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Water takes way too long to boil. You gotta’ find a pot (somewhere), clean it, probably, and then you might as well go fuck yourself in the ten-to-fifteen minutes it takes to cook, so. Eddie pops open a ramen packet and eats it dry.

The cable bill is paid again, sorta’. They don’t have the good channels, but the home shopping network never hurt anybody.

Words treble down the back of his neck, standing his hair on end.

This is sad.

“Note taken,” Eddie says, and tips his head back to sprinkle noodles in his mouth.

You promised us real food, Eddie.

He curses when the bag tears a little too much, and the flavor packet goes crumbling into the couch.

“I know buddy. Tomorrow, I promise.”

There’s a pulse of emotion at the back of his mind. Something not his – but familiar, a hiss of impatience.

Why not tonight?

“You know why,” Eddie swallows. “Date.”

Annoyance. Distaste. Eddie can feel the mental eyeroll.

A waste of time, Eddie. Just us, you and me. The world is our clam.

 “Oyster,” Eddie corrects. “And dude, I’m not cancelling this date again, she already thinks I’m an asshole.”

Look at yourself. Are an asshole, Eddie.

“Thanks.”

A rumbly purr.

 Our asshole.

Eddie cracks a smile, and wads up the ramen packet, before shooting it for the trash. He never misses a shot, not since his proverbial roommate took up permanent residence in his body.

“Tomorrow. We’ll get your favorite.”

Venom nearly vibrates. 

Sex offenders!!

“Yeap. A whole bus of transfers from Orange County jail.”

A pause. Tonight.

“Oh my god,” Eddie breathes. “I’m serious. If you drag me away from this date, I’m going to make our life hell, you hear me? Shay is a nice girl.

He feels Venom settle unhappily.

You’re wasting our time.

“So I’ve been told.”

She is boring. She is not us.

Eddie sighs. He scrubs through his hair, which definitely needs to be washed before tonight. He checks the clock, and gives his own cheek a pat, to make sure he has Venom’s attention.

“I need this. It’s been…it’s been months dude. Just ‘cause I’m over Anne doesn’t mean I’m over – uh, stability.”

Eddie is only just piecing his life back together. He has a new job, sort of, and bills that make it on time, kinda’, and he definitely isn’t content to stay single for the rest of his life. Alien symbiote or not.

We’re stable, Eddie. We’re perfect.

He sighs, “You don’t get it. Just let me have this, okay?”

Venom isn’t happy. Eddie can feel it in the goosebumps rippling up and down his arms, and the hair still standing on end. It would feel haunting, to anyone else, but Eddie feels black tar skim over his hands, and it’s good. 

It's too good. 

(Shh.)

Venom’s voice is softer this time, if that’s even possible.

Just want you happy, Eddie.

Eddie squeezes, as if holding another hand, black webs crawling between the cracks in his fingers. “I know.”

There’s no answer. The symbiote recedes back into his skin. Goosebumps fade, and Venom goes silent. Eddie gives a mental thank you, and receives nothing in return. 

 


 

 

Boring.

Shut up.

“So yeah,” Shay shrugs, “You’ll have to come sometime.”

“Huh?” Eddie blinks. Shay stares back.

Olive Garden is just about the best thing Eddie can afford right now, and it’s definitely not loud enough to blame his lack-of-hearing on the music. Eddie offers an apologetic smile.

She repeats, eyebrow lifted, “Snowboarding.”

“Oh – uh, yeah, yeah. Sounds fun.” He picks at his appetizer. “A bit of a drive from here, isn’t it?”

“I guess,” Shay shrugs, and digs her straw around in her drink.

They met on the metro last week. She’s a pretty girl, tan and curly haired, big glasses and manicured nails. She’s one of those um, real adults.

Leave, this is going nowhere.

I’m serious. I will find a way to kick our own ass.

I’d like to see that.

“Eddie?”

His head snaps up, “Huh, yeah?”

“I said, do you wanna’ do this another time?” She’s annoyed, shit.

“No! No, I’m sorry, just uh. Tired. New job,” Eddie pulls a smile.

Pfft, writing for an online newspaper isn’t a real job.

“It pays the bills, it’s a real job,” Eddie snaps, and then realizes that he said it out loud. “Uh, haha.”

