This is my first ever fanfic/fic of any kind so please go easy on me. I have written this at the bequest (and challenge) of my good friend, beta, and fellow writer Rennie75. All mistakes are mine.

Disclaimer: I do not own Arrow or any of the characters - CW does, I'm only playing with them.

When Oliver made the decision to take off his hood and reveal himself to Tommy he knew there were going to be questions. He knew he wouldn't be able to get away with just saying "a lot" when Tommy asked him what happened on the Island this time. Just as he'd known there would be questions when he revealed himself to Diggle, and later on to Felicity. The difference was this time it was his best friend, a man who'd known him before the Island, before the scars - and this time he didn't know what he was going to say, how he was going to answer those ...

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"So, you finally going to give me a straight answer about what happened to you on that Island?" Tommy asked when they were back at Verdant. Tommy had wanted to talk at the Mansion but Oliver had insisted on bringing them here, to the club. He wasn't quite sure why but, as long as Oliver was finally going to talk, he didn't really care where they were.

"Yes, but first I need you to come with me, I need to show you something." Oliver led Tommy to the back of the club, to the secret entrance to the lair. Earlier he'd sent a message to both Diggle and Felicity so he knew that no-one else would interrupt them or be there in the way. He wanted to be certain of how Tommy was going to deal with the knowledge that he was the Vigilante before he would risk revealing their involvement. Oliver also figured there was enough stuff Tommy would want to talk about without making it more involved.

He'd brought Tommy to his lair, his 'Arrowcave' as Diggle and Felicity had named it, as this was the one place he felt safe, where he could truly be himself. This was going to take a lot out of him and doing at the Mansion where everything was a mask just wasn't going to work.

Oliver led Tommy through and down into the lair, observing Tommy's reactions as they went. He heard the way Tommy's breath hitched and then paused as Tommy realised where they were, what he was being shown. Saw the look in Tommy's eyes of amazement with a hint of concern and a bit of anger in his eyes as he saw the weapons. Noticed the way Tommy paused on the stairs hesitating as they came into view. Registered the quizzical look Tommy flashed Oliver as he saw the salmon ladder. Oliver wasn't sure if he'd seen one before, maybe in those kung-fu videos they'd watched as kids, but couldn't really remember.

"So, I know you have questions …" Oliver hesitated. He had no idea what else to say, how to continue, so he just left the sentence hanging hoping Tommy would pick it up from there.

"Yeah, like what happened to you, why weren't you going to tell me, how can you just kill like that? Where did you learn to shoot, to fight - you said you were alone on the Island?!" Tommy said accusingly.

"I wasn't alone, the Island had other people on it, some very dangerous people."

"So why did you say you were alone? Why did you lie to your family, to Laurel, to me?!"

"Because I knew if people knew they'd have a lot of questions, they'd want to know what happened to me, and I wasn't ready to talk. I knew the way they'd look at me if they found out and I didn't want that." Oliver couldn't help but think back to the polygraph, to Lance's questions and Laurel's response to finding out about his scars, the torture. "I have scars Tommy, a lot of them."


Oliver didn't know how to go on so he decided it would probably be easiest to just show him, but knew he had to warn Tommy a bit more first so took a deep breath.

"The doctor, when I first got back, he examined me." Another deep breath in, letting it out slowly to control his heart rate. He schooled his features to neutrality, prepared for the look of disgust that was bound to follow once Tommy saw them." He said that about 20% of my body is covered in scar tissue, I have second degree burns on my back and arms, and at least 12 fractures that never healed properly."

"What?!" Tommy was shaken and scared by that. Just what had his friend been through to cause what he was describing; and why had he never spoken to him about this? "Oliver will you please just tell me what the hell happened to you on that island?!"

"I was tortured Tommy." Again Oliver hesitated not knowing how to go on.

Tommy was completely shocked by that revelation. He didn't know what it was he'd expected Oliver to say, but torture?! He sighed, recognising that Oliver was at least trying to be honest this time even if it wasn't easy going. Although Oliver's face was blank it wasn't hard to see the pain in his eyes or the tension rolling off his friend. "Show me."

