to a busy business schedule."

"That is correct, though I have been assured that he has already cleared his schedule in 3 weeks,” Sarab declared to Mrs Queen politely. “Nothing is going to prevent him from attending his daughter’s wedding.”

“Well that is good to hear,” Moira said as she grasped her son’s arm. “Oliver, I think it is time for a speech from the groom.”

“Ah, duty calls,” Oliver pointed out with a smile. “Please excuse me.” Nyssa watched as Oliver disappeared into the crowd with his mother; Diggle following along behind. 

“What of Rasha and Basima?” Nyssa asked once they were alone.

“They, along with two others have been sent to Eastern Europe in search of a masked mercenary,” Sarab answered.

“Four assassins sent after a single target?” Nyssa questioned. “Does that not seem a bit excessive?”

“This single man is reputed to have a large group of professional fighters at his disposal,” Sarab explained. “And he is said to be an extremely dangerous opponent in his own right. From what I know, he apparently broke into a maximum security prison and retrieved one of the inmates, using nothing but a katana.”

“Surely an exaggeration,” Nyssa said as she saw Oliver reappear at the end of the room. “But keep me appraised of their hunt.”

“As you wish,” Sarab said with a bow of his head. He waited a moment before continuing slowly. “There is one last thing I would say.”

“What is it?” Nyssa asked, picking up on the hesitation in his voice. “You can speak freely here, Sarab. I am not my father.”

“I believe I was also chosen so as to antagonise Amanda Waller,” Sarab proclaimed calmly. “After her trapping of you and your subsequent retrieval, it is my opinion that I have been sent to vex the woman responsible. She will undoubtedly have you watched closely and my arrival will be of interest to her.”

“Undoubtedly, given your history with her,” Nyssa agreed. “It would seem that our lives here in Starling City are becoming quite complicated. I am almost starting to miss the island.”

#Arrow#

“Well, firstly, I would like to thank you all for coming here today and helping Nyssa and I celebrate our engagement,” Oliver said as he stood before all the gathered guests. “It is wonderful to see you all again after all these years.” This earned him a round of soft chuckles from the crowd. “When I first came back to Starling City, back home, I was worried how everyone would react to my return, especially as I was returning with a fiancé,” Oliver revealed, glancing at Laurel. “But everyone has been supportive and great about it. And I hope everyone will continue to be that way and I look forward to seeing you all here again in 3 weeks when I make Nyssa my wife. Thank you,” Oliver concluded to soft applause from the crowd. He sipped his champagne and turned to walk away but was met instead by his sister. “Hey Speedy,” Oliver greeted his sister.

“Have you spoken to Nyssa’s friend?” Thea asked.

“Which one?” Oliver asked, guessing the answer but wanting to be sure. “Sin or Felicity?”

“Sin,” Thea clarified. “There is something off about her.”

“What do you mean?” Oliver wondered, curious what his sister was getting at.

“She doesn’t belong,” Thea revealed. “She is dressed for the part but the way she acts, the way she talks. She doesn’t belong.”

“Maybe she is just uncomfortable being in such a big house, filled with lots of people she doesn’t know and has never met before?” Oliver offered, knowing he had to try and divert Thea’s curiousity. 

“Maybe,” Thea hedged uncertainly. “I just think there is more to it.”

“I wouldn’t put too much thought into it Thea,” Oliver said calmly. “I trust Nyssa and she wouldn’t bring someone into our house that didn’t belong. It’ll be fine.”

“If you say so, Ollie,” Thea said, not satisfied.

“I say so,” Oliver assured his sister, before changing the subject. “Tell me about this penthouse apartment you found. It had a bowling alley in it?”

“It did,” Thea confirmed. “It was a nice place in a pretty nice building.”

#Arrow#

“Mrs Davidson, I’m Oliver Queen,” Oliver introduced himself as he offered his hand to the woman before him. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with us on such short notice.”

“That is quite alright, Mr Queen,” Mrs Davidson assured the man before her. “I had no plans that could not be changed.”

“You have already met Miss Raatko,” Oliver said as he indicated Nyssa before gesturing in the other direction. “This is Mr Diggle, our security specialist.”

“Ma’am,” Diggle said.

“Hello,” Mrs Davidson greeted the tall man she could easily identify as a bodyguard. “I was surprised to receive the call from Miss Queen asking to meet with you today. I was under the impression that neither she nor Miss Raatko were interested in this apartment.”

“You know how it is, Mrs Davidson,” Oliver replied. “If you show too much interest then the seller thinks they have the best position.”

“Which is what you have just done by requesting a second viewing,” Mrs Davidson argued.

“True. However I am under no obligation to buy this apartment,” Oliver pointed out calmly. “We still maintain the stronger position.”

“That you do, Mr Queen,” Mrs Davidson agreed. “I see that you possess the same skills that made your father a business tycoon.”

“I will take that as a compliment,” Oliver said. “Do you mind if we wander around?”

“It was meant as one,” Mrs Davidson replied. “Please, look around as much as you like. I will be downstairs if you need me.”

“Thank you, Mrs Davidson,” Nyssa called as they watched the older woman depart, leaving the three of them alone. “So, what do you think?”

“It’s nice. Spacious. Maybe a little ostentatious,” Oliver said as he looked around. “But not bad. Diggle?”

“It’s private. Security won’t be an issue with the systems they already have along with a few more that can be installed. The glass is mirrored so you can see out but no one can see in,” Diggle explained. “It’s not bad.”

“I agree,” Oliver stated. “Obviously some renovations are in order. Removal of the bowling alley for one.”

“You don’t like bowling?” Diggle asked, grinning widely.

“I don’t mind it,” Oliver replied. “But I have other plans for that space.”

“So we are going to purchase it then?” Nyssa asked, already knowing what her husband planned for that space.”

“We are,” Oliver said as he headed back to the elevator.

#Arrow#

“That was a quick look around,” Mrs Davidson noted as she saw them approaching. “I just got down here myself.”

“Only needed to check a few things,” Oliver said. “How soon would the transfer of ownership be completed?”

“If you already have the funds available, it could be completed in as little as 3 days,” Mrs Davidson explained.

“That quickly?” Oliver asked in surprise. “I thought it would take longer.”

“Some things can be expedited, Mr Queen,” Mrs Davidson pointed out. “Buying an apartment is one of them.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Oliver apologised. “You misunderstand me.”

“You don’t wish to buy the apartment?” Mrs Davidson questioned. She had thought that was what they meant.

“Oh, I do want to buy the apartment,” Oliver confirmed. “And the building.”

#Arrow#

“I am surprised Mr Diggle,” Nyssa said as she watched the tall man spar with her husband. “Not many men are capable of keeping up with Oliver.”

“Well,” Diggle started as he parried a series of strikes from Oliver before replying with a few of his own. “I think he is holding back a little. Testing me,” Diggle said as he suddenly took a swipe at Oliver’s head; a swing that was easily ducked.

“Anchor the rear hand, Diggle,” Oliver advised. “Come on.”

“Ok,” Digg responded and the two started trading blows again. Nyssa could tell what Oliver was about to do but didn’t have time to warn Diggle as her husband suddenly quickened his pace of strikes and then snuck in between Diggle’s guard to smack him on the side of the jaw, eliciting a groan of pain. “Uhh!”

“Variable acceleration, Diggle,” Oliver explained as he circled Diggle, who had dropped to a knee. “Most fighters work at the same pace. When you switch it up, you throw your opponent off his game and that is when you slip through.”

“That was nice,” Digg noted dryly as he rubbed his cheek. “Where’d you learn that?”

“His name was Yao Fei,” Oliver said after a moment, having considered not even answering Diggle’s question.

“He give you one of those scars?” Diggle wondered.

“One of them,” Oliver admitted, remembering the first time he was injured on the island, the feel of the arrow in his shoulder.

“And the others,” Diggle questioned. At Oliver’s silence, he went on. “You know, one of these days, you two are going to be straight with me about what really happened on that island. OR rather not what happened on it,” he said as he stood up to face Oliver again.

“Absolutely,” Oliver agreed as the two began again. Nyssa watched as Diggle lasted less than six seconds before Oliver ducked under one of Diggle’s swings, spun around behind him and took out his knee, dropping Diggle to the concrete. “But not today,” Oliver noted jovially as he walked away.

“That was a pretty sweet move,” Diggle said as he rose back to his feet.

“Thank you, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa said from where she was sharpening her sword, checking its edge as she went. “I do like that move and have found it quite useful myself, hence why I taught it and others to Oliver.”

“You taught Oliver?” Diggle asked, surprised.

“Does that surprise you, Mr Diggle?” Nyssa asked plainly. “That a woman could teach a man.”

“I’ve been taught by woman before Nyssa. That doesn’t surprise me one bit,” Diggle clarified. “I just always assumed that it was Oliver that taught you.”

“Never assume, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa advised casually. “It can lead to trouble.”

“I’ll remember that,” Diggle promised. “And I might get you to teach me a few of those moves too.”

“I would be happy to,” Nyssa said.

“And in the meantime, I will be using those moves on him,” Oliver said as he brought up an image on the screen. “Scott Morgan runs water and power in the Glades.” He showed the screen to Nyssa and Diggle. “Jacks up the prices and when people can't pay, shuts them down even in the dead of winter.”

“Which is still several weeks away,” Diggle noted as he pulled up a news article about a bank robbery. “These guys started in Keystone 3 years ago, then began moving west, hitting banks along the way. This morning they hit Starling City Trust.” At Oliver’s blank look, he continued. “They shot an off-duty cop. He's in a coma and the doctors are saying it's a coin toss whether he'll make it or not.”

“If he is a police officer, then the SCPD will devote a lot of attention to it,” Nyssa reasoned. “We do not wish to draw undue attention to ourselves, Mr Diggle. That would interfere with our work.”

“Overwhelmed and underfunded?” Diggle argued. “Look, these guys don’t hit a single bank and disappear. They hit two or three banks each time which means they are already planning their next job.”

“Digg, I think you have the wrong impression about what it is that we do, Oliver said pointedly, turning to stare at the bigger man.

“You both take out bad guys with a bow and arrow,” Diggle replied sarcastically, standing tall. “Or knives and swords.”

“We do not fight street crime, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa explained. “That is a symptom of the illness this city is suffering from. We are trying to cure the disease.”

“CEOs, gangsters and crooked entrepreneurs. I get that,” Digg tried. “I’m just saying, maybe we can make more of a difference if you both think beyond the scope of those pages,” he reasoned. “I am sure that your father wouldn’t mind, Oliver.”

“No, you don’t get it,” Oliver replied adamantly, his anger rising. “My father sacrificed his life so that I could live. Live and make a difference by fixing this city that he and every other name in this book ruined in some way. Every name that we cross off this list honours his sacrifice.”

“Oliver, Nyssa. There is more than one way to save this city,” Diggle argued.

“Not for us, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa replied coldly. “Crime happens in this city almost every hour of every day. Would you have us try and stop all of it?” Diggle shook his head and turned to walk away.

“It sounds like you have both have a narrow definition of how to be heroes,” he stated as he passed.

“We are not heroes,” Nyssa and Oliver whispered simultaneously, staring at each other.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #17
Chapter 18 – The Chance To Make A Difference

“Oliver, could we speak with you for a moment?" Moira called out as Oliver and Nyssa were walking past the sitting room. Glancing at one another, already guessing what Moira wanted to speak with them about, they changed their course and joined Moira, and Walter, in the sitting room. "Thank you."

"What would you like to talk about?" Oliver asked innocently.

"The purchase you made yesterday morning," Moira replied steadily.

"Well, the paperwork and transfer hasn't been finalised yet," Oliver revealed casually. "So technically, I haven't purchased anything yet.

"Oliver, I had thought you were taking things more seriously," Moira said disappointingly. "I can see now that you still have a streak of irresponsibility in you."

"How so?" Oliver asked curiously, maintaining his calm. Nyssa was about to interject on her husband's behalf but a simple squeeze of her hand silenced her. "I don't believe I have acted irresponsible in anyway. Rather, I have done the opposite."

"Oliver, you are trying to buy a building!" Moira stated firmly in exasperation. "I don't see how that can be seen as acting responsibly."

"Before I answer your question, may I ask one of my own?" Oliver asked. At his mother's nod, he continued. "Have you seen any of the details of the transaction?"

"I haven't had the time," Moira replied. "When I received a phone call this morning telling me what you wished to do, I immediately put a hold on it until I could speak with you. To find out what you thought you were doing."

"And your first thought, despite everything I have done since my return. Joining the company, trying to learn the family business, is to assume I am being irresponsible," Oliver said, continuing his calm demeanour. Nyssa could see that Walter was studying Oliver intently, his keen mind playing through scenarios before Nyssa's eyes. Moira, on the other hand, had apparently already made up her mind.

"It would not be the first time," Moira hedged, staring at her son knowingly.

"Huh,” Oliver questioned, unable to control his response. Regaining his composure, he decided to take the front foot. “Would you like me to explain why I am buying the building?”

“You’re buying a building?” Thea asked as she walked into the sitting room after having become curious why everyone was in there. “Which one?”

“The building which had the bowling alley in the penthouse,” Nyssa replied, unable to resist baiting Moira. 

“Oliver!” Moira exclaimed. “Really?”

“It was a nice apartment. Spacious and modern,” Thea remembered. “You get a good price?”

“I wouldn’t be buying the building if I wasn’t,” Oliver stated bluntly.

“Well, that is good to know,” Moira said, still unconvinced. Oliver decided to explain.

“It is a 22 storey apartment building. Besides the penthouse, it has 20 floors of apartments with 11 apartments per floor for a total of 220 apartments,” Oliver described to Moira’s surprise and Walter’s interest, Nyssa saw. “Even at a modest return of just $300 per apartment after expenses, the building pays for itself in just 10 years.”

“Well, be that as it may, why do you feel the need to buy it?” Moira questioned. “You are already building a club. Couldn’t you just buy the penthouse?”

“I could. And yes, I am opening a club. But that is a widely variable source of income dependent on people wanting to party,” Oliver explained clearly. “Purchasing this building will provide me a more stable source of income and a better return in the long run.”

“He isn’t wrong, Moira,” Walter pointed out as his phone beeped. He reached for his pocket as his continued. “Speaking from a purely business perspective. If his numbers are right and he can fill all of the apartments, which shouldn’t be a problem in this market, then it is a sound investment. Perhaps even an excellent one.”

“Walter, are you suggesting that I allow Oliver to buy the building?” Moira asked her husband, astonished.

“Why not?” Oliver coaxed jovially. “We can call it a wedding present.”

“Oliver’s decision to purchase the building appears to be sound. He has obviously worked out how much it will cost him and how much it will take for the building to turn a profit. I cannot find fault in his processes,” Walter answered his wife’s question. “The least we can do is allow him the opportunity to see if it truly pays off. What is the worst that can happen? He needs to sell the building to recoup his losses?”

“I suppose your right,” Moira yielded. “I will tell them to proceed with the purchase.”

“Thanks mom,” Oliver said.

“You’re doing the right thing Moira,” Walter said as he pocketed his phone and stood up. “Once you’re finished here, could I see you upstairs please?”

“Of course,” Moira replied with a smile. Walter returned it with a half-smile before walking briskly out of the room. “Nyssa, would you excuse us a moment?”

“Of course,” Nyssa said, mimicking Moira’s recent response. “I forgot something upstairs. I will meet you in the garage, Oliver.”

"I'll be along shortly," Oliver replied before turning back to his mother. "There was something else?"

"Yes, I had another phone call this morning," Moira announced to Oliver and Thea's puzzlement. It was from Janice Bowen. Carter's mother.” She explained. 

“Oh,” The two said simultaneously with the same dismayed tone.

“Carter Bowen. The perfect son.” Oliver joked. 

“Is he perfect?” Moira asked teasingly. 

“According to you,” Oliver said with a smile, the earlier tenseness between them seemingly forgotten. “Carter Bowen just won the national chess championship,” he began reciting. “Carter Bowen is anchoring the debate team,” he continued as he turned to Thea. 

“I'm sure I didn't make that big of a fuss,” Moira objected lightly. 

“Oliver, Carter just got accepted into Harvard and Princeton,” Thea continued. 

“Well, that's because Carter got a perfect score on his SATs,” Oliver replied. 

“Now, how did he manage to study and cure cancer?” Thea wondered sarcastically.

“All right,” Moira chuckled. “I get it. Well, they're coming for brunch and I expect you to be there, Oliver.” 

“I have plans,” Oliver said immediately. Moira smiled, almost cunningly. 

“That's fine,” She replied easily. “Brunch is tomorrow.” Thea couldn't resist smiling wickedly at her brother. 

“Hmm, inches from a clean getaway.” She mocked. 

“Well, I expect you to be there too, Thea,” Moira added, looking at her daughter whose face fell. 

“Snap!” Oliver retorted, grinning widely. Thea shot an annoyed glare at him. 

“Nobody says that anymore,” She groused. 

“What?” he asked, then shook his head and turned back to his mother. “Mom, I can't actually go. I have business to attend to with the club.” 

“I haven't seen the Bowens in years,” She said calmly while looking at her son seriously. “So whatever it is that you have planned, I'm sure the two of you can make the sacrifice just this once. Besides, you can demonstrate your apparently new business acumen to them.” 

“We'll be there,” Oliver sighed. Beside him, Thea gave a wan smile as she dropped her head, surrendering to the inevitable. Moira smiled at her two children and walked away.

“I hate you,” Thea told Oliver, not even looking at him before she too left. Oliver watched her go before his ringing phone drew his attention.

“Yeah,” He answered. 

“You know your friend Scott Morgan from your father's list?” Digg asked over the phone. “He just tried to kill himself," he revealed. "Maybe he was afraid of getting a visit from you. How fast can you make it to Starling General?” 

“On our way,” Oliver replied, cutting the call.  As he moved to walk out the door, Tommy walked in it. 

“Hey, just the man I wanted to see,” he said. “I just picked up a new sports car, and I'm thinking we can open her up, pick up a few speeding tickets--” 

“That sounds great, but something's come up,” Oliver interrupted, patting his best friend on the shoulder. “I have to jet,” he stated before he walked out the door to Tommy’s disappointment and bewilderment. 

#Arrow#

"So, this is what you bought?" Oliver asked as he entered the garage. Before him, Nyssa was leaning against the side of her Camaro, arms crossed. "I was beginning to wonder if you were hiding it from me."

"Never that, Beloved," Nyssa replied as Oliver walked up to her. Opening her arms, the two settled into an embrace. "Do you like it?"

"I do. It suits you," Oliver responded. They stood there for a moment before Oliver called out. "You can come out now, Sarab." A deliberate shuffle behind Oliver told the two assassins that the man in question had joined them.

"Forgive my intrusion Al Sah-him," Sarab apologised.

"There is nothing to forgive, Sarab," Nyssa explained, not leaving her husband's arms. "My husband and I are merely sharing a peaceful moment together."

"Possibly few and far between in the future," Sarab observed pointedly.

"No one knows what the future may hold," Oliver said before he pressed his lips to Nyssa's. Sarab averted his eyes to give them a little privacy before Oliver's voice drew his focus again. "From here on out, unless we are sure we are in a safe place and among friends, we are Oliver Queen, Nyssa Raatko and Maseo Yamashiro."

"Understood Oliver," Maseo replied.

"Of course, Beloved," Nyssa agreed. "Where are we off to today?"

"Diggle wants to see us at Starling General," Oliver said. "Apparently Scott Morgan just tried to kill himself."

"That is out of character," Nyssa observed.

"I agree, which is why we are going down there," Oliver said as he looked down at the Camaro. "I'll ride."

"Beloved?" Nyssa wondered at his decision to ride.

"We can't all travel in the Camaro. Your car, so you drive and Maseo can't do his job if I have to get out first to let him out," Oliver pointed out. "And I am not travelling in the back. I'll ride."

"As you wish, Beloved," Nyssa said with a smile. "Perhaps you might need to buy a car big enough for the four of us."

"Maybe," Oliver agreed.

#Arrow#

"Are you sure it was Scott Morgan," Oliver asked as he stepped up beside his bodyguard, who was standing near a recently stopped ambulance. Nyssa and Maseo soon joined them; Maseo keeping an eye on the area. "He doesn't seem like the type of man that would try to kill himself."

"True, but it was the best lie I could think of on short notice," Digg replied as the ear doors of the ambulance opened and an injured man was pulled on a gurney, a man that wasn't Scott Morgan. A woman quickly climbed out after him.

"Mr Diggle, what is going on?" Nyssa demanded forcefully but quietly. Before she could get an answer however, the woman from the ambulance walked over.

"Mr Diggle,” she called. "I cannot begin to thank you enough for organising to have my husband transferred from County Ward to Starling General. Now I can rest assured that he is getting the absolute best care available."

"You really should be thanking this man, Oliver Queen," Diggle replied with a smile as he indicated his charge. "He's the one paying the bill," he explained openly as he turned to Oliver. He noticed Oliver was holding his anger in check and that Maseo was whispering in Nyssa's ear. A nod from her and the other bodyguard was walking away. "Jana's husband, Stan, is a police officer who happened to be making a deposit at Starling trust Bank."

"The bank that was robbed," Oliver stated curtly his face adopting a look of realisation. He flicked his eyes to Nyssa and saw understanding on her face before adopting a look of sympathy and turning to Jana. "Nyssa and I, we were so sorry to hear about your husband's shooting. How is he?"

#Arrow#

"WHAT THE!!!!" The man yelped as the door to his van was pulled open and he was pulled from his seat and left to fall to the pavement. Rolling over, he looked up at an Asian man in a suit standing over him, holding the camera he had let go of before he was pulled out. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Protecting my client," he replied simply as he pulled the memory card out of the camera. "I will be keeping this," he said as he tossed the camera back into the van.

"You have no right to do that," the man objected as he climbed back to his feet. He suddenly found himself pressed face first into the side of his vehicle. "Hey!"

"Leave, before I continue to protect my client," Maseo threatened before he released the man. He stepped back and watched him climb into his van and drive away, tires screeching as he accelerated.

#Arrow#

"Thank you," Jana said again.

"You're welcome," Nyssa replied as she shook the woman's hands. Jana smiled at her before moving away to walk behind her husband as he was wheeled into the hospital. Nyssa watched them for a moment before turning to face Diggle. "You lied to us, Mr Diggle." This proclamation was met by Diggle just looking back at them.

