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a slight apocalypse

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Scott’s stuck at his desk behind a stack of undergrad essays roughly the size and shape of Mount Everest when there’s a knock on his door. He looks up with no small amount of trepidation – please don’t be a student, please don’t be a student, office hours are over in five minutes – and then lets out a long breath when Stiles walks in, kicking the door shut behind him and even pulling the shade.

“Bless you,” Scott says, leaning back and making his ancient desk chair squeak (seriously, they could do a dig on the furniture in this building). “I thought you were an undergrad.”

“Not in this life,” Stiles says pleasantly as he drops into one of the chairs on the other side of the desk. Scott has to push the pile of essays out of the way to see him. “I mean, yes in this life, but not like in the last lot of years. Are those theory essays?”

“Yes,” Scott says darkly. No one had been willing to teach the freshmen theory class this year, which meant that the four of them with the least amount of seniority in the department got stuck tag-teaming it. It was Scott’s turn for grading, unfortunately.

“I am so glad I just had to deal with the first one,” Stiles says. “I thought about slitting my wrists when the fifth paper in a row referenced over three Binford papers. I can’t imagine the mess you’re dealing with.”

“I never want to see the names Shanks and Tilley in conjunction every again.”

“I hear you, man. Want to take a break and go get coffee?”

“Please, before my eyes fall out of my head.”

---

The thing is, Scott and Stiles (or, Profs. McCall and Stilinski, as their doors say), are the kind of normal boring archaeologists who laugh all the way through any movie that has Indiana Jones in it, spend long summers covered in dirt, and order around grad students re: things like data entry and lithic cataloging. Scott has a habit of writing papers about the Southwest and pottery motifs and every once and a while Stiles will pop up with a whole insanely long book about Vikings that no one will ever read, save for maybe two or three overeager undergrads.

It’s just the way life is. There are jokes made about Nazis and biblical artifacts, and, if they’re feeling particularly ridiculous (usually around 3pm on dig days when another undergrad has some how managed to do the impossible and snap a trowel in half), the alignment of the planets and their effect on Daniel Craig’s American accent.

Neither of them have large estates in the English countryside with butlers, or have to run from giant boulders, or have ever had any dealings with aliens or Russians hell-bent on finding said aliens.

In short, their lives consist of nervous undergrads, hysterical grad students, and PhD students who have given up all hope, with a heavy dose of grading and dirt and ceramics mixed in there.

None of this explains why they’ve been kidnapped on their way to get coffee.

“This is not happening,” Stiles says, voice muffled by the bag over his head. They’re lying on the floor of a van and every time they go over a bump Scott’s cheek and jaw get slammed into the floor, making him wince just a bit.

“I think it might be,” Scott says. Stiles just sighs, as if this is merely a minor inconvenience, like spilling coffee on the book you’re reading.

“Are you at least Nazis?” Stiles calls up towards the front of the van. Scott laughs. They both end up grunting when boots and fists come out of nowhere.

“What the fuck, no we’re not,” someone growls. “Who even says things like that?”

“Archaeologists,” someone else answers, and there’s the sound of a laptop shutting. “You idiots just grabbed two professors from the anthropology department at Berkley, how could you be so stupid?”

(This is presumably why they’d grabbed their wallets as soon as they’d been rolled into the van.)

There’s the sound of squabbling kidnappers, and Scott wonders if they’re worth anything. Probably not. They don’t even have tenure.

“Do we dump them?”

“We have to, they’re not who we meant to grab. How do you get antiquities dealers and archaeologists messed up?”

“Seriously!” Stiles pipes up. “I fill out all the correct paperwork to get artifacts across borders, thank you very –“

There’s the sound of a fist on soft flesh, and Stiles makes a horrible hacking sound, and Scott wants to reach out for Stiles but his arms are tied behind his back.

“They’re all skinny and nerdy,” someone growls. “How are we supposed to know?”

Wisely Scott and Stiles stay quiet, even though Scott is in awesome shape, thank you very much.

“Let me call it in, but for fuck’s sake, shut those two up.”

Something hits Scott in the head, and the world tilts and goes black.

---

“Wake up, Dr. Jones,” someone says, and Scott is dully aware that someone has just slapped him across the face. Um, ow.

“’s Dr. McCall,” Scott slurs as the world swims into clarity. There’s a greying man peering at him, and Scott is pretty sure that he’s tied to a chair in a very large room. It’s well lit and has wallpaper though – he was kind of expecting a dingy warehouse.

“I don’t care what your name is,” the man says, and he stands up straight, rocks back on his heels, tucks his hands into the pockets of what Scott is pretty sure is a very expensive suit. He’s British, and he must be wealthy. There are three guys milling around in the doorway behind the man, two slabs of beef and one tiny twig of a person.

“I thought you were going to get rid of us,” Scott says, blinking a few times and willing himself to wake up all the way.

“How do you even remember that?” One of the sides of beef calls. “I hit you so hard your granny probably felt it.”

“Yeah, hit him with my laptop,” the skinny one says. “Bitch.”

“Shut up!” The man roars, turning to glare at them before looking back at Scott. “Now, Dr. McCall-“

“You can call me Scott,” Scott points out. The man sighs, pinches the bridge of his nose.

“Are all archaeologists this annoying?”

“Honestly? Kinda.”

“Not surprising, but, you have information I need.”

“I do?” Scott is honestly surprised about this.

“Yes, you do. It turns out that the three musketeers’-“ he jerks a thumb over his shoulder at the Greek chorus skulking about in the background “-epic cock up wasn’t such a cock up. You are the Dr. McCall who’s done work on the Cuerdale Hoard?”

“Uh, no, no that would be Stiles, I think he puts my name on his books occasionally as an apology for all of the coffee he steals from me,” Scott says. “Why do you even have us? You do realize that site was excavated like, oh, 150 years ago? And that you could break into the British Museum and just get what you need? It’s on their website. Wait, I didn’t say that. Don’t break into the British Museum, that’d make a lot of people very sad. Me included.”

The man is glaring at him.

“I need one piece from it,” he says. “The Ribble Yggdrasil amulet.”

Scott stares at him through slightly narrowed eyes.

“You didn’t listen to a word I just said.”

“I will hurt you if you-“

“No, I don’t do Vikings. I know next to nothing about the Cuerdale Hoard, I’ve never even seen the stuff. Unless there’s a pot somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico that will give you control over the planets or something-“ yes, 10 points for that one, “- I can’t help you. I have literally no knowledge of Vikings.”

“That’d be me!” Someone says from the door, and Scott peeks around the man at the same time he swivels around to see that one of the beef blocks has brought Stiles in, holding him by the scruff of his neck. “What now? Need a long ship burial? I’ll warn you that gold is going to be expensive and that it’s kind of frowned upon to dig large holes in the middle of Scandinavia without the proper permits.”

“Who are you two?” The man asks, starting to sound slightly exasperated.

“Archaeologists,” Stiles says with a wide smile.

“Also my girlfriend can shoot you with a crossbow,” Scott says.

Twig drops his head into his palms and the greying man looks like he really, really wants a drink.

---

They put them in an honest to god broom closet. There’s even a mop and bucket in the corner.

“No funny business,” Twig warns then, glaring. Beef 1 and Beef 2 are lurking behind him like moving mountains. When the door slams shut it’s dark for a moment before someone clicks on the light from outside. The bare bulb doesn’t give off much light, but it’s something.

