Epilogue: The Future Years

As Laurel came to, she noticed the sound of beeping. It took a few moments for her to piece together that that was the sound of a heart monitor, which explained what was hooked up to one of her fingers, and that she must be in a hospital bed. She also registered that someone was holding the hand that was not hooked up to any devices. She opened her eyes.

"Tommy?"

"Oh thank god!" Tommy Merlyn exclaimed. "You really had me worried there for a minute."

Ugh, her throat ached as if she'd been screaming. Tommy offered her some water from a pitcher that had been left on a stand near the hospital bed, and she drank the better part of a glass before her curiosity got the better of her.

"What happened? Where am I?"

"You're at St. Andrews Hospital. Of all the places for the bar association to hold its annual meeting, it just had to be in Central City! You've heard of Star Labs, right? Maybe you heard about their new particle accelerator? Well, after they turned the damn thing on, it exploded."

"Exploded?" Laurel frowned. "But I'm pretty sure the meeting wasn't being held near Star Labs."

"Doesn't seem to matter, the whole city got hit with god knows what. I came here as soon as I could. How are you feeling?"

"Like I've had better days. It's probably nothing that a little tea with honey can't cure," she did her best to sound optimistic, despite her stomach going jittery at the thought of not knowing what she was doused with and what symptoms might develop. "Thanks for making the trip out here. It means a lot to me that you're here."

"Getting to Central City was easy enough. But once I got here I had to tell them I'm your husband in order to see you. You're not going to rat me out, are you?"

"I suppose there are worse things than pretending to be married to a young, handsome billionaire," she teased.

"Good, that's, I'm glad you see it that way. Laurel, do you have any idea how scared I was when I heard you were in the hospital and that there had been an explosion? I thought I might never see you again, I thought maybe you'd never wake up," Tommy fought back tears.

"Hey, it's okay. You're not getting rid of me that easy, Merlyn."

"I don't want to," he reached into his pocket and withdrew a small black box.

"Tommy, what are you doing?" Laurel asked, all traces of humor gone.

"What I've been trying to get up the courage to do for awhile now, and what I was afraid I might never get the chance to do—Is it okay if I don't get down on one knee here? I'm willing to do that part later on, after you're discharged. Okay? Here goes," Tommy opened the jewelry box, revealing a small gold band with a rather large, gleaming diamond set in the middle. "Dinah Laurel Lance, will you marry me?"

"Oh my god," the heart rate on the monitor picked up speed.

"I don't want to rush you, but I think a nurse is probably going to come in any second, and it might be hard to explain why your 'husband' is proposing to you…"

"Get over here," Laurel tugged Tommy down into a kiss. "Yes, Tommy Merlyn," she told him firmly, "I will marry you."

~Break~

"You missed all the fun," the Cape called to his former nemesis. After Vince had finished his latest battle, Peter Fleming,* decked head to toe in his red leather Chess costume, had arrived on the scene, just a few minutes too late to be of any help. It was just as well, Vince thought, since he didn't need any help and, if left to his own devices, Chess' help would involve killing or seriously injuring the Cape's opponent. Vince's protests always fell on deaf ears, so he was all too often left in the unenviable position of having to do his best to protect his enemies from his insane, overprotective partner.

"Did I, though?" Chess asked, as he drew nearer. He pushed back the Cape's hood, fisted one hand in Faraday's curls, and brought their lips together. Their kisses, such as they were, tended to be just shy of violent, as if neither had quite accepted that they had stopped being sworn enemies.

"Stop," the Cape chastised him after they broke apart. "We're in public. Someone might see us." His son might not know that he was the Cape, but he was damned if he was going to let Trip know who his hero had taken up with.

"Who cares? In case you've forgotten, I own all the reporters," Chess murmured to him. He didn't need to add that that meant none of the reporters would dare speak a word against him.

None of them, that is, except Orwell, but fortunately for both Vince's and Felicity's peace of mind, she had foregone assisting Vince tonight in favor of going out on a date.

"You still need to stop following me on patrols. I've told you before that I don't need a sidekick—"

"I'm warning you, if you call me a sidekick one more time," Fleming growled. Vince was sure the threat would have been clear in his eyes, if Peter's eyes weren't obstructed by those truly awful contacts.

"I'm not afraid of you," the cop insisted. (He had resigned himself to working for ARK Corp. in Palm City, on the understanding that Fleming was to leave him alone at work. Surprisingly, for the most part, he had.)

"That's because you're too stupid for your own good," Fleming sighed, but the hero had a point. The days when he was a danger to the Cape were over. It seemed there was nothing he wouldn't do for Faraday.

~And Another Two Years After That~

"What the hell do you mean, I don't get to be best man?!" Ian complained. "I'm your brother."

"But you're not my best friend. I've seen you maybe four times in as many years," Vince retorted.

