Greek Gold Wreath of Oak Leaves and Flowers, possibly from Attica, Greece, late 2nd - early 1st century BC
In ancient Greece, oak leaves symbolized wisdom, and were associated with Zeus, who according to Greek mythology made his decisions while resting in an oak grove.
Gold wreaths such as this one derive their form from wreaths of real leaves worn in religious ceremonies or given as prizes in athletic and artistic contests. Because of their fragility, gold wreaths were probably not meant to be worn. They were dedicated to the gods in sanctuaries and placed in graves as funerary offerings. Although known in earlier periods, gold wreaths became much more frequent in the Hellenistic age, probably due in large part to the greatly increased availability of gold in the Greek world following the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great.
Warnings: Language, smut, unprotected sex (obviously), dub-con?**, angst
**It’s pretty consensual honestly, but Negan is an asshole so I’m putting a warning anyway.
At first glance, Negan’s bedroom was just like the harem,
bathed in both lamplight and candlelight. It sported the same plants and plush
cushions, but the rest of the décor made it imposing. Stuffed animal heads
stared at you. There were five paintings on the walls and all of them were
illustrations of snakes. There was even a skull on the trophy shelf.
This, combined with the fact that all of his furniture was
black, made the dimly lit room feel like it belonged to a Victorian ghost
“I know,” Negan
whispered in your ear, his hand on your lower back. He was letting you ‘admire’
the room from the doorway. “You can hardly believe your luck. If I was you? I’d
feel the same way. I’m sure it’s not like the pretty little house you shared
with Daryl… that nice little suburban place with running water and flowerbeds,”
he smirked, leading you towards the bed. Even the bed sheets were black.
“But you see this? This antique oak four-poster is where
queens are made. Because as soon as you lay down with me in that bed, there
ain’t nobody alive who’s gonna screw with you!” he stepped right in front of
you, chewing his lip and grinning as you looked up at him. “And nobody alive
who’s gonna screw you… except for me. That clear darlin’?”
Imagine that one of them is an alien xenobiologist who falls in love with a human he is just supposed to be observing.
A/N: Tagged for violence. And pining. Also, looooong. Thanks to the OP for a truly great prompt.
The Terran’s smile was sunny. As warm and as golden as the G-type main sequence star his small blue world orbited. Phi'l found it impossible to control the tendency of his lips to quirk up in response. He’d stopped trying weeks ago.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, Phil,” the Terran said, strong fingers tracing the rim of his coffee mug, “but you’re kinda weird.”
Around them the hum and flow of conversation in the busy coffee shop was a soothing, pleasant drone punctuated by the fierce hiss of the big copper coffee machine behind the bar and the clank of cutlery against porcelain. Outside, the weather, still uncontrolled and unpredictable on this less advanced world, spat sleet into crowded streets. The humidity on Terra was higher than Phi'l was accustomed to, the gravity lighter and the temperature was too warm even in late autumn. But here inside the coffee shop the impossibly rich smell of butter and vanilla, of sugar and coffee and the sweet aroma of steamed milk, of woollen coats drying on pegs by the antique oak door, of the dizzying array of scent from Terran skin, all combined into an intoxicating haze that made him forget everything but the fascinating sapient sitting across from him at the small table.
“Am I?” Phi'l hid a twinge of unease behind a sip of coffee. He’d been very careful. But Terra was a new contact, sparsely studied. Central didn’t know much about the intricacies of the various cultures of Earth. He’d been thorough in his research—of course, he was thorough in everything he did—but there was always the risk of error.
“Yeah, you are,” the Terran's—Clint Barton's—eyes were bright with mischief. Phi'l relaxed a fraction, realizing it was unlikely he was in danger of being exposed. That he was only being teased. Flirting had been a difficult concept at first but it was fast becoming one of his favorite things. Especially when it was directed at him from this Terran man. He struggled to focus on the wordplay, to stop getting lost in the blue-green of the Terran’s eyes.
He pried his gaze away, focused on the contents of his cup. “How so?”
“Well, a fancy guy like you, coming in here week after week, to have coffee with a guy like me.”
“Like you? I don’t understand.”
“Well, I mean, lookit you. All—” Clint Barton made a vague circling wave in his direction. Phi'l frowned, baffled for a micron.
