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Fan Fic / To Hell and Back (Arrowverse)

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Everyone meets in hell.
It's not as bad as they thought it would be.
Summary of Prologue: PART I note 

To Hell and Back is an Arrowverse Fan Fic by Nyame. It is also available on FanFiction.net. There is an official Tumblr blog located here, where the author makes announcements for new chapters and contests.

It takes place in an Alternate Universe where a sixteen year old Oliver Queen is joined by a fourteen year old Barry Allen and a twelve year old Kara Zor-El on Lian Yu, alongside Slade Wilson, Shado Gulong, and a baby Kal-El.

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Official Summary:

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)


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Tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Two gender inverted examples.
    • Ralph Dibny to Iris West. On one of Eddie and Iris' dates, it's commented that he's like that with every woman that catches his eye, making him also a Casanova Wannabe.
    • Carter Bowen to Kara.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • In canon, Slade's relationship with Oliver was brotherly before turning sour over Shado's death. Oliver's own relationship with Shado was romantic before she died. Here, thanks to Age Lift, Slade sees Oliver as a surrogate son and Shado a hybrid between brother and son. The two also had no relationship with Barry, Kara, or Kal-El, while Oliver only saw them as comrades and close friends. Here, they're a makeshift family, with Slade and Shado seeing the former three the same way they see Oliver, and Oliver seeing them as siblings. Slade's relationship with Oliver also remains on good terms, thanks to the changed circumstances of Shado's death.
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    • Canon Tommy was Laurel's Second Love, and while Oliver was her One True Love, she did love Tommy. Here, Tommy still has feelings for her, but they remain unrequited and Laurel only sees him as a friend and even a sibling.
    • Oliver and Sara's relationship never becomes romantic, due to Oliver never dating Laurel before the Gambit and thus not taking Sara with him.
    • Oliver and Nyssa's relationship is much closer here than in canon, to the point of being romantic, due to Oliver essentially taking Sara's place with the League of Assassins.
    • As a byproduct of that, Quentin has a much better relationship with Oliver and Tommy and is fond of both of them.
    • Canon Barry was coworkers with David Singh and Ralph Dibny, even getting the latter fired for evidence tampering prior to the start of the show. Here, he never works for the CCPD and the two are friendly acquaintances of his through his connection with the Wests.
    • Barry was also much closer to Eddie in canon, being good friends and Eddie even becoming a temporary member of Team Flash before his death. Here the two can barely stand each other and only do so for Iris' sake. Eddie's animosity with the Flash also never dies down, and he only stops hunting him when his superiors force him to.
    • While canon Kara was friends with Sam, both were much closer to Lena Luthor than they were to each other. Here, due to Lena being Adapted Out, they are Heterosexual Life-Partners, their bond even stronger due to Kal and Ruby also being best friends.
    • Canon Leonard Snart was one of Barry's greatest enemies and rivals before eventually becoming an ally. This Leonard Snart is absolutely terrified of the Flash due to the latter being a much darker and more competent vigilante. The only reason he commissioned the cold gun was as an insurance policy — otherwise, he'd much rather avoid the Flash altogether.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Ra's al Ghul, as he plays a major part in the backstory of all three leads. His daughter Nyssa is a lesser examplenote  for the same reason.
    • Ralph Dibny appears much earlier than he does in canon, thanks to For Want of a Nail; as Barry never joined the CCPD as a CSI in this timeline, Ralph was never caught tampering with evidence and thus was never fired. This same nail also presumably prevented his death during the Particle Accelerator Explosion, which was reversed by Flashpoint in canon.
    • Samantha Arias and Ruby Arias appear early on as well, and even meet Kara earlier, thanks to Ruby being enrolled in the same class as Kal-El at Balliol Prep. Sam and Kara even become best friends.
    • Maseo Yamashiro starts making appearances once Slade re-enters the story, as he still a member of A.R.G.U.S. in this timeline thanks to another nail.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Oliver's combat ability is equivalent to the current Ra's al Ghul, putting him in the running for World's Best Warrior.
    • By the time Barry returns to Central City, he already has complete control of his speed and can even throw lightning, on top of being a trained assassin on par with Nyssa al Ghul. He's also much smarter, as a Combat Medic and scientist for the League.
    • Kara also has complete control of her powers, and can use them effectively in conjunction with her abilities as an assassin (also on par with Nyssa al Ghul), having been trained in hand-to-hand without her powers through exposure to red sunlight lamps.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Several, due to the nature of the premise of the story.
    • Oliver Queen is a Nice Guy, compared to the Jerk with a Heart of Gold he is in canon. He's also not a playboy in this timeline, largely because he was stranded on Lian Yu before he could really get into the 'party boy' lifestyle, and had his emotional growth in that area stunted.
    • Barry Allen is The Gadfly, being far more confident and abrasive than he is in canon; nowhere near the socially awkward geek that is his canon portrayal. He's also far more comfortable with the 'gray' and 'dark' aspects of being a vigilante.
    • Kara Danvers is more maternal and mature than her canon counterpart, due to being able to fulfill her role as Kal-El's caretaker, and, like Barry, is much darker. That being said, of the three leads, she is the closest to her canon portrayal.
    • Laurel Lance is more-or-less the same person she is in canon, though she is a far kinder and understanding to Oliver than she was in Arrow — mainly because, in this timeline, she and Oliver did not date prior to his disappearance. The same applies to Quentin Lance, who is still fond of Oliver since he never cheated on Laurel with Sara, or took Sara on the Gambit with him.
    • Speaking of Sara, on top of being Demoted to Extra, she's also a lot more lighthearted, since she never became a member of the League of Assassins.
    • Thea Queen, instead of being a Bratty Teenage Daughter, is instead a lot more down-to-earth and a bit sheltered thanks to her parents' overprotectiveness after Oliver's disappearance.
    • Iris West is a lot more colder and withdrawn, due to Barry's disappearance and her estrangement with her father. That being said, she starts reverting back to a personality closer to her canon one thanks to Barry's return.
    • Eddie Thawne is a lot more hostile to Barry, perceiving him as more of a threat to his relationship with Iris than his canon counterpart did, and Barry's new personality isn't helping matters. He's also a lot more obsessed with catching the Flash than he was in canon due to the Flash being less "superhero" and more "vigilante", which puts a strain on his relationship with Iris.
    • Slade Wilson is closer to his post-Season Five portrayal straight from the beginning, due to being injected with a serum that negated the Mirakuru's insanity-inducing effects.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Barry Allen. While canon!Barry was far from stupid (just a bad habit of grabbing the Idiot Ball), this Barry is a confirmed genius on par with Eobard Thawne. He correctly deduced the source of Kara Zor-El's powers when he was just fifteen, managed to become a capable Combat Medic in a year at the same age thanks to Shado's tutelage, and later became the League of Assassin's go-to doctor and Omnidisciplinary Scientist after his recruitment. He's even managed to replicate the Human Target's disguising abilities and create a rudimentary version of the A.I. Gideon.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Eddie Thawne goes from a nice guy behind his initial bluster, makes friends with Barry, and is an attentive boyfriend to Iris to someone openly resentful of Barry's connection to Iris and becomes so obsessed with and paranoid over the Flash that he temporarily drives Iris away.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Most of Supergirl (2015)'s cast. According to the author, this was due to both lack of familiarity and not fitting into the story's planned direction.
    • The author later made a post listing all the characters from Arrow and The Flash (2014) that won't be appearing in the story. Some are out of personal preference, and some because they wouldn't fit in the direction the story will go in.