“Right…” Shay says slowly. “So um. You have any hobbies?”

Finally, the good questions. Tell her about your nacho-tower.

That’s not something to be proud of.

I was proud, Eddie.

Shit, she’s staring.

Eddie clears his throat. His mind goes stupidly blank, so he goes, “Uhhhh… I like motorcycles.”

Nice one.

“Okay,” She sips. Eddie wipes sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. This is so bad. This is the epitome of an on-fire garbage can. This is worse than eating all those cops.

At least we got a good meal out of that. This is just pitiful.

SHUT UP

Waste of time, Eddie. She’s not the one.

And how could you possibly know that?

She didn’t notice your eyes. Automatic fail.

I’m ignoring you now.

“So tell me about your job,” Eddie says, shifting to sit up and blink away the embarrassment. “An accountant, right?”

“I work in sales,” she deadpans.

“Right. Same thing, yeah?”

“No.” She smiles, “But it’s a common misconception. We do buying for job sites. Hotels and furnishings.”

“That sounds…”

Boring.

“Super cool. Uh, did you go to school for that?”

“No, I actually started as a nurse—”

“No shit?”

“Yeah, I – “

A pulse runs down his spine, and it takes all of Eddie’s strength to keep himself from trembling in the booth. He bites down on his tongue, and refuses to acknowledge that the slide of Venom settling in his skin feels so good.

Dull, stupid, boring. Let’s go, Eddie.

“-rough, you know? I thought I could handle it, but changing out bed tins and – “

I know what’s best for you.

Like hell you do!

“-o I thought, sure. I’m not that great with people but –“

You don’t like her. She’s too proper.

Stop

“-and it turned out to be good for me. Sometimes I-“

You like adrenaline. You like pain. You like the hunt.

I’m serious! Knock it off!

I know you better than anyone ever will.

“Oh my god, shut up!” Eddie shouts, and then throws a hand over his mouth.

Shay stops, horrified. Eddie backpedals, and his heart drops.

“Fuck, I’m so sorry – not, not you, uh, I was, I was talking to –“

“You know, maybe this isn’t going to work out,” Shay reaches back for her purse, and starts to dig for her wallet. “Sorry to waste your time.”

“I’m so sorry, I really wasn’t uh, I didn’t mean you –”

She sets a twenty on the table and gathers up her jacket. Her face is tight, voice tighter. “Have a good evening.”

Eddie presses his face into his hands. He mumbles “Sorry,” but he knows she’s gone.

Fuck.

Fuck!!!! 

Took long enough.

Eddie grinds his teeth. He wishes he could reach inside and strangle the symbiote himself.

“I cannot fucking believe you,” he whispers. Anger boils up through him, but relief echoes back. He’s not sure whose it is.

Only trying to protect Eddie.

Yeah. Right. You’re trying to ruin my life.

Never ruin, Eddie. Protect.

 “Not sure I know the difference!” Eddie shouts, completely uncaring of the looks he’s getting. “Goddamnit!” He throws another twenty on the table, a big tip for the poor waiter who has to see him stomp out of the restaurant alone. They didn’t even get their entrees.

The weather is cold when he steps out the door. His cheeks still burn hot.

You’re angry.

“Yeah, you think?”

It’s cute.

“Jesus Christ,” Eddie curses, and shoves his hands in his pockets. It starts to sprinkle. Since when does it ever rain in winter? Eddie laughs bitterly. “You just like to kick me when I’m down, don’t you?” He’s not sure who he’s talking to, Venom, or God himself.

Venom bubbles out of his skin. He wraps around him, a hood covering his head before it begins to pour.

Sorry, Eddie. Only trying to help.

Eddie snorts. But Venom purrs into his ears, and shields him from the rain, so Eddie sighs, “It’s fine.” The symbiote rests happily in his mind.

It’s dark now. Lights reflect off puddles in the drain, and the street is too vacant to summon any cars. Some of the streetlights are still those old, orange ones, and it makes everything look a little less dreary. More nostalgic. For what, Eddie has no idea. Venom is silent, wrapped around his arms and his head, clinging to his waist with a thrum of energy. Eddie pulls at his sleeves, and is very much reminded that the symbiote is not fabric, but an alien substance not like anything else on earth. Warm, not wet. Soft, but sticky.

