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Fanfic / Wrong Road to the Right Place

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Wrong Road to the Right Place by Ray_Writes is an AU version of Arrow starting early in the first season when Laurel sees Oliver’s Bratva tattoo and learns what it is. Concerned that Oliver joined the Russian mob during his five-year absence, but also certain that he would have only done that under coercion, Laurel starts paying closer attention to his activities, which leads to her learning the real truth about his actions since he returned to Starling City.


It is currently complete, with no definite plans for a sequel.

Wrong Road to the Right Place contains examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: By the end of Chapter 22, it appears that Ted Grant has fallen into a cycle of these, as he keeps helping Laurel in particular and swearing that this will be his last time out while still coming back to help her when asked.
  • Absence of Evidence: After Laurel deduces that the List is a list of people in Starling City who can be blackmailed over past misdemeanours, this allows Team Arrow to determine that the man behind the Dark Archer must be one of the city’s elite from five years ago who isn’t on the List.
  • Action Girlfriend: Chapter 22 ends with the implication that Helena will be this to Tommy as the Huntress and the Question travel around tracking down other criminal organisations.
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  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Laurel visits Ted Grant’s gym to make a start on improving her self-defence skills.
  • Alone with the Psycho: In Chapter 20, McKenna Hall asks Malcolm Merlyn some questions regarding purchases in the Glades. There's an undercurrent of menace throughout the whole scene, and you can pinpoint the exact moment he decides that She Knows Too Much.
  • Amicable Exes: Oliver and Laurel try to consider themselves this, but it proves difficult even before Diggle suggests that they ‘pretend’ to be dating again to justify Laurel spending time with Oliver after she learns his identity.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • While Ted Grant is introduced as Laurel’s trainer, he soon takes a more active role once he learns of her association with the Hood, to the extent that he helps her in her first solo outing as a vigilante and even gives her advice on her costume and name.
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    • Detective Hall is also more involved than she was in the show, largely due to avoiding a Career-Ending Injury.
  • Bar Brawl: In Chapter 21, the Bratva come into Verdant, preventing anyone from leaving the lair or coming back to it. It turns into a massive brawl with Helena, Tommy, and Diggle fighting them off.
  • Battle Couple: Oliver and Laurel first go into the field together to ensure that Tommy and McKenna Hall escape from Malcolm. Then they head to confront Malcolm together, with Oliver facing him and Laurel disarming the Markov device.
  • Big Bad: As in the show for Season 1, Malcolm Merlyn with his plans for the Undertaking.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The Bratva start making trouble in later chapters, but amount to little more than a nuisance. Notably, they at one point fire bomb Laurel's apartment; but somehow failed to realize she didn't live there currently.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Oliver arrives Just in Time to keep Cyrus Vanch from abducting Laurel. Downplayed in that, just like in canon, she already wiped the floor with his Mooks, but he had her dead to rights.
    • In chapter 20, Tommy arrives to evacuate Detective Hall before Malcolm can kill her.
    • In Chapter 22, the entire Team Arrow arrive at the airport in time to stop Moira taking Thea out of the country, allowing Thea to stay with Oliver and the others while Moira is taken to prison.
  • Biker Babe: The Black Canary, as in comic canon.
  • Bomb Disposal: Subverted; since Diggle finds the Markov device before Malcolm’s even deployed it, he easily smashes it.
    • Played straight: Laurel finds the second Markov device in the field, and is walked through disarming it. A few minutes later, Quentin arrives on the scene and calls in the bomb squad to properly dispose of the device.
  • Book-Ends: The story starts with Laurel being suspicious about Oliver's Bratva tattoo. It ends with him visiting her after having had the tattoo removed.
  • Brainy Brunette: Laurel demonstrates this on a regular basis; not only does she quickly deduce the purpose of the List and how they might use it to identify the true mastermind, but she was even able to track Oliver’s actions for some time before she learned that he was the Hood.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Moira ordering a hit on Laurel tainted Oliver’s view of her; where he openly denied that she could have anything to do with the conspiracy in canon, here he recognizes why she might do it even if he’s still reluctant to interrogate her directly.
    • At the end of the story, she becomes this for Thea as well after she basically kidnaps her daughter with plans to escape to China to avoid Malcolm's wrath. After she's stopped by Oliver and Laurel and taken into custody, this is solidified when Thea learns about Tempest and the Undertaking from her interrogation.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • When Oliver learns that Dinah Lance knew that Sara was going to join him on the Gambit, while he appreciates that she couldn't have known what was going to happen, he tells Dinah that she should have recognised that he was just using Sara even if Sara was in love with him, and thus betrayed Laurel's trust by not telling her about Sara going on the Gambit.