"At least I was on board with your relationship before you even knew that you liked this guy! You can't just snub me for some-"

"Watch it," Rollo warned. The little person wasn't going to tolerate crap from anyone about his height, even if that person was his best friend's brother.

"Gentlemen," Max Malini spoke up from his seat. "If you're done with your pissing contest, I have one question for the groom. Is there going to be an open bar?"

~JF~

"I just have one question, Dad—are you blackmailing him?" Jamie asked during her videochat with her father.

"How can you even ask that?" Peter demanded. Jamie just stared at him. "No, of course I'm not. I promise that he said yes of his own free will."

"Then I'm happy for both of you. Congratulations!"

~MQ~

"Good evening, and thanks for joining us. Our first story this hour—Assistant District Attorney Laurel Lance has entered the race for county District Attorney. Current poll numbers show that she has a strong lead following her successful prosecution of Damien Darhk, who is serving his sentence in Iron Heights for murder and racketeering. Lance started her legal career at C.N.R.I. before joining the Metahuman Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office. Her husband, Tommy Merlyn, CEO of the Merlyn Global Group, introduced her before she announced her candidacy this afternoon.

"Police say that the Green Arrow and metahuman Black Canary helped them apprehend five men suspected of—I'm sorry, we've just been alerted that there's breaking news. We're going to go now LIVE to Queen Consolidated, where I understand that CEO Oliver Queen is about to announce he's running for mayor of Starling City. Our reporter, Vanessa Jenkins, is on the scene. Vanessa, what can you tell us?"

"John, everyone thought that the biggest story about Oliver Queen this year was going to be his upcoming wedding to Captain Quentin Lance of the ARK police force, but Queen has proved us wrong. Captain Lance has just entered the stage. He's expected to introduce his fiancé to the crowd tonight—"

"Vanessa, real quick before Captain Lance starts his speech, do you think the timing of Oliver Queen's engagement is going to hurt his candidacy?"

"John, his opponents are likely going to latch onto the fact that Queen used to date the daughter of the man he's now engaged to and use that to question his values. If that tactic works, it could potentially also hurt Laurel Lance's campaign for District Attorney; it's unclear how their campaign managers are planning to deal with the candidates' pasts, but Queen is well known for his humanitarian efforts—"

"Good evening," Quentin addressed the crowd. "Gee, I feel like I was at one of these earlier today… Oliver's campaign manager didn't want me addressing the crowd tonight. Course he would've postponed our engagement, too, something about my endorsement would've meant more if I didn't seem biased, but he's not calling the shots.

"I stand before you not only as Oliver's fiancé, but also as the man who arrested him…on more than one occasion." The crowd laughed. "Now you see why Davis wanted Thea to give this speech. But I'm giving it because I can tell you that no one has more cause than I have to question the idea of this man running for mayor. I've seen him at his worst.

"But I've also seen him become a different person. I don't mean a businessman—being able to keep the money he inherited doesn't make him a good person, doesn't make him someone you should vote for. But making sure money goes where it's needed most makes him a philanthropist. I don't need to tell you about the causes he's championed in recent years…

"If he's been an inspiration to the entire city, it's because this city inspires him every day to be a better person. I can't think of anyone more dedicated to Starling City or better suited to being its mayor. And so it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you Oliver Queen."

In a modest suburban home, a woman once known as Moira sat with her husband in front of the television and watched as her son took the podium to thunderous applause, her daughter standing nearby on stage, cheering him on.

"You must be so proud of them, Darling," the man who used to be called Walter said as he put an arm around his wife's shoulders.

"I am," she smiled, as tears spilled down her cheeks.

THE END

*This scene is told from Vince's point of view in that he does not know that Chess is a separate personality and so uses the names interchangeably. The reader can decide which, if either, of Peter Fleming's personalities is in control at any given time.

Author's Note: The epilogue's title comes from Queen's "You and I."

Oh, my god. It's been years since I started this fic. "Arrow" was still in season one then.

I know, I know, I first posted the epilogue last summer, but I felt that the epilogue could've used more Laurel & Tommy, hence I wrote what is now the first scene of the epilogue, which I am reposting so you get the new and improved version. I apologize for any inconvenience.

There were times I didn't think this fic was going to be finished and I've always vowed to never abandon a fic. Thank you to the readers who stayed with me through the end. This fic would not be complete without you.

Thank you to TyMatthews for reviewing! And thanks to those who added the story to your list of alerts and/or favorites!

This is the end of this fic, but fear not! You may remember that I still have a WIP—"THE WIZARD OF KOZ." Cape fans, please feel free to go check it out.

And everyone please feel free to tell me what you thought of the fic in general and/or specifically the epilogue. The one caveat that has not changed in over four years is that criticism should be constructive. Flames will be material for my jokes and possibly plot bunnies.