Chapter 07

An hour passed and Angel and Spike extracted themselves skillfully from the card game. The blonde followed his Sire silently. He knew he deserved whatever punishment was coming, but that didn’t make it any easier to walk the last few steps onto the roof of the building.

“William,” Angel said, voice low. “I take my responsibilities towards you as your Sire seriously. Disobeying me has consequences for a reason. Do you remember what those are?”

Spike swallowed hard, the words bringing up memories of a time he’d have sooner cut off his own foot than disobeyed his sire.

But Angel was a different man now; changed, somehow. It had been far easier to disobey him than the blonde had expected. There had been no twinge of guilt, no remorse for acting against Angel’s wishes—just a momentary relief. And the fact he’d felt relief when he disobeyed his Sire scared him. In the past, he’d only ever felt guilt and fear about Angelus discovering his transgressions. Now that this was happening, all he could feel was relief.

Relief that he would finally know how this new version of Angel would handle his transgressions; it surged through him to the point it nearly made him sag, he felt it so strongly. “Yes, Sire,” he said simply, finding voice enough to answer the question his Sire had given him.

Angel frowned at his Childe. “Would you like me to detail them for you?” He was beginning to get annoyed. If Spike didn’t start treating this punishment properly…he let that thought hang. This was new territory for them both and this would be the first time he’d punished Spike since the blonde had become a Master. Different types of punishments were required now.

Spike took a shaky breath, then opened his mouth to speak. “Your rules keep me safe, Sire. Disobeying them, even ones I disagree with or don’t understand, could end with me being hurt. The rules are there, not to restrict me, but to save me from myself.”

Angel was satisfied with that. At least his Childe hadn’t forgotten the basics. “All right. Kneel. I’ll be back in a moment.” He didn’t even look back to make sure the blonde was following his instructions. The man either would or wouldn’t obey him. And if it was the latter, the punishment he had planned would only get worse.

Spike fell to his knees almost clumsily. It had been a long time since he’d last found himself in such a position of disgrace. He folded his hands on his lap, trying to calm down. The impending punishment was sure to be a harsh one, but he deserved it. He had disobeyed his Sire willfully; something he hadn’t done since he was a fledgling.

His thoughts turned to his Sire. Where had the man disappeared to? How long was his Sire going to leave him up on the roof? Was this to be the extent of his punishment? Kneeling, for hours? It seemed a little pale in the face of Angelus’ preferred punishments and it was incredibly boring. Spike shifted his weight from knee to knee, doing his best to make sure his legs and ankles didn’t go numb or stiff, just in case this was only the warm-up punishment.

After what seemed like hours, but was in reality only twenty minutes, Angel came back onto the roof. And, by the sound he was making as he walked towards Spike, he hadn’t come back empty handed.

At that thought, Spike felt his stomach turn over. It was a good thing he hadn’t fed yet, or he’d have been sick. Fear consumed him. His transgression hadn’t been a little one, something that could be forgiven with a couple hours of kneeling time. He knew that logically, but something inside him had hoped that this Angel was a gentler man than he’d been as Angelus. Something that didn’t make sense, really, considering Angelus was the man he’d chased for over a century.

“Lie down flat on your stomach. Bend your knees up so that the soles of your feet are facing straight up.” As Angel gave each instruction, Spike obeyed instantly. He did not want to earn a more severe punishment. Angel placed a wooden block behind the blonde’s legs. It was specifically designed for the punishment he had in mind; one that Spike wasn’t going to like. If Angel recalled things correctly, this was the punishment the blonde hated the most.

Spike struggled to remain where he was when he felt the block hit the back of his legs. It was a familiar device, one he wished he could burn. The wood was cool against his legs and came to rest right underneath his ankles, allowing his feet to lie comfortably on the top of it. Such comfort was deceptive, he knew, because this device was one used for a specific type of punishment: whipping feet.

Angel watched as Spike struggled to come to terms with what was happening. He knew the blonde remembered the block, because the man had only ever earned it once as a fledgling. The transgression Spike had committed would have earned him a sound whipping as a fledging, but not a foot whipping. The only thing that had changed was that the blonde had become a Master, so when he disobeyed his Sire, he was doing so with a fuller awareness of the consequences of his actions. Feet whipping was one of the harshest punishments Angel could give his Childe, because vampires relied heavily on their balance and speed for hunting and fighting. Whipping his feet was essentially giving the blonde no choice but to trust Angel to keep him safe from all harm.

Spike felt his breath start coming in short bursts and he struggled to control it. He hadn’t earned such a punishment in centuries, and, if he remembered right, what he’d done would’ve only warranted a normal whipping. He wasn’t sure if this Angel was kinder or crueler than the Angelus he remembered, because he hadn’t yet received the punishment. It could be Angel only intended to hit his feet a few times, to remind him of his station, but that sounded hollow, even to Spike.