Stiles slumps against the wall and Scott ends up with his head in Stiles’ lap, Stiles slowly twisting strands of Scott’s hair between his fingers.

“So,” Stiles says eventually. “What do we want to do here?”

“I don’t want to give anything up too early. If we’re going to need to stop them, we need to know more – do you have any idea what he was talking about?”

“What, the Ribble Yggdrasil amulet? I have no idea. I mentioned the Cuerdale Hoard in an intro like five years ago and have never done anything else with it, it’s a bunch of silver trinkets and therefore massively boring.”

They’re quiet for a moment before Scott turns and shifts up onto his elbows, bracketing Stiles’ hips and looking up at him.

“So, scout it out for a bit longer and then let them lead us on so we can stop them?” He suggests.

“Def,” Stiles says with a quick nod. “Man, who knew the world thought it was time for another adventure?”

(Scott and Stiles have not been totally honest – they are boring, normal archaeologists. That’s all true. They are, however, not exactly scrawny and hopeless. Stiles is proficient in three forms of hand-to-hand combat, knows his way around anything with a blade that can be used as a weapon, and Scott’s a werewolf with connections to the pack that controls Northern California.

They haven’t had a good adventure since undergrad, before everyone got too busy and went off and did things like post grad and jobs and normal lives.)

Grey gets Twig and Beefx2 to drag them out one at a time over the course of the afternoon, and they find themselves tied to chairs again, and the Sides of Beef have mean swings. Scott spits blood on the ground and looks back at them, keeping his mouth shut and willing his healing down as much as he possibly can.

When Stiles gets dumped back in the room with a cut across his lips and a bruise over his right cheek Scott decides that they’ve had enough fun for one day.

Scott hands Stiles the mop.

“You’re so good to me,” Stiles says, has a sharp smile, and brings the handle down over his knee so that one half fractures in a spike of wood. He dumps the side with the head, twirls the other half a few times, and then points to the door. “You wanna do the honors?”

Scott growls, and things shift and crack, grow, change, and when he slams a foot into the door it makes a horrible noise and comes off the hinges and splinters at the same time.

Twig and the Beef twins are sitting in a circle outside, reading magazines, and now looking completely terrified.

Stiles takes Side 1, Scott grabs 2. Stiles sweeps Beef’s feet out from under him, and he lands on the ground with a thud, chin slamming painfully into the wood. He groans, moving to get up, and Stiles slams the butt of the mop into the back of his skull, making him slump back down and stay down at the same time that Scott bashes Other Beef’s head into the molding, leaving him to slide down the wall. Twig makes a run for it, but Scott grabs him by the neck, hauls him a few inches off the ground, presses him into the wall of the hallway.

“What the fuck are you two?” He gasps, clawing at Scott’s hand, staring straight into glowing amber eyes.

“You people really do not listen, do you? We told you,” Stiles sighs, sounding very put upon, “we’re archaeologists.”

---

They find their things in the foyer of what’s a very nice townhouse with a great view of the bay, and hoof it a few blocks before Stiles puts in the call.

“Hey, Lydia,” he starts, and Scott can hear something that sounds like the riot act from the phone as Stiles slowly holds it further away from his head with a look of alarm on his face. “Jesus, I’m sorry! It’s not my fault Derek is over protective! We’ve been gone like 12 hours, we’re not dead, we’re fine.”

Lydia has a voice that could command an army through the apocalypse. It’s very loud right now.

“Lydia!” Stiles finally yells. The dressing down stops. “I need you to get the team back together.”

The voice changes, becomes something like chattering liquid smoke, smooth and cutting and very, very Lydia.

They walk down to a main street to get a cab, Stiles whistling and still twirling the broken mop, and Scott just grins, shakes his head, and then has to fuss with his bangs when they fall into his eyes. His hair always goes every which way after he changes, and it’s currently looking like it had an unfortunate incident with a blow dryer and sex.

“It’s a good look,” Stiles says, like he can read his mind. He probably can at this point, Scott would not be shocked.

“You just like it because I look like I’ve been having sex,” Scott huffs, running a hand through his hair.

“Well, yeah,” Stiles says, like this is obvious. “Tell Allison I want more visiting hours, fyi, she’s been seeing way more of your ass that I have lately.”

“Oh my god, Stiles,” Scott says, and throws his hands up. “Are you actually incapable of acting like an adult?”

“Acting like an adult is boring,” Stiles says. “And reserved for lecture and office hours.”

Stiles finally tosses the mop handle in someone’s garbage and they track down a cab. Stiles gives the cabbie the address of a house that neither of them have actually been to, but they know the people who live there.

---

Lydia and Jackson are wearing pajamas and looking slightly put out about the people currently using their very nicely decorated dinning area as a war room in the middle of the night. Boyd and Erica are decked out in their usual leather ensembles, and Boyd’s got how-ever-many-pounds of sleeping four year old in his arms, Emmy’s body twisted at a weird angle that comes from being both a little kid and a werewolf. Isaac looks semi-comatose, but at least this time he’s wearing all his clothes on the correct body parts.

Derek and Allison are livid.

“Here we go,” Stiles sighs. When Allison swoops in to grab Scott’s head and press a fierce kiss to his lips, working his mouth open, Stiles just stares, jaw dropping open. “Hey, no fair-“

Derek hauls him by his shirt into the next room.

“Can we just skip the part where you yell at me for getting my ass captured and make like Scott and Allison?” Stiles huffs as Derek lets him drop onto the couch.

“How could you have let that happen?” Derek asks, and he’s deadly calm. Stiles just sighs.

“We were kind of caught off guard and then I think we got a bit wrapped up in being Indiana Jones and then it was reconnaissance and now it’s a legit thing,” Stiles says. “So really, this is actually a good thing. A great thing, even. We could be stopping the destruction of the world or something.”

“There’s no such thing as something that can destroy the world,” Derek growls.

“You said there was no such thing as vampires either and look how that turned out,” Stiles points out.

“That was different-“

“Or demons.”

“Stiles-“

“Also I remember you saying something about pixies.”

Derek sighs, drops onto the couch next to Stiles, and lets his body sink into the overstuffed cushions. Lord only knows how much this thing cost.

“I’m fine, I’m alive, I’m in one piece, we’re all good, and we’re going to save the world again for the first time in way too many years,” Stiles says, and rolls his body so that he’s straddling Derek, hands on the back of the couch on either side of his head. “Be calm, for once?”

“Fine,” Derek spits the word out, like being calm personally offends him. Stiles just grins, and then leans down to kiss Derek, long and languid. Derek growls against his lips, making Stiles’ chest rumble, and Stiles groans, trying to press their bodies together at the same time as he’s trying to get Derek’s shirt off.

Someone clears their throat behind them. Stiles looks over his shoulder to see Lydia standing in the doorway, tapping her foot.

“Do you have any idea how expensive it would be to get that upholstery cleaned?” She asks, prim, and Stiles just lets out a breathy laugh before Derek sets him back on his feet, standing next to him and smoothing his shirt down.

There’s a minor staring contest and then Lydia turns on her heels and heads back to the dinning area-cum-war room. Stiles and Derek follow, Stiles grinning at Derek and trying to get a hand under his shirt.

They take the two empty chairs at the table, and Stiles is just putting his feet up in Scott’s lap when he realizes something.

“Hey, where’s Danny?”

“In Gstaad with Greenberg,” Jackson says.

“Oh, of course,” Stiles says. “Because I’m always popping over to Gstaad with my secret agent boyfriend at the drop of a hat.”

