A/N: Yay, I finally caught up on homework and I'm free to write again!


Previously on 'Stumbled'

"This is the police!" A voice shouted—Sam's voice. "Open up!"

"We need a sign of good faith." It was Luke again, sounding forced calm. He was no doubt annoyed with Sam for taking over negotiations.

"What does it mean?" Dean asked.

Andy bit her lip. "They want you to let Gavin go. It will show them that you're willing to cooperate."

Dean slipped his arm around the young boy's shoulder, leading him towards the door. "Keep your chin up, kid." He opened the door just enough for the boy to squeeze through, and closed it immediately after he was gone. He turned back to Andy, looking younger and more helpless than she ever remembered him looking. "Now what?"


Five minutes earlier…

Sam paced anxiously back and forth, his nerves nearly eating him alive. He knew he had to keep his cool if he was going to be of any help; Luke had already threatened to send him home. How was anyone supposed to keep a level head in situations like this? Half of the people on the scene knew Andy, most of them pretty well. How were they staying so calm?

"What the hell is going on in there?" Sam asked impatiently, storming over to Luke, his hands held up in surrender.

The detective looked up from his work, annoyed. "Swarek, get out of here. You already jeopardized this negotiation. You—"

"I was doing my job!" Sam spat. "More than you were doing! Every second that kid and Andy are in there with that bastard is a second too long. We don't know what's going on in—"

"Exactly!" Luke shouted, surprising Sam. This was the first time he had seen the detective lose it since Andy's disappearance. The once calm and collected man was feeling the same pressure he was. "Exactly. We don't know what's going on in there. That's all the more reason to approach things slowly. He hasn't hurt either of them; I really don't think we should start lying to him about seeing his daughter or whatever other crap you have planned. Keeping this guy calm and trusting that Andy is in there doing her job is one of our top priorities."

Sam glared at the detective. "You better be right."

"The door's opening!" A random voice shouted from a distance.

Sam whipped his head towards the cabin, watching as the door opened just a crack, letting a small body run out. The door slammed shut before the boy had made it to the steps. Sam seemed frozen in his place as he watched a group of cops hurry to the cabin, one sweeping little Gavin into his arms as they hurried away from the house.

Luke took a step closer to Sam, looking at him with just a hint of smugness. "I am."

Sam was dumbfounded. He didn't even register Luke's comment as he hurried towards the perimeter line, where the kid was being reunited with his tearful parents. He slowed his steps, approaching the family cautiously and signaling to Epstein and Diaz to get out of there.

"Mr. and Mrs. Steel… I know you just got your son back and this is the last thing you want to do, but I need to ask you son some questions."

The little boy sniffled in her mother's arms, but twisted around to look at him. "Are you going to save Andy?"

His innocent words made his insides hurt. "Yes, yes we're going to save Andy… but I need your help."

"Okay." Gavin said seriously with a nod.

Sam gave him a small smile. "The man who took you, is he pointing a gun at Andy?"

Gavin nodded again. "Yeees."

"Okay, um…" He wondered what questions would be appropriate to ask a toddler… or even how to word them. "Did the man ever hurt you?"

The little boy shook his head slowly. "No."

Gavin's parents breathed a sigh of relief, and his mother squeezed him tightly.

"Good." Sam smiled. "Did he ever hurt Andy?"

Gavin bit his lip, looking down and nodding. "Yes."

Sam's stomach twisted. "What did he do?"

"He hit her." Gavin said, his eyes big and unblinking. "He yelled at her. He put her in the trunk. He tied her up. She hurted a lot."

"She's hurt?" Sam tried to clarify. He wondered what Gavin meant by that. Andy had not seemed too bad off when her captor had brought her outside to get the radio.

Gavin nodded. "Yes. Her body hurted."

Sam was still unsure what he meant, but decided not to push it any further. "Did the man yell a lot?"

Gavin hesitated, as if thinking about it, before shaking his head. "Nope, but he did get mad."

"Officer Swarek?" Sam looked over at the EMT, standing a couple feet away. "We need to do a quick check-up with the boy… could you pick this up later?"

Sam nodded understandingly. "Sure." He flashed a smile at the boy and held out his fist, which Gavin quickly bumped with his own. "You did great, kiddo. Hang tough."

"Thank you officer Swarek." Mrs. Steel called out after him, her arms still wrapped protectively around her child. "We will be praying for your friend."

Sam smiled, giving them a wave. "Thanks." He hurried back over to Luke, who was in the middle of a conversation with someone from SWAT. "Hey, we've got to get her out of there."

If Luke was annoyed by the interruption, he didn't show it as he turned to Sam, his arms crossed as he glanced toward the rescued boy. "I know, we're not waiting any longer. The kid's safe now… we have to do something."

"Andy's in there." Sam reminded him, looking between the detective and the SWAT member.

Luke glared at him. "Why do you think I'm doing this? Andy's a good cop, she'll know what's coming… she'll know what she needs to do."

Sam clenched his teeth as Luke followed the man over to the SWAT unit, talking and pointing towards the cabin. He sighed, throwing his head back, looking towards the sky. He sent up his own quick prayer that Andy would be safe, as he had an eerie feeling that someone bad would happen.