Angel decided his Childe wasn’t going to move. “Place your hands around your ankles,” he said. This was one of the real tests. If Spike couldn’t do this, they’d have to take it to the next level. To Angel’s surprise and pleasure, the blonde grabbed his ankles immediately, almost as if gripping them for dear life. The other test would be during the punishment itself. Forcing Spike to hold on to his ankles also allowed the blonde to move his feet away from the whip much more easily. If he moved during the whipping, it would spell disaster for him.

Angel stood for a moment, simply enjoying the sight before him. His Childe, prostrate before him, ready to receive the kiss of his Sire’s whip, was something he hadn’t thought to see again. Watching the blonde struggle not to panic brought a quirked smile to the elder vampire’s lips. For a fleeting second, he wondered what it would be like to dominate Spike for pleasure instead of punishment. He shook the thought away; there was no way the blonde would want to share his bed. They’d both changed too much. He’d gotten softer, more human. And Spike…well, he’d gotten rougher. More jagged around the edges—more vampire. But that appealed to Angel; he liked that his Childe was no longer so pliable. But those thoughts had to wait. Right now, he had to dish out a punishment. One Spike would remember. One that would make the younger vampire think twice about disobeying him again.

“How long were you gone, Spike?” Angel asked, his voice low.

“An hour and a half, Sire,” Spike said, answering immediately. He did not want to know how many strokes Angel would add for a delayed response. And, judging by the tone of voice his Sire was using, Spike was really in for a beating. He shuddered at the realization that, no matter how many strokes Angel laid on his feet, he would have to hold himself still for the duration. Since he hadn’t been whipped in over a century except for mutual pleasure between him and other vampires, he wasn’t sure he could hold still.

“Normally, that’d earn you ninety from my whip, William. But I’m going to be lenient and only go to 45.”

Spike blinked. His Sire, lenient? Surely, this was not the same man he’d known before. “May I ask why, Sire?”

Angel grinned at the startled tone in Spike’s voice. He loved that he could still surprise his Childe. “You may. Since this is the first time you’ve been punished in over a century, it seems a little harsh to expect you to be able to take ninety from my whip so soon. Any other questions before I begin?”

Spike squirmed. He wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to ask either. Finally, curiosity won out. “Why this punishment, Sire?” he asked, voice soft. He was almost afraid the question would make Angel angry and he didn’t want that to happen. He was in enough trouble as it was.

Angel sighed. “You’re a Master now, Spike. You don’t have the luxury of hiding behind being new to this life.”

“Yes, Sire,” Spike said, accepting the answer and the punishment in one breath. He would take this punishment without moving, even if it killed him, simply because Angel thought he deserved it. And the man was right, he really didn’t have a reason to be disobedient. Not a good one. He’d been Angelus’ favored Childe for nearly a century before the man disappeared, so he knew what was expected of him.

Angel cracked the whip experimentally against his hand. God, it felt great to be doing something inhuman again; something the others wouldn’t understand. This punishment was a good way for him to let out his frustration, to vent about everything that happened. The greatest thing about it was that the only person he’d be hurting was Spike, who had angered him by disobeying him anyway. The good thing about vampires, he thought as he took the first swing at the blonde’s exposed feet, is that there was no such thing as too much pain. No matter how much pain he inflicted on Spike, the blonde would take it, and would heal from it. There was nothing quite like cracking a whip over his Childe to let out all the pent-up frustration with work and the communication problems he was having with his team.

Spike jerked against the block when the first stroke landed and had to force himself to keep his ankles in place. The whipping was a lot more painful than he remembered and he gritted his teeth as hard as he could in an effort to stifle himself. Screaming probably wasn’t a good idea, but he longed to let out a bloodcurdling one. His feet were on fire. Nothing he’d ever felt in his life felt as bad as that whip coming down on his exposed skin. He longed, so much, to pull them away from the block, to stop the whipping, but he didn’t. He couldn’t, not when he knew that the only thing keeping him from a more severe punishment was his ability to keep his hands in place. Spike knew he had to find a place in his head that would allow him to accept what was happening, but it was hard. And Angel had only gotten to the fifth stroke.

Forty-five strokes with Angel’s bullwhip was a light punishment, especially since the man had halved it due to the length of time between Spike’s last punishment and his current one. But even five strokes with the bullwhip were not, strictly speaking, light. Every stroke left a trail of fire in its wake, making the blonde wonder if he would even be able to stand after the punishment was over.

He winced as that thought entered his head. Of course he would be able to stand after the punishment…in fact, that was almost the point of the punishment. Standing, walking…pretty much anything involving his feet was going to cause him pain for days after the punishment was over. A reminder, he thought a bit desperately, that I am to obey my Sire at all times and in all things, but especially about leaving the hotel without his permission.

