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Closer than Skin

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It's only a cheap motel. They need to find somewhere better, somewhere permanent to stay, and Eddie knows he should maybe be worrying about that.

But it's hard to make himself worry, when all he wants is to rest.

Anywhere with a lock now feels like home. There's an obvious reason why. He doesn't even care if it's his feeling or not - he's trying to give up on sorting the distress and the possessiveness and the relief into piles, your feelings, my feelings, maybe kinda both our feelings. It doesn't matter now. The days of the aftermath are passing by, long days of steady quiet behind a motel door. Eddie spends them lying warm in bed, watching Netflix and resting - with a rippling black mass cradled against his chest. The shadow is part of his arms, part of his skin. He finds himself stirring his fingers through it, casually, the way he'd occasionally stroke Mr Belvedere's fur.

With every passing hour, their emotions blur more and more. He finds himself... dipping, almost. Blending. He becomes aware from time to time that his own arms feel good. They feel like home and the room beyond them doesn't matter for shit. It's enough to be here, wrapped around himself and in himself, whispering, all will be well now, Eddie. It is good to rest. People call now and then to see if he's found a new apartment yet, see if he needs anything.

It's fine, he tells them, over and over. Don't worry 'bout me - I got everything I need.

Drifting in and out of sleep is easy. It's healing. As he rests, his dreams are full of soft black waves spreading and fluttering around him, stroking just beneath his skin. He wakes each time to a deep rumbling purr, as low as if it comes from inside his bones, and to tendrils of darkness winding through his hair.

It doesn't matter what this is.

This is it now: this thing they have. He'll work the rest out as he goes. He's learning how to respond internally to questions, with the result that after four days alone together, hardly a sound is ever made in the room. It now feels a little crazy opening his mouth to address other humans, out loud, with words, making noises at them to be understood. His own voice has become alien to him. At home - as he's started to think of the motel - there's not much need for his voice.

He's now used to quiet questions in his mind: asking if he's alright; if he's warm, careful tendrils drawing the covers up around his neck and tucking them in if he's not; if he's comfortable; if he's in pain; if he's hungry, which is possibly more of a hint than a question; if would like another episode, a small coil reaching out to tap enter on the laptop.

Eddie has a feeling that the answers to these questions are probably already known. The asker seems able to scan his body for anomalies or discomfort more accurately than Eddie himself can. In theory, there'd be no reason to ask.

He has a feeling Venom just likes to hear him speak.

Sometimes he becomes aware of Venom feeling him breathe - feeling his lungs fill themselves and empty, feeling his heart beating, his muscles shifting as he rolls over in bed. He doesn't know what tips him off to Venom's intrigued interest. He just gets the feeling his symbiote is making himself - itself? - at home, examining the real estate it's just acquired.

It makes him feel weirdly safe.

Have you closed up my nipple piercing? he asks one night, baffled before the bathroom mirror. It's hard to see - the light in here flickers and Venom doesn't like it, so they do everything by the glow from the bedroom. He's pretty sure he can't feel the hole anymore.

I healed the scar for you, Eddie. How did you acquire it?

It was in college, Eddie replies, half-amused. And I kinda liked it, thanks. If I get it redone, you're not allowed to eat the piercer, okay? They've not finished the ink on my back yet.

It was a purposeful act!?

Yeah, of course it was. So I could put a ring through... looks cute.

'Cute'!

Eddie's college boyfriend had thought so. The piercing had long outlasted that relationship. He'd kept it all this time, and while Anne had never been a big fan, he'd still worn it. He'd had to take it out for the MRI scan.

It's weird to think it's now gone.

As he spreads shaving foam around his face, Eddie watches his eyes change in the mirror - a flicker of black into lidless opal-white.

Humans are strange, Venom informs him.

Eddie grins, blinking the white pupils away. You've seen nothing yet, man.

He hardly bleeds at all as he shaves.

 

*

 

A week has passed. Eddie starts getting out a little more, trying to take a walk at least once a day for fresh air. He's not sure whether he's walking Venom or Venom's walking him, but it's working. Venom seems to like dogs now he knows they're not to be considered edible. They have to stop and say hello to each one they pass. They drop into a pet store one afternoon just so Eddie can show him more of this human concept of 'pets'; Venom spends nearly half an hour gazing at the hamsters.

I'll think about it, Eddie tells him with a smile. When we've got a proper place. And you understand they're not to eat?

He feels Venom swirl inside his chest, humming. No. Just to watch.

Yep. Eddie lets himself out of the store with a jingle of the bell, smiling to himself with his hands in his jacket. Me AND a hamster. Think that counts as a collection.

Confusion tickles across the back of his skull. You are not a pet, Eddie. I don't keep you for amusement.

You sure?

Yes. Venom inclines his head across the street, watching a lady and her prancing dalmation go by. It is different.

Eddie waits, but no explanation comes. He supposes it's nice to know he outranks hamsters, at least.

He drops into the grocery store for a few more snacks, as their supply back home - at the motel - is dwindling. He spends the rest of the afternoon in bed, covered in a warm fur blanket of Venom while watching Chef's Table, working their way through three family-size bags of honey BBQ fritos.

Not long after dark, Annie texts - just checking on him.

Eddie gazes down at the message, the circular photo at the top of the chat window. Her and Dan, ice-skating in matching woolly hats.

He wonders why it doesn't distress him.

As he feels Venom stir somewhere inside his stomach, he lifts at once from his daze. You okay?

A warm, sleepy sound rumbles iup through his chest. He closes his eyes as it passes his heart, slides out along his shoulder and down his arm, then forms around his phone.

He watches, wary, as his darkened thumb begins to type.

 

Hello ann it is eddie and I just wanted to say I lo

 

Eddie forces his mind into his own hand. Whoa, whoa - no -

Venom resists, trying to reach for the letter 'v'. Tell her, Eddie.

Hang on, Eddie says firmly, dropping the phone out of harm's reach on the bed. Stop. I don't wanna text her that.

But you feel affection towards her. She should be yours.

Eddie pauses, his mouth flattening. It's... not that simple, okay? She's got a boyfriend now. And he's... he's great. He could've been a prick to me about ten times. Instead he literally tried to save my life.

You... don't want Annie anymore, Eddie?

Eddie pauses again. He looks down at the open message window, trying to think.

He and Annie were engaged. They were getting ready to get married. At first, it hurt that she'd gone - then it hurt she'd moved on so quickly - then it hurt that Dan was such a decent and reasonable guy, and it hurt Eddie to feel like such a fucking wreck in comparison. It hurts hearing Annie try to be supportive all the same, try to talk to Venom. He doesn't really understand why yet.

He just knows he doesn't want to text her that.

It feels weird, gazing at the photo of her and Dan. They're good together. They act like a proper couple should, like they fit, like they're going places. It's hard not to want that for someone.

As Eddie shifts, uneasy, the black shadows still veined through his forearm retreat. They shrink back and instead emerge from his shoulder, gathering and forming and wreathing around him until Venom appears before him in the darkening motel room, gazing at him with the greatest of interest.

The corner of Eddie's mouth lifts in a smile. What? he asks.

Venom examines him closely. Why are we giving up on Annie?

Hearing it does hurt - just quietly, just for a moment. Eddie Brock doesn't normally do giving up. It's hard to face the truth that just this once, he's going to.

Things've changed, he says in his mind. Annie's got Dan now, and I've... well, got you. Sometimes life turns you down another road.

Venom takes a moment to process this.

As the symbiote reaches across the bed, Eddie worries that he's going for the phone again - that there's about to be a fight.

With a crinkle, Venom retrieves their half-empty bag of fritos. He brings it over, selects a frito at length, and with one elegantly-curling tendril he feeds it to Eddie.

Eddie smiles as he crunches it, not sure why this is funny.

What are we having for dinner? Venom asks.

Eddie accepts another frito into his mouth. We had three bags of chips for dinner, V.

These are snacks, the symbiote protests. It says so on the packet.

 

*

 

Nobody would understand. Eddie knows he can't expect them to. Something in him worries he should be flicking on a red warning light right now - he's locking himself away watching Netflix with a parasite, and that's weird on a pretty huge fucking scale.

But doing this feels more healing and comforting than anything in the world. He feels secure; he feels peaceful. It's so easy to sink into that. Lying in bed watching The Office with V, surrounded by empty packets of Doritos and muffin wrappers, everything feels like it's in balance somehow. He doesn't want to wreck it. The universe has given him few gifts in his life, and this is starting to feel like one of them.

He's pretty sure he's kissed goodbye to normality. Why not kiss hello to some sort of happiness?

He asks about that one night, just as he's drifting to sleep.

V? Even inside his head, his voice is a whisper.

He feels Venom ripple across his back, sleepy and slow. A tendril reaches over to check the blankets are tucked around his neck. What's wrong? Venom murmurs, and a quiet warmth spills through Eddie's chest.

You know in the forest?

Mm?

Who did I... kiss?

Venom takes a moment to answer. When he does, he sounds a little baffled. Me, Eddie.

Eddie's heart squeezes. Not... Annie? To transfer you between us?

Yes, to transfer... it is the fastest way.

But - whose idea was -

Venom interrupts. And efficient, and painless for you. Why do you ask?

Eddie swallows, wishing it wasn't so audible. Are there other ways to -

Yes. Many ways.

Why... didn't you -

I wished to return to you quickly.

Oh. Eddie shifts as he feels Venom stroke over the back of his head, brushing through his hair. A single tendril winds onto his forehead to pet him. You know kissing is... kinda intimate between humans? Especially like that.

There's a pause in the darkness.

Eddie, his symbiote murmurs, I have felt your heart beating from the inside.

Eddie isn't sure why that makes him shiver. "J-Jesus."

His shiver seems to continue beyond what it should - then he realises Venom has followed it along his spine, stroking its path with interest beneath his t-shirt. He squirms, biting into his cheek.

V... w-what're you -

This is relaxing for you, Venom notes. Eddie's breath tightens. His muscles bunch and clench and ease as Venom moves through them in turn, loosening them, gliding over the underside of his skin. It feels like getting a back rub from the inside.

It feels fucking amazing.

Nuzzling into the pillow, Eddie mumbles, "Can you... do my lower back, bud?"

Venom melts down his spine. Heat spreads, wrapping around Eddie's sides; the rubbing continues. He moans quietly, sinking into the sensation.

When he wakes up in the morning, his back feels better than it has in years.

 

*

 

There's an apartment nearby that Eddie has his eye on. If the network are serious about bringing his show back, he should be able to afford it - he just wants the contract signed in ink first. The last six months have shown him how quickly his life can flip itself inside-out without a warning.

And he's not just looking after himself anymore.

He's becoming strangely protective of Venom. He knows it's crazy - what in this world could he protect Venom from? - but he wants to make sure they've got food to eat, somewhere warm to sleep together at night, somewhere to get washed in a morning.

Getting an alien parasite seems to have worked wonders for his self-esteem.

My body is a temple, he thinks, eating room service bacon and eggs one morning, cross-legged on the bed in the pale early sunshine. My parasite is its high priest.

I am not a parasite, comes the injured snarl from behind his ear.

Eddie grins, picks up the last rasher of bacon and tosses it up into the air.

Venom emerges from his shoulder in a flash, lunges forward and snaps the rasher between his teeth, vanishing back inside Eddie's body.

You called me an asshole last night, Eddie remarks, amused. It might be his imagination, but he's pretty sure he can hear Venom chewing. If you're gonna throw rude names around...

You WERE an asshole last night.

It was a detox smoothie, V. I wasn't trying to kill you.

It had plants in it!

Yeah, so do tater tots! Sort of. You're happy enough to eat them, aren't you? Besides, smoothies are good for us.

Venom makes a small grumbling noise, shifting across Eddie's stomach. I do not like things that are good for us, he mutters.

You're good for us, aren't you?

And that is why we do not need smoothies, Eddie. I'm monitoring our toxins. There are none that something green will fix.

Yeah, well... my body, my rules. You're a tenant. I'm the landlord.

Venom appears quietly from his stomach, his small black head peering at the plate in Eddie's lap. He begins to lap the spilled egg yolk with a pointed pink tongue.

Your body, Venom hums. My home.

Eddie watches him, wondering why that makes his heart speed up. He reaches down and gently runs the back of his fingers over V's head.

As the symbiote purrs, still licking up the yolk, Eddie smiles.

D'you like egg?

Mhm.

We'll order scrambled tomorrow. You'll like that.

No more smoothies, Eddie.

One a week.

No more smoothies.

One.

No.

One every two weeks. C'mon, V. You stopped me drinking beer. I've gotta live for something.

No more beer, Eddie. It hurts your liver. The plate clean, Venom lays his small head on Eddie's knee. He pauses. One smoothie every two weeks. Not the green one.

We'll try the berry one, yeah? Should taste nicer at least.

Venom grumbles, his outline flickering as Eddie begins to stroke his head again. Mmrrhm...

 

*

 

They're in the shower late one night, washing by the cosy overspill of the bedroom lamp. Eddie fills his palms with lavender shower gel, spreading it in handfuls across his wet skin, and as it begins to foam Venom emerges from his shoulder. His symbiote sniffs the gleaming bubbles, then tries an exploratory lick.

The small shudder of dislike makes Eddie smile. V retreats into his shoulder and curls up in the back of his chest again, humming; the warm water rains down all around them.

As he's rinsing away the foam, leaning against the glass wall, Eddie feels Venom take over his hands.

What're you doing? he murmurs, as the larger shadowed hands run flat over his stomach.

Venom makes a small rumbling sound. Touching.

Eddie gives a faint smile. Yeah? Admiring the new fat you've put on me? Don't think I've not noticed.

Softer, Venom remarks - gently squeezing. Mmhm. Better.

Don't put too much, will you? Or I'm gonna struggle to get around.

We like tasting things, Venom protests, as his hands rise up to touch Eddie's chest - wet skin, damp hair, muscle and his pulse. And you will be warmer with the extra.

You know we could just buy a decent coat, don't you? There's no need to pad me out for winter.

Hrrm. Venom is quiet for a while, mapping the outline of Eddie's ribs beneath his skin. These are to protect you, he comments. Your organs. It is a clever design.

D'you like them? I grew them myself.

There's a pause. I don't understand, Eddie. All humans have these.

I'm... joking, bud.

Oh.

Guess you're right, though. They're to keep my heart and lungs safe... that's the idea, anyway. Eddie takes control of his hands again, reaching for the shampoo bottle as he squints through the spray. I think they help me breathe, too. Something to do with muscles? Compressing the lungs? I can't remember. High school was a long time ago.

There are indeed muscles here. A slight tickling sensation makes Eddie twitch and squirm. Why are these two not attached to the front?

Whoa, whoa - what?

The ones at the bottom, Eddie. They don't come all the way round.

Erm. Are they meant to?

I don't believe so. Venom retrieves Eddie's hands from his hair, disrupting his shampooing to press gently into his sides. Here. This pair seem redundant. What is their purpose?

Eddie rolls his eyes a little, spitting shampoo.

We'll google it, he says. Can I have the hands back please? I was using them.

Venom gives a faint sigh, releasing control.

Eddie gets back to scrubbing his hair, trying not to smile.

It's fine you're curious, he says. Don't expect me to know everything though, will you? Just because it's my body doesn't mean I have a clue how it works.

Our body, Eddie.

Yeah. Yeah, bud. Our body.

Venom waits until the soap is all gone from Eddie's hair, the strands squeaky between their fingers.

He then takes over Eddie's hands once more.

They return, almost slyly, to his stomach.

Eddie grins, resting back against the wall of the shower. It's kinda hard not to enjoy the almost awed touching. He hadn't really thought that much about his body since Annie left - treated it like a second-hand car he was kinda stuck with, one he'd started to wish he could swap for a better model. His body became a way of getting from A to B and back again.

Now Venom rubs his skin like it's fascinating, drawing small patterns in his body hair - observing how it lies, how it flows in the direction of the water.

It's kinda nice.

He feels a little cherished, if he's honest.

Venom follows the pattern of his chest hair up, out across his shoulders. The symbiote gives an appreciative hum. As he strokes back down again, following the water, his fingertips brush over Eddie's nipples.

The little flicker of sensation tightens Eddie's stomach. He shifts, unable to help it - since Venom, he's not been able to do what he might normally do in the shower at night. It's been like having a close friend staying over, not wanting to risk jerking off in case they overhear.

As he stirs, he feels Venom's hands pause.

His symbiote's fingertips return to his nipples, investigating the reaction.

Eddie shivers at once.

H-Hey, he says in his mind, gently but firmly taking back control. He flattens his palms down his sides, sloughing off the last of the foam. Easy, tiger.

What's wrong?

Nothing. It's okay, V. Don't worry.

He feels a gentle ripple across his back as Venom seeps from under his skin, washing around his shoulders and his torso, wrapping him up as if in fabric. Are you cold? the symbiote asks. You don't seem cold.

Oh - no, man, m'fine. I'm not cold.

Then why did you shiver?

Eddie bites his cheek, scrambling to think how to explain this.

I'm, erm... a bit backed up, that's all. And kinda sensitive there anyway. So let's not get too curious, huh?

It's not often he hears Venom baffled. 'Backed up'? Eddie, I don't understand.

Erm - well - nerve endings, y'know.

Venom waits.

It feels... intense when I'm touched there.

More silence. He can feel Venom thinking, processing this, trying to ascertain what Eddie's really saying.

So let's not go there, he finishes, a little lamely. Alright? Or things'll get weird for you really quick.

Why would... things get...? You've lost me, Eddie. Please explain.

Eddie's heart contracts. It's hard to talk about this without inviting certain thoughts - thoughts he definitely doesn't want to have about his symbiote. Hoping the cold air will ease any problem before it begins, he switches off the shower and nudges open the glass door.

It... feels a bit too good. Okay? Nipples are kind of a turn-on for me. It's cool, you didn't know - no worries - now you do.

As Eddie scrubs a towel through his hair, there comes another long and bewildered pause.

Like with your back, Eddie?

With... what?

Gentle tendrils ease from between Edde's shoulder blades at once, spreading out across his wet back. You like to have your back touched, Venom notes, and the shudder which courses down Eddie's spine is impossible to hide. He closes his eyes, inhaling and arching his neck as a slim coil twirls into the hair on the back of his head. He reaches out a hand to steady himself against the door. This makes you shiver, too. It helps you fall to sleep at night.

Colour and heat flood across Eddie's face. Y-Yeah, but that's different.

How is it different?

God, it's... it's hard to explain, okay?

Venom waits for explanation. Eddie takes a breath, pressing his lips together as he wraps the towel tightly around his waist.

Nipples are intimate, he says, turning towards the sink. He keeps his eyes low as he reaches for his razor. Somewhere lovers touch.

Venom's distress is immediate. But I love you, Eddie. Why can I not touch there?

Eddie shuts his eyes at once. It rushes through him in a wave - so simply stated, so quietly - like nothing else in the world could possibly be the case, like it hardly needs to be stated. He feels his throat tighten with the force of the feeling.

Even in his mind, voiceless, it's hard to respond.

It's more than that, V. It's a sex thing, okay? You might get me worked up. Then I'll have to deal with that and it'll be weird for you.

... 'worked up'?

Eddie breathes, putting his razor back down. He supposes he doesn't want to pretend his cock doesn't exist for the rest of his life. He's going to have to take care of his sexual needs at some point. Venom will be here; Venom will see it. It's probably best to explain it now.

It'll be like they're college roommates, he thinks, just sharing a body instead of a dividing wall - and maybe Venom will be cool enough to give him privacy, if he explains properly.

V, he begins, a little nervously, and finally regards his own face in the mirror. D'you... know about human reproduction?

No. We have yet to experience this.

Eddie pointedly ignores the 'yet'. He tries to ignore the 'we', too.

D'you know the basics of sex, at least? he asks.

No, Eddie. Venom sounds a little cautious as he attempts to be helpful. Your body is different to Ann's.

Yeah - sure, you know what? That's a good starting place. Because we're male and female, right? But both male and female humans have... certain physical needs.

This feels so scientific, so high school biology textbook - but he doesn't know how else to explain.

A need for closeness, he goes on. Skin contact. Right? Certain touches, erm... gather blood in certain places.

Gather... blood...?

Inside the body, Eddie adds. In the, err... genitalia. They swell. When it feels good enough, all the blood releases and I... come. Ejaculate.

V processes this for some time. Come to where?

No, it's... okay, it's called 'orgasm'. It's a release of pressure. It brings us pleasure.

And... 'ejaculate'?

Erm, it's a guy thing. I've got testicles. When I come - orgasm - it tells them to release sperm and the sperm then... leaves me. Expels out of me. If it ends up inside a human female, it can find her egg and fertilise it and a baby can grow. That's how humans make more humans. It's how we mate.

Venom is fascinated and bewildered at once. Where does it leave you?

Eddie bites his lip. F-From my dick, bud.

Where you urinate? V has already learned this.

Sure. But it's different.

And... this happens when you wish to create a child with a female?

Yeah, but... it's a good feeling. So we do it for pleasure, too. And for love. It's just a part of being human. We're kinda obsessed with it, to be honest. Most sex is for bonding or for comfort, rather than... y'know, becoming a parent.

The pause goes on for some time. Eddie realises he's holding his breath, gazing at himself in the mirror in concern.

You okay, V? he asks.

He feels his eyelids shutter. It precedes a rush of memory, not his own, though he finds himself experiencing it as if it is: a bare human body nestled safe within his folds, soft skin and mammal warmth, shivering and cuddling close to him to sleep. He feels his tendrils wrap around human shoulders; he feels a wave of sheer desperate joy knowing Eddie is breathing, Eddie's heart is beating, his stomach is full of food. Mine, he thinks, running his tendrils down Eddie's back - and in his arms, Eddie groans softly and stirs, little ripples of pleasure registering in all their shared senses.

As the memory ends, Eddie finds himself pale and wide-eyed before the bathroom mirror.

Venom's voice slips through the shock.

Like that, Eddie?

Eddie shuts his eyes. He can't bear the sight of his own face; his heart is beating way too hard.

N-No, V. Not like that.

How is it different?

I... I've never come when you -

He'd almost said 'cuddle me'. Swallowing, he tries again.

And I've not been trying to come, he says. It's... n-not a sex thing. What we have. We're just looking out for each other, right?

He can feel V's distress like his own; it's killing him. But we are venom, Eddie. I look after you now. All of you.

Jesus, V, it's... it's not that I'm rejecting you, alright? Please don't think that. Look, it's really hard to explain. I just don't want to make this awkward for you.

I don't feel awkward, the hurt voice says, softly. I'm trying to understand. You're not letting me.

Eddie tightens his grip on the sink. He doesn't know how to explain - he doesn't know why this hurts so much.

Before he can speak again Venom forms from his abdomen, rising as a rippling black surface like water from wrung fabric.

I want to see, the symbiote murmurs, stroking upwards, I want to look after you, and as Venom's cool slippery texture glides across his nipples, Eddie's entire body jerks. The spike of pleasure is enough to take his breath. He gasps with it, panic and enjoyment and shame flashing through his heart at once. His teeth dig into his lower lip.

He lets go of the sink and reaches up, shaking, pushing his fingers through Venom's hands.

"No, V - no - I want you to stop - "

V's form dissipates at once. He absorbs into Eddie's fingers in an instant, all visible trace of him gone.

Eddie?

"You gotta ask, V - you can't - d-don't go on and just - "

Eddie, I... I didn't mean to -

"I can't explain it, alright?" Eddie says, shaking. He puts his hands across his face. "I don't know how to make you understand. Just - listen to me. Please." 

There's no reply in his mind.

"You're in my body," he says. His heart rate isn't settling - his voice doesn't sound like his own, huge and blunt and bruising in their once gentle silence. He wishes he hadn't started to use it. He doesn't know how to take it back. "It's... fine you're in me. I want you here. Just trust me. It's better if I keep certain things off-limits, alright? Or you're gonna get more than you bargained for."

It takes so long for V to respond he starts to worry.

"V?" he whispers.

I'm... sorry, Eddie. I'm sorry I don't understand.

Eddie feels his heart strain against his ribs. "Humans are weird, V. That's all. M'sorry I made this uncomfortable."

But you are my human. You're my match.

Eddie shuts his eyes again, inhaling with a shiver.

"H-Hey," he says, shakily. "C'mon, let's go watch another episode of something. Put this behind us. D'you want any food yet?"

There's a strained pause.

Yes, V says quietly. You need food.

 

*

 

After two more episodes, Eddie inhales and reaches for the pause button. The closing credits freeze on the screen of his laptop.

"V?" he mumbles.

The silence inside his mind stirs at last. There's a nervousness to it he doesn't like.

Yes, Eddie?

"M'sorry."

Nothing happens for a moment.

As the symbiote rises from his chest, flickering and rippling in the glow of the laptop beside them, Eddie numbly watches Venom take full form. The thinnest threads tether them to each other. Venom's muscular weight is somehow reassuring, his white eyes opalescent and unpupilled. For once, there's hardly a trace of teeth. The expression is the most quietly distressed Eddie has ever seen another face, and Venom somehow manages it with nothing but his eyes.

He watches Eddie for a moment, silent.

Eddie watches him right back.

"We are close, Eddie." It's weird to hear the voice outside his head. "Closer than skin."

Eddie shudders a little, swallowing. "Y-Yeah. Yeah, I know we are."

"And yet you will now hold certain biological needs 'off-limits'?"

Oh god. "It's... I-I didn't mean 'needs'. Erm - 'desires'. That's all. It's not a big deal, bud." I'll just never jack off again. No problem. That's cool.