"You asked me to work with you, not for you," Diggle reasoned plainly as he stood tall before the two of them. "And when you did, you said it was a chance to help other people and their families." Diggle said. "Well, Nyssa, Oliver, this is one of those chances and I am not the kind of man to let it slip by. And neither is Stan Washington," Diggle pointed out. He stood and watched Oliver shake his head before turning to walk back towards his bike. "Oliver, don't you walk away from me. I'm not finished talking!" Diggle called after Oliver. "Where are you going?"

"To make a difference," he replied as he picked up his helmet. "Let's go catch some bank robbers," he declared before he put his helmet on. 

"You continue to impress me, Mr Diggle," Nyssa complemented the bodyguard, even as her own bodyguard stepped up beside her. "Mr Diggle, may I introduce Maseo Yamashiro. He will be taking on a similar position as yours as my bodyguard."

"I wasn't aware that you were hiring one," Diggle responded.

"My father believes it is pertinent given my recent attempted kidnapping," Nyssa explained. "And he is aware of our evening activities, even if he won't be taking an active part in them."

"You going to tell me how that came about?" Diggle questioned.

"In time," Nyssa replied with a smile as she began to walk away. "For now, I suggest we catch up with my husband."

"Someone really needs to start giving me some answers," Diggle pointed out as he fell into step with Nyssa and Maseo.

#Arrow#

"…age 37, and a known of associate of Frank Bertinelli, was found shot to death in his driveway. Police declined to comment on whether they believe it is mob-related,” the TV played as the quartet descended into the basement of the Foundry.

“I have the footage from the bank already setup,” Diggle said as he led the way over to the computers. He sat down and keyed up the video, replacing the news broadcast with a CCTV view of the inside of the bank. Hitting play, he sat back to allow the others to watch. Once they had all watched it through once, Oliver sat down at the computer and started it up again.

“They used the jackhammer to tunnel into the sewers below,” Diggle explained. “That’s how they made their escape.”

“Pause it,” Nyssa said suddenly as they watched one of the robbers, wearing the Ace of spades mask, punched what appeared to be the bank manager.

“He has a temper,” Diggle noted.

“And he is the one who shot Officer Washington,” Oliver said.

“That’s right,” Diggle confirmed.

“Beloved, he appears to have some sort of ring on his hand,” Nyssa indicated as she examined the footage. Oliver magnified the image and confirmed the presence of a ring on Ace’s right hand.

“College ring,” Oliver stated as he looked at Ace’s raised hand.

“More likely it’s a high school ring,” Diggle offered.

“Well that ring is how we are going to get an I.D,” Oliver said as he stood up, Diggle sliding into the vacated seat.

“Good idea,” Diggle agreed as he began to type. “But even with image enhancement, we are gonna have a problem getting a clear shot of the ring.”

“True, but it will have left an impression that the police will have photographed,” Oliver pointed out as he glanced at Nyssa, who immediately started moving. “It’ll be in evidence lockup at the precinct,” he said as he turned away from the computers. Diggle started to type again and study the footage some more when he suddenly stopped and looked up.

“Oliver, Nyssa,” he called back to them without turning. “Please tell me you two are not going where I think you are going.”

“Mr Diggle,” Nyssa’s voice echoed back as Diggle looked sideways at a stoic Maseo. “Why do you even ask?”

#Arrow#

"Carefully Beloved," Nyssa advised through the earpiece from outside. They had decided that it was safer for one of them to enter and the other to wait outside in case they were needed to break the first one out. 

“I always am,” Oliver countered and smiled beneath his mask when he heard Nyssa scoff. He cherished these moments when she could be herself and not the hard, callous woman she appeared to be to everyone else. 

“I will believe that when I see it Oliver,” Nyssa said. Oliver said nothing in reply as he stealthily moved along a hallway. Voices ahead stopped him midstride and he barely had time to climb up onto a filing cabinet and wedge himself above a light fitting before Detective Hilton and another officer that Oliver didn’t recognise passed below him, arguing about red tape. Once they had disappeared, Oliver dropped from the ceiling and continued onwards.

Entering the bullpen, he crept slowly and softly to a still logged in terminal and proceeded to hack into the SCPD’s evidence database and copying the files to a flash drive he had brought with him. 

“What is happening, Oliver?” Nyssa whispered in his ear. 

“Downloading the files now,” Oliver whispered back. The download finally finished and Oliver pocketed the drive before beginning his exit of the precinct. “Exiting now.”

#Arrow#

“Nyssa, may I speak with you a moment,” Maseo asked as Nyssa and Oliver returned to the Foundry.

“Of course, Sarab,” Nyssa replied as she glanced at Oliver.

“I’ll start sorting through the evidence with Dig,” Oliver offered and continued on.

“What is it?” Nyssa asked. Maseo bowed his head before looking at her again.

“I must apologise. I have been remiss in my duties,” Maseo explained calmly.

“How so?” Nyssa wondered. “I have not seen anything.”

“That is my point,” Maseo said as he picked up a smallish box that had been sitting on the bench beside him. “I present to you a gift from the forgers of Nanda Parbat.” Nyssa took the offered box and opened it. “Two dozen shuriken with more already being made.”

“They are excellent,” Nyssa observed as she ran a hand over them before shutting the box. “Thank you, Sarab. And do not worry. You have not failed in anything.” Sarab said nothing, merely bowing his head again in response. Nyssa smiled at him before heading to change.

#Arrow#

“We got a hit!” Oliver called out, getting everyone’s attention. “The bank manager Ace punched, his ring left a mark,” Oliver stated, pulling up the picture. “Larchmont High,” he said, looking across at Diggle. “High school,” he noted, and Digg smiled. “I cross-referenced his height and relative age with a list of students and alumni.”

“That will still be a pretty long list,” Diggle pointed out.

“It was,” Oliver said as he typed. “Digging a little deeper, I found one Kyle Reston,” Oliver revealed as he put a picture up on the screen. “Right before his senior year, Kyle, along with his father, mother and younger brother, dropped completely off the grid.”

“There were two other men involved in the bank robbery,” Nyssa pointed out. “If it is this group, where was the woman?”

“Inside,” Oliver declared, bringing up footage from the bank again. “Doing a headcount, aside from Officer Washington, there were 22 customers and employees that exited the bank; 9 men and 13 women. But inside the bank,” Oliver said as he brought up a second image. “9 men and 14 women.”

“They had a person on the inside,” Digg realised.

“The mother,” Nyssa stated evenly.

“Yep,” Oliver agreed. “The police are looking for a three-man crew, we’re going to look for a family. Speaking of which,” Oliver said as he looked at the clock and then at Nyssa before standing. “We are incredibly late for mine.”


Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #18
Chapter 19 – Cops, Robbers And A Failed Drone Strike

“You continue on through," Nyssa said as they entered the mansion. "I am going to go upstairs to change."

"What is wrong with what you are wearing?" Oliver asked. Nyssa just shot him a look before turning away and heading upstairs. "What?" He called after his wife but received no answer. Shrugging his shoulders, he headed deeper into the mansion in search of his mother and the Bowens. He soon found them, pausing outside the room they were in too listen.

"Well, I'm sorry Walter couldn't be here to join us," a woman, he assumed it was Janice Bowen, said.

"Oh, yes, well, the Australian trip came up rather suddenly," Moira explained smoothly in a tone that Oliver had heard his mother use before; a tone that told him she was hiding something.

"Where's Oliver?" A man asked. Oliver recognised the voice as belonging to Carter. "He's not out of town too, is he?"

"Oh. I'm sure he's just..." Moira began as Oliver chose this moment to make his entrance.

"Stuck in traffic," Oliver offered as stepped into the room, cutting off his mother's reply. "One of the few things I did not miss about being on the island - Sunday drivers," Oliver joked as he lent in to kiss his mother on the cheek. "Sorry we're late," Oliver apologised, not waiting for her response before moving on to hug Thea.

"Thank God you're here," she whispered in his ear, her relief obvious. Oliver kissed her cheek before parting to stand in between his sister and his mother, smiling at their guests.

"It is so good to see you, Oliver," Janice said as she stepped forward to kiss Oliver on the cheek in greeting. "We all thought that you were..."

"Well, we, are just happy to have him home," Moira interjected as she rested her hand against Oliver's back. Janice stepped back as Carter took her place.

"And a returning celebrity too," Carter noted as the two men shook hands.

"How do you mean?" Oliver asked politely.

“Billionaire scion, castaway for 5 years,” Carter started as they all moved to take their places at the dining room table. “Did you know, there is a bidding war for the rights to your life story? At least, that's what my agent tells me,” he finished with a chuckle. 

“Agent?" Oliver asked, surprised. "I thought you were a neurosurgeon, Carter.”

“I know. It's crazy, right?" Carter asked rhetorically. "One minute I'm publishing this book on how long-term potentiation initiates the creation of a slow-moving protein synthesis, and the next, there's an agent trying to make me the next Dr Oz,” Carter said, completely unaware how pretentious he sounded. 

“Why would he want you to be a wizard?” Oliver asked in a confused tone, causing everyone to laugh at his question.

“Oh, Oliver,” Moira exclaimed with a smile, shaking her head as Thea leaned closer to her brother. 

“For all our sakes, please start reading Us Weekly.” she advised quietly.

"And what is this I hear about you getting married?" Carter asked nonchalantly.

“It’s true,” Oliver affirmed with a smile. “Just under 3 weeks to go now.”

“My congratulations to you,” Carter said, grinning. “And where is the bride to be? Out shopping?”

“Merely upstairs changing into something a little more suitable," Nyssa declared as she strode into the room. "Please forgive my tardiness."

"Nothing to forgive, my dear," Moira said cordially. "We're all happy you could join us."

"Mrs Bowen, Carter, I would like you to meet my fiancé, Nyssa," Oliver introduced after standing.

"A pleasure to meet you," Janice said without standing.

"I must get the location of this island that Oliver was on," Carter said by way of greeting. "Any length of time there would be worth it to meet someone as beautiful as you."

"Thank you for the complement," Nyssa replied. Deciding to not make a comment about the island, Nyssa changed the subject. "I hope I haven't missed anything."

"Nothing at all," Moira said. "Carter was just telling us about himself."

"I was just describing how fortunate I have been," Carter explained. "But the truth is, I just feel it's our duty as Starling City's more fortunate to help those most in need.” 

“Oh, of course,” Moira agreed as she sipped her drink.

"A noble undertaking," Nyssa appraised, not noticing the glance she received from Moira.

“Wouldn't you agree, Oliver?” Carter asked across the table. Oliver looked at him, a fake smile on his face. 

“You're the hero, Carter,” Oliver observed.

“So now that you're back, what are your plans?” Janice asked. “I understand you have been spending time at Queen Consolidated."

"I have been yes," Oliver confirmed. "I am just trying to understand how the company works and see if I can find a place there," Oliver explained. "As a side project, I am also opening a night club."

"That is..." Carter began but stopped when Diggle and Maseo entered the room; Maseo staying by the door while Diggle walked up behind Nyssa and Oliver and lent down.

"I am sorry to interrupt, but one of Nyssa's friends has been in an accident," Diggle said openly before looking directly at Nyssa. "She is being taken to emergency," he said to her before dropping his voice to barely above a whisper. "First Bank of Starling was hit two minutes ago."

"I am very sorry," Nyssa apologised as she rushed to her feet. "I must go," she declared adamantly before walking quickly from the room. Oliver stood to go after her, not noticing the look of disappointment on his mother's face. Diggle followed his principal out into the foyer where Nyssa and Maseo already waited.

“If the Restons' M.O. holds, they'll make their escape underground,” Diggle explained softly. “First Bank of Starling is located right above the water treatment tunnels. The entrance is located here,” He said as he handed his phone to Oliver, who studied it for a moment before passing it to Nyssa. They all stopped when they heard and saw Moira strolling towards them.

“Oliver?” She called pointedly. “Where are you going?” 

“Nyssa is going to see her friend,” Oliver said, stating the obvious. “And I am going with her.”

“Oliver, we have guests,” Moira argued. 

“And Carter is a doctor. He will understand,” Oliver replied instantly. “I’m sorry,” he apologised before he turned and led the way out the door, Nyssa, Diggle and Maseo in his wake.

#Arrow#

“Looks like they started without us, Beloved,” Nyssa observed as they jogged down a corridor, gunfire sounding ahead of them.

“Shall we join them then?” Oliver asked as he hefted his bow.

“Yes,” Nyssa replied aa the two assassins melded into the shadows. They made their way closer and Oliver spied a bag of cash sitting on the ground behind the three bank robbers. Drawing one of his newer arrows, he fired it at the bag. Upon impact, the arrow released 6 thin steel cables from the tip into the ground, securing the bag to the ground. Ace noticed this and turned to fire at Oliver, but Nyssa quickly drew a conventional arrow and fired it at his gun, knocking it from his hands.

“Let’s get out of here!” Jack yelled even as Oliver fired again and knocked the bag of cash he was carrying from his shoulder to the ground, securing it to the ground like the first one. Ace ran over to the bag and began to tug at it, trying to pull it free. When that didn’t work, he began to yank on the arrow, but the arrow and its anchor cables were stuck fast.

“Forget it!” King yelled as he pulled at Ace’s arm. “Leave it!”

“The cash!” Ace wailed, pulling his arm free to return to trying to free the bag.

“Let’s go!” King shouted as he grabbed Ace again, hauling him away towards an exit. Oliver and Nyssa rendezvoused and watched them retreat.

“Should we pursue?” Nyssa asked, unfamiliar with the tunnel layout.

“No, these tunnels are a rabbit warren. They could lose us easily,” Oliver pointed out. “We’ll catch them next time,” he said and turned to head back the way they had come. Before they could go far though, police entered the tunnel ahead of them, Detective Hilton in the lead.

“It’s the vigilantes!” he called out as he raised his sidearm. “Get them!” he ordered as he opened fire. Oliver and Nyssa ducked behind a row of pipes before Oliver rose back up again and fired an arrow while Nyssa threw a pair of smoke bombs. Oliver’s impacted an electrical box, plunging the area into darkness while Nyssa’s bombs burst open enveloping the tunnels in a cloud. As the cloud expanded, Oliver and Nyssa ran further into the tunnels, bullets passing them as the police fired at them.

They ran down the main tunnel, the gunfire stopping as the cloud expanded to block the lines of fire from the police. The two assassins stopped to look back before Oliver directed Nyssa into a side tunnel. They ran a little way down the tunnel, the two archers slinging their bows over their shoulders before Nyssa jumped up, grasped a pipe and used it to fling herself up into a recess in the roof. Twisting around horizontally 180 degrees, she held herself up with her arms pressed against one wall and her feet against another. She stared at the floor beneath her before Oliver followed her up and held himself below her.

“Did they see you?” Nyssa whispered as she felt her body press along the length of her husbands.

“No,” Oliver whispered back just before 4 SWAT officers passed rapidly below them. The two assassins listened as the men moved away from them.

“Beloved, is that you knife?” Nyssa asked as he wriggled ever so slightly.

“No, it’s not,” Oliver replied through ground teeth, resisting the urge to press back into Nyssa.

“Are you sure?” Nyssa questioned as she allowed more of her weight to settle on Oliver.

“I’m sure,” Oliver replied, finally giving in and arching his back, pushing Nyssa up.

“You are right, Beloved,” Nyssa said, Oliver able to hear her smile as he straightened out again. “That is not your knife.”

“Hmm,” Oliver responded, listening carefully. “I think they’re gone. I’ll drop down and if it’s clear, I’ll signal. If it’s not, I’ll lead them away and we’ll meet back up at the Foundry.”

“As you wish,” Nyssa conceded. Oliver lent forward and rest his forehead to Nyssa’s before releasing the tension in his arms and legs and allowing gravity to take hold. Arching his back, he forced his feet down and landed in a crouch on the ground below, his eyes up and alert. Seeing nothing in either direction, Oliver was about to signal Nyssa when two SWAT officers came around a corner in front of him.

“Police! Freeze!” the two men shouted as they raised their weapons. Oliver quickly turned and sprinted in the opposite direction, knowing Nyssa would know what was happening. He ducked into a side tunnel and continued forward, hearing the two officers behind him continuing their pursuit even as they called for backup.

#Arrow#

Nyssa could only watch as Oliver turned and ran. She knew the plan, but it was still not easy to watch her husband be chased off by two SCPD officers. She was forced to wait further as two more groups of officers ran beneath her, following her husband. After several minutes with no sounds of anything but her own breathing, Nyssa dropped to the ground, landing in a crouch as she unshouldered her bow. Seeing no one, she moved off into the tunnels in the opposite direction of her husband.

She had been moving for almost 15 minutes when she heard a noise behind her. Glancing back, she saw nothing and turned to continue forward, barely having time to raise her bow to block the sword that had appeared in front of her. She blocked a further two attacks with her bow, one of the blades hitting the bowstring and damaging it, before she was able to kick her unknown opponent away, cartwheeling backwards to put distance between them.

"Who opposes me? Show yourself!" Nyssa demanded, shifting her bow to her left hand and drawing her sword. She watched as the shadow that owned the sword stepped forward until she could make who they were.

"Merely a drone," the shadow replied. Nyssa now knew him to be a man. "And we have been tasked with taking you to him."

"Never again will I be his prisoner," Nyssa declared as she dropped her damaged bow to the ground. "I will die first."

"You will come with us," the man commanded as two more attackers materialised behind him, one to each side and both holding what Nyssa recognised as unsuppressed MP5's. "Bleeding or not. You have no choice."

"Please, do shoot me. Not only will your gunfire attract the Starling City Police, it will also attract my Beloved," Nyssa pointed out. "And he will know what you have done." She saw that her words had had their intended effect they lowered their guns as she slowly shifted her stance. "And you should always remember. There is always a choice," she proclaimed as her left hand flashed out, launching a pair of shuriken. The projectiles surprised the men, Nyssa was not known to use them, and they hesitated for a split second, before they all moved to avoid them. It was all Nyssa needed.

Charging in, Nyssa lashed out with her sword and stabbed one of the men in the throat, removing him immediately from the fight before throwing a smoke bomb at the wall to again distract her opponents. The smoke wouldn't affect them due to their headgear completely covering them, but it did serve to hide Nyssa's movements from them. 

Sliding in under the smoke, Nyssa used her sword to sever both Achilles tendons of the man that had spoken before drawing her dagger with her left hand. Springing up, she battered the third man's gun away with her sword and then thrust her dagger up into his head, twisting the blade for good measure.

The last man, kneeling on the ground finally managed to get his sidearm out when Nyssa drove her sword through the right side of his torso, the tip exiting out his chest.

"Others will come," he managed to get out through the pain, knowing that death was upon him.

"I hope so," Nyssa whispered into his ear, her voice cold. "It will make it easier to send them to join you," she said before rotating her wrist and pulling her sword out. The man groaned before his body crumpled to the ground. Nyssa wiped her blades clean on the clothes of the man before she sheathed them and moved to retrieve her bow and shuriken. Once gathered, she set off through the tunnels again.

#Arrow#

"Where is she?" Oliver asked for the third time, pacing back and forth; Diggle and Maseo watching on. "She should have made it back by now."

"Is he always this way?" Diggle asked Maseo quietly.

"I wouldn't know, Mr Diggle," Maseo replied calmly. "I have only recently met the man."

"Yeah, I doubt that," Diggle said. "The way you act around each other tells me that you are more familiar with each other then you just being a recent hire."

"Perhaps I am just good at my profession," Maseo pointed out. 

"Perhaps," Diggle agreed. "But things are occurring around here that aren't adding up and these two know a whole lot more than they should do for having been marooned on a deserted island for as long as they apparently were."

"Mr Diggle, I am sure that if you needed to know their history, then they would have told you," Maseo stated calmly. Diggle was about to reply when Oliver punched one of the metal benches loudly.

"Oliver!" Diggle admonished as he broke away from Maseo to approach Oliver. "I am sure Nyssa is fine. Besides, punching the table isn't going to help and you might need that hand, you, just in case."

"He is right beloved," Nyssa called out as she descended into the basement. "I have told you before that I do not approve of your self-harming tendencies."

"Where have you been?" Oliver asked as she walked over to stand before her.

"I was delayed in the tunnels," Nyssa explained as she set her bow to the side, both Oliver and Maseo noticing it had been damaged and knowing that it took a particularly sharp blade to do that; a blade not carried by SCPD SWAT officers. "I am fine though."

"I was starting to worry," Oliver confessed softly.

"I can tell," Nyssa claimed before kissing him lightly. "But I am here, and I am unharmed. What of the Restons?"

"They managed to escape through the tunnels," Diggle answered, not having moved to greet Nyssa. "All of the money was recovered though."

"It is unfortunate that they were able to avoid pursuit," Nyssa said.

"We'll get them next time," Oliver assured her. "Diggle and I going to calm upon Felicity's talents to see if she can help us to track them down."

"I'm sure she will be able to find them," Nyssa pointed out. "She is very talented."

"Yes, she is," Oliver agreed. "We should head home. It's been a long day. And I'm going to need at least some energy left to deal with my mother."

"I will change," Nyssa said as she picked up her bow and moved over to where she stored her gear. Oliver and Diggle turned back to the computers and began trying to figure out what the Restons might do next while Maseo just stood to the side, saying nothing as he watched. 

Nyssa had just set her bow down, noting she would need to restring it when a barely audible tap sounded from the shadows ahead of her. Looking around, she saw that no one was paying attention though she did note that Maseo was deliberately not looking her way. Turning back, she stared into the shadows.

"There is no fault. The tunnels are vast and convoluted," Nyssa said quietly. One of the shadows could almost be seen to kneel, almost. "I am unharmed. And now we know that they have arrived. There will be more."

"Who you talking to Nyssa?" Diggle asked from behind her. Nyssa turned to look at him as she pulled off her gauntlets.

"A shadow, Mr Diggle," Nyssa replied, seeing Oliver smirk from behind Diggle and the barest twitch at the corner of Maseo's mouth. "Just a shadow."

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #19
Chapter 20 – Past. Present. Future.

“What do you know about this business trip that Walter is on?” Thea asked as she and her brother walked down the hallway.

“Not much,” Oliver replied honestly. “Walter and I have our separate schedules and tasks. We don’t always interact and I don’t know his schedule.”