“He’ll be back tomorrow,” Lydia says, and then uses a mug as a gavel. “So, how are we saving everyone from themselves this time?”

---

Danny shows up the next morning with Greenberg and a goggle tan. Scott is sitting at the war room table and grading papers (life goes on and such), and he’s pretty sure he’s going cross-eyed. He’s going to have a conversation with his students about margin and text size.

“I heard you guys needed me,” Danny says, dropping into the chair across the table from Scott. “Kind of sad, because I was having a great vacation.”

“Yes, yes, we all wish we were you and dating Greenberg,” Scott sighs, and when he looks up Greenberg is smirking at him.

“It’s not my fault Stiles is attached to you like a very persistent leech,” Greenberg says.

“Bad mental image,” Scott says, wrinkles his nose. “Please don’t ever say that again.”

“So what’s up?” Danny asks.

“Well, Stiles and I got kidnapped-“

“You what.”

“-got kidnapped, it’s fine, don’t worry about it-“

“You got kidnapped.”

“Totally fine! Anyway, so these guys turn out to be total amateurs, but we did figure out that they want to get their hands on some sort of magical amulet that probably doesn’t exist, but we figure we should stop them anyway.”

“And you want my help how?”

Scott reaches into his back pocket and flicks the license he lifted off of Twig yesterday across the table. Danny stops it with his fingers, turning it around to stare at it.

“Oh, that’s easy,” Danny says.

“It is?” Scott asks, frowning. He’s not the computer wiz, but he also knows it’s probably an alias and therefore it’s going to be harder to find.

“Have at it,” Danny says, holding up the license for Greenberg to look at it.

“Can I borrow your laptop?” Greenberg asks, and Danny nods.

“Oh, c’mon,” Scott says. “Now you’re just showing off. Are you going to go combing through some secret government database?”

“Well, yeah,” Greenberg says, and then heads for where he and Danny had dropped their bags in the front hall.

“Your boyfriend probably works for the CIA,” Scott says. Danny just shrugs.

“What’s the coffee situation?”

“Haven’t put a pot on yet.”

Danny gets up to do that, and a second later there are footsteps on the back stairs, followed by the kind of acerbic bro banter from the kitchen that means Jackson must be awake.

Scott’s gotten through another paper when someone sets a mug of coffee down next to his elbow, and he knows it’s Stiles because Scott had smelled him the minute he hit the kitchen. Stiles slips his hands down over Scott’s bare shoulders, palms spread over his chest, and leans forwards so that he can kiss Scott’s ear, down his neck.

“I’m grading,” Scott says. He can feel Stiles’ grin against his neck, and he reaches out to take a swig of coffee (milk, no sugar, Stiles knows his coffee preferences like he knows everything else about him) as Stiles’ hands slip lower, so that he’s hooked over Scott’s shoulders and his finger tips are just touching the waistband of Scott’s sweatpants.

“I have other things you could do instead,” Stiles says, and his breath is warm across Scott’s neck, before he bites down, making Scott suck in a quick breath.

“Any second Danny and Jackson are going to come back out here and we’re never going to hear the end of it,” Scott says, but he turns around and captures Stiles with a kiss and a hand around the back of his neck, and Stiles make an amazing little sound at the back of his throat, something that makes Scott’s pulse jump.

“Then let’s move,” Stiles says, and Scott sighs, gives up, and lets Stiles lead him towards the stairs at the front of the house (seriously, who has two staircases), although Scott is doing the directing because Stiles isn’t exactly amazing at walking backwards.

They end up falling over the top step, Stiles landing on his ass with a laugh as Scott looms over him, having caught himself on the bannister. Stiles reaches up and pulls him down, kissing him over and over again, and Scott rolls his hips against Stiles’ without much though, pulling a moan out of Stiles, and it makes Scott roll his hips again, suck in a hard breath.

When they hear footsteps Stiles tries to pull away, probably to come up with some excuse for whoever it is, but Scott knows it’s Allison, so he kisses across Stiles’ jaw and down his neck, raking his teeth over Stiles’ collarbone. He pulls back just in time to look up at Allison with an innocent smile, never mind the fact that he’s so keyed up all he wants to do is fuck Stiles right there in the hallway.

“Guest room,” Allison says, “now.” Her arms are crossed and she’s trying to look angry, but there’s a flush on her cheeks already and a grin hiding behind her mock anger.

“Yes ma’am,” Stiles says, lets Scott drag him upright and then heads towards the guest room Allison had claimed last night.

No one questions why they’re missing three people at breakfast, but then again, they got used to this shit sometime around senior year of high school.

---

Twig’s real name, not the one on his license, is Otto Gosden. Because Greenberg totally has to be CIA or something, he even comes up with a list and photos of his known associates, which is how they discover that tall, grey and British is actually a man by the name of Guy Atwood. Gosden and Atwood have a habit of working together, and while Atwood is somehow clean and only has a number of crimes tenuously linked to him, Gosden has a list of cybercrimes as long as Scott’s arm.

“That’s impressive,” Danny notes, and he actually does sound impressed.

“Don’t do that, I’ll have to arrest you,” Greenberg says. “That would suck.”

“Like I’d get caught,” Danny says, rolls his eyes. Scott smiles behind his mound of grading.

Derek and Lydia have taken up chairs at the table, and they both look pleased now that they have a name to go after. Or rather, Lydia looks pleased. Derek looks like Derek.

“Atwood booked a ticket to Stockholm for tomorrow,” Danny says, reading something off of the computer over Greenberg’s shoulder. “SAS, connection through London. He’s wealthy enough to fly direct, so he must be picking something up.”

“Or someone,” Lydia points out.

“Or someone,” Danny agrees.

Stiles appears with Allison, both of them wet from showers, and Stiles has a number of marks down his neck that aren’t actually all from Scott (Allison’s picked up a few tricks after sleeping with him for what’s got to be like a decade and change now).

“I revise my earlier leech comment,” Greenberg says, raising an eyebrow as Stiles and Allison sit down on either side of Scott. Stiles reaches out to spin the paper Scott’s grading towards him, staring at it for a bit.

“Why on earth is this person talking about voting?” Stiles asks, flipping through a few pages. “And they think Flannery is a post-processualist because of that stupid article from ’99.”

“Cultural constructs of age groups,” Scott replies, stealing the paper back. “And Flannery is confusing when you’re 18.”

“Everything is confusing when you’re 18,” Stiles says.

“I was fine at 18,” Lydia says, inspecting her nails.

“Lydia, you were always fine,” Stiles says, and when three separate people turn to glare at him he rocks back in his chair a bit. “What? She walked right into that one!”

“Try harder, Stiles,” Lydia says, and her voice sounds like silk. If silk was made of lethal things.

“You’re all ridiculous,” Greenberg says, and then looks up. “I’ve booked you five, plus Boyd and Erica, on the first flight out to New York tomorrow morning, and then on to Stockholm. Danny, Isaac, Jackson and I will stay here and hold down the fort.”

“Mission Control, if you need us,” Danny says.

“You also just volunteered to babysit Emmy,” Derek points out. “Have fun.”

“Emmy’s four, she’ll be fine,” Danny says, waves the comment away as he shuts the laptop over Greenberg’s shoulder. “And Isaac is great with her. They have a standing weekly date to watch the new episodes of My Little Pony.”

“She’s a four-year-old werewolf,” Allison reminds him.

