A.N: Regarding continuity: I wrote this after the first time I watched the movie on Thursday, but got sick and didn't have time to edit/post it. Then, yesterday, I watched the movie again and realized that, in the scene where Indy meets Marion again, when they bring Mutt out, Indy asks him if he's all right twice, and Mutt replies that he left his bike at the cemetery, which would mean that they were kept separated after Spalko caught them. I decided to post it anyway, since I'd already written it, but I wanted to note that it is, because of those lines, a little bit AU, since it is set directly after the cemetery scene. That aside, please enjoy it :).

Questions and Conclusions

"From what I've gathered, they've chartered a plane to take us north, up to the river, tomorrow morning. So don't worry, kid, they probably won't try to kill us until we've met up with Oxley and your mother." Indiana leaned back against the headboard and took a long drag from his cigarette. He was getting too old for this type of thing.

"That's reassuring." Mutt snorted and took his comb out of his pocket, but winced when he reached up to brush his hair.

"You all right there, kid?" Damn. Between finding the skull and getting captured by the Russians, Indy had forgotten about the scorpion sting. Sure, he'd told the kid not to worry about it, but even your run-of-the-mill stings could hurt like a bitch if left unattended.

"'M fine," Mutt said, and he turned around, lying with his back towards Indy, carelessness in his every move. But Indy didn't miss the almost inaudible hiss of pain or the way Mutt held his arm, stiffly, against his chest.

Indiana had to stifle a laugh. A lot of things had changed since he'd been Mutt's age, but the inherent fear of being thought a wimp by someone else – worse, by one of the old fogies – clearly wasn't one of them. Indy sighed and stood up, stubbing out his cigarette in his empty coffee mug. He took one hesitant step and waited until he was sure no gun-happy Russians were going to come running into the room. Spalko hadn't placed a guard in the hotel room with the two of them, but she'd made it very clear that there were guards right outside, and if he or Mutt so much as breathed wrong, she'd be on them with guns blazing and no regard for civilian life.

Crazy Russians. But he could deal with them later. First things first.

Indy reached out and put a hand on Mutt's shoulder. Mutt jumped and looked at him, wide-eyed, thin sheen of sweat covering his forehead.

"Come on, off with the jacket, kid. No need for bravado here."

With a few words under his breath that sounded suspiciously like 'crazy old man' and a muttered 'shit' when he sat up, Mutt shrugged off his jacket and held out his arm for inspection. The area around the sting was red and slightly swollen, and Mutt scrunched up his fingers and let out an angry 'Hey!' when Indy prodded it. Not the worst that Indiana had seen, but it didn't look all that comfortable, either. Indy knelt down between the beds and popped open his suitcase. Damn Russians had gone through it and left everything out of place in their search for hidden weapons.

"Arm feel numb?" he asked conversationally as he looked for a clean handkerchief. Kid had been unnaturally quiet since they'd gotten back from the cemetery. Well, at least he hadn't mouthed off to Spalko. Yet.

"Yeah," came Mutt's clipped tones. "Most of it, but the bit around the sting is – it burns."

Indy briefly considered asking the guards outside for some ice, but there probably wasn't any ice within three hundred miles, and the guards probably didn't even speak English. Instead he grabbed an empty artifact box, filled it with water from the bathroom sink, and soaked the handkerchief in it.

"Here," he said, handing Mutt the handkerchief. "Ten minutes on, ten minutes off, and don't scratch it." Indy reached into his backpack and pulled out a small glass bottle of aspirin. "You're not allergic, are you?"

"Nah, thanks," Mutt said. He stared as Indy stretched out of the bed, twirling his switchblade absentmindedly in his good hand. Indy momentarily wondered how many times he'd cut up his hands trying to figure those tricks out. "So where'd you learn all of this, teach?"

Indy peered out from under the brim of his hat. "All of what?"

Mutt gestured with his switchblade at his arm, the aspirin on the nightstand, and Indy's bullwhip. "All of – that. Y'know, the guns and poisoned blow darts and stuff. They don't teach that kind of stuff in a classroom."

"Oh, that." Indy grinned as Mutt gave an irritated huff. Kids these days were just so touchy. "My dad was an archaeologist too; runs in the family, I guess. Always buried in his study surrounded by artifacts. I always wanted – to be like him, in that way. Find as many artifacts. You tend to learn a few things when you're up against treasure hunters."

"Huh." There was a rustling noise as Mutt lovingly hung his jacket off the edge of the headboard and flopped back against his pillow. "So 'd'you – did you and Ox ever – go on digs together? He never mentioned you."

Indy glanced over at Mutt. The kid was lying still, eyes closed, frowning like he was in pain – and not just from the arm. Ox kind of helped my mom raise me, he'd said. Ox hadn't been in touch for about twenty years; kid couldn't be more than eighteen or nineteen. For all his rebel talk and his tough-guy posturing, Mutt was still just a kid trying to grow into his own skin – looking to be a man and finding a switchblade and a motorcycle instead. A likeable enough kid, and quick to pick up on things – though that mouth of his would get him into trouble one of these days. And now his mentor had gone crazy and his mom had been kidnapped.

"Yeah, sure. Back in '26, the Ox and I headed up a dig in Giza – found the scepter of Rameses I, ran into a couple toughs who wanted to sell it on the black market. You see, the curator of the museum there, man by the name of-"

"You think he'll ever get – back to normal? Ox, I mean." Mutt paused and took a breath. Still trying to look cool no matter what. "After we find Akator and – stuff."

Indy drummed his fingers on the nightstand and looked over at his bullwhip, coiled up on the table next to Mutt's cap. Even if they escaped with Oxley and the kid's mother and made it to Akator, there was no guarantee they'd make it back out alive, much less that they could reverse whatever had gone wrong with Oxley. Indy just wasn't as young as he used to be, or as fast, and Spalko was smart and younger and had dozens of men at her command. But they'd gotten this far, hadn't they?

"I don't know what happened to Ox, kid, but – I've seen a lot of strange things, and, in the end, people always tend to get what they deserve."

"Yeah." Mutt's voice grew tough again, and he turned his head away towards the shuttered window. Indy recognized the gesture for what it was – an end to the vulnerability of the moment. "So, you and Ox found a – a scepter?"

Indy grinned, took off his hat, and started talking again as Mutt's eyes drifted shut. The aspirin was kicking in and the adrenaline was wearing off, and it didn't take long for Mutt's breath to even out.

Indy lay back and stared at the ceiling until exhaustion overtook him. Like it or not, he was here again: a new enemy to fight, a new artifact to hunt, and a new wingman at his side.

This should be interesting.