Don't own any of the characters so I'll have to keep my day job. Just having some fun writing down what is in my head. Like mentioned in my review, this is my first attempt to write a story since I was in elementary school. Reviews are welcomed in this learning process.

Rated T for safety since the story falls into the Hurt/Comfort category.

November 23, 2011 – Over the next few weeks, I plan on going back through each chapter, correcting typos and changing some of the sentences a little. Still learning so this was important for me to do before looking into the possibility of starting something new. The story itself remains the same, however.

CHAPTER 1 – Sam's Premonition

Sam yawned as he navigated the Challenger through the back streets into Callen's neighborhood, careful to travel a different route than the last time he picked his partner up for work. He had hoped it would be an uneventful Tuesday since they had worked a particularly hard case yesterday and did not get back to the Operations Center for Callen to file his report until well after dark. Sam was accustomed to the physical demands of his job as an NCIS agent but yesterday felt like several cases rolled into one. He and Callen had spent the entire day assisting Homeland Security with a case that ended with chasing the suspects on foot for several miles. When they caught up to them, the bad guys weren't especially cooperative. Sam was paying for it today and guessed his partner had fared even worse. Somehow Callen had gotten paired with the suspect that was at least Sam's size and almost as strong. Callen is no weakling by any means but his small size was no match for the gigantic form he was responsible for subduing.

They had planned to slip into work a little late today; so much for plans. Each team member had been summoned via phone at 7:00 this morning. Eric alerted them that a new case awaited and that their services were needed ASAP. Kensi was picking up Deeks and Sam guessed they were already on their way to the office by now. The younger agents had been in a training class yesterday and had managed to miss being involved in the marathon Homeland Security case and the foot pursuit, with the jabs, and tackles, and punches that went along with it.

Sam knocked on Callen's door and did not get an answer. Callen was not known to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, and even then, not soundly. But he was beyond exhausted when Sam dropped him off last night. Sam knocked again. Still no answer. He hoped that Callen had not fallen back to sleep after the wake-up call from Eric. His partner had a tendency to come up swinging at whoever had the misfortune of waking him up and, this morning, Sam was in no mood to be used as a human punching bag. He let himself in the front door using the hidden key and called out, "G?" When he did not get a response, he took a few more steps into the living area, halfway expecting Callen to jump out of nowhere with his gun drawn. Sam could now hear the water running in the shower. Why was he not ready? Sam yelled even louder, "G!"

"Yeah," Callen called back.

"Come on, G! Time to go!"

"Give me a minute."

Sam sat down on the chair in the living room, the only real piece of furniture in the entire house. Callen had lived in so many foster homes growing up and never really had anything of his own. But it still seemed strange to Sam that a person could be content with so few possessions. He scanned the almost empty shell that served as living quarters for his partner and thought about how often he had seen this same emptiness in Callen's eyes. G. Callen hated being pitied so Sam never really pushed the issue and knew better than to ask too many questions. But every so often, Callen would be right there on the edge of opening up, revealing a little part of his past. Then he would pull back, usually changing the subject or making a joke and even sometimes becoming angry with himself for allowing those memories to seep up so close to the surface. He was an expert at quickly shoving memories and emotions back into that secret compartment.

As Sam sat waiting, lost in thought, a bad feeling crept in; a sinking feeling like something was not quite right. This didn't happen that often but almost always preceded something unpleasant. Just then Sam heard the water shut off in the shower. His eerie feeling began to subside and was now being replaced with irritation with his partner for making them late again. Several minutes passed before Callen entered the room, dressed, but moving a little slowly and not fully awake.

"What took you so long?" Sam barked, rising from his chair.

"I had to do my hair."

Sam shook his head and chuckled, all irritation at his partner now gone. Callen pushed up the sleeves of his blue, long sleeved t-shirt and then put his wallet, keys and cell phone into the pockets of his jeans. After he slid his SIG into his holster the two agents headed out to the car.

The first few minutes of the ride were silent as neither man really felt like talking. Then Sam glanced over and saw the bruise that had developed overnight under Callen's left eye. When a smile broke out on Sam's face, Callen looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "What?"

"Nothing. Just trying to figure out why you chose to go after the Hulk instead of the little guy yesterday."

"It happened too fast. I didn't really have time to weigh and measure the suspects first." Sam chuckled at Callen's defensiveness. "And besides, I managed to take him down without your help, didn't I?"

Sam snorted and shook his head. "Sure. But not without being on the receiving end of a couple of kidney punches." Callen gave Sam a sideways glare.

A few minutes had passed when Callen interrupted the silence. "I'm hungry. Can we stop…"

"We're not stopping."

"But we didn't get to eat all day yesterday and I'm starving," Callen whined.

"We're already running late as it is, thanks to you."

Callen folded his arms, frowned and stared straight ahead.

Sam had to fight back a smile. "Suck it up, G."

Sam was running on empty so he knew Callen must have been especially hungry. Sam had warmed up some leftovers when he got home last night. But since Callen never kept anything to eat in his house, Sam knew he had not eaten since breakfast the day before. Ordinarily Sam would have protested and then given into his partner's pouting, stopping at a pastry shop to pacify him. But today, there just wasn't time.

Callen's cell phone buzzed. He read the text and relayed the message out loud to Sam. "Eric says that Deeks and Kensi are already headed to the Old McFerrin plant on Butler… Sending address to your GPS…Kensi will fill us in when we get there."

Suddenly Callen's hand went to his waist, just to the right of his belt buckle. He looked up at Sam with an 'uh oh' look. "My badge is in my locker." Sam knew that Callen did not like to wear his badge when he got off work. It was just another safeguard to protect his cover if he ran into some kind of trouble.

"It's all good. I have mine and Kensi will have hers."

Sam changed his course and, as he drove toward the meeting site, he began to have that same uneasy feeling again, like something bad was going to happen. He tried to brush it off as fatigue but it just kept gnawing at him. Callen sensed the change in Sam's mood and his eyes narrowed as he studied his partner. "You OK?" Callen asked with genuine concern.

"Yeah, I'm good. Just tired." But Sam could not shake it. Something just didn't feel right.