"Choose, Oliver!" Dr. Anthony Ivo commanded the young billionaire castaway. In his hand was a .44 Magnum, the steel glinting sharply in the soft moonlight. The man's form was submerged in the cooling fog that often wrapped itself in Lian Yu, the only light aside from the stars and moon came from hand held flashlights, making the clearing look even grimmer and darker, though nothing could be more dark than the actions happening.
Oliver had never been much of a religious man, he usually had spent his Sunday nights in bed till the afternoon fighting off a raging hangover than dressing up for church, and when he had been marooned on this purgatory, his belief in a higher Entity had started to dwindle as day by day he lost more of humanity with each death he dealt and the death of his father and Yao Fei. But as he looked at the mad doctor, a gun held in his claw-like hands, surrounded by brutal and savage pirates with guns held at the ready, Oliver saw the Devil in human form.
Oliver just stared at Ivo, his brilliant blue eyes burning with a fury so hot they seemed to gleam brighter than the artificial lighting from the flashlights.
Ivo placed the gun atop Shado's head, his finger poised to pull the trigger. Shado didn't look at him, her eyes were averted and tears streamed down her cheeks as she cried for her dead comrade without shame of weakness.
With a furrowed brow when Ivo noticed Oliver hadn't made his choice, he moved on to the prone form of the shivering Sara Lance. "I said choose!" The man growled out threateningly, his eyes alight with madness, "Or I'll shoot them both in the head… What's it going to be Oliver?"
What was it going to be?
Oliver had no clue. The situation seemed so unreal, like a nightmare turned into a demonic hallucination. His heart beat heavily in his chest, shock still burning in his body as he thought of Slade abandoned in the old Japanese sub, his body cooling and the blood trailing down his eyes drying. He had just lost Slade, his mentor, his companion, his brother. And now he was between another rock and a hard place, they seemed to be everywhere on this hellish island, and he just couldn't move.
"Ollie…" Sara whimpered, her shuddering form seemed so small with Ivo's gun placed at her head, the bullet just itching to slam through her skull and end her life.
Shado didn't say anything; she just continued to mourn the violent death of Slade, her small form hunched over as though the entire weight of the world had suddenly dropped upon her shoulders. Defeat etched in her beautiful Asiatic facial features.
Only two of them were getting out of here….
The thought made his body jerk violently, as the situation hit him full force like a missile strike to the chest. He had to choose, Shado or Sara? Time seemed to stop as he realized this.
It would be so easy, so easy to just leap in front of Sara and save her from the wrath of Ivo. Her appearance had been abrupt and completely unexpected; her rising from her supposed watery grave had been a complete shock to the former playboy. Maybe that's what Ivo expected, the brave man saving the one he had condemned to this life after inviting her on that stupid yacht. Maybe Sara thought that too, expected it even.
And Shado… Shado seemed to have lost every ounce of fight in her, weary resignation in her teary eyes, she expected Oliver to jump in front of Sara, choosing her instead of Shado. Sara was trembling and quivering in the face of the death, but Shado just looked tired, Oliver wondered at that. Was she tired of fighting, the constant awareness of enemies lurking underneath every blade of grass and behind every tree? The needless and countless deaths that plagued this purgatory, her father had died before her, killed by Fryers with a bullet in the head. Slade's death had been horrific and gory, his body literally being torn apart from the inside from infection and later the Mirakuru, the so called Miracle, till his steady strong heart just stopped beating.
Sara or Shado?
Sara was the perfect example of his previous life, of the Oliver Queen who had boarded the Queen's Gambit with his girlfriend's sister, the Oliver who crawled from that lifeboat unaware of where he had landed, and of Starling City. His beautiful home, his countless friends, his baby sister Thea, his mother Moira, Tommy, and even Laurel. He owed it to Laurel to bring her sister back, to make sure she survived, Sara wouldn't be in this mess had he not freaked out over his stupid worries of relationship commitment with Laurel. Sara defined his dreams to return home, to be with those he loved once more.
Shado was the perfect example of his life now, here on Lian Yu. The foolish, weak playboy known as Oliver Queen had died when he came face to face with Edward Fryers and Bill Wintergreen, and now a stronger man kneeled in absolute defeat. Shado had taught him to survive, to be strong. She had taught him how to use a bow, to actually hit a tree with an arrow. She healed them when Slade and Oliver had gotten injured; she had kicked their asses as much as she saved them. Shado was strong, fierce and brave, Oliver admired her so much, he loved her.
Sara was his past and Shado was his present, the two halves of Oliver Queen. But what of his future?
With a start, Oliver came to a realization. It didn't matter what happened, for if either Shado or Sarah, his two lives, died, he would die as well, his future didn't matter, all that mattered was the two women in front of him.
Ivo had started to become impatient, no doubt he itched to returned to the Amazo with his Mirakuru and discover its dark and deadly secrets, to rebuild the human race as something stronger, better, greater. Make them darker.
Oliver wanted to cry, how could Ivo think of injecting people with the Mirakuru, did he not see what had happened to Slade? Strong, gruff Slade, who had died screaming as his very blood, nerves, and muscles burned. Blood pouring out of his eyes, like silent tears that cried of murder and darkness.
Ivo's finger slowly pulled back the hammer to the revolver, the metal weapon making a cocking sound that was all too familiar to the defeated party, and it was within that second that Oliver Queen made his decision.
