By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: S/M elements, for The Challenge.

He's been kneeling in the same spot for what seems like hours. He can't even explain it sufficiently to himself. He can only tell himself that it's because he'll hate himself forever if he doesn't at least try.

It's all his fault he's kneeling like this in the first place. Shouting and yelling and demanding and finally slapping Spike s o hard the smaller man had been flung all the way across the room. Spike had snarled at him--no words, just the big-cat roar of a vampire--and slammed out the door. Angel had been too shocked to go after him.

It had taken a week before Angel figured out that Spike was hiding in the mailroom, a place Angel hated more than almost any other room in the Wolfram and Hart buildings.

When he'd tracked him down and apologized, Spike refused to forgive him. At first, Angel couldn't figure out why. They fought all the time. But then he realized that in all their fights and tussles, he'd never slapped Spike, never hit with an open hand--and thereby reduced him in rank to that of a woman. He'd forced Spike to submit, to become the one who relinquished power.

As soon as he did realize what he'd done, what Spike had realized the instant it happened, Angel dropped to his knees. "Please, Spike. I'll do anything."

"You had better mean that," Spike hissed.

"I do," Angel promised. "Anything."

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Go back to your office. Take your private elevator up to your penthouse. Strip off all your clothes and get on your knees facing the foot of your bed. If you're not there when I arrive, I'm stealing your car and your credit cards and you will never see me again."

Angel shivered. "I understand."

So here he was. Kneeling. Sore, cold, waiting for Spike to appear behind him. He wasn't sure Spike would even show up.

"Well pet," Spike's silky smooth voice chuckled from behind Angel. "Didn't think you'd wait this long."

Spike's voice. Angel tensed and relaxed all at once. "Didn't realize--"

"What? How long you'd waited? Or that you were still kneeling there?"

"That you were actually coming."

Spike didn't say anything. He stalked around Angel, feral and angry, but terrifyingly calculated too. He stopped between Angel and the bed and stared down.

When he slapped Angel across the face, Angel let it knock him down. When he looked up, Spike was smiling.

"Good boy."