This goes along with the end of Chapter 23 of my "Guilty Feelings" story, but you don't have to read that one to understand this one. Both stories contain corporal punishment of adults, so please skip them if that weirds you out and stuff.

When Angel returned home, Spike was lounging on the round couch in the lobby in a position that couldn't possibly have been comfortable, but he was trying his best to look cool.

"Go upstairs," Angel said, not bothering with the niceties of a more standard greeting.

"What for?" Spike asked. "It's a free country."

"Go upstairs," Angel repeated.

Spike frowned.

"You can't just order me about, Angel," he said indignantly, rising to his feet. "You're not my boss. Currently."

"Upstairs," Angel repeated firmly, unbuckling his belt and sliding it slowly through the loops.

"Wha—what are you doing?" Spike asked in consternation. "Are you undressing? I mean, don't get me wrong, Angel, you're all right looking—for a bloke. Bit much in the forehead department, but you can't help that. But you know that I fancy ladies..."

"Do you want me to start counting?" Angel asked irritably. "Because I will."

"Wha—well … You can't mean to smack me, Angel?" Spike asked incredulously, but his tone held only wonder with no hint of defiance. Yet. "...Can you?"

"One," Angel replied.

"Angel!" Spike said, balking and taking a step back. "I—I mean, surely you don't expect me to jump to it just because you're spouting off numbers at me... I'm not a child..."

"Two," Angel said menacingly.

"What happens at three?" Spike asked, eying with morbid fascination the now doubled belt in Angel's hand.

"I start whacking," Angel answered simply.

"Well," Spike said, frowning. "What difference does it make, then? If you planned to do it already, what's all this counting business for?"

Angel took a step toward him, and Spike backed quickly toward the stairs.

"I'm going!" he said, holding his hands out in a conciliatory gesture. "I'm going, all right?"

To prove it, he continued to walk backwards up the stairs, carefully making his way by feel, not taking his eyes off Angel. He backed all the way down the hall until he stood in front of his room.

"Get in there and take off your coat," Angel instructed, pointing toward the door with the belt.

"Angel!" Spike said as he roughly shoved the door open behind him, the pitch of his voice rising considerably. "What—I don't get it."

"You're about to get it," Angel said with foreboding. "Coat off. Now."

"You can't smack me!" Spike spat angrily. "I'm not your naughty child! I'm a grown man! I-I'm a hundred and thirty bleeding years old! I don't get smacked!"

"Maybe that's why you pull such stupid stunts," Angel said coolly.

"Get out of my room," Spike said.

"I believe it's technically my room," Angel said. "Seeing as how it's my house."

Spike's mouth opened and closed for a few seconds before he found his voice.

"I can't believe you're trying to use 'my house, my rules' on me!" he said. "I'm not Connor!"

"Yeah," Angel said. "You're not. In spite of all your bad influence, Connor manages to go to school, keep his scholarships, and pay his own rent."

"Of course he does!" Spike yelled hotly. "He certainly wouldn't want to live with you!"

"If you fight me on this, fine," Angel said calmly. "I'll just whip your ass after I kick it."

"Why are you jumping all over me?" Spike demanded. "Connor's a grown man. I didn't force him to come out with me. Well... Well, I mean, I guess I kinda did, but... He'll be fine tomorrow!"

"This isn't about him," Angel said.

"Then what are you so bent out of shape about?" Spike asked. "If you're worried about Buffy, I told you nothing happened! Not a single thing! There wasn't even time!"

"This isn't about her, either," Angel muttered.

"It's always about her," Spike argued.

"Yeah, well this time, it isn't," Angel said angrily. "This is all about you."

"What d'you mean?" Spike asked.

Angel sighed deeply and rubbed at his temple with his free hand.

"Sit down," he ordered.

"Don't wanna," Spike said contrarily.

"Ain't asking," Angel returned.

Spike huffed and took his eyes off Angel long enough to hastily sweep all the books and papers from his bed onto the floor. Angel regarded the action with distaste but didn't comment.

"What?" Spike asked defensively as he sank hard onto the bed. "Next you're going to tell me that I have to clean my room and make my bed every day?"

"It wouldn't hurt," Angel answered. "This room's a mess."

"This whole place is a mess," Spike said.

"Yeah," Angel agreed.

"Well," Spike said after a moment. "Are you gonna get on with the lecture or what? I don't have all night."

Angel nodded and cleared his throat a couple of times.

"Listen," he said uncomfortably.

"I get it," Spike interrupted. "I know what I did was stupid, and I know you tried to stop me, but I didn't listen. Okay? I know all that, so you don't have to try and thrash me."

"Try?" Angel scoffed. "I plan to succeed."