Venom's eyes narrow. "Biological desires have their roots in biological need."

Eddie's nervous laugh fools no-one. "Philosopher now, are you?"

"I am your symbiote, Eddie." Eddie shuts up at once. "I move through every cell of your body. I have bolstered your immune system. I have repaired your vital organs from the inside out." Venom pauses, watching him closely. "Why are you distressed?"

Eddie supposes there's little point in lying. "I'm... w-worried I've upset you, man. Didn't mean to push you away."

Venom huffs.

"I know I can't," Eddie says, awkwardly. "I know it's not that easy. I just..." He shudders, taking quiet hold of the covers bunched beneath him. "Look, this is... new for me."

The symbiote says nothing, waiting for more.

"I'm human," Eddie goes on. "Normally, y'know, it... takes some time before we're comfy being - "

" - intimate," his symbiote suggests, and Eddie feels his chest heave at the seams. Oh Jesus, like we will be. You and me. Like we're gonna do that at some point. Of course we aren't. The rush of heat to his abdomen makes him feel almost nauseous.

"Y-Yeah," he says. "Sure, it's... sort of."

He could swear Venom raises an eyebrow.

The symbiote then melts across his body in an instant, rushing over him as a wild black wave. Eddie's gasp is swept away by the sudden rippling surge across his senses, cool and sweet and clean - it feels like the outline of his body blows open. It's gone. For a few moments he's formless, limitless, shivering somehow and suspended in a perfect silvery calm.

His eyes open again.

They're Venom, lying here - powerful, calm, at peace.

Eddie aches with the relief of it, whole.

I'm scared. Honesty pours clean from his wounds. It's easy to speak when he's only a voice. You're everything. You're here for good, aren't you? This is it now.

The voice in response wraps around him and through him, melting into him like liquids swirled together.

We are everything, it whispers. For good.

The panic is strong; it's fighting.

Eddie fights back.

You don't understand, V, he says. That means if you go, there's nothing. I can't handle that.

There is no 'I', the voice breathes. There is no 'you'. All there is is 'we'. Rely on that, Eddie.

Eddie feels like a shiver on the surface of a deep, dark pool. He's almost there. He's almost sinking. Venom is inside his skin and he's inside Venom and it's scary as fuck and it's perfect.

I need time, he begs. This is... I-I'm just an idiot, V. Just a human. Closeness ain't easy.

The voice around him hums.

Come here, it whispers, curling close, drawing him deep. Their eyes fall shut. Rest.

 

Chapter Text

When Eddie returns to himself, it's the middle of the night. Though the inside of his body feels like he might burst into flames at any second, his skin is freezing cold. It's enough to make him gasp, scrabbling for covers - before he realises they're already wrapped around him.

Venom soaks out through his skin in an instant. The symbiote melts around him from the neck down, swallowing him up clothes and all, rippling slowly across his skin as he pants.

Eddie trembles, drinking Venom's warmth through his skin.

"V?"

I'm here, comes the rumbling murmur from within him. Venom thickens around his body. Shhh.

Oh god. Eddie lets his eyes close to the darkness. I-I'm starving, V.

Shhh. We will eat soon. Breathing first.

Eddie concentrates on breathing - and on coping. It feels somehow uncomfortable to be conscious. They seem very separate suddenly, even though they're in one body and mind. He doesn't like the feeling of distance.

He squirms and lifts his arms, wrapping them around his own chest. He's still coated in his symbiote. Venom flickers as Eddie's fingers rake through him. He makes a low soft noise and tightens around Eddie, wrapping him up. A single tendril winds past Eddie's ear into his hair; it curls, splaying the strands softly back on themselves.

Eddie quivers, keeping his eyes shut.

Venom's voice eases between the bars of his fear.

Is this alright, Eddie?

Nobody's arms have ever felt like this. Memories of Eddie's exes don't stand a chance. None of them have ever wrapped around every part of him, covered him, cradled him like this. This is starting to feel like need. He can't pretend he's just got a weird new pet anymore.

Swallowing, he stirs his fingers through the inky black folds around his arms.

"This is fine, V," he mumbles.

Venom seems to exhale. The slow stroking continues across his scalp.

"I'll - tell you if it gets not fine, alright?"

Eddie... Hesitation tightens his symbiote's voice. Where am I... not to...?

It hurts, drawing lines across his body for Venom not to cross - but the thought of Venom blundering across them, examining him and studying him like an interesting biological specimen, makes Eddie feel worse.

Not my nipples, he mumbles in his mind. Not my dick or my balls. Nowhere near my ass. My inner thighs. He pauses. Don't lick me or kiss me. Mouths are...

There's a pause.

Too much, Venom finishes quietly.

Y-Yeah.

There's a longer, more nervous pause.

You can touch me other than that, Eddie says quietly. I - I like the... I mean, if you're cool with it too, then... obviously if you're not, then...

May I ask one question?

Eddie shuts his eyes. Go on.

Venom takes a while to ask.

What is the difference between this pleasure with your hair, and... intimate pleasure? I don't see what divides them.

As Venom slowly strokes his scalp, Eddie tries to think.

The obvious answer is it probably won't give him a hard-on - but there's got to be more to it than that. For days they've laid here together, cuddling and whispering in their minds, watching Netflix like every single damn day is a Sunday and it won't ever end. Venom's inquisitive touching of his back and his arms and his head has never once unsettled him.

He doesn't know if Venom's species even has sex.

If they do, maybe they don't divide it away from everything else like humans do - maybe it's not a big deal. Occasionally Eddie will put nature documentaries on in the background while he's writing. From what he knows, other species don't get very fussy about who they fuck.

He didn't think he was fussy, either.

He lost his with-a-girl-virginity in a bathroom at a house party. It ended when her brother started banging on the door, telling them to hurry the hell up because he needed a piss. He lost his with-a-guy-virginity at college, so drunk he's still not totally certain what specific acts had transpired in the night. They'd fucked again in the morning, had some toast and a coffee together then parted ways. It wasn't exactly a fairytale.

But there's a difference between a strings-free-fuck with another human and letting Venom study his sexual reactions out of curiosity.

Eddie? his symbiote murmurs, returning him to the question with a heavy heart.

Eddie trails his fingertips through the black ripples still coating his forearms.

I'll... try and find you a video, bud.

A video? Venom cottons on. Of - humans mating?

Eddie winces a little. Yeah. Satisfy your curiosity. Then you can see the difference for yourself.

Why would humans video themselves while mating?

Err, we... like to watch that sometimes. Other humans. Gets us in the mood.

This sounds very odd, Eddie...

Well, I dunno how else I can show you. Let's get some food first, yeah? I'm gonna need the strength.

 

*

 

Venom watches from Eddie's shoulder as he scrolls, grimacing a little, through Top Rated. The quiet munching sounds are helpful somehow - it feels like they're just looking for something new on Netflix, not browsing through a porn site.

Now and then a tendril sneaks out to the enormous glass bowl in Eddie's lap, rustles around and retrieves a scoop of popcorn, then gathers it slyly back to Venom's mouth.

This will help, Eddie tells himself as he skims. Venom can satisfy his - its? - curiosity, and in the process realise there's nothing that interesting about sex. Porn will kill the fascination dead, if nothing else. Eddie's never been that interested in porn - it's all so fake it's hard to get much out of it. An aid to jerking off now and then, nothing more. Something about those long, square fake nails always makes his balls retract into his body a little.

Eddie?

"Yep?" Eddie says, distracted.

The munching sounds continue. What is a 'lesbian babysitter'? Do they require more supervision than other humans?

"Okay, rule one? Stop learning until I tell you you're allowed. I'm trying to find something instructional." He nudges the bowl. "Have s'more popcorn."

Venom does so, rustling quietly.

Eddie?

"I can't explain all these things, V. I just belong to a weird species, okay? I don't understand most of them either."

No, Eddie. Not the videos.

"Then what?"

A piece of popcorn nudges against the corner of his mouth.

Trying not to smile, Eddie permits it in and eats it. It's one of the crispy pieces, almost entirely coated in sugar.

"Thanks, man. They're the best bits."

I know, Venom says, pleased.

"Okay, I'm just gonna choose a random - ... otherwise we're gonna be here all night. Brace yourself."

Propping the laptop against his triangled knees, Eddie lies back on the bed and pulls the popcorn onto his stomach.

Eddie?

"What, V?"

Your line of sight will be blocked by the bowl.

"Yeah, well... this isn't really for me. And I've seen it all before. Pay attention, okay?"

Venom wraps his coils around the bowl and rises above it to watch, upright like a little black cobra. His tail dips into the bowl for more popcorn. Eddie resists the urge to reach out and run a hand down his back, watching his symbiote chew.

He's set the volume fairly low, not really wanting to hear this anymore than see it, but he catches the corny opening dialogue all the same.

She's ordering pizza, Venom notes with interest.

Eddie's mouth twists. "Don't get your hopes up."

Why?

"I don't think she's gonna get the chance to eat it."

Venom turns his head to peer down at Eddie, suspicious. Why would she order pizza and not eat it?

"Well, he's gonna bring something else for her." Eddie nods at the screen. "You're meant to be learning."

Venom returns his attention to the screen, browsing the popcorn bowl with his tail.

He's quiet until the pizza guy arrives.

Oh no, he says at last. Eddie - she doesn't have the money to pay for the pizza. Her purse is empty.

Eddie rubs his hands across his face. This might have been a bad idea. He listens to the cheesy dialogue about coming to some other arrangement, noting that Venom has gone quiet again.

Eddie, this is boring. I don't see why - oh!

"Yeahhh. There you go."

Oh, but - she's - Eddie, is she eating his -

"No, bud. She's just sucking on it."

Why?

"Because it feels good."

Venom stares at the screen. He turns to stare at Eddie, then back at the screen. It doesn't seem to feel good. He's just... standing there.

"Well, he's probably used to it. This guy's an actor. This happens to him ten times a week."

She seems to be more physically affected than he is...

"Yeah, she's paid to. It's never really like that."

Then why are we... oh - they're somewhere else now. They're on a couch. Oh!

"Bud, you really, really don't need to narrate this to me."

Why aren't they eating the pizza?

"It was a plot device, V. Forget the pizza."

But it's going to go cold. Eddie, is this really how humans mate?

"Well, there's not always pizza - don't start getting that idea - but it's those sort of actions, yeah. This is the general process."

Venom snorts, unconvinced. He tosses a few pieces of popcorn into his mouth and lapses into silence for a while, watching the proceedings unfold. Eddie slides his phone from the pocket of his jeans. He concentrates on his e-mails, not the sounds from his laptop, and reaches into the bowl for a loose fistful of popcorn.

Eddie?

"Yeah?"

You said humans in love do this.

Eddie's stomach tightens a little. "And?" he says, catching an escaping piece of popcorn with his tongue.

I don't believe the young lady likes the pizza man very much.

"Err - why?"

She isn't looking at him, Venom says, or talking to him. There's a pause. Why hasn't he touched her nipples?

Eddie tries to ignore the flash of memory and the heat it rises in his face. "That's not - mandatory. Only some humans like that."

How will he know what she likes? He hasn't tried to... Eddie, I'm confused. This seems very staged.

"We can watch a different one if you want," Eddie shrugs, "but I'm warning you... it's all the same. Sometimes she leaves her heels on. That's about it."

Hmm. Venom's tail uncoils from the bowl, sneaking over to the mousepad. The video cuts.

Eddie returns to his e-mails, fishing through the popcorn for sugary pieces.

Eddie, what is 'amateur'?

"Oh, they're - amateur couples. Usually kinda grainy and hard to see, 'cause they're done on a cheap webcam..."

Humans who love each other? Not pretending?

"Err, yeah. I guess."

Venom clicks. There's quiet for a little longer, the popcorn bowl now entirely forgotten.

A tendril sneaks over Eddie's thighs to the volume control on the side of his laptop, tapping to turn it up.

"What're you doing?" Eddie asks, peering around the bowl.

Listening, Venom says. They're quiet.

Eddie moves the bowl aside with a frown. "Who's quiet?"

Venom has found a new video.

It's a male couple. For some reason, the realisation makes Eddie's pulse jolt. This is clearly their bedroom at home, clothes slung over the back of a nearby chair, a tumbler of water half-drunk on the bedside, someone's glasses resting on a paperback. The light is dim; the camera catches where it falls over their bodies. They're barely moving yet - kissing, waiting, breathing.

"V..."

Eddie coughs; he hadn't meant his voice to sound so dry.

"V, that's a gay couple."

I wanted to see males, V says, watching the screen. His smaller tendrils are curling. The other video didn't show enough of him. Only her.

"Why - why d'you want to see - "

Because you are male, V replies calmly.

Eddie doesn't dare respond. He glances at the screen, where the couple in their bedroom are whispering something to each other - a nervous smile is cracked, a soft laugh shared - there comes a faint groan as the guy on top curls his hand around his partner's cock and strokes.

"Fuck... b-baby..."

Venom isn't moving; neither is Eddie. He barely breathes as the young man on the screen, all dark curls and long eyelashes, gives a shiver and pulls his legs back further.

"Y-Yeah. God, now. Please."

His top begins to move inside him, slow. Their breath thickens - faint gasps - it's all so quiet Eddie can hear his own pulse pounding in his ears.

Venom's tendrils curl tighter around the bowl. Eddie... what is...?

Eddie swallows. It's - a-anal sex, V.

Venom clearly makes a few deductions. Is that not painful?

It's been years. Eddie's not sure he even wants to calculate how many. Not if you wait a while, he says. Relax. Go gentle at first.

Silence falls.

The couple on the screen kiss, rocking together with restless urgency. Fingers tangle through hair; soft moans are muffled between their mouths. Their bodies stretch and stir, finding comfort as well as pleasure. The bottom bites into his lip as he takes over stroking his own cock, starting to pant with the feeling. Eddie finds himself overwhelmingly glad to have the laptop covering his fly. He wants to look away, but he can't.

As he realises, his stomach aches.

He misses it.

It happens, long-term with a girl. You fall into being the guy. You get good at it. You convince yourself you're getting good at it, anyway - and you forget there was ever another side of sex.

Being looked after.

Being vulnerable that way.

They love each other, Venom murmurs as the couple stop and kiss deeply, breathing hard.

Eddie whispers the word even in his mind. Yeah.

Why have they stopped?

It's - called 'edging'.

Venom waits. Eddie shifts a little, trying to disguise the increasingly obvious tilt of the laptop.

If you draw it out before you come, it feels better.

'Come'?

Orgasm, V.

Oh. Venom flickers, watching the couple kiss. They're stroking each other's hair as they murmur small things the microphone doesn't quite catch. This IS different.

The small surge of relief starts Eddie breathing again. He's glad Venom can see it, at least.

On camera, the bottom gives a slow shudder and grips his partner's back. "Do it, then," he whispers. "Fuck me... slam me, baby."

Eddie shuts his eyes for a second. College, and the years right after, suddenly feel like a lifetime ago. It almost doesn't feel real that he ever breathed things like that in someone's ear.

Not being able to see the screen does nothing to temper the sounds he starts to hear - tight, desperate moans breaking into cries, gasps which crack and ache, fast panting, the obscenely animal slap of skin. One of them starts to whimper, begging.

Venom doesn't make a sound as someone hits their climax. Eddie peels open his eyes enough to check who - the top, shuddering and gasping as he nuzzles into his boyfriend's neck, hips jerking in the staccato rhythm of fucking through the throes. Arms and legs wrap around him tight, gripping him. His partner grins into his hair as he comes. Shaking fingers card slowly through his messy hair.

Was that...?

For the one on top.

Only the active human ejaculates?

No, normally - well, it's better if both - ...

On the screen, the top catches his partner's mouth in an intense and hungry kiss. Their tired jaws work together; their tongues flash between them.

The top starts to kiss his way down his lover's body.

Okay, here we go, Eddie says, as the guy on screen pauses to bite playfully at his partner's ribs, grinning up the bed and eliciting desperate giggles of enjoyment. He's... I think he's gonna...

He shuts up as there's gentle nipple-licking, his partner's head dropping back into the pillow with an urgent moan.

Like with you, Venom notes. He's barely audible.

Eddie's heart contracts, watching the guy's chest rise into his partner's mouth. Yeah. L-Like with me.

The top trails downwards, brushing kisses as he goes. When he reaches his lover's cock, he wraps it with a practiced hand and begins licking slowly at the tip, holding eye contact, still grinning. He's still breathing hard from his own climax.

"F-Fuck, don't tease me... oh my god, you're a bastard - "

"I'm your bastard," comes the murmur, followed by a swirl of tongue which makes his lover cry out. He holds down his partner's hips as they try to rise up for friction, maintaining his slow and idle licking with a tongue which clearly knows what it's doing.

As the bottom nearly writhes, whining with enjoyment, Eddie undergoes the weird mid-porn sensation of rediscovering he exists - finding himself back in his body with his pulse raised, his chest tight and hot, the hair on the back of his neck all on end. He breathes in and tries to settle himself, reaching for popcorn just to give his hands something to do. He's missed someone going down on him. Anne always took care of... but it feels wrong to think about her like that right now. She's someone else's. Eddie almost wishes Dan had been a bastard to him, so he could hate the guy like he wants to.

He finds himself thinking about other people instead - people he touched so long ago that the memories feel dusty and dry. They're dead leaves in his mind, no threat to anyone. No amount of longing will breathe life into them again. He misses having his thighs stroked, his balls played with gently, someone's eyes watching him try to keep quiet and brightening with amusement when he can't. He misses the purely physical delirium of warmth and wetness wrapped around him, moving slow, giving him rhythm when he's allowed to come.

Watching the screen, suddenly overwhelmed with distress, Eddie swallows his mouthful of popcorn. He can't really taste it anymore.

Venom stirs.

Without taking his lidless eyes from the screen, he moves to settle gently on Eddie's stomach, curling up there like a cat. He's so small it feels safe for Eddie to touch him - to reach out and run a hand over him quietly, like watching this isn't crippling Eddie from the inside-out.

The blow job seems to last longer than the sex. It's nearly decadent, teasing and toying and building closer in stages, until the bottom can't cope any longer and pleads in panicked gasps to come. His top takes pity. He wraps his cock in a fist and strokes, quick and tight, licking and kissing at the tip as he murmurs soft words of encouragement and watches his partner writhe.

As the young man jerks, letting out a howl, Venom tenses under Eddie's fingers. Eddie stops stroking him at once. They watch together, frozen still as come spatters the guy's stomach and he moans and pants.

His top licks him through it, smirking.

That's... that's coming, V. That's what happens.

Venom makes a low, quiet sound. Is he in pain?

No. Not at all.

He's -

It's - intense. But it's all pleasure.

What does it feel like?

There's the question, Eddie thinks. He sighs, trying to put it into words. Good, he says, and it feels like the lamest explanation ever given for anything. Just - god, it's huge. Relief. It's a sort of... clenching, rippling... pleasure all over, flowing... heart going... hot in your face. Feels like it's worth howling about.

Venom is quiet for a while. The couple on the screen are kissing, soothing the bottom partner back to earth as they breathe together.

Can this lead to offspring?

No, you... gotta have a uterus involved for that. These guys don't.

Why do they...?

'Cause they love each other. It's a way to show it. And, y'know... it feels good. It's a nice thing to share.

The video stops, run to its end.

Venom lifts his head, distressed. He looks around at Eddie and blinks. What happened next?

Eddie isn't sure how he can smile right now. Somehow he does.

Clean-up, probably. More cuddling. Going off to sleep. Get up in the morning, go to work. Get home. Make dinner. Maybe more sex, then go to sleep. Normal life.

Venom processes this. Humans have sex at night.

Err... not always. It's a handy time because you're both in bed.

Sex comes after you share a home?

Err - again, it's... no, not always. It's easier when you do. So long as you're a couple, and there's a bed somewhere, you can probably just...

But sex normally takes place in bed? Between a couple?

God, okay - I'm - c-coming across like some old-fashioned romantic here. No, sex goes on everywhere. And you don't have to be a couple. So long as people are consenting, responsible adults they can do what they want.

But... normally -

I mean - o-okay, yeah. Normally. Eddie hesitates, reaching for popcorn to cover his unease. It's better that way. I think.

Venom says nothing for a while, watching him eat.

Are you alright, Eddie?

Y-Yeah, V. I'm fine. Are you okay?

Yes. Venom rests his small head on Eddie's heart, chin flat against his heart. Thank you for showing me.

S'fine, bud. D'you - understand any better now?

I believe so.

Good. Then - that's cool. Put it all behind us, yeah?

There's a pause.

Eddie?

Y-Yeah, V?

Would you like to go for a walk? The fresh air will lower your temperature a little.

Eddie inhales.

Thanks, V. That'd be great. Just gimme another minute.

 

Chapter Text

The next morning kicks off a crazy week. Eddie spends his every waking hour busy, shifting contracts back and forth across the city, moving out of the motel, getting hold of new stuff for his new apartment as cheaply as he can. Even at night, he's working. An old friend from New York owns a publishing house now, and she's putting together a book of the best motorbike journeys around the west coast. Eddie's been contracted to write thirty of them. The money is good, and he needs good money right now. Those roads he hasn't driven himself can be checked out using Google Earth. Though it's difficult coming up with new and interesting ways to say 'this is a great road to drive along', especially when it's one in the morning and he's exhausted, each entry only needs to be two hundred words. He's getting there - and he's already spent most of the payment on new furniture.

In the end, it's Sunday before he gets a proper rest.

Waking up at half past nine feels like he's died and woken up in heaven. He stretches, rolling over with a quiet groan as the bones in his spine click and crack. He drags the covers with him, shivering, and ends up sprawled face-down in a pillow, so happy he could pass out. His new bedding smells amazing. The room feels clean around him, the day is open wide, and so long as he writes another five roads by midnight he'll be on track.

He breathes in, deep, enjoying this feeling. Things are going well.

They hadn't gone so well for a while.

Now they are, and it feels good.

A gentle squirming against his chest makes Eddie smile. He shifts, easing the covers down a little, and Venom's almost feline face appears - swaddled against his chest like a baby.

Eddie's smile breaks into a grin.

"Hey, sleepy." He almost wants to kiss Venom on the forehead.

Venom rumbles, yawning, showing off his small mouth of sharp white teeth with a whine. Hello, Eddie.

"You sleep okay?"

Mmhrrm. Getting used to it.

"You're better than you were... you picking it up from me, maybe? Adapting?"

Venom blinks cosily, nestling against his collarbones. Boring at night without you, the symbiote mumbles.

"Nobody to torment, huh?"

Nnhhh. Hungry, Eddie...

"Yeah, me too. Good job we got groceries in last night." Eddie reaches down, stroking his thumb fondly between Venom's eyes. They close in contentment; a familiar rumbling purr begins. "The works, you think? Get the frying pan going? Hope you're in the mood for bacon."

Venom nearly whimpers. I want pancakes too.

"And scrambled egg, yeah?"

Nnrrrhh.

Eddie grins. "Yeah, I thought so... we'll do the works. Fucking earned it after this week."

You are tired, Eddie... you should rest at home today. No errands.

"Kinda hoped you'd say that."

Netflix?

"Netflix. Wanna finish Breaking Bad?"

Venom croons beneath the gentle head-rubbing. Yes please, he murmurs. With pancakes and scrambled egg...

As he liquefies, melting with a sigh and spreading across Eddie's chest, Eddie experiences a similar sensation on the inside too. He smiles, gathering his arms around his chest to hold Venom. His symbiote wraps up around his shoulders, his webbing spreading fondly; he nuzzles at the hinge of Eddie's jaw.

Bristles.

"Yeah... haven't tidied up in a few days. I'll do it after breakfast."

I like the bristles.

"Really?"

Better.

"Fair enough." Venom's tendrils sneak up the back of Eddie's neck, into his hair and scruff it slowly, admiring its texture. "You like the longer hair too? Seems like it's growing kinda fast."

We are in prime condition, Eddie.

"Except tired."

Except tired. We can fix that with Netflix and pancakes.

"Shall I get us up then? Someone's gonna have to cook. Unless you can reach the kitchen from here, I'm guessing it's gonna be me."

Venom seems to pause, still stroking his hair.

Five more minutes, comes the murmur against his neck.

Eddie never thought he'd see the day Venom could wait five minutes for pancakes. He smiles, gently amused. As a thought occurs, it warms behind his ribs - he can't help but ask.

Have you... kinda missed me this week, V?

Venom seems to note the change from voice to privacy. His tendrils stir a little, tightening his hold on Eddie's chest. I've been here the whole time, Eddie. Never gone.

I mean... having quiet time. Like this.

Just us.

Eddie breathes it in. Just us.

There's a pause as Venom seems to smell behind his ear, scenting his hair.

Mine, the symbiote says.

Some part of Eddie still isn't used to that. It still gives him a thrill, filling him with happiness and uncertainty at once. As time goes by, the nerves fade quicker and the warmth remains.

Some part of him hears that word like it's always been true - like there wasn't ever a time there wasn't Venom. 'Mine' feels like Eddie's name now. It's just a fact. It's what he is.

The sensation takes a second to recover from.

Yours, he agrees, quiet even in his own mind.

All day, Eddie.

Yeah, V. All day.

 

*

 

They take breakfast back to bed, stack the empty plates on the floor when they're done, then barely move until the afternoon. Episode after episode drifts by, a happy haze of other people's crazy lives, the apartment quiet and warm around them. Eddie's getting a little addicted to Venom's laugh.

Only the hopeful whines of hunger around two o'clock give him incentive to get out of bed.