  • Adult Fear:
    • When Slade reunites with his adoptive children, he asks them where they went and why it took them so long to resurface. They reveal that they joined the League of Assassins. To say Slade is unhappy to hear that would be a severe understatement.
    • After Malcolm Merlyn's Undertaking is exposed, Sam is horrified because it means she invited a terrorist to her daughter's birthday party.
    • After Brick takes Balliol Prep hostage, Robert, Moira, Sam, and many other parents are driven into frenzy, desperately trying to gather money to pay off the ransom.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Kal-El is called "Kal" by his adoptive family ('disguised' as being attributed to his middle name 'Calvin' to cover for his alias of Clark Kent).
  • Age Lift: Minor adjustments so Oliver, Barry, and Kara have two-year age gaps between them.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Inverted; Kara has to be taught English when she arrives on Lian Yu, to the point that she still makes some grammatical errors when she initially joins the League of Assassins, although this is quickly solved.
  • All There in the Manual: The author is always happy to explain why things are happening in post-chapter notes.
  • Alternate Timeline: Like in canon, except not. Canon's nail was the death of Nora Allen. Here, while Nora's death has had a major ripple effect on the timeline, it is not the only one. It's noted that there have been several changes to the timeline prior to Nora's death, heavily implied to be caused by another time traveler that Eobard was unaware of until recently. Of these changes and others:
    • Kara, and by extension, Astra and co., were not due to arrive on Earth for another five years. Kal-El is the right age, but he's being raised by Kara and his original adoptive parents, the Kents, were killed in a fire before they could ever meet. To say nothing of the different landing place. This is also implied to be the reason why her supporting cast, and the location of National City, are not a part of the story — most of them are kids / teenagers living in different parts of the country.
    • Bruce Wayne's parents were never killed, so he is a well-adjusted individual who never becomes Batman. This presumably has a ripple effect that prevents the rise of most of his Rogues Gallery.
    • Princess Diana never leaves Themyscira, so there's no Wonder Woman either.
    • Felicity Smoak is incarcerated for the creation of her hacktivist supervirus, rather than moving to Starling City and eventually becoming infatuated with Oliver (see Demoted to Extra below).
    • John Diggle and Lyla Michaels never divorced, and live in another city with their son and daughter.
  • Alternate Universe: A League of Assasins!AU with Oliver, Barry, and Kara. Per Word of God, National City and most of Supergirl's supporting cast don't exist in this reality; Kara instead bases herself out of Starling City, along with Oliver.
  • Arc Villain: While each major arc has over-arching villains whose storylines take one or two major arcs to defeat (detailed in Big-Bad Ensemble), there are several mini-arcs that have villains of their own. Arc III was particularly guilty of this, since it had no over-arching villains and was composed entirely of mini-arcs.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Played with. Supposedly, men are unable to train women in advanced hand-to-hand combat techniques due to differences in anatomy. However, this may actually be a Justified Trope given the League's misogyny. In this specific instance, the teacher in question (Oliver) had little experience teaching women beyond the basics, and assumed that it would be harder for him to pass on the more advanced techniques to his student (Laurel) because of that. Not to mention, this "problem" was just one of many issues about their teaching situation. He felt that was unfair to her, seeing as she was clearly talented and deserved a teacher that would help her reach her full potential faster. That's why he passed this student on to Nyssa after he taught her as much as he could.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Samantha Arias and her daughter Ruby appear much earlier than they did in canon, and are elevated to major supporting characters by becoming the best friends of Kara and Kal, respectively.
    • Astra remains the Big Bad for the story's equivalent of Supergirl Season One, like she initially was supposed to be in canon. She even survives her season, albeit locked up.
  • Atrocious Alias: How the leads feel about their superhero names. Unfortunately, they're ideal for softening their public images when the Justice League forms.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: An In-Universe inverted example with Cisco. Cisco chose to watch the Twilight movie over reading the book because he heard the book was worse. Caitlin, who actually did read the book, agrees wholeheartedly with that opinion.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A.R.G.U.S.'s derivative serum gives all the benefits of the Mirakuru serum and none of the side effects. The issue? The recipient needs to have the Mirakuru in them already for it to work, and that has a nine in ten chance of killing whoever is injected with it. So far, Slade and Akio are the only known successful cases.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • After Eddie manages to briefly stall him using S.T.A.R. Labs' anti-speedster technology, the end of the chapter cuts to Barry glaring at Caitlin and Cisco, looking as if he was about lose his temper at them. He then bursts out laughing, admitting he was actually impressed that they managed to hide their anti-speedster measures from him for so long, and that, honestly, he would've done the same thing.
    • Isabel Rochev spends months believing that she is an equal partner in Talia's plans against the Queens, only to be killed by Adrian Chase.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: One for each lead, per season/arc(s).
    • Oliver: Malcolm Merlyn/Al Sa-Her/The Dark Archer (Arc I/II)
    • Barry: Eobard Thawne/False Earth-1 Harrison Wells/The Reverse-Flash (Arc I/II)
    • Kara: General Astra In-Ze (Arc I/II)
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Isabel Rochev believed that she was an equal partner in Talia's plans against the Queens, to the point of making requests that Tommy be spared to act as her 'trophy husband' once the main plan was concluded, but in reality she was just a patsy who ends up dead at the hands of Talia's true partner, Adrian Chase.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Barry, Kara and Kal arrive at Lian Yu shortly after Oliver. He becomes their big brother of sorts and he is extremely protective, to the point that he is willing to let himself be killed if it would guarantee his surrogate family's survival. It's implied that some of it at first was because he was projecting his younger sister Thea on them (who he wouldn't see again for ten years).
  • Big Damn Kiss:
    • One between Tommy and Isabel, after Tommy seems to finally give up on Laurel.
    • Oliver and Laurel share one in the last chapter of Arc III after learning each other's secret identities.
  • Birthday Episode:
  • Big Eater: Barry, Kara, and Kal, much to Oliver's simultaneous disgust and resignation.
  • Body Double: Owing to their Crazy-Prepared/Properly Paranoid personas, the main trio had the League send in these using technology that replicated Christopher Chance's concealment abilities to act as their vigilante alter-egos, months before they were scheduled to return to modern civilization. As a result, all their loved ones don't even think to connect them to said alter-egos; not even Joe and Quentin, who are experienced detectives, nor Malcolm, who spent months trying to figure out the Hood's identity. The only people who manage to see through the ruse are Eobard Thawne, who's from the future, A.R.G.U.S., and Astra and her forces, who all have insider knowledge that everyone else lacks.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman:
    • Kara's normal training in the League featured her fighting under red solar radiation, she could only practice her powers during extra training.
    • Barry agrees to help train Cisco after his Vibe powers manifest, but forces him to learn to fight without either his technology or powers.
  • Brain Bleach: Kara, Barry and Oliver have this reaction every time someone mistakes the nature of their sibling-like reaction for romance.
    The detective felt his hopes plummet. "So, you two aren’t…"
    "No. The thought of dating Barry – or Oliver for that matter – makes me want to lobotomize myself with a rusty spoon." Kara settled the matter instantly. Oliver sobered up at that, and he too shuddered. Kal tried to get his laughter under control, though there were still tears in his eyes.
    "Yeah. These two are like my siblings. Never happening – ever." Barry added in for good measure.