Spike smirked slightly and made a halfhearted attempt to look ashamed for doing so, but failed miserably.

"Take the coat off," Angel said anew.

"No," Spike replied, peering up at Angel unflinchingly when he took a step closer to him. "I won't."

"You just lost your pants, too, then," Angel informed him calmly.

"I'm not intimidated by you, Angelus," Spike said, not breaking eye contact.

"Do you want to lose your underwear as well?" Angel asked.

"Not wearin' any," Spike murmured, pleased by the distressed look that briefly crossed Angel's face. "And I'm not taking my trousers off, either. I don't want you looking at my junk."

"Believe me," Angel said. "I have about as much interest in your 'junk' as you have in mine."

"Yes, how very paternal of you," Spike scoffed. "I suppose this is also going to hurt you more than me?"

"Not by a long shot," Angel answered easily.

"Well, I don't care," Spike replied, leaning back slightly. "Just 'cause you're my grandsire, that doesn't mean you can beat on me."

Angel abruptly reached for his arm, but Spike dodged out of the way, rolled to the side, and attempted to make it to the door. Angel halted him with a firm grip on his collar and shook him a little.

"Get off!" he demanded testily.

"Get your arms out of this coat right this minute," Angel ordered sternly.

Spike met his gaze briefly before feigning acceptance and shrugging out of his leather duster, only to dash toward the door again as soon as he was unrestrained.

"You—" Angel exclaimed, surprised for some reason. He quickly reached out and jerked Spike back toward him by his arm.

"Ow!" Spike protested, rubbing his shoulder. "You don't gotta pop my limbs out of their sockets. I'm not a Ken doll!"

"Lean over the bed," Angel replied, again using his belt as a pointing device.

"Nuh uh," Spike answered, folding his arms across his chest.

"Well, I'm not putting you over my knee!" Angel said angrily.

"Bloody right you're not!" Spike said shrilly. "You're not gonna hit me at all! Not like that. If you wanna have it out, we'll have it out."

"I don't want to have it out," Angel said tiredly.

"I see. Wanna give but never take. Typical."

Angel spun Spike around and managed to land several hard slaps of his hand to his backside before Spike jerked away in what certainly appeared to be alarm.

"Don't!" he shouted, sounding remarkably like Dawn. "Leave me alone!"

"You're getting a whipping, and that's the end of it," Angel said firmly. "I'm done talking about it."

"I don't want a whipping!" Spike wailed. "Just leave me alone, Angel!"

"Either you can take your pants down, or I can spank 'em off you," was Angel's reply to that.

"What's that even mean?" Spike shouted, and then seemed to regret the words as Angel advanced on him.

Angel grabbed him by the back of his neck and pushed him face-first against the nearest wall before pulling his belt back and delivering three almighty whacks, one right across the center of his bottom, one right above his knees, and a particularly cruel one right across the meat of his calves. Spike howled in protest.

"That was completely uncalled for! You don't have to strip my flesh off!" he yelled, fumbling with his zipper and pushing his jeans down angrily. "Git."

Angel hauled Spike away from the wall and put pressure on his shoulders until he gave in and bent over the bed.

"Fine!" he said hotly, adjusting his hands and grabbing two fistfuls of blanket. "If it'll get you out of my face, go ahead and whale on me. But don't expect me to be all stammers and blushes afterward, you obnoxious, overbearing halfwit. You are seriously mentally deficient if you think I'm gonna just go along with this."

Angel drew his belt back again and landed another three licks, this time all confined to Spike's exposed rear. Spike grunted and stiffened slightly but otherwise remained still. After another three, he turned his head to the side and regarded Angel coldly.

"How many?" he asked, trying to keep his voice even.

"Until I'm satisfied you won't go jumping through any more portals without thinking of this first," Angel answered as he brought the belt down yet again.

"You self-righteous, son of a bitch hypocrite!" Spike exploded, attempting to stand but being pushed back down. "Who's gonna beat your arse, then? 'Cuz you were ready to do the same thing!"

"Again, not about me," Angel said.

"I did you a favor, anyway, you—ow!—moron," Spike insisted. "You're always yammering on about being a Champion. Well, you're more than that now. You're a father. A fact which you seemed ready to forget at the first opportunity to go play hero."

"That isn't true!" Angel said angrily.

"Oh, isn't it?" Spike asked. "Well, you didn't invite Connor to come along for the ride, so it certainly appears to me that you were just gonna leave him here."

Angel swung the belt against Spike's posterior again, but the motion was halfhearted and just done out of habit at that point.

"I love my son," he insisted.