A soft shiver.

Want up?

Eddie smiles, “In the rain? Someone’s confident.” He’s not a fan of tall things – and it’s never the height, but insomuch the —

Never let you fall, Eddie.

He knows that. Maybe that’s why he’s willing to say yes. Eddie looks up, straight into the rain; it’s really pouring now. Eddie grins.

“Fine.”

Venom is positively ecstatic; he webs up and over, an all-consuming power, and suddenly they are Venom, one mind, being, and energy.

They swing up to the tops of the buildings, catching on neon signs and old billboards, flinging from rooftop to rooftop, until they’re indistinguishable from the night sky.

 


 

 

Eddie hates how satisfied he feels after a good meal. And not just a meal – but a – you know. A night out.

He’s not particularly fond of eating people. But Venom sure is. And when Venom is happy, Eddie is happy, so, here we are.

They found a gang down on seventh, caught mid-murder, and Eddie couldn’t really fight that one. It was a smorgasbord. Only one guy made it out alive.

He’s just a kid, Eddie had argued, and Venom didn’t complain.

It’s easier to get out of bed the next morning – he actually cleans. Like, the whole apartment. The wave of motivation is concerning, and definitely out of character, but very much needed. Venom is quiet, full and fed for at least the week.

Eddie used to hate this place. Shitty neighbors and faulty electricity and shitbag furniture that reminded him of all the things he left behind.

It doesn’t feel that way anymore. It’s lived in, but in a better way; where he has leads pinned on the walls, windows open to keep a breeze, new bedsheets he saved up for and a real set of dishes instead of, uh, paper plates.

Eddie writes for the rest of the evening. Venom stirs by nighttime, awakened by the T.V., and the smell of McNuggets delivered at their door. Eddie finds he doesn't mind a night in. Never did, really. But it's not so lonely when you have someone else to watch grainy sports channels and shittalk the infomercials with. 

"The Wonder Bible speaks to you! Simply turn on your Wonder Bible, and-" 

Don't see the point, Venom presses. 

"That's the glory of infomercials, my dude." 

No. Of the bible. Read it, didn’t like it. 

Eddie nearly inhales a chicken nugget, and coughs as he laughs. "You've read the bible? You're fucking with me."

You did, once. I AM in your brain, Eddie. 

Eddie rubs at his arm and snorts, "Pff, maybe twenty years ago. There's no way that's still in there." 

Alot of useless garbage in here. 

"Thanks," Eddie deadpans. He pulls his knees to his chest, and rests his chin on his kneepcaps. He's not cold much anymore, but somedays it's just downright chilly, sentient alien-space heater or not. But hey, no heat bill. 

The blanket crawls up his lap on it's own accord, and it must say something about their symbiosis, because Eddie doesn't even jump. He raises his arms, and Venom pulls the blanket into his lap. Eddie opens his mouth to thank him, but he realizes Venom has used the distraction to change the channel. 

"Dude!" 

But Trigun is on! 

"Oh shit, nevermind. Turn it up."

 

 


 

 The next week is busy. He's chasing a story on a mysterious hunk of radioactive goo clogging up the sewers, and Eddie was quick to judge the corporate companies, but Venom was the one to point out that it wasn't from Earth. They cleaned up the streets, and Eddie got a good story out of it, so. He might've turned a blind eye to Venom's hungry rampage. 

Eddie likes writing, he thinks. It's a good distraction from, uh, you know. 

Venom is happily asleep. He knows, but don't ask how. There's no shift in his blood, no symbiote breathing alongside him. No one taking control of his hands or his feet, or stitching back his organs one by one. 

It gives him the time he needs to work. 

It's kind of lonely. 

Eddie gets a good chunk of the story written, before he sits up and stretches. His back pops, and he groans, arms reaching up past his head. Venom stirs in his skin.

Eddie braces his elbow on the table, and puts his head in his hand. He mumbles, “You awake?” He doesn’t wait long for an answer.

Mmm.

“You feel like watching a movie tonight?”

Whatever you want, Eddie.

