Oliver couldn't believe how caught off guard he and his team had been. Malcolm's plan was going down tonight and he had been so caught up in his own personal problems to even notice the bigger picture. He knew that Tommy had ended his relationship with Laurel but he couldn't figure out know why he wasn't happier about that or why he hadn’t rushed over to Laurel's place to comfort her.
He knew that Laurel still loved him and he found it both touching and amusing that she had a secret thing for the Archer; it would be so easy for them to fall into bed and pick up right where they had left off. After all, that was what Oliver had dreamt about during his five horrible years on the island and since he’d come home he’d wanted to show Laurel how much he had changed, that he wasn’t the same thoughtless, cheating playboy he’d been before.
But Laurel had been so happy with Tommy by then and the new, adult Oliver wouldn’t hurt his friend like that, yet more proof that he’d changed. Then entered Felicity Smoak, with her sometimes nonsensical babble that never failed to make him smile and when she had been kidnapped Oliver had felt a sense of fear he hadn't felt since the island.
As he gathered his bow and quiver of arrows, he turned to Diggle. "I need you to keep Felicity safe, she has no protection and I can't risk losing her or you.” Oliver needed to keep his mind on the battle and he knew that wouldn't happen if he didn't know that Felicity was well protected.
Even though he wanted to fight by the Hood’s side, Diggle knew that the man was right and he stared at Oliver with determination. "Nothing will happen to Felicity, not while I'm around. You're not the only one who cares about her." Although he’d said nothing, Diggle was proud of Oliver for not running after Laurel as soon as he knew that Tommy was out of the picture. He didn't know how Oliver could be so blind to not notice that Felicity had a crush on him and he knew it would have broken her heart if Oliver had gone to Laurel today. Plus Diggle was convinced that Oliver felt something for their girl, if only he would accept that fact and act on it.
"I know she will; there’s no one that I trust Felicity's safety to more than you." Oliver knew that Diggle would protect Felicity with his life.
"Hello! Girl in lair standing right here and by the way, she can take care of herself just fine. You two need to be out there stopping this bomb not babysitting me. I will be safe down here." Felicity loved both Oliver and Diggle but really, saving the city was more important than keeping her safe.
"Felicity…” Oliver started.
Felicity lifted her hand and cut Oliver off before he could continue. "No, Oliver. I get that you and Diggle think you need to protect me and I love you both for that. But now is not the time.” She straightened her shoulders and stuck her chin out stubbornly. “All of Starling City is in danger and you can't put me above the city. I will be safe here; Malcolm has no idea where our base is.” Felicity reminded them. “I will be okay, I promise."
"What about Merlyn's partner? He can control time, Felicity! I don't think a few security measures are going to keep him out!" Oliver shot back. “He’s already proven that he can take you whenever he wants!”
"Well then, if he does show up and I don’t think he will, it's better that it is just me here and not Diggle too, because the guy can control time and I don't think bullets are going to hurt him!" Felicity reminded Oliver nearly stamping her foot in frustration. "Besides that guy is so in love with Malcolm that if there is going to be a battle tonight between the two of you he won’t leave Malcolm's side."
“How can you be so sure?” Oliver narrowed his eyes, wondering what Felicity wasn’t telling him.
“Because that’s what I would do,” the blonde looked directly into Oliver’s eyes as she spoke.
"She does have a point," Diggle spoke up, siding with Felicity. "Hey man, I get where you are coming from but Felicity is right; from what you’ve said about this Ianto fellow he only cares about Malcolm and I doubt that he will be far from Merlyn's side tonight."
Oliver hated the fact that they were both right, so as much as he hated to admit defeat, he threw his hands up. "Okay fine! You win but you two better stay safe tonight or I am not going to be happy."
"What else is new?" Felicity muttered low under her breath and it took all of Diggle's power not to laugh at her; she did have a point and as he too prepared for battle, he hoped that Oliver was ready for tonight.
