the battles of your youth (this is just a game)


Disclaimer: All characters belong to DC Comics, Marc Guggenheim, and Geff Johns; in association with the CW Network. I claim no monetary gain from writing this.

There is still one more you love who must die...

Oliver couldn't breathe – the pain in his chest from where Slade through him against the concrete wall, the rippling, crushing ache he felt in his back and limbs – suffocated him. He was failing. He could barely keep up with Slade after he had spent hours fighting his and Blood's army of Mirakuru soldiers. The only thing keeping him going was the fact that Malcolm Merlyn had arrived, telling him Thea was safe and then disappearing down the street to take on some more of the masked soldiers.

Felicity wasn't answering anyone on their communication devices; Slade must have blocked their signal, or something had happened to her. He couldn't think that though – if Slade had gotten to her, he wouldn't be able to function.

John, the last he knew, was handling a few of the soldiers himself, and Waller had sent in the Suicide Squad to help. The image of John Diggle working side-by-side with Deadshot was one he'll never forget.

Sara and Laurel, however, were with him; Sara, beaten and nearly defeated as Slade hauled her to her knees in front of him of a sick parody of the island and Ivo's finale act of violence. Laurel was screaming herself hoarse, having thrown down Oliver's discarded compound bow, begging Slade to release her sister – one she just learned was Black Canary.

"Don't," croaked Oliver, mumbling through bleeding and cracked lips. He huffed as he heaved himself upright, leaning heavily against his left arm as he pushed himself up in a kneeling position to face Slade. "Slade, don't. This is between you and me. Not Sara. Not Shado. Not anymore."

"One more must die," rumbled Slade, his dark eyes on Oliver's trembling form. He stood still, strong in the dark and cloudy night.

Below them, and all around, the four could hear the noise of sirens and gunfire as the Mirakuru soldiers wrecked havoc. The rooftop penthouse that Slade had holed himself up in the past two years as he watched Oliver, studied him, learned his strength and weakness, watched his progress from his return on the island to being the Green Arrow, was the location for their final match. It would be either Oliver's last battle or the start of a new time for him.

Everything would change tonight.

"Please, please Slade," Oliver begged, slowing rising to his feet. "Don't... don't do this. Kill me. Leave them, but kill me."

"Ollie, no!" cried Sara, crying out when Slade tugged her blonde hair back sharply and Laurel screamed at him louder. However, they ignored her.

"No," replied the ex-Australian special forces soldier. "No. My revenge is not complete."

"Slade," Oliver brokenly whispered, blinking back tears and swallowing heavily, ignoring the sting of his sweat as it dripped into open wounds.

"I said one more you love must die," he said, shoving Sara away towards Laurel, who gathered her sister tightly in her arms, smoothing her hands down her hair and shoulders, checking her over. "But you don't love either of these girls."


Oliver stared dumbly at Slade. Who was left? He already had Oliver choose between Shado and Sara; his mother and Thea when his mother made the decision for him; between Sara and Laurel. Did he have Felicity? Thea, again? Or maybe even John?

Slade glanced over Oliver's shoulders, through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of his penthouse, where Sebastian Blood, in his skull hood mask stood silently. With a nod, Blood turned and entered the apartment.


"It wasn't easy finding them. Not after the Undertaking. But it seemed that the secret of their location was kept from everyone but two," explained Slade, a triumphant glint in his eyes as he slowly strode towards Oliver, who listed heavily on his only functioning good leg (his right), wearily watching his old friend as he moved closer and closer.

"Taking them from the compound was..." Slade paused, tilting his head to the side as he contemplated it. "Difficult. But worth it. Will be worth seeing your face."

"What? Slade... please, just... just end it with me. Let them go," Oliver said earnestly, imploring his once friend to look him in the eye and see his sincerity. "Whoever this is... they have nothing to do with me."

"Oh, don't they?" smirked Slade.

Behind him, ignored, Laurel's head came up and her eyes rounded in surprise, shock, and horror. Her mouth dropped open, and Oliver could see her mouthing a single word over and over again: "No. No. No no no no."

Oliver's brows furrowed and he heard the scuffling sound of someone's shoes being dragged along the concrete floor of the penthouse rooftop, towards him and Slade. Grunts – male grunts – as the person was shoved to the ground just behind Oliver by Blood.

Oliver, at first, did not want to turn. Who else was left that he loved, for Slade to take? He had already taken everything that mattered, or threatened everyone who mattered – who could make Laurel Lance give that type of reaction?

But Slade's triumphant smirk chilled Oliver's blood, and, dreading what he would see – who he would see – he slowly turned.

At first, nothing processed in his mind – it was disjointed. Men's shoes – dress shoes, fine Italian leather, comfortable designer jeans, and a mussed white button up shirt, with rolled up sleeves, covered in a dusting of dirt and blood splotches. But with a large blood stain around the centre of the man's chest, where a piece of industrial steel had pushed through.

Oliver, as he realised who Slade presented to him as the last – someone else he loved who must die – physically staggered back several paces, feeling like a two-by-four had slammed into him. It was hard to breathe, and spots danced across his vision. Oliver rapidly blinked, focusing on the man.