Times Like These

Chapter 20

Oliver burst through the doors of the F.B.I’s office with more force than necessary, his eyes searching for Agent Jackson in the sea of dark suits and blue polo shirts. He wanted answers. He needed to know why it was Monday afternoon, two days since she’d been taken and they had no idea where she was.

“Queen!” he vaguely heard a voice call above the din but he ignored it as he scanned the room.

A hand on his shoulder had him whipping his head to the side to see the worn face of Quentin Lance.

“Oliver!” he snapped quickly and with a rush of noise Oliver could suddenly hear and see what was happening around him.

Behind Lance were four agents all looking extremely serious, and with their hands resting on the butts of the weapons at their hips.

“You look like hell, son. Why don’t we go get a cup of coffee and I’ll bring you up to speed.” Lance suggested, not once looking to the agents behind them,

Oliver swallowed thickly and nodded once before he allowed Lance to lead him through a maze of desks and makeshift offices until they found a spot that was relatively empty.

“Not a good idea to go bursting through the Feds space like a bull in a china shop. They tend to not like that.” Lance admonished lightly as he gestured towards a chair before he made his way over to a nearby coffee pot.

Oliver sat down, elbows resting on his knees as he stared at the scrubbed linoleum floor, Digg coming to stand beside him. He almost jumped when a white styrofoam cup was pressed into his hands.

Lance dragged up another chair and offered it to Digg who refused. With a sigh Lance took the chair for himself and dropped into it like his bones were having a hard time keeping him upright.

The older man scrubbed a hand down his face and leaned forward before he spoke, although Oliver was certain he knew what he was going to say.

“There’s nothing new to report on Ms. Smoak or Samuels. No new leads, no new intel.”

It took everything within Oliver not to crush the cup he was holding, although he wasn’t sure he would have even felt the hot liquid as it poured over his skin.

“But we do have something on the psychologist that vouched for Samuels and helped him with his release.” there was a slight hopefulness in his voice that Oliver latched on to as his head shot up to look at the detective.

“We uh…we received a tip and seized his computers,” something stirred in Oliver’s chest at the knowledge that Lance was protecting Felicity. She had been the one to put together the info on the doctor and send it to Lance. “The bastard was into kiddie porn.” Lance informed with a snarl, “Samuels must have found out and blackmailed him into helping him get out.”

“But there’s been no movement-” Oliver paused and caught himself, “I mean, I thought there had been no movement from him once he skipped town.” Lance couldn’t know he’d been continuing Felicity’s searches on databases they had illegally gained access to.

Lance shook his head, “We weren’t really looking for him. His actions were suspicious but his name hadn’t been picked up buying any plane tickets or attempting to leave the country so the F.B.I hadn’t been focused on him. Until now.”

Oliver sat straighter in the chair, knowing Lance was about to tell him something he didn’t know.

“He popped on facial recognition renting a car in Starling City early Saturday morning, except he was using an alias.”

The news settled within him as his emotions rocketed from anger to elation to confusion.

“Were they with him?” Oliver choked out

Lance looked down sadly, “No, Howard was by himself in the video, but we’ve got the make and model of the car now. It was a two week rental and he paid in cash.”

The hope that had been slowly filling him dropped hard and quick taking his breath with it. “Then they could be anywhere.”

“The profiler thinks this lines up with his theory that Samuels is trying to take her back east to re-live the accident. They can’t fly, he’ll know they’ll be caught. But driving gives them anonymity.”

The thought of Felicity being trapped in a car somewhere between Starling and the east coast was almost too much for him to handle.

“It’s been forty-eight hours,” he blurted out, rising to his feet as he did because he hadn’t meant to say that.

Lance sighed heavily but stayed in his seat, “I know what the stats say-”

Oliver paced the small space and then pivoted, “Jackson said the chances of finding her alive after forty-eight hours weren’t good,”

“And I can show you just as many cases where the victim was found, perfectly well and alive days past that, even weeks and months in some cases.” Lance rose then and crossed to stand right in front of him, “Even five years,” he said pointedly making Oliver take a step back and rake shaky fingers through his hair.

“Do you think she’s dead?” Lance asked suddenly

“No,” Oliver replied without thinking, freezing as the quick exchange resonated with him,

“Good. I don’t either. Hang on to that.”

