Chapter 13

Oliver picked up a small one man tent, some minimal snacks, 4 gallons of water, a camelbak and water purification tablets for Sam, He bought himself some MREs, a small camp stove and another camelback for him and more purification tablets for himself. He wasn't going to let Sam starve but Sam didn't need to know that. He also bought matches . Then he went to the Lake House and printed out a topographical map of the the region around the house. He found an area by the turnoff Sam had been at that would work for what he had in mind. There were several valleys and hills but nothing too steep. Sam was in shape but Oliver doubted he was in mountain shape. Oliver changed out of the jeans into the pants from his vigilante suit, put on a t shirt and headed out. He was going to have to wash and patch the top before he went back out on a patrol in the city. As he scouted the area he found plenty of areas that where he could lay traps for Sam, ambush points and places to set up camps. About 8 miles in there was a meadow, that was where he was going to tell Sam he had to go. 8 miles may not seem like a long trip but if you're not used to wilderness and being constantly hunted it will take you quite awhile to get there. Halfway through the scouting trip Oliver took his boots off. They were hindering his movement too much. The longer he had been out in the wilderness the more and more alert he had become. He was hearing birds move 50 feet away, catching movement from squirrels and other rodents even in the shadows. His injured shoulder was going to cause some issues aiming the bow but he had shot injured before he could do it again. He found places to lay snares for small animals like rabbits. For the first time since he had been back from the island he felt an odd sense of peace. There were no threats here, no people he had to hide from, no lies he had to tell. It was just him and the forest around him. He moved through it like he was born to it. He left no trace, nothing heard him he just ghosted through the trees, a deadly predator out on a Sunday stroll.

Soon he would be hunting Sam. He caught himself getting excited at the thought and immediately stopped moving. Why was he excited? Was it the thrill of the hunt or anger at Sam for hurting family? He had to get a handle on his emotions if he was going to teach Sam anything. When he was out on a job in the City his mind was filled with the driving need to save people. Everything happened either too fast or too slow. It wasn't a hunt. He was always reacting to situations not proactively approaching them. This was different. He was going to be stalking Sam, controlling his routes, setting traps, forcing someone else to react to him. This was his world and he controlled it. That was the rush of excitement and that was dangerous. That need to control and cause pain, that could lead down the path that Fires and Ivo had been on. The exact path he was trying to save Sam from.

"Careful Oliver. Careful" he told himself. Diggle hadn't been wrong to warn him to not lose himself. He sat down on the loamy ground and just took in the feel of the forest. As he dug his fingers in the dirt, feeling the life around him his heart rate dropped, he became more centered and focused. He was going to be dancing on the edge of madness the next two or three days. He had to get Sam to start acting like a predator without becoming a monster. Sam was always losing control because he was reacting emotionally to stimulus. Prey animals react, they don't plan hunts, they don't track , they don't control anything. Sam was reacting like a prey animal with the emotions of a predator. The drive to hurt, to maim, to kill. That was the predatory side. To survive you have to harness the emotions, control them and use them to get your through the pain. Not let them use you. To do all that though Oliver had to become the ultimate predator. Sam had to believe Oliver would kill him if he failed, or else he wouldn't fight. For Sam to believe that Oliver had to show it. Oliver took a deep breath, both he and Sam could come out broken on the other side of this. He needed something to focus on while he was doing this. He had an idea. He headed back to where he and Sam had fought. It took about an hour or so but once he got there he started looking on the ground. He found the bloodied rock within minutes of getting there. He picked it up and tucked it in his bag. That rock would serve as an anchor for him. It would remind him what the cost of losing himself could be.

He went back up to the Lake House, took a shower and heard Sam drive up. He thought he would be staying the night at the hospital. The front door opened and he heard Sam make his way to the media room. Oliver pulled on a pair of sweats and walked silently down the hall. Sam was sitting in the chair that Felicity had used and was staring at all the computer equipment. His eyes weren't focusing on anything though. Oliver turned away, he couldn't talk to Sam right now. He picked up his clothes and the rock went out the front door and took his bike back to the mansion. He would sleep there tonight.

Sam had heard Oliver leave. He had planned to stay longer at the hospital but once Felicity fell asleep Diggle had steadfastly ignored him. He decided it was best to get out of everyone's way. Not knowing what Oliver had in store for him was the worst part. After an hour or two staring blankly at the computer screens he decided to get something to eat and maybe pack some food to go in case Oliver decided to take him out in the middle of nowhere. He ate, prepped some food and went to sleep. Emotionally, mentally and physically Sam was exhausted.