Eddie pads through to the kitchen in an old t-shirt and boxer shorts, scratching sleepily at the side of his neck. As he reaches to open the fridge, he catches sight of his reflection in the door - one blackened hand, his forearm veined with Venom like a new tattoo. A few spidery curls extend above the neck of his t-shirt; more run down his thigh towards his knee.

Out of curiosity, he lifts his t-shirt up to find Venom webbed across his side, patterned over his ribs.

He kinda likes it.

"Mac and cheese?" he asks, peering into the fridge.

Venom groans. You are the best human.

"I know, man. You're lucky to have me."

As he keeps watch on the pot, stirring the melting cheese, Eddie finds himself idly admiring the patterns Venom has formed on his arm. When he watches closely, he can see them shifting. Tensing his muscles makes them ripple - living ink.

Scraping out their pasta into a bowl, he notices the pattern start to curl. He watches, wondering what's being formed.

Letters rise from the alien shapes and shadows.

 

L O S E R

 

Eddie grins. "What happened to 'the best human'?"

More letters form.

 

S T I L L   A
L O S E R

 

"Jokes on you, pal. You're stuck inside a loser."

Worse places to be, Venom remarks, as Eddie carries the pasta back to bed. He got so used to eating in bed in the motel that it's second nature now. As he drops down into their pile of pillows and covers, Venom coils out from behind him and bites at the edge of the bowl.

"Hey, hey - I'm doing it. Hang on." Eddie takes a big scoop, offering it to the gleaming ring of teeth which opens wide. "There y'go..."

Ten minutes after the empty bowl joins their breakfast plates on the floor, Venom is asleep on Eddie's chest. He melts there like a happy puddle, producing tiny snores and occasionally shivering as he dreams.

For a while Eddie just sits with him, running his fingers over Venom's glossy black surface.

Mine, he thinks.

He pulls his laptop across the bed, opens up his files and settles in to write a few more roads.

 

*

 

By early evening, he's done another 1284 words. His head's started to ache a little.

Rest day, he reminds himself, saving and closing the files. He's done more than enough.

Venom stirs as Eddie gathers the sleepy black pool close with one arm, shifting to ease up out of bed.

'ddie?

Just running a bath. Keep on sleeping.

Nnhhh. Venom melts into his chest a little, half-solid and sticky, stretching and forming a mouth just to yawn with it. I missed Breaking Bad...

S'okay, I paused it. We'll watch more later.

Were you bored without me?

Nah, I got some work done.

More roads?

More roads. Eddie knows he could probably let go of Venom now - he's not exactly going to drop to the floor with a splat - but he keeps his symbiote cradled in one arm as he leans over the bath, twisting on the taps. Have we had a bath together yet?

Venom thinks about it, rumbling. In the restaurant.

Err - no, V. That wasn't a bath. Those were lobsters.

They were nice...

Yeah, and they're expensive. Don't get high maintenance on me. That won't end well for you.

Eddie reaches for bubble bath, unscrewing the cap.

How's this? he checks, holding the open bottle up to the black mass in his arms. Pomegranate and apple.

Venom stretches out enough to sniff. Mhm.

Taking that as yes, Eddie says, and adds a glug to the gushing hot water. It feels like forever since he had a decent soak. The motel only had a shower; this is going to be amazing. He knows he should have better things to spend his money on than bubblebath, but he got used to certain luxuries living so long with a woman - and it's the little things in life that pull you through.

He brushes his teeth as he waits for the tub to fill, neatens up the edges of his stubble and retrieves his new laundry hamper from the lounge. His t-shirt and shorts are the first things to be added to it.

Venom is still scribed across his ribs on one side, bleeding down onto his hip and his thigh. He's never wanted anything inked there before.

He's kinda thinking about it now, though.

As Eddie sinks into the hot water, lying back with Venom still gathered against his chest, the symbiote lets out a sound he won't forget in a hurry. It's a long, shivering gasp, blurring into a moan; it raises the hair on the back of Eddie's neck.

"Baths?" he says, looking down. "Really?"

Venom ripples happily, sinking into his skin and branching out the full length of his body. Yesssss...

Eddie grins a little. "Is there anything you don't like?"

Smoothies with plants in them, Venom says, and Eddie can feel him in nearly every inch of skin below the water - stretching, relaxing, basking in the heat. Eddie, we live in here now... we're bringing Netflix next time...

On a quiet thought, Eddie reaches out to brush a hand across the bubbles. The foam swirls prettily over the surface, drifting, clearing his vision beneath the water.

Venom's web of black veins reach his abdominal muscles, but no higher; they dip down under his navel, but don't encroach at all beneath his pubic hair; they feather down the front of his legs and the outsides, avoiding his inner thighs completely.

He knows he should find it touching - Venom listened. Those places are off-limits.

But he finds he doesn't know how it makes him feel.

Eddie? comes the tentative voice inside his head.

Sorry - here. Drifted off.

Venom makes a quiet, settling sound. Too much writing, the symbiote diagnoses. More rest needed.

There comes a pause.

Can I rub your back, Eddie? You've been very kind today.

The thought tightens Eddie's stomach. He reaches for humour to cover it, trying to smile. Feeling guilty for calling me a loser, are you?

My loser, Venom says, as if this changes everything. Then: Close your eyes.

After a moment's hesitation Eddie does so, breathing in.

Venom oozes into his back muscles, tightening them gently and then releasing them one by one. It's impossible not to squirm - he feels so stiff after hauling boxes around this week, and the heat of the water soaking deep beneath his skin is incredible. A slow padding motion eases across his shoulders, like being kneaded by a huge cat; by the time Venom reaches his lower back, he's biting into a moan and gripping the edge of the tub.

Poor Eddie, his symbiote murmurs. Too much work.

Eddie exhales with care, his fingers flexing. Y-You're doing a great job, V...

Venom makes a hopeful, rather soft sound. Really?

Y-Yeah. Feels fucking amazing. Can you - feel this too?

Your body is my body... I feel what you feel.

Good. You deserve to feel this, too. Would you - do my feet, maybe?

He feels Venom ease along his legs, gliding through him as if he's just hot water. Eddie's ankles darken as Venom pools in his feet; his symbiote rubs, slow and firm, digging into each muscle without the slightest tickle.

Eddie's eyes roll back into his head.

"God..." he breathes aloud.

Venom makes another hopeful sound. Good, Eddie?

"God, just - yes - "

Can I - anywhere else?

The thought flashes through Eddie's mind before he can stop it - what it would feel like to lie here in the hot water, feel V's heat and pressure inside his inner thighs, up to his cock and balls, just slowly rub until he comes. It's been weeks since he took things into his own hands. A few times, when Venom has been napping, he's thought about it - but the chance of V waking up to find him doing that, then bombarding him with questions, has been unsettling enough to stall his wandering touch.

Shoving his thoughts firmly aside, Eddie draws his focus back to his feet.

"You're doing great just there," he says, reaching for shampoo. If he keeps busy, his thoughts will stop wandering. "Thanks, bud... feels much better."

As Eddie leans back into the water, dipping beneath the surface, Venom grabs around his shoulders in a panic.

Eddie...!

Eddie splutters as he's dragged upright, spitting.

Eddie, what are you doing?!

"Wetting my hair! So I can - "

Eddie, you could get trapped and drown!

"In the bath?"

That is dangerous, his symbiote says firmly, manifests from his back and snatches the shampoo bottle out of his hand with a tentacle. Give it. You will not do that again.

"How else am I meant to - " Eddie's protest dies in his mouth as Venom begins to rub shampoo into his hair, forming a mass of gently scrunching pressure all across his scalp. His neck arches. "Ohh - oh okay - that's good too..."

Venom seems to grow more solid against his back, providing a support for him to rest against.

His pulse picking up, Eddie leans back.

 

*

 

After dinner, they sit in the bay window watching the sun go down over the city. Eddie's coffee steams quietly, held in both hands against his chest. There's a warmth spreading behind it which he doesn't think is down to the coffee.

What you thinking, V?

He hears his symbiote sigh, deep in the back of his heart. It's - pretty.

The sky?

Mhm... this world is full of colour. My home planet doesn't care so much for beauty.

Eddie can't help but smile. It's not always beautiful here... there's a lot of things go on which shouldn't.

The ordinary days are beautiful, though. That's no small thing.

Yeah. Yeah, I guess so.

Humans crave... comfort. Not conquest.

Some of us crave conquest. Remember Drake?

Damaged, Venom says, dimly. Insecure. The humans seeking power are the truly frightened ones. Most of you long for... this.

'This'?

Eddie feels his hands tighten around his coffee mug on their own. This, Venom murmurs, and for a few moments Eddie's so overcome he can't really speak. Venom nestles against the front of his ribs, enjoying the heat of the mug.

I guess we all want somewhere safe to be, Eddie says. Somebody to - y'know. Company. Fridge full of food and something good on TV.

I like it here, Eddie. Very much.

Can't believe you jacked in planetary conquest to lie around watching Netflix with me.

Mhm. We all make our choices.

Were you really a loser back home?

Home is here, Venom says. Then: Yes.

But you're -

Mm?

You're badass, man.

He can feel Venom smile. It's like a lifting sensation, a brightening, somewhere from the centre of his chest.

Only good at strengthening a host, Venom murmurs. Bringing out what is there. Not... imposing my own strength.

That's the whole thing of your species though, isn't it? You're a symbiote. You're meant to -

- to use, Venom says, quietly. To consume. To drain, and then to jump. Not...

... to stay.

Not to stay.

But... you prefer...?

Eddie's hands tighten around the mug again. This.

For a short while Eddie watches the steam rise, smiling, letting that feeling wrap around him like warm arms.

Think you're turning me soft, V, he says.

A low chuckle reverberates around his heart.

Think I'm bringing out what is there, Eddie.

 

*

 

Venom makes it to eleven o'clock before falling asleep. As the credits roll on the last episode of the night, Eddie closes the laptop with care and moves it over to the bedside table.

His symbiote barely stirs as he settles back in bed. He's stretched across Eddie's bare chest as a web of half-molten black, in some places shining like fresh-cut obsidian, in others shadowed into his skin like an aged tattoo. There's no obvious head for Eddie to pet - no clear origin of the gentle snuffling sounds - and so he goes for idle stroking of the whole, running his fingers quietly along the lines of the web.

Venom sleeps on, exhausted after their day.

Eddie listens to him breathe, half-smiling in the darkness.

It's absurdly strange to be alone with his thoughts. He's so used to sharing them that he almost doesn't know what to say to himself, now he's got the space.

He suddenly understands why Venom has learned to sleep.

'Boring at night without you.'

It's almost distressing, imagining those first few nights for Venom - alone for eight hours, just watching Eddie sleep.

Eddie wonders what he did to occupy himself all night.

Laid here and thought, maybe. Not a clue what to say to himself.

Inhaling, looking down, Eddie watches his fingers slide over Venom's glossy texture for a while. His symbiote is smooth as glass, softer than any fabric. He has the coolness of fur and the warmth of human skin at once.

And he's staying.

This connection isn't really something Eddie can put into words. Now and then this week, busy building flat-pack shelves or taking yet another cable car across the city, it's occurred to him that Venom could be here all his life - and that's not frightening him.

Somehow he feels like he should try harder to be frightened. In human terms, that's a lifelong commitment forged in only a few days. 'Whirlwind' doesn't even cover it.

And it's... kinda romantic.

Isn't it?

Venom washes his hair in the bath. Venom wants sleepy Sundays together watching Netflix, just the two of them, spread across Eddie's chest as a living hug. Venom says, but I love you Eddie, like it's so obvious it doesn't need to be said.

Eddie's spent this week thinking about our new place.

And after Carlton Drake's rocket filled the whole harbour with fire, he spent several hours in a hospital bed, grieving like he'd been torn in two. 'Goodbye, Eddie.' The nurses thought he was crying because of the burns, because of the pain. He didn't know how else to explain. He's gone. He was right here, closer than my skin, and now he's gone. Venom was the first fucking soul in the universe hadn't tried to change him somehow, make him better, sort him out - hadn't seemed to think he was a hot fucking mess who lurched from one disaster to another - just arrived, started looking after him. Like he deserved that. Like just trying to do good was enough.

Annie had tried to sit with him in the hospital. He hadn't known how to say, can you go please, I need to cry right now and you won't understand.

Dan took her home - Dan with his reassuring smile, his smart coat, his calm words and his considerate gaze. He'd known. He'd known Eddie had found and lost his perfect match in less than twenty-four hours, and somehow it was worse than losing Annie. He'd never been good enough for Annie - her smart suits, her calm words, her considerate gaze. He'd loved her, and he'd tried to do his best, but the two of them were different species: one flaming disaster, one hotshot lawyer. He'd thought it kinda worked for them like that, opposites attracting.

Then he'd met another flaming disaster.

And lost him, too.

What do I do? he'd thought over and over, lying in a hospital bed as tears rolled in silent panic down his face. What the fuck do I do? His apartment was full of dead thugs. Carlton Drake was gone. Nobody knew he'd saved the world - like none of it had happened, nothing different, nothing to show for it but burns across his body and a feeling like he'd never connect with another human again. How could he? Humanity thought he was a fucking wreck, and they weren't good at hiding it from him.

He'd been a hero for all of an hour.

Now he was alone, and nobody would ever understand.

Then in the middle of the night, as Eddie stared from his bed into the darkness, the darkness had whispered to him.

Eddie, it said, in a voice weak and weary with pain. Rest.

He'd begged, crying, shaking as he whispered into his pillow. "Oh, fuck - are you still here? Please tell me you're here. Please."

Still here, came the murmur. Rest.

In his bed safe at home, gazing up at the ceiling with Venom asleep on his chest, Eddie lets himself think it at last.

It's love.

He didn't know it would be. Those first few hours had felt like he was falling into madness or death or both, scavenging rotten food from a bin to sate a hunger he'd never known, shaking and sweating through his clothes, throwing up, cowering in panic from the voice inside his head.

Now he won't ever be alone again.

As tears threaten to rise, Eddie blows them away with a shiver.

"Shit," he whispers, calming himself. "S-Shit, shit... shit..."

His fingers ache as they stroke over Venom's web, splayed from his heart right out across his shoulders.

"S'okay," he tells himself, shutting his eyes. "S'okay. Easy. S'all okay."

It's okay that it's love. Venom's not going. Nobody will know - and fuck the world, it feels good - how often does something come along in life that feels this good? Venom will be with him everywhere, for good. Every minute Eddie's alive, Venom will be there. If things get fucked up again, they can take off on the bike tomorrow and start again somewhere. Venom saw him at his lowest and still says I love you Eddie like it's easy.

For a few seconds it feels so huge it hurts.

Eddie breathes it down, his fingers trembling as he strokes Venom's sleeping tendrils. I'll keep you safe, he thinks, and sweeps aside the panic of, how? How? How the fuck can I ever keep you safe? - it doesn't matter. He'll find a way. It hurts, wishing he could kiss Venom. He wishes there was a human shape in his arms he could hug tighter. Wanna show you, he thinks. Need to show you. Stroke your hair for you, wake you up, tell you I can't cope without you.

Jesus, do you even know what you mean by 'love'?

Is it even the same thing that I mean?

He tells himself that doesn't matter, either. Venom is staying. Eddie is his host now - 'my loser' - 'the best human' - and that will do, won't it? It's more than any other human has ever shown him. If this isn't the same as human love, Eddie doesn't want human love any more. He wants this.

But... Jesus, is it...

Is it - sex?

His chest tightens even opening the subject in his mind. It feels dangerous, unfolding this thought. He waits for a while just to make sure Venom is still asleep, the tiny snores still there in the back of his mind.

Earlier, lying in the hot water together, he'd hoped for a few moments it could be like that. He'd imagined briefly the slide of Venom's touch across those parts of his body being so respectfully avoided, and the thought of it is enough to raise his temperature even now: warm water, bubbles, moaning softly as his symbiote takes care of him.

Backed up, he tells himself, his eyes shut tight. That's all. Haven't jacked off in weeks.

Pressing his teeth into his lip, he thinks again.

It's not necessarily orgasm he wants. It's not orgasm he's thinking about right now.

It's something a little more encompassing than that.

God, why am I even considering this?

Venom isn't human. Eddie's pretty sure he doesn't experience desire like a human. Last week, in the shower, he'd seen curiosity and a desire to investigate - but that's different to the desire to connect.

Venom has shown no further interest in sexual matters since then. The whole thing had been like the first time Eddie got the hiccups, and a fascinated Venom had asked every question under the sun. Google finally weighed in to explain Eddie's diaphragm was irritated, possibly by the huge amount of tater tots he'd just eaten, and that its involuntary contractions were sucking air into his throat. When the air hit his voice box, his vocal cords closed and made the noise.

Once Venom knew this, his interest in the matter had waned. The mystery was solved; another curious facet of Eddie had been discovered, explored and concluded.

And for hiccups, that's fine.

For sex, it isn't.

Eddie doesn't want to be an experiment. He wants what every human wants in bed - connection - and he doesn't want to wreck things. The love feels so strong right now, authentic and deep. Sex can make things so fragile, even with another human who knows all about it. Eddie's had more than his fair share of sex which seems like a great idea until you're having it, and the illusion suddenly fails. The chase is exciting enough to pull you along, until you realise you're lying underneath a stranger, struggling to relax, struggling to come, wishing you could stop noticing the weird thing they do with their face, the weird sound they make, wishing they'd keep a certain movement up just a little longer instead of changing all the time. There's nothing more depressing in the world than realising mid-sex this isn't quite what you hoped.

Realising that with Venom...

Worse, realising his intimate reactions were no more than an interesting biology project...

Jesus, it doesn't matter.

I don't want that. I don't want to have Venom - like that, touching me like - like -

- like I want it.

Shit.

It doesn't matter.

It's not happening.

It's love. It's - fuck, it's everything. I'm not gonna risk that. When I get desperate enough, I'll go have a shower and ask him to hum elevator music to himself for a while. It'll be fine.

Sex with other people is over-rated, anyway.

Won't be any different with people who aren't human.

Flipping the pillow to the cool side, Eddie tells himself to get a grip. They've got a meeting with the network in the morning. He needs to go in there like he's serious about doing this again. Their rent won't pay itself.

Normally he'd roll over to sleep on his side.

He likes Venom like this, though - settled on his chest, Eddie his safe island in the world.

Sleep comes deep and easy.

 

*

 

Eddie, Venom breathes through him. The sound of his voice aches. Eddie...

The hands gliding over Eddie's chest dip through his skin, soothing beneath the bone. The two of them are fusing - Venom seems to melt through his body like heat, webbing through his every vein. As Eddie arches, panting with the feeling of his symbiote spreading and filling and consuming him from the inside, his hips jerk up in dizzy search of pleasure.

The coils around his wrists tighten. Gently they coax his arms apart, spreading him open so Venom can see. They're in water together - a dark bed made of water, wide and shallow and warm, and as it laps against his back he realises Venom is the water. Eddie's floating in him, perfectly suspended, and the gentle tendrils are wrapping around his thighs now too.

Mine, Venon murmurs, spreading them apart.

Eddie can barely make sound, trembling with need already. Yours. F-Fuck. He feels open and vulnerable; Venom's coils are wrapping the rest of his body like ribbons, ignoring his cock, ignoring his nipples. He's never needed them to be gently pinched so much. V, please -

Venom is beneath him in the water, licking slowly down his back as he strains.

V, I need it - fuck, please -

Venom reaches his tail bone, humming, and as Eddie writhes in desperation he continues, licking slowly and far too briefly between Eddie's ass cheeks, up to his balls, ignoring them utterly.

V, oh god - please - please there -

Looking down he can see V now, smirking and predatorial in his muscular full form. He nuzzles at Eddie's hip bone and his stomach, slinking around his cock without so much as a glance at it, then crawls up the bed with almost serpentine enjoyment.

The tendrils wrapped around Eddie's thighs spread them further apart so Venom can come between them, easing into position. Without a warning he pushes inside Eddie - breaches him, thick and firm and demanding, and there's no pain, only the feeling of being absolutely fucking filled to the brim, and Eddie's missed it so much he nearly screams. He twists against his binds just to feel them, just to know for sure he's held. He writhes on Venom's cock, feeling it pulse inside him in time with his own heart, as the gentle hands glide over his chest again.

Good, Eddie?

In fragmented moans, Eddie begs to be fucked. He gasps that he needs it, that he wants it. Venom's tendrils curl fondly into his hair.

I want to see...

I love you, V. I love you. Please.

Venom's hold tightens; he starts to move in Eddie, thrusting, filling, fucking him.

In barely seconds, it's too much. Eddie heaves against Venom's hold and cries out as he starts to come, the feeling ripping through him deeply enough to white out his vision. Venom is still fucking him, driving more and more pleasure through his body, forcing him to keep coming and coming and coming and he can hear Venom's voice over the pounding of his heart.

E-Eddie - Eddie, what -

Eddie can't breath. He can't even move, flung from the crest of his orgasm and gliding on it, shining.

V sounds like he's gasping.

Eddie -

The relief following the sharp sting of pleasure is almost achingly good, wet and gorgeous and heavy. It draws Eddie back down to earth, leaving him a boneless mess of sweat and his own breath. His heart bangs against his ribs. He's panting.

Eddie!

As Eddie realises he's awake, he grieves the loss of the dream with every atom of his being.

He then realises there's wetness spreading across the front of his boxers.

His eyes snap open.

 

Chapter Text

"Oh - fucking Jesus - "

Eddie kicks back the covers to find his shorts are soaked. The black cotton shines with a spreading glossy stain. He's come like a fucking fire hydrant and it's everywhere. Shit. Shit, shit, shit -

Before he can even cover his face in despair, an inward tug wrenches him back down to the bed.

Eddie, are you alright? Lie down.

"I-I'm fine - "

Our heart is pounding -

"It's fine, V! Jesus. I'm fine. I'm just - f-fucking fifteen, apparently - let me up. I gotta wash."

What was that?

"Nothing. Let me up - "

Eddie, do not lie to me! What was that?

"Jesus, wait - did you feel  - "

EDDIE!

"It was a wet dream, alright? I came! I came in my sleep. It happens." Eddie scrunches his hands into his hair, still shaking. "Happens when you're a pointless mess."

Eddie, I... Eddie, I promise you I didn't -

Eddie breathes in hard as he realises.

"Bud, I know you didn't," he says at once. "I know you wouldn't. It's okay. Let's - just relax, okay? Everything's okay."

He can still feel himself trembling, deep beneath his skin. He doesn't know if it's his own aftershocks or Venom's panic. He can't separate the two feelings now coursing through his muscles.

"This happens on it's own from time to time," he says, trying to put some calm into his voice. If he sounds calm, maybe he'll be calm. "It's spontaneous. Happens when I'm dreaming. 'Specially if I haven't - i-if it's been a while. But I'm okay, I promise."

Venom stays nothing; the shaking continues.

"Are you okay?" Eddie asks the pounding silence, wishing his heart would slow down.

He feels Venom shiver, breathing again. I-I think so.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry that was a shock."

We're wet -

"Y-Yeah... that's what happens. M'sorry."

Black tendrils blossom from Eddie's wrists, surrounding him and wrapping tight. It feels like a frightened hug; Eddie's eyes close at once.

Eddie, you were whimpering.

"God. God, I'm sorry - "

The gentle tendrils tighten around him. You are distressed, his symbiote almost whispers, you want to be dry - and as Venom strips off his wet shorts for him, Eddie's heart and stomach lurch with both panic and hope. The dream still clings to the edges of his mind. He can still almost feel that sensation, Venom's thick tendrils fucking into him perfectly, the hold around his wrists and his thighs, gentle and secure and dominating. The thought kicks his pulse out of control again.

It's alright, Eddie, V murmurs, freeing the wet shorts from his ankles and tossing them into the laundry hamper. It's okay. Should we wash?

Yeah, I - I'd better -

With a rippling sensation Venom melts through his skin and surrounds him whole, blurring the limits of his body away. Eddie shudders; relief slugs through his system.

V, I can walk, he protests, as Venom's enormous muscled form negotiates them out of the suddenly tiny double bed.

"So can I," Venom says, and takes them to the bathroom.

Eddie barely needs to move. Venom keeps control until the shower is running hot and steam is rising from the spray. He steps beneath the water, huge inside the cramped glass cubicle, and gently melts back from Eddie's skin.

The transition from symbiote to raining warmth makes Eddie shudder; his whole body is hypersensitive right now, every inch of his skin craving contact. Venom takes his full form to hold Eddie upright. One muscular arm anchors around his middle, while sticky-looking strands of black biological matter stretch between their skin.

Eddie leans into him, shaking a little. He finds himself desperate in this moment for touch. He's not come in so long. With someone else, it's been even longer. The need to be held is almost painful - he feels guilty disguising it this way, like he can't stand properly, but he can't resist.

Tendrils from Venom's shoulders reach for the shower gel and their washcloth.

"We need to clean you," he murmurs into Eddie's hair.

Eddie's heart heaves at the sound of his voice. "O-Okay," he whispers.

Venom dispenses shower gel into the cloth, his tendrils as deft and careful as practiced hands. As they rub the cloth to start the gel foaming, Eddie tries not to hope.

"Here," Venom rumbles, guiding the cloth into his hands. As he takes it, shaking, the tendrils respectfully withdraw. "Your body."

It hurts.

It hurts more as Eddie realises it should be comforting. The two of them share a heart, but Venom is trying to give him space to deal with this. When they're arguing over smoothies and whether Eddie can have a beer, it's our body. When Eddie's an embarrassed wreck after a wet dream, suddenly it's his body again and he's allowed to wash it in privacy.