Spike grunted with each stroke, suppressing his screams with resolve and doing his best to keep his hands in place. He did not want to earn a worse punishment. This one was bad enough. He was keeping count in his head, uncertain as to whether or not Angelus was going to ask him the score. He hoped not, because it was taking all his willpower to grit his teeth and not scream bloody murder. Screaming during a punishment rife with blood would be a good way to attract other vampires and scarier demons. Angel was taking a bit of a risk, punishing him out here on the roof, since blood was a calling card for a lot of nasty creatures. Then again, no one in their right mind would mess with Angelus when he was doling out a punishment to his Childe. Spike reminded himself that Angel was not Angelus, no matter how similar the whipping felt to the one he’d received a century ago.

“The count, Childe,” Angel said, and his voice had the timbre and cadence unique to his Sire.

Spike shivered. His Sire might have a soul, but he was definitely still Angelus. His concerns about other night crawlers completely dissipated. “Forty-two, Sire,” he hissed out, doing his best not to grit his teeth. And then, in three strokes that seemed four times harder than the last forty-two, it was over.

Angel grunted in satisfaction, wrapped the whip up in his hands, and tucked it down the side of his pants. It was smeared with Spike’s blood, but a good washing would take care of that. A washing his Childe would do, ironically. “You can let go of your ankles now,” he said.

Spike released his ankles with a sigh of relief. He was glad that was over with.

“You took that well, Childe.”

The blonde couldn’t help but feel a surge of pride at those words. “Thank you, Sire.”

Angel quirked an eyebrow at his Childe, who had rolled over on his back and was keeping his feet off the ground. “I wouldn’t thank me yet. You have to stand up.”

Spike groaned and his face fell. “I knew there was something I wasn’t going to like, Peaches,” he said, and it would have come out cheerfully if it hadn’t been for the pain laced through his tone.

“Spike,” Angel said, his tone hardening. “Stand up.”

At that tone, Spike obeyed instantly. He kept all his weight on his toes, shifting from foot to foot to try and alleviate the pain radiating from the balls of his foot.

“Spike.”

“Yes, Sire?” Spike felt nervous. Was he doing something wrong? He really hoped not, because he wasn’t sure he could take another round with the bullwhip.

“Do not make me get the led boots.” Angel watched as dawning flared in his Childe’s eyes. The blonde slowly lowered himself down until both heels were firmly planted on the ground. The pain he was feeling had to be off the scale, but he didn’t complain.

Spike winced as his bloody feet hit the hard concrete of the roof. He’d forgotten the point of the punishment—to make it painful to walk. The whipping itself was just a means to an end. Angel could have broken his toes or both his feet and forced him to walk like that, but he hadn’t. All of a sudden, he felt grateful towards his Sire for choosing the punishment he had. His Sire hadn’t inflicted unnecessary pain on him by breaking bones. Skin healed very quickly. All evidence of the whipping he’d taken would be gone before he woke tomorrow. He winced. At least all the markings would be gone. He’d feel the pain from the whipping when he walked for at least a week. It meant he’d have to interrogate Gunn while he was in pain, which wasn’t an ideal situation.

Spike looked at Angel, then back down, lowering his eyes submissively. “I’m sorry, Sire,” he said, uttering an apology for the first time.

Angel looked at him through knowing eyes. “You’re forgiven, William. You can take the rest of the night off.”

Spike nodded. He didn’t really have a choice. He couldn’t show up at the reception desk of the hotel with bloody feet. “Anything you want me to do?” he asked quietly.

Angel thought for a moment. Whipping the blonde’s feet hadn’t just been for show. He couldn’t keep an eye on him and deal with his team too, so he would have to trust the blonde to obey him. And considering the punishment he’d just dished out, he was fairly confident his Childe wouldn’t dare question his authority for awhile. “There’s four hours before sunrise.”

Spike gave his Sire a questioning look, but didn’t speak.

“Spend them standing.”

At those words, Spike felt his insides freeze. He was going to have to endure four hours of this pain? He shot a pleading look at his Sire, but the man remained unmoved. Spike sighed. He should’ve expected something like this when he was told his punishment was being halved. “Yes, Sire,” he said.

The two of them went back in the building, Spike inching his way along. Angel disappeared, leaving him alone in the empty hallway. Spike sighed. He made his way to the elevator and down to the first floor. Somehow he got to Angel’s room without anyone seeing him and leapt, even though it was incredibly painful, to the bathroom. His feet were a bloody mess and if he made Angel mad because he’d sullied the room…well, Spike didn’t even want to consider it.

He cleaned off his feet, not bothering to be gentle. Yes, they hurt. Yes, rubbing alcohol and disinfectant on them was even more painful. But what would hurt even more would be Angel coming down on him for not cleaning them properly or missing a spot of blood. And Angel would check, Spike was sure of that.

His feet finally clean and dirty towel properly disposed of; he found his way very carefully to the back right corner of the room, the corner furthest from the door. He grimaced as he settled painfully on his heels, staring out into space. All he had for company for the next few hours was the pain in his feet and the thoughts in his head.

Chapter 6     Chapter Index     Chapter 8

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