"And he loves you. I did you a bloody favor," Spike repeated, rather bitterly. "You've got Connor here. I've got no one. It wouldn't matter if I never got back. There's no one here to love me."

Spike, apparently exhausted by his own thoughts, sank heavily down onto his stomach, resting across the side of the bed with his backside and legs hanging off. He grabbed for his pillow and wadded it up under his face.

"That isn't true," Angel said tightly.

"Is too," Spike muttered into the pillow.

After a few moments of uncomfortable and uncertain silence, Angel reached down and tugged Spike's jeans, which had settled just below his ass, to his knees.

"Oh, come on, Angel," he protested lightly. "Don't do that. I said I was sorry."

"No, you didn't," Angel pointed out, snapping the belt smartly across Spike's now exposed thighs.

"Ouchie!" Spike yelped involuntarily, rising quickly from the bed and clutching the backs of his legs.

"Back down," Angel ordered.

"No," Spike said petulantly. "It's enough."

Angel responded by lashing the belt across his calves again, and Spike hastily returned to his position face down on the bed.

"Bully," he muttered.

"You can have five more, and you can count them," Angel decided.

"Get stuffed," Spike replied. "I'm not playing games with you."

"I'm not playin'," Angel answered, cracking the belt down harshly right at the tops of his thighs.

"Ow!" Spike screeched, burying his face further into his pillow.

"Is one pronounced 'ow' now?" Angel asked sarcastically.

Spike's only reply was a grunt, but Angel brought his belt down a second time just as sharply.

"Christ, Angelus," Spike murmured unconsciously.

"Better start counting," Angel said quietly, smacking the belt down again across the same spot. "I didn't hear any numbers, so I might just keep on going. I do have all night."

"Three," Spike said softly, clearly hating having to do it.

"Try again," Angel said. "I'm pretty sure we don't begin with 'three.'"

Spike smiled wryly before offering him a regretful, "One, your highness."

"Better," Angel said approvingly as he delivered the next blow.

"Ow! Two. Tyrant."

Angel swatted him twice, hard and directly on top of the other licks.

"Three and four?" Spike said hopefully, squirming around and refraining from adding an insult to the count.

"Are you asking me?" Angel replied.

"No," Spike said quickly. "No, Angel. Three and four."

Spike visibly tensed his shoulders, apprehensive about this last lash and where it might fall, but it was no worse than the others had been and landed in the same place. Once it had been delivered and he heard Angel replacing his belt, he yanked his jeans up over his ass and curled up on his side facing the wall.

"What, are you shy all of a sudden?" Angel asked lightly.

"No," Spike muttered.

"You're breathing awfully hard for someone who doesn't have to breathe," Angel commented, having the gall to sit down next to him.

"I'm not crying, if that's what you're wondering," Spike spat indignantly. "I just need a minute to … to stop throbbing. You didn't have to do it so hard."

"I didn't give it to you any worse than I would have given it to Connor," Angel assured him.

"Yeah, right," Spike said, crossing his arms over his chest and scooting as far away from the other vampire as he could.

"Ask him, if you want," Angel offered, shrugging.

"I'm not asking him!" Spike said shrilly. "I'm not telling him about this. And you'd better not, either. You're never going to beat me again."

"I didn't beat you," Angel said sternly. "I spanked you. With a belt, yeah. But it was still just a spanking, and you deserved it."

"Semantics," Spike replied stiffly. "Besides, that's even worse. I'm not a child. In fact, this is all your child's fault."

"How's that?" Angel asked.

"You'd never have gotten the idea to start smacking everyone if Connor could behave."

Angel laughed.

"Connor's a good kid," he said. "Maybe I'd never have gotten the idea to spank him if I hadn't had to put up with your crap for all these years."

Spike sniffed in reply and eventually rolled over to face Angel.

"Do you resent me for it?" Angel asked.

"Of course I do," Spike said honestly. "I've always resented you."

"I guess things are normal between us, then," Angel replied, smiling.

"No more smackings," Spike repeated. "All right?"

"No more jumping through portals," Angel said.

"I'll be a good boy. I won't do it again," Spike agreed, both of them knowing that, if that promise ever got tested—and especially if there happened to be a girl in the mix—he'd be made a liar.

"Then I won't have to discipline you again," Angel said.

"Good," Spike said, pulling himself into a sitting position. "Then I won't have to break your jaw again."

"Again?" Angel asked just as Spike's fist connected hard with his face.

"I think we're even now," Spike said jovially, crawling off the foot of the bed and standing. "It's still early. Wanna go get a pint?"

"Sure," Angel said after a moment, massaging his jaw and dabbing at the trickle of blood that ran from his lip.

"Great!" Spike said, helping him to his feet. "You're buying."