Ianto stood beside Malcolm as Starling City faced it fate. "All of my planning has led to this moment. This city is finally being cleansed and the Glades will be gone forever," Malcolm murmured. His heart was pounding in his chest as he considered the enormity of his plan and finally, after waiting for so long, the day had come; today he would have justice for Rebecca.
The part of Ianto Jones that still cared about the lives of others mourned the loss of life before him and without warning he found himself flung back into memories of another time, another life. The screams of the dying and the stench of burning flesh surrounded him, overwhelmed him and Ianto found that he was no longer in Starling City but back at Torchwood One, running and fighting for his life in the Battle of Canary Wharf…
…and that was how he missed the arrival of the Hood.
Tommy had heard that when you are close to death your life flashes before your eyes and as he rushed into Laurel's workplace desperate to save her, he did see his life and he realised that there was so much he wished he had done. More than anything, though he would have liked to have told Oliver how he felt, how much he loved him. Even if the other man turned his back on him and hated him at least Tommy would have known for certain if there could have been a chance for them or not.
"Tommy! What are you doing here?" Laurel was honestly surprised to see her ex-boyfriend come running into her office. She continued to shove case files into boxes, determined to save what she could; she had forced the rest of the staff to run for safety but there still might be a few stragglers, so she wouldn't say no to the help. She never expected that anyone would want to destroy Starling City, so many innocent lives would be lost.
"Saving you!" Tommy wasn't at all surprised to see that Laurel was still in the building making sure that everyone was out before her.
Laurel smiled at Tommy as she handed him an overflowing box, grateful for a second set of hands; maybe she would get out of this nightmare alive.
As he watched his lover fall at the hands of the Hood Ianto felt a level of rage fill him that he hadn't experienced since the thing wearing Lisa's face was gunned down right before him. Oh how desperately he wanted to come out of his hiding spot and tear the man apart but he couldn't, he had given Malcolm his solemn word that he would stay hidden no matter what he saw happening.
Not since Lisa had been converted and Jack had sacrificed himself to stop Abaddon had Ianto felt as useless as he did when he was forced to watch his lover battle the Hood.
"No!" Ianto cried as he watched Oliver arrow hit its mark and Malcolm fell to the ground, mortally wounded.
Gasping with pain Malcolm felt Ianto's power wrapping around him like a soft blanket, comforting and protecting him, and he smiled beneath his hood; his lover was there to save him just as he’d promised. No, he would not die this day but the world and more importantly the Hood would think he had and later, after he'd recovered he would be back to find that Starling City had been changed for the better.
Through the power of the Rift it wasn't just Malcolm that Ianto saw in danger but Tommy as well, and so he closed his eyes and concentrated, reaching out to slow time around the young man, giving Tommy a chance to live. "I've got you, Malcolm. You did it, my love," Ianto whispered as he brushed a tender kiss across Malcolm's temple and then he gathered his lover up in his arms, cradling the fallen man to his chest and carefully moved them off of the roof.
Tommy was pleased to note that he and Laurel had managed to get everyone else out and now it was just them. "Look out!" Tommy cried out sharply, dropping the box of files he was carrying towards the door and shoving Laurel out of the way as the roof began to come down around them.
Laurel stumbled as she was pushed out of the way. She could only watch with horror as she realised that Tommy now stood where she had been just seconds ago. "Tommy! Move!" she cried frantically reaching out for him.
Tommy closed his eyes waiting for death to claim him as the roof collapsed around him; neither he nor Laurel noticed as time appeared to slow around them until everything stopped completely.
"Well now isn't this interesting," Slade murmured as he stepped unaffected into the office; he was extremely intrigued by the mysterious event he was witnessing. "Just who are you, Mr Jones and how did you do this?" He had never seen anyone with such incredible power, power that could literally stop time. Slade wasn’t sure why Jones had sent here with the mission to save Tommy, but he was glad he did; he just hoped he was in time to help the young man.
Oliver blinked as he came out of a daze and he shook his head with angry frustration as he realised that Malcolm Merlyn had evaded him yet again. "Damn it! I let you escape! But it won't happen next time," Oliver vowed.
