After five years away from Starling he thought it would be a relief to return home, but he wasn’t home. Starling City is was Oliver Queen's home, not the home of the man he has had to become not only to survive but protect Kara as well. At the thought of her he looked to the other side of the plane to see if she was alright, a reaction he’s developed over the years and will need to learn to suppress as he can’t drop everything just to check on her when they’re back in Starling.
She was sound asleep, her perfect blonde hair resting weightlessly on her shoulders, he wondered how she slept after all they’d been through, he sheltered her the best he could but she hadn’t gotten through unscathed. If Oliver got six hours of sleep it was a good night, although most nights he didn’t sleep at all because he was either watching over Kara or avoiding his nightmares. That was another problem, he would need to move out of the mansion as soon as he could because if Moira, Robert or Thea heard his screams he would be taken to a shrink for PTSD and God only knows he can’t talk about what he’s done, even to Kara, because if she knew what he’s had to do for them, she’d never look at him the same again.
The abrupt landing shook Oliver from his thoughts and back to reality. The Queens were able to hide the location of the landing from the press so that they could have at least a day with their resurrected son before having to deal with those vultures, especially due to Oliver returning with a different blonde than he left with. Kara hadn’t even spoken English when Oliver met her, a meeting they both wish had been under different circumstances.
Five Years Ago, Lian Yu
There had been storm warnings put out but they hadn’t realized how severe it would really be and as a result Oliver and Sara were now caught in a category four hurricane aboard an ill-equipped ship owned by Oliver’s dad, called the “The Queen’s Gambit”. The boat was rocking wildly, throwing things around the room, which wasn’t too dangerous until Sara was almost hit by a bedside table.
“Ollie we need to get back to land.” Sara liked to state the obvious.
“I know but the captain can barely keep us afloat never-mind be able to go in a specific direction. It’s O.K, we’re going to be alr…” The lightning strike caused the boat to kick like an angry bull, tossing Sara to the other-side of the room, so when the floor ripped open Oliver couldn’t help her.
Soon after Sara disappeared Oliver was flung threw a window by a large wave hitting the side of the ‘Gambit’, the cold water was a shock to his system and Oliver had to grab onto a stray piece of wood to keep from drowning but couldn’t prevent his loss of consciousness, as he slipped into darkness he saw an island in the distance.
Oliver had just landed on the beach, the lack of bobbing waking him up, and he found himself on the island he had seen from out in the sea,it was much bigger than he’d expected, he steadied himself before beginning to move off the beach towards the forest in search of something to eat and fresh water to drink. He hadn’t even made it past the rocks surrounding the shoreline when he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and looked down to see an arrow protruding from that same shoulder that was now bleeding. That’s just great, he thought as he turned around to see a hooded figure some forty feet away, the darkness began to encroach on his vision as he passed out for the second time in two days. He awoke in a dimly lit cave with the pain in his shoulder having dulled due to the lack of an arrow in it, sitting across from him was a hooded person, presumably the same hooded person who had shot him, but when they removed the green hood Oliver could see her hair was as black as coal and from the looks of it as dirty too, her figure was slight but strong as were her facial features and her eyes were an earthy brown that seemed to suit her well. If it weren’t for the vivid memory of an arrow in his shoulder he might have been attracted to her.
“What do you want with me?” he asked almost sounding angry, but his weariness betrayed him and his exhaustion was plain to see.
“Why are you here?” the woman countered.
“My boat was wrecked during a storm and I was drifting in the sea for two days I think, then I washed up on the beach, where you shot me. That hurt by the way.”
“I thought you were a soldier and I did pull it out,” she said defensively, her expression softening slightly.
Oliver remembered Sara and dreading her answer asked,”Did you see a small blonde woman anywhere?”
“Yes,” Oliver lifted himself up waiting for her to go on,”But they took her to a camp about half an hour from here.”
“Well let’s go get her then.” Oliver started getting up but the woman held him down.
”You are injured and by the looks of it, untrained.”
“I can’t just leave her there.”
“That’s not what I said, I’ll train you enough to get…”
“To get Sara back and then we’ll figure out what to do.”
It occurred to Oliver that they didn’t know each other's names, “My name’s Oliver by the way.”
“My name’s Shado, it’s nice to meet you Oliver.”
“Nice to meet you too, Shado.” Oliver replied, sounding like each word was physically demanding to say.
Over the next few weeks Shado taught Oliver some simple take-downs she learned from self-defense classes she took after she decided to try and take on the Chinese Triads, a choice her father objected to. During their time together Oliver learned that Shado’s father, Yao Fei, was taken by the Triads to blackmail her into dropping her case against them and when she tried to meet them to get him back they kidnapped her and left both of them on the island to die. He also learned about the soldiers on the island, lead by a man called Fyers and kept in line by his enforcer that the soldiers call ‘Winter’, Shado hadn’t learned his real name yet but knew he didn’t come here with the other soldiers, his plane crashed somewhere on the island and when Fyers found him he offered the man a place in his ranks, after he killed his predecessor. The plan was simple, they go in at night, kill all the guards, rescue Sara, if she wasn’t already dead and leave before anyone knew they were there. When they got to the camp there were more guards than they had expected, considering it was only supposed to be Sara here and she wasn’t a dangerous prisoner, but the soldiers weren’t too much of a problem because they had been unprepared for a two person assault, although Oliver was hesitant to kill at first almost letting the lookout warn the rest of the camp, it became easier after the first time, which unsettled Oliver more than he’d care to admit. Once they had disposed of the corpses they began to search the outpost for Sara, they found her caged in one of the tents.
“Yeah, It’s me Sara.”
“I thought you were dead.”
“I could say the same for you.”
“Who’s that?” Sara asked, indicating towards the hooded woman in the doorway. “That’s Shado, I’ll tell you about her later but for now we need to…”
They both looked towards Shado wondering why they had been silenced, but when Shado showed no signs of telling them they decided to work on the zip ties on Sara’s wrists. While they were trying to untie her they heard a faint crying from somewhere in the camp, realizing that this is why Shado had shushed them and then Oliver asked the obvious question,”Is that someone…...crying?”
“I think so,” Sara answered,”I’ve been hearing it since I got here, it only stops for about two hours once a week, when some man goes in there.”
“What does he do?” asked Shado, not really wanting an answer, imagining all the horrible things that could be done in two hours.
“I don’t know, there’s never any sounds, no crying, no screams, nothing.”
“Shado you work on cutting Sara free, I’ll go find out where the crying is coming from.”
“O.K, be careful.” the last part being said by both Shado and Sara simultaneously, as they both cared about and for Oliver, feelings he seemed to be completely unaware of.
Oliver followed the sound of crying to a tent that was much larger than the rest and inside he was met the sight of a woman about his age blindfolded, with wrists raw from the ropes tightly tying them to the corners of the bed she was on, naked with bruises and marks all over her pale skin, her knees curled up in a futile effort to cover herself from view. After he removed the ropes she hugged her chest to try and hide some more of herself but when he took the blindfold off her crying slowly subsided, becoming more akin to whimper.
“I won’t hurt you,” Oliver said in his softest and most sympathetic tone, taking off the jacket he was wearing, one he had acquired from a dead soldier seeing as he didn’t need it anymore, and offered it to the woman who he only know realized was actually blonde not brunette as it seemed from further away, it was just so filthy it had appeared brown. The woman put the jacket on and stared at Oliver for a few long seconds with sapphire eyes that made Oliver’s heart skip a beat before she wrapped him in a bear hug, not caring about her bare lower half, burying her face in his chest, silently thanking him because all she could do was continue to shed her tears, as she had done for the two years before her savoir had arrived.