    • Later, Laurel delivers one to Moira about her going to all this trouble to 'protect' Oliver and Thea without thinking about how they will feel about her actions.
    • After learning about the Undertaking, Oliver informs Moira that he's going to stop Malcolm and expose her role in the Undertaking unless she admits it first.
  • Can't Catch Up: Played with; Laurel superficially the least physically capable of Team Arrow, but she takes steps to remedy this, assuring Oliver that she just wants to be capable of holding her own rather than seeking to take on the Dark Archer herself.
  • Cheap Costume: Tommy's first mask is a pair of pantyhose, to Laurel's incredulity. Later he's forced to improvise and wears a fencing mask, which while better than the pantyhose still looks odd.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Invoked when Oliver shoots Malcolm in the back while his foe is moving to confront Laurel in the final duel; Malcolm tries to denounce Oliver as a coward, but Laurel counters that Malcolm is just such a monster that he isn't worth a fair fight.
  • Comically Missing the Point: At one point when talking to the Hood (before she learns the vigilante’s true identity) Laurel asks him if a friend of hers is on his list of targets, with Oliver interpreting that as concern for Tommy before Diggle points out that she’s likely concerned about Oliver himself.
  • Composite Character: As the story unfolds, Tommy Merlyn basically becomes The Question, using his connections to dig deeper into his father's plan. As of chapter 20, he has taken to calling himself this in the field.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As in canon, Malcolm has a second Markov device that he’s been assembling elsewhere; however, this time around Team Arrow find out about its existence after Diggle disables the first one before it can be deployed.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Malcolm's sinking of the Queen's Gambit led to the birth of the Hood, and indirectly contributed to Starling's other vigilantes.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Even after becoming part of Team Arrow, Laurel is shown using her legal expertise to assist Oliver and Diggle, such as interrogating one of the other people on the List under the guise of a potential legal suite in order to learn who’s behind everything.
  • Damsel out of Distress:
    • Cyrus Vanch's Mooks attempt to abduct her goes poorly for them.
    Laurel: I thought I had it covered, but I guess Vanch hung back.
    Oliver: (glances at the unconscious men) I think he got lucky, then.
    • Laurel swiftly turns the Dodger’s attempt to take her hostage against him.
  • Demoted to Extra: With Laurel’s knowledge of Oliver’s identity and subsequently joining Team Arrow encouraging Oliver and Diggle to take a new approach, Felicity has so far remained apart from the main team, although Felicity confirms to Laurel in chapter 14 that she has worked out that Oliver is the Hood and assures her that she won't tell anyone. The team more explicitly call Felicity for help later, but she doesn't become part of the team in the sense of joining them in the 'Arrowcave' at any point.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • When Laurel learns of Oliver's plan to find the Count by posing as a buyer, she asks what his plan is if the Count cuts a deal and gives up his buyers after his arrest. Oliver is visibly stumped by the question, and Diggle (who would have been an accessory) even gives Oliver a questioning look.
    • When Laurel has grabbed the Dodger in a hold and threatens to take him out into the main exhibition, the Dodger starts to threaten her with the bomb collar he just placed on her before Laurel points out that he can’t use the bomb now without blowing himself up as well.
    • Tommy bribed the building inspector to not look in Verdant's basement (Oliver's lair), Laurel Face Palms as now she has to deal with that too to prevent her father from searching it.
  • Dirty Business: Moira clearly hates putting a hit on Laurel, but sincerely believes it is the only way to keep her children safe from Malcolm.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Basically the reason Ted advises Laurel to make her femininity clear in her vigilante identity, as it will ‘encourage’ her opponents to underestimate her.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: After Dinah Lance confesses she let Sara get on the Gambit, she thinks Laurel's anger and pain is because Laurel blames her for Sara's death. Oliver needs to outright tell her that Laurel realizes Sara's death is not her fault, and she is angry because Dinah betrayed her.
  • Double Standard: Discussed. Laurel is annoyed when her first trip to Ted Grant's gym leads to him brushing her requests to learn to fight off with a "think it over", and wonders if he'd do the same to a man who asked the same thing.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Lances’ family issues are not improved from canon; Quentin doesn’t like the fact that Oliver and Laurel are dating again, and Laurel is hurt when she realizes that her mother only came back to the city to explore a lead suggesting that Sara was alive rather than to visit her after she was injured in an assassination attempt. When Laurel learns that Dinah let Sara get on the Gambit, their already fragile relationship is practically destroyed.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Helena is horrified by Malcolm's plan.
