This is the continuation of a previous story called The Choices That We Make. If you have not read it I would suggest going to my profile and reading it to avoid any confusion when reading this story. The story focuses primarily on a 'what if' situation in which Oliver did not choose Sara or Shado when Ivo threatened them, but rather chose to sacrifice himself instead. Oliver was shot and killed by Ivo, but was brought back to life by Sara, Shado and Slade with a syringe of Mirakuru, which infected him like it did Slade. The story focuses on what happened after this, with Oliver and Slade struggling to control the Mirakuru within them, Sara finding a place amongst them, and vengeance against Ivo.
The elderly Chinese fisherman glanced backwards at the back of his old fishing boat; his son was treating their guests with tea and food, which they accepted graciously. The old man shook his head as he thought over the situation. He had been fishing along the shores of an uncharted island with his son when an explosion from the beach caught their attention.
When they had come ashore, people had appeared on what he had always thought to be an inhabitable island. The man in the green hood with a bow had revealed himself to be Oliver Queen, an American billionaire who had been stranded on Lian Yu for five years alone save for his companion, an American woman named Sara Lance.
When questioned if there were other castaways, the American archer had shaken his head and told the two in fluent Mandarin that only he and Sara had survived the island.
He didn't ask any more questions after that, and had simply invited them to come onto their boat so they could be taken to Hong Kong to return to their homes. The Americans were near the back of the boat currently, and his son was attending to them.
Sara Lance watched as the younger fisherman returned to the ship's prow, her sharp blue eyes taking in every detail just in the case that this was yet again one of many setups.
"It's odd, seeing those shores disappear," Sara whispered to her companion as they huddled together under a rough blanket that the Chinese fishermen had kindly given them. "When we first got off it, we were unconscious. But seeing us leave now… it's odd."
Oliver Queen looked at Sara Lance, his bright blue eyes as cold as ice. They warmed, ever so slightly, when he caught her gaze, his hand enveloped hers as they watched the shores of their hell, their Purgatory, recede into the mist. "Things are different this time," he assured her, "Waller can't stop us now."
Sara didn't look so sure, "She'll find out we escaped, and your sudden rise from the dead will be noticed. Being the heir to a fortune 500 company and a billionaire to boot will make the headlines of Starling City, maybe even go nationwide. When everyone realizes we're alive… your mom and sister… my mom and dad… Laurel…" Oliver winced at the reminder of his former flame, how was she going to react when she realized her boyfriend and sister were in fact alive and, well, dating?
Oliver brought her closer to him, his arms tightening around her slender and scarred form. "It'll be okay, Sara…" He whispered to the woman he loved, the woman who had become a light in his dark world. "We're okay. Your family will be so happy to see you again."
Sara looked wistful at that, remembering the father that would cook her dinner, the mother that would help her with her AP homework, and the sister who she chatted with about school and boys and other subjects that just seemed silly now. Would that still be the same? Would she return to the home of a loving family, a mother who loved her, a father that cherished her, and a sister that adored her? Or was that life gone, just like how the girl who had been loved, cherished, and adored who had been on the Queen's Gambit was gone?
"It's been five years, Ollie," Sara said, using the old nickname she had called him with affection. "A lot can change in five years… just look at us." She looked down at her torso, seeing through the fabric that shielded her multitude of scars from the world. She looked up at Oliver and pressed a hand over his heart; she could feel each heartbeat through his ripped green shirt, how strong it was and oh so fast it shouldn't be humanly possible.
"We're going to run into trouble when they take you to a hospital," she said with a frown, her hand still over his rapidly beating heart. "I think the doctors will realize that your heartbeat is beating at twice the speed of a normal human… and the fact that their needles might not even pierce your skin… or the fact that if they do decide to cut you open to see what makes you tick, it would heal right back up in the matter of seconds."
Oliver wrapped his hand over hers, fingers wrapping around her wrist as he pulled them to his lips. He kissed her hand softly, caressing the scarred skin with such tenderness it would have made any normal girl swoon, but Sara wasn't a normal girl, not anymore. Life the past five years had ripped the naïve girl out of her, leaving nothing but a hardened killer left.
