Beta: Thank you Beth for the quick beta!
Characters: Malcolm Merlyn, Ra's al Ghul
Word Count: 2.274
Notes: Spoilers for episode 3x15 "Nanda Parbat" which airs this week! I saw promotion pictures which inspired me to this story. If you've seen them too you'll know why. I linked the pictures in the text.
Summary: Malcolm is back in Nanda Parbat. Oliver and Diggle try to get him out.
Link to chapter 1/2
They had given him time to heal which unfortunately gave him way too much time to think.
Could he hope for some sort of rescue? For how long had he been missing now? And who would even miss him? Certainly not Diggle or Felicity who never made a secret of their hatred for him.
Oliver? Doubtful. They hadn’t spoken since Malcolm had pulled that stunt with Slade on the island. Maybe not one of his better moves. He had miscalculated. Again.
Malcolm hadn’t even started to teach Oliver everything he knew about Ra’s al Ghul, so even if the kid was stupid enough to try anyway, he might not survive this time. Malcolm was certain everyone in their right mind would talk Oliver out of it.
And Thea… None of the pain Ra’s al Ghul could inflict on him would hurt as much as the pain in his heart. Malcolm was actually surprised that it hurt quite so much. He had thought his heart had already shattered to pieces when Thea claimed that she wouldn’t be his daughter anymore. It had left him cold and numb inside. It also had pulled the rug out from under his feet. Still, he hadn’t seen her betrayal coming.
But Ra’s had taken great pleasure in gloating how he came to know about his whereabouts – that it had been Thea of all people who had sold him out. Malcolm felt he should actually be proud of her. Even if the result was – inconvenient. He obviously had trained her well. Maybe a little too well, but then, he couldn’t complain. He remembered telling her how proud he was of her when she had shot him back at the station.
So no, no rescue could be expected. If he wanted to make it out of here, he’d have to start thinking.
Once his feet had healed enough he was back for another round as a Thanksgiving turkey. Time soon became a blur. He couldn’t tell whether it was day or night. Time in Nanda Parbat was a funny little thing. When he had returned home to Tommy twenty years ago, he had been surprised to find that only two years had passed in the outside world while in truth he had been gone and in training for much longer.
So he couldn’t know for how long he had been here already, and for how long he really had been gone where the outside world was concerned.
He felt his mind starting to slip, and his body beginning to shut down. It became harder and harder to care about anything. Maybe it was better this way. He had lost everything that once had meant something to him. Rebecca, Tommy, Moira and also Thea. Nothing left to fight for. So why did he still struggle to stay alive? When it would be so much easier to give in, to welcome the darkness? He didn’t know. Maybe his stubbornness wouldn’t let him.
He barely could keep his eyes open.
Suddenly he registered movement. Someone was stealthily sneaking into the room. He blinked smoke-induced tears from his eyes. Maybe he had started to hallucinate. Was that really Oliver standing there? And Diggle? What the hell were they doing here? Were they even real?
Picture: Oliver and Diggle find Malcolm
If they were shocked to see him like this, they didn’t show it and a small part of him was grateful for that. The last thing he needed was their pity. Just somebody to get him out of these chains. Preferably right now?
But before they could make any move, there was another noise at the door and Ra’s and his men came in. Malcolm had forced himself to raise his head a couple of inches, but now he let it drop again. He should have known better than to hope against hope. Now they indeed would all die.
With sudden dread he realized that this was the only reason he was still alive – to lure Oliver over here. He had been the bait. He’d have rather killed himself than help with this perfidious plan.
To his surprise, Oliver and Diggle did not put up a fight. They went with their captors unresistingly. But shortly before he passed through the door, Oliver directed a warning glance right at Malcolm. This glance told him to stay alert. It wasn’t over yet.
Picture: Oliver and Diggle in chains
The fire went out but it took a long while for someone to come and get him down. When the door finally opened, it was only one guard instead of the usual two. Apparently everyone else was busy with their new prisoners. This was his chance, it was now or never. Oliver and Diggle had finally provided the distraction Malcolm had waited for all this time. He was suddenly wide awake, adrenaline rushing through his veins. But he kept his breathing even and sagged a little more, schooling his features into those of a man who posed no threat.
He was a dead weight in the arms of the man who lowered him. Malcolm waited patiently for him to open his cuffs, hoping the man would let down his guard. When he did, Malcolm acted in a split second. The man was dead before he realized his mistake. His neck had been snapped.
Malcolm dragged the body over to his cell and took the time to switch clothes. When he left, he was once again clad in the familiar black uniform. With it, some of his strength came back. Walking in the stiff boots without letting his limp show certainly was a challenge, but he pushed back the pain and went in search of the others. The mask that hid most of his face provided welcome cover, and he made it through the palace without raising any suspicion.
But he made sure that the knives he had found in the holsters were ready if someone just looked at him for a second too long.
The others had been brought to the big hall. When Malcolm walked in, Oliver was on his knees, with his hands cuffed at the back and with Ra’s pointing a sword right at his throat. Diggle was over in the corner, a man holding him on either side.
Picture: Ra's pointing a sword at Oliver
“To try and beat me once is brave, but foolish. To try and beat me twice is a deadly mistake.”
Ra’s’ voice was a low grumble but Oliver didn’t even blink. His Adam’s apple bopping when he swallowed hard was the only reaction he showed. Malcolm moved carefully around the room until he was amidst Ra’s men and right opposite of Oliver.
Picture: Oliver is not impressed
Then he waited for his signal.
