Oliver Queen was the sixteen-year-old scion of the wealthy Queen family before a boat trip gone awry landed him on the island hell of Lian Yu.
Three years prior, Barry Allen, all eleven years of age, woke up to a whirlwind of gold and scarlet and watched as a man in a yellow suit ruined his life. Three years after, he washes up on the shores of purgatory.
Kara Zor-El, age twelve, had neither luxury. She was shoved into a space ship, baby cousin in hand, and tossed into the ebony abyss as her planet exploded around her, landing in a world so similar and yet so very different from her own.
(Or: The AU where Oliver, Barry, and Kara survive Lian Yu together for years, raising a baby Kal-El, and are eventually rescued – by the League of Assassins)
Oliver is the first to arrive in hell.
Oliver Queen is the first-born son of Robert and Moira Queen, and the godson of Malcolm and Rebecca Merlyn. He grew up as the best friend of Tommy Merlyn, of Laurel Lance and Sara Lance. He was the most prominent figure of his sister Thea Queen's earliest memories.
Oliver Queen was born into money, and his parents didn't have the heart to take the silver spoon out of his mouth. Combined with his natural rambunctiousness and recklessness, Oliver was a terror throughout the years. But he was a charming terror, and beneath the veneer, he was a good and kind person at heart. He was loved dearly by those who knew him, regardless of how much they wished he would mature a little bit faster.
One day, Oliver managed to finagle himself a trip to China on his family's yacht. Robert Queen had loaned it to an old friend for a business venture, but was unable to attend the voyage himself due to impending business back home. Oliver, on vacation from school at the time, convinced his parents to still let him go.
They would regret their permissiveness for years to come.
Oliver Queen sailed with the Queen's Gambit to China, not knowing he would not be returning home.
(not for a very long time, at least)
Barry is the next to enter purgatory.
Barry Allen was the son of a doctor and a college professor, a brilliant child whose future was filled with so much potential. He grew up in a well-to-do middle-class family, in a well-to-do neighborhood, and was best friends with the daughter of a detective, Iris West. Despite his genius, Barry Allen was as painfully normal as could be.
Then his mother was murdered, and they jail his father for the crime.
Barry Allen was taken in by the lead detective of the case, Joe West, but other than Iris, he didn't like this new turn of events – at all. He constantly claims that his father is innocent, but is constantly refuted, called crazy by everyone around him: his peers, his teachers, and even Joe himself. After one too many arguments, Barry lands himself a spot in the student exchange program, and goes off to study abroad. The night before his departure, he admits to Iris that he can't stand to be in Central City anymore, around Joe, after being constantly denied his father's innocence.
Barry leaves for China. He never comes back.
(Iris never forgives Joe)
Kara is last, and she doesn't come alone.
Kara Zor-El was genetically engineered to be the perfect blend of her parents, Zor-El and Alura In-Ze. Like her mother, she was predisposed towards law, and had just begun her training when her young cousin Kal-El was born to her Uncle Jor-El and Aunt Lara Van-El.
That was the beginning of the end.
Kara learned her world was dying, and that, through the efforts of her parents, only she and Kal-El would survive. Then she was forced into a ship alongside her cousin and a limited amount of baby supplies, and shot out into the sky as Krypton burst into debris and flames around her.
She cried and cried, but forced herself to remain strong for the baby in her arms.
They only had each other from now on.
(but only for so long)
Oliver floats adrift at sea for days before he finally catches sight of land.
Not long afterwards, a man called Yao-Fei shoots an arrow into his shoulder.
Oliver passes out.
Oliver has just killed a bird, and is now cleaning the meat for a meal. It is his first kill.
The words pass through his mind. You want survive this place, bird not last thing you kill. They were ominous, and Oliver nearly gagged at the thought of killing another like he had with this bird.
But before he could muse over becoming a killer, Yao-Fei returns, with a water-logged boy on his back.
They prep the test, and Oliver watches, out of sight, as Barry and begs and pleads until, like him, he snaps the bird's neck.
"Queen? As in the Queen family of Starling City?"
"Yup," Oliver confirmed, popping the 'p' with his lips. Now that Barry has learned the same lesson, Yao-Fei has permitted them to meet and converse while he went out and hunted. "And you?"
"Barry. Barry Allen. I'm from Central City." Oliver raised one of his eyebrows.
"What are you doing so far away from home?"
Barry gave a weak smile. "I was on a student exchange program. Was supposed to study in China for a semester. My plane landed in Thailand and my flight was cancelled, so I decided a boat trip was a better way to get there – until it capsized." he laughed mirthlessly.