“Hm,” Eddie taps his fingers on the table. “Do you know if we have any beer left?”

Venom makes an exasperated noise. He slowly materializes out of Eddie’s chest, just so he can physically give him an unimpressed look.

“None left.”

“Aw man,” Eddie rubs at his hair.

Webs stretch across the floor. They flick open the cabinet, pour a glass of water, and slurp back their way.

“Our liver will thank you,” Venom says, and forces the glass into Eddie’s hand.

 “Thanks.” Eddie sighs. He looks into the rim, a bit dejected.  “Maybe I’ll go out tonight.”

Venom’s face physically brightens. “Out???”

“Not like that, Christ, you just ate like, so much yesterday.”

Venom rolls his eyes, which is apparently possible.

“Not everything about eating, Eddie.”  

“Ha, I’ll remember that.”

“Many places to go. I can take us.”

“How about the bar?” Eddie shuts his laptop. Venom opens his mouth, and Eddie cuts him off, “And don’t say boring.”

Venom squints. Eddie knows he’s reading him. It’s kinda’ funny, to anyone else he’s a horrifying eel-monster with too many teeth, but to Eddie he’s just an annoyed roomie. 

“You’re trying to hook up with someone again.”

“Uh, yeeah, its karaoke night at Joe’s. It always drags out the cute nerds,” Eddie stands, and feels Venom shift up and over to hang on his shoulder.

“Ugh. Simpleminded.”

Eddie huffs, “You’re one to talk. If I can’t land a girlfriend, then at least let me get laid.” He pauses. “Or shitfaced. Fuck, please.”

There's a breath, almost like a sigh of discontent. Venom hisses in his ear, “A strong host, but fucking stupid.”

“Hey!”

Venom climbs back into his skin, sinking into his pores, but his voice still echoes in his ears.

Am choosing your shirt. Not going in that.

 


 

 

Eddie takes the motorcycle, because he knows Venom likes it.

They go too fast for anyone to see them, so Venom crawls up and around the seat between his legs, stuck over his thighs and around his wrists, not really taking control, but not being passive either.

The lines blur, sometimes. Where Eddie starts and Venom ends. It’s spooky how well coordinated they are, how Venom will hit the gas and Eddie will lean into it like he already knew it was coming.

The bar is packed tonight, but it’s good. Low lights and music just loud enough to drown out the patrons belting Mariah Carrey at unholy pitches. Eddie keeps away from the stage anyways. There’s nobody at his typical seat, so he slides in, and Joe already starts on a roman coke.

“You know me,” Eddie tips the glass, and takes about half in one go. Joe rolls his eyes.

Bitter, Venom says. Eddie starts to think he’s always that way – but then he realizes Venom is talking about the alcohol.

“Hey, get me a plate of fries while you’re at it.”

“Sure,” says Joe.

Venom trills happily. Eddie smiles to himself.

Most of the commotion is by the stage. There’s a game on the T.V., but nobody’s really watching it.

They like to watch people instead. A young girl drags all six of her friends to the bathroom. An old man is on his seventh shot of vodka, and looks steady as a tree. A couple sings A Whole New World in a surprisingly drunk harmony.

So many wasted snacks.

Eddie breathes a laugh, because the bubbly feeling in his chest tells him he’s kidding. Eddie makes his way through the plate of fries to keep the symbiote at bay.

Eddie.

Hmm?

Can we go there?

It takes a solid moment for Eddie to realize Venom that is watching the commercial on T.V. Some travel ad for the Bahamas.

You know the beach isn’t far from here, right?

A hiss of annoyance, no, not the same.

Eddie rubs his nose.

Yeah, you’re right.  He tries not to laugh at the thought, we’d have to work on our beach bods.

Already perfect, Eddie.

Eddie sniffs, and shifts on the bar stool. Venom moves beneath his skin, forcing his hand to grab another fry, and Eddie bites down on his tongue.

He’s not sure what’s wrong with him. It should be gross, probably. But Eddie likes when he can feel him– heavy in his skin and thick in his chest, Venom all the way down to his veins. Venom purrs when he’s happy, and it vibrates right up his neck, making him hot every time.

It’s gotta’ stop. Like, now. Or things are going to get super awkward real soon.