He woke up to the feeling of something dangerous watching him, instinctively he reached for a gun under his pillow. There wasn't one, he hadn't been sleeping with one under his pillow since he had gotten here. He hadn't woken up spooked like that since Oliver had startled him out of a nightmare. He took a breath and sat up. Oliver was standing at his door. He had the hood on, a green shirt and the pants from his vigilante suit on.

"Get what you need, meet me at your car. " Oliver turned and Sam saw the bow and a full quiver on his back and at least one knife. Now Sam understood his reaction. Sam got dressed, grabbed the food he had made and met Oliver.

"You're driving, Go back to the turn off where we fought. " Oliver picked up what looked to be camping gear, opened the passenger door, put the gear in the backseat and got in. Sam got in the driver's side and they headed out. They pulled up to the same spot, Sam parked the car. They got out.

"Give me that necklace that you gave to Dean and the keys. " Oliver commanded. There was no request in his voice it was an order. Sam started to get angry but caught himself and handed the items over.

"Do you know how to read a topographical map? " Oliver asked him

"It's been awhile but yeah. " Sam answered

"OK. In that bag is a tent, 4 gallons of water, a camelback, some food, purification tablets and a map. There's a meadow about 8 miles in. That's your goal. You have two days to get there. If you get there within that time frame and you stay in control you get your items back. " Oliver said

"What if I don't? " Sam asked

"That's not an option for you. "Oliver replied.

Sam's fists clenched. "Alright" he looked down to pick up the bag. When he looked back Oliver was gone. He hadn't heard a thing. "Fuck. I am so out of my depth. " Sam said. Then he remembered Oliver had been shipwrecked on an island with less skills than he had. Not to mention no tent or food or water. Sam remembered some of the things Oliver had shared about the island. Sam turned to look into the forest and realized exactly what it was Oliver had in store for him. Sam felt a jolt of fear shoot through him. This was Oliver's world, Sam was going to be the hunted one. For the first time in his life Sam was completely alone in a life threatening situation. Well there was no way back now. He dug into the backpack and found the map. At least he had a decent sense of direction. It looked like the meadow was north around the lake. Sam picked what looked like to be the easiest route and started walking.

"At least he started in the right direction" Oliver thought. Oliver was ghosting along watching Sam. He already saw that Sam was going through his water too fast. It was a good thing Sam had brought some extra food at least that showed some forethought as to what could possibly be ahead for him. He gave Sam about an hour to get lulled into complacency then he attacked.

One minute Sam was walking along, the next he felt his legs get kicked out from under him, his face shoved into the dirt, a sharp pain on his hand, then a knife was pressed into the side of his neck. He heard Oliver say "Dead" . Then just like a ghost he was gone again. He looked down at his hand. Oliver had nicked it with the knife. A reminder. His heart was racing, his adrenaline kicked in belatedly telling him there was a threat and he looked around. He saw nothing except trees. An arrow flew out of somewhere and sliced into his arm.

"What the fuck Oliver?!" Sam was pissed. He whirled around in a circle looking for where the arrow had come from. He got struck low in the back, he twisted around again and Oliver's fist connected with his face. His head snapped back and he fell. When he came up from the hit spitting blood Oliver was nowhere to be seen. Shit, shit, shit. He stopped and took stock of his emotions. They were cascading again. " Control it Sam" he told himself. "Think, damn you think. "

Oliver watched him. He was forcing himself to think. Good.

Sam looked around again a bit slower.. He had made it easy for Oliver, he had been walking along the path of least resistance and not paying attention to what was around him. Ok. He looked at the map again. He knew Oliver was probably ghosting along beside him but he needed to try something. There was a couple of hilly spots coming up. He may be able to put some distance between him and Oliver and try to double back a bit. He put the map back in the bag and took off at a dead run towards the hills.

Oliver hadn't expected that. He smiled a bit darkly to himself. The game was on. Oliver took off on a parallel path in the trees. He figured Sam was going to try to hide and double back. He had already spotted some trees that were tall enough to look into the valley between the hills. He reached the tree and started climbing, reached the height he needed to be at. Sure enough he saw Sam's shadow. The hill hid Sam well enough but his shadow was just visible enough for Oliver to track him. Now the decision was did he let Sam think he had fooled him and give him some false hope or just humiliate him again. He went for the false hope option. He waited. Sam waited.