“We can handle it,” Danny says, although Greenberg is looking slightly worried at the thought.

“Well, you guys do that,” Stiles says, standing up. “In the mean time, who wants to hit up the armory with me?”

“Obviously,” Allison says, getting up and grinning dangerously. “Lydia?”

“I’ll come,” Lydia says. “But nothing archaic this time, I need firepower if I want to get anything done.”

“That’s terrifying,” Stiles says.

“Just don’t make me shoot you,” Lydia says. Stiles looks slightly alarmed.

---

The armory is really just a particularly giant gun locker in a shipping container that the pack keeps down at the docks in Oakland. Lydia and Allison are responsible for most of it (or rather, the Argents are), but Stiles and Scott have contributed over the years. Even though it tends to make Stiles want to rip out his hair and Scott worry a lot, they know that things like obviously enchanted Persian swords and Swiss poleaxes made of dwarvish metal are best kept out of the hands of museum staff.

(Still, both of them have said “this belongs in a museum!” on more than one occasion.)

It’s a foggy, damp day, and the door opens with a horrible, shrieking noise, the hinges left alone for too long. It’s been a long time since they’ve had to come here.

Allison flips on the electric track lighting, and rows of various deadly things are revealed, neatly organized into both type and age (Stiles’ primary contribution). Allison heads for the bows, Lydia for anything that runs on bullets, and Stiles spends probably way too long debating between the aforementioned enchanted sword and a set of dirks from the 18th century. Eventually the sword goes into a duffle bag, and he tosses in a set of hunting knives as well.

There’s a man waiting for them outside the container when they’re done, skulking around in leather and a scowl, which means he’s either got something to do with werewolves or the Argents.

“I’m your courier,” he says, and that’s the Argents then. As much as they still don’t get along with the pack, they’ve been incredibly helpful in terms of weapons and getting them places. “We’ll get everything to your destination.”

They leave everything with him, and then Stiles heads home for the first time in a few days to pack.

His apartment is small, boring, and basic, but he’s ok with that. He spends a lot of nights at Scott and Allison’s anyway. He sighs, shouldering open the door, not looking forward to packing. He’s the actual worst at packing. Also, he has to call the department and come up with some excuse as to why he’s about to miss a week of work. Maybe he’s got a very sudden case of meningitis. He can probably get Danny and Greenberg to falsify some hospital records or something.

There’s a light on in the kitchen, and Stiles stops in the front hall, not breathing as he transfers his satchel from his shoulder to his hand, walking on silent feet.

Someone emerges into the dark hall and Stiles slams his bag into the person’s head, swinging his body around to catch the person in the side with his foot, sending them into the wall with a gruff growl of pain that sounds amazingly like-

“Oh fuck, Derek,” Stiles says, dropping his bag and going to where Derek is currently leaning against the wall, holding his nose. “Dude, oh my god, I am so, so sorry-“

“You are so paranoid,” Derek says, his voice muffled behind blood and a broken nose, and Stiles helps him into the kitchen so that he can lean over the sink while his nose cracks back into place.

“Well you were being sinister in my front hall,” Stiles says, wiping at Derek’s face with paper towel. “God, I can’t believe I broke your nose, shit-“

“Yeah, what is in your bag, rocks?” Derek snarks, spits blood into the sink, wipes his sleeve across his mouth.

“Uh,” Stiles says, rubs the back of his head with a sheepish grin.

“Of course you have actual rocks in your bag,” Derek sighs.

“I was teaching the sophomores how to flint knap,” Stiles says. “So really, you’re lucky. I could have been carrying around quartz or something, at least flint isn’t as dense.”

“Normal people don’t carry around rocks at all,” Derek says, and pulls a beer out of Stiles’ fridge.

“Yes, well, archaeologist and all,” Stiles points out. “I am really, insanely sorry though. Forgive me?”

“Try not to hit me in the head with any more rocks?”

“I’ll try.”

Derek rolls his eyes, but he’s smirking now, and Stiles reaches out, takes his beer and sets it down, and then cups Derek chin, pressing a kiss to the bridge of his nose. Derek wraps his arms around Stile’s waist, kisses Stiles on the mouth instead, and Stiles can still taste a bit of blood, but he ignores it, because how many times has he tasted that in Derek’s mouth before? It’s old habit now.

Stiles makes Derek sit down on the couch and wraps a blanket around him before going to order pizza. They’re halfway through Die Hard 2 (there’s a marathon on Spike) when Stiles starts messing with Derek’s belt.

“The pizza made up for my nose, I promise,” Derek says, and Stiles grins in answer, unzipping Derek’s jeans so that he can get a hand down them. Derek makes a strangled little noise – he’s always restrained, no matter how many times they do this, biting off all the sounds he wants to be making – and Stiles presses a kiss into his neck, nips at the skin there.

“Who says I’m doing this as a continuation of the Nose Saga?” Stiles says, wraps a hand around Derek, and there’s that noise again. “I could just be doing this because I’m kinda your dick’s biggest fan.”

“Are you ever going to talk like a normal human being?” Derek gasps out, grinding up into Stiles’ hand. “Also, um, jeans.”

Stiles laughs, breathy, pulls at Derek’s ear with his teeth, and Derek anchors a hand around Stiles’ bicep, sucking in a breath. Stiles looks up just in time to see Derek’s eyes slip closed, his head tip back.

“I speak normally,” Stiles says, makes a humming noise. “Normally for me, anyway.”

“That’s nice. Stiles, jeans,” Derek gasps, bucks up into Stiles’ hand, and Stiles finally takes pity on him, sliding down onto the floor to tug Derek’s jeans and boxers down when he lifts up his hips.

“Sweet freedom,” Stiles says, and Derek’s about to make a snarky remark when Stiles takes him in his mouth, all at once, and Derek is pretty sure that Stiles breaks about half of his brain in that moment. If nothing else, he’s sure as hell not capable of any rational speech.

---

“My jetlag has jetlag,” Stiles mumbles, his voice muffled because he’s flopped facedown on the hotel bed. “I think even my soul hurts.”

“You don’t have a soul,” Lydia says primly, drops a very heavy bag down on the bed next to him to make him squawk at the sudden movement.

“That’s rich coming from you, ginger,” Stiles says, props himself up on an elbow. “Why are you here anyway? Isn’t your room next door?”

“There’s only one bed, Boyd and Erica are taking it,” Lydia says. “So I’m unfortunately bunking down with the unwashed masses.”

“Hey now, I took a shower three days ago,” Allison says, grining as she comes in with a number of courier packages that Stiles knows contains all sorts of sharp and pointy and shooty things.

“How caring of you,” Lydia laughs, accepts the parcel that’s marked with an L. “Where are the boys?”

“Setting up surveillance teams with Boyd and Erica,” Allison says as she hands over the two packages for Stiles. He gleefully opens them, pulling out and flipping open two hunting knives, enjoying the clean movement of the blades.

“You always look a bit too happy when armed,” Lydia notes.

“Oh, like Allison doesn’t,” Stiles says, going to organize and hide his knives in the bottom of his bag.

Because none of them draw the short straw for surveillance (they’ve tracked Atwood to a hotel, now they’re just waiting for him to move, and that’s currently Scott and Derek’s job), the three of them and Boyd and Erica end up in the hotel bar, trying to replace jetlag with alcohol.

“Is that a vintage halberd?” Stiles asks the bartender after his third beer, leaning on the bar and pointing at the weapon on the wall. The bartender shrugs. “I’ll give you 650 for it.”