“Something just doesn’t feel right about it,” Thea said, concern in her voice. 

“Thea, you’re overreacting,” Oliver responded. “It’s just a business trip. Walter will be home soon.”

“Oliver, you didn’t see Walter leaving. Mum was there and the way they were speaking, the tone,” Thea described. “It wasn’t good. I’m telling you something is going on and they’re not telling us.”

“Mom know that you were spying on her?” Oliver joked as they reached the top of the stairs.

“I wouldn’t call it spying,” Thea defended herself. “I would call it staying informed of what is happening in my family. Something you are apparently finding difficult to do.”

“Thea, I have a lot happening right now,” Oliver reasoned calmly, ignoring the barb from his sister. “I can’t always keep up with what is happening with the people around me.”

“I get that, I do,” Thea said soothingly. “But this is mom. You need to at least try and make an effort.”

“You think I’m not?” Oliver asked, his face showing his disbelief. 

“I’m not sure what I believe anymore,” Thea said before she turned and walked away from her brother. Oliver was about to go after her when he heard Nyssa stepping up behind him.

“Let her go, Beloved,” Nyssa advised calmly. Oliver paused midstride and turned to face his wife. 

“She thinks I don’t care about my family,” Oliver stated, somewhat depressed.

"We both know that is not the case," Nyssa reasoned. 

"Yeah, but how do I show her that when I am forever skipping out on something or making something up so that I can try and help the city?" Oliver wondered as his mind drifted. "How do I help my city without hurting my family?"

"I can't answer that Oliver. I don't know," Nyssa admitted as she stepped forward and placed her hand on Oliver's cheek. "But what I do know is that we will figure this out. All we have to do is take it one day at a time."

"How did I get so lucky to have you by my side?" Oliver asked as he rubbed his face into Nyssa's hand, enjoying the feel and the warmth of it.

"You disobeyed my father's orders," Nyssa deadpanned. "And you saved my life."

"Worth it," Oliver stated simply. The two of them stood there for a moment before a cough from behind them announced Diggle's appearance. "I gotta go."

"I know. Doesn't mean I have to like it," Nyssa replied. "Sometimes I miss the island."

"As do I," Oliver agreed. "I'll let you know what we find out."

"Please do," Nyssa said. "And say hello to Felicity for me. Tell her I will call her later."

"I will," Oliver promised. He kissed Nyssa before stepping back and turning to walk away. As Nyssa watched him go, she heard him speak. "Morning Diggle. How are you?"

#Arrow#

"Thea?" Nyssa called out as she walked up behind Thea.

"I would really like to be alone right now Nyssa," Thea said as she sat leaning against the target she normally shot arrows into.

"I am sure that you would like to be Thea, but I also think that you need someone to talk to as well," Nyssa pointed out as she moved over and sat next to Thea. "So tell me, what is wrong?"

"It's probably just me," Thea hedged, not wanting to speak.

"I highly doubt that Thea," Nyssa responded. "You are a remarkably intelligent young woman. So please, tell me what is bothering you."

"Well, there is Walter going on a business trip to Melbourne that is completely out of the blue. Except that when I saw Walter leaving, it looked like him and mom were breaking up," Thea began, he voice accelerating as she went. "Then there is Oliver's apparent disregard for everything happening in our family. To be honest, it still feels like he isn't even here some days; like he was still dead," Thea explained.

"Thea!" Nyssa exclaimed. "You don't really mean that."

"Sometimes I do," Thea replied. "Sometimes I just feel that we; Mom, Walter and I, are just in his way. Like he has another whole set of plans that don't include us and that he would be rather doing those plans then anything with us."

"Thea, can I ask you something?" Nyssa asked.

"Sure," Thea replied.

"What do you think Oliver was doing while he was stuck on an island for 5 years?" Nyssa questioned, surprising Thea.

“I don’t know. Sitting on a beach, working on his tan,” Thea replied, a little sarcastically. “I have no idea what he was doing while he was there.”

“I’ll tell you what he was doing,” Nyssa proclaimed. “When he wasn’t looking for food, or trying to figure out ways to escape that island. When he wasn’t trying to survive each and every day, he was thinking about home."

"Home?" Thea wondered. "Home is here, with his family."

"That is true, Thea," Nyssa agreed calmly. "But to Oliver, home is more than just this house and his family. It's now become the company and, to some extent, Starling City as a whole."

"The city?" Thea exclaimed in surprise. "The company I can kind of understand but why the city?"

"Without the city, you wouldn't have the company," Nyssa stated simply.

"Queen Consolidated as subsidiaries all over the world," Thea argued.

"That is true. But imagine, just for a moment, if something awful, like a fire or a disease or something, were to affect the city," Nyssa described. "You are a smart young woman, Thea. What would happen then?"

"People would die, probably. Stock prices drop like a stone, probably to a point where some other company not based in the city would buy it out from underneath and then probably dismantle it for their own benefit," Thea analysed slowly, showing how smart she really was. "Anyone that worked for QC and managed to survive would then probably be out of a job."

"Keep going Thea," Nyssa urged, wanting the teenager to fully realise what would happen. "What would happen next if Queen Consolidated were to disappear?"

"That many people out of a job, combined with those from other businesses in Starling that would be affected would make the unemployment rate skyrocket. Since most would be unable to get a job again easily, they would either leave the city or figure out a new way to live," Thea determined. Nyssa watched Thea's mind work behind her eyes and could see when she had figured something out. "The Glades!"

"What about the Glades, Thea?" Nyssa prompted.

"The whole city would probably become like they are now," Thea said, shuddering visibly at the thought. "The city would go to shit."

"A tad crude but essentially accurate," Nyssa confirmed. Before she could continue, she was interrupted by Thea.

"My dad," Thea began shakily. "In our economics class, we studied how the closure of one business can affect others one and even the area around where that business was."

"I don't understand," Nyssa lied, having guessed what Thea was now referring too.

"In 2007, my dad closed his Factory in The Glades. My teacher thought it was hilarious to use it as a case study," Thea revealed. "1500 people lost their jobs when it was closed down. Apparently there was some sort of loophole or something in their contracts because my teacher said that none of them were paid severance pay."

"I'm not sure I follow, Thea," Nyssa said. "From what I understand, The Glades have been something of a sore spot for this city for decades. How does your father closing his factory change that?"

"Because, he made it worse," Thea argued. "He fired 1500 people and moved his factory to China."

"Thea, I can't say whether your father's choice to move his factory made the problem in The Glades worse or not," Nyssa said. "What I can say though, is that Oliver is trying to figure out a way to make the problems there better for everyone. I guess you could think of it as trying to fix his father's mistake."

"So you're saying that Oliver should just get a free pass because he is trying to save the city?" Thea questioned despondently.

"No, I'm saying that maybe we should try to be a little more understanding of the pressure Oliver has put himself under," Nyssa replied. 

"I guess when you put it that way," Thea hedged. "I just wish he would try to spend more time with us is all."

"I will speak with him and remind him he has a mother and a sister as well as a city," Nyssa said as she climbed to her feet. "Now, are we still going to have a few rounds of archery practice before the CNRI benefit that Tommy is hosting tonight?"

"Sure," Thea affirmed as she climbed to her own feet. 

"Good, I will see you then," Nyssa said as she turned to walk away. Before she got to far though, she turned back to Thea. "Oh, and Thea!"

"Yeah?" Thea asked.

"Don't forget your exercises," Nyssa reminded her. She easily heard Thea curse under her breathe, smiling as she turned to walk towards where Maseo now stood, his face blank to the uninitiated yet obviously pensive to Nyssa’s eyes.

#Arrow#

“Good morning, Zayda,” Nyssa greeted as Sin opened the door to let her and Maseo in. “How are you?”

“I’m alright, thanks Nyssa,” Sin replied as she allowed her friend to enter, though she knew she couldn’t stop her even if she wanted to. As Maseo entered behind Nyssa, Sin looked him over. “Who’s this?” she asked as she shut the front door.

“This is my new bodyguard. After the kidnapping attempt the other week, my father felt it prudent for me to have some form of personal security. “Sin, I’d like you to meet Maseo. Maseo, this is my friend Sin.”

“Hey, how you doing?” Sin greeted the man as she held out a hand. Even though she had seen what Nyssa was capable of, she couldn’t deny that it was always better to have someone with you to watch your back. Maseo kept his hands in his clasped behind his back as he glanced at Nyssa before looking back at the young woman that Nyssa seemed to know and bowed his head gently. “Not one for shaking hands. I’ll remember that.”

“I see you are remembering my lessons,” Nyssa said as she sat down on the couch. As Sin moved to sit beside her, Nyssa noticed the slightly widened eyes of Maseo before he schooled his features. She was going to have to speak with him. 

“It’s not easy to begin with, just like the exercises you have me doing, but once you start getting used to it, it gets easier,” Sin replied. “You have another lesson for me?”

“I will come to see you soon to see how well you are completing both the lessons and the exercises before I give you more of either,” Nyssa answered. “No, today I wanted to speak with you about something else.”

“I’m all ears,” Sin stated.

“Have you given any thought to what you are going to do with your training if you complete it?” Nyssa wondered, choosing her words carefully.

“First, there is no if. I will complete all the training you set me,” Sin declared firmly, her voice carrying her seriousness. “And no, I haven’t thought about what I am going to do once we are finished. I figured I would sort it out when that happens and focus on my training for now.”

“I am happy that you are so confident that you can complete my training. You will need that confidence,” Nyssa warned, spooking Sin. “But you also always need to be aware of what is happening around you. And not just in a physical sense but also in a temporal way.”

“Temporal?” Sin questioned. “What’s that mean?”

“It means time,” Nyssa answered. 

“So like those that have come before and those that will come after?” Sin tried, still not getting what Nyssa was trying to say.

“No Zayda, that is not what I mean,” Nyssa responded with a soft smile. “What I mean is that while being aware of everything around you that you can see and touch, you also have to be mindful of what you cannot see and touch that is happening at the same time.”

“Whoa, I didn’t know you were a Jedi,” Sin smirked. “So what you’re saying is that while I am training, I need to have an idea of why I’m training and what I am going to use my training for. An endgame.”

“Something like that Zayda, though I prefer the term goal and I am not this Jedi that you have called me,” Nyssa replied.

“You sure sounded like one,” Sin said under her breath.

“Be that as it may,” Nyssa continued. “You need to have an aim of where you want to go, otherwise you don’t know where you are going.”

“Even knowing where I want to go, doesn’t mean I know how to get there or that I will even get there in the end,” Sin argued.

“And yet an aim is still important,” Nyssa countered. “You must always have a direction, Zayda.”

“You are beginning to sound like you have a direction for me all picked out,” Sin said.

“Perceptive,” Nyssa stated. “I do have a suggestion for you. It will of course be up to you if you decide to act upon it.

“Can’t hurt to hear what you think, I guess,” Sin decided after a moment of thinking about everything that Nyssa had said. “What is your suggestion?”

“Have you given any thought to personal security?” Nyssa asked.

“Have you seen me? I’m tiny,” Sin pointed out. “And besides that, I’m from the Glades. No one who needs a bodyguard and isn’t a criminal is going to trust their protection to someone like me.”

“Where you’re from has little bearing on where you want to go,” Nyssa said. “And you have already seen that size means little when you have the appropriate training.”

“I guess,” Sin agreed uncertainly.

“I will leave you to think about it,” Nyssa said as she stood up. Sin came to her feet as Nyssa stepped past her on her way to the door. “Keep going with the training I have set for you and we can discuss this more when I come and see you next.”

“Alright,” Sin replied. Maseo opened the front door and stepped out it, examining the world outside as was his job. When he was satisfied, he looked back inside and nodded at Nyssa.

“I will see you soon, Zayda,” Nyssa said in farewell before exiting the apartment.

“Bye Nyssa,” Sin called before shutting and locking the door behind her departing guests. 

“You have something to say?” Nyssa asked her bodyguard once they had walked away from the apartment.

“No,” Maseo replied emotionlessly, his eyes scanning.

“Do not lie to me, Sarab,” Nyssa whispered so that only her companion could hear. “Speak your mind.”

“I am trying to determine what it is you are planning,” Maseo replied after a moment. “You have both your husband’s sister and this child from the streets training as if you plan on putting them through League training.”

“Your eyes do not deceive you,” Nyssa replied calmly. “That is exactly what I am going to do.”

“But why?” Maseo asked. “It will be months before they are effective combatants and over a year before they could hope to stand against even the most inexperienced assassin.”

“I think they might surprise you, Maseo. But that is neither here nor there,” Nyssa said. “The why is simple; my father’s mandate.”

“The decree preventing the League from assisting you in the cleansing of this city,” Maseo stated before stopping to consider. “You need help.”

“Yes, Maseo, we do,” Nyssa confirmed.

“But surely, you and your husband, along with this John Diggle, are enough?” Maseo asked.

“Perhaps in time, we would be able to lift this city from its current decline,” Nyssa agreed. “But time, though my father has it in abundance, is not something he is willing to share.”

“What do you mean?” Maseo questioned.

“What is the purpose of the vial you gave to my father on the day you joined the League of Assassins?” Nyssa asked simply.

“Death,” Maseo stated.

“Yes, and it is that death that I believe my father would release upon Starling City if Oliver and myself were to fail in our task,” Nyssa explained.

“How long has he given you?” Maseo wondered as they stopped at Nyssa’s Camaro.

“I do not know, Maseo,” Nyssa said as she unlocked and climbed into the car. “But we both know that my father’s patience, though considerable, is not limitless.”

#Arrow#

“I should add ‘personal internet research for Oliver Queen’ to my job title,” Felicity mumbled as she sat down and opened her laptop. Diggle coughed quietly and Felicity looked up to see the man in question looking at her. “Happily, I mean,” she assured her boss as he sat down at his desk.

“I think it might be a might be a bit mouthy when introducing yourself,” Oliver quipped lightly. “Anyway, his name is Kyle Reston. We knew each other before I went away and I want to try and get back in touch.”

“I guess you didn't have Facebook on that island,” Felicity said as she began her search.

“Nope. Not even a Myspace account,” Digg joked from where he was sitting. “It was a very dark time.”

“Well, there's not much here that's recent. No credit activity. No utility bills,” Felicity noted as she went through the data her search was returning. An old image of Kyle from high school appeared on his screen, followed an image of Derek Reston’s old Queen Consolidated ID badge. “Well, I guess you guys must have met at the factory.”

“Wait,” Oliver said as he leaned forward to try and see Felicity’s computer better. “What factory?”

“The Queen Steel Factory,” Felicity stated as she looked back down at the laptop, missing the look that Diggle and Oliver exchanged. “Derek Reston worked there for 15 years before it was shut down in 2007.”

“Derek Reston worked for my father?” Oliver asked in surprise.

“You and Kyle weren’t that close after all,” Felicity noted. At Oliver’s look, she continued. 

“It looks like Derek was the factory Foreman until your dad outsourced production to China. About 1,500 employees got laid off. Looks like the finance guys even found a loophole in the union contract, so they didn't have to pay severance packages and pensions to their employees. They all pretty much lost their homes. Including your friend’s” Felicity finished, looking Oliver in the eye.

“Thank you, Felicity,” Oliver said as he stood up. “You have been very helpful.”

“You’re welcome, Oliver,” Felicity replied. “About that other project you asked me to look into.”

“Yes?” Oliver asked. “Did you find something?”

“I might have a few ideas but they will require more research before I can give you a definitive answer,” Felicity advised Oliver.

“Whatever it takes, Felicity,” Oliver proclaimed. “This project needs to work.”

“It will,” Felicity said.

“Thank you for the confidence, Felicity,” Oliver responded in gratitude as Diggle stood ready to accompany his principal. “I will leave you to your work.” 

“Have a good day, Oliver,” Felicity said as Oliver and Diggle walked out of his office.

“I might know where to find Derek Reston,” Oliver said in the hallway.

“Where?” Diggle asked as they headed towards the elevator.

“The Restons just got home after 5 years of being away,” Oliver pointed out to Digg. “Those factory guys hung out at a bar after work. I'm going to go down there. Hopefully Derek Reston wants to take a stroll down memory lane.”

“And if by some miracle Reston's there?” Digg asked, wondering what Oliver was going to do.

“I'm going to give him the chance to do the right thing,” Oliver replied, waiting for the elevator.

“Oliver, he already had his chance to do the right thing,” Diggle argued. “It's called not being a criminal.”

“This is happening because of my father,” Oliver said plainly. “Because of my family, Diggle.”

“No,” Diggle argued. “You're worried about the wrong thing. It's not your fault. The Restons aren't the victims. They rob banks and shoot cops. They are the criminals. ”

“My family stole from this city,” Oliver explained. “They hurt the people in it. And I am hell-bent on making that right.” The elevator finally arrived and the doors opened, allowing Oliver to step in alone. “For Derek Reston, that means giving him the chance to make it right.”

#Arrow#

“How did it go at the bar?” Nyssa asked as she walked into the lair. At Oliver’s look, Nyssa continued. “Mr Diggle told me.”

“I tried to get him to change,” Oliver said. “I offered him a job; a different path but he refused it.”

“So what are they going to do?” Nyssa asked as she looked at Diggle and Oliver.

“Oliver bugged Reston,” Diggle explained. “They are going to try one more bank.”

“And we are going to take them down!” Oliver declared.

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #20
Chapter 21 – More Than One Path

"Who was on the phone, Beloved?" Nyssa asked as they sat in the back of the car; Diggle driving them to the CNRI Benefit with Maseo riding shotgun. 

"That was Mrs Davidson. The realtor," Oliver answered as he pocketed his phone. "Apparently the paperwork should be completed tomorrow and if it is, by this time tomorrow, we will own the building."

"That is good news," Nyssa said as she looked out the window. "When do the renovations begin?"

"I already have a crew organised," Oliver revealed. "All I need to do is tell them when they can start and they assure me they can have all the work completed before the wedding."

"That is a lot of work beloved," Nyssa stated, clearly uncertain if the renovations would be completed on time.

"Apparently not as much as we thought. At least according to this guy," Oliver replied. "He as a good reputation and everyone I have spoken with are telling me that he is reliable and unless there is a major issue that is unforeseeable, he always meets his deadline."

"That is somewhat reassuring then," Nyssa said as the car began to slow. The window separating the front and rear compartments opened and Maseo looked back at them.

"We're here," he declared as the car pulled to a stop. Maseo and Diggle both climbed from the car and quickly did a perimeter check before Diggle opened Nyssa's door and helped her from the car. Oliver quickly yet smoothly climbed out behind her, the two of them doing their own checks of their surrounds out of pure habit.

"Alright then," Oliver began as he pulled a small radio from his jacket and handed it to Diggle. "You'll monitor the bug on Derek Reston with this and when we know what they are planning, we'll move."

"Oliver, don't you think you have done enough abrupt exits?" Diggle wondered. "People are going to start getting suspicious."

"I think I'm getting better at it with practice," Oliver replied offhandedly before placing his hand on Nyssa's back as the group began to make their way to the door.

"Ollie! Nyssa!" Thea yelled as she approached them. She hugged the two assassins before looking at the two bodyguards in turn. "Mr Diggle, Mr Yamashiro. How are you both this evening?"

"We're fine thank you, ma'am," Diggle replied while Maseo merely nodded in greeting at his name, instead keeping his eyes wandering the surround. "And yourself?"

"I am good, thank you for asking," Thea answered, smiling up at the tall man who smiled back, before turning back to Nyssa. "So, where is Sin? You said you were going to ask if she wanted to come."

"And I did," Nyssa replied calmly. "She said that she had other plans and didn't want to break them.”

“Must be some plans then,” Thea noted casually. “Tonight is going to be awesome.”

“I’m glad you think so Thea,” Nyssa said. “I’m sure whatever Sin is doing is important to her.”

“I should get her number off you,” Thea declared. “She and I can hang out, go shopping. She can meet all my other friends.”

“I will ask her if she would allow me to do that,” Nyssa responded, already knowing the answer that Sin would give. “Whether she will agree or not is up to her.”

"Alright then," Thea gave in. "Guess I'll wait and see what she says."

"If you two are ready?" Oliver called out from the door ahead of them where he and Diggle waited for Nyssa, Thea and Maseo. "Shall we go inside?"

“Of course, Beloved,” Nyssa replied as she and Thea walked over to join them; Maseo bringing up the rear. Looking up at her husband, she smiled sweetly. “Let us join the event inside.”

“When you give me that smile, it makes me think that you are up to something,” Oliver commented as Nyssa continued to look at him, still smiling.

“Me Beloved?” Nyssa asked innocently as she turned to head inside. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” she claimed as she walked inside, Thea beside her with a stoic Maseo following. Oliver turned to Diggle.

“She is up to something,” Oliver stated to his bodyguard.

“Please leave me out of this sir,” Dig requested simply. “I don’t want to be caught between the two of you.”

“C’mon Dig,” Oliver pleaded. “You know she is up to something.”

“I know of no such thing,” Dig replied as he stepped up to and opened the door. “Shall we join the benefit, sir?”

“I’ll just have to find out on my own then,” Oliver declared as he entered past his bodyguard. “It wouldn’t be the first time.” Dig said nothing in response as he followed his principal inside. They caught up to the three of them at the coat check and we're they were soon joined by Tommy and Laurel.

"Thank you all for coming," Tommy said graciously. 

"Thank you for inviting us," Oliver replied.

"Well, you know, I figured if all the Queen check books were here then even more money would be raised," Tommy quipped.

"And how is that progressing?" Nyssa asked, directing her question at Laurel.

"It seems to be going well so far but the night is young," Laurel replied. "How are the wedding plans going?"

"They are progressing as well," Nyssa answered. "Both Thea and Moira believe that we will have everything as it should be in time."

"That is good to hear," Laurel asserted. "Just don't let Moira and Thea take over. It's your special day."

"Hey!" Thea exclaimed. "I am restraining myself." A glance from Laurel caused Thea to visibly deflate. "Mostly."

"She does seem to be holding herself back," Nyssa confirmed. "And Moira has not been too forthright in her opinions. It is coming together nicely."

"The invitations should be being delivered tomorrow," Oliver announced. "So I'm told anyway."

"I'll make sure I don't lose it," Tommy stated with a smile. "Not that I need one, being the best man and all."

