"Hey, hands off!" Kensi Blye, Junior NCIS Special Agent, chided as she slapped the offending appendage away from her bottle of beer. Sam Hanna, ex-Navy SEAL and current NCIS Special Agent, gave her an unapologetic grin as he withdrew his hand.

Nate Getz, the Operational Psychologist, let out a chuckle, enjoying the show. He had a simple glass of Coca-Cola; the events of the last time they had all gone to a bar as a team enough of a preventative to keep him from the alcoholic drinks.

"Yeah, Sam. Stick to your own beer!" Eric Beal, Technical Operator, laughed as only a drunk man can laugh. He was on his third bottle already, and had lost one of his flip flops after he had tried to crowd surf only minutes before. "Everyone knows how you get when you're drunk!"

Sam snorted, giving the surfer a flick on his forehead ("Ow! What was that for?") and turned his attention to Kensi as she tried to continue telling her story.

"- and then, his pants just fell down! It was so awkward, especially when Dom realized that it wasn't the guy's gun in his pocket that was sticking out!" She let out a loud laugh, which Eric and Sam quickly copied.

Nate, on the other hand, frowned with worry. He knew that a good way to get over the loss of a loved one was to talk about the good times, but he had a feeling that the others were too drunk to really know what they were talking about. Biting his lip, his thoughts fought with themselves over if he was going to be the friend, and let them do as they please and cope the way that they did, or the Doc, who would keep them from emotionally hurting themselves even more.

The trio laughed again, and he nodded to himself. Friend it was.

"Where'd G go?"

Sam's concerned question broke Nate out of his reverie, and he scanned the crowded bar for the familiar face. Frowning when he didn't see him, he searched again. "He's not here. Bathroom, maybe?"

"Nah. G hates public restrooms." Sam pointed out, eyes wandering over the bar. Kensi and Eric had stifled their giggles long enough to frown in worry and share a glance before Kensi stood up.

"I'll go check outside. Sam, why don't you check the bathroom just in case? Maybe he just couldn't hold his alcohol tonight."

Sam murmured a response to Kensi's suggestion, standing up as well and striding towards the bathrooms. Kensi gave Eric a glance, "If we can't find him, I want you to be calling him every two minutes. Got it?"

Eric pursed his lips, for once serious, and nodded an affirmative. Kensi left the bar, leaving Nate and Eric at the table. They shared a glance before looking down at their respective drinks.

"Every two minutes. Callen's not going to like being pestered like that." Eric muttered, shoulders hunched in a protective gesture.

"Kensi and Dom were close. Sam and Callen are even closer. And now that Dom is… dead," he stuttered over the word, "Kensi and Sam are going to pull out all the stops to find Callen, even if he just went home or to the restroom."

The techie looked conflicted, and spoke with a low voice, "Dom's been dead for a week now. I mean, I don't want to sound like a heartless jackass, but they need to move on. Just yesterday, Scott went missing. All anyone did was send his picture to the LA 'Missing Peoples' thing. I just don't get how Kensi, Sam, or Callen work. It's like, because we're closer and Special Agents and not just office workers, we should get even more special treatment. Ya know?"

Nate gave a small smile, glancing at the now-four empty beer bottles on the table in front of Eric. This was why the team went out to get drunk every once in awhile: to talk about anything, get it off their chests, but then the next day at work they could pretend that it had never happened. Unhealthy, yes, but it seemed to be working, so Nate let it slide.

"In-group Bias. It's when a certain team –such as a sports team or a team of specially trained agents- subconsciously thinks that they are better and thus deserve more than other teams because of their relations or how they handle things." Nate continued with his lecture, not noticing how Eric's eyes had glazed over and he wasn't paying attention.

In fact, he was thinking about CoD: Black Ops. Man was he excited for its release date.

Sam sat back down, looking even more worried than before. "G wasn't in the bathroom."

"Why would I be in the bathroom? You know I hate public ones. Always stink. Plus, it's just creepy when you're peeing and the guy next to you starts singing 'Single Ladies'."

Sam spun his head around to face the voice so fast that Nate swore he'd have whiplash. Eric blinked from his daydreaming to smile drunkenly at the blue eyed agent.

"Hey Callen. Where ya been?"

Sam, as usual, bulldozed his way into the conversation, "G, did you see Kensi when you came in?"

"Yeah, I'm right here, Sam." Kensi slid into the seat by Eric, a new bottle in her grasp and a playfully sardonic expression. "Don't panic mama bear."

"I was not panicking!"

"Yes you were. Now scoot over Mom; or else I'll sit on you." G teased, and Sam snorted but complied.

Nate's phone let out a beep, and he flipped it open before closing it again and shoving it into his pocket. "Sorry guys, but I have to go. Hetty found out that I skipped a bit of my paperwork."

A chorus of 'ooh' rose from his friends, and he rolled his eyes and muttered a 'yeah, yeah' before leaving. But he walked out slowly, because Hetty really was quite frightening sometimes.

"So where did you go, Callen?" Kensi questioned, taking a swig of her drink. "Sammy-boy here thought you died or something."

They shared a chuckle, leaving a very-drunk Eric to blink stupidly at them while Sam glowered. G smiled and elbowed his ribs teasingly. "Aw, I didn't think you cared. But if you must know, I was hanging out with that hot blonde over there." He nodded to a corner where a scantily-dressed blonde was giggling with her friends.