The bartender gives him a long, hard look, and then disappears through a door towards the back.

“You can not seriously have $650 for something that could be fake,” Erica says. “That is ridiculous.”

“Kronor, it’s all good,” Stiles says, waving it away as Boyd just raises an eyebrow at him. “And it looks pretty damn real to my eye, there’s staining and striations in the wood that suggest both age and lack of proper preservation, and the blade is probably-“

“Please,” Lydia says, “spare us the history talk.”

“I don’t do history talk,” Stiles says. “That would make me a historian. An historian?”

“Stiles, you deal with written sources,” Allison points out. “You’re kind of a historian.”

“Not ever, how can you even say that,” Stiles says, stares down at his beer. “You wound me, Allison.”

“You’re going to get totally ripped off,” Erica says. “That’s all I’m saying.”

“Why not spend that money on normal people things?” Boyd asks.

“I want that halberd,” Stiles says fiercely, pointing at it just as the bartender comes back with another man. “It is going to be beautiful.”

“You really want to give me money for something that the decorator said had been in her grandfather’s garage for fifty years?” The other man asks (his nametag identifies him as what Stiles assumes is the manager, if his Swedish is any good, which it’s not, but he can speak Old Norse, so close enough).

“Very much so,” Stiles says. “I mean, assuming it’s legal to take that out of the country. Is it? Shit, what is your guys’ ruling on antiquities? Hold on, lemme look this up.”

Stiles pulls out his phone, and Lydia rolls her eyes.

“Stiles, it’s older than 150 years, you probably can’t take it out of the country,” Allison says, because she’s spent too much time around Scott and Stiles to not have a general grip on the ins and outs of artifact transportation.

The manager laughs, shakes his head.

“It’s probably fake,” he says, hefts it down from the wall and dumps it on the bar, making both Stiles and the bartender wince. Stiles then spends the next fifteen minutes combing over every inch of it with sharp eyes and wandering fingers.

“Is he always like this?” Erica asks, looking slightly confused and worried.

“He gets worse,” Allison sighs.

“You need a hobby,” Boyd tells Stiles.

“I have one,” Stiles mutters, not looking away from where he’s currently inspecting the fastenings that attach the head to the pole. “It just doesn’t usually include polearms, the Vikings usually used crossbows and swords, plus-“

“Stiles!” Erica says. “Really?”

“It’s important,” Stiles says. “If we run into any Vikings on this trip, you’ll be glad I’m around.”

“We’re not running into any Vikings,” Lydia sighs.

“Famous last words,” Stiles says, hefting the halberd up in his hands, parallel to the bar. “Remember that time you said, and I quote ‘we’re not running into any changelings’?”

“That was one time,” Lydia says.

“I’ll take it, it’s a reproduction, probably within the last 100 years,” Stiles says, and the manager looks very pleased.

---

Scott and Derek creep into the room just past midnight to find that Lydia has taken one bed and Allison and Stiles are curled up together in the other one – or rather, Stiles is sleeping with his limbs going every which way and Allison is clinging to him. It’s difficult to sleep with both of them, either Stiles is tossing and turning and hitting you in the face with an arm, or Allison is crushing the life out of you. Scott is kind of jealous that somehow when you put them together they have no problems. Evidently when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force they find it very easy to fall asleep in the same bed.

“I’ll go take Boyd and Erica’s couch,” Derek hisses, and Scott shakes his head.

“It’s fine,” Scott whispers back. “It’s a big bed, we’ll all fit.”

“I don’t want to intrude,” Derek mutters. “Or get knifed in the night.”

“Allison won’t kill you.”

“Yes, but she may maim me. And if I bleed all over the sheets and the mattress we’re going to have some explaining to do. I’ll take the couch.”

“Stop being a martyr, and get in bed,” Scott sighs, and he starts peeling off clothes, slipping in behind Allison and leaving Derek standing there glowering. The fact is that Allison and Stiles, while tall, are both really kind of skinny and take up about one normal sized person amount of space between them. There’s room for all of them.

He presses his face into Allison’s hair, breathes in (applewood and tea tree oil), and then finally the mattress shifts again. The four of them have slept together before, once when a “camping trip” (they’d been on the tail of a group of werepanthers, of all the ridiculous things in the world, it’s like his life is an episode of True Blood sometimes, he swears) had gone a bit sideways and it was raining and freezing and they didn’t have any tents anymore. Mostly though, Stiles is a wall, not a bridge. He sleeps with Stiles and Allison, sleeps with Derek, but the four don’t really go together. In the way that Scott has Allison, Stiles has Derek.

He falls asleep with Allison on his mind and wakes up with a fuzzy brain, and he’s pretty sure that the falling sleep and waking up were only second apart.

Boyd’s shaking his shoulder, a finger to his lips, and Scott nods, rolls out of bed, and follows him into the bathroom so that they can talk without waking anyone up.

“Erica and I caught Atwood leaving, he’s on the move heading north out of the city. I’ve got Danny and Greenberg tracking him, but we need to move,” Boyd explains.

“What time is it?” Scott asks, yawning a bit.

“Just after seven in the morning. All good to go?”

“If you give me a couple minutes to get everyone up, yeah. Can you and Erica grab the cars?”

Boyd nods, and he heads out while Scott starts poking and prodding at people (he gets Stiles to wake up Derek, because Stiles is the only one who can wake Derek up without him taking a swipe at whoever is doing the waking). Lydia is ready the fastest, standing at the door with inauspicious looking bags that contain a small arsenal, and she taps her foot, watching them with sharp eyes.

“Chop chop,” Lydia says. “We’ve got bad guys to take down.”

“You really missed this, didn’t you?” Allison says, smiling and tugging on one of Lydia’s curls. Lydia just brushes Allison’s hand away, rolling her eyes.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Lydia says.

They end up in two cars, Lydia with Boyd and Erica in one and the other four in the other, and start heading north. Allison gets Mission Control on the phone for an update.

“How’s Sweden?” Jackson asks. “Cold, I’d expect.”

“Not the time, Jackson,” Derek growls.

“When is it ever the time with you?”

“Bite me. Oh wait-“

“Derek, Jackson, stop,” Scott says, and amazingly both of them do. “Danny and/or Greenberg, are you there?”

“They’re here!” A tiny voice pops up, sounding quite pleased.

“Weren’t you just watching My Little Pony with Isaac? How’d you get over here so fast?” Jackson asks.

“Never have children, Jackson,” Allison says. “Emmy, honey, can you let the adults talk?”

“That’s ok, you guys are boring anyway,” Emmy says, and then there’s the sound of scampering small feet vanishing somewhere.

“Before you guys tell on us, Danny, Isaac, and I have been excellent babysitters,” Greenberg says. “Jackson just has a black hole where his heart is supposed to be.”

“You’re lucky Lydia isn’t in the car,” Allison says.

“Guys, does anyone care about Atwood and Gosden?” Scott asks, exasperated.

“Oh yeah, sorry!” Danny says, and there’s the sound of electronics being moved around and papers shuffling. “Ok, so, Atwood and three other GPS enabled vehicles left Stockholm heading north on the E4 at about 6:50 this morning.”

“Three?” Derek asks.

“Yeah, and the GPS are military,” Greenberg says. “Not the ones that the Swedish army uses though, I’m willing to bet private contractors.”

“So what you’re saying is that he has a private army with him,” Allison asks.

“Uh, probably,” Danny answers.

