Jake sighs, running a gentle hand over his wounded shoulder as he stares into his own reflection.
He stood on bare feet in front of a full length mirror that was attached to the back of his bedroom door, half naked and somewhat wet from the shower he had taken moments ago.
He slowly traced over the small flesh wound near the top of his right shoulder, the area around it had reddened with blood.
Fortunately for him, the wound wasn't severe enough for him to go to a hospital or anything. Otherwise, he would've had a headache of a conversation with his mother.
She was asleep by the time he had gotten home last night, giving Jake time to cover up what happened or at the least make a believable excuse.
He didn't want to talk about what happened, it would expose that darkness inside him.
Thea, Laurel, his mother... they just wouldn't understand. He returned home to find normalcy, to immerse himself in the way things were before Brazil.
But now, he just couldn't revel in that feeling. What happened last night, spilling blood in his hometown, was a bittersweet reminder that he couldn't escape the person he had become.
It sent chills down his spine knowing that truth. But, at the same time, he wasn't afraid of that revelation. It was who he was now.
The wooden floorboards creak underneath his feet as he makes a full turn to the right, rotating his body in a circle.
His electric blue eyes scan over the skull shaped brand mark on the right side of his lower back and the scars all over his back.
Each scar held an equal amount of significance for Jake. They represented the hardships and obstacles he had to face in order to survive.
He needed to become someone else, someone with enough willpower and instinct to survive.
December 2011- Salvador, Brazil
The hard, steel door slides open, revealing a tanned skinned man with tattooed arms.
His hazel brown eyes scan over the briefly lit room, and he smirks once he makes contact with the chained up young man in front of him.
Crossing his arms, the tanned man steps forward, leaning in slightly as he speaks up. "Do you know who I am, kid?"
Jake scoffs with a snarl, tugging on the chains that held his arms up from the ceiling. "Yeah, you're Phillipe Garmudela. The amateur, drug dealing, son of a bitch who shot my dad to pieces."
The Brazilian man laughs, shaking his head briefly before clocking Jake in the jaw. The chains that supported his arms rattled from the force of the punch.
Phillipe shakes his head again before leaning in to ruffle Jakes hair. "I'm impressed kid. But you're only half right. I mean, I'm smart enough to sneak drugs into the U.
S, but I wouldn't be able to orchestrate a murder so intricately planned."
The man pauses, stepping back and pulling out a wad of $100 dollar bills from his pocket.
"I was hired to do the dirty work, the pay was just too good to pass up. The big shot who paid me wanted me to kill ya, he didn't want any loose ends to tie into his master plan.
Hell, he creeped me out enough to make me want to kill you, I guess losing your wife in a mugging fucks up your life."
Jake lifts his head up in shock, the anger in his eyes disappear as he silently goes over everything he knew about Malcolm Merlyn.
It didn't make since, why would someone as successful and rich as Malcolm plot his fathers murder?
The middle aged business man had no known ties to the Hawthorne's, and they weren't exactly high on the social status pyramid.
"Whats the matter kid? Cat got ya tongue?" Phillipe chuckles softly, pulling out a cigar from his pocket.
Jake turns to him after a moment, shaking his head slightly in disbelief. "Thats bullshit, I don't believe you."
The Brazilian man in front of him laughs again before lighting the cigarette and placing it between his chapped lips.
He welcomes the tobacco with a deep inhale as he motions to the door, inviting in a pair of guards.
"Thats fine, I got proof to back it up. But right now, we got more important things to discuss."
Phillippe pauses as the two guards move to stand beside him, they both cross their heavily muscled arms as they give Jake a blank stare.
"I could've killed ya when the American wanted me too, but a better idea came to me in a rush. Ya see, I got an older brother in Bolivia.
Victor, he owns a big shot drug cartel that runs through the black-market in Rio. He's also the asshole who runs the gang I'm a part of, and he just so happens to be looking for new talent.
All ya have to do is survive the initiation process.
One of the guards that stood beside Phillippe uncrossed his arms, he smashed his fists together as he sent Jake a deadly glare.
Jake looks away with a laugh as he realizes that he has no choice in the matter. He turns back to Phillipe with a fearless lopsided grin, his blue eyes narrowed in determination.
"I'm gonna kill you."
Jakes cellphone rings, startling him out of his thoughts as he turns away from the mirror.
He nearly trips over the skateboard that poked out from underneath his bed as he dives onto the mattress.