"Speaking of being the best man, Tommy," Nyssa began. "I trust that Oliver's bachelor party will be suitably placid."

"I promise that, as the best man, Oliver will not get into any trouble," Tommy pledged. "Scout's honour."

"I doubt you were ever a boy scout, Tommy. But I will take your word," Nyssa accepted. "Don't make me come find you."

"Right," Tommy stammered. An awkward silence descended on the group before Oliver came to the rescue. 

"Well, on that note," he began, looking around and seeing a familiar face approaching. "Carter! Nice to see you again. Tommy, Laurel, you both remember Carter Bowen."

"Good evening Oliver, everyone," Carter greeted the group. "I see the ladies all look amazing."

"Carter, glad you could make it," Tommy said as he offered his hand. "What with your busy schedule and all."

"I was actually free tonight," Carter replied as he shook Tommy's hand before facing Laurel. "It gives me the opportunity to tell Laurel how impressed I am with the work that she and CNRI does for this city."

"Thank you, Carter," Laurel responded kindly with a soft smile.

"I have actually been thinking of starting up a free clinic for down here in the Glades," Carter revealed. "To help those most in need of it."

"Really," Tommy exclaimed, trying to break carter's focus on Laurel. Everyone else remained silent, watching the byplay.

"Yes," Carter said to Tommy before turning back to Laurel. "Would you be interested in grabbing a couple of drinks and I can tell you about what I'm thinking?"

"Sounds lovely," Laurel replied and was casually led away by Carter, shooting Tommy a smile as she walked past him.

"And if you will excuse me," Oliver requested casually, wanting to avoid the awkwardness that was about to happen. "I see someone that I would like to catch up with." He pecked Nyssa on the cheek before moving off into the crowd; Diggle following casually behind.

"So, how are you going personally?" Thea asked as she sidled up next to Tommy.

"I was going great," Tommy replied, looking around. "I listened to you."

"Little old me?" Thea joked lightly, noticing Nyssa watching her but ignoring it for the moment. "What did I say?"

“You gave me that great advice,” Tommy explained. “I thought about what the girl was interested in, and, uh…” he turned, looking across the room at Laurel. Thea saw where he was looking, and instantly her heart broke. 

"So that is why you did all this?" Thea questioned, trying to be casual but Nyssa noticed the change in the timbre of her voice, revealing her disappointment.

"And it was working great too," Tommy admitted a little derisively. "I need a drink," he declared before heading towards the bar.

"Yeah, me too," Thea added as her hand snapped out and lifted a glass of champagne from a roving waiter's tray. She was about to down it when her arm was stopped by Nyssa. "Hey!"

"Thea, I'm not going to prevent you from drinking that," Nyssa stated.

"It sure looks like you are," Thea interjected, glancing at Nyssa's hand on her forearm.

"As I said, I am not going to prevent you from drinking it," Nyssa began again. "But before you do, I want you to consider what drinking it will mean."

"It means that I won't have to feel what I'm feeling now," Thea explained.

"Perhaps," Nyssa agreed. "But it will also mean that you are giving in." Seeing that she now had Thea's attention, Nyssa continued. "Instead of gaining strength from the experience, from learning from it. You are throwing it aside and seeking to hide."

"I'm not hiding," Thea seethed, trying to pull her arm free but surprised by the iron grip that Nyssa had.

"Yes, Thea, you are," Nyssa declared, even as she used her grip to pull Thea closer so that she only had to whisper. "You are hiding in the glass, or the bottle or the pills. Either because you think it is what others expect or because you don't want others to see how you really are. Either way, you are hiding."

"And you're not hiding anything?" Thea accused quietly.

"This is not about me, Thea. This is about you," Nyssa replied. "It doesn't matter how the world sees you. It is about how you see yourself. It is one of the things that I can teach you. Assuming you remember that we have an agreement." Releasing Thea's arm, Nyssa turned and disappeared into the crowd with Maseo following; leaving the younger Queen to consider her options.

#Arrow#

"Hi mom," Oliver greeted as he stepped up to the bar next to his mother. Moira glanced at her son before looking back to the bartender.

"Excuse me," she said politely before turning to face her son. "Well, I'm surprised to see you here tonight, given your hectic schedule."

"Mom, I am sorry about brunch with the Bowen's yesterday," Oliver said evenly. "I made a promise and I couldn't, didn't keep it."

"And I am sorry as well," Moira apologised, surprising Oliver slightly. "Nyssa's friend was in emergency and your place was with her. But Oliver," Moira continued, not surprising Oliver. "This is not the first time that you have, left unexpectedly and without notice. Granted some of those times were probably legitimate, I am equally sure that several of them are not."

"Mom, I..." Oliver began before Moira cut him off.

“I know you and I have had our difficulties," Moira said, "But despite all my many mistakes, I always thought that you and I had a connection. So can you imagine, just imagine, after being granted the miracle of having my child returned to me that you seem to have little or no interest in being with me or telling me the truth.” She was about to continue her censuring of her son when his bodyguard stepped up behind him. 

“Ma'am,” Diggle greeted politely, before leaning down to speak in Oliver's ear. “Redwood United Bank. They’re gonna try a night-time hit,” he said quietly, and then moved off. Oliver steeled himself, sighing internally as he looked at the disappointment on his mother’s face. “I have to go. I'm sorry--” 

“No, don't bother apologizing.” Moira sighed, turning away. “Honestly, Oliver, there are times when I wonder why you bother coming home at all.”

#Arrow#

"Alright, getting their attention," Oliver said quietly.

"I am in position near their van," Nyssa replied. 

"Alright," Oliver said as he picked up a file folder. "Now," he said as he tossed the folder. As soon as it left his hand, he ducked down and waited, but not for long. He soon heard someone approaching. As soon as they were past him, he pilled and nocked an arrow before standing up and drawing on the bank robber, Ace. "Kyle Reston," Oliver growled before loosing his arrow. To Oliver's surprise, Kyle lifted a clear plastic riot shield and blocked the arrow.

"I came prepared this time," he said as he swung his AK around and opened fire. Oliver barely had time to dive over a nearby counter to avoid the wave of bullets. Crouching low, he moved along the counter to the far end, anticipating that Kyle would come searching for him. He wasn't disappointed.

Kyle ceased firing and slowly advanced on the counter where he had last scene The Hood. He leaned over the counter, gun leading the way to search for the body of the vigilante but found nothing. He turned around only to receive an arrow to his right shoulder. Oliver heard the grunt of pain and knew that he had hit him this time but was too far away to do anything as Kyle broke the shaft of his arrow off with the shield. Oliver drew and fired again but again, Kyle blocked hit. Heft his shield, he roared as he charged across the room.

Oliver, considering his options and nimbly dived to the side; regaining his feet quickly to meet Kyle as he swung at him with the shield. Oliver avoided the attack before retaliating with his bow. The two exchanged blows, oblivious to the awakening security guard. Seeing an opening, Oliver swept Kyle's legs out from under him and came up with an arrow drawn and pointed down at the injured bank robber.

"Freeze!" the two combatants heard, both glancing sideways to see the now conscious guard pointed a shotgun at them. Oliver slowly relaxed his arm and released the tension on the bowstring before holding out his right hand in a placating gesture.

"Easy, easy. I got this," Oliver tried just as Derek Reston came running out of the vault, gun up and ready to fire. Swearing under his breath, he swiftly pulled back on his bow and fired; the arrow knocking the gun from the father's hands. Behind him, he heard Kyle scrambling and turned to see him bringing his recovered AK up.

"Drop your weapon!" The guard shouted as he brandished his shotgun. "Now!"

Kyle, however, continued to raise and point his gun at the guard. Oliver felt Derek brush past him as the guard fired; Derek diving in from of his son and receiving the full blast to the chest. Simultaneously, a red and black fletched arrow impacted Kyle in the chest, dropping him to the floor beside his father. Oliver stepped forward and looked down a the two men; one dead, the other dying.

"Call an ambulance!" Oliver growled at the stunned security guard who turned and rushed off. Oliver knelt next to Derek Reston and laid his hand on the man's shoulder in a gesture of comfort.

"Kyle! Kyle?" Derek gasped out, blood splattering his lips. Oliver glanced so the side before refocusing on Derek.

"He'll be ok," Oliver assured the man. "He's just knocked out."

"It wasn't his fault," Derek choked out. "I turned my son, my family into what they are now."

"Beloved?" Nyssa asked quietly as she moved up behind her husband. Oliver glanced over his shoulder at her before turning back to Derek just as the father died. Oliver squeezed his shoulder sadly before standing up. The two assassins made their way undetected out of the bank just as SCPD SWAT entered.

#Arrow#

"Are you alright?" Nyssa asked Oliver as they sat in the darkened basement of the Foundry. Nyssa heard Diggle walking up to them but didn't remove her eyes from her husband.

"I tried," Oliver said. "I tried to do what I could to save them."

"What went down wasn't your fault," Diggle assured his principal.

“I didn't say it was,” Oliver said, not meeting the other man’s gaze. 

“Oliver, it wasn't your fault, man,” Diggle repeated. “You gave the Restons a chance. That was more than they deserved.” 

“I'm not so sure about that,” Oliver stated softly. 

“Well, listen, I'll tell you this much,” Dig pressed on. “You say going after the guys on that list is the way you honour your dad? Well, if your dad could have seen you this week, the way you cared about the people he had hurt, the way you stepped up to try to help them, I'd say he'd be pretty damn honoured.” He looked down at Oliver. “So maybe there is more than one way to save this city?” 

After a few moments, Oliver nodded and looked up at the bodyguard. “Maybe,” he acknowledged. Dig nodded and moved to leave. He stopped and looked back. 

“By the way, Stan Washington woke up,” Diggle announced to the two assassins. “He's going to be fine.” 

Oliver nodded, and then retreated back to his thoughts; Nyssa watching on.

#Arrow#

"Nightcap?" Oliver asked as he leaned against the doorframe of the Sitting Room; Nyssa standing beside him.

“Well, I thought it might help me,” Moira replied hesitantly. “I… I don't sleep well alone.” She sighed and turned to face her son and his fiancé. “I'm sorry about what I said to you earlier tonight, Oliver” 

“No. You were being honest.” Oliver said, shaking his head as he walked into the room. Nyssa chose not to follow, giving the two some room.

“No, not entirely,” Moira disputed. “The truth is, with Walter being gone, I'm… I'm lonely.” She walked up to him. “You know, you and I used to talk. I used to know what you were thinking. But now, even when you're home, you're somewhere else.” She sighed, “I… I guess I just miss my son.” 

“I miss you, too.” Oliver replied honestly. “And I wish that…” he trailed off; trying to put into words how he felt. He had several things he wanted to tell his mother, but he knew that this was not the right time. It might never be the right time. Suddenly, he had an idea. “Are you hungry?” 

#Arrow#

"What's happening?" Thea asked as she stepped up behind her future sister-in-law and looked into the Sitting Room.

"Your mother and Oliver are starting to reconnect," Nyssa disclosed, not looking at Thea. "I see you made a decision."

"I did," Thea affirmed. "I decided to stop hiding behind the alcohol and the drugs. Our agreement still stands."

"I'm happy that was your decision," Nyssa said as Oliver and Moira approached.

"You two hungry?" Oliver asked.

#Arrow#

I don't think I have ever seen mom eat a burger before," Thea declared as the waitress set their orders onto the table before them. Moira, ever the proper lady, picked up her knife and fork and began to cut into the burger, but was stopped by Oliver’s hand as he gently placed it on top of hers.

“Mom. It's okay to get your hands dirty every once in a while,” he said, smiling. “For me. Please.” Moira smiled at him and dropped the utensils. 

“All right,” she acquiesced, picking up the burger with her hands and taking a large bite. “Mmm,” she moaned in appreciation. 

“Mm-hmm,” Oliver echoed, followed by Thea and Nyssa, each chewing on their own burger. 

“Mmm, yeah,” Moira said, indicating her burger.  “That is a great burger.” She smiled at Oliver. “Thank you for this.” 

“Anytime,” Oliver replied happily. 

"I must confess, I had never had a hamburger before coming to Starling City," Nyssa admitted.

"Seriously?" Thea exclaimed as she stuck a fry in her mouth. "Where were you living before the island? Under a rock?" Oliver and Nyssa merely glanced at each other; neither offering a reply.

“You know,” Moira started, a genuine smile on her lips, “I'll bet Carter Bowen doesn't know where to find the best burger joint in Starling City.” 

“So Oliver does have one thing on him,” Thea teased with a wide grin. 

“No,” Moira responded honestly looked at her son and patted him gently on the arm. “You have everything on him.” 


 

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #21
Chapter 22 – Worlds Collide

“How’s your head, sir?” Diggle asked as he and Oliver waited in the lobby of Queen Consolidated. 

“Its fine Dig,” Oliver replied as they stood off to the side. “The paintball doesn’t even come close to the hardest thing to hit me in the head. Thank you for asking though.”

“You’re welcome, Oliver,” Diggle acknowledged. They had had a discussion about a week after Derek and Kyle Reston had died where Oliver had insisted that Dig call him Oliver no matter who was around. Dig had resisted at first, but Oliver had been both adamant and steadfast. And so, Diggle had begun to call his principal by his name. “I’m surprised it even hit you in the head. I figured you would try and at least protect it a little.”

“I let it hit me in the head, Dig,” Oliver revealed. “I could have easily avoided it if I had wished but allowing it to hit me is better. Just how I missed any shot where my target was more than 5 metres away. Fits better with how people need to see me.” Dig was about to comment when the elevator doors opened, allowing Moira Queen to disembark and head across to them. Halfway across the lobby, Moira was intercepted by a man in suit and carrying a briefcase.

“Mrs Queen, can I have a moment of your time?” the man asked Moira, falling into step beside her.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Moira asked, not stopping.

“My name is Paul Copani,” the man introduced himself. “I represent Bertinelli Construction.”

“Well, I am about to have lunch with my son and his fiancé, Mr Copani,” Moira said, indicating Oliver as he and Diggle joined them. “We are about to finalise the last few details for their wedding which is on Saturday,” Moira explained as she began walking again, heading out the front door. Paul Copani again fell into step beside her with Oliver and Diggle following along behind as they exited the building.

“Mrs Queen, all I am asking for is a chance to sit down and discuss our proposal," Paul begged as he moved alongside Moira, trying to keep up with her while continuing to speak.

"If that is all you want then I can save us both the time," she replied as she came to a stop and faced the man. "Your proposal is rejected."

"I see," Paul acknowledged dejectedly. "May I ask why?" Moira just shot him a look before looking across the street to where Nyssa and Maseo were just pulling up in her Camaro.

"Do I really need to answer that, Mr Copani?" she asked acerbically while watching Nyssa exit her car. "Now, if you will excuse me, I have a prior engagement."

"Why do I recognise that guy's name?" Diggle wondered offhandedly.

"Don't look at me, I've been out of town for the last 5 years," Oliver quipped as the sound of a motorcycle draws his attention. He watched as a rider, dressed head to toe in black, mounted the curb and drew a handgun, pointing it at his mother and Paul Copani. "Get down!" Oliver shouted even as he and Diggle started to run forward. They were too slow, however, as the rider began firing even as Diggle pushed Oliver to the ground. Oliver could only watch as several rounds hit Paul Copani in the chest, sending him crashing back into Moira which cause both of them to fall heavily to the ground. 

The shooting stopped and Oliver struggled to his feet from under Diggle and ran to his mother even as the rider gunned their bike and accelerated away.

"Mom!" Oliver called as he slid down next to her, already checking her for injuries. "Mom? Are you ok?"

"I'm alright," she managed to gasp out as she looked around shakily.

"Are you hurt?" Oliver asked again as Nyssa and Maseo ran up, Nyssa dropping down next to Oliver.

"No, I'm..." Moira began as her eyes found the dead body of Paul Copani lying next to her. She quickly turned away from the sight.

"Is she hurt?" Nyssa asked calmly as her experienced eyes examined Moira.

"I'm fine," she assured the two of them.

"You're sure you're fine?" Oliver questioned. At Moira's nod, he stood quickly and looked at Maseo. "Call 9-1-1!" He demanded before running off through the plaza.

"Diggle!" Nyssa said before nodding after Oliver.

"I'm on it!" He assured her before running after Oliver, quickly amazed at how fast the younger man could move despite his size.

Ahead, Oliver dodged cars as he crossed a road, all the while searching for the bike. He finally saw it turning down a side street and he quickly adjusted his course to duck down am alley, hoping to intercept the rider at the end of it. As he ran, he jumped up to grab a piece of rebar off a dumpster and hearing the bike approaching and judging it's speed, threw the rebar like a spear. 

His aim was impeccable as the rebar impacted the rear wheel of the bike, damaging it and slowing the bike considerably. Before he could close the gap however, Oliver was blasted by the horn of a large truck; barely stopping in time to avoid being hit by it. By the time the truck clear, the bike and its rider were gone.

"Damn your fast," Diggle observed as he came up next to Oliver, sucking in deep breaths. "Any luck?"

"They got away," Oliver stated unhappily. "All I got was a partial license plate."

"That's something at least," Diggle pointed out. "Come on, we should get back to your mother," he said as he turned to walk back the way he had come. Oliver stared down the road for a moment longer before turning to follow his bodyguard.

#Arrow#

"Hi mom," Oliver greeted as Thea led him and Nyssa into Moira's private room at the hospital. "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Moira assured her son. Seeing the look on his face, she repeated herself. "I'm fine," she said before turning to Thea. "Were you able to reach Walter?"

"No," Thea replied quietly as she lent on the end of the bed, watching as her mother deflated a little. "I'm sorry."

"As I was just explaining to your mother and sister," the doctor began. "The CAT-scan showed a grade two concussion from the fall. She'll be fine and is allowed to go home, so long as someone stays with her just to make sure there are no after effects."

"Thank you Doctor," Oliver said in gratitude. The doctor nodded before leaving the room. One the door had shut, Oliver looked down at his mother sheepishly. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left you," he said.

"I wasn't alone," Moira reminded him. "But what did you think you were doing, chasing a gunman?"

"Yeah," Oliver began as he thought up a lie. "I wanted to get the license plate of the bike." Moira gave him a look that told him that she didn't entirely believe him.

"Well that was foolish," she said, choosing to not call Oliver's bluff.

"Yeah, it was," Oliver agreed before he leaned down and hugged her. 

#Arrow#

"So did you get the license plate?" Thea asked coldly as they stood outside Moira's room.

"I got part of one," Oliver replied. "But they still got away."

"What were you going to do if you had caught them Ollie? They had a gun," Thea stated angrily. "Maybe you should spend less time attempting to be a hero. Obviously you are not very good at it."

"Funny," Oliver said through a forced grin.

"I wasn't trying to be,” Thea replied instantly and acidly. She stared at her brother with cold eyes that did nothing to hide her anger. “You let mom lying hurt in the street,” she said, before scoffing. “To get a license plate.”

“Thea!” Nyssa exclaimed as Oliver stepped forward, his face showing how hurt he was.

“You don’t believe me?” Oliver asked softly.

“Ollie, I love you,” Thea asserted. “Mum loves you. But every time you lie to one of us, it gets harder,” she said before re-entering her mother’s room; forcefully closing the door behind her.

“I’m sure she didn’t mean it Beloved,” Nyssa soothed as Oliver closed his eyes and tried to bury the hurt his sister had caused him with her words.

“I’m sure she did,” Oliver replied before turning to walk away from the room. He had barely taken three steps when Detectives Lance and Hilton appeared before him. “Detectives,” he greeted the two men. “Any leads on the shooter?”

“Mr Queen, Miss Raatko,” Detective Hilton responded. "Not yet. The license plate turned out to be a fake. The DMV has never issued it. Did you happen to get a look at the shooter?"

"No, sorry," Oliver apologised. "They were wearing a helmet."

"Don't worry, we'll find them," Detective Hilton promised.

"Our head of security is on their way here," Nyssa said. "We would like to be assured that she will be protected."

"Well, you know your family's at the tippy-toppy of my list of priorities," Lance said sarcastically, "but the guy that she was with was connected. Mobbed up to the eyeballs connected. She wasn't the target." Oliver looked at the man, and then walked past the cops down the hall. "And you're welcome." Lance finished needlessly.

"Be that as it may, Detective Lance," Nyssa continued. "Someone attacked Moira Queen, deliberately or accidentally, it makes no difference. Others might see this as an opportunity," Nyssa concluded before she turned to follow Oliver.

#Arrow#

"Oliver, Nyssa, shouldn't you two be at the mansion?" Diggle asked as he walked into the lair to find Oliver beating a training dummy and Nyssa calmly sharpening her sword. "I think you're both allowed to take the night off."

"My mother wasn't the target, Dig," Oliver replied, stopping his attack on the defenceless dummy and moving over to the desk. And bringing up the picture of the dead man. "This man was. His name is Paul Copani. He was trying to close a deal with her when they were shot at. Copani works for Bertinelli Construction and Frank Bertinelli." 

"The mob boss?" Dig asked, not sounding surprised. 

"I did some digging," Oliver continued as he brought up several other pictures. "Copani isn't the first member of Bertinelli's crew who's been hit." 

"You did some digging?" Dig asked, unbelieving. He glanced at Nyssa and found her she had switched to sharpening one of her many knives before Oliver's voice drew him back.

"Bertinelli has a lot of enemies. The best way to figure out who's trying to target his organization is to get inside of it," Oliver explained siting back in his chair as Dig continued to stare at him in disbelief. 

"So let me get this right, Oliver," Diggle began. "Your mother's shot at, nearly killed, and the way you process this emotionally is by going undercover with the mob?"

"I'm not trying to process anything emotionally," Oliver said. "Someone took a shot at my mother Diggle. The same person is going after Frank Bertinelli. I will find them by getting close to Frank Bertinelli. And Frank Bertinellli is on The List."

"Two birds, one stone," Nyssa declared, speaking for the first time. "Efficiency without emotion."

"Yeah, well, maybe that's your problem, man," Dig retorted calmly. "You ever thought about just being there for your family?" 

"I tried that today with Thea, actually," Oliver started, his frustration finally showing through as he rasped the edge of the table. "She told me I wasn't being honest with her, and she's completely right. But I can't very well explain to her that I left our mother bleeding on the pavement because I'm fast enough to almost run down the attacker. And that if I had caught them, I would have snapped their neck faster than Thea can buy a new dress," Oliver growled out, turning back to the computer. "But what I can do is protect my family. And, Diggle, when I found out who this guy is, he's a dead man." 

