Chapter 11: In Custody

'Darker times call for darker methods' – Lex Luthor, Season 1, Episode 9: "Rogue".


August 30th 2011. No more information.

"Last minute information straight from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's headquarters at Washington D.C.: Oliver Queen was arrested at his penthouse in Metropolis where he was with his longtime girlfriend Chloe Sullivan and several unnamed friends who were all taken with him."

"Well, how about that?" another voice wondered.

"And this isn't it! Daniel Thompson, the FBI director released a press communiqué stating and I quote: 'Oliver Queen was apprehended in company of Chloe Sullivan and three more persons at his penthouse in Metropolis' Clocktower. The arrest happened at 10pm on Monday the 29th and there was no resistance from the suspects.'"

"It's worth noting that at the moment, we do not have the slightest clue about the reason of this arrest, it's all quite mysterious."

The presenter chuckled. "We will keep talking about it for sure, but first it's time for an ad break. Stay tuned! There might be development when we come back because I remind you: Oliver Queen was arrested by the FBI last night. We'll take the break now, I'll see you in five minutes."

"Eh they'll know soon enough!"

"Yeah, Riley cut that off now I'm damn tired of these ads." another voice growled.

Riley executed himself and looked behind him towards the back of his van. Several bagged heads stared back at him and he felt a smirk pull at his lips. "Heard that comrades? You're national news now and well on the way to go international!"

He earned himself a shove. "Jesus, relax."

The other man gave him a look. "You were barking my ear off, how about you shut up? I've been driving this damn thing for the last four hours."

"Come on we can switch, Lenny." Riley proposed.

"No need," Lenny said. "Look, we're there."

Back a few feet, Oliver couldn't see anything more than darkness. The black tissue covering his face did its job well, and he doubted it was used often on simple citizens. He squeezed Chloe's hands behind him and eased back when he felt her repeat the action. She was fine.

How long had they been in there? Oliver had lost track of time 500 miles ago and his estimation varied between five to twelve hours. Nothing more than a day though, the two agents at the front only stopped twice just to switch places at the wheel.

There were cramps in his knees and his back felt like a mistreated carpet. His wrists itched to be released but his ears remained wide open. Hours after hours of driving had almost lulled him to sleep multiple times but he'd been sharp enough to notice a few things.

Riley, the cheerful and annoying agent at the front, had been the one to tackle him down and threaten him at home. He'd been talking non-stop since the beginning despite the many warnings the other one, Lenny, had given him.

Lenny. He'd been the one to handle the torch against J'onn. That fact alone proved they either got their information from a very knowledgeable source whose identity was no secret to them or, they were not FBI.

Lex or Regan. That was the question in a nutshell.

Now, there was a third agent in the van. One who hadn't piped one word for the whole ride. He was seated at the back with them, probably by J'onn's side. Oliver had heard the torch being put off right after he was forced in the vehicle and his ear hadn't picked up the telling crackles of any fire. It rose the question of how they managed to keep the Manhunter under their control.

The answer eluded him and he felt a growing fear in his stomach.

He felt the van slowing down and pulling to a halt. Lenny and Riley got out. More engine noises covered their footsteps, the distinct sounds of several vehicle driving past them filled his ears. Two, three... five, seven, eight... nine... ten! Oh it was convoy, alright.

The back doors cringed open. A third voice shouted at them: "On your feet ladies and gentlemen, we won't stay around all day! Up and moving, people, up and moving! You're prisoners of the government now, let's not waste time!"

Oliver shook his head, feeling it spin. The man had some resonance in him, he could wake up even the heaviest of sleepers – dead ones. One hand pulled at his arm. "Get moving, Queen! Now's too late to back off!"

The hand nearly dragged him out of the van and his ear was hurting. Now he recognized that voice, it was the agent who announced their arrest. He must have taken another ride, he didn't sound like the quiet type who had accompanied them at the back of the van.

Someone shoved him forward. "Come on!" It was Riley. Oliver remained silent and walked. He heard footsteps all round him. They were probably walking in line and he was the last one. Chloe was in front of him, he could pick out her light footing anywhere.

There was more. More stepping, more walking, more marching; much much more. How many men were there? Probably fifty... possibly more. He wasn't given time to reflect upon that, for the footsteps became muffled and his own and the ones before him echoed louder.

Tiles. They were in the facility now. It all became a dance from that point on. They were led through many corridors, turning here and there and back again. He knew what they were doing. Confusing the new inmates so they couldn't guess which way was out.