"Don't worry about me, I'm used to being on the operation table… Waller must have had a field day with Slade and I when she realized we were practically invincible." Oliver said, wincing as he remembered the beginning stages of his life at A.R.G.U.S. that was not a fun time in the slightest. He could still vividly remembering kidnapping Tommy to convince him that Oliver Queen was rotting at the bottom of the ocean with his father and Sara.
"Shado never did trust her," Sara noted with a frown as she remembered her 'boss' who had forced them to do her bidding, as though they were nothing more than tools for the cold woman to use on a whim.
"Hmph… none of us were ever really trusting," Oliver said with a wry grin.
"For good reasons, too." Sara said with no emotion, her blue eyes as cold as ice, as cold as Oliver's. It made Oliver frown, cursing the world that destroyed Sara's innocence. When they had first left Lian Yu, thanks to several predator strikes on the Amazo, courtesy of one Amanda Waller, she was the only one in their family who had never killed anyone. But now as they left again, Sara was a hardened killer with more than enough blood staining her hands to never wash away no matter how hard she scrubbed, the blood still remained, only it was hidden underneath her skin and in her soul. Sara sighed wearily, "Everything's going to change now, Oliver… and usually change tries kills us."
"It does," he agreed softly, holding her hands tightly in his own. "But we're still here," he said as his body began to burn as he remembered the bullet holes that had hurt him, the countless bruises that had come from clenched fists, burns that had blackened his skin until it threatened to crack, fatal cuts from swords and katanas alike, if not for the Mirakuru and its amazing healing regeneration, he would be a walking scar. No matter what happened to him, he survived and the wounds faded, leaving him a blank canvas.
He couldn't say the same thing about the woman sitting next to him. Sara didn't have the luxury of her scars fading over night from torture or battle. Every scar she had Oliver knew where it was and what caused it by heart, every night he would hold her in his arms, feel the scars underneath his fingertips, scars that he should have shared with her, and promise to himself internally that she will never be hurt again when he is there, though in his heart he knew that promise would never be kept. Their lives were too dangerous for it to suddenly stop.
When they returned to their city, Starling City, it wouldn't just end for them with a happy ever after. There were no such thing as a happy ending in their lives. Oliver had sworn to his father's memory to right the wrongs the Queen family had done to the citizens of Starling City. The son would right the wrongs of the father, and Sara would be there to help him the entire way, just as she had always has.
"We're finally going home," Sara whispered to herself, though Oliver could hear the disbelief in her tone. Never had they believed they would be able to return to the city of their birth after A.R.G.U.S. but yet here they were.
After five years in hell, both on and off of Lian Yu, Oliver Queen and Sara Lance were finally leaving where it all began. They were finally returning home, only the people that had first arrived there weren't the people leaving.
Starling City was dying. Dying from the wealthy who used their power to bully and bribe their way out of trouble from the law. Starling City was nothing but a haven for corruption and bloodshed, a rotting carcass of social decay. Those who used their power in such ways were nothing more than aggressive tumors, slowly infecting the rest of the city. But such diseases could be purged; all that was needed was a surgeon and a tool.
Oliver Queen and Sara Lance would be the ones to kill those men and women, people who thought themselves invincible and the lives around them inferior and nothing more than cannon fodder. Their days were numbered, their sense of safety would be shattered, their lives taken, and everything they had worked for would be destroyed.
They would be the ones to right the wrongs of the Queen family, the ones to rid Starling City of those who were poisoning it. But Sara Lance and Oliver Queen couldn't do so as themselves, they would have to become someone else in order to save their dying city. They had to become something else.
And after five years in hell, killing anyone who stood in their way, shedding their old selves until nothing remained of the people they had been before the Gambit, Oliver Queen and Sara Lance had achieved that goal of becoming something else. They would be a symbol to the people of Starling City.
To wicked, they would be feared and the ones who thought themselves invincible would sleep with one eye open, knowing that their days were numbered.