Oliver gave a sardonic grin of his own, and opened his mouth to speak.
He doesn't get the chance.
Oliver is so very tempted to say yes. To out Yao-Fei. He knows Barry is struggling with the same dilemma, and they both know what will happen if they deny it.
But Yao-Fei saved their lives, and Oliver has too much good in him give him up.
Barry looks at him, and they are in voiceless agreement.
Their screams etch the silent day.
They are rescued, and stuck in a cave. Oliver is tempted again, and this time it is by the release of death. What purpose is there to his life, after all? He is a spoiled brat, a blight on society, a product of a broken system that tramples on the unfortunate and underprivileged. But Barry – Barry still has something to live for, and through that, Oliver remembers that he still has something to live for too.
Barry and Oliver have endured torture together, and that forges a bond that can never quite be broken. Oliver entertains the idea of death just for a moment, before dismissing it. Barry still needs him, and Oliver can't very well abandon him. Barry has his father's innocence to prove, after all, and Oliver is going to make sure he has the chance.
The impact is heard throughout the island, a shockwave spanning out for miles. Edward Fyers immediately sends out a scouting team.
Oliver and Barry get there first.
Barry is frozen on the spot. Beside him, Oliver is not much better, pointing and shaking.
A spaceship. An honest-to-god spaceship.
They stare, and continue to stare, until the cockpit snaps open, and a blonde-haired girl spills out, with a baby in her arms. She stumbles a bit, before gaining purchase with the ground, and looks up at them.
"Who are you?' she asks in a language that neither they, nor anyone else native to this planet, knows.
It takes some creative hand gestures and body language, but Barry and Oliver finally learn the girl's name: Kara. The baby, clearly a relative of hers, is called "Kal-El", or Kal for short. By the time they finally get around to that point, Fyers' men appear, and are about to shoot. Karry makes a grab for the baby supplies and succeeds. Barry takes Kara's hand, Oliver takes the baby, careful to support his head, and they run as far away from the landing site as they can.
They meet Slade next.
Slade is terrifying, but Oliver is the oldest, the strongest, so he does the talking and willingly takes the brunt of his rage.
When he suggests they kill the baby (using very overt hand motions to make it clear to Kara what he's suggesting), Kara screams and clutches little Kal-El protectively to her chest. Barry glares at him and goes to comfort her, visibly shielding both with his body.
Oliver punches him in the face. It is a weak punch, and hardly phases the older man, but when Slade makes eye contact again, Oliver remains stalwart and regretless.
Slade smiles, impressed.
They spent the next few weeks training. All three rotate between training with Slade, hunting for food and water, caring for Kal-El and planning for the raid on Fyers' camp. When it is Kara and one of the boys, they also make time to teach Kara English and other hand gestures for easier forms of communication. When it is Kara's turn for training, Oliver and Barry go about fixing some of the machinery, including a radio. That's how they learn of the plane and the "monster".
Their journey into enemy territory is quite the disastrous adventure. Kara hides Kal-El into a makeshift cradle, having fed him full and content, and waited for him to fall asleep before going with others on to their little jaunt.
Barry and Oliver are quickly separated from Kara and Slade, and both kill a mercenary each for their uniform. For a moment, they are left in shock of their first kills, but the thought of Yao-Fei breaks Oliver out of his reverie, and he breaks Barry out of his.
What follows is a terrible attempt to infiltrate Fyers' camp, where they both get caught and are about to be killed by Billy Wintergreen before Slade and Kara intervene. Kara kills one of the mercenaries with a stolen handgun, before grabbing Barry and Oliver and herding them far away to the side and out of sight. They watch the two former friends fight, and all three flinched when Slade shoved his sword into Billy's eye.
After Yao-Fei's betrayal, Shado joins them.
"They're only kids." She muses sympathetically.
It is night, and everyone is prepping for the night. Off to the side of their makeshift home, Kara is softly singing to a yawning Kal-El, lulling him to sleep. Barry is taking inventory of their remaining supplies, while Oliver is clearing out another space for Shado to sleep in.
Beside her, Slade watches solemnly, perhaps even fondly, and shakes his head.
"They stopped being kids the moment they stepped foot on this island." he claims.
Watching as Kara set the baby down into his makeshift cradle, Shado can't find it in herself to disagree.