Sam waited about 5 minutes. He knew it was a dumb hope but maybe Oliver had lost track of him. He looked at the map again and decided to take a more indirect route to the meadow instead. He chose not to double back but headed northwest so he was swinging a bit wide of where he needed to go. It was a longer route but he thought maybe that would throw Oliver off.

Oliver saw Sam head northwest. He was thinking, good. Time to piss him off again. He smiled at himself. If Sam kept on this heading he'd hit one of Oliver's traps. He decided to wait a bit more. If Sam hit it he'd hear him. About 10 minutes later he heard cracking of branches and Sam scream in surprise. Well this would be interesting. There were several gullies that cut into the side of the hill from run off. Most ran north/south but a few intersected those on a mostly east/west path. There was a spot with a lot of overgrowth in trees that had concealed one of the gullies for the most part. The gully was about 5 feet deep and 3 feet across. Oliver had spent an hour or so arranging branches and such so that it looked solid enough. Sam was tall enough to hop out of the gulley as long as he hadn't broken anything in his fall. Oliver climbed down out of the tree and made his way to a spot where he could watch Sam.

"Fucking son of a bitch" Sam snarled. He had landed hard but fortunately hadn't sprained anything. He hadn't expected Oliver to lay traps for him too. He could easily get out of the gully but now Oliver knew for sure where he was. There went being sneaky. Sam started to push himself up and out of the gully when an arrow sliced by his other arm. He dropped down and ducked into the gully. Fuck Oliver was fast. The gully led both ways and he had to stay low and run along it to stay out of arrow range. That would work up to until Oliver decided to come punch him again. As he crouched and ran he came to a part where this gully intersected another, which ran the opposite direction he needed to go to get to the meadow. On an impulse he took that route. To the left there was a low spot that was covered by some branches. He could hop out of the gully and lay in wait for Oliver. Sam had no doubt Oliver could track him if need be.

Oliver had seen Sam crouch and run but hadn't followed him too close yet. In the dirt Sam's tracks would be easy to follow. He wanted to give Sam time to think of a plan to try to catch him off guard. He gave Sam about 15 minutes and started slowly making his way down the gully. He saw Sam's prints clear as day. As he turned down the intersecting gully he saw where Sam had hopped out of the gully. He stopped, there were a lot of options for Sam here. He could be laying in wait, he could have moved on or he could have doubled back. Oliver decided to take the easiest option, Sam was still angry even if he was controlling it and would want to get some payback for the cuts he had given him. He walked forward, sure enough he heard movement to his left. He threw himself forward in a roll, popped up and spun around almost directly into Sam's foot as it came flying at his face. Oliver leaned back and let the kick fly past him. He closed distance and tried to nail Sam in the chest, Sam got his hands up fast enough, blocked, sidestepped and shoved Oliver using his own momentum to shove him face first into the gully wall. Oliver ducked down, kicked a leg behind him, connected with Sam's front leg. Sam howled and dropped but not before he brought his fist down on Oliver's back. Oliver grunted, rolled out from under the hit, pushed himself up and over the gully wall to get high ground. He turned around and aimed his foot right at Sam's face. Sam narrowly avoided the kick. Sam hopped up and planted his arms on the top of the gully wall and came face to face with Oliver's knife.

"Better, but still dead. " Oliver shoved Sam's head full force back from the wall and Sam fell to the gully floor. He beat his fist into the ground in frustration. Oliver was just too damn good. If Dean had been hereā€¦he stopped that thought before it fully formed in his head. "Dean's not here. Suck it up and get used to it. " Sam told himself. Oliver had backed away about 10 ft from the gully edge. He wanted to see what Sam would do. He heard Sam's statement about Dean not being there. "He's learning." he thought to himself. He climbed up into a tree that overlooked the gully and watched Sam. He would have to start pushing Sam harder.

Sam climbed out of the gully and started back to the meadow. Oliver knew where he was so for now he would just have to try to be more alert for attacks. He walked until he came to a little hillock that gave him a view of the surrounding area. He stopped to get a drink from the camelback. There was still some water in it and two bottles in the backpack. As he was drinking he heard the unmistakable sound of an arrow flying. Before he had time to react he tube leading from his mouth to the pack had been sliced in half and Oliver came flying from somewhere and slammed his fists onto Sam's shoulder from behind.