  • Call-Back: In Arc I, Laurel admits to Oliver that the reason why she rejected Tommy is because she's still hung up on another guy, who left years ago. Oliver tells her that if he's been gone for that long, he probably isn't coming back, and that she should move on and let herself be happy. At the end of Arc III, after learning about each other's secret identities, Oliver brings up the mystery guy again — and asks Laurel if that guy was him. After she confirms it, they kiss.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: After Barry's presumed death, Iris and Joe became estranged; when Iris learned about Francine and Wally, she disowned him and moved to Keystone with them after high school. When the readers finally get a glimpse of their relationship in the present, Iris addresses him by his title, "Detective West". She only moves on to "Joe" after Barry returns to Central and convinces her to mend their relationship.
  • Christmas Episode: Chapter 16, aptly titled "Beebo Day".
  • Crossover: Technically. Arrow, The Flash (2014), and Supergirl (2015) all existed in the same shared universe but only interacted during the annual crossover. Here, they interact far more often to the point that if this story were a live-action series, they'd be in the same show. As Vixen also exists in the same universe, the same applies to Vixen as well. The story did eventually become a true crossover after Black Lightning was added to the mix, with the titular character joining the Justice League in Arc III.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Part IV of the Prologue along with almost all of Arcs I & II feature these.
    • PART IV of the prologue describes a two month-long one that the three leads give to the entire organization of H.I.V.E., which they dismantle base by base. Of particular note is Damien Darhk's death, in which he manages to stop one of Oliver's arrows with his magic and begins to gloat — only for Barry to speed over and stab him in the throat with one of his knives.
    • Many of the metas that Barry originally faced in Season 1, as well as Vartox, receive these from Barry and Kara, assuming they aren't just killed or knocked unconscious outright.
    • Chapter 19 feature two of these Kara completely destroys the 8 members of the Kord Industries attack team which includes 2 Kryptonians without any effort; while Oliver forces Malcolm to flee without getting hit.
    • Even after being having his speed dampened, Barry manages to take out an entire S.W.A.T. team with little difficulty.
    • Oliver almost beats Thawne one-on-one when Thawne has his speed dampened, and manages to knock him out after he is distracted by Firestorm.
    • After both running out of arrows, Oliver manages to incapacitate Malcolm in 12 moves, with Malcolm only getting one hit in.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • On top of their canon backstories, the three main protagonists have the added benefit of basically being press-ganged into the League of Assassins in their teens. While it wasn't completely terrible, it still wasn't very pretty.
    • Slade had to endure all of Oliver's post-Lian Yu adventures while believing that his adopted children are dead, and it ends with him losing an eye, forced to abandon his biological children, and unwillingly recruited to Task Force X.
  • Darker and Edgier: Kara and Barry are much darker than their canon counterparts, being hardened killers like Oliver. Ironically, Oliver himself inverts this trope by being (to a certain extent) Lighter and Softer, having had a Family of Choice with him on the island and with the League.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oliver, though it's more pronounced when he's around Barry and Kara, both of whom have shades of this as well.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Iris was an Ice Queen in high school after Barry's "death", to the point that she earned a very unflattering nickname: "Ice Bitch". Even as an adult she still shows signs of this, and it's only after Barry's return does she really begin to return to her old self.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • John Diggle and Felicity Smoak, largely because their roles on Arrow have been subsumed by a number of characters (particularly Barry and Kara). Diggle isn't even mentioned, while the only reference to Felicity is from Thawne about how, in the previous timeline, she was a Green Arrow stalker who revealed Oliver's secret identity to the world after he rejected her. According to Word of God, Diggle and Lyla never divorced and are currently living in another city with their son and daughter, while Felicity is in jail for creating her hacktivist supervirus.
    • Thea's role is also reduced significantly, mainly since she isn't a Bratty Teenage Daughter — attributed to Oliver's departure at a younger age meaning that her parents paid more attention to her — and doesn't need a lot of Character Development.
    • Caitlin and Cisco are demoted to supporting characters, as Barry has mastered his powers by the time he meets them and is not as nearly dependent on them as he is in canon, although this may improve now that Wells/Thawne is out of the picture and Barry is more inclined to trust them.
    • Non and Indigo were the Big Bad Duumvirate of Supergirl Season One. Here, they remain Co-Dragons of Astra and are both killed off.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Subverted. Kara carries around a Kryptonite sword after learning there might be other Kryptonians on planet. She also wears Kryptonite-proof clothes to protect herself from radiation.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Iris notes that some days, it seems like Eddie is more into the Streak than he is her. Meanwhile, Eddie is complaining that some days, it seems like she's more into Barry than she is him.
    • During Arc I and the first half of Arc II, Oliver tries to encourage Laurel with her love life. As the readers know, the reason why Laurel's love life is in a rut is because she's in love with him.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The Girl in Blue/Supergirl, thanks to her Combo Platter Powers and martial prowess.
    • The debut of the Justice League reduces the amount of crime around the world significantly.
    • Played for Laughs with Carter Bowen, who is feared by his peers for being an insufferable overachieving tool that's fawned over by their parents. When Oliver heard he had gotten worse during his disappearance, he half-jokingly suggested that he shouldn't have left Lian Yu.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it mention of Talia al Ghul in the prologue.
  • Elaborate University High: Balliol Prep, the school that Oliver, Tommy, Laurel, and Sara attended, and also where Thea, Kal, and Ruby attend in the present storyline. This is justified, as Balliol is a prestigious academy that caters specifically to Starling City's elite. A person has to apply in order to attend, and not even high monetary status guarantees acceptance.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Barry was the fastest in the League when it came to drawing and using a weapon. He was so fast that his League name was Al Sa'iqa or "The Lightning"; he got his League name five years before gaining Super-Speed.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Astra still loves Kara, and spends most of Arc II plotting to sway her niece to her side. She also genuinely loved Non, and is devastated when Kara kills him.
    • Malcolm genuinely loves Tommy. And Oliver, after learning that Oliver is his biological son.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: A consequence of Green Arrow's (and to a lesser extent, Supergirl's) early vigilante careers. While he manages to root out most of the major crime and corruption in Starling City, including taking down and/or driving out the Bertinellis and the Triad, he also leaves a massive hole in Starling's underground that several criminals are trying to fill. While he mostly succeeds at keeping them at bay by "filling in" the vacuum with himself, his increased responsibilities with the Justice League are taking him more and more out of the city, meaning that it's a stopgap at best. Eventually, Brick and his benefactor Tobias Church take advantage of this and take hostage of Balliol Prep while he and Supergirl are out on Justice League business (that they themselves orchestrated). It was only thanks to Black Canary that they didn't succeed in their goals.
  • Family of Choice: This dynamic is formed between Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, Kara Zor-El, Kal-El, Slade Wilson and Shado during their time spent on Lian Yu; even after Shado died when he was barely a year old, Kal-El still thinks of Shado as 'Mama', and Oliver and Barry each make it clear that they've known Kara for so long that just the idea of dating her makes them each want to gag.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Lian Yu Survivors
  • For Want of a Nail: Oliver and Barry's disappearances last ten years, and has massive effects on the lives of their loved ones.
    • The first major nails involve what lands the leads on Lian Yu in the first place.
      • The first nail is that Robert isn't on the Gambit with Oliver, thanks to unexpected business stopping him from going on the trip. As a result, he survives, and Walter Steele eventually dies in his place.
      • The second nail is Oliver's age; Oliver leaves at the age of sixteen, before his party boy lifestyle really got into full swing and before he could start dating Childhood Friend Laurel. Thus, he doesn't take Sara with him on the trip, making him the only one of the Arrow cast to wash ashore Lian Yu. Sara becomes a traveling humanitarian, and the Lances' marriage never breaks up.