  • Exact Words: In chapter 14, Laurel is careful not to verbally confirm Felicity's assumption that Oliver is the Hood.
  • Explosive Leash: The Dodger attempts to use one of these on Laurel, but it backfires.
  • Fake Relationship: Oliver and Laurel 'pretend' to start dating again to justify the time they're spending together. It becomes increasingly difficult to tell if they're faking it or actually dating, until they admit that they still love each other in Chapter 15.
  • A God Am I: Malcolm sees the opposition to his plan as a test to prove his worth rather than recognize the sheer horror of what he’s doing; after reading Malcolm's files, Diggle explicitly states that Malcolm must not see the Glades residents as people to justify doing this to them.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Faced with both the Undertaking and pressure from the Bratva, Team Arrow reach out to Helena for help.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The reasons why things with Helena fell apart are the same as in the original show.
  • Heroic Wannabe: At first, Laurel only received some defense training from Diggle and Ted Grant, telling Oliver that she just wanted to be able to hold her own if attacked rather than intending to join Oliver in the field, but this is ultimately subverted when she joins Ted to defend the Moore family from an assassin.
  • I Have This Friend...: A variation of it, at least; Laurel claims that she’s researching the Bratva for a client, rather than admit it’s about Oliver.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance:
    • As of Chapter 14, quite a few characters have only pieces of the puzzle without knowing the full picture; Oliver, Laurel and Diggle know that Malcolm plans to destroy the Glades and is working with Moira, Moira knows that Laurel is investigating Malcolm, and Tommy knows that Moira had someone hired to try and kill Laurel (although she claims that the intent was just to wound Laurel to encourage her to stop digging).
    • Ironically, Malcolm is the only one whose knowledge of events remains basically the same as it was in the show up until Team Arrow took more direct action against him.
  • Imminent Danger Clue: Shortly after leaving Malcolm Merlyn, McKenna Hall sees an image in her car mirror. This gives her just enough time to dodge before Malcolm shoots at her.
  • In the Back: Oliver gets the kill shot on Malcolm by shooting him in the back, something Malcolm actually has the gall to complain about.
  • Ineffectual Death Threat:
    • The Dodger and Helena Bertinelli make one to Laurel and Tommy respectively, as the Dodger can't threaten Laurel's life without killing himself and Tommy observes that Helena can't kill him without losing her hostage and guaranteeing that Oliver will never help her, on top of what Tommy's recently learned about his father's inability to cope with loss.
    • Moira later makes the equivalent of one when she threatens to expose Oliver's identity as the Hood if he reveals her role in the Undertaking; Oliver counters that he's already been cleared on that charge and if she tried to do that he and Laurel could easily claim she's just trying for defamation of character to undermine his current accusations.
  • The Infiltration: On his first solo mission as a vigilante, Diggle breaks into Unidac Industries and destroys the Markov device without killing anyone, even stealing files that reveal the existence of a second device.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Laurel learns that Oliver is the Hood in Chapter 8.
    • Laurel learns that Malcolm is the man behind the Dark Archer in Chapter 11. She deduces he is the Dark Archer in Chapter 12, and tells Oliver in Chapter 13.
    • Tommy learns that Moira put out the hit on Laurel and that Malcolm sabotaged the Gambit in Chapter 14.
    • In Chapter 19, Team Arrow learns what Malcolm's plan is and that there are two Markov devices.
    • In Chapter 21, Malcolm being the Dark Archer is exposed to the police department.
    • Later that same chapter, Quentin learns that Oliver and Laurel are the Hood and Black Canary respectively.
  • It's All About Me: Even when Oliver confronts her about the families who’ll die in the Undertaking if it goes ahead, Moira continues to justify her reasons for going along with Malcolm by thinking about what she stands to lose by defying him rather than acknowledge what everyone else will lose if she does nothing.
  • Jerkass Realization: Dinah Lance has one in Chapter 15 when she realizes that she's spent so long dealing with her mistakes by just running away and never looking back that she's lost any right to go back by the time she's ready to do so.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Laurel drank this in law school, an americano-four shots-with hazelnut, but not anymore.
    "I drank those in college when I had to cram for an exam. I’ll be up until two a.m. if I have this.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Downplayed, but the second time Laurel comes to Ted Grant's gym, he quickly realizes there's no point in arguing with her, and one way or another she's going to learn to fight.