Sam buckled under the blow, Oliver had just avoided breaking his collarbone. He tumbled off the rock and rolled out of the way of a bare foot that was coming towards his face. Oliver didn't let up, he landed a kick on Sam's ribs and another on his arm as Sam rolled. The fourth kick Sam caught Oliver's foot and pulled him in. Oliver hopped on the other foot towards Sam to maintain balance then using Sam's hand as a platform, levered off Sam's hand that was holding his foot and threw a kick into Sam's face. Oliver controlled his fall well enough to wrench his foot out of Sam's hand and roll away. Sam's anger turned hot, he pushed himself up off the ground and went full force to tackle Oliver who danced out of the way. Sam spun around and started trying to hit Oliver. Oliver seemed to slip around or block every punch. Finally Oliver tired of this, grabbed one of Sam's hands when he overextended his punch again and literally threw Sam to the ground. Sam felt his arm being wrenched behind him and pain shot through his shoulder and wrist.

"One. You're dead again. Two. If you weren't so angry you probably would have caught me with at least one of those blows. You're a better fighter than this. Three. Don't waste your water. Stopping before dark to get some purified will just be too easy of an opportunity for me to pass up. You're still weak Sam. It's getting harder for me to pass up an easy kill. " Oliver shoved Sam's face into the ground. Sam laid there for a few minutes replaying the fight in his head. He saw several opportunities that Oliver had given him that he didn't take advantage of. There were a few blocks that Sam could have gotten around if he had been thinking instead of just throwing punches. The one thing that stood out to him was that Oliver was running out here bare footed. As he sat up he started to think about what that meant. Oliver was that comfortable out here that he didn't want or need shoes. Shoes were one of the biggest things that divided "civilized" people from tribal people. Tribal cultures lived so in tune with the world around them that they became part of it. Oliver had become part of this forest Sam realized. He was as part of it as a mountain lion or wolf was. Sam realized that hearing Oliver approaching him was a fruitless thought. That would never happen. Sam had to try to outthink Oliver or at least stay rational enough that when Oliver and he fought he could land a hit or two. He looked at his watch and realized it would be dark soon. Oliver's words that he wouldn't let Sam stop to get water before dark got Sam moving. He had to get to the water before dark, set up in an area that was somewhat defensible. He'd leave the gear at night and move on while it was dark. It was a risk as Sam had no flashlight but he had to do something to get ahead of Oliver.

Oliver had ducked behind some trees and watched Sam gather his thoughts. It would have been so easy to finish him, an idle thought crossed his mind. All he would have had to do was move his bow a slight bit to one direction. Oliver caught himself. He reached into his bag and touched his hand to the rock. "Focus." he told himself. The last thing he said to Sam about it being harder to pass up an easy kill. He hadn't planned to say that. It had slipped out and as soon as he said it he realized he was edging closer to his own precipice.

He had taken his shoes off after the gully fight, they felt too bulky, too heavy, he felt his steps were too loud, he couldn't feel the ground or grip trees. They were getting in his way. After he had done that he had become even more acutely aware of every weakness Sam had. The hair in his face blocked his peripheral vision, he never looked up, his footsteps were too heavy, he rarely looked around, he didn't stop to listen at all. He always punched with the right hand first, his backpack rustled too much, his left leg was slower kicking than the right. He replayed the sparring sessions and the fights he had had with Sam in his mind, picking them apart and dissecting Sam's form. When he did, he realized how easy it would be to just totally destroy him. Where had this mindset gone since he had come back from the island? He had become blinded in Starling City, worried about too much, not focusing on his prey. Sloppy, sloppy Oliver. This was how it should be, him in control. He needed to stop caring about innocent lives and just kill those that threatened him. If he just looked at Starling City like an island, there were so many ways to take out large numbers of people. He just had to be proactive that's all.

"No!" he forcibly stopped his mind. His breathing had picked up. He looked around the tree, Sam had moved on. No matter, he could track him. He had to deal with himself right now. He pulled out the bloodied rock and remembered how Felicity looked laying in that hospital bed. He let the wave of anger and hate towards Sam flow into his awareness. Then he remembered how she had held both of their hands. Binding the two damaged men together with her resolve that they would make it through this and come out better in the end. The anger flowed out of him, pushed away by her faith in both of them. He would not fail her. He stood up and started following Sam's tracks. Night was coming soon. It was going to be a long one for both of them.