To the innocent, they would be revered and beloved as violent, yet justified, protectors; the wicked who hurt them would find themselves struck down by arrows and knives, while the innocent would be helped up and allowed to rise.
Change was coming to Starling City.
Sara Lance never thought that she would ever see the bright lights of Starling City ever again, but yet here she stood in Starling Memorial Hospital, looking at the bright lights that made Starling shine like a diamond. She clung to her new shirt, the new fabric felt odd on her scarred skin, as she gazed upon her city, her home.
Her family was here… Laurel, Dinah, and Quentin. Her sister, her mother, and her father. Had they been told of her survival? Surely they must have by now, though she had yet to see them. Would they even come to visit despite knowing that she had only 'died' because she had cheated someone who had been Laurel's boyfriend, who was now Sara's boyfriend, before the Gambit sank that fateful night?
Laurel… how was Laurel going to react when she realized that her and Oliver were together as girlfriend and boyfriend? She didn't like the terms though, as though their relationship was anything but normal, Sara loved him so much, and he loved her. They were soul mates. Tortured souls brought together by pain, agony and love. That was what they were. They had gone through hell and back multiple times with Slade and Shado; they weren't a normal couple in the slightest.
If her family didn't come to see her, Sara would understand. Sure it would hurt and break her already broken heart a little more, but she would adapt as she always had. She didn't need much in life, just the family that had been forged on Lian Yu. They were all that she needed. She missed her family, they were blood, but she had betrayed her sister by sleeping with her boyfriend, and would no doubt be less forgiving than their parents. Maybe her mother would visit, and maybe her father too, but Sara didn't know what Laurel would do.
Sara desperately yearned for her family, her family forged on the island and beyond those bloodstained shores. But Shado and Slade weren't here. It had been difficult to stop Oliver's sudden outburst when the doctors had tried to separate them. The Mirakuru had tried to take over again, as always, when Oliver's emotions rose. He was awfully protective of Sara, and the thought of separation hadn't been pleasing to him. The doctors should be happy no one died, just because the Mirakuru was under Oliver's control didn't mean that it didn't rear its head up once in a while.
She had thought that returning home would make everything better. When she had lain upon the wreckage of the Queen's Gambit, believing that she had been the lone survivor of the wreckage, she had just wanted to go home. But now here she was and she didn't know what to say. She didn't know what to feel, knowing that Starling City's diamond shell was really a rotting corpse of crime and corruption underneath.
She couldn't ignore that. She couldn't ignore the corruption and dark evil that held Starling City in a chokehold, slowly killing the city she called home. She couldn't ignore the cries for help by the weak and defenseless. She couldn't ignore the terrible crime that haunted the city, keeping the streets wet with blood and the civilians too scared to venture from their homes when the sun went down.
Soon, she could leave the hospital. The doctors had told her that she was in full health and could leave soon. But she had noticed the way they looked at her when they thought she wasn't looking, staring at her body and all her scars and wondering how she had gotten them. She hated those stares. She wasn't afraid to show her scars; to her they were a sign of strength and what she had overcome. But she hated the attention, she would much rather be ignored or unnoticeable, that way it would be easy to slip away without detection.
The urge to escape the confines of her hospital room was tempting; she hated the white pristine wall, the white sheets, the white pillow, the white machines, the white flooring. What is it with hospitals and white? Sara wondered, eyeing the room distastefully, her eyes burning slightly as she looked at the bright color, it looks as though someone whitewashed everything and soaked it with bleach. It hurts just looking at it.
With a sigh at the overall whiteness of the room -it was a stupid color anyway, too bright and noticeable- Sara returned to looking out the window, enchanted by the movement in the streets below her.
She wondered what Oliver was doing at the moment. Perhaps his family had come to see him? She hadn't heard anything since the doctors had separated them, but if she knew anything about Oliver's mother and sister, they would have been raced to the hospital the second they heard the news that Oliver was alive.