  • Leave No Witnesses: After a confrontation with the Hood, Malcolm had to go to a doctor’s for treatment, and proceeded to give the doctor a slow-acting poison that would kill her in a few days so that she couldn’t reveal his injury to anyone, even though she would have no reason to link him to the Dark Archer and had already assured him of her discretion.
  • Left for Dead/Never Found the Body: A mix of these; Malcolm Merlyn is last shown with an arrow through his chest, but when Lance takes Tommy to the morgue the body that has been 'identified' as Malcolm's has been badly burnt for no reason that either man can determine, making them each uncertain that it truly is Malcolm even if neither of them can work out who it might be instead or where Malcolm is if he's not dead.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: In chapter 19 the team has three separate tasks they have to accomplish all at once. So they decide to split up, with each taking a different task: Oliver rescues Walter, Diggle destroys the Makarov device, and Laurel and Ted protect the Moore family from the Rasmus assassin. It works perfectly.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: In Chapter 15, while Laurel was already aware that she still cared for Oliver, when Oliver acknowledges that trying to keep her safe by cutting himself off from her doesn't work and admits that he loves her without any expectation, Laurel suddenly moves past her current state of emotional numbness and admits that she has always loved Oliver.
  • Maybe Ever After: Tommy and Helena. There are definitely hints that something is going on between them, but nothing concrete yet. In the end, after Malcolm is exposed and seemingly killed, Tommy decides to go with her and help her out with her war on organized crime.
  • Missing Mom: When her mother comes back to discuss her theory that Sara is alive, Laurel is hurt that her mother only came back for that even after Laurel has been put in hospital after an assassination attempt. To be fair, her mother really did come to the hospital to see Laurel; but she only came back to city at all to discuss Sara, and bringing that up in the hospital was still poor form.
  • Morality Pet: Diggle and Laurel become this more keenly for Oliver than Diggle and Felicity were in canon; the knowledge that Laurel will know it's him doing these things causes Oliver to hesitate when considering more brutal courses of action, such as when torturing one of the Triad.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Dodger's attempt to take Laurel hostage goes very poorly for him.
    Oliver: Who are you, and what have you done to Laurel?
    The Dodger: The better question is what’s she done to me. Unbelievable. A vigilante spoiled my first attempt in Starling and now this. Your police should hang up their caps in shame.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Moira breaks down sobbing after the the assassin she hired puts Laurel in the hospital.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Laurel’s attempt to find out who is behind the List led to Moira being forced to agree to having a contract put on Laurel’s life in the belief that this would draw attention away from her own children.
    • On a less immediately dangerous but no less significant note, Laurel is contacted by a member of the Bratva to ask for her assistance in a legal matter- in the sense that she is asked to not take a particular case- because they identified her as 'American Captain's pretty bird', although she is able to resolve the matter with Ted's help.
  • Overt Operative: Malcolm trying to murder a police detective immediately after she leaves his house is bad enough. Getting into a car chase with her in full Dark Archer getup is worse. Probably enough to count as a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Parental Betrayal: After learning that Dinah let Sara get on the Gambit, Oliver outright tells her that she betrayed Laurel.
    • Moira putting a hit on Laurel, despite how much she means to Oliver, even if it was to save Oliver and the intent was to merely wound Laurel.
  • Parental Favoritism: Between the aforementioned Parental Betrayal, the fact that Dinah needed to be told it was a betrayal, and that she has not apologized for it, it seems that (like in canon) she loved Sara more than Laurel.
  • Power Trio: Laurel takes Felicity’s place in the ‘Original Team Arrow’ trio, providing legal as opposed to technical expertise while also showing a willingness to improve her own hand-to-hand abilities.
  • Put On The Bus: At the conclusion, Tommy and Helena go on 'holiday' to track down criminal organisations in other cities, with the implied plan that Helena will give Tommy further instruction in hand-to-hand combat while Tommy handles the investigative side of their work.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In chapter 22, Quentin Lance and Anatoly establish themselves as this from both sides of the law, Lance acknowledging Starling's need for vigilantes (as well as appreciating that Oliver only never told him about Merlyn's plans because everything happened too quickly after he learned what he was up against) and Anatoly listening to Oliver's reasons why him leaving the Bratva requires the brotherhood to abandon Starling as well.
  • Retired Badass: Ted Grant is this as in canon, but comes out of retirement to help Laurel protect a family from the Bratva when Oliver and Diggle are busy dealing with Malcolm’s schemes and any alternatives would compromise Oliver’s cover with the Bratva.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Malcolm is eventually exposed as the Dark Archer. Rather than flee, he still decides to set off his remaining Markov device even though he can't benefit from it, solely to get revenge on the people of the glades.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: It's right there in the title. Laurel correctly deduces that Oliver is hiding a secret about his time on the island and his actions since he returned, but initially assumes that it relates to membership of the Bratva rather than immediately guessing that he’s the Hood. Mind you, she's only partially wrong as Oliver really is a member of the Bratva and is trying to keep that hidden.