Inside the cabin, Andy and her captor sat with their backs against the wall, both silent and both tired. The past few days had taken its toll on everyone.

"Why haven't they said anything?" Dean eventually asked, glancing towards the radio on space of floor between them. "I mean… I know they wouldn't thank me or anything, but you would think they would say something? Do you think my daughter's here yet?"

Andy was distracted by her own thoughts to pay any attention to him. She too was worried about the lack of communication from the police outside. She did not like the fact they did not acknowledge her captor's release of the child. They had to be planning something. She wondered what it was—and how she should react. What would they expect her to do?

"Andy?"

She looked at him, he seemed concerned. "I don't know. They're probably just busy interviewing Gavin and making final arrangements for you to see your daughter."

"Good, good." He nodded, seeming to buy it. "Hey, you don't think Gavin will be traumatized by all this, do you?"

Andy shook her head, finding it sweet that he was worried about the boy. "No, I don't think so. He's a tough cookie. He'll be fine."

"Good." He said again, sounding relieved.

Andy eyed the gun in Dean's shaking hands, noting that the safety was off—not something she would have expected when there were dozens police and no doubt a SWAT team outside. "Have you used that before?"

He chuckled and shook his head no, caressing the weapon. "No, never. Never even shot one of those pellet guns before. I really don't know the first thing about guns… this one's not even loaded because I didn't know how to."

Andy's heartbeat increased. "What?"

"It doesn't matter." He said with a shrug. "As long as they think it's loaded, that's all that matters."

She didn't know he if had meant to share that information, of if he even realized the consequences they could bring, but she knew she had a chance—a chance to end things right. "Listen to me, you have to end this now. You need to give yourself up. I'm telling you, that is the best thing you have going for you right now. Give me the gun, and we'll just walk out of here."

Dean chuckled again. "Yeah right. I'm not leaving here until I see my kid."

She sighed silently, wishing she could tell him that he wasn't going to see his daughter without him getting angry or doing something crazy. "Listen… I'm a cop. If I believe you about your gun being empty—which I do—I have to take you in. It's my job. I don't want to do that… it would be better for everyone if you give yourself up—especially for your daughter."

Dean looked angry at first, but his features softened as he thought about it. "I'll still get to see my daughter?"

"Yes." She lied, knowing she could not promise him that. "I promise."

He waited a moment before nodding. "Yeah, yeah okay."

Andy cautiously held her hand out, asking him without words for the gun. Dean hesitated a moment before placing it into her hand.

"You're not going to screw me over, are you?" He asked.

She shook her head, feeling guilty. "No. I wouldn't do that."

He gave her a slight smile. "So what, we just walk out of here?"

Andy nodded. "Yeah, that's it."

"Okay." He took a deep breath. "Do we need to go now?"

"I think that would be best." She said, reaching over and taking his hand into hers. "It's going to be okay."

"Thank you Andy."

Hand-in-hand, the two of them rose to their feet and moved to the door. She was so caught up in the moment that she made a mistake—she forgot to radio in her captor's surrender. She reached for the door knob, but before she could turn it, the door exploded—blasting into her and knocking her off her feet. She was thrown to the floor and the splintery wood landed on top of her.

Everything went crazy. Everyone was shouting and guns were pointed in every which direction. She watched as several officers gathered around Dean, shouting orders. She tried to speak, but she was struggling to breathe—the blast must have cracked a few of her ribs. "He's unarmed." She managed to gasp to no avail—her voice too weak and quiet to be heard.

"Put your hands up!"

"Drop your weapon!"

She struggled to watch as Dean got down on his knees, his hands up in surrender. He shot her a terrified look as he was pushed hard onto the ground—much rougher than they needed to be. She was so focused on what was happening with Dean that she didn't realize that Dov and pulled the door off her and was now standing over her, yelling.

"Are you okay?!"

She nodded, struggling to get up on her own and accepting Dov's extended hand. She groaned loudly as she scrambled to her feet, holding her ribs tightly as the pain spiked. "I'm fine, I'm okay." She tried to assure Dov's worried face.

"You're alive, but you're not fine." He argued, slipping his hand under her shoulders and helping her down the cabin's wooden steps. Her feet nearly gave out beneath her weight at one point, luckily Dov was a lot stronger than he looked and helped balance her. She tried to say she was fine again, but it was getting harder to breathe.

"Hey!" Luke called to Dov above the chaos of the crime scene. "Is she okay?"

Andy didn't hear Dov's response as in that moment Traci was by her side, helping her to the ambulance. She sat down on the gurney, her ribs screaming in protest at every move she made. She bit her lip as she tried to keep calm and not protest as the man shined his light in her eyes.

"Lucky you. Looks like you get a free trip to the hospital." The EMT said as he stepped back, pocketing his flashlights and waving his partner over. "You have a concussion."

She groaned. "Can't you just patch me up?"

"No!" Traci objected loudly.

"Sorry, it's procedure." The EMT said simply.

They made her lay down before they lifted the gurney into the ambulance. She had enough time to watch several cops practically throw Dean into the back of a squad car, and make eye contact with Sam's worried glance, before Traci hopped into the back of the ambulance, pulling the door closed.


So, what did you think? I promise Sam and Andy will have their moment, and soon! Please leave a review.