Hopefully they won't start asking questions that are best left unanswered, Sara thought, wrapping her arms around her scarred chest tightly. Unease swept through her, sinking its fangs into her and making her nervous, her heart fluttering against her chest like a bird trying to escape its cage. What if they don't like me? What if they don't approve? The question was silly really, Oliver loved her and no matter how much he loved his family; he would continue to love her even if they didn't approve of Sara, but she was still human and had her faults. One of them was doubt.
Soon Oliver would meet up with Sara after he was released as well. Sara wondered what the doctors had diagnosed Oliver with, she had bet to Oliver that they would think his accelerated heartbeat was due to tachycardia. Oliver had given her a blank look at that, not understanding what tachycardia even was.
She laughed silently under her breath at the memory, before the smile fell from her lips as she saw her reflection in the mirror. It was just so odd for her to see herself smiling; it was rather unnerving. She pressed the palm of her hand against the cool glass, staring out at the vast expanse of the home she hadn't seen in two years, when a brief mission with A.R.G.U.S. had brought her back.
She hadn't realized until then how much she had missed her home.
Laurel Lance had had an interesting week to say the very least.
Her life had been thrown into chaos the second her father had called her at work, sobbing into the phone as he relayed to her the news he had just received from some officials in China about two castaways being found on a remote island.
Sara was alive, her father had sobbed, his voice thick with emotion.
It had floored her, taken her completely by surprise. She briefly recalled that the phone had slipped from her trembling fingers the second her father had told her. Joanna had even claimed that she had fallen from the shock, as though she had been knocked down by some unseen force, but Laurel could barely remember anything of the moment besides her father's sobs and the reality shattering truth:
Sara Lance and Oliver Queen were alive.
It was all over the news. News reporters had swarmed the hospital like vultures, eagerly awaiting for a glimpse of either the Queen or Lance family, though Laurel knew that they would prefer the former. The Lances were an unknown family, middle-class and forgettable. The Queens were entirely different however. Everywhere she went, she saw tabloids plastered with Oliver's face, grinning that boyish grin that she had once thought charming but now found insufferable, with headlines like: Lost Billionaire Found! Oliver Queen Alive! Queen Heir Returns From the Dead!
A few of them mentioned Sara Lance, but it was mostly focused on the more known, and richer, castaway: Oliver Queen.
Laurel didn't know how she felt about Oliver at the moment. She had been happy to find out that he had survived, but the joy of his survival had turned bitter at the reminder of what he had done. Of what Sara had done. Laurel had tried to ignore that bitter, resentful voice in the back of her head, whispering dark reminders and terrible truths, but it was hard to ignore.
For now, Laurel tried to think of the positive.
Sara was alive.
Her sister was alive.
Sara was alive.
Laurel didn't know if the tears burning in her eyes were tears of joy, or tears of anger.
Sara was alive, but she had a lot of explaining to do.
But right now, despite the betrayal and the lies, Laurel could only focus on the fact that her sister was alive and was in the same building as her.
Her father was pacing the waiting room, prowling around like an angry predator. He was wringing his hands worriedly, often scuffing the soles of his boots against the luminous tile every so often. Her mother was calmer, sitting in one of the chairs, but Laurel noticed the tension in her shoulders. Dinah seemed to be wholly interested in her hands, which were clasped tightly together.
Laurel wanted to smile, she truly did. It had been years since she had seen her parents in the same room with one another without one yelling at the other and hurling horrible words. The phantom emergence of the smile faded away, a bitter grimace replacing the forming smile. The Lance family had been destroyed the day they heard of Sara's unlikely demise.
It was Sara's death that tore them apart, and now it seemed Sara's survival was what was bringing them all back together.
Her father's steady, if somewhat quick, pacing seemed to resonate within Laurel, the sound rhythmic and soothing to Laurel's stressed nerves.
They had been waiting in the empty room for several hours, just waiting and waiting. The only news they had gotten of Sara had been when a tired doctor had rushed in to inform them that they had taken Sara into surgery, mumbling something about resetting broken ribs before hurrying off. Her father had begun his pacing as soon as the doctor had rushed out of the room.
Her father's footsteps seemed to grow quicker thud-thud-thud-thud-thud thudthudthudthud.