#Arrow#

"Thea didn't look too happy," Nyssa noted as Diggle drove them towards the Bertinelli residence.

"She wanted to go clubbing, expecting me to stay home with mom after you stayed with her most of the day," Oliver stated. "I disabused her of that notion. She'll get over it. And thank you for staying with my mother. I know how much it must have taxed your ability to remain calm."

"You're welcome Beloved," Nyssa replied, resting her hand on Oliver's thigh. "Truthfully, it wasn't as difficult as I was expecting. Your mother slept a portion of the day and Raisa was kind enough to check on her at lunchtime."

"So a pleasant day then," Oliver summed up before turning serious. "Hopefully our night will be as equally uneventful but just in case, Diggle and Maseo have our gear in the trunk."

"We're here," Maseo said from the front seat. Oliver and Nyssa looked out the windows as Diggle drove them onto the Bertinelli estate and around to the main house.

"Alright, show time," Oliver announced before he exited the car, climbing out the door that Maseo opened for him and Nyssa. "Dig, stay with the car. Maseo, you're with us."

"Roger that," Diggle confirmed as he took up a spot beside the car, standing easy; while Oliver, Nyssa and Maseo stepped up to the front door, where Oliver rang the doorbell. Moments later, it was opened.

“Mr Bertinelli,” Oliver greeted the man with a smile, extending his hand.

“Please, call me Frank,” the man replied, shaking Oliver’s hand and waving him into the house, Nyssa and Maseo following.

“Call me Oliver,” Oliver countered, grinning. “This is my fiancé, Nyssa and Maseo, her bodyguard.”

“A please to meet you both,” Frank said, shaking Nyssa’s hand but not Maseo’s as no hand was offered. “And thank you again for agreeing to meet me at my home.”

“It is quite alright, Frank,” Nyssa said, struggling a little to use his given name.

“My father used to say that living rooms make the best conference rooms,” Oliver observed casually, covering Nyssa.

“Oh, I am gonna steal that,” Frank said with a small laugh before indicating a tall, stern man standing nearby. “I’d like you to meet Nick Salvati. My associate.”

“How do you do?” Oliver said, shaking the offered hand before Nick stepped back.

“Let’s have a drink, shall we?” Frank proposed as he led the way into the study. As Oliver and Nyssa followed, they caught sight of a woman moving at the top of the nearby staircase. She met eyes with the two of them briefly before continuing on out of sight. The two assassins glanced at each other before continuing on into the study. “What will you have?”

“Vodka,” Oliver answered.

“Nothing for me, thank you,” Nyssa said as she sat down. 

"So, Oliver, I'll be honest with you," Frank said, handing Oliver a drink before they both sat. "I was surprised to hear from you. It was my impression from the local news that you were still learning about your family's business." 

"Well, apparently there were a few catch phrases that I missed while I was away for 5 years. One of them being 'lame-stream media'," Oliver pointed out. "The press never gets anything right. And I am a fast learner." 

"Oh, I know a thing or two about that," Frank assured the man. Nick's phone rang, and he got up to answer it, drawing Nyssa’s attention. Frank leaned back in his chair and stared at Oliver confidently, ignoring Nyssa. "So, Oliver, I'll be blunt. I want the contract to build Queen Consolidated's new Applied Sciences Division." 

"And I am inclined to give it to you," Oliver assured him. 

"Your mother wasn't quite so enthusiastic. And with Walter Steele away, she is making the day to day decisions," Frank noted. "How is she, by the way?" 

"She's recuperating at home," Oliver said. "Thank you." 

"What a terrible thing that happened." Frank said sincerely. Oliver nodded. 

"And Frank, I was very sorry to hear about what happened to Paul Copani," Oliver offered his condolences. 

"Paul was a good friend," Frank stated. "He was a good man." He sighed, rubbing his eye. 

“It is surprising the amount of violence that this city possesses,” Nyssa observed. “Especially having experienced some of it.

"That’s right. You were almost kidnapped by the Triad weren’t you?” Frank asked, receiving a nod from Nyssa in reply. “Yeah. The violence in this city. You know, sometimes I wonder why I stay." He said, taking a drink.

"I've had the same thought." Oliver confided. 

"So why did you come back?" Frank asked. "After that island, you could have settled anywhere in the world." 

"Because Starling City is my home," Oliver replied simply. “And I had been away for too long.”

"Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa, va finire." Helena said, entering the room. "No matter which way you go or turn, you always end up at home." She translated. Oliver and Frank rose.

“Oliver, Nyssa. This is my daughter, Helena,” Frank introduced.

“Hello,” Oliver greeted.

“Helena,” Nyssa said.

“Nice to meet you both,” Helena greeted with a polite smile before turning to her father. “I’m heading out.”

"All right. Take one of the guys with you," Frank told his daughter

"I can take care of myself," She protested. 

"I wasn't asking, sweetie." He replied, touching her lightly on the chin. Before she could argue further, Nick came back in. 

"Frank, that meeting you requested. They can do it," Nick told his boss, giving him a significant look. "Now." 

We can come back another time,” Nyssa started.

“No, no, no,” Frank said, shaking his head as he put his drink down. “Just, uh…I’ve been trying to set this meeting up for over a week now.”

“That is quite alright. I certainly understand how things can suddenly come up and require our immediate attention,” Oliver explained. “Nyssa and I will be fine. We will just be early for dinner. It’ll be a nice surprise.”

“We’ll definitely reschedule,” Frank assured. “And as to dinner; have you tried Russo’s?”

“No, we haven’t,” Oliver replied. “But it sounds like a place we should try.”

“I promise you, you’ll love it,” Frank said. “I’ve been going there for years.”

“We will have to make time to go there then,” Nyssa said as they all headed towards the front door.

“Well, if you will excuse me,” Frank said, offering his hand to Oliver, who shook it. “I must be going.”

“We won’t hold you up any longer,” Oliver responded, following Maseo and Nyssa out the door that Nick held open.

“I look forward to working with you, Oliver,” Frank said as he waved goodbye before closing the door.

“That was fast,” Diggle observed as he held the rear car door open. Oliver and Nyssa climbed in without a word and Diggle and Maseo soon joined them in the car. “So what happened?”

“Not much,” Oliver replied as Diggle started the car. “Bertinelli got called away.”

“To where?” Diggle wondered as he pulled away from the house.

“To a meeting with the head of the Triad,” Nyssa revealed. “To discuss the attacks on him.”

“Sounds like a meeting the hood should attend,” Diggle said.

“I agree,” Oliver concurred. “Let’s go, Dig.”

#Arrow#

“Here comes the Triad,” Oliver observed from where he and Nyssa were crouched, overlooking a part of Bertinelli’s Construction Yard. Below them, Frank and Nick waited as a Mercedes pulled up nearby. Out of it climbed Chien Na Wei and another man; the two of them walking calmly towards Frank and Nick.

“I detest that woman,” Nyssa stated evenly, her voice hinting at true feelings.

“I’m sure you will kill sooner or later,” Oliver said.

“Preferably sooner,” Nyssa responded as the two groups met below. Oliver and Nyssa said nothing further as they listened.

"Thank you for coming,” Frank said.

"Anything for a friend," Chien Na Wei replied. The Chinese man with Chien spoke in Mandarin, and she translated. "We're not responsible for the attacks on your people." 

"These attacks on my business, on my family's life blood- they stop now, or I'm coming for you," Frank threatened. The four stared at each other for a moment before the two Asians headed back to their car. 

"What does the Triad have to gain by provoking you now?" Nick asked Frank. Frank shrugged as he buttoned his coat. 

"Well, no one ever credited the Triad with rational thinking." He noted, and then asked "If not them, then who?"

“One of the other families?” Nick suggested as they headed back to their car.

“I don’t think so. This wasn’t a professional hit,” Frank countered. “Whoever it is, when I find out who's behind this, there will be blood,” Frank promised before he climbed into his car. Oliver and Nyssa watched as Nick climbed into the other side of the car before it pulled away.

“I think he is right,” Nyssa said. “These attacks, the way they have occurred. It speaks of a personal vendetta.”

“You think the shooter wants to make Bertinelli suffer?” Oliver asked.

“I do,” Nyssa stated as she stood silently. “But in the meantime, others will suffer as Bertinelli tries to make up for his losses.”

“But where and when does he start?” Oliver wondered. “Let’s get back to Dig. Until we know what they are going to do next, we can do nothing but wait. The wrong move now will cause the tense situation that we have into an all-out gang war.”

#Arrow#

“Well, our Greek dinner was interrupted,” Oliver quipped as he moved across the rooftops. “How do you feel about Italian?”

“I am considering a seafood meal instead,” Nyssa replied. “Are you sure about this Beloved?”

“No,” Oliver admitted. “But Salvati has already put 4 people in the hospital tonight. His next stop will be one of these two restaurants,” he stated as he heard a car pulling up below him. Oliver stopped and looked carefully over the edge of the roof. “Salvati’s here.”

“I’m on my way,” Nyssa announced. Oliver didn’t reply as he turned and headed for the back door of Russo’s. Gaining entry was easy and he made stealthily made his way through the kitchen until he could hear the commotion in the front.

"Break hers, too,” he heard Nick say. Knowing it wasn’t anything good, Oliver drew and arrow and nocked it.

"No! Don't touch her!" On older, Italian-sounding yelled as Oliver acted. He fired the arrow into the fuse box, sending the restaurant into darkness. As the three mobsters looked around, Oliver advanced into them. He dropped the first with a swift blow to the head from his bow while the other took was knocked down by a kick to the knee. A shot rang out and Oliver felt the impact of a bullet to his body armour. Turning, he saw Nick levelling his gun at him again.

Suddenly, the front door was kicked in and the Biker strode in; opening fire and killing the two men that Oliver had already removed from the fray. Oliver pulled a flechette and threw it, knocking the handgun from the Biker’s hand before moving in too attack; noticing as he advanced that Salvati took the opportunity to escape out the way Oliver entered. He also saw that the Russo’s had also made an exit.

Entering combat, Oliver and the Biker exchanged blows; Oliver quickly realising that his opponent was a much better fighter than a shooter. Still, Oliver quickly gained the upper hand as he knocked them to the ground and drove his fist into the Biker’s visor, shattering it. Grasping the helmet, he tore it off and was shocked to see the face of Helena Bertinelli beneath it. Shocked, Oliver didn’t react when Helena reared back and kicked him in the rest, sending him crashing back. She then rolled backwards to her feet and ran out the front door of the restaurant.

#Arrow#

“You’ll have a nasty bruise,” Nyssa said as she ran her fingers over where Oliver was shot. Diggle was currently driving them back to the mansion and Maseo was his usual silent self. “But nothing is broken.”

“Well, that is good,” Oliver said as he buttoned his shirt back up. “I’d hate to have a broken rib on our wedding night.”

“It wouldn’t be as bad as the stab wound you had last time,” Nyssa retorted with a smile. 

“Excuse me?” Diggle exclaimed from the front seat. “What last time?”

Before Nyssa or Oliver could respond, not having realised that Diggle had left the window open, the car’s rear tires exploded, sending it careening off the road and into a ditch. As the car came to rest, the four occupants shook themselves and clambered out. Maseo was immediately on high alert as his eyes started scanning the trees, Nyssa quickly following suit as she spotted the arrow sticking out of the rear tire. On the other side of the car, Diggle exited the driver’s seat and spotted the arrow sticking out of the rear tire on his side and looked to Oliver as he climbed out.

“I think someone knows who you are,” Diggle pointed out, gesturing at the arrow. Oliver was about to reply when a guttural voice sounded out.

“Nyssa, our mistress demands your presence,” it said and was accompanied by 7 assassins appearing from the trees and taking position around the car, weapons ready. “Will you come willingly?” the voice said again and Nyssa traced it back to a familiar looking assassin; it was the one who had come for her when Oliver went after Deadshot though without his bow. Looking around, Nyssa noticed that his companion was also present. The remaining 5 assassins were a mixture of sword, tonfa and knife wielders with a pair of them being archers.

“You must have a suffered head trauma from the arrow my husband put in you,” Nyssa pointed out as she glanced at Maseo, Oliver and Diggle, noticing Diggle’s surprise at her words. “I will tell you what I said that night and see if it refreshes your memory. I. Think. Not.”

Nyssa’s words acted as a signal as both of the archers drew and fired arrows at Maseo and Diggle. Maseo dodged his, a pair of knives appearing from his sleeves at the same time with him throwing one into the throat of his archer. Diggle was less able to dodge his but was saved when Oliver caught it in mid-air, snapped it in half and threw the arrowhead into the bow arm of the other archer, forcing him to drop his bow. Glancing at Diggle, Oliver advanced into the already attacking assassins.

Maseo advanced on the two assassins closest to him, holding his remaining knife low. One of his opponents wielded the standard league sword while the other was the woman that had confronted Nyssa before. Ducking down, Maseo picked up one of the dead archer’s tonfa and lunged at the swordsman. Parrying several blows with the tonfa, Maseo finally saw an opportunity and stabbed his opponent in the head. Picking up the fallen sword, Maseo searched for the woman.

Diggle drew his glock and fired on one of the assassins, dropping him to the ground. Diggle was about to pick his next target when the assassin he had shot clambered back to his feet. He was about to fire again when Oliver spoke.

“They have body armour. 9 mil rounds won’t penetrate,” Oliver called out as he dodged a knife attack, grabbing the assassin’s wrist and snapping it. Using the moment of pain afforded to him, he pulled the assassin closer, grabbed his head and quickly and efficiently broke his neck.

“Good to know,” Diggle responded, dropping his gun and pulling an expandable baton from his suit; quickly snapping it open. As his target stepped forward and swung the sword he wielded at Diggle, Diggle ducked and lashed out at the man’s leg several times, dropping him to one knee. Dancing back from a wild swing, Diggle went forward again and dealt several blows to the assassin’s torso before connecting with a solid shot to the head, relieving him of consciousness.

Oliver, after seeing that Diggle was handling himself, went after the leader. Maseo tossed him the sword he had gathered and Oliver engaged the leader in a furious exchange. Neither gave an inch, attaching with everything they had. But Oliver was just too good, knocking the man’s gladius aside and driving his sword through the leader’s body.

Through all of this, Nyssa had been busy. First, she had quickly rolled under an attack from the already injured archer; knocking him down and cutting his throat with a knife she pulled from her clothes. Regaining her feet, she gathered up the archer’s sword and blocked a strike from the katana of the woman she had fought before. She saw Oliver kill the leader out of the corner of her eye and used it to her advantage.

“Last woman standing,” Nyssa baited. The woman glanced around, taking in her predicament. “How does she take failure?” Nyssa wondered. “Drop your sword.”

“Never,” the assassin declared before pulling a vial from her coat and downing the contents as Nyssa, and Oliver, watched. As everyone calmed from the exertions of combat, Maseo dispatched the only still living assassin, without Diggle noticing, before joining the others near the rear of the car. Diggle spoke first.

“Does someone want to explain to me what the hell just happened?”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #22
Chapter 23 – Answers

“I want answers!” Diggle demanded angrily. “I think I deserve them after that. Oliver. Nyssa.”

“And you will get them, Dig,” Oliver replied as he grabbed the arms of one of the bodies and began dragging it off the road. Dumping the body out of sight, Oliver returned to grab another one. "Maseo, call Namir. Get him out here with the van and two new tires for the car."

"Already done," Maseo replied as he pocketed his phone and grabbed a body. Between the three men, they soon had all the bodies hidden in the trees; with Nyssa having collected all the weapons.

"Wait a second, the one I fought was still breathing when I left them," Diggle spoke up.

"Well they are all dead now. You saw for yourself Dig, they have poison," Oliver offered casually as he opened the trunk of the car. "Now, gimme a hand getting these tires off."

Thankfully, the road went untraveled as the men worked; Nyssa keeping a lookout in case of another attack, and soon, the approaching headlights of a van heralded Namir's arrival.

"Now Dig, please don't shoot anyone," Oliver asked as the van pulled off the road just past them and stopped.

"Why would I shoot people coming to help us Oliver?" Diggle asked rhetorically as the rear doors of the van opened and two figures jumped out dressed identically to those Diggle had fought earlier. Almost without thinking, Dig reached for his Glock before Oliver's request from moments earlier came to the forefront of his mind and his hand came to a stop on the grip of his weapon.

"Mr Diggle," one of the figures, a man to Diggle's eyes, said to him with a slight bow of his head. The other figure was smaller and had a woman’s figure.

“Saqr! Introductions must wait,” Nyssa said as she walked up to the van and began depositing weapons. “Move the replacement tires to the car and then you and Namir quickly sweep the area. Find their vehicle if they have one close by.”

“As you command Nyssa,” another voice responded. Diggle turned to see a short, stocky man approaching from the front of the van. On each hip was a sheathed kukri. Turning back, Diggle saw that Saqr was armed with a compound bow, a quiver of arrows and a sword sheathed at his hip. Examining the third figure, Diggle noted that she was armed similarly to Saqr with a compound bow and sword. “Come Saqr,” the short man, Diggle guessed he was Namir, said before he stepped off the road and disappeared into the trees. Saqr bowed his head to Nyssa before turning back to the van, slinging his bow over his shoulder as he did, and pulled a pair of tires that were identical to the pair that had been deflated by the attack. He carried them quickly across to where they would be needed before disappearing into the trees just like Namir.

Diggle turned back to the van just in time to see one of the largest men he had ever set eyes on climb out; the van visibly rising on its suspension as he exited. Standing over 2.1 metres tall, Dig was admittedly surprised at how quiet and smooth the man’s movements were considering his size. The man stepped up directly in front of Nyssa and dropped to one knee, bowing his head.

“Aziz, just as in the sewers, there is no fault here,” Nyssa said to the kneeling assassin. “I was with my husband, Sarab and Mr Diggle here. We did not anticipate that they would attack us so directly. But we defended ourselves successfully,” Nyssa continued. Aziz stood up and turned to Diggle before bowing his head again at the bodyguard, confusing him. “He is thanking you for protecting me.”

“I was just doing my job,” Diggle said, trying to pass off what he had done. Aziz disagreed though as he shook his head. “Let me guess, he disagrees.”

“Very astute, Mr Diggle,” Nyssa replied. “There is a difference between protecting Oliver Queen from threats against him and protecting who we are from those threats aligned against us.”

“Just who is ‘us’?” Dig asked. “What the hell is going on here?”

“You will get those answers, I promise you,” Nyssa assured him. “And just as I said on that rooftop, they will be good. But for now, we have other matters to attend to and once they are completed, we will all sit down and discuss what happened this night and the ramifications of those actions.” Diggle grumbled but said nothing as Nyssa was right. If someone came along now, way too many questions were going to need answering. “Shall we?”

“Yeah,” Dig responded. He headed for the car as Nyssa gave out orders behind him.

“Aziz, please help move the bodies into the van,” Nyssa asked politely. “Faridah, gather up any of their weapons. No trace is to be left.”

“Yes Nyssa,” the female assassin said. 

Soon enough, both of the tires on the car had been replaced, the bodies and weapons loaded and Namir and Saqr had returned from their sweep, finding nothing.

"Analyse everything," Oliver ordered. "Find out everything you can."

"As you command," Namir replied. The four assassins bowed their heads before climbing into the Sprinter and departing.

"We should be going as well Beloved," Nyssa advised. "We are already late as it is."

#Arrow#

"Well, Mr Diggle," Nyssa said as they all relaxed in what was Oliver's office at the mansion while he was under house arrest. Maseo stood by the closed door, listening for anyone that got too close. "Where would you like us to begin?"

"Man, I got some many questions, I don't know where to begin," Diggle admitted as he leaned back into his chair.

"Perhaps I can offer a starting point," Nyssa proposed. "What do you know of the League of Assassins?"

"The League of Assassins?" Diggle exclaimed. "They're a myth. An urban legend I heard about from a tribal leader back in Afghanistan.  He claimed that there was an ancient sect of assassins, deadly warriors that killed before vanishing like ghosts. That their leader is a man called Ra's al Ghul; who has lived for centuries. I just figured he was smoking what he was selling."

"On the contrary, Dig," Oliver shot back. "They are very real."

"Mr Diggle, allow me to introduce myself to you properly," Nyssa said. "I am Nyssa, Daughter of Ra's al Ghul. Heir to the Demon."

"Ra's al Ghul's daughter?" Diggle said slowly, as if trying to convince himself that what he had was really what he had heard. 

"Yes, Mr Diggle," Nyssa confirmed for the bodyguard. Nothing more was said while Diggle processed what Nyssa had told him.

"So let me get this straight," Diggle said after several minutes of quiet contemplation had passed. "You're the daughter of the head of the League of Assassins. And you're marrying Oliver Queen."

"Technically I am already married to him," Nyssa replied.

"Excuse me?" Dig questioned in surprise. "You're already married?"

"Yes, we are already married," Oliver confirmed. "The wedding on Saturday is merely to make it legal."

"Now you've lost me," Diggle admitted, his mind reeling from everything. 

"Perhaps it might be best to start at the beginning?" Nyssa suggested. "That way it will be easier to understand."

“I doubt anything is going to make all of this easier to understand,” Diggle commented offhand. “But go ahead.”

“Right,” Oliver said, knowing that Nyssa would want him to start. “Well, you already know that I survived my father’s boat sinking and that he sacrificed himself to save me. And you know I made it to the shores of Lian Yu.”

“That is what you have told me, yes,” Diggle agreed. “Not sure if I believe it now though.”

“You should,” Oliver said calmly. “All that is true.”

"Oliver, when you left Starling City, you were a spoilt playboy," Diggle pointed out. "When you return 5 years later, you're a bow wielding vigilante. Now, even if Nyssa is the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, I doubt she could turn you into what you have become, while stuck on a deserted island."

"Well, firstly, Lian Yu was far from deserted during my time there," Oliver revealed, not exactly surprising Diggle given that he had seen and catalogue most of Oliver's scars. "Second, Nyssa could have probably taught me everything I know now on Lian Yu. But I wasn't always on Lian Yu."

"What?" Diggle exclaimed.

"My first time there lasted about 2 years. That is when Nyssa found me dying on a beach and took me to Nanda Parbat," Oliver said. "There, I was nursed back to health, unknowingly having exchanged one purgatory for another.”