And waited a little longer, while Ra’s still felt the need for flowery threats. Was there a 101 for people like him to learn how to make the most ridiculous speeches?
Suddenly, there it was. A blink of Oliver’s eyes and all hell broke loose. Malcolm saw from the corner of his eye that Oliver had managed to get out of his cuffs somehow and was now wielding Ra’s sword.
Then he concentrated on taking down some men himself. Diggle put up a good fight as well, and Malcolm threw over one of his knives to help him. Diggle accepted with a thankful nod, and between the three of them it did not take long till every single one of the men was on the ground.
Some of them dead, who had been unfortunate to be within Malcolm’s reach, others severely wounded so they could not put up a fight anymore..
The three men congregated, breathing heavily.
“Where’s Ra’s?”, Malcolm asked, still catching his breath.
“As soon as the fight broke out, he slipped away.” Oliver’s eyes were very dark. He had a bleeding gash on his forehead. Diggle on the other hand seemed unhurt, but was holding his right arm rather stiffly. He tried not to show it but Malcolm spotted it right away, having been in the same situation himself.
Malcolm’s feet felt as if he was walking on thumbtacks, but he certainly wasn’t going to mention it.
None of them was in any condition to continue fighting. But if they left now, all would have been for nothing. The blood debt would still be on Malcolm’s head. He looked from one to the other.
“So? What now?”
“I think we should leave.” That was Oliver.
“I think we should stay”, Diggle said at the same time. Malcolm’s heart missed a beat. What the…?
A silent conversation passed between Diggle and Oliver. Malcolm didn’t wait for it to end and started walking towards the door.
“I agree with Oliver. There will be another time. Let’s go! How did you get here?”
Oliver grinned. “We took the liberty of using your private plane. Hope you don’t mind! It’s parked in the valley as there was no place big enough to land up here. We rented a helicopter. It’s just behind the hill.”
They carefully made their way outside the castle but thankfully did not encounter any more people. Once outside, they ran. Malcolm had to grit his teeth but was able to keep up with the others.
Oliver led them around the hill, and there indeed was the helicopter. There also was Ra’s al Ghul standing right in front of it. The poor man who had been their pilot lied in the grass, his lifeless eyes staring at the sky.
They dropped down for cover, Malcolm’s brain frantically searching for a way out. He couldn’t find one.
There was only one thing that was still important to him. He was a man of honor after all.
“I’ll go, give myself up. The two of you might have a chance then. It’s me he wants. You once saved my life, Oliver, now let me do the same for you.”
He was surprised at how angrily Oliver reacted to his offer. He was shouting far louder than strictly necessary. “The hell you will! Thea still needs you! You come back with us and if I have to drag you!”
Malcolm was confused for a couple of seconds until he realized what Oliver was doing. From the corner of his eye he checked for Ra’s. He was looking into their direction, seemingly amused, but not moving away from the helicopter.
In the meantime, Diggle had disappeared.
Malcolm stood up and now raised his voice as well. “Thea doesn’t need me! It was she who brought me here in the first place! I’d rather die than ever see her again! You tell her that!”
Oliver jumped up. “You tell her yourself! I didn’t come all this way just to see you die! What is it with you Merlyns?”
It maybe wasn’t the best of distractions but it worked. Suddenly the engines of the helicopter roared and Ra’s had to duck to avoid getting caught in the whirl of the rotors. Before he could react, the helicopter had made its way to Malcolm and Oliver, and the two of them jumped into it.
But Ra’s did not give up so easily. When they passed over him, he jumped up and grabbed one of the skids. For a while he was just clinging there then he tried to climb up. Malcolm extended his left leg and his foot connected hard with Ra’s head. Hot pain shot up but at least Ra’s fell down again. But he still refused to let go.
Diggle managed to keep the machine steady in the air during their battle, but Malcolm could hear him swear over the loud noise. Then Diggle yelled something but Malcolm understood only fragments. “… have… get rid… can’t…”
Oliver leant over and yelled into his ear. “We have to do something! We won’t make it over the mountains like that!”
Malcolm looked down and saw the distorted face of Ra’s, full of hatred. Nothing was left of his usual calm demeanor. This was the face of a man who would fight till the very end. Only one way to finish this.
“Hold my legs!”, Malcolm commanded and then he leant his upper body out into the air, while Oliver was sitting on his legs and held tight with all his might. With his head upside down, Malcolm managed a few stabs with the knife onto Ra’s hands.
One of his fingers was slipping, then the next, then another. It was agonisingly slow- going. Blood was ringing in Malcolm’s ears. One last stab and Ra’s finally let go and fell into one of the deep mountain lakes. If anyone ever found him there, it certainly would take a long time.
The helicopter steadied at once. Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief.
They had made it. They really had made it. But there was one last thing Malcolm needed to know.
“So, Diggle? Something you haven’t told me?”
Diggle who was working the controls like a professional, grinned.
“I figured in our line of work, learning how to fly a helicopter surely would come in handy.”
And Oliver added helpfully, “Nice to know you don’t know everything, Malcolm.”
Huh. So this was the reason why Diggle had been in the Arrow lair so rarely during the last year. He had been busy elsewhere. Malcolm thought it through for a while.
Then he felt his own face splitting into a huge grin as well when he had found his punch line: “Please tell me you don’t want to fly my plane as well?”
Also available at AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/works/3429791
Also available at Fanfiction.net: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11069887/1/Back
If you want to know what happened after Malcolm returned home, look for the story “Aftermath” by my friend BethAlex on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/works/3433130