"Dad, you need to calm down." Laurel cautioned her father, knowing that five years of drinking, constant depression and anxiety hadn't helped her father's health in the slightest. Yet another thing Sara had inadvertently caused.
"I'm fine," Quentin said gruffly, just as surly as ever though now he was more nervous than sullen.
Laurel's mother, Dinah, glanced up from where she had been staring at her tightly clasped fingers, and frowned at Quentin. "Don't be so gruff, Quentin," Dinah chastised, sending a look towards Laurel worriedly. "Now is not the time. Laurel is right, you need to calm down."
Quentin's scowl became a snarl, "Don't tell me to calm down, Dinah. How can you expect me to sit still as we wait for news about Sara, huh?"
Dinah's eyes narrowed dangerously, her lips pursed in a tight line. Dinah looked ready to snap at the man she had once called her husband, but she just stiffly turned her head to the side, looking at everything but Quentin. Laurel sighed a little, though whether from relief or annoyance, she did not know.
Laurel was just glad they weren't yelling at one another. The last time they had all been together had been two years ago at Thanksgiving with all of them well aware of the empty placemat at their table, and her father had drank himself into a drunken stupor as her mother berated him. The fight that had occurred had been terrible. Her mother had moved out after that.
And it all happened because Sara got onto that yacht with my boyfriend, that small little voice whispered bitterly in her head.
A part of Laurel blamed Sara for every hardship the Lance family had gone through in the past five years.
It was Sara's death that made their father put all his attention into his work, trying to forget his pain by rounding up every thug he could. His work had become his obsession, consuming him in a most unhealthy way. Laurel could still hear her mother's worried arguments with her father about how much he had buried himself in his work, ignoring what remained of his family in the process. It hadn't helped when a serial killer called the Dollmaker, now known to the public as Barton Mathis, emerged from the dark crevices of the criminal underworld and began his killing spree. Quentin had become obsessed with the serial killer, almost possessed, to the point that Laurel couldn't help but wonder if her father had finally hit his breaking point. She thought that Sara's death had finally broken him and the only way he could survive was by hunting down common thugs and sociopathic serial killers alike until he was finally taken out by a nameless armed grunt, and bled out in the gutter.
It was Sara's death that caused every argument between her parents. It was because of those arguments and her father burying himself in his work, obsessively trying to forget the pain but forgetting of his family in the process, that her mother divorced her father and went away to Central City, rarely visiting aside for holidays that were often tense and uncomfortable instead of full of holiday cheer.
And Laurel had been forced to watch as her family was broken apart and torn asunder. She mourned Sara's death alongside her father and mother, shedding tears alongside her father and clinging to her mother when the horrifying reality grappled with her, reminding her that her little sister was dead and wasn't coming back.
A part of Laurel hated Sara for what she had done, breaking apart everything in Laurel's life: her family, her relationship with her boyfriend and Laurel's trust in her sister. Sara had broken it all, and Laurel wondered if she could ever truly forgive her.
A young doctor emerged from the double doors that opened into the dark recesses of the hospital. He looked positively exhausted and seemed to be running on fumes and an unhealthy amount of coffee, but he still quickly walked over to the Lance family. Laurel's dad stopped pacing as her mom looked up; Laurel just stared.
"You can see her now," the doctor explained.
Dinah stood from her chair as Laurel and Quentin rushed over. Suddenly Laurel found herself walking behind the doctor through a maze of hallways, going up in an elevator several floors up, turning right, passing dozens of rooms, before slowing down near a dead end hallway
Her father had tried to speak to the doctor, but whenever he opened his mouth, he snapped it shut as though he found difficulty to speak.
The disheveled doctor suddenly paused at a door with the number D-52. "This is it," the doctor said as he opened the door, ushering the three Lances inside. They found themselves in an empty room, almost like an entryway, that had several chairs lined against the wall and a glass door that led into another room that held a bed, an IV and a heart monitor.