It hurts like hell.

He cleans himself numbly, functionally, soaping away the mess. Venom stands calm and quiet beside him, keeping watch without watching, one arm still wrapped around Eddie's middle.

It's so hard not to think.

Eddie's head feels like a flock of screaming birds. He's chasing them all, trying to swat them out of the air before they give voice to the things he mustn't think. I wish I hadn't freaked out. I wish I knew if this is for real. I wish I hadn't stopped you.

Venom's careful silence seems to say more than a whole parade of questions.

As Eddie wrings out the cloth beneath the spray, foam spattering the floor of the shower, he forces himself to breathe and get a grip.

"M'sorry," he mumbles. "M'sorry if it was weird for you to... to have to see all that."

Venom takes the cloth for him, draping it over the shower controls. "Why are you distressed?" he asks, softer than Eddie has ever heard him. "You feel... shame, Eddie. Don't."

"It's - k-kinda intimate. Like we talked about. It's usually private."

A curl of darkness strokes Eddie's wet hair back from his forehead. "I have seen other private things."

Eddie's chest aches. It's true. Venom has seen him bleed, seen him cry, seen him vomit - and now he's seen him come. He tries to tell himself V would have seen it one day, whether he was ready to share it or not.

And V isn't freaking out, at least.

That's got to count for something.

Eddie?

The voice comes from within. Eddie leans into the embracing bands of black which surround him, wishing he didn't love how possessive they feel right now. Mm?

Your brain is producing... Venom shivers. It's - good.

Chemicals?

Mhm. Venom shifts slowly, leaning down from his height advantage to nuzzle at the crown of Eddie's head. They're making you feel safe.

A-Are we sure it's the chemicals doing that?

Venom pauses.

Everything is chemicals, he says, and reaches for the shower controls.

The cold air is nearly painful on Eddie's skin. Venom dries him with a towel, runs a comb through his hair like in the mornings, then guides him gently back to bed. As he pulls on clean shorts and a t-shirt, Venom melts back inside his skin and vanishes beneath the fabric. The loss of his symbiote's physical presence is unsettling - but he tells himself it's safer this way. The thought of lying in bed with Venom there in full form, huge and muscled beside him, is enough to make Eddie's stomach squeeze with distress. He checks the covers, relieved to find his boxers took the hit and the sheets are fine. A trip to the dry cleaners with come-stained bedding is the last thing he needs right now.

As he settles down in the darkness, pulling the covers up around his neck, Eddie reaches to the bedside for his phone.

hormones released, he types, then adds with a faint twinge of discomfort, after sex.

Tendrils pet slowly through his hair as he scrolls.

Oxytocin, his symbiote reads aloud.

Eddie's heart thumps. 'The cuddle chemical', according to the article he's found. New mothers produce it in huge amounts when bonding with their babies; it's also released during orgasm. It serves to promote feelings of trust, safety and emotional openness between partners.

Eddie's hand shakes a little around the phone.

They read in silence for a while together, flicking between research articles on human hormones until Eddie's eyelids begin to lull. The words are blurring.

Prolactin, he hears Venom say. You're sleepy, Eddie...

"Mmhm. Bit."

The phone is taken gently from his hand.

Sleep now, his symbiote says, soft as snow, and it's impossible for Eddie to resist that voice. Sinking into Venom's voice feels easier than breathing. We have work in the morning.

"V?" Eddie mumbles, as the covers wrap themselves around him. They tuck in around his neck.

Mm?

"What - what the hell is this? I mean... w-what we have."

Venom is quiet for a while.

You are my human, Eddie. I - want you to be happy.

Eddie says nothing, trying not to be afraid.

He doesn't even know what he's afraid of.

It feels like this is too big somehow - too much - like it won't fit in him, like it'll break free at some point and he won't be able to look after it like it deserves. He doesn't know how this bond can feel both strong as stone and as fragile as a bird's nest in a storm.

He doesn't really know anything any more.

Is that not enough? Venom asks him, carefully.

Eddie breathes in.

He rests his hand on the pillow in front of him, his fingers upturned and open.

He watches as nervous black tendrils wind up from his wrist. They spread between his fingers, fond, forming themselves into a hand for him to hold. As their hands lock, the feeling of comfort and belonging takes Eddie's breath.

He closes his eyes, begging himself to let it be enough.

Goodnight, Eddie, his symbiote murmurs. Have sweet dreams.

This will all feel easier tomorrow. Getting back to work will distract him.

He's been away from other humans for too long - that's all.

Night, V... sleep tight.

 

*

 

Next morning, everything seems to happen a little too fast. Eddie could have done without the break in sleep. He pulls together an outfit he's worn before and usually looks good, but today it sits strangely on his body. He gets time for breakfast, but not a good one. It's more about just filling his stomach with toast so Venom will be okay for the morning.

There isn't any time to talk about last night - not that he'd know what to say, even if he could.

Venom is being supportively unintrusive today. He reminds Eddie to brush his teeth before he leaves, then reminds Eddie of some papers he's left on the coffee table, but otherwise keeps himself out of the way in the back of Eddie's head.

If it weren't for the boxer shorts crumpled in the laundry basket, the night's events might have seemed like a prank by his imagination.

 

*

 

Traffic gets Eddie to work ten minutes late. He leaves his bike outside, heads to the elevator and consults the business card he was given in his last meeting. Sam King, producer. The crisp gold edging glints as he tilts it.

Guiding his thoughts inward, he attempts to keep his face completely neutral.

Going up to meet my new boss now, okay? Need to make a good impression.

Right.

This is the guy who decides whether I can pay our rent every month.

Right.

So is there... any way that you could maybe...?

Shut the fuck up for ten minutes?

Yeah.

What's in it for me?

Uh. Chinese food for dinner?

Deal.

As the elevator pings and Eddie steps out onto the thirtieth floor, Venom's voice rumbles in the back of his head.

Good luck, Eddie.

Thanks... might need it...

Sam's assistant is a redhead with a pencil skirt and a pixie cut. She asks Eddie to take a seat outside the office, then offers him coffee with a bright little smile. Supposing it can't hurt, Eddie accepts.

A few minutes later a phone call comes through to the desk. She clicks over in her heels and picks it up.

"Yes?" She listens, glancing at Eddie. His stomach grips. "Yes, he's here now. Can I get you a fresh coffee?"

Smiling, she replaces the phone.

"You can go on in, Mr Brock. Sam's ready for you."

Eddie gets up, suddenly wishing he'd worn a nicer shirt. His dark jeans looked pretty smart in the bedroom mirror this morning; he hadn't added the leather jacket then.

'Sam King' sounds pretty casual, though - and he lets his assistant call him 'Sam', which is a good sign.

Eddie lets himself into the office, preparing his killer combo of winning handshake and a smile. This is going to go fine.

"Mr King," he says, brightly. "Nice to - "

Sam King looks up from her desk with a sweep of her long black eyelashes, cherry-red mouth curving in amusement. Her bright blonde waves are cropped just above her shoulders, bouncy and soft, and from the figure-fitting bodycon dress she's wearing, Eddie wouldn't put her age too far above thirty.

She's also very definitely not a 'Mr King'.

Oops, Venom mumbles.

Eddie bites into his lip. "Y-Yikes - sorry."

His new boss's eyes sparkle. "No problem, Eddie." As she stands up, she makes a slight adjustment of her dress - a discreet smoothing to keep the clingy dark grey fabric from riding up. The movement rather highlights the whole bodycon idea.

Eddie retrieves his eyes quickly and offers his hand.

"Good to meet you," he says, as she comes towards him in her heels.

They shake hands - crisp, clean, functional.

"Take a seat," she says, gesturing with a small smile. "Did you get settled into your new apartment okay?"

Eddie's jacket squeaks a little as he sits down. She has the sort of curved, smooth black chairs which look great in magazines but hurt to sit in. "Thanks, um, yeah - we're all set now."

"'We'?" she checks with interest, returning to her plush leather executive chair. "Girlfriend?"

"Oh, no - I'm all set. Sorry."

There's a knock at the door. Her assistant comes in with their coffees, smiling.

Sam watches her lay them out, her gaze fond.

"Thanks, Nikki," she murmurs. "We'll call you if we need anything else."

As the door closes with a quiet snap, Eddie finds himself weirdly nervous. He can't help but feel like he's on the back foot here. He doesn't know if he's more intimidated by her age, her figure, the flawless lipstick or the crazy view behind her - all four are conspiring to make him oddly and uncomfortably aware of himself.

A brief memory of last night doesn't help at all. He shifts, trying to sit up straight. I can do this.

"So," his new boss says, tilting sideways in her chair to cross one leg over the other. Her eyes sparkle. "Ready to talk shop?"

"Yep. You bet."

"I'm glad you reconsidered going back in front of the camera."

"Well, y'know... mainly the money. Couldn't turn that down."

"We want to give you a lot of freedom on this, Eddie. You're a smart guy and you know what you're doing. The viewers always loved you. I think they'll be pleased to see you back. Any ideas for your first piece?"

Eddie reaches inside his jacket for his notebook. "Uh, yeah - a few... some more hard-hitting than others, maybe."

She smiles, pleased. "Hard-hitting's fine."

Eddie raises an eyebrow. "You sure? Don't wanna drop you straight into hot water."

"Sure I'm sure. Give me what you've got."

 

*

 

There's a distinctly tense silence as Eddie gets into the elevator, turning his new security pass in his hand. The doors close behind them and they're alone again.

Eddie glances around the empty space, waiting.

"You okay?" he tries.

He feels Venom shift somewhere behind his ribs. Yes. Are you?

"M'fine." There's another long pause as the lights flash by. "You know you're allowed to talk again now?"

Would you like me to talk?

"Sure." There's a long pause. "D'you - fancy getting some lunch or something? There's a good deli nearby... meatball sub, maybe. Decent coffee."

That would be nice.

"Thanks for - y'know. Behaving."

Venom huffs. I am accustomed to a certain lifestyle now... I like it when you pay rent.

There's silence for a while as the elevator descends. Eddie quietly loops the lanyard of his security pass around his neck.

What did you think of her? Venom asks at last.

"Seems okay. Happy to let me take the reins. Kinda... young, maybe."

She is very well-groomed.

"Well... I guess you've gotta be, to get ahead in TV..."

Oh? There's a gentle poke inside his ribs. What happened with you?

Eddie's face spreads into a grin at once.

"Piss off," he says, squirming as Venom pokes him again.

Perhaps we should find you a tight little dress. Paint your face. Strappy shoes.

"Yeah? You'd like that, would you?"

See if it gets you ahead.

"Well, maybe I will. See if it gets me a bit more respect around here, huh? That'd be nice."

Asshole, Venom murmurs, and begins to tickle Eddie from the inside. Eddie jerks and lets out a yelp, writhing up against the wall. His gasps and apologies and pleas for mercy go utterly ignored. Venom tickles him until he's nearly rolling on the ground, squirming against the corner and filling the small space with helpless noise. He can hear Venom laughing too. His face floods with heat and colour as he struggles. Grabbing desperately at his own sides does nothing to stop the sensation, even pushing up his t-shirt.

When it finally ends, Eddie is left bent double and panting. There are tears behind his eyes.

"You bastard," he gasps, unknotting himself with a groan. His head thumps back against the wall. "We are never having tater tots again."

Ah... Eddie...

Eddie opens his eyes.

The crowd of people waiting to enter the elevator all wear the exact same expression - ten or so different faces, quirked with identically startled concern at the sight of a grown man rubbing himself and laughing in an empty elevator.

Oh Jesus.

Venom's laugh nearly sets him off again. Eddie pulls himself into what feels like a dignified stance, tugging down his t-shirt with a cough.

The crowd of people stare. A few mouths are hanging open now.

"Thanks, guys," Eddie says, steps through them, and keeps his head down as he crosses the lobby.

 

*

 

'Thanks, guys'.

Quit laughing, will you? I didn't know what else to say.

What were you even thanking them for?

Being there to witness that special moment? I don't know! Stop laughing, okay? Or you're gonna set me off as well.

Venom's impression of Eddie is painfully good. 'Thanks, guys. Thanks for witnessing this special moment.'

Eddie lifts his wrist to his mouth to cover his snort of laughter, turning it into an unconvincing cough. The lady ahead of him in the deli queue turns to regard him with narrowed eyes.

"Sorry," Eddie mumbles. "Touch of flu. 'Scuse me."

She turns back around, wary.

Say thank you to her.

Shut up, will you?

Maybe she'll lend you her dress. Then you can be someone's fancy boss.

Eddie takes his coffee and wrapped sub from the clerk with a smile, still trying to keep his face under control. "Thanks, man."

They head to a park and sit in the sunshine to eat, breaking into giggles now and then. People passing by seem to think he's either crazy or just having a really good day. Eddie supposes he's a little of both.

What now? Venom asks, as Eddie balls up the sandwich wrapper with a sigh.

"Better start on all these hard-hitting exposes I've promised... might be kinda boring for you."

Hmh. It's not so bad.

"Sure?"

There's a hopeful pause in the back of his mind. Eddie...

Eddie smiles, tossing his wrapper into a trashcan as they pass. "Yeah?"

You said when we were in the new apartment, you would think about it... have you thought about it?

"Thought about what?"

We are in the new apartment now.

"Thought about what, V?"

And your boss likes you. That means you can pay the rent, and there will be enough money...

"Venom, thought about what?"

 

Chapter Text

"She might want to sleep for a while, okay?" Eddie says, carefully undoing the tabs on the cardboard box. "She's nocturnal and this is all new to her. Gotta give her space to settle."

Venom, floating by his side, gives a fervent nod.

Eddie eases open the box.

As the plump blonde hamster emerges, waddling carefully across her fresh paper bedding, Venom's tendrils flutter and curl. He watches through the clear acrylic wall as she investigates her food dish and the water bottle. It took some time for them to get everything set up. It's a fancy cage, designed to look like a tiny space centre - all tubes and pods. The hamster officially has more rooms in her apartment than Eddie.

"You thought about a name for her?" Eddie asks, watching his symbiote with a smile.

Venom turns his rounded eyes upwards. A name?

"For your new girl. Can't just call her 'hamster', can we?"

Venom gazes back at the hamster, who is now quietly opening the sunflower seed held between her small pink paws. He thinks about it for a while.

Savage, he says, fondly.

Eddie takes a second to be sure he heard that right. "Savage the hamster."

Savage is a perfectly good name, Venom protests, wounded.

"Venom, she's a hamster."

Yes, Eddie, I know she is. What's wrong with 'Savage'?

"It's not very hamstery, is it?"

What names are 'hamstery'?

"Don't you wanna call her Nibbles or Squeaky or something?"

Venom tuts.

Those are strange names, he says. Nobody would call a hamster Squeaky. She needs a proper name, Eddie.

Eddie's about to push his case here, then thinks about it for a second. Venom, Riot... Savage.

"Right," he says, fighting a smile. "No, I get you. Savage it is then."

Savage Brock.

"She's - got my surname?"

Does she have enough food, Eddie? She's eating it very quickly.

"Well, most of it's going in her cheeks... see? She's gonna go hide it somewhere."

Why would she do that?

"'Cause she's worried someone else might come along and steal it. It's what hamsters do, V. They're suspicious animals. It's in their nature."

They watch together as Savage the hamster finds the translucent pink tunnel which leads to her cotton-fluff pod. She squirms her way along it and wriggles into her nest, vanishing from sight.

"There we go," Eddie says. "She'll come out again when it's dark."

Venom shifts. How long will that be?

"A few hours, bud."

Okay... what will we do until then?

"I was gonna get some writing done... that okay?"

Yes. Venom glances up again, rather hopeful. With television?

"Sure with TV. Don't want you to be bored. D'you want a snack before I get going?"

Venom squirms, fluttering again. Yes, please.

 

*

 

Eddie writes until his focus starts to fall apart. He's not feeling it today - he doesn't know what it is, but nothing's sparking or flowing. It feels like turning the crank on a very old and stiff machine, running slower and slower with every turn. He ends up putting his laptop aside and lying back on the sofa with Venom on his chest, watching The Office together as the sun starts to sink beyond the windows.

He can't remember when he started stroking Venom's head. His fingers just seem to drift there of their own volition these days; it's like having an oddly liquid cat.

"V?" he murmurs, after a while where there's no movement.

Venom stirs, lifting his head into Eddie's hand. Mhm?

"Thought you were asleep."

No... resting. Venom heaves a small yawn with a whine. Is Savage awake?

Eddie glances over the back of the sofa towards the cage. "No sign of her," he says. "Give it another hour."

Mmh. Venom shifts again, uncoiling enough to look up at Eddie, resting his chin on Eddie's chest. His eyes grow. Eddie...

"Already?"

We only had a plate of toast.

"We had eight slices, V."

And you said Chinese food... I behaved in front of her. Your boss.

"Sure - but if we have Chinese food now, you'll be hungry again by dinner time. Right?"

But I'm already hungry now... please, Eddie.

Eddie can't help but smile. The rounded eyes are killing him a little. "I should take you to an all-you-can-eat place one weekend," he says, imagining it. His smile breaks into a grin. "We'll run them outta business."

Those exist?!

"We'll go for your birthday, okay?"

Visible panic crosses Venom's face. But I don't know my birthday.

Eddie bites his lower lip and sucks, pulling it between his teeth. "Aww, man... tough luck, bud. Looks like we're not going."

Venom gives him a pained look.

When is your birthday, Eddie? he asks. We could go then.

Eddie raises an eyebrow, smiling. "December sixth. You're gonna take me out, are you? Somewhere fancy?"

Venom nods hopefully.

"And how're you gonna pay for that?" Eddie asks. "Seeing as it's me earning the dough."

Venom's eyes slide sideways. Will think of something.

"Does it involve mugging somebody?"

Noooo.

"V, do we have to go over the difference between good and bad again? I thought you had this."

No. I know all that. Venom squirms a little, flopping onto his side. Eddie, I'm hungry.

"Hi hungry, I'm Eddie."

Why do you always have to say that? I'm serious, Eddie.

"Hi serious, I'm - "

Venom seizes a cushion. As he hits Eddie with it, Eddie grabs hold of the other one and mounts a counter attack.

The fight is vigorous but brief. It ends with Eddie tethered on the floor beside the sofa, struggling against black tendrils and laughing as Venom wallops him around the head with the cushion.

Damn human -

"Parasite - "

I am not a parasite!

"How am I meant to order Chinese food tied up on the floor?"

I will hold the phone for you, Venom says, and sits on him, spreading sideways to hold him down. He scowls from above with the cushion raised in threat. Say I am not a parasite.

Eddie bites into his lip, grinning.

He laughs and squirms as Venom hits him with the cushion again.

Say I am not a parasite!

"Or what?"

Or I will tickle you!

"You're not a parasite!"

Say we're having Chinese food!

"We're having Chinese food! I promise."

Chinese food now.

"Chinese food soon."

The cushion comes down again.

"Alright, alright!" Eddie laughs, struggling against it. "Chinese food now!"

Venom finally throws the cushion back onto the sofa.

You made this ugly, Eddie. I hope you know that.

It's so hard not to grin. Eddie gives in, out of breath and flushed.

"You extorted Chinese food out of a hostage under threat of violence," he says. "I think the facts are pretty clear here."

Put me in the Eddie Brock report, Venom says, smirking. His tendrils flicker all around him. Tell the other humans you now bow to my will.

 

*

 

Eddie has to pull a table across to the sofa to hold all their food. Venom stays half-formed beside him, greedily chomping and licking from a pasta bowl which Eddie keeps topped up with all sorts. They discover that Venom can catch entire spring rolls from the air. They discover he likes crab in black bean sauce, and he likes lamb dumplings; and that there's a lot less mess from chongqing chicken wings if you just eat the bones as well.

By the time they finish, there's not a lot left to go in the fridge for lunch.

As Eddie puts it away, he decides he wasn't joking about an all-you-can-eat place. Really, he just wants to see the looks on the faces of the staff. He'll end up with a lifetime ban.

He digs a pint of ice cream out of the freezer, takes it back to the sofa with a spoon, and before he's even settled finds a hopeful symbiote prizing off the lid with his mouth.

"Hey!"

What flavour is it?

"Chocolate."

Venom shivers. Yes please.

He waits impatiently for Eddie to load up the spoon, swaying a little as he floats in the air.

As he transfers the gloopy ice cream to Venom's mouth, and a pointed pink tongue slips out to sweep the underside of the spoon clean, Eddie realises he's feeling oddly relieved. It takes him a minute or two to figure out why.

Even though it seems like it was days ago, his dream was only last night - and yet they're sitting here comfortable again, and everything's fine. It's been a good day after all.

He watches Venom eat, smiling, half-aware he's forgetting to have ice cream for himself.

The easiness of this moment is enough to make him wonder why he ever worried. It's not a sex thing - it's obviously not.

Venom is basically an exotic subspecies of ferret.

Towards the bottom of the tub, movement behind Venom lifts Eddie's gaze. His smile widens.

"Hey," he says, with a nod. "Guess who's up."

Venom's head whips round. He makes a happy, startled noise. Savage is awake!

"Wanna go see her?"

Yes -

They could probably stretch across the lounge, but Eddie kinda wants to see her too. He walks over with Venom and watches in delight as the symbiote hovers nervously near the cage, his eyes huge again and fixed shyly on the hamster.

She's back at her food bowl, sifting through it with her paws.

She likes those ones, Venom notes, as she finds something and sits back on her haunches to eat it.

"Sunflower seeds."

Mhm.

Eddie looks down with a smile. "D'you want to hold her?"

The look Venom gives him will never fade in his mind - a round-eyed, longing panic. Can I?

"Sure. You'll have to be gentle - she's only small. Probably best if you have hands, too, rather than..." Eddie gestures at the softly rippling tendrils of biological matter. "So she's got a proper base to sit on."

As Eddie unlocks the roof of the cage, he watches Venom transform out of the corner of his eye - growing, bulking out, slowly shaping into the muscular humanoid whose sheer size causes grown men to piss themselves in terror. Even though Venom is sitting on the floor, his head nearly reaches Eddie's shoulder.

Savage is a docile little soul. She barely moves as Eddie scoops her up, too busy eating her sunflower seed. It makes him smile, amused that Venom has definitely picked himself a kindred spirit here. Food comes first, in this house - everything else is a minor issue.

Savage squirms a little as he lifts her free from the cage. She's pleasingly fat, soft and warm inside his hands.

He looks down at Venom with a smile. It's hard not to enjoy his symbiote's look of anxiety. They're joined by a few skinny webstrings of black alien matter, stretching from Venom's skin beneath the bottom of Eddie's hoodie.

"Hold your hands out," Eddie says.

Nervously, Venom holds up his enormous clawed hands. The cupped space created is bigger than Eddie's pasta bowls.

"I'm gonna put her down gently, okay? Give her a minute to get used to you. Sit nice and still."

Venom doesn't move a muscle as Eddie steps close. Eddie reaches, carefully, and lowers the tiny hamster into the bowl of his symbiote's hands.

She looks around, sniffing, completely unafraid - then starts to explore.

Venom's eyes grow to nearly twice their size.

"She's tiny," he says in a whisper.

Eddie realises he's grinning from ear-to-ear. "Yeah, she is. Have a look."

Venom lowers his hands to peer in at her. If Savage is concerned by the gigantic white-eyed monster now staring down from on high, she doesn't show it. She's happily looking around this new place for food.

Venom makes a very small noise as he watches her.

"Her fur is soft," he says.

Eddie's heart contracts. He's not sure this should be affecting him as much as it is. "Helps keep her warm," he says. On a thought, he reaches for her bag of hamster muesli. "Hey - c'mere."

As he pours a small pile into Venom's hands, Savage waddles straight over to investigate. She plops herself down at once and starts to fill her cheeks, cramming the food into her mouth with her tiny pink hands.

Venom makes another small noise.

Eddie puts the bag back beside her cage, grinning.

"Think you're friends now," he says.

Venom hasn't taken his eyes off the hamster. "She's so small," he says. Distress visibly crosses his face. "How can we keep her safe?"

God. "She'll be safe in her cage, bud... safe in our apartment. We're safe when we're here, right? She'll be safe, too."

"What about when we're not here, Eddie?"

"Well... we'll keep the door locked. Nobody's gonna hurt her, I promise."

Venom doesn't reply, still gazing at the little creature in his hands. He seems to draw a long breath.

"I want her to be happy," he says.

"J-Jesus, V. You're killing me."

Venon looks up at once in concern, even more distressed than before. "Why?"

"God, no, it's - it's just a figure of speech. I'm alright." Eddie sits beside him on the ground, close enough to watch Savage in Venom's hands. "It's just really nice to see, that's all. I'm glad you like her."

"Would - you like to hold her, Eddie?"

Eddie smiles, shaking his head. "Nope," he says. "I wanna watch you hold her." He reaches out a hand, running a finger gently over the hamster's tiny head as she eats. "You're doing a great job, V. She's happy with you."

As Savage works her way through the muesli pile, the two of them lapse into almost awed silence. Something about her sitting in Venom's hands without a care in the world keeps Eddie's heart quick. She doesn't have any clue she's now got two dads, one of which is an alien monster from space. She's just glad she's got a pile of muesli. Eddie doesn't know if Venom picked a fat hamster on purpose, but there's something sweet about that too. Savage isn't just a hamster. She's cute and she's blonde and she's chubby, and Venom's massive hands only make her look cuter and blonder and chubbier.

It's hard not to lean against Venom's arm.

Something in Eddie's head says it would only be natural - the three of them here, sitting together. The rest of him works hard to remind him they're not actually a gay couple with a new baby.