Oliver went to the location where he had stashed his gear. He had tracked Sam down and he was setting up camp by a small stream. Oliver set up camp downwind from Sam on hill that allowed him to look down into the little valley where Sam was. Oliver wasn't going to have any big fire so Sam wouldn't see him. It was a full moon and Oliver's night vision was more than capable of seeing movement from an object as large as Sam. Sam had waited till just before night fall to set up. Apparently he had taken Oliver's warning to heart.

Sam was hungry, he had a sandwich left and a granola bar. He had burned through his food too fast. He ate the sandwich and left the bar for breakfast.. He had plotted a course that would take him about a mile closer to the meadow over the night. He had purified some water and put it in the camelback so he was full up on that at least. If Oliver decided to attack during the night Sam's hope was to be out of this spot before he did. After about two hours Sam stood up, took his bag with the water and nothing else and headed out.

Oliver watched as Sam laid a few false trails by walking around the camp, heading out in several different directions, and walking circles around the area. If Oliver hadn't been awake it would have taken him quite awhile to figure all those tracks out. He nodded approval, Sam was getting there. He was thinking and getting used to not having backup. He had eaten his dehydrated food and was more than ready to start moving again. He stalked behind Sam. Sam's alertness had increased too. He was stopping to listen more, looking around at his surroundings. Oliver was actually going to have to work a bit now. Good, he'd been getting bored.

Sam wasn't going to assume that Oliver hadn't watched him. He was tired but he forced himself to be aware. Every little noise in the woods attracted his attention. Then he heard a wolf howl he stopped dead in his tracks and started shaking. Hellhounds, it sounded like a hellhound. Sam started breathing faster. Were they coming for him for some reason? No it was a wolf he told himself, it wasn't a hellhound. It howled again. Oh God, it was getting closer. He started whimpering.

Oliver watched. At first he didn't understand why Sam was panicking, then he remembered something he read about hellhounds and how they howled when they came for you. Sam was having a flashback. He wanted to run in and help him but Sam had to get through this on his own. Dogs howled, he couldn't be on a job somewhere and a dog howled and he lost it. Oliver crept closer, he would keep Sam safe though. If he started running he would make sure that he wouldn't get injured.

Sam's mind was shrieking at him to run. "I will not, it's a wolf." He screamed into the night. Still his adrenaline was through the roof, he couldn't catch his breath. He started hearing Dean screaming again. Clasping his hands to his ears he dropped to his knees. "That's not now, that was then. It's not coming for me. It's not. " He saw it in his mind again. That moment when he was useless to save Dean. He was staring at Dean's screaming face, blood spraying everywhere then it all froze. As he watched a super imposed image of Dean stood up and walked away from the image of Dean laying on the floor in pain, he walked over to the Sam and put his hand on Sam's shoulder then he felt a smaller hand on his other shoulder. It was his Mom.

"Sam get up." his Mom said

"Sam get up" Dean said.

Sam looked up at the two of them. Then his father walked up and stood next to his Mom. He put his arm around her and smiled.

"Sam get up. You made a life for yourself without Dean and I before. You fought for what you wanted your whole life. Remember? You were the one that got that scholarship, Dean and I sure as hell didn't help you with that. You are stronger than all of us. Don't stay stuck here, in this moment. Let it go. Let us go. We love you Sam. All of us do but you can't keep punishing yourself for our decisions. Let it go. " His father's hand rested on his head for a brief moment. Sam closed his eyes as for the first time in his life felt his whole family around him. He never knew his mother, he barely knew his father but in that moment he felt the love they all had for each other. Nothing, not even hell itself would ever break that. His dad's spirit had come back from hell to help them kill the demon that had killed his wife. Sam knew that if given the chance Dean would bust out of hell just like his father. Sam's job now was to give Dean that chance and to try to help his brother survive the pits of hell long enough to take advantage of it. He opened his eyes back up and stood. The hands fell away from him, he walked over to the image of Dean in pain, knelt down and said softly "Listen to me you stubborn son of bitch. You hold on and wait for my signal. It'll be fairly obvious.. Listen for all the demons screaming in fear of my wrath. Winchester's do not abandon family. " He stood up. The memory resumed, he heard Dean screaming as he was dragged out the door. He looked at the image of his brother that was standing in front of him. Dean smiled at him, that stubborn, smart ass smile he always wore when he was about to get into a fight. "Well Sam, time to raise a little hell. " Then he turned and faded away along with the images of his Mom and Dad.