Oliver nodded mutely as Lance clapped a hand to his shoulder. “I’ll track Jackson down, see if there’s anything new. Now that we know he’s using an alias they’re searching everything to see if there’s something that got missed,”

Half an hour later Jackson invited him into his office, but told him nothing that Lance hadn’t already known. Oliver and Digg paced the lobby for another few hours as if their mere presence could somehow help facilitate her rescue.

Finally Digg convinced him to head out. A conference call from the team in Felicity’s hometown was slated to happen later that day and Lance promised to let them know if anything came from it.

He shouldn’t have been surprised when Digg pulled up behind Verdant and gave Oliver a pointed look. “I’ll go grab something to eat and be back,” he said as Oliver exited the car, pulling away before he could reply.

Walking into the lair for the first time since she’d been missing hit him like a sharp blow. His steps faltered as he made his way down the metal stairs, hand clutching tight to the rail as her empty chair came into view.

He’d been in the lair countless times without her there but this was different. The space she’d redesigned had always had a warmth to it, a comfort he didn’t find in many places, but then, much like the mansion, it was cold and empty without her presence.

His hand ran along the top of her chair, still turned slightly to the side from the last time she’d exited it. The screens jumped to life with a touch of the keyboard and he saw a mirror image of the set up back at the mansion. But like all the times before there was still nothing new. Nothing to go on.

The hours at the F.B.I had left him feeling jumpy and on edge, something he wasn’t used to, and with the only sound around him coming from the air vents and not from the familiar clatter of her fingers typing, he pushed away and stalked across the training mats, stripping his shirt off as he went.

When Digg returned Oliver was solely focused on the training dummy, the steady rhythm helping to calm the raw edges that were threatening to unravel as he tried his hardest to ignore her absence.

He was left alone, nothing reaching him as he lost himself in the repetition until his forearms were numb and his muscles burned, arms hanging limp at his side, as he drew ragged breath after ragged breath the room slowly coming into focus around him.

Digg was at the bank of computers, a bag of food off on a side table, still abiding by Felicity’s rule of no food or drink within five feet of her equipment.

As he toweled off he was surprised to see how much time had passed. He only had a little over an hour before he was supposed to meet Lance.

The food was cold, and he didn’t taste it. He only ate it because Digg leveled him with a look and he knew he needed it for fuel and nothing else.

“Anything?” he asked unnecessarily as he wiped his hands and threw the trash away, coming to stand at Digg’s shoulder.

“Lance texted. The conference call got delayed…but other than that, nothing.”

His hands clenched into fists, his head tilting to the side as he tried to keep himself calm. “I’m going to patrol before I meet with Lance. Go back to the mansion if you want. Or home, Digg, go home.”

The only indication he had that Digg took affront to his attempt to send him home was the way his jaw ticked and the fact that he wouldn’t look at Oliver. “Want me on the comms?” he offered,

“No!” Oliver bit out before he could even really process what had been said. He didn’t want anyone on the comms other than Felicity. Her voice was the only voice he wanted in his ear. To have the link to the lair and not be able to say ‘Talk to me, Felicity’ might be more than he could handle.

An hour later the streets of Starling were down a few random thugs who were more worse for wear than he usually would have left them, but it had done nothing to help loosen the icy fist around his gut that only seemed to get tighter with every passing minute.

Lance was already there when Oliver shot a zip-line over to the rooftop where they met. The detective was still in plainclothes, his hair more rumpled than it typically looked and he didn’t appear as if he’d slept more than Digg or Oliver had.

“We got nothing,” Lance said immediately with no lead in, his tone rough and more gravelly than usual. “So once again I’m turning to the one guy in the city who seems to have all the resources even though it goes against almost everything I stand for as a cop. But I figure you actually have a dog in this fight. Your girl’s been missing for two days now, so what do you got?”

The accusatory, angry nature of his words made Oliver step back, physically trying to avoid the attack.

“I’m working with the same information you are, Detective,” Oliver returned as soon as he was able to speak. Guilt swamped over him, leaving his head reeling at the idea that Lance thought he should be able to find her. Because he was right. Oliver should be able to find her.

Lance barked out a scoffing laugh at that, “Right? I’ve seen what you can do. I know what you’ve done in the past, and you’re telling me you can’t find one pretty, blonde girl?”

“It’s more complicated than that,”

“Is it? I get this has nothing to do with you and your…mission, whatever that is, but I’ve seen what that girl does for you, the risks she takes…she’s already in a high profile job and yet she still finds time to work for you and this crusade you’re on. I think you owe her.”