When Savage has reduced her pile to the squashed green flakes she doesn't seem to like, she sets out exploring Venom's hands again. Eddie watches her, smiling. She's incredibly sweet.

It's a minute before he realises he's being watched in turn. A glance up at Venom reveals a small and quiet smile, soft eyes with no hint of teeth.

Eddie grins, warily. "What?"

Venom looks back down at Savage, gently amused. "Nothing," he murmurs.

"Just admiring the larger of your two hamsters, huh?"

Venom huffs. "You're not a hamster, Eddie. You're not a pet."

It's so rare Eddie gets to hear his voice this way. It's strange that this, speaking aloud, has come to feel more intimate than constantly sharing their thoughts.

"Try stroking her," Eddie says. "Really gentle. She'll let you."

Venom shifts, nervous at once. "I'd hurt her."

"Not if you're gentle."

The symbiote gives Eddie a dubious look - but nonetheless lifts one hand.

With the utmost care, he brushes the smooth topside of one claw over the hamster's back.

Quiet joy fills his face.

"See?" Eddie says. "She thinks you're great. She's not afraid."

Venom takes a second to speak, gazing at the little creature so happy to let him stroke her.

"She doesn't realise I'm..." He pauses, levelling his voice. "Not human. She doesn't know. Doesn't mind."

Eddie feels his heart fall two storeys in the space of a second.

"Why would that matter?" he asks.

Venom says nothing, watching the hamster.

"Just because you're not human," Eddie says, his heart thumping, "doesn't mean you're not a good person. Doesn't mean you can't take care of someone."

It's a long time before Venom speaks. In his silence, he offers a gentle claw for Savage to sniff. She puts her paws on it and stands up, searching his finger for more food.

"Why do humans keep pets?" he asks at last.

Eddie takes a moment to think of an answer. "I... guess we like having something to look after."

"Why not feed wild animals? The homeless?"

"Well... people should feed the homeless, but..." Eddie watches Savage squirm her way up onto Venom's other hand, searching his palm hopefully for food. Venom cups her safely like she's precious. "Maybe it's a 'fluffy animals' thing," Eddie offers. "We like things that're cute. We like being able to watch them."

"Other mammals?"

"Well... mostly, I guess..."

"Small mammals..."

"I suppose some people have horses and stuff. Or tarantulas. I don't really know, V... it's kinda hard to explain. Humans aren't good at understanding why they like stuff."

Venom seems to process this, watching quietly as the hamster makes her way along his forearm.

Eddie wonders what it is that's made him sad.

"It's like with me," he tries, hoping his smile isn't as nervous as it feels. "You don't know why you like me, right? Why you wanna stick with me? You just do. It's like that."

It doesn't seem to help. Venom keep his head down, gently guiding the hamster away from the edge of his arm with a finger. She seems determined to climb higher up his body.

"You - okay?" Eddie checks.

A smile appears, close-lipped and careful. "Yes," Venom says. "I'm worried she will fall."

"D'you want me to help?"

Venom shifts gently. Eddie shuffles closer on his knees, reaches out and retrieves Savage before she can sneak her way any higher up Venom's arm. She squirms a little, affronted; he places her with care back in Venom's cupped hands. Another small scoop of muesli convinces her to settle.

As she eats, and Venom watches her fondly, Eddie finds himself looking at his symbiote's claws. It's not often he gets to see them.

"V?"

Venom glances up. "Yes?"

Carefully, Eddie reaches out.

He lets his fingertips press on the edges of Venom's upturned claws, feeling them. They're smooth; though pointed, they're not overly sharp to the touch. It must be the sheer force of Venom's muscles which drive them through anything.

Venom watches, unmoving, as Eddie touches him.

"Sorry," Eddie says, with a glance. "Nearly as curious as she is..."

"It's - alright."

"I don't usually see you like this, that's all. Not often we're separate."

"Is it strange for you, Eddie?"

"Weird not having your voice inside my head, but... no, I wouldn't say it's strange." Eddie reaches to stroke the hamster gently, tickling between her ears. "Take whatever form you want when we're alone. Doesn't bother me."

Venom seems quietly reassured.

"Are you going to write this evening?" he asks.

"Ah... yeah, I probably should... didn't get as much done earlier as I could."

Venom looks down into his hands again. "I'll try not to disturb you," he says.

Eddie's heart twinges slightly. "Don't try too hard."

 

*

 

"Eddie...?"

It takes Eddie a few seconds to figure out if the voice is inside or outside of his head. He only closed his eyes for a few moments - they were hot and itching with the need to sleep.

Now it feels like his skull is full of soup.

"Eddie," Venom says again, low and gentle. A clawed black hand removes Eddie's fingers carefully from the keyboard. "You cannot sleep here."

Eddie mumbles the start of a protest. It's swept from his lips as he feels his symbiote step close against his back, then lean down around him.

Venom melts through his skin. He surrounds Eddie, wrapping him up.

The flood of relief leaves Eddie reeling. He falls into Venom like falling to sleep, only half-aware of the quiet snap of his laptop lid bringing the day to a close. Venom rises up from the chair. He moves through the apartment, turning off lights as he goes, while Eddie floats cosily somewhere inside his consciousness. He feels safe - Venom's muscles are a living fortress. Eddie is within them, perfectly secure.

In bed, he feels himself released from Venom's hold. He sinks instead into cool covers and softness; they gather themselves around him.

"Eddie?" the voice murmurs. "You'll need to take off your jeans."

Eddie stirs, almost too weary to move. Somehow he fumbles through the fastenings of his jeans and squirms his way free from them, kicking the tangled fabric away out of the bed. He pulls his hoodie off over his head and drops that outside the covers too.

Before he knows what he's doing, he's nestled close in search of heat and muscles.

His last conscious sensation of the day is a nervous arm wrapping around him, drawing his head to a heavy shoulder.

He falls asleep breathing against Venom's neck.

 

*

 

Eddie isn't sure whether he just dreams it - but in the middle of the night, he thinks he wakes to the blue-tinged glow of his laptop screen.

"V?" he mumbles, sleepy and confused.

Venom stirs beneath his cheek. I'm here, Eddie. There are a few quiet clicks; the laptop light goes out. Are you alright?

Eddie's drifting into sleep again already. He nuzzles closer, breathing deep.

Gentle black claws brush through his hair.

 

Chapter Text

The musculature of Venom's thighs means that Eddie's have to spread wide. His desperate grip around his symbiote's shoulders would be his only support, if it weren't for Venom's help - possessive tendrils creeping up his naked back like vines, snaring gently around his thighs and his biceps. One coils around his waist, binding them together chest-to-chest, holding him close.

He hardly needs to move.

Venom takes care of everything.

I do, Eddie, he whispers, his voice rumbling through Eddie's mind. I take good care of you, don't I?

He nuzzles slowly against Eddie's cheek, as the thicker vine inside Eddie swells a little and keeps up its rhythmic pushing. There's pleasure almost everywhere across his body - feathery strokes along his cock, lazy petting of his nipples, tickling against his inner thighs. It's all blurring, fuzzing, so intensely enjoyable Eddie has to focus on his breathing just to cope.

He can feel Venom smiling against his cheek.

That's it, his symbiote murmurs. This sheer overload of pleasure is effortless to him; he could make it more, if he wished. Eddie's heart reels. Open to me, Eddie. Let me. It's all alright.

He can hear Venom slow-fucking him, the sound wet and slick. It's obscene -  but the nuzzling against his cheek is so soft, and the arms and vines around him are tender. This isn't just sex. Everything aches.

He whimpers out his warning, barely able to gasp out the words.

The vines tighten. There comes a tiny searching stroke at the seam of his lips. Eddie moans in frantic need, opening at once, and Venom fills his mouth with a tendril to suck on as he comes. It's all he needs to break. Climax pulses through his whole body, wave after wave of it, clenching and releasing and shuddering with relief, panting around his mouthful as Venom fucks him through it. He can hear Venom gasping, coming with him too. He can feel his symbiote convulsing beneath his skin; he can feel him writhing, enjoying it, aching with him too. Eddie - ohh...!

A sweep of night rain lashes against the window.

Eddie's heart drums in the sudden silence. He's on his back, alone, his mouth empty and no arms around him. Warmth and wetness spreads across his crotch.

Are you awake? comes the murmur in the back of his mind.

Eddie lays his hands across his face, unsurprised to feel sweat on his forehead. He's still echoing with the feeling, fading, drifting from playful euphoria into grief. He can still hear Venom's desperate sounds. He can feel them, vibrating pure and perfect through his every nerve.

Distress consumes him in their wake.

"Do you see what I dream?" he asks into his palms, his voice turned to gravel by the dryness of his throat.

Venom sounds like he's apologising. No, Eddie. I can't see that.

Eddie brushes his hands back through his hair, praying to god it's true.

"M'sorry this keeps happening."

You said it's spontaneous. If that is so... you have no reason to be sorry, Eddie. It is beyond your control.

Eddie says nothing. His shorts are wet - he needs to get out of bed and clean up, hide the evidence away in the laundry basket to deal with in the morning.

His bones just feel so heavy.

It hurts as he realises why he wants to stay in bed for now.

He doesn't only want to fuck. He doesn't only want to come. He wants post-coital, too. He wants to lie here spattered in his own come, glistening with sweat, dry-throated and still trembling as tendrils coil around him and rake possessively through his hair. He wants to spend his afterglow with a tongue in his mouth, drinking him. He wants to be hushed; he wants Venom's voice crooning soft after-sex nonsense against his flushed skin. He wants to be drawn back to earth by the comfort of wrapping black vines.

This feels more like being dumped like a rock from a bridge.

It's been weeks now; weeks of midnight showers and guilty laundry, never knowing when he goes to bed if he'll wake up refreshed in the morning or drenched in his own come at two AM. He's lost count of how many wet dreams he's had. Six now, at least. His body and mind are rebelling against his celibacy like raging sixteen-year-olds, screaming at him that he isn't the boss of them and they'll come whenever they want.

This can't continue. Something has to break soon.

Eddie has a feeling it will be him.

Sighing, throwing back his covers, he pulls himself wearily out of bed. His wet shorts hit the bottom of the laundry hamper and he stumbles into the shower.

 

*

 

Eddie's learning that the old joke is true; sex is like air.

It's only an issue when you're not getting any.

He hadn't realised how much he'd come to rely on jerking off since being single, but it's now become tragically clear. Even if it wasn't much of a sex life, his own hand was always there when he needed it. There was something comforting about his bed at the end of the day, stripping off and lying back, taking it at whatever pace he needed - no negotiating, no compromising, just fucking his own lubed fist until he found relief.

If asked to list the things he needs for his own overall emotional well-being, masturbation wouldn't have been among them. He knows differently now.

And it's incredibly easy to blame Sam.

Eddie's not attracted to her, and he knows it for sure - because proper attraction doesn't feel like this. Attraction is exciting. It's a drawing together, a tug. Attraction makes you want to come over and talk. It's the feeling that close is never quite close enough, that every detail is fascinating, and that something really good might just be on the cards.

When Sam enters the room, Eddie's heart drops. When she leaves, he starts breathing again.

When she talks to him, he's painfully aware that he's not being friendly. Normally he'd chat with anyone, and it's why he's a pretty good reporter - but something about Sam wipes the smile off his face in an instant. He finds himself being formal and polite with her, even bordering on surly, calling her Miss King no matter how many times she asks for Sam. He's trying to project it at her with every atom of his body: although you are attractive, I am not attracted to you.

The problem is that, objectively speaking, the woman is constructed in a way which draws his eyes like motion sensors.

She's all curves and red lips, clear skin, bright eyes, bouncy hair which probably smells like perfume. It makes Eddie so queasy he stays out of the office as much as he can, just to avoid having to see her. He hates that he always notices what she's wearing. He hates that she wears things so noticeable, clingy and well-cut and striking, sexy shoes she knows how to walk in, earrings which twinkle right next to her neck. He hates that he hates her for it. He should be able to work with a well-dressed and confident young woman without turning himself into a sullen brick wall.

It's not just him, at least.

There's a strange comfort in it. When Sam appears, every pair of eyes in the room swivel round. Nobody at the network seems immune to her, male or female, and Eddie's handling himself a lot better than some people. It seems like half his co-workers would cast their coats across a puddle for her without a second thought, just for the reward of one of her glowing smiles - a crooned, "Aren't you sweet..." - maybe a brush of her hand along their arm.

Eddie's glad he's a brick wall rather than a drooling idiot.

All the same, it hasn't been an easy few weeks.

Sam is the young and involved type of boss. She's hands-on, wants to help, wants to keep her finger on the pulse. So long as it's not on his pulse, Eddie shouldn't really care.

He does, though. It's been difficult to get his head in the game, knowing that he'll have to be there in her office every Friday afternoon, showing her what he's pulled together that week. She'll be supportive and encouraging, listening to him with interest, giving him all the freedom he could ever want, all the resources, all the access, anything he could ask for - and it's unbearable. She's probably the most helpful boss he's ever had. He just wishes she was one of the guys, patting him on the back, calling him 'champ' as he leaves.

He'd hoped this would go away as time went by. He hoped he'd get used to it and his physical awareness of her would ease. The two of them could maybe even be friends. Sam's a nice person. She's a good boss. She's not the sort of woman he'd usually want, and definitely not the sort of person he wants right now - and it's not her fault that his stupid lonely body won't stop noticing her.

He just doesn't know how to switch it off.

Clearly the embargo on jacking off is behind this. He can't even watch a sex scene on TV now without needing to go for a long walk in the cold. If he could sort himself out every night like he needs to, he wouldn't be giving Sam a second glance.

And it's not her he keeps dreaming about.

 

*

 

Sometimes there are other dreams, too - dreams which don't wake him up with a shock, so that by the morning they're only ever half-remembered. Eddie can just see their shadows. He's pretty sure he dreams of Venom, fully-formed, pulling him close to cuddle in the night. His hands promise him they remember what those shoulders feel like. He has memories of nuzzling into Venom's pectorals too, cradled against them by arms that love him.

He can't even take the time to think about it during the day.

Exactly how much of his thinking Venom can see, he's never been able to pin down. Venom seems to have crystal-clear access to some of his memories and knowledge, but no connection whatsoever to others. Eddie has a feeling it's vaguely connected to his emotions - in particular, strong emotions like anger. Those memories which grit his teeth with injustice, Venom seems to knows all about. The rest can be incredibly hazy in places. His symbiote can clearly sense his emotions - he spots when Eddie feels sad or frustrated, but he usually asks, what's wrong, Eddie? - and it makes Eddie wonder if his detailed thoughts are more private than he knows.

But he's not willing to rely on it as a safeguard.

It's way too much of a risk.

And so he crams the dreams and the grief and the midnight longings far out of his own reach, telling himself there's nothing to think about - he's backed up, that's all - he should be concentrating on work and paying the rent, getting some savings put away, not totally academic questions over whether he would or would not fuck his parasite, and whether or not the parasite would want to cuddle him afterwards.

It's like living in a single room of his bombed-out brain, pretending the rest of the building just doesn't exist.

 

*

 

The weirdest part is this.

Daily life remains incredibly normal.

Ignoring his volcanic crater of a sex life, his fracturing emotional stability and his new-found proclivity to work as late into the night as he can, Eddie's never been this happy living with someone. Venom's company feels so comfortable that it's genuinely easy to forget the problems. When he's not seen Sam in a couple of days, and when it's been a few nights since a dream, Eddie feels fine. He feels more than fine. Venom's the best friend he ever had.

It seems crazy for Eddie to think we do everything together - of course they do - but it still feels like a marvel. His symbiote's sole interests in life are Netflix, napping, Eddie's well-being and the hamster. Nothing else ever seems to worry him. He doesn't mind if Eddie wants to spend most of the weekend in bed, watching things together on the laptop. He doesn't mind if Eddie sits typing for two solid days to hit a deadline instead. So long as there aren't veggie smoothies involved, Venom doesn't care. He doesn't care if Eddie slopes in after midnight for an entire week, having spent the whole day out interviewing - because they've been together for all of it, and that means everything's fine. Venom doesn't care if the place gets a little messy. (If anything, large spans of time between visits from the vacuum cleaner seem to be preferable.) All the ways Eddie used to piss off his previous partners, Venom seems oblivious.

His symbiote has started taking an interest in not just the consumption of food, but its preparation as well. He likes to know what Eddie is making, what ingredients will be involved, and how they will change during the process. Eddie can now trust Venom to stir a pan of something behind his back without slyly eating most of it. Cooking together with the radio on becomes part of their daily life; it's nice.

He's even started baking on the damn weekend.

Simple things - easy recipes it's hard to fuck up. He's never going to be a master baker, but Venom eats the resulting cakes and brownies as if he already is.

He's planning a road trip for summer on the bike, just the two of them. Show Venom some more of the world.

If Venom was his girlfriend, he'd be carrying a ring around in his pocket.

This kind of connection doesn't come along twice in a lifetime. Eddie's started feeling guilty when he thinks about what he had with Annie, and what a crap husband he'd have made to her - always just on the wrong side of disappointing, like his adult life was a continuation of his school report cards. Eddie could really make something of himself, if he was willing to work a little harder. It would have been miserable.

Instead he's going from strength-to-strength, with someone who seems to adore him just as he is - and who can punch straight through the hood of cabs which swerve too near to him on the bike.

Eddie's started wishing he could switch off the settings for Sex in his brain. When he forgets that it exists, things are perfect. Life could just be him, Venom and the hamster in this quietly happy home they've made.

He wants it more than anything.

 

*

 

The thought comes one day as he's interviewing a group of girls in a bar about the recent spike in fentanyl deaths. One of them has a punky, vampiric sort of look about her, white skin and long dark hair, a lip ring she toys with when she's listening to her friends answer questions. When they're done with the interview, she notices Eddie's arm tattoos and asks where he had them done.

He checks the place still opens at the weekend.

Saturday morning, as he's washing up after breakfast, Eddie broaches the subject.

"Hey. I'm gonna do a weird thing today... I need to give you a heads up first, so you don't freak out."

Venom looks up in concern as he takes the soapy plate from Eddie. A 'weird thing?' He dips the plate into the rinsing water, lifts it out and transfers it with care to the drying rack. What do you mean?

"You remember I used to have a hole in my nipple?"

The one I fixed for you?

"I mean... 'fixed' suggests it was a problem. I liked it. So I think I'm gonna get it done again this morning."

Venom takes another plate from him, still concerned. 'Get it done'?

"Get it repierced."

Pierced by what?

"By a professional piercer, V. With a needle."

Venom stares up at him in utter confusion, suds sliding wetly from the plate into the rinsing bowl. That will HURT, Eddie.

"Yeah, I know it will. It's kinda part of the process."

Why would you WANT someone to hurt you with a needle?

"So I can have the ring through it again. It's about - decorating my body, V. Making it how I want it. Same with my tattoos, right? Those hurt when they're done, but I like them. So..."

Venom says nothing for a moment, dipping the soapy plate and moving it to the rack.

I don't understand why you would ask someone to hurt you. But then, I don't understand a lot of things.

Eddie's heart tightens slightly. "What sort of things?"

Human things. Venom takes the clutch of cutlery from his hand. Why would I 'freak out'?

"Well... basically, you're not allowed to eat the piercer for hurting me. I'm gonna pay him to do it. It'd be rude if you ate him."

How much is he going to hurt you?

"Only for a few seconds."

Hrrmmh. Venom retrieves a tea-towel from the cupboard door, bringing it to Eddie's hands to dry them. Fine.

"Promise me you'll be cool?"

Yes, Eddie. I'll be cool.

"The pain's... kinda part of it. Need you just to sit quiet."

 

*

 

Eddie waits on a squeaky black sofa by the desk for the piercer to get everything set up. There's a quiet agitation thrumming beneath his skin, just enough to get his fingers tapping gently against his knee.

It's been a while since he felt this.

Eddie?

Eddie almost replies out loud, catching himself at the last moment. Yeah? he says, attempting to keep his face neutral.

You are nervous. Your pulse has risen.

Normal, V. It's okay.

Your temperature has risen, too.

Normal. I always get like this. Just sit tight, okay?

Eddie?

Yeah, what?

The piercer will need to touch you, Venom said, uneasy. To put the ring through.

Yep. Normal.

But that is intimate.

Eddie shuts his eyes for a second. He doesn't really need to have this discussion right now, not when he's already trying to suppress the thought of the piercing easing through his skin. His nipples ache a little in response.

It's different, V. It's not intimate for him. He's just doing his job and I'm asking him to do it. Okay?

Venom is silent for a moment, trying to work something out. Is it - intimate for you?

Eddie forces himself to inhale. No.

Eddie - you're starting to -

Okay, stop please? Just be quiet. If I concentrate on it, it'll make it worse. It doesn't matter if it's intimate. You picked me as your ride, right? Then you live by my rules. Just for once be quiet and let me do this. I need this.

No response comes from inside his head.

Realising he's been harsh, Eddie slides his hands together on his lap and looks down at them, exhaling.

Sorry, he murmurs. V, I... I didn't mean to snap.

Venom says nothing.

Before Eddie can try again, the piercer returns from the sideroom. He leans around the desk. "Ready for you, man. C'mon through."

Eddie squeezes his hands together tightly.

"S-Sure," he says, getting up. "Right. Let's do this."

His heart thunders as he lies back in the reclining chair, watching the piercer pull on a pair of blue gloves. He doesn't know what's affecting him more - the ringing silence in his head, the sudden anxiety over the pain or the increasing tightness in his jeans. The combination of all three is enough for him to break a quiet sweat.

The piercer, sensing his agitation, gives him a calming smile.

"Had it done before?" he asks.

Grateful for the distraction of conversation, Eddie swallows. "Years ago. College. Don't know why I let it close up."

"Mind if I check the scar tissue? Shouldn't be a problem, but just in case."

Shuffling nervously, Eddie pulls his t-shirt up around his armpits, bearing his chest to the slightly cold air. The piercer wheels over, his expression clean and professional.

"Which one was it?" he asks.

"Left."

As latex-gloved fingertips examine him, Eddie keeps his gaze on the band posters plastered across the ceiling. There's a pause.

"You sure it was the left one?" the piercer checks. "Can't find any scar at all."

God. "It, ah... healed up quite a while ago."

"Oh. Well, it won't be a problem anyway. Are we doing just one or both today?"

Eddie had planned just one. He makes the decision in a split-second, a little exhilarated by his own answer. "Both?"

"Sounds good. Left first, yeah?" The piercer reaches round to his side table for equipment. Eddie keeps on staring up at the ceiling, trying to resist the urge to tense his grip on the chair. "I'll give you a three-two-one, then breathe in for me - nice and slow."

This is the pain bit, okay? Do NOT freak out. You promised me.

"S-Sure. Go ahead. Fine."

As gloved fingertips return, holding his nipple in place, Eddie shuts his eyes at once. The tight flash of twin fear and arousal is enough to clench all his muscles into iron. Fuck, fuck. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck.

A glut of soft, comforting warmth floods through his system like hot water.

Shhh, Eddie, murmurs the voice. It's alright.

"Okay, three - two - one - "

Eddie digs his fingers into the arms of the chair, his thoughts blitzed out by the hot sting. More warmth spreads through him, soothing the sharpness. It's enough to prompt him to inhale. He drags a slow breath in, drawing it out as long as he can, breathing through the tiny hurricane of mingled pain and pleasure.

"Almost," the piercer says, reaching for jewellery, but Eddie barely hears his voice. He can feel Venom somehow stroking his forehead from the inside.

Almost, comes the murmur. Almost there...

He's never been so glad of the thickness of his jeans.

As the piercer fits the jewellery, Eddie coaxes himself to try breathing out. His grip loosens from the arms of the chair.

Unseen by the piercer, black tendrils spread out from his palms. He feels them wind tenderly between his fingers, holding his hands and stroking gently at his pulse points.

"Okay?" the piercer checks with a smile. He turns in his chair to fetch a new needle.

Eddie glances down. His nipple burns in the cold air, red and hot; the ring looks fucking gorgeous. In an instant he's twenty-one again. As he admires it, cresting his adrenalin thrill and now grinning like an idiot, he tries to breathe slowly and settle himself. His jeans are keeping his cock under containment for now. It's difficult to ignore that he's hard as a rock though.

"Perfect," he says, his heart pounding. "Thanks, man."

"Still want both?"

"Yep." Eddie lies back, looking up at the ceiling again. He grips Venom's tendrils; they grip him back. "Let's do it."

He's a little more prepared for the pain this time. It means the arousal is easier to coast, too; he lets himself focus in on the sensation, even as Venom's warmth and comfort melts across his nerves. The blurred pain and softness nearly take his breath. For a few seconds he lets all thought fall away, concentrating on this feeling - just a body, just a rush of sensation - and it has the same whirling freeness of orgasm, just with a bite of pain. Nothing matters for a while.

Just as he starts wishing he could stay in this feeling forever, it gently begins to subside.

There, Eddie, murmurs the voice in his mind. As the piercer turns away to dispose of the needle safely, Eddie's muscles all unwind as one. Relief courses through his veins. All done now.

Eddie turns his eyes downwards, watching his own chest rise and fall beneath the brand new rings. They look incredible against the flush of his skin. It's enough to make him feel a little guilty, aroused by the sight of himself.

He's going to be feeling them all day, brushing against his t-shirt.

God.

"Alright?" the piercer says, with a smile. "Looks good, yeah? Let me get you an aftercare sheet."

 

*

 

Out on the street, the mild breeze is enough to make Eddie bite quietly at the corner of his mouth. Gingerly he zips up his jacket, careful not to catch the new piercings. The line between chosen pain and accidental pain is thin; it's not one he likes to cross.