"Did you get a number?" Kensi asked, wriggling her eyebrows suggestively. They all laughed.

"Nah. She's pretty wasted right now."

"That's right; you don't like talking to people when they get that drunk." Sam noted, casually sliding his beer over to Eric, who grinned like a kid at Christmas. "I think someone is going to have to be your designated driver, Eric."

"I'll do it. I have to head home anyway; last time I stayed out too late I came home to the mailman and my neighbor makin' love in my backyard. Not a good image to have in your head when you sleep." Kensi spoke up, faking an overly dramatic shudder. "C'mon, Eric. Let's go before you make it up to eight like last time."

She grabbed his elbow, forcibly yanking him from the seat and dragging him after her. Eric had the look of a kicked puppy, one arm outstretched towards the last bottle of beer, before he was pulled out the door.

Sam turned to G, "So where are you staying tonight?"

Callen shrugged, cracking his knuckles absently. It was a trait that Sam had noticed early on, and G seemed to only do it when he didn't want to answer a question. "Just drop me off at-"

"Don't tell me you're sleeping on the street now, G!" Sam exclaimed, exasperated.

"It's always been my dream to be a hobo."

"Shut it, G, and let's go." Sam ground out, standing up and waiting for his friend to join him.

"I thought kidnapping was a federal offense. Or something else like that." G replied flippantly, but stood up obediently and followed the ex-Navy SEAL out of the bar and onto the dark street. "Where'd you park?"

"Under the streetlamp." Sam motioned to the streetlamp that stood at the edge of the street.

"I'm going to laugh if it goes out suddenly and you scream like a little girl again." G chuckled, ducking to avoid a punch aimed for his shoulder. "Hey! Don't get all grumpy. It's not like I'm lying."

"It was one time, G. One time!" Sam insisted, unlocking the car door and sliding in, Callen doing the same on the passenger side. Halfway in, he paused.

"Shouldn't I be driving?"

"What? Hell no! I saw what happened to your last car. You ain't driving mine."

"You're also drunk. Would you like to explain to Hetty why you got a ticket?" Callen said, effectively laying down his trump card. Sam muttered a response, but dutifully got out and switched places with Callen.

"Okay. Now, how do you drive a stick?"

"G!"

"I'm kidding. Sheesh." He grinned impishly at Sam, turning the key and pulling out of the dark parking lot and into the street. They drove in companionable silence for a few minutes, before Sam spoke up.

"Take the freeway here. It'll be faster."

G raised an eyebrow at the demand. "You know I never take the freeway."

"My car. My house. My driving routes." Sam insisted, and G rolled his eyes but complied. Thunder boomed ahead, followed by a sudden downpour. Callen fumbled for the windshield wiper switch, turning it so that the two sticks –for that was what he thought of them as, stupid sticks that never got a little v of rain- whipped back and forth.

"G, this is the exit." Sam pointed out, and Callen flicked the blinker on in one a smooth movement, cutting across the lanes to reach the designated exit. "Wow. No wonder you had to go to traffic school."

"I used the blinker, which is more than Kensi does." G retorted, and Sam rolled his eyes. The road curved inwards, and Callen made sure to drive a little under the speed limit, just to piss Sam off. "Look. I'm even going slower than you're supposed to!"

Sam snorted, "That's illegal too, G. You can't go too fast or too slow. How can you not know this? Do you even have your license?"

"Well, yeah. But I forget what we learned, okay?"

"In one ear, out the other, right?" Sam teased, and Callen stuck his tongue out at him childishly. He pressed his foot down on the gas pedal a little harder, as he really didn't want to have to go back to traffic school.

Lightning flashed overhead, bathing the road in pale light. Not just the road, either. It also showed a car with no headlights on screaming towards them. "Shit." G cursed quietly, swerving out of his lane to dodge the car. The drivers of the other car seemed to have the same idea, and suddenly they were right in front of G.

He could see them all in a startling clarity. Four girls, crammed in the backseat. Two guys up front, turned around to talk to the girls. At least a dozen empty Bud Lite cans littered the dashboard.

One of the girls in the back, a redhead, noticed the on-coming collision. He saw her eyes widen, and her mouth opened, her words coming out in a piercing scream, "Look out!"

The two boys spun around, their eyes widening as well as they saw G and Sam, who were less surprised and more tense than anything. All this he saw in a matter of seconds.

And then the two cars collided, and G was thrown forwards, flying out the window (and he couldn't help but think oh shit I forgot to put the seat belt on) and slammed into the other vehicle, feeling something in his leg snap as his pant leg snagged onto the edge of the car's frame, his momentum shoving him forward too fast for his jeans to rip or for his leg to be pulled free.

And then the concrete was suddenly in his face, and G's last thoughts were 'this is gonna hurt' before he crashed into the asphalt, littered with shards of glass that sliced his skin and clothes.

A lone cry was heard from behind the unconscious Agent, as Sam Hanna desperately shoved open the door and stumbled to his friend, the only sign of an injury his bloody nose.

"G!"

.~.~.~.

A/N: I'm sorry in advance if some of the car crash seems unrealistic or there are any other technical errors I did not notice.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Chapter two will hopefully be up very shortly. Thank you for reading!