They played this game for at least half an hour. When they finally stopped at a door, Oliver's knees weren't aching anymore but he felt sore. A key turned, once, twice and the door was unlocked. Chains whistled. Oliver thought he heard Chloe's sigh somewhere close.

An agent turned his hands and unlocked his handcuffs then pulled his arm forward. Oliver flexed his muscles, the agent couldn't get his arm to move. "Don't try to play smart now, Richie boy." Riley's annoyed voice made him smirk and he eased himself.

On again went the bracelets. This time his wrist were locked together in front of him and a chain was tied to his feet. He was pushed back and stumbled on a chair with a groan. "Sit!"

Silence settled upon them for a minute, giving him time to breathe and gather himself. Then came the light assaulting him. Oliver hissed and squinted as a satisfied laugh rattled his nerves. He took a while to make out the room through the blur.

It was dark. Aside from the strong light directed at his face, there was nothing but darkness. He saw Chloe sat beside him and squinting as well. She too, was chained up. There was Riley's punchable face grinning down at him when he adjusted the light.

"Leave us."

A chill crept up his spine and Oliver closed his eyes for an instant. He could smell some smoke behind them. "Hello to you too, Lex." he mocked. "We gonna stay in this position or you'll grow some balls and show yourself?"

"Oliver..."

Chloe's quiet warning was too late. Oliver let out a shout and tried to stop his body from writhing.

"What are you doing? Stop it!"

The buzzing ceased, leaving him struggling for breath as Lex moved in front of them, his ever-present condescending and hate-filled grin in place. "What do you want?" Chloe hissed. For the first time since he got in the facility, Oliver realized there was only him and Chloe in the room with Lex and another man behind them.

"What do I want?" Lex repeated in a experimental tone. "We'll start with the easy questions first: Why did you ignore my warnings the last time we met? Wasn't losing Allen enough for you?"

Oliver huffed. "You thought you had us off you back didn't you?" he sneered. "For all these months you had no one to fear and now look at that! Brand new facility just for our benefit, I bet. Don't piss your pants too much or that white suit of yours will turn yellow."

Lex's features hardened and the buzzing started again. This time, it was Chloe who screamed. "STOP IT!" Oliver yelled, he could do nothing but watch her convulse and suffer until her torturer decided she'd had enough.

"Bastards." he spat.

"This is going to be interesting." The grin was back on Lex's face. "Keep on stalling, Oliver, I know you have no one to save you. And we have days, full days at our disposition to make you talk."

"Which implies the damn question: what do you want?" Oliver reiterated Chloe's question in anger.

There was a weak cough from his side. "You can try and torture us for however long you want, Lex. You can even kill us. If it's not us, it will be someone else. No one is untouchable forever."

Lex smirked at Chloe. "This is quite entertaining to see you fight against my authority but you forget something: I own the Justice League now. Arthur Curry? He's been in my hands for months. You just made my task easier when you decided to regroup yourselves." he chuckled. "You served me your friends on a plate!"

"Where are they?" she challenged.

He couldn't quite get rid of the laughter in his expression. "Let's not get too carried away, you won't see your friends again. There is no need to worry about them now, is it?"

"You better watch out." Oliver's dark tone surprised even Lex. "The next time we get our hands on you, we bother throwing you in jail. I'll kill you myself."

Lex leaned towards him. "I don't think you're being too receptive, Queen. Maybe we should help you with that."

Oliver's vision went blank as his body trembled and he threw his head back, strange noises leaving his mouth. Chloe's yells nearly didn't reach his ears and his lungs burned when the buzzing finally came to an end.

His head lolled forward for a moment and he could hear nothing but his own breathing. A slap drew him back. When he looked up, Lex was seating in front of them. "Better yet?"

Oliver swallowed blood. "Fuck you." he whispered.

"I'll take that as a yes, if you don't mind." the other man replied. "Now, here is my first question: whilst I do have all your friends in my hands, there is still one who's been somewhat hard to find."

Chloe snorted. "Yes, you know who I'm talking about, Chloe. I know he hasn't been around in more than a year. Clark seems to have improved in blending in with the mass, that's a definite."

"So?"

Lex turned to Oliver. "So? Where is he?"

He started to laugh. Oliver could not say whether it was an after-effect of the electrocution or if his nerves were cracking but he kept on laughing until there was a mask of irritation on Lex's face. "I'm relieved to see you're having fun, Oliver."

"Fuck off, Lex!" he chuckled, having a hard time stopping his hiccups. "You've always been a loser."

Lex was openly seething now. He extended his palm towards the man behind them and retrieved a cigarette. "Maybe it's time I stop being so accommodating." Without any more warning, he applied the lit butt of the cigarette on Oliver's neck.