“I do owe her! I owe her everything!” Oliver roared back, vision blanking on the edges as his hand clenched so tight around his bow he could feel it creak. He wanted to rage more. To scream until his throat ached about how he was doing nothing but trying to find her. But somewhere in the back of his mind a voice crept in and reminded him that he couldn’t show Lance his true reaction. Oliver Queen could be that upset about the woman he loved, but not the Arrow.

Lance nodded once, wiping a hand down his face before he stuffed his fists in his pocket, “I believe that. I just…I meant what I said earlier, she’s special.” his voice had become quieter, some of the fire leeching away, shoulders slumping forward as he moved only slightly closer,

Oliver made a noise of agreement, not trusting his words wouldn’t give him away just then.

“She uh…she snuck in when I wasn’t paying attention you know. All big eyes, and bright smiles…she’s the last person in the world you’d think would hook up with the likes of you. And somehow I went from bringing her in for questioning to looking after her like she was one of my own.”

He looked off into the city, eyes seeing further than the buildings before him, “I’ve already lost one daughter…I can’t…I know she’s not mine but…”

Oliver’s throat was tight with emotion he couldn’t shed just then. Felicity had done what she’d done with everyone she met. She drew them in. She made them care.

He didn’t need the reminder that he was the reason Lance had lost Sara and could lose Felicity too.

With a great inhale he swallowed it down and shoved it deep inside where he didn’t have to deal with it just then. “How are you working with the F.B.I? I didn’t think they appreciated the help of local law enforcement,” his all too obvious change of topic was deliberate.

Lance let out a half a chuckle, “Yeah, they don’t. But I offered my services. Told them I’d do my best to keep Oliver Queen out of their hair if they let me help.”

He paused for a long moment before he continued, “And the agent in charge has a daughter her age so…he gets it,” Lance offered almost as an afterthought, but the way he said it led Oliver to believe it was most likely the primary reason for why he’d been allowed to work with them.

“I don’t have any answers, Detective, but I’m doing everything I can to find her,” Oliver said, thankful the modulator didn’t transmit the break in his voice as he spoke, “But she…The best person to find Felicity is Felicity.”

Lance opened his mouth to speak and then let it fall shut again, sighing. “Yeah…I get that. I’ll send her… you… I’ll send you some of the latest stuff but it’s not much.”

He didn’t sound like the tough, hardened cop any longer, now he just sounded like a man who had seen how cases like this could end, and what he had seen wasn’t good. The man who had assured Oliver earlier in the day to not lose hope didn’t seem as if he had any just then.

Shame, guilt, dread…they’d all taken up residence inside Oliver’s chest, pushing away air and all sense of normality, leaving nothing but a thick black void that was slowly expanding. It creeped through him and muddled his thoughts as he stared at the half-broken man before him, knowing he could be responsible for breaking him once again.

Where would that leave Quentin Lance.

Where would it leave Oliver.

Without a word he snatched an arrow from his quiver and fired it back across the rooftops, disappearing into the night before Lance could say another word.

Oliver didn’t recall how he made it back to the lair. He could have been spotted, could have been jumped and he would have never seen it coming. Digg was on his feet as soon as he threw the bow down, not bothering to put it back in the case.

“Check her phone, Lance is sending more files,” he said, voice monotone and flat as he headed for the shower. “I’ll get myself back,”

He took the long way to the mansion, the roar of the Dukati under him doing nothing to help settle his thoughts. The house was dark and quiet when he entered and had made it halfway up the stairs when he paused and turned around.

His steps led him back to the front parlor and the drink cart that held the scotch. The first pour went down like glass making him grimace. The second just burned a trail of fire all the way to his stomach, doing nothing to thaw the knot that had taken up residence inside him.

Lance’s accusations had hit him harder than he expected. He knew the man was hurting and worried and lashing out at the Arrow was easy. But Oliver didn’t know how much more he could handle.

He hadn’t felt this out of control, this lost since the Gambit had gone down. Felicity kept him even, she balanced him, without her he had no equilibrium.

It had been building for days. For over a week really. Ever since he’d looked up from his desk to see Felicity spilling papers all over the office floor as she spotted Samuels for the first time in seven years. That moment had changed everything. Their world had tilted on its axis and it hadn’t stopped.