Sam dropped his hands away from his ears. He heard another howl, then an answering from another wolf. Family calling to family. On a wild impulse he threw his head back and howled giving voice to his fierce emotions. His family was always with him. It didn't matter where they were. As his howl faded out he looked around and he sensed him. Oliver was out there.

"Attack me. " was all he said. Then he got into a fighting stance.

Oliver was stunned. He had seen Sam collapse onto his knees, then he began to glow white and red light danced around him as he kneeled there. Oliver remembered Shado and Yao Fei coming to aid him. Maybe Sam's family had somehow reached out to him. When Sam had finally stood up and howled with the wolves his whole being had shifted. No longer weak prey, Sam had become the predator he needed to be. He had accepted his losses, embraced the pain and come out the other side stronger. He had survived. Both of them knew that he needed to be tested though. Oliver couldn't hold back now. Setting down the bow and arrows. Oliver grabbed his knife, he allowed himself to shift into the hunter, he brought his own predator to the fore it was the only way this was going to work. He stalked closer to Sam, making no sound.

Sam didn't hear him but the atmosphere around him shifted, animals stopped moving on his right side. They were afraid of something. He turned right and met Oliver's blow. Not fast enough to stop the knife from slicing into his arm but it prevented serious damage. Neither of them made a sound.

Sam danced back from Oliver and launched a round kick at him. Oliver ducked the kick and aimed to take Sam's leg out. Sam flowed with the momentum of his kick and brought his back leg up aiming for Oliver's head. Oliver rolled by Sam and swiped at his calf. He connected, Sam felt the wound but ignored it. Oliver spun around in his crouch and stood up, aiming a knife strike straight up Sam's stomach. Sam's hands dropped, caught Oliver's hand and they locked in a contest of strength. Sam had the better angle, Oliver dropped onto his back and flipped Sam over him. Pushing his legs straight as Sam went over pushing Sam farther away from him and into a tree trunk. Oliver didn't give Sam a chance to recover, he was on him in a flash and nailed a kick into Sam's ribs, he felt one of them crack. Sam struck out at Oliver's knee and almost dislocated it. Oliver went down, Sam landed on top of him and grabbed the hand that Oliver was holding the knife in. He started pounding it on the ground to make Oliver release the knife. That was a bad move on Sam's part. Oliver got his legs around Sam's ribs and started to squeeze, He felt Sam's balance waiver as he tried to get a breath and he threw his hips to one side to knock Sam on the ground. Sam rolled, Oliver rolled with him and landed on top with the knife at Sam's throat. Oliver ripped his hood back and looked straight into Sam's face, he was snarling at him. He pushed the knife harder into Sam's throat. Sam launched a punch at Oliver's head, Oliver leaned back avoiding the punch and looked at Sam. Sam was in control, the rage was there but it wasn't controlling him. He was fighting to live, not out of a desire to destroy.

"This is what control is. Sam." Oliver snarled at him.

Sam saw the animal in Oliver's face, he saw the rage, the desire to kill but he saw that Oliver was controlling it.

"If you have control you survive. If you don't you die. Do you understand? " He let some of the pressure off the knife.

"Yes. I do. " Then Sam grabbed Oliver's knife hand in his left and hit him full force with the right. Oliver hunched his shoulder up and ducked but he couldn't quite avoid the blow. He fell heavily to the ground, his ears ringing. He didn't black out but it was close. Sam sat up and looked at Oliver who was breathing heavily. He watched as Oliver slowly sat up shaking his head. Sam waiting until Oliver was looking at him.

"Dead" was all Sam said. Then he laid back on the ground and took a deep breath. He felt sane again, he felt as whole as could be given the circumstances. A wolf howled and Sam smiled. They both laid there the rest of the night. They didn't speak, eventually they fell asleep. Morning came. Sam woke up and rolled over, everything hurt. He opened his eyes and saw the necklace and the keys for the car next to him along with a little camp stove and a dehydrated meal he could heat up. Oliver was gone.

Sam put the necklace back on, put the keys in his pocket and ate. It was one of the best meals he had ever had. He stood up, looked at his map and realized he was only about 2 miles from the car. He started walking.

