In Peace

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the Insidious film series and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Tag to the end of Insidious: The Last Key. Two spirits in the Further find peace. Written for the shame square in the Advent Holiday Bingo

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the entire Insidious movie franchise, up to and including The Last Key; references to child abuse

Author's Note: Not the story I initially planned to write...but there's an extension now. So I'm gonna go for the blackout after this one and the next two.

###

Audrey watched her baby girl disappear back into the land of the living. It was hard to watch and know Elise was alone now, but she'd managed to grow up without her parents. She didn't need them.

A quiet groan from behind her drew Audrey's gaze back over her shoulder. Her eyes landed on her husband, his spirit reformed, on his knees and with his head in his hands, rocking backwards and forwards and muttering softly under his breath.

Ignoring the carnage and wounded souls all around her (she couldn't help them until they began fighting back themselves), Audrey walked over to Gerald and knelt down next to him.

Now that she was close enough, she could hear what her husband was muttering, over and over again. "I'm a monster. I should be in hell. I'm a monster."

Carefully, like she would approach a wild animal she wasn't sure would lash out at her, Audrey wrapped her arms around Gerad's shaking body.

Immediately, he clutched at her like he was one of their children in the throes of a nightmare. Buried his head in her shoulder. Cried like his soul was breaking. "I'm sorry," he whispered, holding on so tight, it nearly hurt. "So sorry...for everything."

"I know." She tightened her arms around him and whispered, "I know."

He shook as he clutched at her blouse, his tears soaking into the fabric. "Forgive me?" His voice cracked and trembled. "I can't ask...for her forgiveness."

Her hands touched his back and she frowned as she felt a slight dampness through his shirt. He hissed when she touched, but didn't pull away. "I can't forgive you for Anna." She felt him tense up, but she held on tight enough that he couldn't pull away. "You weren't in control...you weren't responsible for her death."

"He was in my head," Gerald whispered. "I started drinking...it didn't help. I couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't. When I...when I took Anna, it stopped. The voice."

Audrey didn't say that was because the voice had got what it wanted. He didn't need her to tell him that. She wasn't even sure she could truly forgive him for what he was asking for. Elise was always going to carry the scars, both physical and emotional, of what was done to her.

"They were from me." Gerald's voice was a whisper, muffled in her blouse. "Her abilities. I'd had them too. My parents...never understood. They beat them out of me." His voice shook and a fresh bout of tears started as he whispered, "I did the same thing to Elise. I'm sorry."

The monster keeping the souls here was gone, but even here, in the Further, Audrey felt the malevolent taint left behind. Souls tortured and tormented until anything human that lingered had been utterly destroyed. She didn't know if she could bring any light back to the whole place, but perhaps she could help one man...help her husband.

Audrey shifted her position, letting her legs stretch out across the floor. She gently touched Gerald's back and he gave a quiet sob but moved into the position she encouraged him; across her lap. It couldn't have been comfortable, but he didn't voice a complaint as he shifted, his breath coming out in a quiet whimper.

She placed her hand on his back and heard his breath hitch. "I love you," she whispered. She couldn't promise him forgiveness. She couldn't promise him pain. But she could promise him love.

His body slumped when she hooked her fingers into the waistband of his pants, pulling them and his underwear down, baring him completely. "Thank you," he whispered.

The first smack, when she let her palm land on his right cheek, echoed abnormally loud and she winced. Had it been too hard? She didn't want to hurt him. She gently stroked the mark her hand had left and heard him whimper. She lifted her hand and brought it down sharply on his left cheek, then repeated the gentle stroking.

It didn't take her long to realise that, although her husband stayed relaxed when she spanked him, he tensed up when she touched him. Stroked him. Showed any kind of tenderness or affection. So she kept doing it. Every time she smacked his backside, she rubbed away the sting. When she reached his thighs, she gently rubbed over his whole bottom before she began to spank him again from the crest of his backside.

By the time she'd completed two such circuits, Gerald was beginning to shift, though he stayed in place across her lap. She began a third series of smacks, swatting just a bit harder, though she kept pausing after each one to rub. Her husband had never known gentleness...and it had never occurred to her that he needed it nearly as much as their children had.

By the time she felt him break, Gerald's bottom was warm when she rubbed it, the skin darkening to a splotched pink. She didn't say anything. She didn't have to. As he slumped limply over her legs, sobbing, she leaned down and wrapped her arms around him once more.

Gerald shifted just enough to wrap his arms around hers and then he continued to sob, as if his heart was breaking. "I love you," he choked out. "I just...wish I'd done things different. Better." Through his tears, he whispered, "I should have told her I loved her every day."

Audrey knew she couldn't give him the forgiveness he really needed. It was their children who had suffered the most. But she held him and she loved him and she hoped that would be enough for him to find a small measure of peace.

The End