But now he didn’t know which end up was up. He was helpless, hopeless, and those were feelings so foreign to him he was almost surprised he’d been capable of having them. Even when he’d gone up against Merlyn he’d known, he’d been resolute, content with his decision even if it led to his death.

Desperation, and grief, and anger warred. The battle was spiraling out of control until he couldn’t see and he couldn’t breathe, and the darkness threatened to fill his veins. His grip tightened on the glass in his hand, and when it all boiled over all he could do was turn and aim for the fireplace.

The crystal crashing into the darkened bricks wasn’t enough, it only made him angrier, and with his heart thundering and blood rushing he turned to the metal drink cart and upended it with a barely muffled scream.

Clear and amber colored liquors mixed as they slowly seeped into the persian rug and spilled onto the hardwood floors. The broken decanters caught the faint light, glittering like diamonds as he stood over it all, hands clenched at his sides, chest heaving.

Oliver stumbled backwards as his breaths became more ragged. He couldn’t take a full breath, spots dancing in his vision that had already narrowed down to only what was in front of him. When his back hit the wooden frame of the doorway he gave in and sank to the floor his head coming to rest in hands as the first tears fell.

Since he’d woken up in the hospital and found out she was missing he’d been pushing this down, tucking it away, and doing his best to ignore the grief, and the loss but he couldn’t do it any longer.

Soft, cold hands closed over his and for a second…god, for one split second he thought it was her. Until he heard the half mumbled 'Ollie’ and his heart restarted with a pang as he heard his sister’s voice.

Head still bowed, heels of his hands pressed into his forehead, he didn’t move. Thea’s fingers tightened over his and he felt one hand coast over his hair.

“Ollie…” she began and he tried to pull back, not wanting to talk, but she didn’t let go. “What happened? Did the F.B.I call?”

She was scared he’d heard the worst, he could hear it in her voice.

All he could do was shake his head 'no’ as her relieved exhale filled the air around them.

“Then what is it? Talk to me, Ollie, I know you don’t…do that but…I want to help. I’m so sorry this happened. It’s not right and it’s not fair, but you’re killing yourself! You’re not eating, and you’re not sleeping, and you should probably still be in the hospital, but you’re not. Instead you and Mr. Diggle are up all hours of the night trying to…I don’t even know. I don’t know what you think you can do that the F.B.I can’t, but I understand you feel like you have to do something. But she wouldn’t want you to do this to yourself!”

At the mention of Felicity his head snapped up, wet eyes feeling the coolness of the room as he looked at his sister for the first time as she knelt in front of him. “She is supposed to be here. I don’t know how to do this without her, I…can’t do it…anything, I don’t want to.” once the words had started he found he couldn’t stop, “If she’s…god, Thea, if she’s gone-” his voice broke as the thought caught in his throat and he found himself unable to complete the sentence.

She shifted next to him, arm slipping under his to curl around his bicep so she could hug him to her as best she could. “You can’t think like that,” she said almost fiercely, “Ollie, listen to me. I don’t know Felicity that well, but I can see what she means to you, and I can see what she does for you. She’s brought you back. You let her in, when you wouldn’t or couldn’t let anyone else in, you let her in.” There was no trace of bitterness in her tone, “So even though I don’t really know her I do know she’s got to be one strong woman. You couldn’t have made it easy for her and she still didn’t give up. You have to believe she’s not giving up now. So wherever she is, she’s fighting and she’s doing whatever she can to get back to you. Because the one thing I do know is that girl is as much in love with you as you are with her.”

“I do…I am,” he admitted out loud for the first time, “And I know I’m no good for her but…she makes me better, she helps fill the holes the island left and…I can’t lose her.” the hot sting behind his eyes of fresh tears took him by surprise and Thea didn’t say anything, just wrapped an arm around his shoulders and tugged him sideways until his head came to rest against hers.

She shushed him gently until his shoulders stopped shaking and then they just sat in silence, the dark enveloping them.

He didn’t know how long they sat there before Thea finally moved, “Come on, big guy, my butt’s falling asleep, and I know your head has to be killing you.” she said as she slid sideways and climbed to her feet, both hands grasping one of his as she tugged upwards.

Slowly and reluctantly he let her pull him upright, the change in position sending a vicious throb through his skull that made him grimace. Thea gave him a knowing look and led him to the nearest couch.

His eyes cut over the mess he’d made earlier. All the anger and frustration and rage he’d felt was gone, leaving him feeling hollow and empty, and he honestly wasn’t sure which was better.