“Oh, awesome. This has officially gone straight past Indiana Jones and into Lara Croft levels of utter ridiculousness,” Stiles says, and slips a bit down in his seat, rubbing at his face with his hands.

“You guys do know how to have fun,” Greenberg says. “Try not to die, and we’ll check in if we figure anything else out.”

“This is suddenly a lot less fun,” Stiles says. Allison just pats him on the shoulder.

---

It turns out that the three GPS signals are trucks, and that they split up in the middle of fucking nowhere, rattling off the highway and into pristine Swedish wilderness, leaving gouged tire tracks in the defrosting topsoil.

“Well, that’s convenient,” Stiles says, standing on the shoulder of the road with the others. They’re stopped, staring off in various directions at the tire tracks.

“We’re going to have to split up,” Erica says. “Everyone grab a werewolf and a pair of binoculars. They can’t have gotten far in the trucks, the ground is too rocky, so following on foot shouldn’t be too bad.”

This is how Scott and Stiles end up tromping across half frozen ground covered with mud and dead rushes and pine needles.

“This place is probably prettier with snow,” Stiles notes as he scrapes some mud off of his boots on a fallen pine before looking straight up. “Anything smell fishy?”

Scott is halfway up another tree. He’s spotted the discarded truck, but not the people who came in it. He’s willing to bet it holds about eight people, not counting the driver. It looks like a military troop transport of some kind, and reeks of sweat, cordite and canvas.

He lands in the mud with a whump, and Stiles grins at him.

“You think they split up to find the amulet?” Scott asks as they start walking again.

“Assuming it exists, yes. Why?”

“Because there’s a rather round small hill about 100 meters in this direction.”

Stiles’ eyes light up at that, and he takes off at a jog, holding the straps of his backpack. Scott just has to smile and shake his head – Stiles is scrawny and pale and wearing an overlarge parka, but he’s got knives in his boots, at his thigh, and he’s got a sword and the halberd strapped across his back. He’s like half lethal, half nerd.

(And honestly, Scott wouldn’t want him any other way.)

Scott catches up with him, and they come out into a clearing with a brook running on the far side, chunks of ice floating in it. In the middle of the clearing is the suspiciously round hill, and Stiles is immediately circling it, a hand over his mouth (Scott can see his lips moving between his fingers).

“This what I think it is?” Scott asks.

“It has to be,” Stiles says, sounding totally pleased. “Oh man, ok, so we have to come back – can we remember how we got here? – because I am going to survey and excavate the shit out of this beauty, it is going to be awesome.”

“It always worries me a bit how hot you get for passage tombs,” Scott laughs, and Stiles comes up to him, grinning at him.

“Oh you know it,” Stiles says, and darts in to steal a quick kiss from Scott before he starts scrambling up the side of the hill, towards the top. “Oh man, no cave-ins! No prior horrible excavations! I may actually do something that can be published in a current journal!”

“You’ve got those couple of theory articles,” Scott points out as he follows Stiles over the top.

“Boring,” Stiles says, and stops on the very apex, looks around.

“We should get moving again,” Scott points out.

“I know,” Stiles sighs. “Still no trail?”

Scott shakes his head. If the hired guns are anywhere around here, they’re upwind. It’s driving him a little bit nuts, he doesn’t really feel like getting snuck up on by eight (or more) heavily armed people. He’ll be ok, he highly doubts they’re carrying anything that can kill him, but Stiles is human. All it takes to kill him is one well placed bullet.

They start walking down the other slope, and that’s when the ground gives way.

“Whoa-!” They’re in free fall for only a couple of meters, but Scott ends up on his back against hard slabs of stone with Stiles on top of him, one of Stiles elbows in his gut.

“Oh fuck,” Scott gasps. “I think you ruptured something.”

“Shit,” Stiles says, scrambling off of Scott and kneeling next to him. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Scott rasps, sitting up slowly and wincing as he feels three of his ribs knit back together. “What about you?”

“Uh,” Stiles moves his arms, cracks his neck, “I’m all good.” He offers a hand to Scott and hauls him up, and they find themselves in a dark passage, the only light coming in from the hole they’ve just fallen through.

“You wouldn’t have happened to have brought a flashlight, would you?” Scott asks, and Stiles turns so that Scott can dig through his backpack. He manages to find a heavy maglight tucked into one side, and he switches it on, pointing it up at the hole so that they can see the underside of it.

“Are those boards?” Stiles asks, squinting up at them, and Scott nods. They’re old, warped and wet, it clearly wasn’t going to take much to break them. “Someone’s been here.”

“A while ago,” Scott says, and then turns the flashlight down the passage. One side slopes down a bit and then ends in a stone wall, the other side is too far away to see what’s at the end.

“This is larger than the mound above it,” Stiles mutters, and stares back up for a moment. “And this passage is way too big.”

“What, like three by three meters?” Scott estimates. “It should be about a third of this size, I don’t think I’ve ever been in one that I didn’t have to stoop in.”

“Well, let’s see what’s here,” Stiles says, and he’s about to move in the direction of the unseen end when Scott grabs him, clamps a hand over Stiles’ upper arm.

“Something smells… weird,” Scott says. “And it’s moving. It’s like – death. But not quite.”

“Dead and moving is a really bad combo,” Stiles says, and he drops his pack on the ground and unhitches the halberd and blade so that he can leave them with it before pulling out two curved knives from his boots.

“Extremely bad combo,” Scott agrees, voice quiet. It’s coming closer, and now he’s picked up sounds as well – dragging and scraping, rasping and harsh. Scott shines the flashlight beam down the passage, and finally, figures stumble into view.

“Oh fuck,” Stiles says. “Zombies.”

“I’m going to kill Derek, he said that zombies were not a thing-“

“Let’s just assume that Derek has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to what’s a thing and what isn’t a thing,” Stiles says, and flips his knives over in his grip, drops into a defensive stance. Scott sets down the flashlight and growls as he feels himself slip, feels bones start to rearrange and claws grow, fangs rough against his tongue.

When they come into clear view Stiles actually groans. They’re dressed in heavy, molding fabrics, and some of them are carrying shields that are falling apart. Scott can see where there’s bone poking through, where skin and muscle have come off. There’s no blood, and he gets the feeling that these are really old zombies.

“Oh my god, zombie Vikings. If this was not a horrible situation this would be the greatest moment of my life,” Stiles says, and then he launches himself forward, blades flashing in the beam of the flashlight, and Scott goes after him, snarling.

The zombies shuffle around them, making gasping sounds, and Scott slams an elbow into the first one’s temple, watching as its skull crumples in and it falls to the ground, twitching and moaning.

“Good news,” Scott says, snapping a second’s neck and then stomping on its head when it’s down. “The usual will kill them.”

“Love it when zombies play by Romero’s rules,” Stiles says as he sinks his knives into another zombie’s eyes, making it gurgle and claw at him blindly. Scott watches as he sweeps another zombie’s legs out from under it and slices his knife through the back of its head on its way down. Scott turns to a zombie that’s grabbed him, its mouth gaping and open and aiming for his throat. He slams its head into the wall before it can do any damage.

Fighting with Stiles like this, a real fight (if zombies can ever really be part of a ‘real’ fight), is something that comes back to him easily, even though it’s been years since he’s done it. They move around each other, play off each other, and when he sends a zombie back down the passage with a kick to the chest Stiles is there to drive a blade through the side of its head. They make neat work of them, and when the last two drop they find themselves back to back, breathing heavy and adrenaline in their veins.