The blond's laugh left him the second his skin started to burn. He pinned Lex with a deep stare and locked his jaw, determined not to show any sign of pain. His breathing grew more ragged with each passing second and Lex's sadistic smile did not help the matter.

When Lex pressed harder onto the cigarette, Oliver leaped out of his chair and head butted the other man, sending him sprawling on the ground. A harsh blow hit him behind his skull and Oliver was forced to sit again as Chloe's wide eyes watched the entire scene incredulous.

Lex found it difficult to stand again, he pressed a hand to his forehead and glanced at Oliver in a mixture of rage and disbelief. Two minutes later, he retrieved his chair and pushed it closer to Chloe, grabbing her arm and drawing her sleeve back to expose her milky skin.

He held the cigarette up again and stared at Oliver. "Last chance." he announced quietly. "Where is Clark?"

One second, two, three... they stared at each other.

Lex pursed his lips. "Very well." The cigarette went headfirst towards Chloe's forearm and she flinched in anticipation.

"I don't know!" Oliver ground out.

His words made Lex freeze and look at him skeptically. "You will have to do better than that if you want to spare her the pain." he started his task again.

"He's training! In the fortress."

"The fortress is gone." Lex's voice was filled with exasperation. "Every satellite image confirms this and no manned expedition could find it, don't try to play me."

"It's the truth!"

Lex shook his head and clucked his tongue.

"He's saying the truth." Chloe breathed. "Clark left us to have his kryptonian training in the fortress. When he activated the process it locked him inside and made it all disappear so he could not be disturbed. That's all we know and that's the truth."

Lex gazed at her face for a long time, assessing her words. The cigarette was still dangerously close to her skin and Oliver was itching to put his fist through the man's face for even touching her. Finally, after a tense stare down, Lex leaned back and threw the cigarette away.

"When will he be back?"

Chloe gulped. "He said he'd be gone for years, even him didn't know how long it would take."

The man gave a nod and looked deep in thought. Oliver used the moment to gaze at Chloe, his eyes soft and questioning. She smiled and nodded at him. He was appeased.

Lex scratched over his hip and straightened in his chair. "Second question." he paused for effect. "Where is the Watchtower?"

Chloe and Oliver looked at each other in mild confusion. "I am Watchtower." she said.

He watched them, annoyed. "Are you trying to play dumb, now? My patience is wearing thin! Where is the Watchtower?" his voice rose. "The building, Where is it?!"

This time, they said nothing. Lex pursed his lips. "Enough is enough, we'll take this a notch higher." he watched the man behind them. "Get the tools out."

Before the agent could make any movement, the light went out as a dull bang could be heard. Soon after, murmurs went through the corridors behind the door. Lex rose, his chair squeaking. "Stay put." he ordered and went outside.

"What is it? Why are the lights out?" they could hear him asking.

"We don't know yet, Mr. President." the loud-mouthed officer replied. "It looks like there was an issue with the power generator."

"How is this possible?" Lex hissed. "There are three back-up units in this room, how come not even one of them picks up after the first one?"

"Huhh..." the man sensed he was in trouble and fumbled in his pockets. "I'll... I'll ask, sir."

A talkie-walkie beeped. "Marko? Marko this is Casey, what's with the power outage?"

No answer. "Marko, do you copy?"

"Well?" Lex's impatient voice asked.

Casey cleared his throat and tried again. "Marko?" The talkie beeped back. "Marko, is this you?"

A silence followed until the talkie winced and let out and loud terrifying wail. Oliver felt goosebumps on his skin. "Marko? Marko!"

"Ca..." the talkie said.

"Marko?"

"Casey help me!" It wailed again. "There's a creature attacking me, it's blown up the generator. It's going after me! Hel –" white noise followed.

The mood became tense and sweaty when no more word was said. Oliver pictured Lex and Casey exchanging a look. Then the alarm blared, nearly deafening them. Lex kicked the door open. "The facility's been compromised! Get everyone out and escort these two at the closest FBI office!" he ran away without so much as a glance to Chloe or Oliver.

"Wimp." Oliver muttered.

"Ollie, what do you think's going on?"

"No idea, beautiful. We'll know soon enough... I guess."

The man behind them growled. "Shut. Up." He put a hand on their shoulders and lifted them both on their feet without much effort. "Walk." he ordered.

"Gee, buddy kind of a party pooper, aren't you?"

"Shut up."

Oliver chuckled as they were led through the corridors in a hurry. "You were beaten as a child or you were born stupid?"

"Oliver!" Chloe whispered.