Oliver nodded, he'd known it would come to this, known that when he'd made the decision to reveal himself. But that knowledge didn't make it any easier. At least this time it had been his choice, not like when Speedy had walked in on him; or when Lance had forced him to reveal it to him and at the same time Laurel. Laurel, she'd looked at him differently since then and now Tommy would too. All of this flashed through his mind in the few seconds it took him to take his jumper off.

Oliver just stood there, not meeting Tommy's eyes, not saying a word, just standing completely still like a statue. Tommy gave a long low whistle as he realised just how bad the scars were. So many injuries, what had they done to his friend to cause them? He had more questions now than even, but he just wasn't sure he wanted to know the answers anymore.

Oliver turned around slowly so that Tommy could see his back too. He was keeping a tight reign on his breathing and reactions, still being careful not to meet Tommy's eyes. He didn't want to see the look that he knew would be there, to know that his friendship with Tommy was over, after all how could he still want to be his friend now that he knew how damaged he was.

Tommy honestly didn't know what he was supposed to say or do now. Even with the warning about the doctor's comments he hadn't expected this, this tale of horror and pain written on his friend's body. He knew that Oliver was struggling, but wasn't sure how to help. "You don't have to tell me about all of them, but maybe talking would help. Tell me what happened when you first got to the island. What was it called?"

"The Island is called Lian Yu, it means 'purgatory' but it was hell for me. I had barely made it to the Island a day when I got shot with an arrow, here." Oliver pointed to the scar by his right shoulder. "The man who shot me thought I was one of the soldiers, but when he realised I wasn't he looked after me, kept me alive, taught me about finding food. He taught me that I had to be willing to kill the animals if I wanted to survive. He was the first one to tell me how to shoot an arrow. The soldiers caught up to us then, they caught me and put me in a hole in the ground to start with. They took me to a man called Fyres and he questioned me. He showed me a photo of a man, said the man's name was Yao Fei and asked if I knew him."

Oliver took a small breath before continuing, noting that Tommy seemed to be willing to listen. He wasn't sure why but there was no look of disgust in Tommy's eyes, yet anyway.

"And did you?" Tommy asked.

"Yes, he was the man who'd looked after me." Oliver continued. "I told Fyres I didn't know him but he didn't believe me. When I refused to give him up Fyres called in one of his men and said that if I wasn't willing to talk then his man would get it out of me. The man had a sword with him and he used it on me." Oliver pointed to those scars as he was talking. "I thought when I was shot with that arrow that that was the worst pain imaginable. Then when they tortured me I realised I was wrong and knew that this must be it. I was still wrong though."

Oliver stopped then so after a few minutes of silence Tommy prompted him. "What happened then?"

"Fyres realised I wasn't going to betray Yao Fei and so told his man to kill me. Just then Yao Fei arrived, he stopped them and rescued me. He saved my life, again." Oliver gave a small sigh. "Later on I met other people, a few friends, most enemies. Slade Wilson taught me to fight. Man, I remember how weak and useless he thought I was to start with, I could barely even do a few push ups!" Oliver said with a small attempt at a laugh.

Tommy realised that this was getting too much for Oliver and he really needed a distraction. "So how many can you do now then?" He asked in an effort to ease things and change the direction of the conversation.

"Nah man, push ups are too easy for him now, so he uses the salmon ladder to show off now instead!" Diggle answered for Oliver.

Oliver had known that Diggle was there, just as he knew Felicity was too – he could smell the vanilla scent of the shampoo she used. But they had stayed in the background out of sight until he - or apparently Diggle - had decided it was safe for them to reveal themselves. As much as he was annoyed that Diggle had made the decision instead of waiting for him, he really needed to work off some of the pent up emotion that telling Tommy had caused so he went over to the salmon ladder.

"Err are you sure that's safe, should you be doing that?" Tommy asked cautiously, he couldn't help being curious at the same time though. He had seen one of those things in an action film years ago but had never actually seen it really being done.