“Purgatory?” Diggle asked.

“Lian Yu, the name of the island, is Chinese for purgatory,” Nyssa explained. “And what Oliver didn’t know, was that by bringing him to Nanda Parbat, I limited his options of a future to one of two choices; a quick death or a lifetime of service to the League of Assassins.”

“A lifetime? Seriously?” Diggle blurted. “You’re telling me no one has left the league?” 

“Only one has left the league while they still breathed,” Nyssa said. “His name was Al Sa-her.”

“The Magician,” Diggle translated. 

“You speak Arabic, John,” Nyssa commented. “That is a good thing to know.”

“Yeah, helped me to understand all your friends names,” Diggle agreed. “Namir, Leopard. Saqr, Falcon. Aziz, Strong or Powerful. Sarab,” Diggle said, nodding at Maseo. “Phantom. And Faridah, Unique. Quite the collection of names. I mean your name, Nyssa al Gul, literally translates as Woman of the Demon.”

“I didn’t choose my name, John,” Nyssa proclaimed, her voice dropping. “Did you choose yours?”

“Good point,” Diggle said before looking at Oliver. “What is your name in the League?”

“I am Al Sah-him, Ibn al Ghul,” Oliver introduced himself, his voice changing as he spoke. John would never admit that an involuntary shiver went up his spine at the sound of Oliver’s voice. 

“The Arrow, Son of the Demon,” Diggle translated once he recovered. “Ra’s al Ghul’s son-in-law.”

“Indeed I am, Dig,” Oliver confirmed. “I married Nyssa just over a year ago.”

“And that was 2 years after you joined the League of Assassins?” Diggle asked, seeking confirmation. Oliver and Nyssa both nodded. “Wow, ok. Why did you join though? Besides, the obviously part about not dying? And why not leave once they had taught you enough?”

“Leaving was never an option, Dig,” Oliver stated. “If I left, they would hunt me down. And if they couldn’t find me, then Thea’s and my mum’s lives would be forfeit.” 

“Good reason,” Diggle observed. “And joining?”

“Ra’s can be very…convincing,” Oliver said. At Diggle’s look, Oliver went on. “Ra’s had my father’s book. He had The List, and he knew that everyone inside it had hurt this city. I don’t know how he knew that, but he did. And he used it."

"You see, John," Nyssa went on. "My father is considered one of the most dangerous men in the world. But it is not his physical capabilities or his position as head of the League that position him so. Rather it is his mind. He is a master at manipulation and given enough time and patience, he almost always gets what he wants."

"And what is that, Nyssa?" Diggle asked. "What does your father want?"

"The League of Assassins was created to hunt down and kill people that have been deemed a threat to the world at large. It was created to seek justice," Nyssa explained. "And it is Ra's al Ghul that directs where that justice is to be served."

"You say that as if it is a warning," Diggle observed as he eyed Nyssa and Oliver. And then it made sense. "It is. Ra's has turned his eye to Starling City."

"That is correct, John," Nyssa agreed with the bodyguard. "My father has decreed that Starling City is to be cleansed of all those that would poison this city. That would threaten it through corruption and crime."

"That was the promise he made me," Oliver revealed. "If I joined the league, when I was ready, he would send me to home and allow me to purge all those that have hurt this city. And now he has."

"Why do I get the feeling there is more to it than just that?" Diggle said.

"Very astute, Mr Diggle," Maseo said, speaking for the first time. "You would be correct. And it is my fault."

"The blame is not yours, Sarab," Nyssa responded. "All you have done is deliver a more efficient method for my father to use."

"Now you've lost me," Diggle admitted. 

"My father has a great deal of both time and patience, though both a finite," Nyssa said. "He has decreed that Starling City is to be cleansed. What he has not said, is how long he has given us to achieve our goal."

"But we," Oliver said, indicating Sarab, Nyssa and himself. "We all know that if we fail in our task, using our methods, then Ra's will apply his own methods to the task."

"In the past, my father's methods have included war, disease, fire, even economics," Nyssa stated. "Unfortunately, thanks to the mindless grief that afflicted Sarab when he first joined the League, my father now has a new one; a bioweapon."

"Oh my god!" Diggle uttered in shock before shooting a glare at Maseo. "You gave them a bioweapon."

"At the time, Mr Diggle, I did not care what became of the world around me," Maseo tried to explain. "All I wanted was the unbearable pain I felt to stop."

"A man in pain is unreliable," Oliver quoted solemnly. "It doesn't matter how it came to be in Ra's possession. What matters is stopping him from using it."

"And how do you do that, Oliver?" Diggle questioned, perhaps a little harshly but Oliver ignored it.

"We cleanse this city," Oliver replied, enunciating the first word. "And we do it as quickly as possible."

"And you still expect me to help?" Diggle asked incredulously. "Oliver, you just told me that you, Nyssa and Maseo are members of the League of Assassins, which by its very name, ASSASSINATES people."

"John, you already knew that both Oliver and I were killers. Your only objection is that we don't work for the CIA, ARGUS, MI6 or a similar organisation," Nyssa argued calmly.

"At least they are government sanctioned and have oversight," Diggle countered.

"If you knew what some of those organisations, one of them in particular, were guilty of," Nyssa put forward. "We would not be having this discussion."

"But we digress," Oliver interjected, laying his hand on Nyssa's arm. "We still want your help Diggle. The situation itself, the stakes have not changed. Merely the background and the fallout if we fail. So what do you say?"

"While I do not like how this situation has come about. Nor that you have lied to me about it," Diggle began after thinking quietly, carefully forming his thoughts. "What is done is done and we have to play the cards we have been dealt. You say you want to help this city. To save it."

"That's right," Oliver and Nyssa affirmed at the same time.

"Then you don't just want my help, you need it," Diggle declared, holding his hand up to forestall their response. "I told you several weeks ago that you both have narrow definitions of being heroes. Well, to save this city and all the innocent people in it, you both are going to have to embrace the wider definition of it.”

“We’re not heroes Dig,” Oliver replied. “Both of us have too much blood on our hands to be heroes.”

“Perhaps. Perhaps not,” Diggle said. “What I just heard. What I am choosing to take away from everything I just heard. Al Sah-him and Nyssa al Ghul are members of the League of Assassins; including everything that entails. Well, in 48 hours, you are going to be Oliver and Nyssa Queen. Now, those two, they have a choice to make. Do they do things as they have always done or do they broaden their outlook and their methods? I’m not saying that your father’s book shouldn’t be used. From what little I have seen of it, it seems to be full of bad people who have done a lot of bad things. But that book is at least 5 years old, Oliver. I guarantee you that there will be others out there that need to be dealt with whose names are not in those pages.”

“You’re probably right about that,” Oliver conceded before falling silent in contemplation. “And you’re right about our methods. To save this city, we can’t just target the 1 percent that have benefitted so far. We have to target all the crime and corruption.”

“So, Crusade 1.5 then?” Diggle asked casually. “Where do we start?”

“Well, first off,” Oliver began,” We’re not calling it that. And second, I know who the shooter is.”

“Who is it Beloved?” Nyssa wondered, curious why the shooter was still alive if her husband knew their identity.

“Helena Bertinelli,” Oliver revealed to the surprise of everyone present.

“Why would Helena be trying to kill her father?” Diggle asked, not understanding.

“I can think of a few reasons,” Nyssa said under her breath, her mind drifting. Oliver noticed and squeezed her arm.

“Ok, so Helena is trying to kill her father and isn’t worried about starting a gang war in the process,” Diggle summed up. “What are we going to do about it?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Oliver said honestly. “Even if her reasons are justified, her methods are wildly uncontrolled. We have to stop her. One way or another.”

“Ok, well looks like we got some issues to sort out,” Diggle stated. “Speaking of issues. What do those assassins that attacked us have against the two of you?” Why does this ‘Mistress’ want Nyssa?”

“That’s…a long story Dig,” Oliver said carefully.

“I’m all ears,” Dig pointed out.

“Not tonight John,” Nyssa declared in a tone the brooked no argument. She stood up and walked away from the two men, Maseo falling into step behind her as she left the room.

“I say something wrong?” Diggle asked as he came to his feet and looked after Nyssa. 

“No, it wasn’t anything you said,” Oliver assured his bodyguard. “It’s just the situation.”

“And what is the situation?” Diggle asked. “Who is coming after her? Someone she pissed off?”

“No, that would make it easy,” Oliver admitted casually. “No, it’s much closer to home.”

#Arrow#

“Good morning Zayda,” Nyssa greeted her friend as she entered her apartment. “How are you feeling?”

“I believe the description would be ‘filled with trepidation,” Sin replied, surprising Nyssa. “What? I’ve been reading.”

“I am honestly surprised,” Nyssa admitted.

“Just because I have a dictionary right beside me so I can look up all the words I don’t know the meaning of, doesn’t mean I’m an idiot,” Sin pointed out.

“I would never say that about you, Zayda,” Nyssa said earnestly. “What do you need to be worried about?”

“I’m going back to the Queen Mansion. For your wedding,” Sin detailed. “What is there not to be worried about?”

“Tonight is just the rehearsal, Zayda,” Nyssa noted calmly. “Tomorrow is the wedding.”

“Oh,” Sin said casually. “Well that is good to know.”

“Relax Zayda,” Nyssa advised. “Have you considered what I asked you?”

“I have,” Sin said. “I don’t know why you asked but I have.”

“And?” Nyssa wondered.

“I think they are called Sai,” Sin replied. “The red ninja turtle, Raphael uses them.”

“Ninja turtle?” Nyssa questioned uncertainly, earning her a look from Sin.

“Really?” Sin exclaimed. “Leonardo? Donatello? Michelangelo?” With no response from Nyssa, Sin couldn’t stop her comment. “Did you grow up without T.V?”

“Something like that,” Nyssa said. “Sai will be a good match for you.”

“Well that is good to know,” Sin replied. 

“So, are you ready to go?” Nyssa asked.

“What?” Sin blurted. “I thought you’d be coming back later.”

“I decided to change the plan, Zayda,” Nyssa remarked. “You could use the experience.”

“Right,” Sin uttered. “Don’t suppose I can change my original answer to ‘vomiting my guts up’?”

“Go get ready, Zayda,” Nyssa ordered. “And don’t forget your blades.”

#Arrow#

“I see Walter is back,” Oliver observed as he stepped up beside Thea. They were standing on the balcony over the front door as Walter and Moira greeted several people below them that Moira had felt needed to be here for the rehearsal. 

“Yeah,” Thea responded. “Apparently he got back late last night.”

“Well that’s good, right?” Oliver wondered. “Things can get back to normal around here.”

“I don’t know,” Thea admitted. “Maybe we can’t go back to what was normal. Maybe we shouldn’t.”

“Thea, I don’t understand,” Oliver said, turning to look at his sister.

“Just something mom said,” Thea hedged. At Oliver’s insistent look, she continued. “I was upset about you making me stay home to watch mom. And I was being particularly ill-tempered.”

“Possibly not undeserved,” Oliver interjected.

“Anyway, mom told me not to be too harsh on you, even if you were lying to us more often than not,” Thea explained. “She said that everyone has secrets and that being in the hospital the other day reminded her of the day that you came home.”

“What about it?” Oliver wondered.

“She said that Dr Lamb had given her a warning,” Thea went on. “That the Oliver that we’d lost 5 years ago might not be the one that had been found. And I think that is where we have been messing up.”

“Thea, I’m still me,” Oliver tried. “I’m still your brother.”

“I get that. But the Oliver that went away, for lack of a better description, was an irresponsible playboy,” Thea described. “Now look at you. Joined the company, opening a nightclub, bought an apartment building and most importantly, getting married. I could see the old you only doing one of those things, and we both know which one of them it would have been.”

“You think the old me would have wanted an apartment building?” Oliver tried to joke. It worked to a degree; a grin appeared on Thea’s face.

“I’m just trying to say, that I’m going to stop comparing you to the old you and work on accepting you for how you are now,” Thea stated evenly. “I may not get it right at first but I hope you’ll have patience with me.”

“Thea,” Oliver said. He tried to go on but the words escaped him and he just reached out and pulled his sister into a hug.

#Arrow#

Nyssa watched on as Oliver hugged his sister and she knew that they were turning the page on the past and deciding to work towards the future. Glancing once more at the people in the foyer she turned to Maseo.

“I have not heard anything new, Nyssa,” Maseo said, already guessing what she was about to ask him. “The last report was that his plane had safely arrived in Starling City. That was 2 hours ago.”

“I assumed he would come straight to the mansion,” Nyssa responded. “Perhaps I was mistaken.”

“You have not seen your father in months, if I recall,” Maseo said. 

“Not since we left for Lian Yu,” Nyssa confirmed. “I am going to walk around for a bit. Come and find me if he arrives before I return.”

“As you wish,” Maseo replied. Nyssa nodded before turning to walk away. She walked around the mansion for a bit before deciding to check the main ballroom incase her father had arrived. She knew that would be where Moira would have taken him. Just as she was entering, a pair of children ran past her into the room; laughing excitedly. She watched as one of them tripped and bumped into a man who was standing off to the side on his own, checking his phone. As he put the phone away and turned, Nyssa saw that it was Malcolm Merlyn. She had seen him multiple times since first meeting him and each time she had the feeling that she knew him from somewhere but couldn’t place it. She watched as Malcolm crouched down and spoke with the child.

“Are you alright?” Malcolm asked.  The boy that had bumped into his leg nodded mutely. “You know, my son Tommy was once your age. And when he wouldn’t speak, I used to show him something. Would you like to know what that was?” again the boy could only nod mutely. Malcom smiled softly before reaching up behind the boy’s ear and pulling a coin out. The boy’s eyes lit up upon seeing the coin and that simple action was like a lightning rod to Nyssa. Now she knew who Malcolm Merlyn. Turning, she hurried away to find her husband, a single name on her lips.

“Al Sa-Her,” she whispered.

#Arrow#

Malcolm gave the coin to the boy and watched as he climbed to his feet and run off into the crowd. Memories of Tommy behaving similarly sprang unbidden to his mind and he allowed himself a single moment of regret at how his relationship with his son had turned out. He was about to move away when he felt someone step up behind him.

“I see you are still quite The Magician.”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #23
Chapter 24 – The Rehearsal

“I see you are still quite The Magician."

It was a voice that, even to this day, caused Malcolm to pause whatever he was doing and focus his attention on it. A voice that Malcolm hadn't heard in over 15 years and never thought to hear again. A voice so calm and empty of emotion and yet filled with so many things.  A voice that could only belong to one man.

Ra's al Ghul.

"I am as I have always been, My Lord," Malcolm said softly so that his voice did not carry. He turned slowly to see the man whose face had not changed at all over the intervening years; not that that was a surprise to Malcolm. "I never thought I would hear your voice again. Especially in this building."

"Always the elusive one, aren't you, Al Sa-Her," Ra's noted in an equally quiet voice. He stood in a relaxed pose; hands clasped behind his back as he was want to do. "You ask why I am here, today, yet do not wish to insult me by doing so directly."

"My Lord, you are free to travel wherever you will," Malcolm offered sincerely. "I merely find myself surprised that it was here that we meet again."

"Spare me your platitudes, Al Sa-Her. I know you better than that," Ra's said, neither his voice nor his tone fluctuating at all; despite his words. "By now you have already worked out why I am here and we both know that. So tell me, why am I here?"

"For your daughter Nyssa's wedding to Oliver Queen," Malcolm declared, seeing no point in trying to hide what he knew Ra's knew he knew. "As the father of the bride, it is expected for you to be present."

"Succinct, how unlike you," Ra's said as he looked around the room. “But surely your mind is not as limited as that. It wasn’t in the past.”

“None of my skills have diminished,” Malcolm defended himself. “I am as dangerous as I have ever been. More so in fact.”

“Is that so?” Ra’s questioned, his voice laced with humour. “Pray enlighten me.”

“Knowledge is power,” Malcolm claimed. “For instance, there is no possible way you would allow your daughter to marry someone you deemed unworthy. Therefore I know that, somehow, Oliver made it off Lian Yu and thereafter joined the League of Assassins.”

"Hardly an astonishing deduction Al Sa-Her. I am sure many could make the same corollary if presented with information identical to that which you possess," Ra's said calmly. "Surely you can do better than that."

"If they are being married here tomorrow and you approve of it, then Oliver is already Ibn al Ghul," Malcolm decided as something else niggled at him. "But why have them both found on a deserted island. There a so many easier ways to have someone come back from the dead."

"As I taught you many years ago. Theatricality and deception are powerful agents," Ra's reminded Malcolm, causing his mind to work. "Both have their uses if employed carefully and correctly; even if you always preferred the latter."

"Oliver is the..." Malcolm began to say before he was interrupted.

"Malcolm, I didn't see you arrive," Moira said as she stepped up beside Malcolm. "How are you today?"

"I am well, thank you Moira," Malcolm replied congenially, smiling softly at his friend. "And how are you this evening?"

"I am feeling much better. A few days of rest were exactly what I needed," Moira responded as he eyes wandered around the room before coming back to the man standing next to Malcolm. "I didn't know you were bringing a friend. Aren't you going to introduce us?"

"Moira, you know me better than that," Malcolm reminded Moira. "Besides, I only just met him myself."

"He tells the truth, Mrs Queen," the man said in a cordial tone. "I only just began speaking to Mr Merlyn myself after I watched him perform a small feat of magic. We had yet to progress to introductions."

"Well, it would seem that you have the two of us at a disadvantage," Moira noted politely yet with a slight edge to her voice. "You know who we are but we do not know who you are."

"Please, pardon my rudeness. I am unused to settings such as this," the man replied in the same cordial tone while waving his arm slightly to indicate the room around them. "My name is Bruce Raatko."

"Oh my..." Moira began, surprised by the turn of events. 

"I take it from your name and the family resemblance that I now see, that you would be Nyssa's father," Malcolm said, tactfully covering for Moira to allow her to recover.

"Indeed I am," Ra's confirmed, his tone unchanged.

"It is good to finally meet you, Mr Raatko," Moira said, settling herself. "Nyssa has told me so little about you. Not even your name, to be honest."

"Please, call me Bruce," Ra's insisted warmly. "And that was my choice. I asked her to say nothing about me as I wanted you to have no preconceptions about who I might be."

"That sounds rather mysterious," Moira described lightly.

"On the contrary. I find it opens one to new possibilities," Ra's countered. "Tabula Rasa, as they say."

"A blank slate," Malcolm translated for Moira. 

"Well, it is lovely to meet you," Moira said. "And please, call me Moira."

"Moira," Ra's said steadily. "I don't suppose you have seen my daughter recently. I don't believe she is aware yet that I have arrived."

"I haven't seen her but maybe," Moira said as she looked around, finding Walter moving through the room. "Walter!"

"Yes, Moira?" Walter responded as he joined the group. "Malcolm," Walter greeted his wife's friend.

"Walter, this is Mr Bruce Raatko," Moira introduced the Ra's to her husband. "Bruce, this is my husband Walter."

"A pleasure to finally meet you," Walter greeted the man standing next to Malcolm. "You have a very special daughter."

"I couldn't agree more," Malcolm chimed in with a smile.

"Walter, have you seen Nyssa recently?" Moira asked her husband. "Bruce hasn't seen her yet."

"I just saw her in fact," Walter revealed. "She was looking for Oliver."

"Oliver Queen. Your tabloids have not been very flattering of him in the past, Moira," Ra's pointed out. "Should I be concerned about my daughter's choice?"

"I will admit, my son had a somewhat wayward youth," Moira admitted, seeing no reason to lie. "But since his return with Nyssa, he has been a paragon of virtue."

"I couldn't agree more," Malcolm added. "In fact, I am trying to get my son Tommy to be more like him now."

"Malcolm, I was unaware you held Oliver in such high regard," Moira revealed, curious about Malcolm's sudden change of heart.

"I have recently been made aware that my views were...unfairly based," Malcolm described. "I thought it was time I looked with both eyes open."

“Well then,” Walter said, “Perhaps I should go and find the happy couple. Hmmm.”

#Arrow#

“There you are, Beloved,” Nyssa called as she found Oliver speaking with Tommy and Laurel. She moved up next to Oliver, who wrapped his arm around her. “I have been looking for you.”

“I was just here speaking with two old friends,” Oliver explained.

“How are you Nyssa?” Laurel asked politely. While their relationship had been rocky at first, it had since mellowed into something more placid. “Ready for tomorrow?”

“Hello Laurel,” Nyssa greeted. “I am well thank you. And yes, everything is ready.”

“Getting nervous yet?” Tommy asked. 

“You would think not after everything I have been through in my life,” Nyssa said as she looked up at Oliver. “And yet despite all of that, I find myself indeed becoming quite nervous about tomorrow. It is somewhat unsettling.”

“You’ll get used to it,” Laurel confided honestly. “It does take some getting used to, dealing with Moira. No offense Oliver.”

“Oh, none taken,” Oliver responded. “I know my mother can be quite the handful.”

“Speaking of parents,” Nyssa said. “I need to speak to Oliver about my father. Would you excuse us for a moment?”

“Of course,” Tommy said with a grin. “Oliver is going to need all the help he can get. Especially if your father is anything like our fathers.”

“We’ll see you later,” Laurel said, grabbing Tommy and leading him away. Once they had left, Nyssa gestured at Oliver and began walking away; Diggle and Maseo falling in behind them. Nyssa led them to Oliver’s office and shut the door once the three men had past her into the room.

“What’s happened?” Oliver asked, concerned. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” Nyssa said as she walked over and lent against the desk. “I just discovered something that I think we all need to know.”

“Well that doesn’t sound like it could be good news,” Diggle commented.

“I’m not sure if it is good news or bad,” Nyssa revealed. “Oliver, Sarab. Do remember reading in the chronicles about an assassin named Al Sa-Her? I also mentioned him last night.”

“Vaguely,” Oliver answered. “I spent more time training than reading. I remember you said he was the only assassin to ever be released from the league while they lived.” 

“He came to the league in 1994,” Sarab said. “He was trained by Al-Owal and quickly passed through his training, basic and advanced. He served for two years before Ra's al Ghul released him from the league and his name vanishes from the chronicles. There is no mention of what became of him or whether he is alive or dead.”

“He is alive,” Nyssa declared firmly.