“Ok,” Scott says. “Is it just me or was that kind of awesome?”

“Kind of awesome,” Stiles confirms. “Zombies are always kind of awesome. Plus, check out the shield design on this one-“

Stiles is bending down to point something out when a rope comes down through the hole, and Allison comes down the rope, Derek jumping down close after her. They land glowering and armed, and Stiles just raises an eyebrow, leans on Scott’s shoulder.

“You’re a bit late,” Stiles says, and Allison and Derek come over, clearly confused.

“Are those zombies?” Allison asks.

Were zombies,” Scott says.

“Not again,” Derek sighs, putting his head in his hand.

“You’re never going to hear the end of it,” Stiles assures him with a smile. “Also, I’ve got good news.”

“Which is what?” Allison asks, and Scott looks back down at the zombies, and it clicks.

“Oh, fuck, the amulet must be here,” he says. “Passage tomb, Neolithic, not Norse. You need something Norse for zombie Vikings.”

“Thanks for stealing my good news,” Stiles says.

“Yes, because zombies operate according to the archaeological record,” Derek says with no small amount of sarcasm.

“I’m assuming so,” Stiles says, shrugging. “Scott, lead on?”

Scott picks the flashlight back up, and leads the other three down the slope. The temperature drops even further, their breath steam in the air, and finally Scott’s flashlight catches on the edge of what looks to be an opening, covered by more old boarding that’s warped and water damaged.

He holds the flashlight up and Stiles putters around the edges, fitting his fingers into groves occasionally, frowning.

“Is something written here?” Allison asks, pointing at the top right corner. Scott moves the flashlight and Stiles stands on his toes to read it. “Is it Old Norse or something?”

“English,” Stiles says, “N-24D.”

“Excavation?” Scott asks.

“Yeah, they must have been boards over a digging surface,” Stiles says before he moves back a few steps. “I give up, Derek, bust the thing down.”

“You know, I have other talents besides-“

“Lecture later, kicking this in right now,” Allison says. Derek breathes out through his nose, lips pursed, and then send a roundhouse kick into the middle of the boards. They give way with a wet cracking noise, and Scott shines the flashlight into a small, round room, the ceiling lower. The only thing in the room is a small, dark metal box, with something written on the top in chalk.

“Ok, that I know is Old Norse,” Allison says. “Is it the amulet?”

“Probably,” Scott murmurs, bends down to blow a layer of dust and dirt off the box. The writing is faded with the damp and age. “Stiles?”

“Yep,” Stiles takes the flashlight and bends down next to Scott, muttering to himself as he reads. “It’s from the Poetic Edda, I can’t remember what poem or verse.”

“Does it say we’re about to unleash some unspeakable evil if we open the box?” Derek asks.

“Actually, no,” Stiles says.

“That’s refreshing, for once,” Derek mutters.

“What does it say?” Allison asks.

“Uh, I know that stands an ash tree, named Yggdrasil,” Stiles reads, “the high tree, sprinkled with white mud; from there come the dews; that falls in the vale; forever green it raises itself above Urd's well.”

“That’s definitely the amulet,” Scott says, and then hefts the top off, lets it clang to the stone floor. Inside, nestled in a bed of old straw and reeds, is a circle of hammered silver with a metal tree in the middle, geometric and angular and curling, and around the edges are runes, etched deep and rough.

“Wow,” Stiles murmurs, and pulls a bandana out of his parka pocket to carefully lift it out, staring at it with wide eyes. It fits perfectly in his palm, and for a moment no one says anything.

“That’s incredible workmanship,” Scott says, and Stiles just nods, turning it over and over.

“Why’s it here?” Derek asks.

“The original excavators must have placed it here for safe keeping,” Stiles says. “Who’d look in an unknown passage tomb in the middle of Sweden?”

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to end the world,” Allison says.

“I think it’s supposed to give the bearer unlimited power or something,” Stiles says, pointing at the runes.

“These ancient prophesies are always intentionally vague, I swear,” Allison says.

“Yeah, this is basically ‘the holder shall possess the power of all nine worlds of the ash tree’,” Stiles says. “That could mean basically anything.”

“Well no one’s face has melted off yet, so we’ve got that going for us,” Derek says.

“Always good,” Scott says. “What are we going to do with it?”

“I don’t know,” Stiles says.

“We need to stop Atwood before he rips up any more of Sweden,” Allison says. “First priority.”

“She’s right,” Derek says, and Scott nods. Stiles carefully wraps the amulet up in the bandana and then slips it back in his pocket.

“Alright,” Stiles says, standing up. “Let’s kick some bad guy ass. Everything’s chump change after zombies.”

---

When they climb back out, they come out to find themselves in the middle of churning winds and snow falling from dark clouds. It can’t be much later than two or three in the afternoon, but the sky is dark and twisted with a storm, and already flakes are settling onto a refreezing ground. Stiles is the last one out, and Derek hauls him the last foot up the rope, hands linked with Stiles’ as he pulls him up and helps him find his feet.

Stiles is trying to decide what to do with the hole when someone taps him on the shoulder, and he turns, standing up in one fluid motion, because Atwood, Gosden, and a small army are coming up the hill.

“Shit,” Stiles says, but his voice is lost in the wind, and out of the corner of his eye he sees Derek and Scott start to shift. Derek throws his head back, howls at a hidden moon, and Stiles knows because they’ve done so this so many times, knows that the rest of the pack can’t be too far.

Allison has her crossbow in the cradle of her shoulder, and Stiles drops his pack so that he can pull his halberd and the sword from his back. The enchanted blade glows softly in the dark air, making it seem much cooler than it actually is (the enchantment is really just to keep the blade clean and sharp, nothing special).

“Ah, Drs. Jones and Croft,” Atwood calls over the wind.

“Lara Croft doesn’t have a doctorate,” Stiles yells back, and Derek shoots him a look that says shut up, which is slightly more intimidating when he’s got glowing eyes.

“And your backup – these creatures? Otto told me you had skinchangers, nothing special against good old firepower. So,” Atwood gestures and there are 20 guns trained on them, “the amulet?”

“Over my dead body,” Scott says, hackles up.

“That can be arranged,” Atwood says, unconcerned.

“I don’t know,” Allison says, hitches her crossbow up a bit higher, “he’s pretty hard to kill.”

“We all are,” Derek growls, and that’s when Erica and Boyd charge out of the trees, slamming into the back row of goons, and Lydia is close on their heels. Bodies go down, spilling red in the snow, some with claw marks and some with the kind of small caliber shots that Lydia deals in with a disturbingly good aim.

“Maiming only!” Scott screams over the wind as they charge. “No killing!”

Allison is on one side of him, slamming arrows into soft flesh as Stiles runs on his other side, leading with the business end of the halberd. Somewhere he can hear gunshots, and he’s not sure if they’re the mooks or Lydia, he just goes charging into the fray, grabbing a gun to bend the barrel and then slamming his forehead into the guy’s head, and he’s already onto the next by the time the first hits the snowy ground. The snow swirls around moving bodies, and Scott hates this part, because he can’t tell smell by blood – he has no idea who’s getting hit, just that it’s either werewolf or human. He doesn’t care about the wolf, these aren’t silver bullets, and he’s already taken two or three, but the human worries him. It’s probably the hired guns, but it could be any of the others.