Too late, he winced when another blow hit the back of his skull. This man sure had some strength. "Shut. up." he repeated.

"Alright, dude. You're the boss here."

It was when the pipes on the ceiling decided to blow. Hot steam started to fill the hallway until Oliver couldn't see more than a feet or two in front of him. "Casey, this is Lenny." a voice filtered through the smoke screen. "We're in trouble, we're in trouble! We're going to need some assistance getting outta here!"

The answer came the next second. "All my men are gone, you're on your own, Lenny!"

The agent cursed. "Are you kidding me?!"

Oliver's attention deviated the moment his eyes made out a dark blur enveloping Chloe's entire frame, her blonde head disappeared under her muffled screams and an animalistic hiss. His eyes still saw the two pointy horns when his mind processed the fact that she wasn't in front of him anymore.

"Chloe? Chloe!"

"What the fuck?" Riley shouted. "Something took the girl!"

"The hell with this!" Lenny's voice trembled. "Leave her be, we're getting out of this hole!"

Despite Oliver's resistance, the small group ran through the corridors, escaping bloody noses on the few occasions the steam hid a wall in front. They went much faster when the brute picked up Oliver and hurried after Lenny and Riley. "CHLOE!"

"Shut up!"

The outside light shone through the steam and they were almost out when the brute froze and threw Oliver out, his chains rattling on the asphalt. "Guh!" The hero watched in horror and wonder a pair of dark hands with long claws reminding him of a vampire shoot out of the steam and grab the brute's neck.

The man's eyes nearly popped out of his head and he opened his mouth, the beginning of scream leaving his throat when he was literally aspired inside and disappeared through the steam. Some fighting inside reached Oliver's ears for a moment until it faded fast and everything became silent again.

"Come the fuck on!" Riley shouted, finding uncharacteristic force to pull Oliver into the van and close the doors. The vehicle sped away, its tyres squealing as it flew down a deserted highway.

"What was that?"

Oliver heard over the engine. "What do you think it was? Luthor warned us there was something shady with these people. Hell maybe this thing wasn't even human, what do I know?" Lenny half-shouted from the wheel.

The van jumped over a bump on the road. Oliver hit the wall and grunted. Rubbing his head to ease the pain helped him out of the passive state that submerged him the moment he was dragged in the vehicle. His analytical mind came back with a force and two points contrasted with his last ride in this van.

His head was un-bagged. Lenny and Riley hadn't taken the time to suit him as they had for the incoming ride. Oliver could now see the inside of the vehicle and in particular, the lack of protective fencing between the front and the back.

Second, he was still chained. They were fitted to him once he went in the facility, his hands and feet tied together to prevent him from going too far too fast. Oliver, however, had another idea. He studied the chain and pulled the excess up into his hands, playing with it for a moment.

The men at the front were too preoccupied with directions to watch over him. Gone was their controlled and almost jovial mood and there was his chance.

"Goddamnit!" Lenny exploded. "Find the map! Can't make a stupid GPS work you dumb-"

Riley fiddled with the gloves compartment. "If you just slowed the fuck down for a second maybe I could..."

"I'm not slowing down! That thing could still be behind us."

"It's not following us, braindead!"

Lenny gave him a dirty look. "Shut your mouth and get me that damn map or I'll –" The threat died on his lips when two rolls of chains looped against his neck, cutting off his air supply.

"What –" A well-placed kick sent Riley's head crashing against the sidedoor, his body leaning over the dashboard.

Lenny's hands left the wheel for his neck, gasping for air. Oliver tightened his grip on him, a fury he'd never known in the past overwhelming him. He didn't notice Riley trying to control the wheel as Lenny's reflexes pressed harder on the gas.

The van was gunning over the highway, swaying from left to right and flirting with the barriers in a dangerous dance. Riley tied the wheel straight against the gearstick with a coat and let out a desperate shout as he jumped on their assailant.

Oliver was pushed back and lost his grip on Lenny, hearing bones cracking just before Riley started pummeling his face in a rain of hard fists. He could taste the blood running down his nose and held his hands up to protect his face. Riley wouldn't have any of it but was forced to yield when Oliver kicked him off him and they fell side by side.

The van bumped again making them stumble and use the walls as support to stand up. Facing each other, Riley smirked and motioned his adversary forward. "Let's see what you got, pretty boy." he baited.

Oliver watched him through half-lidded eyes. "What?" the agent laughed. "Too scared to be in a fair fight with a real man? And you call yourself a hero?" he spat. "Pussy!"