“How can you be so sure?” Oliver asked. “Yes, you were alive back then but you were only 10 years old when Al Sa-Her vanished.”

“Which is why I couldn’t remember until now,” Nyssa replied. “I needed to be reminded of why I named him as I did.”

“You named Al Sa-Her?” Diggle questioned. “They let you do that?”

“I am Heir to the Demon,” Nyssa said simply.

“Who named him doesn’t matter,” Oliver stated. “Why is this important now?”

“Because he is here tonight,” Nyssa said to the surprise of all three men. “Malcolm Merlyn is Al Sa-Her, The Magician.”

“Malcolm Merlyn!” Diggle exclaimed as Oliver looked thoughtful.

“Forgive me Nyssa,” Sarab said softly. “But are you sure? It was a long time ago.”

“I am certain,” Nyssa proclaimed. “The coin trick reminded me. He did the same trick when he first met me. It is why I named him Al Sa-Her”

“You’re basing all of this on a coin trick?” Diggle questioned suspiciously. “Don’t you think that is a little bit too far afield?”

“It fits though,” Oliver said, speaking up. “Malcolm used to do that magic trick all the time when Tommy and I were kids. After Tommy’s mother died, Malcolm disappeared for 2 years; the exact amount of time Al Sa-Her’s deeds are recorded in the chronicles. And lastly, when Malcolm returned, he was never the same. He was cold and hard. Not the warm and happy husband and father that he was before he left.”

“Oliver, his wife just died,” Diggle pointed out. “That is going to change anyone.”

“Perhaps,” Oliver conceded. “There is one way for us to find out.”

“Ask my father when he arrives,” Nyssa said, knowing her husband well. A knock at the door forestalled any further speech. Maseo walked over to the door and opened it, allowing Walter to enter.

“Here you are,” Walter observed as he looked around. “I thought I might find you all in here.”

“We’re sorry Walter,” Oliver apologised to his step-father. “We just needed a moment away from all the crowds.”

“I understand,” Walter said. While they had gotten better at dealing with people and events, Walter still noticed that both Nyssa and Oliver disappeared from time to time. Thankfully, they at least took their bodyguards now. “I haven’t come to summon you back, though I am sure Moira would appreciate it if you did return. No, I am here to tell Nyssa some good news.”

“Good news?” Nyssa wondered, her mind working to determine what this good news could be.

“Yes, Nyssa,” Walter confirmed with a smile. “Your father, Bruce, has arrived.”

“My father is here?” Nyssa asked, surprised by Walter’s words.

“Yes, I gather he just arrived,” Walter replied. “Are you not happy he is here?”

“I’m sorry Walter,” Nyssa apologised, covering herself. “It has just been a very long time since I have seen him.”

“I can imagine it has been,” Walter sympathised. “But he is here now. I left him speaking to Moira and Malcolm.”

“Malcolm?” Oliver queried. “I wasn’t expecting him to come to the rehearsal.” 

“I understand he did it as a favour to your mother,” Walter reasoned.

“Hmm,” Oliver intoned before offering his hand to Nyssa. “Let’s go meet my future father-in-law.”

#Arrow#

“What kind of business are you in Bruce?" Moira asked politely. 

"I work mainly in the securities sector," Ra's answered. "The training of bodyguards and other personnel."

"What of family?" Malcolm wondered. "Is Nyssa your only child?"

"Not my only child, Mr Merlyn," Ra's answered calmly. "Nyssa has a sister, Talia. But Talia and I are estranged and Nyssa did not take it well when she found out. I would prefer that it was not brought up."

"I understand," Malcolm noted. "You have my sympathies."

"Father!" Nyssa's voice sang through the room. The three elders turned to see Nyssa, Oliver and Walter approaching; Diggle and Maseo surreptitiously assuming positions nearby. 

"My dear Nyssa," Ra's greeted softly, taking Nyssa's hands into his own. "I was so happy to hear of your rescue. Please forgive me for not coming sooner."

"There is nothing to forgive father," Nyssa replied, playing the part. "I was never alone."

"So I understand," Ra's noted, turning his eyes upon Oliver. "You would be my daughter's Beloved?"

"I am, sir," Oliver confirmed respectfully, holding out his hand. "My name is Oliver Queen."

"Bruce Raatko," Ra's countered as he shook Oliver's hand. "I have been looking forward to meeting you."

"And I you, sir," Oliver replied. "Nyssa has told me a lot about you."

"Nothing too shocking I hope," Ra's jested, causing Moira to laugh softly.

"No, sir," Oliver answered with a smile. "Nothing like that at all."

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"Mr Queen," Nyssa said, stopping the castaway as they travelled down a torch lit corridor.

"Yes, Nyssa," Oliver responded respectfully. After Nyssa's words to him yesterday, he had been tense all night, barely able to sleep more than an hour at a time.

"You are about to meet my father, Ra's al Ghul," Nyssa stated. "As I informed you yesterday, it is he that will decide you fate."

"Excellent," Oliver deadpanned. "Any suggestions?"

"Be honest. He will know if you lie," Nyssa advised, pausing to consider her words. "Though he may sit in judgement of you, I would not act as you have done before judges in the past. It will only serve to hasten your fate."

"You looked those up did you," Oliver questioned, receiving only a small grin in response. "Right. Well, I am not the man I once was. Not anymore."

"It doesn't matter who you were, Mr Queen. Or even who you are," Nyssa revealed calmly. "It is about who you can become." Oliver didn't have time to respond to Nyssa for as soon as she had spoken, she turned and again led the way down the corridor.

Soon enough, Oliver found himself being led into a long, high-ceilinged hall, which, like most of Nanda Parbat he suspected, was lit by torches. At the end of the room, before a high stone outcropping, stood two men. One was garbed as Oliver had seen nearly all of the assassins were, though his hood was removed. He was an older man with a grey beard. The other man wore a floor length gold-trimmed black robe over a dark green shirt. At his side hung a sword while around his neck was a dragon’s head pendent. He stood in the center of the room, relaxed and yet Oliver could tell the moment he noticed that he had company.

“My daughter,” the man, Ra’s al Ghul, Oliver realised, greeted Nyssa as she approached. He then turned his eyes upon Oliver and Oliver felt as if he was being examined inside and out even as he was still walking forward. “Welcome to Nanda Parbat, Oliver Queen.”

“Thank you for rescuing me from Lian Yu,” Oliver expressed calmly and honestly. “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what to call you.”

“Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. Emerson,” Ra’s quoted evenly as he turned to face Oliver squarely. “You may address me as Ra’s, Mr Queen. Until such time as I make a decision.”

“Nyssa explained to me that you hold my life, my future in your hands,” Oliver said, being careful to keep his voice neutral.

“Do you believe you still have a future?” Ra’s asked. “Given everything that you have been through while in Purgatory.”

“With respect, sir,” Oliver replied, forcing himself to keep his tone in check. “But you do not know what I went through on that island.”

“But I do know what your body has suffered while you were there,” Ra’s countered as he began walking, slowly circling Oliver who stood stock still. “Arrow, bullet, multiple blades, electrical burns. You have had quite the time of it while there. And yet you have endured, even flourished.”

“I would disagree with you there,” Oliver responded, shuddering slightly as memories of the past two years surfaced. “The island is well named.”

“Some things are given a name,” Ra’s proclaimed, continuing to circle Oliver. “While others earn one.”

“That place definitely earnt its name then,” Oliver quipped, unable to stop himself.

“Just so, Mr Queen,” Ra’s said, coming to a stop in front of Oliver again. “Tell me, do you know what this is?” Ra’s asked as he held out his hand to reveal a notebook.

“It looks like the notebook my father had on him when he died,” Oliver answered truthfully, instinctively knowing that lying was pointless. “It contains a list of names.”

"It does indeed," Ra's confirmed. "And do you know anything about these names?"

"No. Some of them seem familiar but I don't know from where," Oliver replied.

"This book, contains a list of names of, among others, a mercenary, several career criminals and various businessmen known for their ruthless attitudes," Ra's revealed. "Almost all of which, call Starling City home. Your home."

"Before he died, my father, he said that he had failed our city," Oliver recollected quietly, shuddering as one of his worst memories played in his head. "And that he wasn't the only one."

"And what else did he say?" Ra's prodded, sensing that there was more.

"He told me to survive," Oliver recalled steadily, his voice firming as he spoke. "He told me to make it home, to make it better. To right his wrongs. To survive."

"And survive you have," Ra's stated, his tone unchanged.

"Until now," Oliver said simply, still keenly aware of why he was here.

"Until now," Ra's agreed. He stared at Oliver, Looking at him and into him, examining him. "Tell me, Mr Queen. If I was to release you right now and sent you home, what would you do?"

"I don't know," Oliver admitted, the question surprising him. "Re-join my family. Once I was rested, figure out a way to save my city. To do what I promised my father I would."

"And what if I offered to teach you how to save you city?" Ra's countered. "To give you the skills you would need to purge all those that poison and corrupt your home. What would you say then?"

"I'd ask what the catch is," Oliver replied, suddenly nervous.

"I see great potential within you, Mr Queen," Ra's said. "Potential I would loathe to see wasted. So I would make you an offer."

"An offer?" Oliver wondered.

"Join the league. Swear your fealty to me and when you are ready; when you have learnt everything you need to learn and have mastered all the tools that you will require," Ra's proclaimed in a promising voice that Oliver was finding it difficult to resist. "Then I will send you to Starling City, to your home and you can remove all those that corrupt, poison and harm your city; once again making it a safe and prosperous place for you family to reside." Oliver forced himself to breathe slowly as he digested Ra's al Ghul's words. "What say you, Mr Queen?"


#Present#

"I owe you a debt, Mr Queen," Ra's said earnestly. "You saved and protected my daughter for three years, allowing her to return to me. I can never repay you for that."

"You owe me nothing, sir," Oliver replied, equally earnest. "Nyssa saved my life more times than I saved hers."

"Hush, Beloved," Nyssa chided gently before looking around. "I don't wish to be rude, but could we have a moment with my father please?"

"Of course, my dear," Moira acquiesced with a smile. "I'm sure you have much to catch up on. Walter, Malcolm."

"I would like to speak with you more Bruce," Malcolm said. "If you have the time."

"I'm sure it can be arranged," Ra's replied as he watch Malcolm follow after Moira and Walter. He turned to meet the looks of his daughter and son-in-law. "You feel as though I have wronged you in some way."

"Not here," Nyssa said before stalking off, leading Oliver and Ra's out of the room; Maseo and Diggle following along behind. Once they had reached a quiet area, Nyssa turned on her father. "Why did you not tell us that Al Sa-Her was Malcolm Merlyn?"

"Truthfully, I did not know if you would remember his face," Ra's replied, his voice hardening. "And it bore no relevance to your task here in Starling City. It still does not."

"It would still have been good to know," Oliver said calmly, trying to cool the situation.

"Al Sa-Her swore to uphold the League code the day I released him," Ra's revealed. "And he has done so ever since," he said as he noticed that Diggle was staring at him coldly. "You stare at me with barely veiled animosity, John Diggle. DO you know who I am?"

"I do, sir," Diggle replied evenly.

"And yet you still stand with my daughter and her husband," Ra's noted. "That speaks much to your sense of loyalty."

"OLLIE!" Thea's voice echoed down the hall, cutting off any reply from Diggle. Everyone present turned to see the origin of the voice walking down the hall, Sin beside her. "Where did you run off to this time Ollie?"

"I didn't run anywhere Thea," Oliver replied to his sister. "I was speaking with Nyssa and her father," Oliver said, indicating Ra's.

"He is actually here?" Thea quipped, causing Nyssa and Oliver both to suppress a groan. "I was beginning to think you weren't real."

"I assure you, Miss Queen," Ra's responded politely. "I am quite real."

"Well, It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr Raatko," Thea said politely.

"Please, call me Bruce," Ra's requested. "Mr Raatko makes me feel older than I am."

"Well, I'm Thea," Thea said before indicating Sin. "And this is Sin. She is a friend of Nyssa's."

"Hi," Sin said softly with a small wave.

“You seem nervous young one,” Ra’s observed casually. “Why is that?”

“I am a little,” Sin confirmed, her voice firming slightly. “And it is a big house. You never know what you will see or find.” 

“This one is quite sharp,” Ra’s noted calmly as he locked his eyes on Sin’s. “Like a pair of hidden daggers.”

“How was your trip father?” Nyssa asked after a moment of silence from everyone. She changed to the subject so as to allow Sin to try and remove the ‘deer caught in headlights’ look on her face. “Uneventful I hope.”

“It has been so far,” Ra’s replied, breaking his stare of Nyssa’s young friend. “Though I expect that will change before my departure.”

“It ought too,” Thea quipped excitedly, drawing looks from Oliver, Nyssa, Diggle, Maseo and Ra’s. “It is a Queen Family Wedding after all.”

“Indeed it is,” Ra’s agreed with a smile. “I’m sure there will be several…interesting events.”

“I’m sorry,” Thea said, her voice igniting. “But what do you mean by that?”

“Thea!” Nyssa and Oliver chided simultaneously while Ra’s just chuckled softly.

"Control your temper, young one,” Ra’s advised sagely. “Lest the fire within you damage the steel beside it.”

“Huh,” Thea exclaimed. “What does that mean?”

“It means, Thea,” Oliver said as Diggle’s phone beeped. “That you need to control your attitude before you get yourself in trouble.”

“I’m sorry sir,” Diggle said, interrupting Thea’s objection before she could begin it. “Your mother is requesting we return. It is time for the rehearsal to begin.”

“Excellent,” Oliver declared, shooting Diggle a look that said ‘your timing is perfect’. “Shall we?”

#Arrow#

“Well, that wasn’t so bad,” Oliver observed. “Was it?”

“Tomorrow will be worse,” Diggle said snidely as he buttoned his coat. “Trust me.”

“Excellent,” Oliver deadpanned as he saw Nyssa approaching. “Dig, could you get the car ready please?”

“Sure,” Dig answered before moving off. In his wake, Oliver and Nyssa fell into each other’s arms.

“I’m not sure I will be able to sleep tonight beloved,” Nyssa said as she hugged her husband. “It has been so long since we had to sleep apart.”

“I know what you mean,” Oliver agreed. “I don’t know if I will even be able to sleep.”

“Promise me you will try too,” Nyssa requested.

“I promise,” Oliver accepted immediately. “Where is your father?”

“He is speaking with your mother,” Nyssa answered. “He said to tell you to leave without him and that he would speak with us again before he returned to Nanda Parbat.”

“I don’t want to leave,” Oliver said, squeezing Nyssa tighter.

“And yet you should,” Nyssa pointed out. “Maseo is already driving Zayda home and will return to pick her up tomorrow morning. And John will be sleeping at the loft tonight in case someone tries something while we are separated.”

“I still don’t like leaving you,” Oliver declared.

“You never have Beloved,” Nyssa replied with a smirk as she stepped back from Oliver. “Now, go before I allow you to stay. I will see you tomorrow.” Oliver growled in his throat but did as she asked and walked away from her. He made his way through the mansion and out into the car that Diggle had ready to go.

“To the Penthouse, sir?” Diggle asked

“The factory,” Oliver decided and looked out the window as Diggle pulled away. “There is something I need to check first.”

#Arrow#

Oliver crouched on the roof of the church and looked down at Helena as she sat before a tombstone in the church’s small cemetery. He could just make out the name on the headstone: Michael Staton. He watched as she laid a single rose at the foot of the headstone and whispered words that Oliver couldn’t hear before she stood and turned to leave. Oliver was about to descend to speak with her when a van screeched to a halt in front of her and Nick Salvati jumped out with his gun pointed at Helena’s head. 

“Get in!” Oliver heard Nick demand and two more men climbed from the van and forced Helena into the van even as Nick kept his gun raised. Once Helena was in the van, Nick holstered his gun in his coat and looked around in case anyone had seen anything. Satisfied, he climbed into the front seat of the van and indicated for the driver to go.

As the van began to pull away, Oliver pulled one of his newest designs of flechette from his hip, activated the built-in tracking device and with careful aim, threw it at the van. The flechette sailed through the air but Oliver’s aim was true and the powerful magnet built into the head of the dart attached itself to the rear bumper of the van. Waiting a moment to make sure the flechette stayed attached, Oliver stepped off the roof and fell to the ground before making his way to where he had hidden his bike and following the van. 

He lost sight of the van several times but thanks to the flechette, he was able to reacquire the van and follow it all the way to an old warehouse by the docks. Oliver watched as the van pulled inside before stashing his bike out of sight and making his way quietly up onto the roof of the warehouse before gaining entry through a skylight. Staying in the rafters, Oliver moved through the warehouse until he was above where the van had stopped and where Helena was seated on a chair, he hands zip cuffed behind her. Olivere noted that look of disgust on Helena’s face that she was directing at Nick.

“My father is going to kill you for this," she said boldly and Oliver had to give her credit for the lack of fear that she was showing. Nick though, smiled, then back-handed her, knocking her and her chair over. Helena hit the ground with a grunt.

“I've been wanting to do that for years,” Nick snarled, and then indicated to his men to pick her back up. “Spoiled bitch. I knew it was someone from the inside waging war against your father and me. I just never thought it'd be this inside.” He held out his hand, and Helena's silver cross necklace dangled from his fingers. “You dropped this at Russo's.”

“You're smarter than I gave you credit for, Nicky.” Helena admitted, as she smirked at the mobster.

“You're not," Nick countered as he raised his hand to hit her again. “I do have one question though.”

“What’s that, Nicky?” Helena wondered.

“Why?” Nick asked as if it was obvious. “Why go after your own father?”

“My father had Michael murdered,” Helena snarled. Nick scoffed.

“Of course he did. He didn't want you to know the truth," Nick admitted as he leaned over her and yanked he head back by her hair. “Your rat of a fiancé was gathering evidence. He was talking to the fucking FBI!” He let her hair go and stood. “The love of your life was going to destroy your father.”

“You're wrong,” Helena said and Oliver noted how adamant she sounded.

“I found a laptop in Michael's bag, Helena,” Nick stated. “Everything that could send your father and me to prison for the rest of our lives was on it. That computer—“

“Was mine!” Helena declared, shutting Nick up in surprise. Oliver had not considered that possibility; but it changed nothing. “Michael wasn't the one talking to the FBI, I was,” Helena admitted boldly.

“You?” Nick scoffed in disbelief.

“My father is a monster,” Helena spat. “He doesn't care who he hurts to keep his money and power, and I wanted it to stop.”

“Well, then it's your fault Michael's dead,” Nick noted with a casual shrug of his shoulders. “Not your father for ordering the hit or me for carrying it out.” He pointed at her. “Yours.”

“You shot Michael,” Helena said in dawning realization.

“In the chest, so he knew it was me,” Nick bragged. Oliver could tell this was the wrong this to say as he watched the anger build inside Helena. He saw Nick place the cross back around her neck before he straightened and moved back slightly, pulling his gun. “Just like this.”

Oliver snapped into action at that point; pulling and nocking an arrow before releasing it. The gun was shot out of Nick’s hand and Nick looked up in shock to see the vigilante in the rafters. Oliver was already pulling another arrow to dispatch the first of the men that had accompanied Nick as Nick turned to Helena.

“You’re working with the vigilante?” Nick asked.

“No!” Helena stated as she snapped the zip cuffs holding her and lunged at Nick. Oliver fired his fourth arrow of the evening and watched calmly as it embedded itself in the last mobster’s neck before he looked back to check on Helena. He had heard their words and then the sounds of fighting but had remained focused on removing the threat of Nick’s men; even while avoiding being shot at. Helena had Nick forced up against the side of a forklift with her hand wrapped around his throat, cutting off his air. Oliver quietly descended to the ground even as Nick tried to speak.

“You're gonna burn in hell for what you've done!” Nick managed to choke out.

“It'll be worth it,” Helena replied, before she pulled him forward, grasped his head in both hands and wrenched it to the side, snapping his neck with an audible crack.

“Miss Bertinelli,” Oliver called, announcing his presence.

“I didn’t have a choice,” Helena stated as she recovered her breathe from the fight. “I had to get justice.”

“Perhaps,” Oliver replied. “But revenge is not justice.”

“Isn’t it?” Helena wondered. “When you love someone as much as I loved him, with all your heart. You can’t just turn that emotion off when they are taken from you. You still feel things as deeply. And if you can’t feel that love anymore,” she said before taking a deep breath and looking at Oliver. “Then it becomes hate.”

“Hate for your father,” Oliver noted without judgement.

“Yes,” Helena confirmed. “He was the one that ordered Michael’s death.”

“Your father will face justice,” Oliver said. “That I can assure,” he promised as he stepped forward. “But it will be by my hand.”

“Why should I let you do it?” Helena asked, her voice cold.

“Because your way leads to the deaths of innocents,” Oliver explained. “And that I cannot allow.”

“Are you going to put an arrow in me too?” Helena asked coolly. 

“No,” Oliver replied as he pulled an envelope from his jacket and tossed it at Helena, who caught it easily. “$10,000. Enough for you to travel wherever you want to go and start a new life.”

“Now you are bribing me?” Helena scoffed.

“No. I’m offering you a second chance,” Oliver responded. “It will be your choice if you take it.”

“And if I don’t?” Helena asked.

“It is said that those who seek vengeance should dig two graves; one for their enemy and one for themselves,” Oliver said before he turned and walked back to the van. He leant over and pulled the flechette off the rear bumper before straightening. He stood there quietly for a moment before looking back over his shoulder at Helena. “Don’t force me to fill them both.”

Re: Stegro's Arrowverse - Heir #02 - Heir Apparent

Reply #24
Chapter 25 – The Wedding

“Good morning Maseo," Sin greeted as she opened the door. "How are you this morning?"

"I am well, thank you Sin," Maseo replied, surprising the youth with his words.

"You can talk!" Sin exclaimed. 

"Quite well," Maseo responded. "I just often choose not to."

"Right," Sin said. "Well, I will just grab my jacket and bag and we can get going." Maseo didn't reply so Sin went around and gathered her things before heading to the door. Maseo exited first and Sin took note of how he scanned the street, buildings and rooftops signs of threats. Turning, she locked her apartment up before following after Maseo to the car he had arrived in; not Nyssa's Camaro. “I see Nyssa didn’t let you take the Camaro.”