Laurel felt the air leave her chest when she saw a shadowed silhouette through the glass door. Her heart seemed to leap into her throat when the silhouette moved slightly, a small ray of light exposing long blonde hair that was all too familiar.
She faintly heard her mother's strangled gasp and her father's chocked sob of relief.
It was Sara.
Her heart seemed ready to burst out of her chest, and Laurel Lance found it suddenly hard to breathe as she stared at the back of Sara Lance. Relief and joy swarmed through her, washing away every bitter thought and resentment that had been engrained in her and now filling her with warmth as she stared at her sister. Any doubts of her sister's survival, a coping mechanism that prepared Laurel for the worst that reality could send her, faded away as she stared at her little sister.
Laurel had never felt so happy in her entire life.
But, of course, reality set down upon her with the weight of the world when the disheveled doctor began to go into further depth of just what had happened to Sara Lance in the past years.
It seemed that the past five years hadn't been pleasant for any members of the Lance family.
"Your daughter has extensive scar tissue all over her body. The last person I've seen with such damage was a veteran injured in Iraq…" the doctor told Quentin who stood besides him, his jaw clenched tight as Dinah's face fell and her eyes watered, tears threatening to form. "Burns on the back, scars that appear to be knife and bullet wounds scattered around her entire body, a burn that appears to have been caused by what have may been a grenade was found on her left ankle, and she has had several fractures that have never healed properly," the doctor listed off some of the wounds from the rather large list of injuries they had found of the rescued Lance daughter. There were others but some of the wounds they had found were something one shouldn't share with a grieving family who had just gotten their daughter back from the dead, but even though he had only listed a small margin of Sara's injuries gained over half a decade, the Lances were shell shocked.
Quentin Lance looked as though he had swallowed something disgusting, his entire face set in a gruff and twisted grimace as he looked at his baby girl for the first time in five years through the glass door that separated them, as death had supposedly separated them for half a decade. Sara… my little girl, he thought with teary eyes, the gruff cop infamous throughout Starling City replaced with that of a father whose dead child had been returned to him.
"What happened to her?" Laurel whispered, horrified.
"We don't know, she hasn't said anything. Neither of them have said anything since they arrived here," the doctor explained.
Quentin's entire form twitched at the mentioning of Sara's fellow castaway, Queen. Even if it took him the rest of his life, he was going to make that son of a bitch pay for everything the Lance family had gone through when he took Sara aboard the Queen's Gambit, starting with a restraining order that wouldn't allow Oliver to be in the same country as his Sara.
"Can we go in?" Dinah's voice was so soft and desperate as she looked at the back of her daughter, who had not yet noticed the small group behind her doors; Sara was still staring out in the vastness of Starling City.
"You may, but I should warn you… the daughter and sister you lost… might not be the one you found. They have both gone through something terrible together, even though we do not know the full story it is rather obvious by their injuries and emotional responses. When we tried to separate her from Mr. Queen to take her into surgery to reset the broken fractures, he became rather violent. He knocked out three nurses before we were able to sedate him with a rather strong tranquilizer, he managed to stay awake for a while before succumbing to unconsciousness. "
"Ollie attacked people?" Laurel gasped, a hand flying to cover her mouth. The Oliver Queen she had once known had gotten into fights when he drank and partied too much, but that was always the drinking. Sober Oliver was rather passive, he wasn't a fighter, but looking back after all those years, did she even know the real Oliver? He had cheated on her with Sara, her sister. And that was something she had yet to forgive them.
Give them a chance, just let them explain, that small little voice in the back of her head that was the part of her to have everything to go back to the way it was before the sinking of the Queen's Gambit, that little voice of forgiveness. Laurel didn't know if she was ready to forgive… but those scars, just what had her little sister gone through in these past five years? Had Oliver gone through it as well with her?"
The inner lawyer in her, the one that wanted to know all the facts, wanted to storm in there and demand answers, no matter how insensitive or badly timed. Laurel was a woman who needed cold hard facts; it's everything a lawyer needed in life. But this wasn't a case given to her by the DA, this was her sister and former boyfriend's lives. Laurel would give them a few days of adjustment before asking the hard questions.