Venom is preoccupied with the fries, so Eddie thinks about literally anything else. He's a bit hot in his jacket; when Venom is most active he sweats like a pig, but he'd like to think they coexist a little better now. 

They watch part of the game, drink through another glass, and an hour passes until Eddie realizes that a new guy has popped up on the other end of the bar.

He’s been watching you, Venom says.

Yeah?

He doesn’t look like any of the other men here. Either twenty-one in skinny jeans, or seventy-two in 501’s. Instead he’s gruff looking, plaid shirt and a shaggy ponytail, and he’s Eddie’s type through and through.

Want me to eat him?    

Eddie nearly laughs.

Uh, no.

Fuck he’s hot. He catches Eddie staring, and offers a smile, so Eddie doesn’t think it too weird to scoot over a few chairs. He slides his basket with his forearm and gestures.

“Fry?”

“Well aren’t you polite,” he says, and takes one. “Who’re you?”

“Ed.”

“Ryan,” he smiles. “Niceta’ meet you.”

Eddie goes for something casual, “Haven’t seen you here before.”

“I’ve seen you,” he says, and then makes a face. “That sounded weird. You used to be on the news.”

“Yeah, used to. I write papers now.”

“I don’t really give a shit what you do,” Ryan says. “I only ever stared at your mouth.”

Eddie feels his face go hot, and Ryan grins.

“Aww, she’s bashful.”

I don’t like him.

Please be quiet.

Eddie clears his throat, “And what do you do?”

“I fix cars.” He takes swig of what looks like Jack. His throat works, and it makes Eddie’s mouth water. “Is that your bike out front?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“You look like the only guy in here who’d have one.”

Eddie laughs, and Ryan smiles at him. God, he’s so fucking sexy.

There’s cheering by the stage; someone else jumps up to choose a song, so Eddie slides a bit closer to hide behind the noise.

“Hey, Joe’s a good friend of mine. Buy me a drink, and I can get you a VIP backstage tour.”

Smooth.

Ryan gives him a look, like he knows how totally not-subtle that was, but he bangs the edge of the bar and points, “Hey, a drink for your friend.”

Joe looks disgusted, but not surprised. “I’ll put the cleaning fee on your next tab.”

“Whatever,” Eddie says. He downs the shot and grabs Ryan by the wrist. It takes considerable effort to yank him past the Employees Only sign, and into the stage closet.

The door hasn’t even clicked shut yet, but Ryan already has him up against the door, hand under his shirt, mouth working against his. Eddie’s body revs like a chainsaw, libido kicking into high gear like nobody’s business.

His stubble scratches against Eddie’s, and the burn is good – Ryan smells like cedar and –

Human. Very human.

(Too Human.)

 

Eddie.

 

He moans like a whore. Yeah, it shocks Eddie too. Something about Venom’s voice, with hands down his pants and a tongue behind his teeth, his eyes nearly roll back. More, it’s not enough it’s not --

Eddie, stop.

Unease and annoyance rolls through him, and it’s not Eddie’s. 

A hand hooks under his thigh, and teeth bite into his neck. But they’re just a tad too dull. Not just sharp enough.

Please please please, Eddie begs, Please, don’t do this right now.

You don’t want this.

That's funny, because Eddie is pretty sure he's interested. A tongue slicks behind his ear, and Eddie gasps, grinds, finds Ryan’s lips and kisses hard - he closes his eyes. Can't bring himself to open them. He wants this, he wants this, he...

“Fuck, you’re hot,” Ryan says.

 Eddie's body is wretched out of his control. His hands uncurl out of Ryan’s hair, and Eddie fights for control because no, stop –

Let go!

This isn’t your decision to make!

You’ve already made it!

Eddie opens his mouth to shout – but bites it off when his body jerks away from Ryan, and slams back against the wall. Ryan stares dumbly. A mop falls.

“Oh my god,” Eddie gasps, “I’m so-“

His voice goes rough, not his.

“Sorry.” He says. “Change of plans.”

Eddie screams, asshole! parasite! but it doesn’t go past his vocal chords. He kicks and punches and fights for control, and it seems to momentarily shock Venom, because his body jerks once more, slamming up against the wall.