  • Sadistic Choice: Despite Laurel being like family to her, Moira is forced to agree to have a contract put out on Laurel when she learns that Laurel has knowledge of the List, to stop Malcolm getting any ideas that she or her children are acting against him.
  • Saying Too Much: In chapter 14, Moira lets slip to Tommy that Malcolm was the one who sabotaged the Queen's Gambit and killed Robert and Sara.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Thea is particularly excited at the implications that Oliver and Laurel are back together, and Diggle appears subtly supportive of their relationship.
    • After his rescue, Walter expresses approval of Oliver and Laurel’s renewed relationship.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The Moore parents were killed by Mr Blank in the series on the order of Edward Rasmus; this time around, the assassin is defeated by Wildcat and the Black Canary in her debut (with Blank also living to be arrested and no sign that Rasmus has been killed).
    • Both Markov devices are kept from activating, seemingly completely preventing the Undertaking and as such sparing the over five hundred victims it claimed, including Tommy, in the show.
    • For a given definition of "spared", but McKenna Hall avoids being given the Career-Ending Injury she got in the show. She is shot in the hand by the Huntress, but is expected to recover.
  • Spotting the Thread: In Chapter 14, when Oliver confirms that Sara didn't have the Rockets hat on her when the Gambit sank and she could never have retrieved it, this provides Laurel with the vital clue that her mother knew that Sara was getting on the Gambit with Oliver.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: In chapter 20, Helena asks why she shouldn’t just shoot Malcolm to stop the Undertaking, only to be informed that Malcolm’s too skilled a fighter to be taken out that easily.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: When did Laurel learn to drive a motorcycle? "You’d be surprised what you learn if you hang around a police precinct most of your life."
  • Tagalong Kid: After Moira is arrested, Thea appears to basically be this for the rest of Team Arrow, as she has no training or vigilante experience and is just getting some quick lessons in self-defence without anyone planning to invite her to join them in the field.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Invoked by Ted Grant when he learns about Laurel's connection with the Hood, making it clear that he will only train her if she won't kill her opponents. That said, after learning about Oliver's history, Ted expresses understanding about why Oliver goes that far and appreciates that the Hood's body-count has dropped since Laurel started working with him. In the final battle, Laurel goes against this rule when she joins Oliver in killing Malcolm, reasoning that the man is too dangerous to be left alive and if Tommy is going to hate anyone for his father's death it's better that it's both of them as far as Laurel's concerned.
  • Token Good Teammate: Chapter 22 basically establishes Anatoly as this for the Bratva, as Oliver trusts him enough to explain why he is leaving the organisation. Anatoly also accepts Oliver's argument that the Bratva should abandon their presence in Starling now that he's leaving the organisation, officially releasing Oliver from his old oath to the organisation with the understanding that neither the Hood or the Bratva will go after each other.
  • Took a Level in Badass: It's a gradual process, but compared to her canon counterpart, Laurel is already ahead of the curve; where she initially donned a mask early in Season Three in the series and failed miserably in her first attempt, here she assumes a basic costumed identity towards what would be the end of the first season and does a fair job holding her own, even if she has help from Ted and Oliver in her first couple of outings.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Subtly so far, but Thea’s interest in seeing Oliver and Laurel spend time together has tempered her canon hostility to cautious interest.
    • Basically applies to the Hood; after Laurel officially joins Team Arrow, even Ted Grant notes that the Hood’s body count has significantly dropped just based on what he's seen in the news, as Oliver is now taking into account Laurel's reaction to what he does in the field and tempering his actions accordingly.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Laurel still has the old stuffed shark that Sara use to sleep with. When her apartment is firebombed, the first thing she checks to make sure survived is the shark. It did.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Laurel gives one to her father when she learns that he had tapped the phone she was using to call the Hood (Laurel returning the phone as she obviously no longer needs it now that she knows the Hood’s identity).
  • You Killed My Father: Oliver and Laurel to Malcolm, for killing their father and sister respectively (alhough if we go by show canon, Sara is actually still alive).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: After Diggle destroys the first Markov device, analysis of the files in the lab reveals that there was a second device that is being developed 'on-site'. This is actually a step-up from canon, where they learned about the second device moments before it went off.

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