After Yao-Fei's death, they escape their bonds and spring into action. Shado, Oliver, and Barry are all grieving inside, but they don't let it stop them from taking out every mercenary in their path. Barry goes with Slade and Kara to hold the line while Oliver and Shado chase after the missile launcher. They take out the guards, Shado reprograms the launcher, and Oliver sets off the trigger.
The camp bursts into the flames.
Amongst all the wreckage, Oliver calls out for his companions.
"BARRY! KARA! SLADE! SHADO!" He continues to idly walk around, and notices one of the containers. He opens it to reveal a bow and a quiver of arrows. Oliver grasped the weapon, weighing it before notching an arrow into the bowstring.
"Figures…you couldn't save the day…without making a huge mess…" A raspy voice rang out.
Oliver turned around to see a clearly banged up Slade walking towards him, being supported by an equally exhausted Barry and Kara. Despite their poor condition, he could slightest smiles on his two younger companions, while the oldest member of their group was outright laughing. Unfortunately, Oliver could not share in their mirth.
"Where's Shado?" he asks. Immediately, their joy was replaced by horror.
"I thought she was with you!" Barry demanded, Kara rapidly shaking her head in agreement.
"Actually, she's with me!"
Edward Fyers appeared, clearly worse for wear, and in his hold, with a gun to her head, was Shado.
Slade stumbled out of Barry and Kara's grasp. "Let her go, Fyers! It's over!" he yelled.
Oliver, angry, lifted the bow and aimed the arrow right at Fyers' heart. "Let her go." the archer commanded.
Fyers chuckled. "Amazing. A two-year operation undone because two teenagers washed ashore while a girl fell from the sky. And now here you all are: killers." The mercenary ranted bitterly. Shado continued to struggle, but he payed her no heed. "You wanted nothing more than to leave this island and now you can. I can call in a rescue ship – you can go home!"
Edward Fyers gave one final gasp, and finished his monologue with a low voice. "Tell me, Mr. Queen – are you prepared to give up your freedom for her? For them?"
Oliver paused. Months ago, before he was stranded on this island, his answer would've been different. For all his faults, nothing in the world mattered more to Oliver Queen than his family, and would've given anything to see them again. That hadn't changed.
What changed, was that he had family here too.
Oliver paused, but just for a moment. The next, Edward Fyers collapsed dead, an arrow to his heart.
Shado escaped his hold, and gasped in a deep breath, smiling gratefully.
Barry and Kara ignored their exhaustion and threw themselves at Oliver, causing all three to fall to the ground, and hugged him close.
In this AU, National City doesn't exist. As much as I like Supergirl's cast, outside of Martian Manhunter and certain villains, they don't have a place in this story. J'onn will make an appearance, but it will be much later on.
As a result, I made all three members of the Arrowverse Trinity closer in age. Oliver is the oldest at sixteen, while Barry is fourteen and Kara is twelve. Of course, by the time they return to Star(ling) and Central City, they'll be ten years older. Kal-El is around a year old. Quick warning, though – I know nothing of childcare, so that will be glossed over.
Kara and Kal-El's powers won't develop right off the bat. Obviously, if they did, I wouldn't have a story. Instead, they'll develop gradually over the next two years, and she won't have full access to them until they are rescued by the League.
Just for the record, they all see each other as family, so no, none of the three main characters will be paired with each other.
Oliver: NO OLICITY. Sorry to any Oliciters, but after the 2017 crossover I can barely stand to acknowledge Felicity's existence. Felicity wasn't even going to appear in this story anyway, and that hasn't changed. Neither is John Diggle, so no #OTA or whatever people call it these days. No Oliver/Sara either, because I feel it wouldn't work out for where this story is going, especially since Sara wasn't on the yacht and thus is not going to be the (White) Canary. I typically prefer Lauriver or Olyssa stories, so I may go one of those routes, but it's possible that Oliver won't get paired with anyone at all.
Barry: WestAllen is the likely endgame, though it won't happen until at least midway through the story. Iris will date Eddie first, as in canon, though the relationship will be a little awkward as Iris has more-or-less disowned Joe. As for Barry, thanks to the island and then the League, he won't be completely and utterly in love with Iris off the bat, nor will he be so dependent on her. He had five other living emotional crutches on Lian Yu, after all, and three of those crutches are still in his life by the time we get to the main story.
Kara: It's very possible that Kara, like Oliver, won't be paired with anyone at all. Since I've removed most of her supporting cast from the table, Kara's romantic prospects have drastically gone down in number. If she develops romantic potential with another character, I might change my mind, but until then Kara will remain single.