Ryan looks spooked. “Dude, are you okay?”

Venom takes control of his face, and slips into a grin with too many teeth. A tongue slips past his lips.

 “Leave before we make a meal of you.”

Ryan scrambles out of the closet like a bat out of hell. Eddie so mad he could die.

He seizes the opportunity to wretch back the steering wheel. His body breathes of his own accord now. The door is hanging off by a hinge.

Eddie could very well have a mental breakdown in this closet, but he likes to think he has more tact than that.

Instead Eddie marches them to the bathroom, slams the door shut, and locks it. He’s sweating head to toe, shaking from the chills. He hates the bone-dead feeling of fighting Venom for control, and he’s seeing so many shades of red he might have a stroke.  

Eddie grips the porcelain of the sink, and stares at the reflection of Venom.

“Are you fucking kidding me!”

The Venom reflection crosses his arms, a human gesture he picked up from Eddie probably.

Oh calm down. You didn’t want him anyways.

“Oh my god, are you kidding me? He looked like Chris Pine’s porno lumberjack cousin.” Eddie rubs his forehead and groans. “Is it always going to be like this?”

You’re trying to replace something you already have, Eddie.

“You don’t count as a social life,” Eddie snaps. “I swear to god, I go along with your dumb shit-“

Hey!

“-every week. I eat people for you. I think I deserve this! I deserve a little bit of normalcy!”

Venom’s reflection darkens.

Not normal, Eddie. Never normal.

“Don’t fucking remind me,” Eddie snaps, and for the first time ever, Venom physically recoils. Eddie could breathe fire, could spit acid and swallow it. His hands are shaking.

Don’t understand. What could someone give you that we can not?

Eddie feels his tongue go heavy. It’s probable that Venom still doesn’t have a grasp on what’s going on. On a love life and sex and a deeper connection than friendship. But the insinuation is enough to have Eddie go hot all over again.

He scowls, “I thought you wanted me to be happy.”

Only protecting you. Only doing what you want.  

Bull shit.

“Yeah?" Eddie shouts, "Well I want to be away from you!”  

Venom’s reflection bubbles and wavers. In an instant the mirror ripples. 

“Wait-“ Eddie starts, but Venom growls Fine! And disappears.

Eddie’s own eyes stare back. His shirt is ruffled, his hair is flat on one side, there’s a hickey high on his neck. His eyes are sunken, lips bitten. 

 Eddie sighs.

“Okay. I didn’t mean that.”

No answer. His head feels especially empty, and his stomach starts to pit. Eddie rubs at his eyes.

“Baby, come on. I didn’t—” he swats the soap off the sink and shouts, “Ugh!!!”

God!

 


 

 

He drives slow, because he’s still a little buzzed from that last drink. Venom is eerily silent.

Eddie doesn’t speak, but he prods a little. Somewhere, in his minds eye. Just to make sure he’s still there.

The problem is, he can’t tell. There’s no emotion, no ripple under his skin, no hunger tearing at his stomach. Just, himself. And that’s what has Eddie nearly drive into a lamppost.

Venom, he prods. Come on. You know I didn’t mean it.

Nothing.

It’s an ungodly hour, so the roads are dead. Eddie hits the break when he passes a Sprouts, and decides a little bribery won’t hurt.

He gets a nasty look from every employee he passes. Eddie tries to be quick, beelining it towards the baked goods. It’s all shut down of course – and even the lights start to go dark overhead. So Eddie grabs whatever crappy cake is left, and uses the self-checkout to avoid being beheaded by the clerk.

He has to balance it between his legs on the ride home. It takes him an extra minute to find his keys, without Venom helpfully pulling them out of his pocket.

The apartment is just as he left it. Eddie flicks on the lights, sets his wallet on the side table, and sighs. He leans back up against the door and rubs his eyes.

“Venom,” he says aloud.

The ice machine in the fridge rumbles on, but not much else.

Eddie drops the cake on his kitchen table. He pulls out a chair, and sits, legs spread.

“I’m going to bribe you now.” He pops open the container, and grabs a plastic fork from the cup sitting in the center. I don’t even like chocolate cake, this is all for you.

Venom doesn’t stir.