He growls, swinging another guy around by his arm, slamming him into a tree at the edge of the clearing face first, and then turns just in time to see Allison put an arrow into a shoulder at point blank range, spin around down on her knee, and an arrow appears out a second guy’s thigh. Stiles is suddenly at his back, and Scott is aware of the harsh cut of blood in the wind and snow.

“Are you ok?” Scott calls over his shoulder.

“Knife to the shoulder, I’m fine, I’m just slower with my left arm,” Stiles yells back, and Scott growls, because that’s not fine, and he hopes that the bastard that did that is down and in a massive amount of pain.

Stiles moves a bit away from him to slam the flat of his blade against he back of a mook’s head, and then the ground is rumbling with the sound of thunder. The whole clearing is slammed into sharp, bright relief for a moment, and lightning strikes a tree on the other side of the clearing. Scott looks up into the swirling snow for a moment, sees electricity crackling and snaking across what he realizes is the center of the storm.

It’s all too perfect – the sudden storm, the lightning. Things shift into place, and he’s suddenly aware of what they have to do with the amulet to keep it away from Atwood. He didn’t think this day could get any weirder than mercenaries and zombie Vikings, but hey, looks like it just did.

“Stiles,” Scott yells, the storm roaring in his ears, there are too many sounds at once, and the wind and snow dance around him, “lightning?” For a moment Stiles stills in confusion, and then understanding dawns across his face.

“Oh, no, absolutely not,” Stiles yells back, slams the shaft of his halberd into the temple of one of the mooks, sends him crumpling to the frozen ground. “If motherfucking Thor enters in to this equation my brain will actually break, don’t do that to me, I -“

He cuts himself off to spin around to catch two more of the hired guns across their chests, deep enough to send them staggering and bleeding but leaving them alive, and comes up to catch another under the chin with the butt of the staff.

“Give me the amulet!” Scott yells, and Stiles grabs it out of his pocket, turning to fling it at Scott before going back to the mooks. Scott snatches it out of the air, letting the bandana fall to the snowy ground, and then throws his arm up, amulet in his palm, and he’s aware that Stiles and Allison are standing on either side of him, shielding him with their bodies. The amulet is warm against his skin, much too warm for the air temperature, and he looks straight up at the angry, churning clouds.

“Come and get it!” He yells, and there’s a crack that sounds like the earth splitting open as a bolt of lightning races straight towards him.

His vision is nothing but white, his skin is on fire, and he collapses to his knees, heart stuttering in his chest. There’s something happening around him, and he starts to fall forward right before someone gets their hands on him, rolling him onto his back. He can feel the chill of the ground through his jacket, and he sighs, smiles – the amulet is gone. He flexes sore, tight fingers, wonders if they’re burnt, and, as someone is saying Scott, Scott, no, don’t you dare- he slips under, the world going black.

Spread out around his body there is a circular pattern of runes made of frost and dancing sparks, spelling out something that Allison can’t read and Stiles is too busy panicking to notice –

Asc veit ec standa,
heitir Yggdrasill,
hár baðmr, ausinn
hvítaauri;
þaðan koma döggvar,
þærs í dala falla,
stendr æ yfir, grœnn,
Urðar brunni.

---

Scott becomes aware of the world again when sun slants across his vision, and he groans, throwing an arm over his eyes, because his eyelids aren’t doing enough to block out the light. He burrows down further in the sheets and blankets, between two bodies radiating warmth and familiar smells – Stiles’ oak and iron and Allison’s steel and antler, caught up with the applewood and tea tree oil in her hair. There’s the tang of blood, dried, somewhere above it all, and he remembers Stiles in the snow with blood on his grey parka.

He opens his eyes and finds himself face to face with the back of Allison’s head, so he rolls over, and there’s Stiles, eyes closed and mouth open, and the comforter is down around his hips. There’s a bandage hooked over and around his shoulder, and Scott hefts himself up onto an elbow so that he can peel it back carefully. Stiles had made it sound like a knick, but Scott can see that someone had tried to stab him, but Stiles must have moved, and instead the knife had hit the edge of his shoulder joint and scrapped down his arm, cutting in deeper where the bone narrowed under muscle. Scott frowns, and bends down to press a fierce kiss to Stiles’ forehead.

Allison shifts behind him, and he turns back to find her staring up at him through her hair, and as he pulls her hair back she grabs his wrist, presses kisses to every one of his knuckles.

“Don’t ever fucking do that again,” Allison says, no more than a whisper, and he stares down at her, confused.

“I – what happened?”

“You don’t remember?”

“The last thing I remember is holding the amulet up.”

Allison sighs, and then pulls Scott down so that she can kiss him, work his lips open, and he sighs into the kiss, frees his hand from Allison’s grip to skim his palm across her ribs, under her tank top, his thumb brushing the underside of her breast. She lets out a breathy little noise, and then finally pulls back, looking at him.

“Your heart almost stopped,” she says after a moment. “You’re not allowed to do that again.”

“Not sure how much control I have over that,” Scott says, and he finds he’s suddenly much more aware of his own heartbeat, listening to the easy, even cadence.

“You’re not dying on my watch,” Allison says. “Deal?”

“Deal,” Scott says, and he takes her hand to slip her first two fingers in his mouth, works the frown off her face with his lips and tongue.

“Hey,” Stiles says sleepily from behind them, and Allison lets her head fall back, half laughing and half moaning.

“Feeling left out?” She manages to huff out, and Stiles is against Scott’s back, bare skin on bare skin.

“Totally,” Stiles says, and they shift so that Allison is between them, and Scott kisses promises into their skin.

---

Scott is kind of sick of piles of grading. He sighs, standing in the middle of his office, a stack of freshman excavation journals in his arms, and wonders if he can pawn them off on Stiles for sexual favors or something.

There are voices out in the hall, too quiet for any human in the corridor to hear, but Scott recognizes Derek’s growl and Stiles’ quiet laugh.

Scott deposits the journals on top of a pile of books on a spare chair and sticks his head out into the hall, just in time to hear Stiles say see you at my place? and Derek respond with of course, I’ll order pizza.

Stiles laughs at that, kisses Derek once, quick and yet somehow filthy because Stiles is good at that kind of thing, and then Stiles walks backwards, hands in his pockets, and Derek raises an eyebrow at him before heading for the elevator.

Stiles walks backwards until he’s at Scott’s door, and then he leans against it, grinning at Scott.

“Enjoy the view?” Stiles asks, and Scott rolls his eyes. “I can get you a sex tape if you want one.”

“Oh god,” Scott moans. “I don’t want to hear about Derek and you having a sex tape.”

“Derek won’t let me make one.”

“Thank god for small miracles.”

Stiles looks over Scott’s shoulder at his desk and the piles of books scattered around the room, and then looks back at Scott.

“Want to go get coffee?”

“Weren’t you just out with Derek for lunch?”

“Yeah, but I could use some caffeine.”

“On one condition,” Scott says, and holds up a finger. “We don’t get kidnapped this time.”

Stiles laughs, warm and bright, and Scott can’t help but smile at it.

“Alright,” Stiles says. “We’ll try to not get kidnapped this time.”

“That’s all I’m asking.”

They make it to Starbucks and back in one piece and un-kidnapped. Scott goes back to grading and Stiles relocates the stack of books so that he can sit in the spare chair and read the latest issue of the Norwegian Archaeological Review, and Scott’s ok with it all. Sometimes, being a boring archaeologist (no Nazis, or killer robots, or planets in alignment) with Stiles is the best thing in the world.