“I can’t, I need to clean that up.” he protested,

“I’ll get it.” she assured him as she shoved down on his shoulders and made him sit. “Just rest, okay? I’d send you to bed, but I doubt you’d sleep.”

He let his head fall against the winged corner with a sigh and shut his eyes. She was probably right. “Thanks, Speedy,” he said softly and her hands squeezed his once before she moved away.

For awhile all he could hear was the faint sounds of glass clinking as she collected the remnants of his explosion. The sounds became easier and easier to tune out until they faded away altogether.

He woke up to Diggle calling his name and faint light trying to seep its way around the edges of the heavy drapes in the front parlor.

Oliver sat up, blinking heavy eyes to see his partner standing by the half open pocket door Thea must have closed up on her way out. One hand held car keys, the other had Oliver’s leather jacket.

“There’s a lead,” he said without preamble and Oliver was on his feet, half jogging to meet him, taking the jacket as they turned and made their way to the front door. “Lance just called. Dr. Howard was picked up renting another car at an airport a couple of hours from here. Local P.D has followed him to an extended stay hotel where he was seen entering a room.”

“What about-”

“There’s been no sighting of Felicity or Samuels but…” Digg didn’t need to finish, right then Howard was the only connection they had and it could be it was the break they were waiting for. “Lance said as long as you hang back and promise not to get involved you can go.”

Oliver just nodded as they climbed in the car, if this got him Felicity back he’d do anything.

Digg filled him in on the little they had been given as he drove. Facial recognition picked Howard up as soon as the counter had opened that morning. There was no indication as to how he had arrived at the airport, and the rental car he’d gotten in Starling hadn’t been found.

Once again he’d taken a two week rental, non-descript car, and paid in cash.

“Cops didn’t see anyone else enter or exit the car or the room,” Digg’s voice held a warning for him to not get his hopes up. But it was the first real hit they’d had since this started, and as cautious as he knew he should be he couldn’t help the way his heart raced just a bit faster at the thought that this could all be over soon. In just a few hours times he could be holding her.

They rode the rest of the way in almost complete silence. Nothing needed to be said. They both knew what the outcome of this could bring and all they could do was see it out.

The hotel was part of a large chain, the sort traveling business professionals used when they’d be in a different city for a week or two at a time. One half of the ’T’ shaped building was blocked off with the F.B.I’s mobile vans and black SUVs.

Digg pulled off to the side and Oliver spotted Lance near the back.

“Anything?” Oliver asked when he reached the detective’s side, not bothering with any sort of greeting. His words from the night before still rang in his head, the fact that they were potentially standing in front of the break they’d been waiting for doing nothing to ease the guilt Oliver still felt at not being the one to find her.

“A unit is about to enter the room. Front desk says Howard checked in by himself yesterday afternoon using the same alias as before and no one’s seen him with anyone matching Ms. Smoak or Samuels description, but they’re pulling the security tapes now.”

The three men stood behind the barricade and watched as a five man until in full combat gear ran silently up the staircase to the second level. Oliver’s gut clenched as he took in the automatic weapons, and tear gas canisters they were apparently willing to deploy, and the chance of Felicity being in that room and being caught in the crossfire scared him.

He must have moved because Digg’s strong grip clamped on his forearm was suddenly keeping him in place. He wanted to run. To scramble up the side of the building, knock through the door with his bow drawn and end it all.

But he couldn’t. He was forced to pace the sidelines as horrible images flashed through his mind of what they might find behind that door.

Then it was being busted down and none of them breathed as the team entered the room.

He wouldn’t have been able to say how long they waited, but when the team emerged with Howard in handcuffs and Oliver heard them yell 'All clear’ he was certain his heart had stopped beating. One by one they filed out until everyone that had gone in had come out and the door was shut firmly behind them, one man standing guard as the rest made their way back down.

“No,” he breathed out, “Where is she?”

“Oliver…there was no indication she was with Howard…” Lance began, trying to ease him into the idea that she wasn’t there, but one look is all it took to know that Lance had been hoping for the same miracle and had been waiting for her to walk out of that room as well.

The tight, twisting feeling in his chest he’d felt the night before grew again, and the rush of blood in his head blocked out the words he knew Digg was saying.

Oliver’s gaze latched onto Howard as he was led across the parking lot and before anyone could stop him Oliver had hopped the barricade and erased the distance between them in a few long strides.