“Ah. You mean my attire.” Phi'l looked down ruefully at the perfectly tailored dark suit, the subtly silken waistcoat, the fine dark tie. This level of formality had been one of those errors he could have avoided if he had been more experienced with the culture. Here, in this Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States of America, Terra, he stuck out like a bin!‘ti in a yarm'ot patch. Initially he’d chosen the attire because it felt familiar, comfortable, like the SHIELD Consortium uniform he’d spent his whole career in. He wasn’t sure he knew how to dress ‘casually’ anymore. Either here or on his own home-world.
Phi'l’s expression must have slipped into something Clint Barton found disconcerting. “Hey, no, I didn’t mean it like that. It's…I like it. You look, uh, y'know. Nice. Good.”
The warm glow Phi'l felt in his chest at the Terran’s words was also unfamiliar. He glanced away, hoping the man didn’t recognize how pleased he was at the compliment. He wasn’t sure his reaction was proportional. Or…appropriate.
“You, also…look good,” he said tentatively, hoping it was the correct thing to say. He looked up. This Terran’s emotions were always so close to the surface, his expression so honest, so unguarded. Clint Barton seemed unconvinced but there was a trace of high color on his cheeks as he looked back openly. Phi'l could smell the heat in his face, the blood rising up, so close to the surface of his skin. Warm, alluring.
“Aw,” he said, “not really. Everyone says I look like ten miles of bad road.” Clint Barton self-consciously picked at the edge of one of the plasters that criss-crossed his forearms.
Ten miles of…what? What did that have to do with—? But the Terran’s pained expression was easy enough to read.
“You don’t,” Phi'l said, with maybe just a little too much force. Clint Barton looked up, startled. “…look like…road. You're— ”
Phi'l paused, off-balance, feeling his way. His last scholarly paper on intertribal diplomacy among the VosTo'kk of Altair Six had won two Imperiale Awards. His efficiency and ability to communicate within the Consortium was, although it wasn’t a word he would have chosen, legendary. He routinely declined speaking engagements that would have funded his retirement twice over, had he been interested in retiring. Why was being honest with this Terran so difficult? He took a breath and went at it from another direction.
“Clint Barton, the first time I saw you, you were actually rescuing a kitten from a tree.”
Clint Barton laughed. “Well, you helped—”
“The second time I met you, you had just given a homeless man all of your currency.”
“That’s why you had to buy me coffee. Maybe that was part of my evil plan.”
“—and your coat. And scarf. And it was 0.5C.”
Clint Barton shrugged, looked down at the tabletop. “I could get another coat easier than that guy.”
“Then there was the time that I happened to observe you jumping out of the third floor window of the Alcot building to apprehend a man who had just stolen a student’s backpack, fracturing your foot.”
“And you rode with me to the clinic. You didn’t hafta do that.”
Phi'l paused helplessly, trying to summon the strength to speak clearly. He sat back in his chair. “You’re impossible,” he finally said.
Clint Barton huffed out a breath. “Believe it or not,” he said, “it’s not the first time someone told me I’m a pain in the ass.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I mean, where I come from, you’re impossible.”
Clint Barton looked up.
Phi'l stumbled on. “You simply…couldn’t exist. You could only have come from here. I’ve never met anyone like you in all of the wor—, all of the places I’ve been. You are a unique construct of this place, this time. And it is so improbable that I would have met you just by random chance that it takes my breath away. I didn’t know that someone like you could exist.”
Phi'l didn’t add that the desire to take his Terran man into his care, to treasure him, to protect him, had been growing over the weeks since their first encounter and was, by now, almost overwhelming.
“I sometimes feel I’ve been waiting my whole life to have met you,” Phi'l finished softly, just now realizing the truth of it.
He realized he had erred, had overstepped convention with his honesty, when he looked up and saw the Terran’s shocked expression.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry if that was too—”
“No, no!” Clint Barton’s voice was pained, urgent. “I,” he said, “you—” Then he seemed to give up all at once and grabbed Phi'l’s hand.
Phi'l gasped. The Terran’s basal metabolic rate was much higher than the people of his own world. The shocking warmth of his grasp hit Phi'l’s nervous system like the injection of a powerful drug, like a wave of plasma that swept though him, warming every part of him, igniting parts of his body he’d forgotten he even had through long years of nothing but the cold adherence to duty and the vast black emptiness of space.
He struggled, trying to keep his breath under control. Fought the sudden impulse to reach out and take more of him, keep more of this, hold him close, claim him.
“Phil,” Clint Barton said, “that’s actually the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me.” The Terran’s expression was wondering, disbelieving. As earnest and open as a youngling’s.