      • During one of Joe and Barry's arguments about Henry's innocence, the former calls the latter "crazy." This moment spurs on Barry's decision to study abroad in China.
      • For some reason, the Els built one two-seater spaceship instead of two one-seater spaceships like they did in canon. Kara and Kal-El end up traveling together, and both land in the Phantom Zone; meaning that when they finally arrive on Earth, there's no Superman yet.
    • Having both parents and being much younger when Oliver "died" leaves Thea sheltered instead of spoiled and wild thanks to her parents being extremely overprotective.
    • Since Joe's words are what drove Barry to leave for China, Iris blames her father for his "death", estranging them. They attempted to reconcile two years later, only for Iris to cut him off more permanently after a heritage project reveals Francine and Wally's existence to her. And because of this estrangement, Iris doesn't become a journalist and instead pursues her childhood dream of becoming a police officer instead.
    • Tommy falls off the wagon thanks to losing his best friend at such a young age, causing Malcolm to cut him off far earlier than he did in canon to make him go straight faster (which succeeded).
    • In this timeline, Amanda Waller picks up Slade instead of Oliver and co., and manages to replicate the Mirakuru serum from his blood. From this, she manages to derive another serum that manages to remove the side effects while maintaining super strength, super senses, and healing factor. This prevents Slade from being driven insane by the Mirakuru.
      • Stemming from that, the replicated Mirakuru serum manages to save the life of Akio Yamashiro, preventing his father from seeking out and joining the League of Assassins. However, in order to get the derived serum from Amanda, the Yamashiros are forced to remain under the employ of A.R.G.U.S.
    • Since Barry never became a CSI, nobody found out about Ralph's evidence tampering and thus he's still a detective for the CCPD come the present storyline. An offhand mention in Arc III later reveals that Julian Albert is CCPD's primary CSI in Barry's place.
    • Barry and Eddie's relationship is far more antagonistic than in canon, to the point that it's unlikely they will ever become friends. This is because Eddie perceives Barry to be more of a threat due to Barry's Adaptational Personality Change, and knowing how much his presence (including "the absence of") affected Iris (see the below quote from an author's note). The fact that Iris has started spending more time with Barry in addition to her outings with Eddie does not help matters, and is implied to be the reason why he begins fixating on the Flash.
      "In the show, Barry knew Iris for years and had yet to make a move, so Eddie only registered him as somewhat of a threat because of how close they were. Obviously, he knew on some level that even if Barry had feelings for Iris, he wouldn’t try to make them known, and even if he did, it would be too late. Here, however, Barry was only around for childhood, and went missing for ten years. His supposed “death” had a huge effect on Iris’ personality. So Eddie is registering him much higher on the threat scale, especially since Barry is a lot more confident here. Confidence does a lot when it comes to the attractiveness of a person."
    • Because there is no Superman on Earth yet, Astra and her forces assume that they are the only survivors of Krypton's destruction and, presumably, the only aliens on the planet. Thus, they are completely caught off-guard when Kara starts making appearances as the Girl in Blue and have no plans or methods to combat another Kryptonian besides brute force.note 
    • Astra never gets her hands on a Kryptonite knife, so her scientists never develop a device to negate Kryptonite's effects, leaving her forces vulnerable to it. This has disastrous consequences, as it allows Kara to run roughshod over her men.
    • Since the Legends never formed and Eobard Thawne never became a time remnant, Rex Tyler lived long enough to have a child with Amaya Jiwe, who departed from the JSA after his death. This makes both Mari and Kuasa one-fourth Caucasian rather than pure African descent, and motivates Mari to join the nascent Justice League and honor their memories.
    • Since Malcolm is in on the assassination plot at his award ceremony, he follows the guards to the outside. This results in the not-in-the-loop Tommy pushing him away when the hitman takes aim and getting shot in his stead. Oliver, who has the same blood-type as Tommy, donates blood to keep his best friend alive, which leads to Malcolm learning that Oliver is his biological son, thus making Oliver and Tommy half-brothers.
    • Because the Flash is a much darker vigilante than in canon, as well as already an expert speedster by the time he first appears, many of the criminals on the show are refusing to commit public crime for fear of catching his attention, especially those with metahuman abilities.
  • The Gadfly: Barry, which is why he likes to Troll people so much.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Arc III has many, thanks to being more episodic than previous arcs and serving as a prelude to Arc IV, which will be focusing on the Justice League. They include:
      • The Dominators, who drive A.R.G.U.S. into recruiting more members for the League after their arrival become imminent.
      • Tobias Church, who is backing Brick as a benefactor and potential partner. It was through him that Brick was able to get Green Arrow and Supergirl out of the city long enough to stage his plan.
      • Talia al Ghul, whose increased activity as leader of the League of Shadows forces Nyssa to temporarily hide herself in Starling. At the end of the arc, she's also revealed to be The Man Behind the Man to Isabel Rochev.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Eddie towards Barry, thanks to his extremely close friendship with Iris, Eddie's girlfriend.
    • Tommy towards Oliver, not just because Laurel seems to prefer Oliver over him, but also because Malcolm, Tommy's father, seems to also be fonder of Oliver than him.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Laurel had a secret love for High School Musical back during college.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Sam will become Reign one day. The author does not deny it, and it even factored in her decision to not make Kara and Sam a couple.
  • Happily Failed Suicide: After Barry's "death", Henry Allen attempted to commit suicide. He was stopped, and put on suicide watch with frequent visits from Iris to help him regain the will to live. He is eventually rewarded when they find Barry alive on Lian Yu, and his son returns to Central City.
  • He's Just Hiding!: In-Universe example. Barry knows that Eobard has to be alive somewhere after being sucked into the portal, but also knows that, wherever he is, it's likely somewhere that is currently beyond their reach.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Oliver and Barry. Oliver and Tommy are trying to return to this status, and while they've somewhat succeeded, it's mitigated by Tommy's jealousy.
    • Kara and Sam. Sam even entrusted Kara with planning Ruby's birthday party when she was swamped with work.
  • History Repeats: Talia al Ghul and Adrian Chase set up Isabel's relationship with Tommy Merlyn for the sole purpose of killing her in front of Rebecca Merlyn's old clinic; Isabel is even noted as looking somewhat like Rebecca.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship:
    • Why Laurel refused to go on a date with Tommy; not only did she not have strong feelings for him, the man she actually has feelings for is Oliver (who, ironically, was the one to push Tommy to ask her out) — she didn't think it would be fair to try for a relationship with Tommy when it was his best friend she really wanted. It's also the reason she has yet to tell Oliver her feelings, as, having just recently returned to Starling City after ten years of being stranded on an island hell, he's clearly not ready for a romantic relationship.
    • Just like in canon, Barry's reasoning for not telling Iris his feelings. It's only aided by his ten-year disappearance and Iris' current relationship with Eddie.
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Barry says exactly this to Caitlin regarding his League training. He's really not joking, and even regards the act as a Mercy Kill, knowing that the League would do worse.
  • I Have Many Names:
    • Oliver Queen: "Al Sah-Him" / "The Arrow" / "The Hood" / "Green Arrow"
    • Barry Allen: "Al Sa'iqa" / "The Lightning" / "The Streak" / "The Flash"
    • Kara Zor-El: "Saraab" / "Phantom" / "Kara Danvers" / "The Girl in Blue" / "Supergirl"
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: In Chapter 13, Barry tells a story of how a 7 Year Old Iris once came across a baby she found so adorable that she tied a note to his stroller telling the parents that she would be borrowing him for a couple of days and walked off with the baby. She would later try to take other babies over the next couple of days.