He didn’t stop as he pushed past the agents. He ignored the shouts and the weapons that were drawn, and the danger to himself. His only focus was on the man who could give him answers.

“WHERE IS SHE?!” he roared as he grabbed Howard by the front of his shirt and lifted him off his feet. Oliver never felt the hands on him. Not Digg trying to pull him back or the other two agents pushing between him and Howard.

“Get him into the van!” a voice shouted as Howard was dragged away and then Jackson was in Oliver’s face, “You need to stand down, Mr. Queen! Let us do our job!”

“Come on, Oliver,” Digg said, strong arm still braced across Oliver’s chest as he tried to walk him backwards.

“Lance! Keep him on a leash or you’re both out of here!” Jackson ordered before he turned his back and followed after Howard.

Lance let out a frustrated sigh and dropped a hand to his shoulder, “Come on, son-”

Oliver shook him and Digg off angrily and spun on his heels, both hands coming up to run over his head as he crossed back over the barricade and leaned against the hood of the car, willing to wait as long as he had to.

They waited for hours. Lance left a few times to get an update but always came back shaking his head. All he’d been able to find out for certain was that no one else was in the room with Howard nor did it seem as if anyone had ever been with him. Their lead was growing colder by the second and the flare of hope Oliver had felt earlier was fading quickly.

Late afternoon Jackson emerged from the van and motioned for them to follow him. They crowded into a mobile unit as Jackson sank into the only chair available.

“We got it all. He admitted Samuels blackmailed him. Got him to falsify the medical records to reflect that Samuels was improving. He was also instructed to obtain a fake I.D and what to do after Samuels was released from the facility. If he complied then Samuels would stay quiet and not turn him in.” Jackson began and Oliver was once again amazed by the level of planning Samuels had gone into to set everything into motion.

“Howard flew into Starling last Friday. He said it was a last minute call from Samuels. Told him he needed to fly out, rent a car for him under the false name and then lie low for a few days before he could leave. Howard says he never actually had contact with the suspect. He dumped the car in a parking lot and took a bus back to a hotel in Starling where he stayed until yesterday.”

For a long moment there was silence, no sound but the muffled noises from outside and the slight rumble of the engine running.

“Felicity…she…”

“I’m sorry Mr. Queen, other than some basic knowledge as the girl Samuels had been obsessed with before he got admitted, Howard had no idea who she was. He didn’t even know she lived in Starling City until he’d seen news reports from last week.”

“So we’re back to where we were. Samuels is still a ghost and Felicity is…”

“I’m sorry, I wish I had better news for you. We’ll take him back, question him again. He did say in his professional opinion, for whatever thats worth, but he did say he wouldn’t be surprised if Samuels was taking her back east to re-live what happened to his girlfriend.”

Oliver felt the air rush from his chest as he leaned against the wall. The idea of her stuck in a car with Samuels halfway across the country left him with a feeling of dread he knew he wouldn’t be able to shake.

“I know things look bad, Mr. Queen, but the fact that Samuels put so much care and planning into this is a good thing. He’s not rushing, he’s willing to take his time. And right now he has no reason to think anyone is after him. He’ll slip up, and when he does we’ll catch him.” Jackson had stood, looking him in the eye as he spoke and Oliver knew he should be able to find some comfort in his words, but they just sounded forced and hollow.

“Agent Jackson, if there is anything I can do…any resources I can provide, equipment that needs to be purchased…I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to bring her home safe,” Oliver didn’t believe they had anyone on their team as good as Felicity, but if he could help pad their chances of finding her he would.

Jackson’s eyes dropped and when he looked back Oliver could see the man beneath the agent, “Thank you, Mr. Queen, I’ll keep that in mind.”

They filed out of the van silently, Lance following them back to their car.

“Don’t give up hope. Howard may have more to share, and there’s an APB out on the first car Howard rented. Every cop between here and the Atlantic is looking for it.”

All Oliver could do was nod as he climbed numbly into the car. Four days, one lead, and it had vanished as quick as it had come leaving them with a wasted day and no closer to finding her.

“See you back in Starling,” he heard Lance say as Digg crossed in front. The detective rapped his knuckles twice on the roof before he slowly headed for his own car.

The sun was almost set as they headed back to the city, and the car was filled with everything not being said. It was Tuesday night. She’d been gone for four days. And they didn’t know where in the hell she was.


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