Diggle just laughed as Oliver grabbed the steel bar and started 'showing off' as Diggle had put it. He went up there in record time much to Tommy's amazement, before just dropping straight down from the top and landing completely silently like it was nothing at all!

"That's nothing, wait until you see him fight!" It was Felicity who spoke this time.

She must have judged it safe as Oliver had yet to ball out Diggle for coming out of the shadows. Oliver had no intention of letting Digg off that easy though! He picked up the steel batons they used to spar with and threw two of them to Diggle. After all, he might as well work off some more of that frustration at the same time as letting Digg know of his annoyance for not waiting for him to say it was clear before he and Felicity had revealed themselves.

"Tommy, you've already met Diggle my 'bodyguard', he's Special Forces out of Khandahar; and this is Felicity, my IT 'Girl Friday'."

"Ermm, Oliver ..." Tommy said anxiously. Despite just having seen Oliver do that salmon ladder, and having heard the reports of what the Vigilant could do, that was very different to seeing Oliver fight this big 'special forces' man and he was nervous of what might happen.

"It's okay, Digg might have arms the size of bricks but Oliver's the better fighter." Felicity tried to reassure Tommy. It didn't work.

"Hey!" Diggle said, trying to sound insulted and failing miserably.

"Oh come on Digg you know that Oliver's better at it than you I don't mean at 'it' I just mean at fighting that's not to say I don't think you are a good fighter too I do think that you're a good fighter it's just that Oliver's better and well"

"Felicity!" Oliver said, effectively stopping her mid-babble.

"I'm doing it again aren't I, sigh!"

"Yep." Oliver ended any further conversation then by aiming a blow at Diggle and nearly catching him out. As he aimed the baton at Diggle he was looking at Tommy, at his eyes. Much to Oliver's surprise there was still no look of disgust, just concern - presumably at the fact that he was going to fight Diggle. He didn't understand this, but was going to enjoy still having his best friend whilst he could.

It was all Tommy could do to keep up with watching the speed of the fight going on in front of him. He'd never seen anything like it! Felicity was right, Diggle might have 'arms the size of bricks' but Oliver was the better fighter. How he was better than this special forces guy Tommy still didn't know. But he knew a lot more than he had done just a few hours ago. There might still be a long way to go, but it was enough for now, he decided. He might not understand why Oliver killed or even why he had become this Vigilante, but if these two people could be here so clearly supporting him, then there must be more to it.

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Later on Tommy thought back to all he'd learnt that long day. He thought about Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity. They made up an odd grouping these three, the rich playboy, the special forces man, and an IT girl?! But Tommy could see that it clearly worked. They were so clearly at home around each other and in this place. The way that neither man had taken offense by Felicity's babble – or had even seemed surprised by it for that matter – clearly showed how used to it they were. He couldn't help but wonder what else she had come out with for them to be this used to it?

It was strange how Oliver hadn't been surprised when they came out of – where had they come out of anyway? This place must be bigger than he had realised. It was clear now that you couldn't sneak up on Oliver, but still, Tommy hadn't seen or heard any sign that they were there. Oliver's senses really must be like a ninja's!

Also, neither Diggle nor Felicity had seemed to be surprised by Oliver's scars or the fact that he didn't have a shirt on. Did he always train like that then, without a shirt on? You could hardly miss those horrendous scars, yet neither had even reacted to them. Tommy wondered just how much Oliver had told them about the island. It was clear that Oliver and Diggle were used to sparring together. Just how long had they known Oliver's secret, and why had Oliver told them but not him?

He couldn't help but feel a bit jealous, and also unsure of himself and his place in Oliver's life. For it was now clear that this was Oliver's real life – not the playboy he was still pretending to be to the rest of the world. Oliver seemed at home here in a way he had yet to be at the Mansion or anywhere else that Tommy had seen him.

Tommy still had questions, many of them. But for now he had his best friend back, far more than he had before, even if he hadn't realised it at the time. Also, Oliver had just saved his father's life, he figured he owed him for that. His friend needed his support. The rest of it, the questions, well they would just have to wait.