My guilty pleasure: what-ifs. What if Kelly had actually, like, shown the effects of all those punches in the face he took before the famous locked-room scene in "A Cup of Kindness"?

Like the guys didn't get whumped enough in canon. Geesh.

Scotty had barely had time to sit disgustedly back against the various bales and packing crates before the door burst open and Kelly was catapulted powerfully inside in an unruly jumble of gangling arms and legs. The throw was far too violent, and Scotty registered the size of the behemoth making the toss just as Kelly flew past him and landed hard out of Scotty's sight, in a narrow passage cleared between the piles and stacks of goods.

He winced at the thud of Kelly's body hitting the cement floor, and he'd scrambled to his feet and was standing at the mouth of the narrow passage before his higher brain function had anything to say about it. His mind caught up pretty fast, though – wouldn't do to embarrass Kelly and himself, overreacting – and so he stopped, trying to peer into the dark, making excuses for his own reaction. That guy really had thrown Kelly kinda hard, and the impact of landing had sounded bad. He was just making sure—But Kelly hadn't risen yet, and he'd wasted enough time. "Hey," he called, crouching to what little of Kelly he could see in the narrow space, "you magnificent flyin' machine, how was your landing?"

There was no answer, and it shot him through with a pulse of fear. Heck with it, anyway. He crawled into the narrow space, so narrow his shoulders touched it on both sides. It was too dark to see much in between all the crates, so he reached out, wood and burlap against his shoulders, his hands meeting warm, if bony, flesh – ah, knees, good. Blocking his way, though.

He gently straightened out his partner's legs and planted a knee on the floor between Kelly's own, for balance, then reached forward into the darkness, fumbling across waist and torso until he found the outflung arms. Gripping Kelly's shoulders carefully but firmly, he pulled him up to a sitting position. His head promptly lolled forward. "Giah, aiy, mimuu," said Kelly.

"The wonderfulness of your debate skills and finely honed precision of words," said Scotty, both reassured and unsettled by the slurred attempts at speech. "Can we get some light here, James Watt…?" He tried to haul Kelly forward into the light, tugging on Kelly's arm. Kelly gasped, and Scotty froze instantly in dismay. "Sorry, man," he muttered. "'Kay, let's see…" He was forced to balance awkwardly on one knee, sliding closer to Kelly, which was okay – his eyes were getting used to the dimness in here. He pulled Kelly to him, letting his partner's upper body rest against his stomach, holding his head steady with his left hand while his right probed the skull gingerly for lumps. Uh-huh, right there. "Oh goody, Mount Rushmore. Got a little bust of Abe Lincoln right here, I can feel it." He gentled his touch, feeling a wet cut, wincing at Kelly's hiss. "Settle down there, Chester," he hushed. "Merely performing some routine first aid."

"…'clude… scoopin' m'brains outa m'skull?"

"You are making assumptions based on no evidence," Scotty said smoothly. "Who is to say that there was any grey matter in there in the first place?" He brought his hands down to skim Kelly's upper body, feeling for any broken bones or distended lumps – it had been quite a noisy fight out there, even if his partner had been holding his own for most of it… "All right," he said finally, with a gentle pat to Kelly's cheek, the one that wasn't mashed into his stomach. "Nothing broken. Quit your malingering."

"Malingering, malin—Me?" Even slurred, Kelly's indignation was clear. "I hold four gorillas at bay while you take most of the decade to open a safe, and then get nabbed… ah…" Kelly's tirade trailed off suddenly, his shoulders sagging as he gasped for air.

That did it. Scotty bent over as far as he was able in the cramped space, sliding his hands under Kelly's arms and heaving him upwards. Way uncomfortable, and certainly making Kelly dizzy, but he'd had enough of fumbling around in the dark. Kelly flailed, trying to stand, and Scotty encircled him with his arms, quieting the jerky motions. "Easy. Easy. Just lemme do the work for a second, Homer. Not doin' us any good pinwheeling like a punchy prizefighter."

"Pinwheeling like a…" Kelly muttered, jerking his head up defiantly from where it was trying to droop onto Scotty's shoulder. "You take a corr… correspondence course in allilli…" He sighed. "Alli… allit…"

"Right. 'Kay. Here." Scotty picked out the softest pile of burlap sacks he could find and lowered Kelly to a half-sitting, half-reclining position. He had to be careful with the head wound, splaying his fingers wide as he cupped the back of Kelly's head so as not to aggravate the lump and the bleeding there, relieved when he'd eased it fully down to rest on the rough material. "Look," he said, low and urgent. "You're probably not concussed, but let me see your eyes to make sure. Open up for Uncle Alexander, now."

Kelly's frown as he complied was evidence of photophobia, which could be an indication of many things. The eyes seemed okay, but he couldn't really tell. "How many fingers?" He held up three.

"I'll have one, please."

"We do not have time for this…"

"I don't know, all right," Kelly muttered. Scotty had barely felt the chill of fear at those words when Kelly waved a floppy hand, dismissing him. "G'wan, do your magic tricks… see what I can do to help…"

Much as he hated to admit it, Kel was right. Fussing wouldn't do them any good if they waited for a bullet in the back. "You take care, now," he said as he rose, patting Kel's knee. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"…narrows it… dow'…"

Probably not too bad a concussion, Scotty tried to squelch his unease as he took inventory of the warehouse's contents. He stole another glance at Kelly; lying back, eyes closed. Normally he'd be pacing around with that suppressed energy of his, at Scotty's back, helping. Anything that could make him lie limply there was not a good sign. But for once his partner was right. Not much he could do about it till they got out of here.

He'd get them out, he vowed. Soon.