Eddie gets a few bites in, before it mixes miserably with all the alcohol he’s had. Eddie sighs again, and braces his head in his hand. It’s too quiet, too quiet. Panic settles in his stomach, an impractical panic of what if he’s gone.

He mumbles aloud. 

“I’m sorry darling.”

Ugh. He feels sick. Eddie presses his forehead against the table.

Venom. Come on.

He waits. And waits. His mind goes barreling off the tracks. 

He couldn’t be gone. I would know. I would know, I would –

He gasps when his body jerks out of control. He sits up ramrod straight, stands, and marches straight to the couch. His body slumps back into cushions, and it’s a solid moment before he has control again. Eddie breathes out hard. The relief is instantaneous.

His mind echoes.

Idiot. Loser. You are pathetic.

“I know,” he says. Eddie gently pats his thigh, and Venom bubbles out of him, his face forming to look at him with big, kaleidoscope eyes.

“Don’t understand. Don’t understand you, Eddie.”

“I think we need to uh. Talk.” Eddie brings his hand up to the corner of Venom’s face. His thumb catches on the corner of his mouth, and feels along the teeth there. He likes the texture of it. Pricking his fingers and tracing thin lips. “You used to not care who I hooked up with.”

 “Before. Not now.”

“Something changed?”

“We. We changed, Eddie, always changing.”

“So, what? I’m not allowed to date now?”

A feeling washes through him, Venom flexing his strength, and the shift of it makes Eddie gasp, and dig his free hand into the couch cushions. Eddie feels his face go red.

"Only doing what you want. What WE want.”

Eddie answers, a little out of breath. “See, you keep sayin’ that. And I don’t really know what you mean.”

“Don’t understand.”  

“Huh?” 

Venom shifts under his fingers, rippling and – almost squirming, as if uncomfortable. He looks at Eddie, through him, a horrifying monster, yet beautiful in a terrible way.

“Don’t understand why you desperately want someone else, when I already love you.”  "

Eddie stares numbly. Venom forms more of a body, hands coming to brace on Eddie’s forearms, a chest sculpting down to his torso. Eddie is speechless.

“Say one thing, mean another. Humans are pathetically allergic to their own emotion.”

Eddie laughs, and it sounds hollow and far away. He thumbs his way along Venom’s teeth, and pets the corner of his tongue. Venom goes passive, and lets him.

Eddie swallows and says, breathless,

“You already knew I loved you.”

“And you did not know, apparently.” Venom rolls his eyes, which just looks like a rainbow of color passing along a glass screen.

“Isn’t this kind of fucked up?” Eddie croaks. “Isn’t this bad?”

Venom trills a sound, and it ripples up Eddie’s chest, and into his blood. The hair on his arms stand on end, and Eddie gasps – an all-encompassing warmth rolling up his neck and into his ears. It’s emotion, jagged and unfiltered, flowing in from somewhere else.  Amusement, adoration, protectiveness. Hunger, impatience, love.

Venom grins.

“Do you care?”

“No,” Eddie says, and braces his hands at Venom’s face so he can kiss him.

Teeth press against his lips, and he doesn't bleed. A tongue licks into his cheek, and he doesn't choke. Venom hums satisfaction down his throat, and finally, it's right. 

 


 

 

“You’re happy today,” Eddie says.

Going out!! Venom curls around his neck, like a scarf. Oh sweet freedom! Oh world beyond these walls!

Eddie rolls his eyes, and pats around for his keys, “Get over yourself, we spent one day home.”

Boring. Did nothing but work all day, Eddie.

“I’m still working,” Eddie pauses, when a black tendril lifts his keys to his eyelevel. “Oh, thanks.”

But we eat after, yes?

“I was thinking something a little uh…”

Romantic? He purrs, Oh Eddie, you shouldn’t. A school-bus of murderers? A guild of predators? Ohh! Are they the big juicy kind?

“No!! Seriously? We just ate.”

Yesterday was yesterday!

“Someone’s demanding,” Eddie snorts. “No, I thought we’d go for a drive to the beach.”

Venom curls down into his hoodie, perching in the collar.

Oh yes, like that, Eddie. Webbing crawls up his back and over his arms. Keep you warm.