"Stop! Wait!" He shuffled forward as fast as his wounded knees could take him, he didn't kneel in front of Shado or even Sara, but between the two women that made up both sides of Oliver Queen. "Don't shoot them," he pleaded with the madman, his blue eyes wide in desperation and… acceptance. Oliver spoke once more, his voice quiet but full of strength that he had never known to have possessed. "I choose me, kill me Ivo! I'm the one who killed your men, I'm the one who found the hōzen, I'm the one who caused all this trouble for you. Shoot. Me." Oliver looked at the madman square in the eyes, piercing blue meeting startling grey.
Ivo stared at him, Shado and Sara stared at him. The entire clearing seemed to have gone silent at the former billionaire's words. Oliver ignored the silence, instead he just continued to stare up at the doctor, who seemed surprised at the very least.
Ivo glanced down at his gun, the shiny metal hurt Oliver's eyes, and then the man spoke, his voice as soft as a madman's lullaby. "Very well," he pressed the magnum to Oliver's forehead, who resisted the urge to flinch as the cold metal, icy to the touch, touched his skin. "I guess you've made your choice."
Sara started to sob, her slender form shaking violently while silent tears ran down Shado's tanned cheeks. Oliver felt no fear as he stared at the nozzle, only the warm acceptance that told him that he had done the right thing, Shado and Sara didn't deserve to die by his actions. A year ago he was selfish and manipulative, he was a spoilt brat that didn't care about those around him, but the island had changed him, ripped the rotten boy out of him and molded him into the man who stood before two women he loved, having given his life for them. The Oliver of last year would have tried to run away, not caring of the precious lives before him, but this Oliver would die for them.
"Shado… thank you," Oliver was so sure those would be his last words, and he was proud of them. Shado had made him into the better man, she had taught him how to survive and to love again, it had hurt him when she discovered the true origins of Sara and how she had been on the yacht with him, he hoped deep inside him that this act would be enough to mend the hole.
Ivo glared at him, Oliver wondered why he hadn't shot him yet. The gun slowly moved down, not to the ground but to his chest. "Had you chosen one of them," Ivo nodded his heads to the bound females, "I would have shot them in the head, quick and painless, but you." Ivo's face turned into a snarl, an ugly grimace of pure hatred and rage. "You ruined everything, I'm going to kill you slowly and painfully… Goodbye Oliver Queen."
The sound of the gunshot rang through the jungle of Lian Yu, surrounding wildlife fled from the sound in fear. The pirate guards jumped at the loud but expected noise, no emotions going through their minds, just cool acceptance that the man who had killed so many of their men, their brothers in arms, would soon die. The sounds of two female screaming in agony and grief soon followed, but Oliver heard none of it.
He fell to the cool ground slowly, the leaves crinkling as his body crashed into the dirt. His body felt so cold, save for the one spot in his chest that burned like fire. Oliver gasped for air, but instead violently hacked up blood, his body trembled violently as his body went into shock.
Anthony Ivo stared at the crumpled form of Oliver Queen with a look of cool indifference, he had shot him square in the chest, a fatal hit, with no major arteries so the man could die a slow and painful death, the pest deserved it in Ivo's mind. He would die in a few minutes, but those minutes would be filled with hazy pain that would make him wish Ivo had spared him the luxury of a bullet to the head.
Blood has started to slowly pool around Oliver, its crimson liquid staining his dark blue shirt and khakis, Oliver's face started to grow paler and he continued to gasp and gurgle for breath, Ivo stepped forward, wanting to see Oliver's eyes slowly dim as the life bled out of him.
And then all of a sudden Slade Wilson came charging through the dense thicket, a single punch sent a mercenary flying through the air and crashed violently into a tree. The pirates opened fire on the previously dead former ASIS agent, but the bullets seemed to do nothing to the very angry Australian man. Within seconds Slade tore through their ranks as though they were nothing but annoying gnats, but through the ensuring chaos that came Doctor Ivo disappeared into the night, the box of Mirakuru in his hands. Unaware that several syringes filled with the light amber liquid had fallen out into the underbrush that made up the clearing that was now a graveyard.
The newest captain, the other one having been killed by Ivo, took Slade head on, it was something he would later regret. With a single punch the military man punched through the man's ribcage as though it was brittle parchment, the dark-skinned man spent his last living seconds looking at Slade in shock, not seeing a man but a demon of the night.
"Shado!" Slade's gruff voice yelled out as he rushed over to the love of his life, the Chinese woman shook violently in his arms, either from shock of seeing her comrade return from the dead, or seeing Oliver die for her, no one knew.
"Oliver!" Shado screamed, shaking Slade out of his blood rage. He finally followed the woman's gaze and felt like someone had just shot another missile at him. "No…" he rushed over to his brother and cradled him in his arms, there was so much blood. "No kid, stay with me!" he placed his hands firmly against the wound, hoping to God Almighty that Oliver could survive. "Stay with us!" He yelled at Oliver, who looked like he was sleeping, save for the blood dribbling down his chin.
"Ollie!" Sara cried out as she saw his crumbled body being cradled by Slade. He looked so small and vulnerable, his breath ragged and pained, but with each passing second his breathing got shorter and shorter.
Slowly, Oliver opened his eyes. His once bright vibrant blue now dull and foggy, he stared at Slade for a moment, shock erupting on his lips before he smiled wanly, and then Oliver felt the calming urge to fall asleep, the clouds of darkness overtook him, and despite the yells of his friends to stay awake, to fight, Oliver Queen just closed his eyes and the world faded into nothing.