I'm sorry I was a bitch in there, he thinks, pushing his hands into his pockets. He looks down at the sidewalk. I just... this was important. I'm really sorry.

Your body, Eddie. What you want matters to me.

Y-Yeah?

Yes. Inside his pockets, Eddie feels Venom spread between his fingers and thicken. Happy Eddie. Happy Venom.

Eddie smiles a little, squeezing Venom's hands. Anything else I can do to make you happy?

Venom makes a sound he can't quite decipher - an almost shy huff.

No, Eddie. I'm very happy.

You sure?

Well... I would like chocolate brownies.

Yeah? Shall I make some this afternoon? You can eat them while I work.

Mmhm. Can Savage have some carrot?

Brownies for you, carrot for Savage.

And painful metal rings for you.

As he sets off down the street, Eddie can't help a smile.

Do you regret choosing me for a host yet? he asks. Me and my weird human ways.

Venom hums, playful. I'm never bored.

 

*

 

They're folding the flour and cocoa into the wet ingredients when Venom finally plucks up the courage.

Eddie?

"What, V?"

Pain is not usually a good feeling for humans.

Eddie's been expecting this for a while. He continues carefully combining the dusty mixture, his eyes down in the bowl. "Not usually, no."

But in some circumstances...

"In very specific circumstances."

In very specific circumstances. When it is chosen.

"Mm."

Venom processes this for a while, gently sifting the sieve from side to side. The first time they did this, Eddie ended up wearing most of the flour. Venom's gotten better since.

Eddie?

It's hard not to smile. "What, V?"

It's thrilling to experience intimate pleasure when one isn't meant to?

"Whoa, whoa. Stop right there. That's quite an accusation to throw at me."

Eddie... I feel what you feel. I live in your body.

Eddie says nothing, well aware it means Venom can now feel his cheeks flushing with heat and his heart squirming to get out of his chest. He carries on folding the mixture like nothing's wrong, like he didn't have an almost painful hard-on in the middle of a tattoo studio this morning.

Humans like the forbidden, Venom remarks, almost to himself. It is exciting to you.

Eddie's forehead creases. "Where is this going?" he asks.

To understanding, I hope.

"Right. No, I... I get that. It's okay you're curious."

Eddie?

"Yep?"

There comes a long, long pause. All the flour is nearly gone.

You miss human contact, Venom says. You miss... intimacy. Touch.

Eddie keeps his eyes in the brownie mixture. He supposes he can't exactly lie at this point. It's the first time they've come close to talking about it, the first time he's let himself even think about it during the day, and he's glad he has something to occupy his hands while he quietly panics. Folding the flour into the mixture is soothing.

"Kinda," he confesses. "It's... why we have to get up in the night so much."

Will you have to find a mate, Eddie?

"What? No - no, V. I'm not gonna do that."

But you're... lonely.

Eddie reaches for the sieve gently, moving it into the sink with the washing-up. "Only my body," he says. "The rest of me is fine."

Venom watches him scoop a pile of pre-chopped chocolate into their bowl. For once, the symbiote doesn't request a piece to test.

It's my fault your body is lonely, he says - and the quietness of it hits Eddie like a truck.

He puts the bowl down at once, reeling.

"V, you - y-you don't have to think like that, okay?" He watches the symbiote hovering nervously in the air before him, his heart thudding against his ribs. "Come here."

I... am here.

"Come here, V."

As Venom floats uncertainly towards him, Eddie reaches out and gathers him in.

"Here," he says, guiding Venom's head towards his shoulder. "Properly here." Venom settles against his chest, melting quietly through his clothing and into his skin. He surrounds Eddie's shoulders like a gentle black web; his catlike head disappears.

Eddie runs his fingers over the softly fluttering strands of his symbiote, closing his eyes. The hug feels like hugging himself.

"I like you more than humans," he mumbles, meaning every word of it. "I don't... it's... touch isn't everything."

He wishes his heart didn't ache with it. He wishes his mouth didn't dry out a little at the thought he'll genuinely never come with someone else again, never fuck away a sleepy Sunday morning, never kiss again. He wishes the flash of strained panic was easier to ignore.

But he couldn't do that to someone.

He couldn't bring another human up here to his flat, undress them, lie down with them and kiss them, wishing they felt like cool inky tendrils under his hands - wishing they could wrap right around him and melt through his skin - wishing their voice came from inside his own bones.

As Venom tightens anxiously around his chest, Eddie keeps on stroking through his folds.

"You don't - want me to find someone else, do you?" he asks.

He feels Venom's rush of distress as if it's his own. It spreads through his chest as a tight, hot, frightened surge, choking and nauseous. I love you, Eddie.

"H-Hey - steady - it's okay. M'not going anywhere."

I love you.

"I know, V. It's okay. You've got me to yourself, alright? I know you're... protective of me. You don't have to share."

It doesn't feel like Venom is calming down. He stays spread across Eddie's chest like a frightened octopus, tremors of distress palpable in every strand of his web.

I want you to be happy, Eddie. I don't want you to be lonely. You need another human. You need a human to be in love with.

"I'm not lonely, V. I'm not, okay? Will you listen to me please? I don't want anyone to be in love with. All I've ever got out of love is misery when it's over. That's the last thing I want right now."

Venom says nothing, still trembling quietly.

Eddie sighs, reaches for his kitchen stool and leans back against it, raking his fingers slowly through Venom's form.

"What's the matter?" he murmurs. "Mm? Talk to me."

Venom's voice is barely audible; Eddie feels the word more than he hears it.

Mine. His symbiote spreads through him, shivering. My Eddie.

Eddie's eyes close again.

Yours, he whispers back. He thinks of never stroking human skin again; he thinks of never hearing someone whimper as they come. He thinks of those endless hours of black and desperate grief in the hospital, so lonely he didn't want to breathe any more. All yours.

Venom's voice comes faint through the tumult of distress. I love you.

Eddie's heart heaves. He keeps his eyes closed, buries his fingers gently in Venom's folds, and tries to find the words to make this alright. This is his relationship now. This is where his life is going - and in the choice between sex and Venom, he's made his choice.

You mean the world to me, he whispers back. He feels his symbiote curl around him ever tighter. You don't need to worry... okay? I'm happy just you and me. There won't be someone else. I promise.

A long, painful pause ensues.

Not Sam? Venom asks, his voice still tiny.

Jesus. No, V, not Sam.

She is very pretty. Very... female.

Well, maybe it'll do her some good to realise that doesn't work on everyone. And it doesn't matter, V. No human'll be close to me like you are. That's something... right?

Right...

Eddie reaches for the bowl of brownie mixture on the counter, pulling it across. He retrieves a chunk of white chocolate from the gloopy mess and holds it near his chest.

"Hey," he murmurs. "Chocolate. Best thing for when you're feeling fragile."

Venom makes a sad little sound in the back of his head. I am not feeling fragile, he mumbles.

Eddie tries not to smile.

"Sure you're not," he said. "Have some anyway."

After another reluctant moment or so, a small black head reforms from his shoulder. Venom leans over to his hand and takes the chocolate carefully. As he eats it, Eddie runs a crooked finger fondly over his head.

"Shall we get these brownies in to cook?" he says.

Venom licks the mixture quietly from his fingertips. Yes please.

 

Chapter Text

Midnight finds Eddie nodding off on the sofa with a softly snoring symbiote webbed across his chest. Venom has been asleep for an hour or so. It's a little wonderful, how easily he drifts into napping these days.

Guess I must be restful company, Eddie thinks, rubbing at his eyes. Or really, really comfy.

He shuffles with a sigh, snags the remote from the arm of the couch and switches off the TV. Darkness settles over the lounge. He'll have to tidy up a bit tomorrow - the place has fallen into a mess over the last few weeks, and if he doesn't get on top of it soon, it's only gonna get worse.

In the morning. Everything in the morning.

Good night's sleep first.

Eddie negotiates himself to his feet, one arm secure around Venom, and carefully steps over the bowl of popcorn on the floor.

He's at the end of his bed, t-shirt stripped off, when he remembers his fresh piercings. Damn. Gotta salt soak. He returns to the kitchen and gets water boiling, then hunts through his cupboards for salt.

By the time he's lying back in bed, settling himself against the pillows in the darkness, he's desperate to sleep - but this is important. He wants them to heal properly; infected nipples are the last thing on this planet he needs right now.

As he reaches for the bag of cotton balls on the nightstand, half-awake, he mumbles,

"V?"

There's no response from the snoozing web of black spread across his chest.

"V," he says again, poking it gently with a finger. "Sorry, bud. Need you to move."

He feels Venom uncoil into consciousness inside his mind, shivering. The symbiote hums with soft confusion. Why?

"Gotta clean my new piercings," Eddie murmurs. As he dips a cotton ball into the warm salt solution by the bed, Venom melts obligingly beneath his skin. "Thanks..."

Why are you cleaning them?

"Stops them getting infected," Eddie murmurs, applying the cotton ball carefully to one nipple. A heavy drop of water rolls down his side. "Helps them heal faster..."

Mhm? I'm doing both those things.

Eddie huffs softly, his eyes half-shut. He hadn't thought of that.

"Bet you could heal them in an instant if I asked," he says.

Mhmm. Of course. Shall I?

"Nah... I've made up the salt solution now. Don't wanna waste it."

But they're open wounds, Eddie.

"They're not sore." Eddie lies back against his pillows, inhaling slowly as he holds the wet cotton ball in place. "S'worth it, anyway."

He feels Venom shift somewhere behind his collarbones, sinking down into the muscles in his shoulders. Pain makes you proud, his symbiote comments.

"Mm. It's a good pain. You'll see when I get the ink on my back finished... same thing."

Venom hums. I could be the rest of your ink. No need for pain.

Eddie smiles, his eyes still closed. "You'd have to stay there all the time," he warns, sleepily. "Imagine how bored you'd get."

Mm. True. Feeling Venom stretch beneath his own muscles is a sensation Eddie will never quite get used to. Maybe I shall make you new ink somewhere. New everyday.

A living tattoo, Eddie thinks. "You know I'd kinda like that?"

Venom makes a soft humming noise at the back of his neck. Good.

After a few minutes Eddie takes a fresh cotton ball from the bag, soaks it and switches to the other piercing, gazing down at his chest as he holds the ball in place.

You like how they look, Venom says fondly.

Eddie shifts, trying to suppress the little swoop in his stomach. "It's - kinda hot. Reminds me of college."

Will you show them to people?

"Uh... not really. People might see them through a tight t-shirt, maybe. White shirts... but they're more for me, to be honest."

They're your secret, Venom concludes.

Eddie smiles, feeling oddly cosy in the darkness. "Our secret."

The sound of Venom's rather sly chuckle lifts the hair on his forearms.

I won't tell anyone, Eddie, the symbiote promises.

"You can tell Savage if she asks," Eddie says, removing the cotton ball gently from his nipple and checking the piercing with care. "No-one else, though."

Do you need to dry them before you sleep?

Eddie retrieves his sleeping t-shirt from under his pillow. He doesn't want to risk pulling anything in the night; he'd forgotten how easy it is to get protective over new piercings.

"Should be okay," he says, stretching the shirt carefully over his head. "If anyone bumps into me on the sidewalk on Monday, I officially give you permission to eat them. Alright?"

Nobody will bump into you, Venom murmurs, rippling quietly behind Eddie's pectoral muscles. Don't worry, Eddie. I'll stop them.

"Cute when you're protective," Eddie remarks with a smile, as he settles down to sleep at last. He feels his symbiote huff.

To you, perhaps. Not so cute to those who bump into you.

"You going off to sleep now?"

Mnh. I'm not as tired. May I use your laptop?

"Sure. Just don't watch any more of The Wire without me."

Venom materialises from Eddie's bare shoulder, small and ghost-like in the darkness. He investigates down beside the bed, where Eddie's laptop is usually stored at night. Eddie helps him with the zip and the clasp, then sets it up on the bed for him.

As the opening credits of The Office begin to play very quietly, Eddie smiles. He lets his eyes ease shut on this day.

"Night, V," he mumbles. A yawn wracks its way through his body. "Don't be up too late."

A single fond tendril winds through his hair, brushing it back from his forehead.

Goodnight, Eddie. Sleep well.

 

*

 

For the first time, Eddie knows he's dreaming. There's an almost amused weariness as it all begins, finding himself on his back in the tattoo studio's leather chair with Venom's vines creeping up his inner thighs.

Of course, he thinks. Of course today. His heart jolts as Venom pulls his thighs apart, spreading them open across the arms of the chair. H-Holy shit. He loves the ones where Venom is a little restless, a little demanding, wanting him right this second now and not willing to wait.

Oh, fuck. Screw it. Let me dream. Let me have this.

Let me have you, just for a while.

The vines ease up onto his stomach, slyly avoiding his balls and his dick. He bites into his lip, letting out a hopeful moan as he stretches against the chair.

As it shifts sleepily beneath him, he realises Venom is the chair. The black leather beneath him is living, pressed up against his naked back, and it's warm. With a pleased hum Venom shifts and coils two thick vines around Eddie's waist to hold him still, trapping him into place.

Eddie's pulse kicks itself into orbit. Venom's vines pin his arms to his sides; he pants as they restrain him, almost dizzy from the fresh rush of arousal.

Rolling his head back with a groan, there comes the gentlest brush of teeth against his neck. It's followed by the stroke of a long, curling tongue.

Eddie grips the arms of the chair.

"Don't tease me," he begs, pushing his legs further apart. The vines tighten and spread him. "God, I want you. I wanted you all day."

Venom's voice comes soft, low and deep, just behind his ear. You're asleep, Eddie. It isn't real.

Eddie shuts his eyes, darkness in the dream. "I know," he says. "I don't care. Please."

Small, curling tendrils tease their way up his sides.

Our secret, the symbiote murmurs, and begins to toy with Eddie's piercings. There's no pain, only hot soft shocks of sensation as the rings move, flicked and turned and gently tugged as Venom plays. Eddie digs his teeth into his lip so hard he can taste blood, arching his chest into the stimulation. His legs are still spread, his cock untouched. The ache of being ignored feels so good it hurts.

"Make me come," he pleads in a whine. "God, V, I need it - I need it so bad - "

Vines secure themselves slyly around his ankles, holding his legs open and apart. Mm?

"Fuck - fuck, yeah - please, please - before I wake up - "

Venom tickles down the backs of his thighs, so close to where he wants it he can hardly breathe. Here?

"N-Nhh - please - fuck me - "

Fuck you?

"Please - "

A single gentle curl begins to swirl around his asshole. I love you, Eddie.

Eddie nearly whimpers, trying to buck himself down onto the sensation. Venom's laugh rumbles through his entire body; he feels it in his hands, in his stomach, in his nipples where the rings are still being gently teased. It's in every strand of his hair. He knows he'll come as soon as Venom penetrates him. He'll come howling, come pleading, and keep on coming.

As Venom's vines loosen around his thighs, letting him go, Eddie screws his hands into Venom's black folds. He throws his head back in despair.

"No," he gasps out, desperate. "No, no, please - I want - "

The wrap around his waist uncoils too. Eddie finds himself suddenly able to move, unbound, and the surface beneath his back is no longer Venom - it's distressingly separate and solid. He reaches down to feel it, finding only sheets.

With the realisation he's in bed comes the realisation that he's awake.

"Ohh - oh, for - "

The disappointment feels so sharp it seems to burn. He throws his head back against the pillows as he pants. Fuck it. Fuck my life. He kicks back the sheets in a rage, preparing himself for another cold and miserable two AM load of laundry. I can't do this. I can't fucking cope any more.

As he goes to pull off his boxers, the waistband snags on the still-rigid length of Eddie's cock.

Oh! Jesus -

He hasn't come.

He stares down in the darkness at the soft grey fabric tented over his dick, feeling equal waves of horror and hope coursing through his blood at once. I don't even get to come now? His heart pounds as if he's about to.

As he stares, all of Eddie's focus locks onto his aching cock.

He can't feel, think or process anything else right now but the need to touch - to stroke, to fuck, to come. It's two AM. Wild decisions feel easy and right.

Before he can give himself chance to rethink, Eddie works his shorts down over his dick and lifts his hips to get them past his pelvis, tossing them out of bed with one foot. He needs this. He can't go another fucking minute without it.

Shifting, lying back against his pillows, he reaches down and wraps a hand around his cock.

Holy shit.

He's not felt himself this hard in years. He's almost burning to the touch, ready to erupt at any second, and even the first light strokes feel so excruciatingly good he bites down. He lets his fingers play, skimming, as pleasure jags deliciously all through his abdomen. Within moments he realises what else he needs. He wriggles with a moan, pulling up his t-shirt to expose his new piercings to the night air. He can't touch them yet - they're new and healing - he just wants to feel the darkness breathe on them.

This isn't going to be elegant. It isn't going to take long, either.

He doesn't care.

He needs it more than he needs to continue living.

Tightening his grip Eddie moves from teasing strokes to rubbing, firm and fast already, pausing to swipe his thumb across the head. He's leaking like crazy. The feeling pulls a ragged moan from his throat; he repeats the motion, over and over until he's slick from root to tip. He swallows back a groan, shivering, respreading the slickness around the head of his cock. Nothing in the world has ever felt so fucking good. His heart hammers; his balls ache already. He reaches down to squeeze them slowly, easing them, dry-mouthed as he pants in the darkness.

Close. Close.

Oh fuck, close -

His own fingers feel perfect. Forming a tight circle around the head he tries thrusting upwards through it, fucking his own fist, and the sensation is nearly enough to end him on the spot. Eddie moans, shaking, chasing the feeling with animal desperation. The dream lingers in his mind like smoke across a battlefield - V's hold, V's voice, V's teasing touches. He can still feel his legs held wide in the air. He can still feel V toying with his piercings.

As the pressure starts to rupture, Eddie grits his teeth and begs the darkness.

"Fuck - fuck, fuck," he whines, twisting against the sheets, "please - "

Wet warmth begins to spurt between his fingers. He hisses, keening and stretching.

"Yessss - fuck - "

He directs it up towards his stomach as much as he can, gasping as each hot and shining wave of pleasure rips its way through his senses. He can feel his muscles clenching and releasing, his back arching up from the bed, his heart going crazy. The feeling is unreal. He's nearly sobbing.

As relief floods in its wake, Eddie drops back to the bed with a thump. He groans; his throat muscles work around the noise.

With the slowing of his heart, he grows aware of a thousand tiny sensations: his own sweat damp against the coolness of the sheets, his toes relaxing from their curl. His inner thighs are trembling as they relax. His stomach heaves with his breath, stripes of come now glistening across his skin.

He feels alive.

He feels like he exists again.

The pleasurable thundering of hormones lasts for another minute. Eddie enjoys it as much as he can, drifting in a mess of himself and thinking very little. His warm post-coital glow then begins to cool. With it arises the realisation he's sticky all over; his fingers feel gluey with come.

Eddie winces a little, shivering, and gingerly sits himself up in bed.

His head swims. He breathes with it, becoming aware as he does of the silence all around him. It's a full, heavy silence. It sounds like shock.

He's not alone.

Eddie can't think of what to say. It's awkward as hell to stay silent - but his brain's still ringing and dumb after orgasm. He doesn't have a clue how to explain this. He's painfully aware of his symbiote there in his head, closer than his breath but not saying a word. Venom just saw everything he did.

The silence seems somehow worse than any other reaction.

Eddie moves numbly into the bathroom, gets the faucet running and strips his t-shirt off over his head, shivering a little in the cold.

Clean-up doesn't take long - a wet washcloth over his chest and stomach, a tentative check of his piercings. He's not surprised by the sheer volume of the load he just shot. That was his first waking orgasm in weeks. He can still feel its echo rolling through him, wrecking him gently. His hand shakes as he wrings out the cloth, tosses it into the laundry basket and dries himself on a towel, now panicking a little in the continuing quiet.

He retrieves his boxer shorts from the floor where he kicked them, pulls them back on, then gets into bed.

He lies and stares at the ceiling for a while, wondering if he's just made a mistake.

When he can't bear another second of silence, he shuts his eyes.

"Venom?"

The brief pause cripples him.

I'm here, Eddie.

It takes Eddie a while to pull the words out of his mouth. "I'm really sorry," he says at last, heart beating in his throat.

Venom sounds just as hesitant to speak. Why?

"Just - s-sorry. Having to show you that." A careful tendril strokes over Eddie's forehead. He doesn't understand why it thickens his throat, why the fondness in the gesture hurts so fucking much. "S-Shit. I'm sorry - "

You need it, Venom breathes. Eddie's entire body aches with those three tiny words. You need that. You need to do that.

"J-Jesus - V - "

He feels Venom begin to manifest, pouring along his arms and out through his fingertips like liquid shadow. Within a matter of moments Eddie's view of the bedroom ceiling is blocked by the massive shoulders of his fully-forming symbiote. As Venom takes shape in the darkness above him, his weight pins Eddie flat to the bed.

Wreathing ropes of black wrap around Eddie's wrists, lift them from his sides and hold them down against the pillows.

Eddie shuts his eyes again. Shit. Shit.

"Eddie," comes the murmur from above. "Open your eyes."

Eddie stays completely still, his eyes firmly closed.

His pulse speeds as the tendrils around his wrists form themselves into clawed hands. He feels Venom lean low, and for one crazed moment he braces himself to be kissed - then Venom's forehead presses gently against his own.

They're so close that their noses would nuzzle.

"You are human," Venom murmurs. Eddie doesn't move. "You should not repress your human needs."

"B-Bud, I... I'm not... it's not like I need to - "

"You do. And you will." Venom's claws tighten gently around Eddie's wrists; the moment's silence aches between them. "I know you'd rather be alone."

Eddie's throat muscles work. He forces himself to swallow back the words, forces his head not even to think them, forces his heart just to keep on beating.

"But I care for you, Eddie. I would like you to be happy."

Eddie wants to reach up. It's only a couple of inches - barely even a lift of his head. He wants to kiss, pull Venom close and plead. Cuddle and stroke until he can get hard again. Not leave the bed until Monday.

Venom seems to hesitate.

He nudges Eddie gently, a reassuring little head nuzzle that in his smaller catlike form always makes Eddie smile. Right now, it makes him want to shatter into pieces.

"I will be quiet," Venom murmurs, his voice soft, "when you want to come. Give you privacy. As if I am not here."

Eddie can't think of a feeling he wants less than that Venom isn't here.

His throat squeezes as he opens his eyes at last, gazing up at his symbiote in the darkness. They watch each other for a moment, lidless white on pebble-grey, and the silence becomes so heavy that it feels like it's crushing Eddie's chest. Venom seems unaffected, calm and quiet in his expression as he looks down. With the greatest of care, he releases one of Eddie's wrists.

He reaches up to Eddie's hair instead.

His gentle claws through it, stroking him as if he's precious.

Eddie hasn't cried in front of someone else since he was a kid. He doesn't want to start now - but he can feel it. The heat in his eyes is beginning to break. He doesn't know what to do, what to say. He's scared to shit of what he has, and what he doesn't have, and what he'll never have - and Venom is everything. He doesn't want guilty orgasms pretending he's alone. He wants the dreams. He wants Venom breathing his name as a lover, exploring him slowly, cradling him gently in the shower after sex.

"Eddie?" comes the familiar murmur. Eddie swallows back his distress.

"W-What, V?"

"Would you like me to rub your back?" the symbiote asks, gently. "It always helps you to sleep."

God. "Y-You don't have to do that."

"I wish to." Venom pauses, watching his face with the slightest flicker of confusion. "Why are you distressed? Your back isn't an intimate place."

Eddie gathers his grip quietly around the sheets. It is now. The thought is enough to throw his pulse back up. Everything they do now is intimate - cooking together, sleeping together, falling asleep on the couch. It's intimate because he's in love with Venom, like he'd be in love with any human. Every glance is intimate, every quiet word murmured in his ear.

He should be stopping this.

No more touching, no more cuddling like it's real. It's only hurting him. Venom isn't feeling what he's feeling - he's not a human. He's an alien. It isn't real.

Then he hears his own stupid mouth say, "S-Sure. I'd like that."

Venom shifts to the side, easing off him gently. As the symbiote settles his massive muscular form within the sheets, Eddie realises he isn't going to transform. He's not going to sink under Eddie's skin and touch him the safe way, beneath the muscles. It's going to be this way.

It's the middle of the night. Eddie's never felt this weak.

Nervously he pushes close.

Gentle arms surround him, gathering him safe against the broadness of Venom's chest - and Eddie realises with a jolt of the heart that this is how he's cradled Venom for weeks. They spend every night like this on the couch, just the other way around; Venom webbed across his chest, held safe, stroked as he sleeps. Fuck, fuck. Fuck me up.

Venom's hands feel huge. They map Eddie's back in a single stroke; tender claws graze slowly over his muscles. Their tips aren't sharp. They're firm and strong, and as they dig carefully into the tension between Eddie's shoulder blades, it's all Eddie can do to bite back a moan.

He holds onto Venom in silence, shaking.

His symbiote hums, nuzzles into his hair, and slowly rubs his back.

There, he murmurs in Eddie's mind. Relax now, Eddie. All is well.

Eddie doesn't speak.

He can't.

 

Chapter Text

Rain rumbles against the window, soft and steady as it falls. It's morning. The sky outside should be light by now, but the storm has muffled the sun so thickly it might as well still be night. Eddie doesn't need to check between the curtains to know it's grey and miserable out there.

Instead he tucks the sheets around the small black bundle in his arms, keeping Venom warm as he sleeps.