"Tommy!" Laurel blinked in confusion as she realised that she was alone in the crumbling office building, the rubble that had been about to burry Tommy was laid off to the side and there was no sign of him anywhere.
"Dad!" Laurel never had been so happy to hear her father’s voice as she was now.
Quentin Lance felt a sense of knee-buckling relief fill him as his eyes landed on Laurel. "Laurel, thank god you’re alright, I was so worried!" Quentin honestly didn't think he would have survived losing another daughter; Sarah’s death had almost killed him. "Come on, sweetheart; let's get you out of here."
"Dad, did you see Tommy? He was here! He saved me!" Laurel twisted around in her father’s arms, searching for any sign of Tommy. “Please help me find him!” she pleaded with her dad.
"Honey, no one else is here and no one has seen Tommy." Quentin was getting worried about his daughter; maybe she’d been hit on the head by falling debris.
"I'm not crazy, dad; I know that he was here. Something has happened to him." Laurel insisted, she was sure Tommy had been there helping her and that he was now missing.
"Let's just get you out of here and after you’ve been checked out by the paramedics and I'm sure you are safe then we’ll look for Tommy, okay?” Quentin promised Laurel.
A part of Laurel knew her dad was humouring her just like he’d done when she was a child but she didn't care if he didn't take her seriously, she knew what she’d seen and she would find out what happened to Tommy no matter what.
Somewhere in the air
Slade Wilson couldn’t take his eyes off of the young man who lay unmoving in the bed, Tommy was pale and too still for his piece of mind but a fourth check of his pulse proved that he still had a heartbeat. “I promise you, Tommy, that those responsible for this will pay,” Slade vowed. No one would be spared not even family, he would see to it.
Felicity joined Oliver and Diggle to stand on the rooftop in horrified awe surveying the damage done to the city below. Finally she couldn’t take the silence any longer. "I don't think either one of them is dead. The man who kidnapped me, the Dark Archer's lover can control time. They're out there somewhere; I’m sure of it.” Felicity didn’t want to voice her thoughts that maybe Tommy had been saved as well, she didn’t want to give Oliver that kind of false hope.
Oliver stared out over the destruction that had befallen Starling City. "When they return we’ll be ready for them. I failed this city once; I will not fail it again." Oliver vowed.
"We won't fail it. You don't have to do this alone, not when you have us to help you," Diggle reminded Oliver.
Oliver was thankful to have them by his side. "Is my family okay?"
"Moira and Thea are fine, Laurel was at her office and is being checked out as we speak. She's claiming Tommy was there with her but there's been no sign of him. Right now no one knows where he is but with everything that’s happened it's going to take a while to find him," Diggle informed Oliver.
Oliver couldn't believe that something might have happened to Tommy and as he thought about it he felt a sharp pang in his chest. "No, Merlyn hated this city but he loved his son, he would never allow anything to happen to Tommy. Tommy's out there somewhere and we are going to find him," Oliver vowed, after everything Tommy had done for him there was no way that Oliver wouldn't look for him, even if he had to overturn ever piece of rubble himself.
Felicity and Diggle shared a knowing look; Oliver would do everything in his power to find Tommy and they would be right there with him every step of the way looking until they found him.
Ianto was unsure as to exactly where he’d brought Malcolm but he knew was that it was a safe place for the man to heal from his injuries. Gently Ianto ran his hands through his lover's hair, Malcolm would live, he was sure of it. He wasn't going to lose his lover. And though it was a distant image, Ianto could see that Tommy’s fate had been changed and an elegant eyebrow rose as the vision became clearer.
“Well this is going to be interesting, I wonder how things will play out now.” Time was changing right before his eyes but even he couldn’t see how these new events would play out. All he knew was that through it all he would be at Malcolm’s side making sure that all his dreams came true. But first, once Malcolm was healed, they would go collect Tommy and Malcolm's daughter Thea and together nothing would stand in their way.End