Oliver had woken up about an hour before Sam did and walked out to the road and back to the Lake House. He had showered, he had a nasty bruise from the last punch Sam had given him. He smiled a bit at the thought of it. The smile didn't last though. He had let out something in that last fight that he had kept hidden for over a year now. It was going to take some time to get it under wraps again. He had learned something about himself last night and he wasn't sure he liked it. If he had fought with the super soldiers like he had fought with Sam the outcomes would have been different. This new threat was going to push his control. He had been holding back because he was afraid, afraid of losing what little bit of humanity he had saved on the island. He may not be able to be able to stop this new threat and keep his humanity intact. He shook his head, shoved the predator back down and got dressed. He had to go see Felicity. He had a text from Diggle saying she was home. He got ready to leave, then had a thought. He had put Sam's number in his phone, he texted him giving him Felicity's address. He knew Felicity would not relax until she saw Sam.

Oliver showed up at her condo and knocked on the door. Diggle opened it, he saw the bruise on Oliver's face and smirked. "Well at least you two match now. You're back early. What was the outcome?" Dig asked.

Oliver walked past him and spotted Felicity on the couch. Her eyes were filled with apprehension. He walked over to the couch and sat next to her

"Sam made it." Oliver told her. She threw her arms around him.

"Thank you! Are you ok? " She asked. She knew he had pushed himself in ways she couldn't comprehend.

"Yes I'm fine. I gave him your address. I am not sure if he will drop by or not but he is ok. You have my word. " Oliver said. Then he stood up. He needed some time alone. "I'm going to head out for a bit. I'll be back later." He started to walk out and his phone rang. It was the Thea.

'Hey Oli, there's a package here for you. It doesn't look club related. It came from an auto parts place. " Sam's window had arrived.

"Thanks Thea it's a gift for someone. " He looked at Felicity. "When you see Sam tell him his window is here." Then he left.

Sam showed up at the condo about 2 hours later. He knocked on the door and Felicity let him in. Diggle had headed to the club, picked up the window and brought it to her place. He figured that would be easier than sending Sam to the club. Then Felicity had told him to go home, she knew if he had been there when Sam was it would be awkward. She got the feeling that the the guys would never act the same around each other after this.

"Hi Sam. I'm so glad to see you. " She embraced him, he hugged her back. "Your car window is here. I saw Oliver, looks like you got a good hit on him. Good job. " She smiled a bit. Sam laughed a bit. She moved to the side and he walked into the condo. He looked good she thought. He seemed composed and controlled. Like how Oliver and Diggle usually were.

"It's good to see you too. I'm not staying long. I need to get moving again. I just wanted to say thank you. Which is entirely inadequate for how I feel. If it hadn't been for you making Oliver help me I wouldn't be here. I wish there was a way I could repay you. There's no way I can." He walked up to her and held her close and kissed her cheek. "Felicity you really were an angel for me. Tell Oliver something for me please. Tell him that he needs to howl with the wolves every once in awhile. He'll understand. Here, these belong to you. " He handed her the credit cards back. "It's time I stand on my own again." Then he picked up the window and left. Felicity sat down on the couch, tears fell down her face. It wasn't sadness it was relief. Sam would be ok. She'd miss him but he'd be ok.

As Sam pulled onto the road he was flipping radio stations. He heard a new song and it caught his attention.

" If I know one thing, that's true

It ain't what you say, it's what you do

And you don't say much, yeah, that's true

But I listen when you do

A thousand years go by

But love don't die

If I know one thing, that's true

It's that I'm never leaving you

And you don't say much, yeah, that's true

But I lose it when you do

Don't let them tell no lie

Love don't die

No matter where we go

Or even if we don't

And even if they try

They'll never take my body from your side

Love don't die

If there is one thing, that's true

It's not what I say, it's what I do

And I say too much, yeah, that's true

So just listen to what I do

A thousand years go by

But love don't die

No matter where we go

Or even if we don't

And even if they try

They'll never take my body from your side

Love don't die

She can break it up

She can burn it down

You can box it in

Bury it in the ground

You can close it off

And turn it away

Try to keep it down,

Six feet in the ground

But love don't die

No matter where we go

Or even if we don't

And even if they try

They'll never take my body from your side

Love don't die

No matter where we go

Or even if we don't

I'd like to watch them try

They'll never take my body from your side

Love don't die "

Later that night, Oliver was standing on a roof top. He thought about Sam's parting words to him. Perhaps Sam had a point. Wolves protected family, protected their home and were loyal to the end. They and he were kindred spirits. A mischievous grin crossed his face. He turned, faced the moon and howled. Then he jumped off the roof top and headed into his territory to protect his family.

* Lyrics are for "Love Don't Die" by The Fray