So easy when you're like this, he thinks, listening to the gentle sounds against his collarbones. As he rubs at the top of his symbiote's head, his mind drifts to the Venom in whose arms he fell to sleep last night - a creature of pectorals and claws, almost unrecognisable from the one he now holds.

The same, though.

Eddie breathes it in, uncertain why it makes him feel nervous.

Not just some kind of pet. The someone in his arms is a person, not an animal. He remembers with a flush Venom nuzzling his cheek in the small hours, careful claws holding down his wrists, gentle murmurs trying to reassure him. Now that it's morning, the memory feels as forbidden as the dreams. Venom's smallness against his chest is almost painfully comforting. Easy just to love you, when you're like this. Easy to forget you're... more.

Forget how much I fucking want you to be more.

Jesus.

God, I can't think about this.

Eddie inhales, closing his eyes. His symbiote might be napping right now, but he could wake up at any second. He needs to distract himself, push this out of his mind again.

Last night was a mess.

Venom says he's fine with Eddie jacking off. That's all he should take away from it. Maybe, in time, Eddie will be fine with it too.

For now, he's still the same disaster he's ever been.

He reaches down beside the bed for his laptop, trying not to move too much. It's always easier to write when Venom is asleep. He'll get his head into work mode and do something productive with his time, instead of lying here kidding himself he's alright.

Opening up the screen, Eddie's surprised to find it already on. The glare blinds him for a second in the darkness; he squints as he fumbles to lower the brightness.

A freeze frame of The Office steadily appears.

Eddie smiles reluctantly. Venom must have shut the laptop in a hurry. He closes The Office with a sweep of his middle fingers across the touchpad, only to discover an open browser window behind it.

It's a messageboard.

What...?

Eddie scrolls in confusion, his eyes tightening as he skims from post-to-post. He's never seen this site before, let alone used it. From phrases jumping out at him, it looks like people offering relationship advice. The responses are all spread across the last few nights; the thread goes on for several pages.

V... why've you been reading...?

Scrolling to the top, Eddie finds his heart beating strangely.

 

THREAD: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Hello internet.
I need to ask a question about being in love. Ive been researching things as much as I can by myself but Im still confused. I dont know who else I could ask. My question is this.
What makes a person fall in love? Why do human beings fall in love with certain people but not others? Is it possible to love someone very much and yet they will never love you in return?
I have never been in love before. I dont think I am very good at it.
Thank you for reading my question. I hope you will answer soon.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

hi anon! so sorry to hear you are having love trouble honey :( sometimes sadly yes that is the case..... love is a tricky buisness and its hard to say exactly why we fall in love!! its often just a combination of the rite feelings at the rite time :) one things for sure.... you are not alone!!! do you want to tell us a bit more about your sitution & we will see if we can help? :))) xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Hello. Thank you for replying to me. What is a sitution? Do you mean I should tell you about eddie? Thank you again.

 

"Holy shit," Eddie breathes.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

sure thing honey go ahead & tell us whats happening :) xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Okay. Please be patient while I type everything out for you to read. The letters are small and in a strange order and also I have to type quietly so I dont wake eddie. He is asleep in bed beside me.
Eddie is my best friend. We live in a flat together in san francisco where he is a writer. He is very brave and very kind and the two of us are very close. We do everything together. My life with eddie has always been happy and he takes very good care of me.
But he can be quite mysterious. Im often not sure how he feels about me. I love him very deeply and I would like to be more than his friend. I would like to be everything for him. How can I tell if he wants that? Is there a way to be certain?
Thank you for waiting.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

ooooook honey first question.... you are in bed together??? do you mean you guys hook up somtimes & you wanna know if he is serious bout you.....? xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Hello again. No eddie and I have never had sex. But I want to be close however we can.
We were in the shower together once. I touched his chest where he feels sensitive but he was uncomfortable and so I stopped. He said we would only be intimate like that if we were in love. Its now okay if I touch him everywhere else while we cuddle but nowhere intimate.
But I dont understand. Why do I want to be close and he doesnt? Is it because I am in love and he isnt? He is everything in my world. Please help me. When I say I love you he doesnt say it back.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

dont worry sweetie we will help however we can :((( just checking first.... you have showers & sleep together?? but..... you guys are just friends??? xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

We do everything together.
Sometimes I start to think that eddie loves me. Ive been reading about love while he sleeps. And often he does things that are loving. He cuddles me at night in bed and when we watch netflix. He bakes all the things he knows I like to eat. He says things like he is mine and I mean the world to him. He says in summer we will go travel somewhere on his motorbike. He will show me beautiful places Ive never seen.
But then why does he not want to be close?
Please help me understand. Im becoming very sad. I want him to love me so much.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [finepieceofwork]

Hey folks, jumping in here. OP just to check, I get the impression you are male? Does this guy identify as bi/gay?

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Eddie and I are both male. I know he had boyfriends when he was young but I dont know much about them. He doesnt think about them much at all. He was going to marry a woman named annie last year but now he feels very glad he didnt.
I worry I am not attractive to him. Is that important? :( I dont look like a normal human. Perhaps that is the problem.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

oooook honey this is clearly a complicated situation... have you talked to eddy about any of this?? :( xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Eddie is very private... I think I annoy him when I ask questions :( I dont want to annoy him more.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [finepieceofwork]

So to recap...
1) Dude is cool with joint showers, sharing a bed and cuddling but gets annoyed if you wanna talk feelings...
2) Dude has previously had gay relationships but is clearly shifty about it...
3) Happy for you to be in love with him so long as he doesn't have to connect in any way...
4) Recent broken engagement...
Honestly OP? I know you don't want to hear it but I think you should run a mile. This guy sounds like he's seriously messed up over his own sexuality and maybe on the rebound from the near-miss-marriage... but he's happy to be selfish and take what he wants from you. He's setting all the boundaries here, right? "This far but no further"? Something unhealthy going on here. Maybe several somethings. I'm sorry to lay it out like this. But I'd be very wary of this guy :|

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

hang on @finepieceofwork no need to be harsh :( eddy might be confused/working things out etc but that doesnt mean he is a bad person! & doesnt mean this cant be fixed!
Anon you said he acts really loving to you sometimes. all those things sound loving to me!!! I think that is a good sign and there is hope. maybe he just needs time...? he might be sad over his ex fiance? xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

He doesnt seem sad. He hardly ever talks about annie now. She is happy with someone she loves and eddie seems to be glad for her.
And how much time? I am worried because theres someone else who I think loves him too. She is his boss at work.
I know I should be happy but it hurts a lot to think she will touch him and Ill have to see it. Im scared she will talk to him about it soon.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

his boss honey? :( thats bad of her if she does make a move, not fair to put your workers in that possition xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

She is very beautiful. She smiles at him a lot and would know how to make him happy :( I dont know how to do that. Sometimes all I seem to do is make him sad.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [finepieceofwork]

Sorry @xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox but you've got to admit this is weird. OP deserves someone considerate of his feelings who makes him feel attractive and valuable. Life is too short for headgames. This guy clearly has issues he needs to work on before he's ready for a relationship.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Please please do not fight each other. I am very distressed already.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

hey sweetie sorry for delay!! Ive had a good think & I know @finepieceofwork isnt sure about your eddy but... honestly there must be SOMETHING there?? i mean honeslty this would be make total sense if he wanted sex with you but not love... but he wants love but not sex??? so... ok here is my 2p...
i think your eddie is scared about something. (people finding out maybe?? or too soon after his engagment??) hard to say but obviously you mean something to him...
maybe best course of action is be the best friend you can be. super patient, super loving & supportive... but give him lots of space!!... tell him if he ever want to talk you will be there... you need to give him time & hope for the best... xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

But it has been months... how much time?

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [finepieceofwork]

This is sad OP and I feel for you. But sometimes love hurts. There's a good chance this guy won't ever treat you the way you'd like. It's just one of those things. Either the spark is there or it's not, right? Sounds like he doesn't have enough spark for you to make his mind up.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

But I love him so much. He is my only person.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

oh no he is your only friend? :( sorry to hear that sweetie..... maybe while your playing patient with eddie you can try to meet some new people too? even just one more friend will make you a lot happier & means you arent as reliant on eddie for everything xoxox

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

I have one other friend but its hard for her to understand me. I love her too. Just different to eddie.
Its hard for me to meet new people. Im sorry. I wish I could explain.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [drasticjaguar09]

Hi everybody :D Joining in here! Hi OP quick Q - how long ago did you make a move? Was it a while? Cos maybe Eddie was confused then/not sure/etcetc and has now started thinking again... just a thought...

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

It has been several weeks. Do you mean he might have changed his mind? But why would he not have said?

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [xo_taste_the_rainbow_ox]

oooooh good tihnking @drasticjaguar09 !!

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [drasticjaguar09]

Maybe it's worth trying to get close to him again OP?? Can't hurt :D Seeing as you two already snuggling lol... just let your hands wander a bit ;)

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Thank you for your new suggestion but I dont ever want to make eddie uncomfortable. He asked me not to touch him where he feels intimate. It is his body and I promised.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [finepieceofwork]

Okay, okay... wading in here for one last try... and kudos OP for ignoring that last suggestion. 'Let your hands wander'? Yikes. Sounds like the boundaries in this situation have been blurred enough already.
So this guy is showing some pretty classic signs of gay curiosity... fine. But it sounds like OP is ready and willing and not trying to hide it. There's a reason this guy isn't showing interest. Maybe it's because... wait for it... he's not interested. He might like your company OP, he might even enjoy some low level touching, but is he attracted to you enough to have sex with you? No. I know it hurts but you've got to face that. It's just a fact in human relationships that sometimes you'll be crazy for someone who doesn't want you that way.
Instead you could step away from this guy and stop letting him have 100% ownership of your time without paying you anything back. You could go meet someone who is obviously and without complications attracted to you. Someone not holding you at arm's length.
If he's told you he doesn't want you touching him anywhere private, that's pretty conclusive to me. You can't just wave that aside. Sure, you might mean SOMETHING to this guy... but wow, he's got you under weird conditions...
You deserve a healthy and open relationship. I'd recommend you take your time and attention to someone without all this baggage... find yourself something closer and deeper.
I'm sorry that's harsh. I've just been there myself and honestly I lost too many years of my life to head games. Love should feel good.

 

RE: Hello I have a question please.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

I would never want someone else. Even closer and deeper.
Eddie is my world and everything in it.
I would rather stay with eddie and love him on my own even if it hurts forever. Even if I see him fall in love with sam. He will be happy then. And if only one of us can be happy I would like it to be him.
Thank you all for your help. I will concentrate on being a good friend to eddie and giving him space. Thats whats important.
It doesnt matter if he doesnt love me the way I love him. I will love him all the same. I hope he will still watch netflix with me when there is sam.
Goodbye internet. Thank you for talking to me. Thank you for trying to help.

 

A few scattered responses follow - words of comfort; distressed offers of sympathy.

For a long time Eddie doesn't move, gazing at the words through a blur.

'I would rather love eddie and be with him even if it hurts forever.'

His fingers scroll on their own. They lift the page back to other words.

'Sometimes all I seem to do is make him sad.'

As he finally notices the deafening silence, Eddie feels his heart slide up into his throat. He reaches out a shaking hand, gathers his fingers around the lid of the laptop and pulls it shut. The catch clicks as it locks.

He stares at the space the screen once occupied.

"Get out here," he croaks.

 

Chapter Text

A petrified pause ensues.

No, comes the whisper.

Eddie shuts his eyes against the heat now rising in them. His jaw tenses; he works to loosen it. "Get out here now."

I'm sorry.

"We're not doing this inside my head. Get out here and talk to me."

It doesn't matter, Eddie. Please.

"It 'doesn't matter'!?"

Please let me stay with you. I'm sorry. I won't touch you. I won't try to be close. I promise.

"Venom, get out here before I lose my mind!"

No! N-No, you'll make me go -

Eddie drives his hands up into his hair, burying his face against his forearms. He shakes as he struggles to speak.

"You think I'd make you go?" he says. "When I've just read that? Holy shit. Get out here. Please. I'm not kidding. I need to see you."

Why?

"So I can hold you, V - for fuck's sake - "

H-Hold me?

"I'm sorry - god, fuck, I'm sorry - "

Eddie -

"S-Shit, I thought you didn't - like a human - thought I'm a pet - just your ride - "

E-Eddie -

Eddie clenches his hands in his hair, screwing his eyes against the heat. The guilt feels so sharp it takes his breath.

"V," he says. He didn't mean it to sound like a sob. Fuck me up. Fuck. "Venom, please - "

Venom begins to materialise along his arms, welling through his skin. As his symbiote forms, Eddie pushes his shaking fingers through the soft black folds. Venom wraps tight around him, thickening, bulking out with muscle into arms. Claws card through his hair. Feeling them, Eddie caves and starts to cry.

Venom pulls him closer, cradling him against one shoulder.

Eddie locks his arms as far around Venom's chest as he can reach.

"I'm sorry," he hears himself say over and over, trying to crowd out the memory of other words. 'I dont look like a normal human. Perhaps that is the problem'. He buries his face against Venom's shoulder, fast on his way to becoming a crying mess. "I'm sorry, V - I'm sorry - "

Venom strokes his hair without a sound. He feels stiff in Eddie's arms, trembling and nervous. He holds Eddie as if afraid he can't quite trust that this is real.

Eddie knows beyond doubt that it's real. Dreams and hallucinations don't hurt like this.

It seems like a long time passes before he can speak. When he does, his voice breaks at the back of his throat.

"W-What do you want?" He presses his cheek against the marbled black skin of Venom's neck, overwhelmed by guilt. "When you told them you want to be close... what did you mean?"

Venom swallows. There's a long and painful pause.

"Eddie," he whispers, shaking.

"Tell me. Jesus, tell me."

"E-Eddie, I - I want you to be happy. In all ways. In all your needs."

Eddie inhales, shutting his eyes to gather his courage. He can't fuck this up - not this time.

"You're not just curious," he says. "You don't just wanna test how I work. You f-feel it. You feel this. You can feel it, too."

Venom's claws curl between his shoulder blades.

"I-I love you, Eddie." He feels his symbiote's throat contract. "You are perfect."

"God, m'sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't think you really felt - "

"I-I am sorry," Venom says, shaking. "I'm sorry I'm not human, Eddie. I wish I was."

"H-Holy fuck - Venom, I don't care - "

"You need human touch - human contact - you need human love - "

"I want you," Eddie gasps, pain blistering through his chest. He pulls back enough to cup Venom's jaw in his hands, gazing up into the shocked white eyes. "I like you more than humans. I've never felt like this for anyone. Never in my goddamn life."

Venom's expression tightens. "Eddie - "

"I'm sorry I pushed you away." The guilt jags like a blade across Eddie's stomach. "I just... I th-thought you were studying me. Thought you were curious. I didn't think you..."

His throat thickens. He forces himself to swallow, tracing his thumbs around the outside of Venom's mouth.

"I'm not on the rebound from Annie," he says, shuddering. "I don't want anything to do with Sam. I... s-shit - you want to be with me. For real. You're a-attracted to me."

Quiet distress softens Venom's gaze. His hold on Eddie constricts a little, shy and protective.

"You are my home, Eddie. I - want to be close. I want to be in love. I want to make you happy."

"You... l-listen - by 'close'... you mean..." Eddie still can't say it. He can't pull the word 'sex' into this conversation in case he's somehow wrong, misreading things even now. He can't risk breaking everything up if it's not ready to hold the weight of that word. "You mean - l-like the video I showed you, right?"

Venom doesn't make a sound, scared.

The tiny nod cracks the remains of Eddie's heart into pieces.

"N-Not just... I'm not just a pet," he says, shaking.

Venom nearly whimpers.

"You are not a pet," he says, pulling Eddie closer, and the feeling of those muscular arms gathering him up onto Venom's lap is enough to cut Eddie's pulse. "I told you. It is different. I love you as my host. Not a pet."

The relief somehow only hurts more. Eddie can hardly breathe.

"Fuck," he gasps. "Fuck, I made you feel so bad - "

"No. No, it is not your fault, Eddie - "

"It is my fault. Jesus. Fuck, after all we've been through - "

"No, Eddie - please don't cry - "

"I-I'm not crying, I'm just... fuck - I'm such a fucking idiot - "

Venom's claws tighten in the back of his t-shirt. "No. No, Eddie. Not an idiot. Mine. My Eddie is not an idiot. He is perfect."

"J-Jesus - "

"Eddie, I would die for you - burn for you - "

Eddie presses his palms in desperation against his eyes, trying to staunch the mess. He feels like he's falling apart. "H-How long have you wanted - y'know." His throat muscles work. "I-Intimate."

A palpable tremor passes through Venom's shoulders. After a moment, he turns his face against Eddie's hair.

"You told me not to," he says. His voice is barely audible over the drumming of the rain; Eddie isn't sure if he hears it inside or outside of his head. "You told me that we weren't."

Eddie's heart strains. "Promise me this is real. Promise me it's... y-you feel it."

There comes a moment's pause. Venom hesitates, his claws trailing tentatively through the back of Eddie's hair.

A flood of thought melts through Eddie's mind.

His eyes flicker shut on their own, his mouth gasping as the sensation overwhelms him. He finds himself experiencing a moment that isn't his, as real and vividly as if it is - Eddie in his arms right now, cradled close to his chest, hugging him back like he matters - holding him like his skin isn't so desperately unhuman, so different to Eddie's, black and shining while Eddie always feels so soft and warm. The hypnotic swirl of human pheromones weaves them together, safe. Venom's felt their effects for many weeks now. He's grown slowly more aware of his system adapting to its mammalian host. He likes to nap; he likes to be warm within water. He likes to clean Eddie. He likes their home, safe and cosy, and when he thinks of closeness between them, he longs for the physical closeness of their skin. He longs for the thought of Eddie flushed, making soft sounds, moving against him. Touch is love; warmth is happiness. These instincts now seem as deep and real as if he's always had them, and Eddie's hair feels light and soft between his claws. Eddie's heart whispers between them, beating slow and steady, and in this moment he knows it beyond doubt: nothing will ever hurt Eddie again.

And for the first time in many weeks, the love doesn't hurt.

It isn't darkened by guilt or distress. There's no loneliness now; it's simply love. It feels like it did in the hospital, lying in the darkness, weak but safe in Eddie's body still. Together still.

Safe.

The thoughts feel so warm, so reassuring, that Eddie wants to stay curled up in them forever.

As he senses Venom beginning to withdraw gently from his mind, he holds on. He grips tight to the feelings like a baby monkey, trembling; he feels Venom's loving rush in response. Venom stays in his mind, letting him feel a little longer. I love you. I love you, I love you. It's as gentle and deep as a heartbeat, whispered over and over beneath his skin.

Venom strokes very slowly through his hair.

V? Eddie breathes, after what feels like several hours.

Venom's gentle love bubbles through their bond. Yes, Eddie?

Always about you. It's nerve-wracking to share the truth, even now. The dreams.

He feels it roll through Venom's consciousness, shivering and wild and wonderful. Nervous disbelief comes in its wake; hope, that such a thing could be true; longing to see, not daring to ask.

Can't you see all my thoughts, V? You're inside my head...

Venom is quiet for a moment.

At first I... used to explore you, see things... memories. Go wherever I wished. You were my host. Your thoughts were mine to see. Then after the fire... no more. Not right. Now I do not look.

Eddie shivers.

Even when you were sad? he whispers.

Especially.

You could've looked. Just opened me up to see how I feel. Found all my dreams.

No. Not mine to see. Venom hesitates. And I - feared what I would find.

Nestling close, Eddie reaches into his own mind. He gathers his focus around what he's feeling in this moment. He concentrates on their bond, no separation, no barriers between them, wanting Venom to share it.

I want you, he murmurs. He lets the molten blur of closeness and comfort and relief and hope ripple slowly through his thoughts. Come see. It's okay. I want you to.

Venom's hold gently tightens.

As their thoughts ripple gently into one, Venom shudders in Eddie's arms. He feels his symbiote ache with desperate joy, drinking the feelings he's being shown. Some, he seems to nuzzle gently for more. Eddie shows him, smiling, bathing Venom in all the things he's kept closed off in his mind for weeks. It feels like throwing open the doors of an old house and letting air and sunlight stream through at last.

Their minds swirl and soothe until Eddie can't remember where he ends and Venom begins. He doesn't understand how he was ever afraid; this feels so perfect, so easy, that it's hard to remember the pain.

God. All the time I wasted.

Not wasted, his symbiote whispers. Eddie brushes his hands shakily across Venom's back muscles, trying to ground himself. He feels as light as a falling feather. Mine.

Yours. All yours.

Venom's arms tighten. M-Mine.

Yours. Eddie's heart thumps with it, settling once more in his own body. Venom's embrace curls around him. He never wants to be let go. W-We've got a lot to learn.

Teach me, his symbiote breathes. I will learn. I will make you happy.

Eddie bites his lower lip. Start small?

Yes. Small, gentle things.

Try something with me now?

Venom's chest expands with his breath. Eddie feels his own heart grow, too.

If you would like, Eddie.

'kay. Might have to be a little careful. Eddie runs his hands along Venom's shoulders, fingers splaying as he strokes up Venom's neck. His symbiote watches him nervously. Relax for me, starshine, he smiles. I'll be gentle.

He takes Venom's jaw into his hands.

As he leans close, Venom's eyes anxiously flicker shut.

It's a tiny, quiet promise of a kiss. Their lips press as lightly and carefully as Eddie can manage, so tentative it's almost chaste. Venom's claws tremor on his back; they stroke him, shy and longing at once.

Eddie can't fight a grin. This feels like the first moment of the rest of his life. His heart pinwheels and somersaults in his chest, as happy as a bird on the wing. He tilts Venom's head to kiss him again and their mouths slowly seal. He brushes his tongue across his symbiote's lower lip.

The shiver it causes is the closest thing to perfect he's ever felt.

A-Am I doing this right?

Eddie grins again, trying not to laugh. Shhh. Trying to kiss you.

Venom trembles, nervous. I don't want to hurt you.

You're not, gorgeous. You're doing great.

My - my teeth are -

Eddie runs both hands down Venom's neck, curls them at his shoulders and presses gently. Lie back, he murmurs in their minds.

Venom's arms tighten around his waist.

They sink down within the sheets together, Eddie lying safe upon Venom's chest. They kiss as the minutes slip by. Venom grows slowly more at ease, responding to the gentle movements of Eddie's mouth - learning and copying them, brushing Eddie's back with careful hands.

I wanna stay here all day, Eddie murmurs to him, kissing him. Just lie here in bed and let it rain... s'that okay?

E-Eddie... Venom sounds as if he can't believe it. Oh, god. Eddie.

Eddie smiles into the kiss, tracing his thumbs beneath Venom's jaw.

D'you even believe in god, gorgeous?

Venom pulls him closer. I-I do now.

 

Chapter Text

Something quick. Easy.

Eddie doesn't want to be out of bed for any longer than they have to be. The warmth of the covers still clings to his skin as his bare feet pad across the kitchen floor. His lips still tingle from kissing. Hunger has now become enough to prompt a break; nothing else could have called a pause in proceedings.

Bacon sandwiches.

He reaches for the frying pan, laying it on the stove and drizzling it quickly with oil. Behind him, the fridge door opens with a quiet clunk.

As Eddie holds out a hand, smiling, a pack of thick-cut bacon is placed within it.

"Thanks, starshine." He reaches for a short knife, slitting the pack open down one side. "How hungry are you?"

Venom makes a small, hopeful noise. I like bacon.

Eddie's smile becomes a grin. "I'll see what I can fit in the pan."

As he arranges the rashers into a spiral, careful not to burn his fingertips, he feels a small chin rest upon his shoulder. His heart hops. He tilts his head to nuzzle Venom; his symbiote, reassured, coils a shy tendril around his waist. He can feel Venom spreading across his back, hugging him fondly from behind.

"You okay?" he murmurs as he peels another bacon rasher from the pack.

Venom doesn't speak for a moment, holding him tightly. Are you happy, Eddie?

"I'm happy, V. Incredibly happy. I promise."

I'm sorry I spoke to the internet about you.

"You don't have to be sorry... it's okay. I get why you did. I just wish I'd made it seem like you could talk to me. M'sorry I clamped shut."

Venom watches as Eddie lays the final rasher into place. I'm sorry I was cruel.

Eddie nearly laughs.

"When've you ever been cruel?" he asks, reaching for the tongs.

When you were new. Venom presses his small snout gently against Eddie's jaw. You are not my ride. I was pleased for myself. A strong host. I didn't realise I would...

His vines constrict fondly.

Eddie bites his lower lip with a grin, wondering if it's normal to feel this happy. "When did you realise?"

Realise?

"Realise I'm... more."

Venom thinks about it for a while, watching Eddie turn the rashers of bacon. The hospital.

"Which time?"

You were angry with me. I couldn't reach you.

Eddie's heart squeezes as he remembers - the perfectly clear pane of glass, the black mass of sinew and form struggling against it to try and get through to him. 'We're done,' he'd spat. He'd meant it.

Wrong to try to use you, his symbiote murmurs. Wrong to go against my nature.

Eddie reaches his free hand up to his shoulder. He trails his fingertips gently through the tendrils he finds there.

"You're the sweetest person I've ever met," he says. "You know that?"

Venom flickers happily around his fingers. You think I'm a person.

Eddie smiles, reaches for the bread bag and drops two slices into the toaster. "Come back to bed after breakfast," he says, "and I'll prove it."

Eddie...

"I'm sorry I freaked out on you, V. I mean it."