  • I Owe You My Life:
    • The source of the leads' loyalty to each other.
    • Maseo's strong friendship with Slade is because Slade saved the life of his son, Akio.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Why Barry has yet to confess to Iris when he finally returned to Central City; he knew she would most likely be in a relationship already (and she was).
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Shado still dies.
    • Slade replacing Oliver in all his post-Lian Yu adventures only changes the outcome of Hong Kong. The rest end more-or-less the same way.
    • Despite the Mirakuru no longer driving him insane, Slade is still forced to abandon Joe; this time, in order to protect him from Amanda Waller.
    • A number of encounters that Oliver and Barry had with Villains of the Week have largely unchanged outcomes, which is why the author opted not to include them in the narrative besides passing mentions.
    • Someone still tries to assassinate Malcolm at his 'Humanitarian of the Year' award ceremony. This time, however, the one who hired the assassin was Malcolm himself, in a half-assed attempt to suss out the Hood.
    • Kara and Kal's Earth names are still Kara Danvers and Clark Kent.
  • Inspector Javert: Eddie towards the Streak/the Flash. It has shades of Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist considering that the Flash has committed murder, but the sympathy decreases as Eddie's obsession grows.
  • Internal Reveal: Despite training together for some time, Green Arrow and Black Canary only learn each other's identity after Black Canary is inducted into the Justice League.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Kara and Kal soon find out they are vulnerable to Kryptonite. Nonetheless, Barry Allen designs Kryptonite-proof clothes which protect Kara from Kryptonite and allow her to use Kryptonite weapons against rogue Kryptonians.
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Barry designs Kryptonite-resistant clothes for Kara.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Frank Chen betrayed his friend Robert to Malcolm and planted the bomb that stranded Oliver on Lian Yu. Ten years later, he's forced to take canon Moira's place in revealing the Undertaking to the public, while the friends he betrayed have all evidence of their involvement with Tempest erased and get off scot-free.
  • Like Brother and Sister: The main trio, to the point that the thought of any of them dating one another makes them visibly sick.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: After surviving mercenaries, pirates, and the League of Assassins, the Lian Yu survivors are all this to each other; however, the one that functions this as the most is Oliver. According to Kara, without him, neither she nor Barry would still be alive, as he's the one who pushed them to keep on going even when the going got tough.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Ironically enough, Oliver. He manages to learn all of his parents and Malcolm's secrets — except the fact that he's Malcolm's biological son. And his parents have every intention of keeping it that way.
  • Logical Weakness: Indigo can travel the internet through computer systems. Shutting down the power of whatever room she's in effectively strands her unless someone happens to have a working smartphone.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Shado for Slade; his last promise to her was to make sure the kids got home, which is why he's so protective over them.
    • Oliver for Laurel during his "death"; Laurel had feelings for him, but he disappeared before she had the chance to tell him. She never quite managed to get over him, and it has doomed every relationship she's had since.
    • Similar to Laurel's example above, Barry for Iris, though she never realized the romantic implications of her despair over Barry's presumed death. Iris was so desperate to cling to Barry's ghost that she not only started visiting his dad, but also started chasing after "impossible" events like he did and writing about them on his blog, even signing her name to it.
  • Love Triangle: Three major ones:
    • Barry/Iris/Eddie: Barry loves Iris, Eddie loves Iris, Iris loves Eddie but is also implied to have feelings for Barry that she is currently unaware of.
    • Oliver/Laurel/Tommy: Tommy has feelings for Laurel, who has feelings for Oliver. Oliver currently isn't interested in romance yet, but he's starting to develop feelings for Laurel.
    • Laurel/Oliver/Nyssa: Laurel and Nyssa both have feelings for Oliver, and he's starting become more aware of his feelings for both of them.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Malcolm learns that Oliver is his biological son in Chapter 25. Oliver has yet to find out, though.
  • Mad Scientist: It's implied Barry dabbled in this while he was a member of the League.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Astra to the rogue prisoners of Fort Rozz. Kara doesn't find this out until the last leg of Arc II.
    • Tobias Church to Daniel Brickwell, though Brick is trying to strike out on his own.
    • Talia al Ghul to Isabel Rochev.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Amanda Waller. She plays everyone, up to and including the three leads, does so blatantly, and manages to get away scot-free by virtue of how useful she is.
  • Married in the Future: Barry and Iris, according to Eobard Thawne. It still isn't enough to break Barry's I Want My Beloved to Be Happy mindset.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Eddie mistakenly believes Barry and Kara to be a couple when he meets the latter before the Queen Thanksgiving Dinner. When he voices this out loud, Oliver and Kal burst out laughing while Barry and Kara act like they're going to throw up.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Malcolm Merlyn had this reaction when he realized that it was Oliver, not Robert, on the Queen's Gambit, where he just had Frank Chen plant a bomb on. While this didn't stop him from taking advantage of the incident to force the Queens under his heel, he still felt immensely guilty for what happened and was relieved when Oliver was found alive ten years later. The feeling returns with a vengeance when he learns he's Oliver's biological father, as this means he had unintentionally ruined his own son's life, which eventually transforms him into a full-on "Well Done, Dad!" Guy.
  • Myth Arc:
    • In the author's notes, there are a lot of references to Arc V, which will mark the halfway point of the story. Accordingly, every preceding arc is building to this one, whatever it may be.
    • There are references to a second time traveler that is screwing around with the timeline, and is implied to be responsible for earlier changes in the timeline that Thawne couldn't influence, such as Kara and Kal-El arriving on Earth under such different circumstances. According to the author's notes, this won't be resolved until a much later arc.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The name of Kara's realtor in Chapter 13 is "Miss Mericle", after Wendy Mericle, one of the showrunners of Arrow.
    • Kara's middle name is Linda, referencing her Pre-Crisis "Linda Danvers" Earth name.
    • Chapter 16, the Christmas Episode, is titled "Beebo Day", after the stuffed toy/Memetic Badass Beebo from Legends of Tomorrow. Kal even receives a Beebo toy as a gift from Ruby.
    • Nathaniel Adam, Bette Sans Souci's deceased fiance, is the secret identity of Captain Atom, Plastique's husband in the comics.
    • The title of Kal-El's Birthday Episode is "For the Boy Who Has Everything", in reference to one of his most famous stories.
  • Never Found the Body: Oliver and Barry, though that didn't stop their loved ones from assuming they were dead. In fact, when the U.S. Embassy in China called Joe to inform him about Barry's survival, he had initially assumed they had found his body and was already planning the funeral.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The incident that finally made Iris stop channeling Barry involved her almost being arrested while investigating the impossible.
    • The trio had a mission for the League in Prague; details are scarce, but it involved a lot of chaos and the use of a costume that Barry had to burn.
    • The leads' first encounter with Kryptonite. Whatever happened, it traumatized Kal-El and caused the League to issue a mandate to their members to destroy any sample they come across. When faced with it again, even Kara is visibly unnerved, though her apprehension doesn't stop her from using it as a weapon.
    • "The Monkey Incident". Not a lot of details are revealed about it except that it happened because Barry was bored and Ra's punished him by personally taking over his training sessions for the next month.
  • Not His Sled: Thea is not the biological child of Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver is.
  • Oblivious to Love:Oliver is completely oblivious to his Childhood Friend Laurel's obvious crush on him. For that matter, it's implied he was also oblivious to Nyssa's feelings for him, though Nyssa is far more reserved and in control of her emotions than Laurel is.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Just about any time anyone committing a crime catches sight of one of the three leads' vigilante alter-egos.