It was the last word Oliver heard him say. Barely a second later, his handcuffed fists went through his face and Riley recoiled against the wall before slipping down, out. His ex-prisoner raised an unimpressed eyebrow and turned to a more pressing matter.

He realized in horror that Lenny's head was hanging backwards while the van sped at full-regime towards a full concrete wall. Throwing himself on the ground, Oliver scrambled to get his hands on any handle he could find and braced himself.

The shock followed suit, Oliver held on even as he felt himself being propelled forward until he felt weightless. He closed his eyes tightly and, for a long second, nothing happened. Then it shook again and rolled. How many times – he couldn't tell, he lost grip with it and trashed with the vehicle, ending the nightmare with a final bang.

He yelled out when the van stopped. Oliver opened his eyes, finding himself laying on the ceiling at Riley's unconscious side and a hand on his bicep. He bit his lip, feeling the tears prickling his eyes as the intense pain brisked in his left arm.

"Fuck," Oliver whispered, getting his breathing under control. I have to get out, he thought through the dizziness. Raising his head towards the back doors, he didn't trust himself to be able to move yet. Instead, he tried the simplest option.

Loud bangs echoed through the vehicle. His ears hurt but he kept on kicking, using up the remains of his strength in the task. Out of breath, Oliver admitted defeat after a moment. "Fuck!"

He closed his eyes and saw Bart's face.

Opening them again immediately, he shook his head and looked up again. There was a handle mechanism on the doors. He strained to have his foot make contact with it, biting on his tongue to fight against the pain in his arm.

He felt the steel lever and had to repeat the process three times until he managed to pull in downward. The doors cringed but did not move. Oliver took in a deep breath and used both of his legs to give a strong blow on them.

The light nearly blinded him. He laid back and coughed. He swallowed his saliva to get rid of the dust itching in his throat and closed his eyes again. Bart smiled at him, so did he. Not today, buddy... not today.

Slipping out of the damaged van proved harder a task than he'd expected. Oliver just had to wiggle himself out but his arm restricted his freedom of movements and getting out became a long process. It could have been ten minutes, it could have been an hour... he didn't dwell on it.

Sitting up brought another issue. The world around him was spinning and his stomach rebelled. He had to use one of the doors to lie back against and wait for the nausea to fade away. Prying his eyes open again, he took in the houses and small buildings around him.

He was in a town. "Hello?" The cry rippled off the walls multiple times but met no answer.

Oliver winced and slowly stood up. Cradling his arm as well as he could with the chains, he spared one glance at the van and grimaced. They hit the wall dead on. The engine compartment had almost disappeared in its entirety and larges gashes and bumps on every side of the vehicle proved they must have rolled down the entire length of the street only to end their course against a second wall.

He sniffed and spat blood, deciding to find someone to help him. "Hello?"

Oliver dragged himself towards what he supposed was the main street and had a moment of hesitation when he saw the large road surrounded on each side by a row of houses and shops. He looked from left to right in wonder. It was bare of any sign of human activity. There were no cars, no one walking on the sidewalk and a complete and unnerving silence.

He was in a ghost town.

"Hello!" He screamed and opened his eyes wide and incredulous. He didn't know why but he started to cry. The blur of his tears added to his dizziness and he staggered towards the middle of the road. Crashing down on the highway, Oliver cried harder. "Chloe... Chloe..." he whispered.

"CHLOE!"

He dropped his head and felt himself go. Just before blacking out, a whistle cut through the silence from afar. It grew louder and louder, forcing him to look up. Oliver blinked and saw a dark spot in front of him.

It became bigger by the second and the whistle drew closer. He breathed harshly and heard tyres screeching before his head fell back and the depths of nothingness engulfed him.

THE END

A bit of a delay for the final chapter due to AO3's current connection troubles. Nevertheless, this fic is complete. The third book in the Eternal Wrath series and yet there are many more to come.

I know being a reader of mine requires patience and I hope I'm rewarding you guys well enough when I deliver. What do you think?

The transition one-shot is on my list of things to do before the end of the year as well as (I promised to noellesullivan) a companion piece to Public Enemy centering on Oliver's struggle back to reality with Roulette. These, I plan to post them in the next couple of months.

Now the sequel on the other hand... well, considering the IRL obligations I'm going to have in 2016 I can only promise to start posting it during the next summer (probably August 2016). Though, if I do enough find time to write during the next semester, I might (emphasis on 'might') be able to give you an early update, no promises there of course.

Please bear with me and thank you for sticking around and everyone who commented, noellesullivan, teamolicity123 and Malugargula, it always feels very rewarding to have direct reaction so, big thank you to you three.

Cheers!