"Yes. Mr. Queen is currently in the psych ward going through a mental evaluation. No one was seriously injured though one doctor is being treated for a broken hand. Miss Lance here," the doctor nodded his head at Sara, "confronted him, and spoke to him during the chaos of it all. He went quietly after that, although that may have been the sedatives kicking in."
Laurel tried to not find the situation bizarre, but she couldn't help it. The past couple days had been hectic, complete chaos. She hadn't slept since her father had called her and told her that Sara had been found, that Sara was alive. Her mother had flown over from Central City as fast as she could when Laurel had called her, and now the Lance family stood in Starling Central Memorial Hospital reunited after five years of hardship.
"You can go in now." The doctor said before leaving them at the doorway.
Sara was right there. The only thing that divided the Lances from the wayward daughter/sister was a panel of glass. Laurel wanted to see her. She had to see Sara. Laurel needed to see Sara's face, not just the back of her from behind the door, but to look Sara in the eyes to confirm that it truly was her sister and not some sick joke that reality was so fond of giving her.
Taking a deep breath to settle the nerves that were bubbling in the pit of her stomach, Laurel pushed the glass door and stepped into her sister's hospital room, her mother and father quickly following her.
Sara stiffened when she heard the door open, her heart fluttering like a bird trapped in a cage, as she head the door close and whoever had entered. She kept her sights on the city sprawled under her, refusing to look at the intruders for fear of who they were, or rather who they weren't. She wondered if it was the doctor again, asking her what happened to give her such horrific scars. Sara had to wonder if she told him the truth, would he laugh at the impossible she had seen and witnessed or lock her in the insanity ward at Iron Heights?
"Sara…" Laurel said softly, unable to help herself as she stared at the sister who she had thought dead.
Laurel saw Sara's shoulder stiffen, tense like that of an animal trapped in a corner, but before she could say anything, her little sister turned around to face the rest of the Lance family.
Sara's eyes began to water as she saw who they were. "Mom… Dad… Laurel…" Sara whispered out as she saw her family for the first time in five years. She had never truly known if she would ever see them again, even after the island where they had worked for A.R.G.U.S. Sara had never known if she could or would be able to see her family in the flesh after half a decade.
Quentin's face quivered, "Hey baby girl," he whispered softly, his voice catching as he called Sara by the nickname he had given her when she had been a little girl. "It's been awhile."
Tears sprung from Sara's eyes, she closed them as though to ward them off but found herself unable too. She may be a hardened killer who was remorseless to those who spited her or endangered her family, but underneath the cold exterior of the Canary was a woman who was finally home. "Hi daddy…."
The iron wall that Quentin had erected around himself after his severe depression over losing his daughter shattered like glass; he was openly crying as he hurried forward and wrapped his arms around his daughter, who, after briefly tensing again, wrapped her arms around her father as she cried with him.
"Sara… Oh Sara…" Quentin wept as he held her, holding her as tightly as possible as though terrified that if he let go she would leave again. "My little girl… my sweet little girl."
"I'm sorry, Daddy…" Sara cried as she clung to him as though afraid he would be ripped from her grasps, and Quentin held her just as strongly. "I'm so sorry."
"Hey, hey hey," Quentin held her closer, quietly shushing her as Sara gasped for breath. "It's alright, sweetie. I'm right here, I'm right here."
Sara's fingers gripped the man's detective coat in a vice-like grip, "I missed you, daddy."
The detective was crying so much that Sara's face was blurry for him, his lips quivered as he spoke so softly, sounding so broken yet so happy it made Sara want to remain in his arms forever. "I missed you too, baby girl."
He released her with a breathy laugh, to look her over, smiling brightly at her with tears in his eyes. Sara immediately looked behind him, catching the movement behind her father's back, and found herself looking at her older sister. Laurel.
Sara suddenly found herself face to face with her sister after five years of separation. She locked eyes with Laurel and froze immediately under her gaze. For years she had imagined their reunion, had planned out her explanation word by word, but now all the preparation and explanations had left her head, leaving her standing there, almost tongue tied.