    • The trio when they realize that Fort Rozz has been on Earth for the last ten years.
    • Hartley Rathaway, when Barry exposes his plan to escape the Pipeline.
    • Barry when he sees a newspaper from the future and realizes who (or rather, what) Dr. Wells actually is.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Purposely invoked by the League when they were training Barry. His powers only made it that much easier.
  • Omniglot: Oliver, who knows dozens of languages, and can even speak in different dialects of said languages.
  • One Degree of Separation: Arc III reveals that Robert Queen's ex-lover Isabel Rochev is a former classmate and rival of Samantha Arias.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Of the three leads, Oliver is clearly the most straight-laced when they're off the clock.
    • Caitlin Snow is this for S.T.A.R. Labs when Barry joins.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Slade and Shado served as this to the protagonists during their time on Lian Yu.
    • Henry became a second father to Iris while she and Joe were on the outs.
    • Moira serves as another mother figure for both Kara and Kal.
  • Parting Words Regret: Prior to Lian Yu, in the heat of the moment, Joe called Barry "crazy". He immediately tried to take it back, but it was already too late — it was the final push needed for Barry to go to China, which led to his disappearance and assumed death. Joe's guilt was only doubled when it estranged him from Iris, basically costing him both his children. He only begins to get over it when Barry returns to Central ten years later.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Barry, when watching an argument between Cisco and the imprisoned Hartley Rathaway.
    Caitlin: Why are you eating popcorn?
    Barry: Don't you eat popcorn while watching good entertainment?
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: While they weren't completely isolated from the outside world, the three main leads had no time or interest to keep up with modern pop culture, which comes up occasionally. Oliver has no idea what High School Musical is, and Cisco is horrified to learn that Barry has lost out on ten years of pop culture after he fails to understand a reference to Twilight.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: See Adapted Out. This is the main reason why a lot of Arrow's main villains were cut out — it's hard to imagine them as any sort of a threat when Supergirl resides in the same city.
  • The Power of the Sun: After spending several months in the island of Lian Yu, Kara all of sudden starts exhibiting extraordinary strength and toughness and amazingly keen senses. Barry quickly guesses that she draws power from a yellow sun. Shortly later she is flying around and shooting heat beams.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: Barry explicitly points this out when explaining to Eobard why he's refusing to go back in time and prevent his mother's murder. According to Barry, all he'd get by doing that is more time with Nora; she'll still die eventually, either due to old age or disease. And while he would love to have more time with her, he isn't willing to do so at the risk of everything he has right now.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Many Arrow villains were Adapted Out, as they would pose a negligible threat with Barry and Kara around.
    • The remainder of the villains are either dealt with swiftly, or else must adapt their strategies to deal with three heroes, not just one.
  • Promotion to Parent: After the destruction of Krypton and landing on Lian Yu, Kal-El was initially raised by a makeshift family, with Slade and Shado as the "parents". After Shado's death and Slade's disappearance/presumed death, however, he was then raised by his "siblings", Kara, Barry, and Oliver, with the... questionable help of the League of Assassins.
  • Rage Breaking Point: For most of the first three arcs, Tommy pines after Laurel, who only sees him as a close friend and rebuffs his advances. At the same time, Laurel and Oliver become closer and closer and are almost on the verge of becoming a couple, something Tommy seethes at but endures. He finally loses his patience when the two begin obliviously flirting on what was supposed to be a friendly dinner between the three of them and Isabel, culminating in a rant at both when Oliver suggests they should do this again some time and Laurel agrees.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Slade and Shado's romantic relationship is a result of this, according to Oliver. The two of them were the only two adults on a death trap of an island, trying to protect, raise, and train three traumatized kids and a baby on their own, and only able to rely on each other for comfort and help. Considering the amount of stress they were both under, it would've been more surprising if they hadn't gotten attached to one another. It's because of this that Oliver refuses to take inspiration from them for his own love life; while he recognizes his adoptive parents genuinely loved each other, the circumstances that led to it aren't something he should replicate.
    • Oliver is absolutely hopeless at love. Prior to Lian Yu, the only experience he had was a one-month fling with McKenna Hall, his parents' still patchy marriage, and rom-coms. After Lian Yu, on top of all the trauma, the closest example he had to a healthy relationship was the aforementioned Slade and Shado. His siblings were no help either, as Barry was still confused and hung-up on his feelings for Iris (who is literally the only person he's ever been interested in), while Kara was too obsessed with raising Kal-El to care about any romance. Finally, his only prospective love interest during that time was Nyssa al Ghul, who is emotionally repressed and even more inexperienced than he is due to being raised by the League. Compounding all that together, it's no wonder he's Twice Shy with Laurel.
    • The Justice League is constantly strained with their duties because they have only four people on the team — hardly ideal for protecting the world. Even then, they can't add members nilly-willy, and even when they do, they stop at seven because adding anymore will screw up the team dynamics.
    • Having a public base is just giving your enemies a place to target, which is why Oliver hates the Hall of Justice.
    • Just because someone has had a crush on you for years does not mean you are in any way obligated to return their affections, as Laurel shows Tommy. Likewise, flaunting your mutual attraction with someone else in front of them will just alienate that person from you. Oliver and Laurel do exactly that to Tommy several times (albeit, unintentionally), and it costs them his friendship.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • In this Alternate Universe, Oliver is Malcolm's child with Moira, not Thea.
    • Mari and Kuasa's grandfather is Rex Tyler in this continuity, opposed to a random man from Zambezi.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • Tommy and Isabel become a couple towards the end of Arc III after Tommy finally gives up on Laurel.
    • Oliver and Laurel enter their own relationship in the last chapter of Arc III after Laurel joins the Justice League.
  • Running Gag:
    • Carter Bowen's ill-fated attempts to hit on a completely uninterested Kara.
    • Big Eaters Barry, Kara and Kal gorging down on food while a disgusted Oliver watches in resignation.
  • Scholarship Student: Laurel and Sara were only able to get into Balliol Prep because their mother was one of the teachers at Balliol's college campus. The reason why they bonded with Oliver and Tommy is because they were the only two students willing to reach out at them despite their "lesser" social status.
  • Social Climber:
    • Carter Bowen is strongly implied to be this. His family is Nouveau Riche and had to pull a lot of strings to get him into Balliol, suggesting that his overachieving is to compensate for this perceived failing of his background.
    • The Lances became this by complete accident. Because Laurel befriended Tommy and Oliver on her first day of school, the Lances unavoidably got dragged into the world of Starling City's elite. By the present day, they've been a part of that world for so long that everyone, including even themselves, have forgotten that they aren't nearly as well-off as the rest of their social circle.
    • Isabel Rochev. One of the reasons why she hates the Queens is because she can't get any higher up the ladder without marrying well, something Moira will do everything in her power to make sure it won't happen.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The author preemptively sunk all Kara ships, all Tommy ships, Oliver/Felicity, and Oliver/Sara.
    • Despite the author stating numerous times that Tommy/Laurel was never happening, readers kept on asking for it. The fervor for the pairing finally died down after Tommy's rant over Oliver and Laurel's Unresolved Sexual Tension after what was supposed to be a friendly dinner, and his subsequent Relationship Upgrade with Isabel.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Moira ships Oliver/Laurel (which has a strong possibility of happening), and Carter/Kara (which will never be happening).
    • A number of people, including Henry, Oliver, and Kara, ship Barry/Iris. That being said, they recognize that Eddie's presence and Barry's refusal to pursue his best friend romantically means it won't be happening for a while.