Removing the phone that was buried underneath his pillow, he answers the call before its second ring.
"Hello?" Jake sits up, turning his head towards his TV as the commercial break ends and returns to an episode of "That 70's Show".
"Hey, Jake! Listen, I know you just got back, but I need a favor."
The urgency in Thea's rushed tone prompts Jake to raise an eyebrow in question. He stands up and mutes the TV, moving over to his drawer on the left side of his room.
"Damn, Queen. You're really milking those friend favors." He teases with a hearty laugh, pulling out a pair of black socks.
Thea lets out an amused scoff, her mind momentarily wanders off to the times Jake would bail her out of messy situations.
"Yeah, well I kind of promised a friend another favor. You remember Madison Danforth?"
Jake creases his eyebrows, he crouches down to his black duffel bag next to the dresser and searches for a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. "Yeah, we met during your extravagant "Sweet 16" party.
We were both wasted off of Don Julio and shitty beer."
The dark haired man pauses in thought for a moment, smoothing his curly hair back. "I think we made out."
Thea grimaces, scrunching up her nose in disgust. "Yeah, I definitely didn't need to know the details. Anyway, I told her you were back and sorta promised that you'd meet with her.
She's definitely crushing on you."
Jake chuckles softly in response, rising up from his position on the floor with a gray V-neck t-shirt and black jeans in his grasp.
He then moves to the desk space on the other side of his room, re-positioning the phone that was held beneath his ear.
"Really? Huh, I guess she couldn't resist my charm."
Thea rolls her eyes in response, scoffing through her phone as she approaches the doors of a hall.
She opens the door and enters the room, glancing over to Jessica Danforth as she announces her campaign in front of a large crowd.
Her loud and authoritative voice mixed in with the flashing of paparazzi cameras.
"Jessica's finishing up her mayoral campaign announcement. I'll send you Madison's-"
Jakes body tenses up at the sound of rapid gunfire and frantic screaming from Thea's end. He then hears Thea curse under her breath before she ends the call.
"Thea ... Fuck!" Jake rushes over to his bed again, grabbing a pair of Converses before rushing out of his bedroom door.
Rush and anxiety overtake his mind as he parks on the side of the police station, slamming his door shut and running through the front doors.
Passing through the officers and detectives, he searched frantically for Thea.
Then, he heard her velvety voice.
He looked to the right, sighing in relief as he saw her next to Detective Lance's office, rushing to her and embracing her.
"Jesus, Thea. Are you okay? I heard about the shooting on the radio. I ran three red lights getting here!"
Some officers looked up with an unamused glare hearing him say this, but he simply ignored them.
Thea softly giggled, letting go of his embrace, smiling at him as he looked at her.
"Jake, relax. I'm fine. I can survive a day without you by my side, you know."
"I know but…"
Just then, the door to the office opened and out appeared Oliver Queen. The older man glanced over to his sister for a moment before directing his gaze to Jake.
The billionaire's vibe seemed to have changed drastically from what Jake remembered.
Oliver had matured, judging by appearance alone, and may have experienced tough situations that had forced him to change.
Whatever had happened on that island must've opened his eyes, exposed him to a darkness in him that he never knew existed.
"Hey, how's Jessica?" Thea questioned her brother with crossed arms. He sighed, crossing his arms as well.
"She's a little shaken up. But, she'll be fine. Lance is sending over men to look after both her and Madison until this blows over." He then paused, returning his attention to Jake.
There was few moments where Oliver seemed to be examining Jake, right before he extended his hand. "Jake. How was your trip?"
Jake straightened himself out a bit in response, stretching his hand out and firmly gripping Oliver's in a strong handshake.
"It was… eye-opening. I had fun, but I got a little homesick after a while." He glanced over to Thea as he said this.
Oliver merely nodded in response, releasing Jake's hand and stepping back.
Just then, a frazzled Madison steps out from one of the interrogation rooms.
Witnessing this, Thea excuses herself and moves over to check on the youngest Danforth.
After Thea's departure, Oliver turns to Jake again, clearing his throat. "Hey, I appreciate what you did for Thea while I was away.
Laurel filled me on what happened, she said you broke his arm in three places."
Jake lets out an anxious chuckle, running a hand through the navy curls on his head. "Heh, yeah. It was a wild night, she practically dragged me there. All I could do was watch over her.
I'm just gl