It should be humiliating, on his knees like this at his brother’s feet. It should be a reminder of how low he’s been brought, how thoroughly he’s been beaten, that he can’t even argue when Lucifer orders him to perform such menial tasks as this – but it’s not.
Instead, he finds it quite comforting. There’s routine in the motions, simplicity; the bowl of water by his knee is warm, the towel on his lap is soft, and Lucifer’s foot in his hand is slowly becoming clean from the dust and blood under his careful care.
Once again, he has purpose in his life. It is… nice.
“Carry on,” says Lucifer, quietly, and Michael realises that he has become lost in his thoughts and has stopped. There’s a gentle tap of fingers against his cheek, knuckles that brush along the line of his jaw, and he drops his gaze to the floor again to focus on the task at hand.
(As it turns out, his brother is a surprisingly gentle taskmaster. Michael offers him little disobedience, and Lucifer offers him little violence in return. It is a system that works for them, strange perhaps though it is – it requires compromise on both sides, but compromise is more than worth it for finally, finally having his brother back.)
“Well done,” says Lucifer, and Michael doesn’t need to look up to see the delighted smile on his brother’s face. Lucifer likes this, for reasons Michael doesn’t fully understand, likes Michael cleaning his feet with his own hands despite the fact he could simply exert his will and be clean in a second.
He says none of that, though. He keeps his head down and continues cleaning, the soft white of the towel becoming stained in uneven streaks as he runs a damp corner of it over Lucifer’s heel and around his ankle, the warm pleasure of restoring order settling across his shoulders.
imagine spocks face as he slowly realized that all the times he thought bones was teasing him he was doing so with a deep fondness
imagine spocks face when he realized that bones had actually been flirting with him at some moments
Someone’s ordered the wrong supplies. Again.
Leonard alternates between glaring futilely at the quailing intern and the pile of useless plastic buckets sitting the middle of medbay. “And what the hell,” he finally says, “am I supposed to do with this?”
"You could sell them," Chapel suggests mildly. "I hear Scotty’s always on the lookout for……plastic."
Leonard throws his hands in the air, shoots one more dirty look at the intern, and tries to forget about the buckets.
Then someone drops a tray of hypos, breaks a monitor, and Scotty himself limps cheerfully in with a shattered femur and a hassled-looking officer under his arm.
"I’m done," Leonard announces, after he’s patched Scotty up and sent him away with ill grace. "I’m done,” he says again for emphasis, and he just manages to glimpse Chapel’s exasperated expression before he shuts himself in his office and refuses to come out.
It’s only fair, he thinks mulishly, sitting in his chair with his forehead resting on the surface of his cool, soothing desk. Jim pulls this act every time, just goes and disappears for hours on end when the stress gets to be too much. And Leonard’s the one keeping everyone on the damn ship in one piece.
"If anyone deserves off time, it’s me," he says aloud, then jumps guiltily when his office door opens. "Ten minutes, Christine, that’s all I-"
"Dr. McCoy," Spock says, arching an eyebrow from his position in Leonard’s doorway. "Is there a problem?"
Leonard contemplates refusing to answer and prodding the Vulcan out of the way so that the door will close again. Considers moping around in his office for another half hour or so until some major injury comes gimping in and he’ll have to emerge and put the poor sap back together. Briefly deliberates the pros and cons of comming Jim and complaining until the kid shows up to entertain him.
"Yes," he ends up saying, folding his arms and scowling wholeheartedly. "Yes, I have a goddamn problem."
He ends up ranting for five minutes on end with Spock standing in front of his desk, watching him with a vaguely interested expression like Leonard’s one of his lab experiments. And Leonard’s so far gone that he doesn’t even care.
When he stops for air, he’s red-faced and indignant all over again, a lump of frustration in his throat and a sour taste in his mouth.
"Sorry," he says, aware that Spock hasn’t said a word during all of this. "Sorry, I just…."
Then, the world turns on end and Spock reaches out and puts his hand on Leonard’s shoulder.
It’s both a shocking and an unexpectedly comforting gesture, and Leonard blinks down at his desk a few times before looking up.
Spock’s face is unreadable as always, but his hand is still there and, to Leonard’s surprise and amusement, Spock carefully lifts it and sets it down again in a single, restrained pat.
Leonard loses it. Just folds across his desk and breaks down cackling, his stomach cramping and his breaths coming out in great, wheezing guffaws. “Oh God,” he gasps, then shakes his head when Spock’s hand withdraws immediately. “It’s not you, it’s not you, I swear. Jesus-” And then he’s gone again, wiping tears from the corners of his eyes as he straightens and squints incredulously at Spock.
"Don’t ever change," he says seriously, and Spock’s head tips at a minute degree, contemplating Leonard’s expression gravely.
"I did not intend to," he finally replies, and Leonard decides that’ll have to do.