  • Shout-Out: Several chapter titles are references to other media, including The Hunger Games, Scooby-Doo, and As You Like It.
  • Sibling Triangle: The Oliver/Laurel/Tommy Love Triangle is also this, as (unbeknownst to all three), Oliver and Tommy are half-brothers.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • There's a rogue time traveler that's been messing with timeline since at least Krypton's destruction. It's implied that he or she are responsible for many of the more radical changes that didn't stem from Nora Allen's murder.
    • The Hood is even more of this to the Undertaking than he was in canon. Malcolm becomes more unhinged and desperate to kill him since the Hood has ties to the League of Assassins, which are the absolute last people Malcolm wants to know about his plans. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't learn about the Hood's ties to the Streak and the Girl in Blue until the plan is already foiled.
    • Black Canary and Nyssa al Ghul are this to Brick's plan to take Balliol Prep hostage. He and his benefactor Tobias Church managed to lure Green Arrow and Supergirl out and neutralize the rest of the Justice League by launching multiple riots/attacks in different cities, but their failure to take Black Canary in account ultimately proves to be their undoing.
  • Spared By Adaptation:
    • Robert Queen, who never gets on the Queen's Gambit. Sara Lance technically counts as well, for the same reason.
    • Akio Yamashiro, who survives the the Alpha-Omega Virus outbreak after Slade injects him with the Mirakuru serum.
    • Bette Sans Souci, aka Plastique, who joins Task Force X as one of the few willing members after General Eiling's arrest.
    • The Justice League manages to completely prevent the Undertaking, meaning Tommy didn't die in CNRI. He instead gets shot in the abdomen by a Merlyn Global security guard, but survives when Malcolm injects him with either Mirakuru or Lazarus Water. Either way, Tommy survives Oliver's first year back.
    • Since Eddie Thawne isn't a part of Team Flash, he never kills himself to stop his descendant Eobard Thawne, which never creates the Singularity that killed Ronnie Raymond.
    • Tony Woodward, because Barry managed to defeat Blackout entirely on his own.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Eddie Thawne monitor's the Streak/Flash's movements closely, commandeers an entire room solely dedicated to the Flash, and has large piles of notes completely filled with conjectures and theories about him. At one point, Iris compares Eddie to Captain Ahab.
  • Stations of the Canon: Subverted. The original For Want of a Nail and other changes to the timeline eventually pile up to the point that there is no longer any attempt to keep to canon after Arc II.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Barry, Oliver, and Kara, having been trained by the League of Assassins, often pull these on people — either for tactical advantages, or else just because Barry (and, to a lesser extent, Kara) is The Gadfly.
  • Story Arc: The story is primarily arc-driven. Thus far, there are three major arcs, and those arcs in turn are split into mini-arcs that tend to focus on one or two characters.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Oliver and Barry.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land:
    • Oliver. While he manages to adapt to daily life relatively easily and finds ways to fit in with his family and friends' lives, there is an underlying sense of bitterness over how much he missed out on, not just from him but from the people who care about him as well. Kara even points it out early on in the story during a meeting with Moira.
      Kara: Oliver lost ten years of his life. When he came back home, he saw that his seven-year old baby sister was almost an adult, that his irresponsible best friend was now an executive at his father’s company, and that his other closest friend had already moved on with her adult life, with a job and everything.
    • Downplayed with Barry. Unlike Oliver, Barry didn't have a lot to go back to — the only ties he had left to Central City were his father and the Wests. If he hadn't sworn to somehow free his father from his wrongful imprisonment, he could've easily started over elsewhere while keeping in touch with Iris and Joe. This is particularly prevalent when Barry moves back into his old room at the West home. He calls it a "child's room", and, for better or for worse, Barry hadn't been a child in a long time.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Played with. While Kara resides in the same city as Oliver and makes occasional visits to Central City, she pointedly stays away from Oliver and Barry's respective "prey" and sticks to major disasters (such as crashing airplanes) and extra-terrestrial threats — mainly because her intervention would be complete overkill, especially in the case of the former. However, she will intervene if they are unable to (including China White attacking Laurel in her apartment during one of Oliver's frequent visits) or the threat is too big for them to handle without serious injury (such as Barry's fight with Grodd).
  • Super Serum: The Mirakuru, like in canon, is a Psycho Serum. However, A.R.G.U.S. managed to derive a secondary serum from it that would suppress the insanity-inducing side effects. It was because of this serum that Slade Wilson has all of the Mirakuru's benefits with none of its downsides. It's also because of this serum that the Yamashiros are permanently under A.R.G.U.S.'s employ.
  • Super Strength: Kara learns about her superhuman strength when she shoves a thug away... and into a tree.
    Kara struggled in her captor’s hold, writhing as his arms tightened, until she screamed and, completely on instinct, hitched up her back, lifting the man up and throwing him over her body to one of the trees. His body had been thrown with such force that it broke through the tree trunk, ripping it in half. He continued to skid across the ground before his back hit another tree, and remained there motionless, either unconscious or dead.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Eddie Thawne to the Streak/Flash. While the latter genuinely has his heart in the right place, and has saved the lives of several innocent civilians, that doesn't change the fact that he's a vigilante who has committed several petty crimes and even committed murder (albeit, even that was largely justified). However, Eddie gradually loses his more sympathetic traits as his obsession with the Flash grows, turning into an Inspector Javert.
  • Take That!:
    • To Twilight in Chapter 13. Cisco only read the book to stay "culturally relevant", Caitlin only read it for a bet and found it to be "the most pathetic excuse of literature [she] had ever read in [her] life", and Eobard reveals that, in the future, the movies will be banned in France and the books burned en masse in the States. Ironically, the author admits that they don't really have anything against Twilight, only mocking it because it was "low-hanging fruit". They even tried to read it at one point in high school, but lost interest thanks to its Beige Prose.
    • PART IV of the prologue, where Oliver, Barry, and Kara systematically destroy H.I.V.E., killing both Damien Darhk and his wife, Ruve, can be taken as one to Arrow Season Four.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: Chapter 14, titled "Turkey Day".
  • Tears of Joy: Many, many people when Oliver and Barry are rescued from Lian Yu after ten years of being presumed dead.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: A variant when Kara goes flat-hunting; she rejected three options on-screen for proximity to a meth kitchen, racoons and the mentally unbalanced neighbor.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Aside from some Green-Eyed Monster moments, Tommy is still the same Nice Guy he is in canon for the duration of the first two arcs. Over the course of Arc III, though, he becomes more belligerent, isolating himself from his friends and family. Eventually, he completely breaks away from Oliver and Laurel and cuts himself off from the Queens and the Lances, to the point of even disparaging Thea. It's implied that whatever Malcolm used to save his life at the end of Arc II is responsible for the change.
  • Training from Hell: According to Amanda Waller, Ra's al Ghul poured countless amounts of resources into training Oliver, Barry, and Kara into the perfect killing machines. By the start of the main storyline, they are unquestionably the three most dangerous assassins in the world. But from what is implied by the narrative, the training itself was not a cakewalk at all, and left them both mental and physical scars that they've trained themselves to hide from the rest of the world.
  • Troll: Barry, to both friends and enemies. Though his comments tend to be more mean-spirited with the latter.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: An interesting variation with Oliver and Laurel. Laurel has had feelings for Oliver stemming from prior his disappearance, and the more time they spend with each other, the more Oliver starts feeling the same way. At the same time, Green Arrow finds himself constantly drawn to Black Canary, the Glades' newest vigilante, while Black Canary professes to deeply admire Green Arrow and cites him as her main inspiration.