"Laurel," Sara began as she waited for the accusations and shouting that were to come. "I'm-"
Laurel hugged her tightly, clinging to her sister's form as though her life depended on it. Sara stopped talking, blinking a couple times before she realized what was happening, and that Laurel wasn't cursing her name. More tears silently fell as Sara clung to Laurel as well.
The two sisters clung to one another, neither one speaking as they held one another tightly, both of them with tears in their eyes. Sara knew that this moment couldn't last; she had seen the anger and hurt in Laurel's eyes, the accusation waiting to be flung at her. She knew that it was only because this was the first time the two of them had seen each other in years Laurel hadn't begun yelling at her, accusing her, and Sara knew that she had no defense. She had gone on the Queen's Gambit with Laurel's boyfriend, who was now Sara's boyfriend. Sara again wondered what Laurel would say when she found out that small tidbit of information.
Sara didn't even know if she could even defend herself, because she knew that Laurel had every right to be furious with her.
But Sara Lance discarded the worrisome thoughts, only focusing on Laurel right now, focusing on the present instead of the approaching future.
Sara saw movement to her left, she glanced there to see familiar blonde hair and watery brown eyes. Sara slowly untangled herself from Laurel's grip, staring at the only person she had yet to greet.
"Hi mom." Sara said to her mother, smiling at Dinah with blood-shot eyes as tears continued to stream down her eyes. Sara hadn't cried in years, having seen it as a weakness that could only be shown in the company of a select few, but now Sara could take down her defenses and allow the tears to fall, if only this once.
Dinah looked at her daughter with watery eyes and a face that bespoke of utter joy. Her face trembled and tears trailed down her tanned cheeks in thick rivulets, like little rivers. "I knew it," she whispered, voice quivering. "I knew you were alive!" Dinah hugged her daughter tightly, kissing her temple, stroking the blonde hair that Sara had inherited from her. "I knew it. I knew it. I knew it." She whispered those words like a mantra, relief in her tone as she held the daughter she had lost.
"Oh Sara…" Dinah cried out, clutching her daughter tightly in her arms. "Sara… Sara… my sweet girl…. You're home…. You're home… You're safe…"
Sara cried with her, "I'm home, mom…. I'm back…. I missed you… I missed you all… I'm so sorry…. I'm so sorry…"
And she was sorry, even if she didn't regret it. She was sorry that she had gotten on the Queen's Gambit with Oliver Queen, she was sorry that it had taken her five years to return home to her family. But she held no regrets, if she hadn't done what she had done, than Oliver would have had no one to help him with what he was planning now. She held no regrets, even if her life hadn't been what she had thought it to be, she wouldn't have given it up. If she had never gotten onto the Gambit, she would probably be a normal civilian, naïve and innocent, instead of the warrior she was now. If she hadn't gone on the yacht, she would have never gotten to meet Slade and Shado. If she hadn't gotten on the yacht, she wouldn't be who she truly was now. She would never have become the Canary.
Her family, her beautiful family, thought they had gotten their daughter and sister back. They thought they got the Sara they lost five years ago back. But they didn't know the truth: that the old Sara Lance was dead.
Her family was here. They weren't figments of her imagination; they were actually here with her right now. They were all around her, and while Sara knew that sooner or later they –namely Laurel- would ask uncomfortable questions, she couldn't ignore the fact that her family was right before her.
Sara found herself surrounded. Normally if she had been in a small enclosed room with people crowding around her, she would attack them until they were either unconscious or dead, but there was no sign of danger, only safety.
It was just Sara, mom, dad and Laurel. The Lance family reunited once again.
They were here, with her, after five years of separation. They didn't hate her; they were shedding tears of joy at this beautiful reunion that everyone, including Sara herself, had thought impossible.
They clung to one another. Dinah, Quentin, Laurel and Sara. The Lances held one another, their family reborn. They clung to one another in support, they clung to one another as though afraid another would leave their grasps and never return.
And as Sara cried alongside her parents and sister, she silently swore that she would never be taken from her family again.