“Does this surprise you?” Maseo questioned as he unlocked and climbed into the car.

“Nope,” Sin answered as she climbed in next to Maseo. Maseo glanced at Sin as he started the car before pulling away from the kerb. They had been driving for maybe five minutes when Sin turned to Maseo. “Can I ask you something?”

“You just did,” Maseo replied calmly, not taking his eyes off the road.

“Right,” Sin said, realising she had, indeed, asked something. Taking a deep breath, she continued. “What do you think I should do? About my future.”

“I am not the person you should ask,” Maseo replied. 

“I’m not asking you to choose for me,” Sin stated. “I’m asking for a second opinion. Do you think I should get into personal security? Despite being from The Glades?”

“Do you know what Zayda means?” Maseo asked after a moment of thought. “Did Nyssa tell you?”

“Yeah, she did,” Sin confirmed, wondering what Maseo was getting at. “It’s Arabic and it means fortunate or prosperous. Why?”

“I think that the name is aptly suited,” Maseo said, continuing to confuse Sin. Seeing this when he glanced at his passenger, Maseo went on. “You are fortunate to be a friend of Nyssa's and that she cares greatly for you. And with her, coupled with your own potential, you could have a very prosperous life. In almost any field you choose to pursue."

"Even personal security?" Sin wondered.

"Especially personal security," Maseo assured. "All you have to do is want to succeed."

"Hmm," Sin sounded out. "I'll remember that."

"It is a good thing to remember," Maseo advised, glancing at Sin. "Oh, and Sin."

"Yeah?" Sin asked.

"The knife in you left boot is off-centre," Maseo stated calmly.

"Dammit," Sin exclaimed as she reached down. "First Nyssa's father. Now you. Can everyone see them?"

"Not everyone," Maseo replied placidly before adding. "Just those who know what to look for."

#Arrow#

"Good morning Dig," Tommy greeted cheerfully as the bodyguard opened the door to Oliver's penthouse to allow him to enter. "How are you?"

"I'm well, thank you Mr Merlyn," Diggle replied as he stepped to the side. "And you sir?"

"Ohhh, I am great. Just great," Tommy responded gleefully; too gleefully for Dig who could tell it was forced. "My best friend is getting married today. What isn't great about that?"

"It is indeed a happy occasion," Dig agreed evenly. 

"Exactly," Tommy said. "And it is Tommy, Dig. Mr Merlyn is my father."

"As you say, sir," Dig acknowledged with a small grin as he shut the door. Tommy just shook his head and proceeded further into the penthouse in search of Oliver. He found him sitting on the couch. 

"You know, if six months ago, someone had told me that I would be standing here, today, in your penthouse, on your wedding day, I would have laughed in their face," Tommy quipped as he approached his friend.

"And yet here we are," Oliver noted casually as he looked up at his friend, noting the worry lines that not a usual adornment on Tommy's face. "You ok?"

"I will be," Tommy replied after a moment. "Eventually."

"What's happened?" Oliver asked in genuine concern. "Are you and Laurel ok?"

"Yeah, we're good. Even great, actually," Tommy admitted, refusing to look at his friend; choosing to look out the window instead.

"Tommy, look at me," Oliver urged and Tommy found himself unwillingly turning around to face his best friend. "What is going on?"

"Can we do this later?" Tommy requested casually. "On a day that is not your wedding day?"

"And have you avoid me for the next month? No," Oliver retorted, getting up and moving around to stand in front of Tommy. "We're going to talk about what is bothering you now and then we are going to figure out a way for me to help you. So spill already."

"When did you get to be so convincing?" Tommy quipped.

"Depends on who you ask," Oliver replied smoothly with a smile. "So ..."

"Right, well, uh, this is awkward," Tommy noted.

"It can't be more awkward then having to explain to your dad why you filled his pool with alcohol," Oliver joked, trying to lighten the mood a little. It seemed to help as his friend seemed to perk up a little bit.

"That was cool though, right?" Tommy remarked with a grin. "Speaking of fathers, mine cut me off."

"What?" Oliver asked in astoundment.

"Yep," Tommy confirmed. "My credit card, checking account, savings account, brokerage account and my stock portfolio. All frozen. My car as been repossessed and I have to be out of my apartment by the end of the month. I am living on fumes," Tommy explained softly. "Merry Christmas to me."

"Wow!" Oliver exclaimed dumbfounded. "Why didn't you say anything?"

"Embarrassment, shame, jealousy, probably a few other emotions I'm not used to feeling." Tommy replied evenly.

"Tommy, my trust fund is your trust fund," Oliver offered his friend. 

"Thank you, but no," Tommy said firmly, surprising Oliver. "That is the easy answer. And believe me, I have loved the easy answers to things. But what I need, is a job," he said to Oliver's amazement. "I, I am trying to change. Not sure into what but I don't want to be what I was anymore."

"I have some experience in feeling like that," Oliver said after considering his friend for a moment. He didn't say anything else but he knew that he was proud of Tommy. "And it just so happens," Oliver continued, "That I have a General Manager position at a brand new nightclub that is available. And I know that you definitely have experience with clubs."

"Will I be getting dental?" Tommy asked with a grin. "This smile was not cheap."

"I'll look into it," Oliver responded.

"Thank you,” Tommy said sincerely as he gave Oliver a manhug. 

“You’re welcome Tommy,” Oliver replied as the two parted. 

“So, you ready to get married?” Tommy asked as he stepped back and looked at his friend.

“I would hope so,” Diggle said knowingly as he joined the two men. “Sir, it is time.”

“You really love Nyssa, don’t you?” Tommy asked as Oliver picked up his jacket and a small box. “I just ask because I can’t ever remember you like this.”

“Remember that experience I was talking about?” Oliver asked and Tommy nodded. “Well, I had 5 years of not just wanting but needing to change. And Nyssa helped me to become the man I am. I wouldn’t be here today if it was not for her,” Oliver said with a glance at Diggle. “I would fight through a horde of assassins for her.”

“Well, I don’t think you will need to worry about that today,” Tommy quipped as he turned for one last glance out the window, completely missing the look that Oliver and Diggle shared.

“I hope not,” Diggle muttered softly before speaking louder. “Gentlemen, if you would. I don’t wish to be confronted by the bride, or her father, about why the groom and the best man were late.”

“Aww, c’mon Dig. Live a little,” Oliver joked as he headed for the elevator. “I don’t think Bruce would hurt you at all. Nyssa, I’m not so sure. She can be a little mean sometimes.”

#Arrow#

“Oh, my, god,” Thea uttered as she stared at the dress. “Oliver is going to die when he sees you in this.”

"I would hope not Thea," Nyssa remarked as she came out of the bathroom in a bathrobe. "It would defeat the point of my marrying him."

"True," Thea conceded. "Still, seeing my brother passed out on the ground from nothing more than seeing how gorgeous you are going to look in this dress would just about make this day perfect."

"And what would make this day perfect?" Nyssa asked offhand as she puttered about.

"My dad being here," Thea replied softly. This brought Nyssa up short.

"I'm sorry Thea," Nyssa apologised. "I should have known."

"It's ok," Thea tried to assure Nyssa but Nyssa could tell that she was putting on a brave face. She approached Thea and envelope her in a hug.

"I am sure that he is watching everything that we do," Nyssa said as she hugged Thea.

"That is not necessarily a good thing," Thea stated as she fought back tears. "I haven't exactly been the poster child."

"No; you have been Thea Queen. The daughter of Robert and Moira Queen," Nyssa declared. "And he would be proud of you."

"How can you be sure?" Thea wondered.

"Because I am," Nyssa stated. "You have come far in a short space of time and I can tell that you are going to go even further. And I could not be prouder to be joining your family."

"I've never had an older sister before," Thea said somewhat more cheerfully as she pulled away from the hug. 

"I have," Nyssa remarked softly.

"I didn't know," Thea responded. "Neither you or Oliver ever mentioned any other family besides your father."

"I don't often speak of my family," Nyssa related. "It is, complicated."

"It sounds it," Thea noted. She seemed to be considering something and Nyssa steeled herself for the questions she knew that Thea would be unable to resist asking. "What was your sister's name?"

"Talia," Nyssa replied after a moment. "Her name was Talia."

#Flashback – 3 Years Ago#

"A katana, sister?" A feminine voice called from the entrance to the practice room that Nyssa was currently alone in. "That is not your usual choice of weapon."

“Perhaps I wished to try something different for a change,” Nyssa replied as she turned to face her sister. “I did not know you were home Talia.”

“I returned to Nanda Parbat in the early hours of the morning,” Talia said as she slowly stalked into the room. “I saw father just after breakfast and then decided that I would work on my forms.”

“I will leave you then,” Nyssa said, not wanting to disturb her sister.

“Nyssa, you don’t have to go,” Talia said. “I am perfectly capable of training in a room with company. Even against them."

"We have not sparred together in many years, sister," Nyssa pointed out. "Perhaps I have learnt something new.”

“I would hope you have little sister,” Talia replied as she drew her katana over her shoulder. “Or this will be a very short session.”

“En garde, Talia,” Nyssa warned as she dropped into a ready stance, both hands gripping her sword.

“Come sister, show me what you have learned,” Talia challenged as she held her sword in one hand, pointing it down at the ground in front of her casually.

And Nyssa didn’t disappoint. Starting simply, Nyssa fell into a forward lunge and thrusted straight at Talia’s heart. Telegraphed as it was, Talia easily battered the sword away but Nyssa pivoted into the block and brought her sword swinging around at her sister’s neck at a surprisingly rapid pace. Talia instinctively ducked, allowing the sword to pass over her but was forced to block the spinning back kick that Nyssa performed even as she knew her strike would miss. Taking the blow, Talia shoved Nyssa’s leg away before trying to sweep her sister’s legs but Nyssa easily and calmly stepped back from the attack, putting space between the two assassins once again.

“It would seem that you are getting slower in your old age, sister,” Nyssa noted as she dropped back into her ready stance.

“I am still fast enough to best you, sister,” Talia responded as she adjusted her grip and grasped her sword with both hands. Considering her opponent for a moment, Talia decided on a course of action and attacked; in earnest. Nyssa found herself suddenly on the defensive as she blocked and parried strike after strike barely having time to think about what to do before she was blocking again. An overhead attack forced Nyssa to dive to the side and as she regained her feet, she came on the offensive. The two assassins traded blows from that point; neither giving an inch as their blades sang through the air.

“Enough!” their father’s voice cut through their focus and simultaneously the two stepped back and lowered their weapons. “Which of you would like to explain what is happening here?”

“We were just sparring father,” Talia explained as Ra’s locked his eyes on his eldest daughter. “There is nothing to be afraid of.”

“With you Talia, I am always watchful,” Ra’s proclaimed. “Past experience has shown that I need to be.”

“You should let the past remain in the past, father,” Talia advised. “That is what you always told me.”

“And I commanded that you were to never again cross weapons with your sister,” Ra’s countered. 

“Father, it was I that challenged Talia,” Nyssa argued. “Though I would know why you commanded Talia to never spar with me.”

“Another time Nyssa,” Ra’s said dismissively. “Leave us please. 

“Father?” Nyssa questioned.

“Leave us,” Ra’s said more firmly. “You should go and check on your recruit’s training.”


#Present#

“Talia,” Thea parroted. “Nice.”

“I always thought so,” Nyssa agreed wistfully as there was a knock at the door. “Come in!”

“I am sorry to disturb you Miss Nyssa,” Raisa apologised after opening the door. “But you have a phone call.”

“That is quite alright Raisa,” Nyssa assured the housekeeper. “Who is calling?”

“They did not give a name, but said to tell you that you would want to speak with them,” Raisa explained. “They are waiting on line 3.”

“How mysterious,” Nyssa said with a smile. “Thank you Raisa.”

“Who do you think it is?” Thea asked as Raisa left, shutting the door behind. 

“I have no idea,” Nyssa answered honestly as she walked over to the phone, picking it up and connecting to line 3. “Hello? This is Nyssa.”

“Hello sister.”

#Arrow#

“I still can’t believe that I am here, today,” Felicity said to herself as she walked towards the front door of the Queen mansion. “Maybe I should just go,” Felicity decided before stopping and turning around; almost walking right into Maseo. “Excuse me.”

“Miss Smoak,” Maseo said by way of greeting as he reached out and steadied Felicity.

“Ah, thank you, Mr Yamashiro,” Felicity responded once she was steady on her feet once again. “I didn’t see you there.”

“I think that was the point,” Sin said as she came around Maseo. “Felicity, right?”

“Ah, yes, that’s me,” Felicity replied, a little flustered. Looking at Sin, her eyes narrowed. “I know you. Sin, right? We met briefly at the engagement party.”

“That’s me,” Sin replied, using Felicity’s own words. Felicity smiled.  “You’re Nyssa’s friend.”

“As are you, I believe,” Felicity pointed out, still smiling.

“You’re weird,” Sin remarked. “I like it.”

“I’ll take that as a complement,” Felicity replied as a limousine pulled into the driveway. “I think we should move out of the driveway.” The two, along with Maseo headed towards the front door of the mansion and reached it just as the limo pulled to a stop next to them. The rear doors opened and 2 men climbed out and Sin watched as they immediately started scanning the area. After they were satisfied, one of them said something in a language that Sin didn’t recognise and Bruce Raatko exited the vehicle and walked towards them; his security falling in behind him as the limo pulled away.

“Sir,” Maseo said, bowing his head as Bruce walked up to the trio.

“Maseo,” Ra’s greeted, bowing his head in return before looking to Sin. “Sin, it is good to see you again. And sharper then yesterday as well,” Ra’s said, smiling at the teenager who managed to smile back weakly. Ra’s then turned his eyes upon Felicity. “And who might you be, miss?”

“Smoak. Felicity Smoak,” Felicity replied, introducing herself.

“Ah yes. Nyssa’s friend and Oliver’s Technical Advisor,” Ra’s stated, surprising Felicity with his familiarity. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Bruce Raatko. Nyssa’s father.”

“It is good to meet you sir,” Felicity said with her seemingly ever-present smile. “Nyssa has told me next to nothing about you.”

“As it should be,” Ra’s said. “Anonymity has its benefits. Don’t you agree?”

"I think that it would depend on what you are trying to hide from," Felicity countered.

"Quite so," Ra's agreed easily. "Shall we go inside? I'm sure we would all like to see my daughter before the ceremony begins," Ra's said as he gestured at the mansion with his hand. Both of the girls nodded in agreement and the small party made their way into the mansion, Maseo acting as the doorman.

"Good morning, Bruce," Moira greeted as she came into the foyer. "How are you this wonderful morning?"

"I am well, thank you Moira," Ra's replied with a disarming smile. "And yourself?"

"I have to say, I am quite excited," Moira admitted. "I see you arrived with company."

"I did," Ra's confirmed. "I found these two beautiful women outside and chose to give them an escort."

"How gentlemanly of you," Moira noted, turning to the two females. "Miss Smoak, Sin."

"Mrs Queen," the two said simultaneously. Moira couldn’t stop the smile that appeared on her face as the two wildly different women before her spoke at the same time.

"Nyssa is upstairs if you would like to go up to her," Moira offered with a smile.

"Thank you, Mrs Queen," Felicity said before following after a rushing Sin at a more sedate pace.

"Excitable, isn't she," Moira described, watching as Sin disappeared from sight. 

"Weren't we all at that age?" Ra's wondered idly.

"Perhaps," Moira agreed. "Would you like a drink before heading up to see Nyssa?"

"I would enjoy one, thank you," Ra's replied before following Moira into the sitting room.

#Arrow#

"It seems like most of the people your mother invited are here already," Tommy quipped as Diggle drove their car onto the Queen estate. 

"It looks that way, doesn't it," Oliver said, looking at the window at his childhood home. Truly, it had been his first home but now he owned a penthouse apartment; that was his new home. Not that it felt like home yet. Thinking to himself, Oliver wondered where he felt the most at home at; here at the mansion, the penthouse, Nanda Parbat or perhaps the island. The only four places he had ever called home.

"Hey, man," Tommy called, breaking Oliver out of his thought train. "You ok? You were away in wonderland."

"Just thinking, Tommy," Oliver explained. "Thinking about everything that has happened to bring me to this point." 

"Well, don't think too hard," Tommy quipped. "You might break something."

"No one has ever accused me of doing that before," Oliver responded as the car pulled to a stop. Oliver waited as Diggle climbed out of the car and walked back to open his door before he climbed out. "Thanks Dig."

"You're welcome, sir," Diggle replied. "Mrs Queen asked me to remind you that you were not allowed into the house until after the ceremony."

"Really?" Oliver bemoaned half-heartedly, knowing the exact reason why. "She doesn't want me to even catch a glimpse does she?"

"No, sir," Diggle confirmed with a big smile. "She does not. Nyssa also told me to tell you that if you try sneak in, and she catches you, that you would not like the greeting that she would give."

"She always was quite convincing," Oliver noted with a broad smile. "Shall we then?"

"After you sir," Diggle responded. Oliver continued smiling at the memory of when Dig first said those words as he led the way around the mansion to the rear of the house where the ceremony was going to take place. As the back lawn came into view, the sight caused Oliver to pause.

A white carpet had been rolled out that led from the rear doors of the house, down the stairs and out onto the lawn between over a dozen rows of chairs before finishing beneath an arch decorated with flowers. The area was filled with people milling about as they passed the time before the ceremony. 

"How many people did your mother invite again?" Tommy wondered as he came up next to Oliver.

"I actually have no idea," Oliver admitted as his eyes scanned the crowd of gathered guests, noting several he would specifically need to greet. "You still have that box I gave you?"

"The ring is safe, buddy," Tommy promised. "I will defend it with my life."

"You lose it and it just might be your life that Nyssa takes," Oliver said in a joking manner. "Let's go," he added, cutting off any response from Tommy as he led the way. Oliver greeted, shook hands, hugged and thanked multiple people he didn't even know for their attendance until he reached one that he did know. "It is lovely to see you here today, Ms Waller."

"After you went through all that effort to hand deliver an invitation to my office desk, how could I refuse?" Amanda asked as she tuned to look at Oliver. "You caused me to do a full lockdown and sweep of the building, Mr Queen," Amanda revealed softly. "You really should tell me how you got that invitation on my desk."

"Ms Waller, if I told you that," Oliver began with a charming smile. "What kind of person would I be?"

"Cooperative?" Amanda tried disingenuously. 

"I can be cooperative when I choose to be, Ms Waller," Oliver replied. "Now if you will excuse me," Oliver said politely before walking away. He continued his trek through the throng of guests before again meeting someone he wanted to speak to. "Felicity."

"Oliver, hey," Felicity greeted excitedly. "I didn't know you knew so many people."

"I don't, actually," Oliver replied honestly. Felicity stumbled over what to say to that but Oliver ploughed ahead. "I just stopped by to say thank you for coming today. I want you to know how grateful Nyssa is for your friendship along with how grateful I am."

"It's nothing, really," Felicity said, unable to stop the blush from creeping across her face. "I'm just a girl."

"No, Felicity, you're not just a girl," Oliver stated clearly. "We both think you're remarkable."

"Thank you for remarking on it," Felicity said. Any further words were intercepted by Sin as she somewhat skidded to a halt next to Felicity.

"She's coming!" She got out before she realised who was standing with Felicity. "Hi."

"And that's my cue," Oliver said with a smile. "I will see you both later."

"We'll be here," Felicity said as she moved to take her seat, Sin dropping down beside her. Oliver made his way up to the arch to stand next to Tommy even as, by some unspoken word, all the guests began to take their seat.

"I would not be doing my duty, even though I know you won't take it, if I didn't offer you one last chance to make an abrupt exit," Tommy whispered to Oliver.

"Not a chance, Tommy," Oliver whispered back, even as his eyes searched the mansion for a sight of his bride. Down in front of him, he noticed his mother sneaking in from the side to join Walter at their seats.

"I thought as much," Tommy finished as Wagner's Bridal Chorus began to sound. All eyes turned towards the Mansion as Thea came into sight, dressed beautifully and serenely making her way down the carpet. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, Nyssa and her father exited the mansion and Oliver caught sight of Nyssa in her dress for the first time. And it took his breath away.

Nyssa almost appeared to float on air as she descended the stairs after Thea; her hand resting comfortably on her father's forearm to steady her, not that she needed it, Oliver knew. Her mermaid cut, halter neck dress was perfect in the way it wrapped around her figure and Oliver knew he was going to enjoy teasing her out of it later that night. His mind was already adding to the already extensive plans he had for the two of them.

Once at the bottom of the stairs, Ra's and Nyssa paused for a moment before continuing their trek down the aisle. Oliver watched with interest as Amanda Waller practically stared a hole through the Demon's Head and if it wasn't for Aziz, Saqr, Namir and the other assassins spaced around the ground, Oliver might have been concerned for his father-in-law's safety. But their journey was uneventful and soon Ra's was placing Nyssa's hand in Oliver's as they both turned to face the celebrant.

"Welcome everyone, to this most joyous event," the celebrant said, his voice amplified so that everyone could clearly hear. "Marriage is a union like no other. It can take many forms and yet all are the same. It can be entered into quickly, or slowly. But as long as you are both honest, loving, caring and protecting; then you're certainly off to a good start." This elicited a soft chuckle from most of the guests. Now, the bride and groom have asked me to keep this short, owing to their history, they feel that they have waited long enough to make this official. So, if the best man could supply the ring."

"I had it here somewhere," Tommy joked as he patted his pockets theatrically. At Nyssa's glare, he quickly produced the ring and handed it to Oliver.

"I understand you have written your own vows," the celebrant said.

"With this ring, I pledge by undying love, loyalty, care and protection. If you'll take me," Oliver offered staring into Nyssa's eyes.

"I do," Nyssa said clearly even as Oliver slid the simple gold band onto her finger. His mother had tried to push for more but Oliver had explained that after 5 years on a deserted island, they didn't need, or want, fancy rings.

"Nyssa," the celebrant prompted and Nyssa turned to accept the ring from Thea.

"With this ring, I pledge my undying love, loyalty, care and protection. If you'll take me," Nyssa offered, staring into Oliver's eyes.

"I do," Oliver answered as Nyssa slid the ring onto his finger.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Oliver and Nyssa Queen," The celebrant announced. "Oliver, you...are already kissing the bride."

 
Simple Audio Video Embedder