  • Uncertain Doom: During the prologue chapters, Kara hurls one thug into a tree hard enough to break the trunk in half. It's never revealed that happens to him and the narration states he might or might not be dead.
    Kara struggled in her captor’s hold, writhing as his arms tightened, until she screamed and, completely on instinct, hitched up her back, lifting the man up and throwing him over her body to one of the trees. His body had been thrown with such force that it broke through the tree trunk, ripping it in half. He continued to skid across the ground before his back hit another tree, and remained there motionless, either unconscious or dead.
  • Unwitting Muggle Friend: Unlike in canon, Oliver, Barry, and Kara deliberately try to keep their vigilante personas separated from their civilian personas as much as possible. That means absolutely none of their loved ones know about their secret identities. As of this writing, only Iris and Laurel know, and for different reasons. Iris managed to connect the dots after Barry slipped too many times around her, while Laurel ended up becoming a vigilante herself, and learned their identities as part of her initiation into the Justice League.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Simultaneously inverted and played straight. Thea Queen is not Malcolm Merlyn's biological child with Moira — Oliver, however, is.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Oliver has some with both Laurel and Nyssa. He's only recently starting to become aware of it though.
    • Barry and Iris, bordering on Everyone Can See It territory. Barry refuses to resolve it for his own reasons.
  • World's Best Warrior: After his training, Oliver is on par with Ra's al Ghul when it comes to non-powered fighting, and they make up the top two Warriors in the World. When confronting them Amanda states that Oliver is the best Warrior the League has ever had that never was a Demon's Head, making him one of the best Warriors ever. Barry (pre-Empowered Badass Normal), Kara (Power Loss Makes You Strong) and Nyssa round out the top 5.
    • Kara, however, is unambiguously this trope—her hand-to-hand combat skills and Combo Platter Powers are dangerous enough by themselves, but combined, it takes a mutated gorilla and a top-class Kryptonian to even give her serious trouble (and in the latter, Kara was Willfully Weak in order to give her Worthy Opponent an honourable fight).
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Just like in canon, Malcolm Merlyn. Interestingly, this becomes evident in the story's equivalent to Arrow Season One; according to the author, this is a logical deduction of Malcolm's current level. As he only had spent two years with the League of Assassins and had no sparring partners on the same general level as him to push him to be stronger, he is no match for Oliver, who, despite being younger than him, has seven years of training and Barry and Kara as frequent sparring partners (not to mention that Merlyn underestimated his foe). Thus, when he and Oliver first clash, it's a Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of the latter.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Oliver and Barry. They bicker Like an Old Married Couple, but there's no doubt in anyone's mind how absolutely devoted they are to each other.
  • We All Die Someday: This is the explicit reason Barry gives to Eobard when refusing his offer to go back in time and save his mother. Having lost other loved ones in the forms of Shado and, at one point, Slade, and then forced to join the League of Assassins alongside Oliver and Kara, Barry is far more familiar with death than he is in canon, having long since accepted it as another facet of life. As Barry explicitly points out, preventing Nora's murder would change nothing in the long run; she would still die, just later than she originally did, either by old age or disease or even an accident. All he would be getting by stopping past!Eobard is more time with her — and as much as he would like that, he won't have it at the risk of everything he still has and has gained since then.
  • "Well Done, Dad!" Guy: Malcolm Merlyn, of all people, becomes this to his illegitimate son Oliver. This is justified by the fact that he basically ruined Oliver's life, something he already felt plenty guilty of; learning of their true relation just makes it worse, and it becomes clear that Malcolm is willing to do anything to make up for it short of giving up the Undertaking itself. What further complicates matters is that Oliver is completely unaware of the situation — he just sees Malcolm as his distant but loving godfather, and then as his worst enemy after learning that he sabotaged the Gambit. What's more, Malcolm can't tell him the truth due to the Queens forbidding it, making Malcolm's chances of reconciling with Oliver nonexistent.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Arc II, Chapter 14: Vartox attacks Kara, alerting the trio to the presence of aliens on Earth.
    • Arc II, Chapter 16: Slade finally reunites with the leads after escaping A.R.G.U.S..
    • Arc II, Chapter 21: Amanda Waller sends Kara to collect Mari McCabe, and proposes the formation of the Justice League.
    • Arc II, Chapter 25: Tommy gets shot, and thanks to a blood transfusion to save him, Oliver is revealed to be the biological son of Malcolm Merlyn, instead of Robert Queen.
    • Arc II, Chapter 27: Oliver realizes that Malcolm is the rogue Al Sa-Her, the same time Barry discovers the Time Vault and learns that Dr. Wells is the Man in the Yellow Suit. Kara learns that it is her Aunt Astra who is leading the Fort Rozz forces after meeting her Uncle and Astra's husband Non again, and promptly kills Non as a warning to Astra.
    • Arc II, Chapters 34-35: The leads finally capture Dr. Wells, who reveals his true identity as Eobard Thawne. Thawne then reveals that there have been changes to the timeline that he was not responsible for, among which include Kara and Kal-El landing together on Earth instead of just the latter at first. He also reveals their superhero names from the alternate timeline, and that Barry will one day marry Iris. S.T.A.R. Labs is then attacked by the remaining Fort Rozz escapees and the metahuman criminals that Barry captured and were imprisoned by A.R.G.U.S. Cisco awakens his powers. Thawne is then sucked into a random portal that inexplicably appears in the Pipeline during his final battle with Barry.
    • Arc II, Chapters 39-40: Frank Chen reveals the Undertaking on live TV. Tommy gets shot again, and Malcolm saves his life using a vial of what is implied to be Lazarus Pit water. Afterwards, Oliver defeats him and captures him, and they use the failure of the Undertaking as the debut of the Justice League.
    • Arc III, Chapter 42: The trio rescue an alien from one of Eiling's old bases. Said alien turns out to be J'onn J'onzz, the last son of Mars, who reveals to them that those who wiped out his people were not the White Martians like in canon, but the Dominators.
    • Arc III, Chapter 43: A breach opens up in the basement in S.T.A.R. Labs, and spits out Zoom's helmet, much to the confusion of Cisco, Caitlin, and Ronnie, and the apprehension of Barry.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Downplayed with Oliver Queen. He understands the concept on an intellectual level, and is by no means aromantic or even asexual, but differentiating between familial/platonic love and romantic love is where he struggles. For example, he didn't realize he might have feelings for Laurel until Tommy accused him of "putting the moves" on her, and it was only by comparing how he felt around to Laurel to how he felt around Nyssa that he realized he might have feelings for the latter as well.
  • Weapon of Choice: The three main leads are familiar with using several different weapons, though they still have their preferences.
    • Oliver's is, of course, a bow and arrows.
    • Barry is a Knife Nut, thanks to their versatility and how easy they are to draw on quick notice. He's particularly fond of throwing them, with contributed to his alias of 'the Lightning' even before he gained his powers.
    • Kara is a swordswoman, and Barry handcrafted a straight sword with a Kryptonite blade for her to use after they learned there might be other Kryptonians on-planet.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Tommy, and his repaired relationship with his father has only made this problem worse.
  • When She Smiles: According to Henry, Iris' smiles were rare after Barry's presumed death. During the visit where he learned of Barry's survival, the first sign that something major has happened is how she's positively beaming at him.
  • Workaholic: Eddie Thawne becomes one as his obsession with the Flash grows. It becomes so bad that he and Iris even briefly break up over it.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Oliver, with Barry's help, gives a speech to Kara along these lines after she gets a Heroic BSoD over killing her uncle.
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