Phi'l fought to focus beyond the salient fact of the man’s hand on his skin. “It’s true,” he said. “And it is only right that you should know it is true.”
A silence fell. And in that moment, in all of the galaxy, Phi'l was aware of only two things—the buzz and hum of energy of the Terran’s hand against his own and the deep amazing colour of his eyes. Then Clint Barton seemed to realize what he was doing and withdrew. He raised his hand to the back of his neck, rubbed at the short hairs of his nape with a grimace.
“Uh, Phil—would you like to get dinner with me?”
Phi'l blinked, trying to regain his composure. “Dinner? We have just eaten breakfast.”
Clint Barton’s expression showed him that he was missing something.
“No, I mean dinner dinner.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“How ‘bout you let me explain it to you tomorrow night, huh? What do you say, 8pm, Anthony’s down the street, meet you there?”
The hard buzz of the communicator in Phi'l’s breast pocket startled him. If the ship was contacting him in what was nominally supposed to be immersive field work it was deadly serious.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “I must take this.” He retrieved the communicator, disguised to look like a Terran phone, out without meeting Clint Barton’s eyes. “Yes?” he snapped in full command voice, only realising he’d forgotten his mild-mannered alias as an insurance adjustor when Clint Barton flinched across the table.
May’s tone was clipped, efficient. “Regrets for the interruption, Commander. We’ve just detected a HYDRA ship in orbit, we need you back up here.”
Will add links to previous chapters when laptop is free, still can’t figure out how to hyperlink on this tablet.
You lay like that for a while, for how long, you were too contented to gauge.
“It’s getting late.” he breathed into your hair. The hand stroking your back traveled to your thigh, giving you quick little squeeze and a pat that was just on the right side of what could be considered, friendly…like how one would pat a dog. You felt his body shift as he gently pushed you back, you barely suppressed the sigh of disappointment from escaping your lips, still swollen from his kisses.
The time you spent in his lap, your head draped contentedly over his shoulder, breathing in his scent, had been the longest span of time in a while where your mind was able to quite for once. You wanted to stay there.
“Yeah… 4:30 comes pretty early.” You replied quietly as you slid off his lap, settling beside him again, you reached for your iPhone, checking the time, 9:45 p.m.
There was a heavy air to the room, suddenly. You frowned to yourself and stared absentmindedly at a copy of Time Magazine that was laying open on the antique oak coffee table. You had had no more than a few moments of comfort in the afterglow, before things were seemingly right back to where they had been before. You suddenly felt a feeling of shame wash over you, you just basically came on a stranger’s leg within mere hours of meeting them.
Lost in thought, you sat there playing with your keys and phone in your hands, your body perched on the edge of the couch seat. Your body was in flight mode, prepared to make your exit and escape your mortification, you just hadn’t found the proper parting words yet. What could you say, ’ Thanks for the wine and the dry hump?’
He stretched his arms out and then above his head and yawned animatedly before turning his gaze to meet yours, a gesture you could sense he immediately regretted, as it could come off as rude. Leaning back into the cushions, he reached in his sweater pocket and pulled out a pack of Camels. He lit a cigarette before holding the pack out towards you, offering you one wordlessly.
You didn’t really smoke, but you took one anyway.
Lighting the cigarette and taking a careful drag, you couldn’t help but wonder something. What exact affliction did he suffer from that caused him to be confined to a wheelchair? Was he in some sort of accident? You inwardly admonished yourself for only now thinking about this, you had sat there going on and on about yourself and didn’t once ask him about his legs. Then again, he offered up no explanation freely. You didn’t know what may offend him more, asking or not asking. You took another pull from your cigarette, inhaling and then exhaling again with a shaky breath.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Dirty. Dirty and stupid.
He reached for your free hand suddenly, abruptly breaking you from your thoughts and enclosing it in his own, pleasantly warm and calloused.
“I’d have you stay longer, ” he began, inclining his head closer to yours and smiling apologetically. “It’s just, like I was explaining, my book…I have a fast approaching deadline.” He pulled his free hand through his hair, “Fuck.” He muttered to himself, sighing and letting his head roll back on the cushions, gazing at the ceiling, he let go of your hand.
It was only now you were noticing the dark circles under his eyes. He looked absolutely exhausted, as If he hadn’t had a decent nights sleep in quite sometime.
“Oh it’s OK, you needn’t explain.” you reply softly, placing your hand on his knee in a gesture or reassurance.