“Thank you love,” Eddie says, and smiles when Venom downright purrs, vibrating up his spine and in his collar.

He swings one leg over his bike, when he says, “Let me do this interview, and you can choose the movie tonight.”

It’s against Eddie’s better judgement, (Venom has a talent for finding weird shit on the internet), but fair is fair, and Eddie chose last time. Venom hums excitedly and goes quiet, settling into the hoodie.

The interview doesn’t go that great, actually. Turns out the guy isn’t too excited about his secret murder-y past being brought up over coffee, and he makes the mistake of taking the fight out in the back alley.

Another meal for Venom. Oh well.

 When the sun goes down, they leave the bike and take to the rooftops. Not in search of a meal, or anything really, but just to exist. Eddie gives over control, and Venom takes good, good care of him.

 


 

 For something that seems so complicated, it’s actually quite simple.

Like, okay. His boyfriend is a man-eating alien. But the world has bigger problems, and Eddie is just one guy in a fishbowl, so he writes his papers and eats his takeout and occasionally looks the other way when his partner of choice decides to go out for a meal.

Venom is awfully cuddly, for being so dangerous. Now that they’ve come to some kind of understanding, Venom comes out more. To wad up in his lap or wrap over his hands or slide around his neck and into his hair. It doesn’t feel bad. It actually feels good.

And Eddie can admit that without shame. 

He types into his laptop, and tries to ignore the hand-like tendril stroking through his hair.

“Is any of this sounding right?”

Do not care, Venom says. Play with me.

“I’m trying to be responsible for five minutes. Give me a break,” Eddie pouts.  There’s a moment of nothing. Just claws at the base of his neck. And then,           

It’s a little overdramatic. But good. Humans like dramatic.

Eddie reaches back and squeezes his hand, grinning, “You’re a human expert now, are you?”

Teeth press against his neck, forming into a wicked smile.

“An expert on you.”

“I think I’m flattered.”

“You like when I do this,” Venom says, and sends a pulse down Eddies body. Eddie jerks from it, hands tightening, and breathes out through his teeth to keep back something embarrassing. Eddie feels it in his blood, in his lungs and his toes, hot and trembly between his thighs.

“Oh — fuck, a little warning please.”

“No,” Venom says. Eddie’s hands start to go numb, and then suddenly they’re not his anymore. One hand slides up his stomach, pushing up his shirt, and Eddie starts to laugh.

“I’m trying to write, baby.”

“Later,” Venom answers, shutting his laptop with his free hand, and pushing Eddie’s body back up against the headboard. “I’ve waited all day.”

All day is a little exagge – woah,” Eddie inhales, and feels his own hands push his shirt up to his neck, and press down the line of his chest. His legs spread, and it’s so weird, it’s so weird – it’s him, but it’s not him. His body, but not really. 

Black starts to slick down his arms. It’s soft, worshiping. Eddie is reluctant stop him.

Love you, Eddie.

Little webs trace his tattoos. They turn his veins black, curl in the crooks of his arms, press into his knuckles and seep between his fingers. Eddie doesn’t notice the zip of his jeans, until they’re being tugged down little by little.

“Do you even have a sex drive?” Eddie wonders, out loud. “Uh, do you really know what love is?”

Venom’s face forms above him, scowling.

“I feel what you feel.”

“That’s what –“ Eddie tugs against him, and Venom gives with a bit of effort, “—‘m worried about.”

Venom shoves him back into the sheets, locking his arms by his sides, wrists up.

“Idiot. Would not have chosen you, if I did not want you.”  His teeth press against Eddie’s sternum, cold and slick, tongue lolling against his collar. “Would not be us, if you did not feel the same.”

Eddie shivers, and Venom grins wide.

Let me, Eddie. Let me. Let me.

"Fuck," Eddie breathes. "I love the way you say my name, baby." 

 

I know. 

 

“Kiss me,” Eddie says, and he does. Tongue down his throat, wicked shark teeth and poison in his blood. Venom drinks from him, and Eddie lets him. Drowns in an encompassing heat that boils him from the inside out. Digs his fingers into the semblance of Venom’s neck, and goes hot when Venom has the capability to moan.

They become something else. They become,

 

 

Us.

 

 

 

 

Fuck normalcy.