“Thank you for being so understanding.” He breathed, turning his head towards you again. He brushed back a few loose strands of hair from your forehead and gave your shoulder a light squeeze before sitting up with a huff, resting his hands on top of his legs for balance. The movement appeared to come with some difficulty.
Studying his face, for a fleeting moment it appeared twisted in pain, however upon noticing your appraisal, the grimace was gone almost as fast as it appeared. Reaching towards his chair and breathing a bit heavily, he forced a little smile.
“Allow me to show you out.”
You hop up quickly.
“No no please, there is no need.”
He furrowed his brow and his mouth moved to protest but you cut him off.
“Really, please, don’t get up.” You insisted.
“But…” he started.
“But nothing,” you smiled.
He smiled back in defeat, reclining back again and throwing his arms over the back of the couch, head falling back once more, resuming his pose from before.
Hellenistic Gold Oak Wreath, c. 4th-3rd Century BC
A Greek Hellenistic diadem wreath comprising numerous projecting sprays of sheet-gold oak leaves in two sizes with serrated edges and veins, a large central rosette with two smaller similar roundels flanking, laurel leaves to the rear with gold Heracles knot, the four intersections covered by miniature gold masks modeled in the round with varying expressions, and four more to the bands of the knot; each element affixed to a custom-designed display stand.
The most famous of such wreaths is the example from Vergina in the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Similar wreaths have been found all over the Hellenistic world in funerary contexts, as far apart as Asia Minor, the Black Sea coasts and Magna Graecia. The Greek writer Demosthenes (384-322 BC) noted that gold wreaths were worn for religious ceremonies, and the inventories of Greek temples and sanctuaries record that they were left as dedications by local men and women, foreign visitors, officials approaching the end of their career, as well as foreign powers seeking a favorable relationship. The oak leaves may symbolize the power of Zeus, who was often represented by the oak tree. This is a finely detailed example of the type executed with great skill.
Greek Gold Oak Wreath from the Dardanelles, 4th century BC
This naturalistic wreath of oak-leaves and acorns is supported on two golden branches that are now reinforced by a modern copper core. At the back the branches end in obliquely cut end-plates, at the front they are held together by a split pin fastener concealed by a golden bee. Each branch bears six sprays with eight leaves and seven or eight acorns, as well as a cicada. Additionally, about a dozen single leaves are attached directly to each branch.
Gold wreaths were made in imitation of various leaves, including oak, olive, ivy, vine, laurel and myrtle. Most of these trees or plants have associations with various deities; for example, the oak was sacred to Zeus.
Wreaths were left in burials in Macedonia, southern Italy, Asia Minor and the North Pontic area from the fourth century onwards. This wreath is said to have come from a tomb somewhere on the Dardanelles. Despite their obvious fragility, the Greek orator Demosthenes (384-322 BC) writes that gold wreaths were worn for certain religious ceremonies.
Summary: Arthur accidentally shrinks himself after tripping while casting a spell. Luckily, his boyfriend is there to keep him company. Pairing: USUK Word count: 2,138 Prompt from otp-fanfic-ideas, requested by empressvegah and eveylein. Thank you so much!
Arthur groaned as he once again lost his grip, flopping onto his plush, white carpet with a sigh of defeat. He laid there a moment, arms splayed out beside him, taking in slow, labored breaths until he had recuperated from the fall and was able to sit up properly. From there, the Brit shifted, scooting toward the small leg of his couch. He leaned against the wood and ran a hand through his choppy, muted blond hair, resigning himself to the fact that he’d be stuck on the floor for the next two hours.
It was a simple spell, really; a few words meant to shrink an object down for a bit. Arthur often did it with his luggage before a World Meeting, and with one coming up in the next month, he had decided to practice the shrinking spell, just to make sure everything was perfect. He hadn’t meant to trip while saying the last line of the spell, hadn’t meant to fall atop of his wand and accidentally shrink himself down to the size of a sewing needle. But, here he was, laying on the floor, tiny and defeated and stuck. After all, he was much to small to perform any sort of reversal spell, and, even if he was, he wasn’t sure he even had one.
Arthur sighed heavily, deciding it might be best to attempt some rest. Staying awake would only mean more frustrating attempts at activities he couldn’t complete, and he wasn’t too keen on being unable to enjoy even the simplest pleasures, like a good book and an amazing cup of tea, when in his own bloody home. So, the Brit closed his eyes, fully intending to fall asleep for the entire length of the unfortunate spell.
It was only when a sudden, jarring knock sounded at his front door that Arthur abruptly realized he’d been expecting company.