Venom's vines curl themselves tighter around his torso, hugging his chest as he returns to the pan. We can start again.

"Mm hmm. Brand new. Day one."

I will make you very happy.

Eddie smiles, turning the strips of bacon one last time. "You already do. Now we can make each other happy."

Venom makes a soft, gentle sound in the back of his heart; it's like a little trill, low and soothing.

You called me 'starshine', he says.

"Yeah?" Eddie tilts his head for another nuzzle. "You liked that?"

Yes. Y-Yes, very much.

"Well then, starshine... would you kindly get me the butter from the fridge? Your first round of breakfast's nearly ready."

 

*

 

The empty plates go on the floor beside the bed. Eddie settles back against the pillows, and finds himself at once with a symbiote melting across his chest. Venom spreads happily beneath his t-shirt; he patterns Eddie's skin from neck to wrists in beautiful feathered veins of black, warm to the touch and shimmering faintly in the muffled light.

Eddie grins, admiring the patterns.

"Decorating me, are you?" he murmurs.

The living ink stirs, easing across his skin. Mine...

"All yours. Signed and sealed." Eddie rests his head back against the pillows, his eyes closing. A small smile curves his mouth. "So... breakfast out of the way... what do you wanna do now? Lunch?"

A ripple across his stomach becomes two gentle ghostlike hands, sliding over his chest with care. They stroke up either side of his neck and cup his jaw. Eddie grins, his pulse leaping as the hands tilt back his head; Venom's mouth forms against his own.

As they kiss, he eases his arms around Venom. His symbiote's body has grown from his own, the two of them melted together around his lap. For one of the first times Eddie lets himself truly feel the texture of Venom's body, playing his fingers through the shivering folds. Venom's surface forms playful little snares to try and catch his fingertips. He melts over the back of Eddie's hands, sinks into his skin and reforms from his palms, tendrils soothing fondly between his fingers. Venom's teeth seem smaller each time they kiss. He's learning, Eddie thinks - adapting - the hands cradling his jaw now have fingers, not claws.

The claws are elsewhere. They're busy curling around Eddie's wrists, capturing them gently and easing them against the headboard.

Eddie shivers the full length of his back. He's unable to hide a moan, arching up a little as Venom's tongue cosies its way inside his mouth. His pulse speeds at once, hands tightening in his symbiote's hold. The pleased hum he receives sends another rush of heat straight to his cock.

Nice? comes the whisper in his mind.

J-Jesus - Venom -

You like being pinned, Venom notes, softly, even as his tongue curls into Eddie's mouth. All Eddie can do is breathe, shiver and take it, his arms held into place against the headboard. Mmhm. This feels good...

Can you - f-feel what I -

Your body is my body, Eddie. I feel the things you feel.

Eddie's heart heaves. It means Venom will now be feeling his cock swell with some urgency. Even as his symbiote's claws keep his wrists held in place, other tendrils pet gently along Eddie's forearms; he'd never thought his arms would become erogenous zones. His entire body feels alive.

V, when I've been... waking up at night - do you feel that, too?

When you have your wet dreams?

Y-Yeah.

Venom's form flickers gently. Yes, he murmurs, easing his tongue deeper into Eddie's mouth.

Eddie begins to pant, fighting with every scrap of his resolve not to moan.

What do you feel when it happens?

I feel the things that you feel.

Y-You... you come, too?

Pleasure. Waves of it, over and over and over... then relief. Desperate relief.

Yeah, that... sounds like coming...

Venom's fingers stroke back into his hair.

I love you, Eddie. Very, very much. You are safe and you are mine, and I will give you all the time you need.

Eddie swallows around Venom's tongue, shivering. Don't ever go.

Never.

They're blurring together through the fabric of Eddie's t-shirt, melting into one as they kiss. This feels better than any sex - and it's not even sex. It's just making out in bed on a Sunday, listening to the rain. Eddie's never felt this safe in his life.

As tendrils sneak beneath the hem of his t-shirt, stroking up his sides, Eddie finally lets himself moan.

Venom purrs with pleasure through his veins.

 

*

 

They're forty minutes into ignoring The Truman Show when Eddie finally remembers.

"Shit..." he mumbles against Venom's mouth.

His symbiote's tongue draws back, gently; he nuzzles at Eddie's cheek. What is wrong?

"Forgot to clean my piercings."

Venom makes a little sound of amusement.

I'm looking after them, he murmurs, wrapping himself around Eddie like a blanket. They don't need wet cotton balls. Stay here.

Eddie can't fight a smile. "You healed them already, didn't you?"

Of course I did.

"Had we even left the studio?"

Venom hums, now rubbing slowly between his shoulder blades. I will still eat people who bump into you, he promises, and draws the covers up around them with a spare tendril. Eddie?

Eddie's grin grows. He'll never get tired of hearing that. "What, V?"

I haven't been paying attention to this movie.

"No, me neither... shall I start it again?"

Mhhm... no. Venom's tongue flicks gently behind his ear. Let it carry on.

 

*

 

The journey to the shower always seems just a little too far. Eddie spends the whole day telling himself he'll drag them out of bed any minute now, call a temporary pause to making out like teenagers and go get clean - then another episode begins, and Venom nuzzles the little spot just underneath his jaw, and suddenly the shower can wait a little longer.

All day the sky has stayed dark with the rain. It means that actual dusk goes unnoticed; one minute it's a stormy afternoon, then suddenly a stormy evening.

Eddie decides he'll shower after dinner.

"Hey..." he murmurs, stroking his thumbs over Venom's cheeks. Venom lets him speak between softly stolen kisses. "Time we should be thinking about some food? Can't believe you're not hungry yet."

What are we ordering?

Eddie grins into the kiss. "We're ordering, are we?"

Special occasion.

"Is it so I don't have to spend time cooking?"

Mm hmm.

"Savage'll need some attention," Eddie says, rolling in bed to try tipping Venom off the top of him. Venom stays clinging, half-melted into his chest. "Surprised she's not climbed out her cage to come yell at us."

Mnh. Yes, you're right... she might be hungry.

"C'mon, baby. We're parents. Got responsibilities."

I hope she hasn't been lonely.

"She'll have been asleep all day, V. Don't worry."

As Eddie appears by her cage, Savage barely glances up from her food bowl. She's clearly not worried too much about where the two of them have been all day. Eddie scoops her up carefully in both hands, lifts her out and carries her over to the sofa, where Venom materialises before him.

Eddie smiles. The happy thump of his heart is nearly audible in the room; it's nice to see his symbiote in full form without experiencing a wave of guilt along with it.

"Ready?" he asks.

His symbiote's small smile warms his blood a little. Venom holds out his hands, his claws open.

As Eddie transfers her over, Savage gives a pudgy squirm.

"There you go, miss..."

Smiling, Venom lifts the hamster gently to his face. She stands on her hind legs to greet him, seeing if he has anything for her. Her whiskers whiffle hopefully in the air; her tiny hands plant themselves on the end of his chin.

Eddie settles on the sofa with them, still grinning. These moments with Venom are always affecting. Today, it's doing things to his heart he wasn't quite prepared for.

He slides his phone out of the back pocket of his jeans.

"Pizza?" he murmurs.

Venom makes a rather interesting, rumbling sort of groan. "Yes, please." He leans forward to place Savage gently on the coffee table, where she immediately trots to the edge of the fruit bowl and hoists herself up into it.

As she's examining the out-of-date bananas there, Venom reaches under the coffee table for a small plastic pot of sunflower seeds.

"She's almost learned now, Eddie," he says, prying open the lid with his claws. "She remembers most of the time."

Eddie glances up from the pizza website on his phone. "Yeah?"

"Mm." Venom takes a small plastic tunnel from under the table, places it with care in the centre, and says, "Savage? Please come and show Eddie your trick."

Savage - in wilful mood today - continues to try climbing over a dusty apple.

Venom retrieves her gently, places her at the end of the tunnel, and taps it with his claw.

Savage trundles straight back to the fruit bowl. She's retrieved once again and returned patiently to the tunnel, where she suddenly seems to recall some prior knowledge of this situation. She whiffles inside it for a moment, wondering - then hopefully trots through.

At the other end, with a pleased smile, Venom offers her a sunflower seed between his claws.

She snatches it from him at once, sits back and begins to eat, her small black eyes shining with enjoyment.

"She'll be jumping through hoops next," Eddie grins, enjoying the flushed look of pride on Venom's face. "Riding tiny trains around."

"I'm not sure about that, Eddie. She's very defiant sometimes."

"Makes her own rules, huh?"

"Mm." Venom watches as the hamster waddles back through the tube, then looks up at him expectantly. He hands her another sunflower seed. "There's a small chance that she has trained me."

"Yeah. Yeah, I see that... looks like she's done a good job."

"What kind of pizza are we having?" Venom asks, rearranging her tunnel and preparing another sunflower seed.

"I was thinking the usual... any special requests to go with?" Eddie stretches and leans into Venom's side, scrolling through the website with a yawn. "Hot wings, maybe?"

"Mmhmm... yes, please."

"Maybe some wedges too? Seeing as it's a special occasion."

As he adds them to the order, black tendrils wrap around his waist like an arm. They gather him nearer; Eddie cuddles into Venom's side, biting into his grin.

"What d'you want from the pizza place, Savage?" he asks, searching for hot wings. "Thin and crispy? Deep pan?"

"She's... not allowed pizza, Eddie. It wouldn't be good for her."

Eddie clucks his tongue. "Hard luck, miss," he says. "Your mom's spoken. Looks like you're sticking with sunflower seeds."

Venom realises.

"You're teasing me," he says, glancing sideways.

Eddie smiles up from his shoulder. "Sorry, starshine. It's too much fun."

The nickname softens Venom's gaze; he watches Eddie for a moment, quietly overwhelmed.

"This feels both... very ordinary and very special," he says.

Eddie understands entirely. He places a gentle kiss on the marbled slab of muscle in Venom's shoulder, holding Venom's eyes as he does.

"Love makes the ordinary extraordinary," he says.

If Venom had pupils, Eddie suspects they would have swollen. "Eddie," he breathes.

Eddie shivers, leaning up to kiss him.

Savage, finding herself unwatched, sets out to explore in hope of sunflower seeds. She gets within two inches of the table edge before a tentacle shoots out, loops around her fat middle and returns her to safety. It fetches her a small pile of sunflower seeds from the pot; it feeds them to her one-by-one, pausing now and then to rub her small head.

As they're kissing, Eddie feels Venom smile.

 

*

 

They put Netflix on with pizza; one episode becomes another. Somehow time slips from evening into night. Eleven o'clock finds Eddie waking up on the sofa, slumped against the cushions in a heap - and apparently alone. A quiet rumbling in the back of his chest tells him otherwise.

He smiles, rubs a hand across his eyes, and leans forward to lever the lid of the laptop shut.

Shower.

He's got work in the morning - work carrying Venom out into the world with him, trying to focus on his investigations when all he'll really want is to come home and do today all over again. Everything feels brighter and closer and better. It's not going to be easy putting that aside.

When he woke up this morning, he was a lonely wreck.

It's already hard to remember what that felt like.

He gives Savage an extra scoop of her hamster mix, checks the door is locked and heads to the bathroom, stripping off his t-shirt as he goes. While the shower warms up, he has a curious check of his piercings.

Tentative touching reveals they're as perfectly healed as if he had them done five years ago. He smiles to himself, gently turning one of the rings.

As if I would let us walk around with open wounds.

Eddie's smile breaks into a grin. Hey...

Hello. A few vines of lazy darkness coil themselves around Eddie's waist - a little idle, a little possessive. It sparks a flicker of heat within his blood. Mhmm.

Eddie leans back, pretty sure he's now glowing. Solidity forms against his naked back. Venom holds him, fondly; protective black tendrils web across his chest.

"We're still not in the shower," Eddie notes - then twitches as the tapered tip of one vine draws a circle around his navel. "A-Ah," he gasps aloud. "V..."

Venom hesitates; the tendril stops at once.

Eddie shifts, biting back a moan. "I didn't mean stop."

It's... alright?

"It's alright." Eddie's pulse quickens with the words. It's been so long since physical arousal was something to be invited and enjoyed, rather than dreaded. He wants to change that; he wants to set it right. "Do that again?" he asks, hopeful. "It f-felt kinda nice."

Tentatively, Venom resumes stroking his stomach. The light curl returns to swirl around his navel.

Eddie closes his eyes, drawing his focus to the gently skimming spiral. Without his sight, it feels less ticklish. He's more aware of Venom all around him, holding him, stroking him.

He shivers a little, burying his fingers in the slick black web across his chest.

This is intimate, Venom murmurs, his voice lifted with a note of questioning.

Y-Yeah. Yeah, gorgeous, it is.

Why is...?

'Cause it's you doing it, and we're intimate.

Then... any touch can be...?

Mm hmm.

Surely not any.

Eddie's heart flutters, feeling his nipples tightening a little with enjoyment at the stroking. Touch me anywhere, he murmurs in his mind. Slow and gentle. I'll show you. He presses his teeth into his lower lip. You can look in my thoughts if you want, V. It's okay.

A moment of quiet curiosity passes. As the barrier between them dissipates, Eddie becomes aware of Venom considering and wondering, trying to choose somewhere he couldn't possibly find intimately stimulating. It should feel strange to hear someone else thinking inside his own head - but it doesn't. It's as normal as feeling his own thoughts.

A gentle vine lifts Eddie's left foot for him, wraps around it, and begins to peel off his sock.

Eddie grins up at the bathroom ceiling.

Why are you amused? Venom asks.

'Cause you're about to find out humans are filthy.

Venom flicks his sock away across the bathroom. There is nothing erotic about feet, he says, and strokes four slender tentacles between Eddie's toes.

Eddie jerks so hard in his symbiote's hold he nearly falls. Venom's grip around his waist tightens, supporting him; in utter fascination Venom repeats the slow caress. His touch lightens over the sole of Eddie's foot, prompting a tickled yelp, then thickens around Eddie's ankle, wrapping and stroking with care. Eddie's cock aches as he realises how much trust now rests in his symbiote. His weight is almost entirely supported by Venom, who could tickle him into oblivion at any moment if he wanted to - instead, the gentle stroking continues. Eddie's only recourse is to enjoy it.

As he grips Venom's muscular forearms, shivering with pleasure, it flashes through his mind what it might be like to feel Venom's tongue curling around his foot, exploring the underside and between his toes.

Heat blossoms across his face.

Eddie, Venom murmurs, fondly appalled.

W-What?

You wish to have your feet licked?

Recalling the open connection between them, Eddie shivers and grins. In my defence, he says, I warned you.

Mhm. Venom melts through his body, a flickering sensation that Eddie will never quite get used to, focusing instead at the back of his neck. Here, then. This cannot be erotic.

A series of soft, gentle kisses raise the hair on Eddie's arms. He can feel Venom stripping off his other sock for him, though his focus is now entirely captured by the kissing at the back of his neck. It fills his head with thoughts of Venom being there, nuzzling him, while other things take place. He always liked from behind. Few people know how to make it feel intimate like this.

He has a feeling Venom could.

He remembers with a rush that he doesn't have to keep hiding his moans. This is okay now - it's alright to feel. He shudders as he lets out a first, his eyelids fluttering. His eyes stay closed. He wants to feel.

Eddie...

"G-God." Eddie inhales, gathering his courage. "V?"

Mhm?

"Can you undo my jeans please?" Eddie tightens his grip on Venom's forearms. "Getting a bit uncomfortable now."

He feels Venom pause, wondering if he should ask - if he should check whether Eddie is certain - then he feels Venom's quiet self-reassurance grow, that the request must means it's alright.

A gentle coil slides around the button of his jeans, easing it open.

The careful lowering of his zip is one of the most erotic things Eddie has ever felt. Venom takes it almost painfully slow. The relief from the loosened pressure is only fleeting; his cock strains to be stroked.

Shall I take these off? Venom asks, softly.

Eddie swallows. Everything off.

For our shower.

Yeah. Y-Yeah, for the shower.

Venom's tendrils slide beneath the waistband of his boxers, gently hook and pull them down, along with his jeans.

As Eddie's cock bobs free of the fabric, he digs his teeth into his bottom lip. He's hard as rock already.

His symbiote's tendrils coil around his right wrist, giving it a gentle tug.

Shower, Eddie. Let me clean you.

 

Chapter Text

As Eddie's bare back presses against the cold glass wall of the shower, and Venom leans down to kiss his mouth, it feels so much like one of the dreams that it scares him. He holds tight to Venom's biceps, shaking.

Not a dream, Venom murmurs in their minds. He adjusts the spray above their heads to rain down upon them both. Here, Eddie...

It feels like being surrounded by touch. Venom's wrapped around Eddie's waist, his forearms, his thighs - he can feel Venom stroking his back to soothe his tremors, even as gentle claws guide the flowing water through his hair. Their chests melt between them. Their mouths melt too, kissing and stroking, and Eddie's cock seems to throb with the pounding of his heart.

He's never felt this naked in his life.

He's so lost in the heady pleasure of kissing that his first awareness of shampoo in his hair is the scent. It's a clean and masculine smell, ginger and lime. He's smelled it everyday for weeks, but never realised until this moment just how much he loves it.

He shivers as Venom works the lather through his hair, cleaning him as if he's precious. Their thoughts are still blending a little, still blurring; he can feel Venom loving him. There's a protectiveness and care bubbling through his chest which he knows instinctively isn't his. It's Venom, adoring him, tenderly washing his hair. Venom wants him to feel clean. He wants Eddie to feel comfortable, to smell nice, to relax ready for the night ahead.

He can feel Venom wanting him, too.

It's such a fragile, restrained feeling - Venom has grown used to restricting it - it's there, though. Venom enjoys the wet warmth of Eddie's skin. He's enjoying so much of it pressed against him, enjoying the shivers now trailing up and down Eddie's spine, enjoying the soft and addictive sensation of penetrating Eddie's mouth with gentle thrusts of his tongue.

There's no sense of pushing for more. There's no demand or need.

Venom's just happy feeling this - feeling Eddie's pulse heave and hitch, warm with relief that he's happy.

As the tendrils pull him closer, turning him to let the spray cascade through his hair, Eddie can't suppress a moan. Venom's body is a solid slab of muscle. Being coaxed against it feels like absolute fucking heaven. He reaches up to wrap his arms around V's neck, shivering as his symbiote's tongue fills his mouth. He has to stretch on tiptoe to manage it. Venom's gentle grasp tightens around his waist, helping to hold him up. The shower tingles against his scalp. Suds flow down his back; Venom massages through his hair to loosen them.

Fuck, oh fuck - ohh... oh, fuck...

Are you alright?

V - V, I want you...

You have me, Eddie. I'm right here.

Eddie swallows back a whimper, so turned on he's nearly panting. I-I wanna touch. I want to come.

With me?

God. Fuck.

There comes the gentle snap of a bottle lid. A moment later a warm washcloth strokes across Eddie's back, sweeping shower gel and suds across his skin. They keep kissing as Venom washes him, shivering together under the spray. Venom takes his time - back, shoulders, along each arm, moving the cloth by means of his tendrils.

By the time he reaches Eddie's chest and stomach, Eddie's prepared to beg.

"V," he gasps into the kiss, arching beneath the slow stroke of the cloth. It brushes both his piercings but doesn't stop. "V, please - fuck - "

Venom's clawed hands curl at his hips; it feels so good he wants to sob. The cloth keeps sweeping, washing him, only ever touching his nipples in passing. Their kiss becomes raw. It's hungry, desperate - eating at each other, their bodies pushing closer.

Please, V - please, god, please -

With a shudder Venom's tongue slips free from his mouth. The seal of their lips breaks. Eddie whimpers with the loss and starts to plead again, shaking as Venom lowers himself to his knees. He's so tall he can still reach Eddie's neck with his mouth. He kisses and nuzzles there, long moments of almost agonising enjoyment as Eddie begs him, gripping his shoulders.

Venom then dips his head a little more.

The squirm of Venom's tongue across his nipple sends a jolt of pleasure straight to Eddie's cock. His head thumps back against the shower wall. He's barely even conscious of his own moan, just the arching of his back pushing his nipples up into the sensation. It's not the soft, wet lap of a human tongue; it's a firmer coil, more demanding. It's incredible. His balls tighten up against his body, his pulse thundering somewhere in the back of his throat. Venom's tongue is dextrous enough to slide its very tip within his nipple ring and toy with the bead, tugging gently, flicking the ring as Eddie writhes. The hugging tendrils constrict around him. A flash of thought comes through their bond - V doesn't want him to slip and fall - he's held safe though, safe to strain as much as he needs, and Venom's aching with joy at the heartfelt gasps Eddie didn't even realise he was letting out. He can feel every flutter of Eddie's pleasure. He doesn't want it ever to stop. He doesn't know how long Eddie can cope feeling this, how much pleasure his nerve-filled human body can take - but he wants to find out.

Eddie moans in wordless longing, panting Venom's name in his mind.

A molten wave of black ripples across his chest. It floods his other nipple, shapes to him and pinches gently - then begins to roll and squeeze. There's a sensation almost like sucking and Eddie bucks, whimpering, trying to rub against Venom for friction on his cock.

Venom holds him steady. No friction - not there.

Not yet.

He can feel Venom's intentions in his mind. He can sense his symbiote's understanding that there is the chase, the end; there leads to relief. This isn't about relief. This is about ensuring that every cell in Eddie's body, every expanse of skin, every inch of sinew, every fragment of bone, understands how deeply and utterly it is loved.

Eddie didn't realise it until this moment: he's created for pleasure. He's human, mammal, monogamous, soft-skinned and hot-blooded, and his entire body has been designed to be stroked. The universe has gifted him with skin which can feel every tiny caress that crosses it. His nerves are tree branches and his deepest roots are nourished by pleasure and touch.

Other humans can comfort a few places at once.

Venom can reach them all.

As he mouths at Eddie's nipple, toying with the tiny titanium ring Eddie loves so much, Venom strokes Eddie's back where it arches against the warming glass. He rasps his tendrils through Eddie's wet hair, delighting in the responsive tingles which roll down into his host's shoulders in waves. He holds Eddie safe, secured in his embrace - a coil around his waist, coils around his forearms where he grips onto Venom's shoulders, coils around his thighs to help him stand. The muscles in Eddie's legs have begun to tremble. Venom can see now why humans like to do this in bed - but then, Eddie seems to enjoy the falling water from the shower. It's warming him, relaxing him. It's helping Venom to spread pleasure through his system.

Eddie doesn't realise his hips have started to rock.

Venom keeps hold of them gently, guiding their rhythm - letting Eddie teach him - slow, restless circles. He tries drawing the same rhythm around Eddie's other nipple with his tongue, giving the pattern back, and Eddie quivers in immediate response. He arches, swallowing back a moan. It escapes him in tight, deeply-drawn breaths as Venom keeps going.

More.

Venom feels it pounding through Eddie's body in time with their shared heartbeat. More pleasure, more touch, more connection. Eddie seems incapable of words in this moment, except that one and one another: please. He whimpers it when something feels nice. So much feels nice that the stream is at times constant, gasped in near panic as Venom spreads vines from the soles of Eddie's feet slowly up his legs. As they pass Eddie's knees, Eddie whines and shifts in Venom's hold to spread open his thighs, panting. It's a gesture of invitation - one Venom understands.

Overwhelmed, lost in joy at Eddie's pleasure, Venom lets his reach ease higher. He's rarely touched the skin of Eddie's inner thighs, and never before like this. The muscles clench with anticipation as he strokes across them. Eddie's more sensitive here than the rest of his legs, his nerves lighting up with what feels like a hot rush of hope. His thighs part further; he's relaxing into Venom's hold, trusting it more than his own balance.

Venom takes his exploratory touches to the crease of Eddie's thighs, then hesitates at the thought of going further. It's a border he once promised he would never cross - Eddie's body, Eddie's privacy. The two of them were not close enough for these places to be shared.

"Please - "

Eddie nearly sobs it. He bucks as Venom nuzzles into his neck, clinging now around Venom's shoulders.

"Oh god, please," he begs, "please - f-fuck - "

Venom closes his eyes. It helps to draw his focus to touch, to Eddie, watching for even the smallest flicker of distress. With care, he eases his tendrils inward and lets them creep over unfamiliar skin, winding through damp curls of fur.

Eddie shudders against him. He tightens his grip on Venom's shoulders.

"J-Jesus," he whispers, and draws a deep breath. "V?"

Venom nuzzles against his host's jaw, licking gently at the dry rasp of stubble there. Mm, Eddie?

Shaking, Eddie loosens a hand from his shoulder. He reaches down between them to where Venom surrounds the base of his swollen cock, trying to catch hold of him - pulling hopefully.

"Touch me," he breathes. Their shared pulse kicks. "I need it. I need it, V, I'm not kidding."

Venom shifts to look into Eddie's face. He plants their foreheads together, watching Eddie's eyes. His host's pupils are swollen, cheeks flushed with colour.

Eddie gazes at Venom as if nothing else exists in the world.

Slowly Venom wraps himself around Eddie's cock, twisting like a narrow ribbon from root to tip. Eddie's face tightens - it looks like pain, but it isn't. He begins to stroke, mimicking the motions he's only once seen Eddie make, and the relief which floods Eddie's expression will never dull in Venom's memory. Of all earth's sights, this is its most beautiful: Eddie's eyes, glittering and soft and wild; Eddie's lips a little open, panting, then mouthing Venom's name without sound; the cords in Eddie's neck tensing as he swallows. He begins to rock nervously into Venom's stroking.

Venom watches every moment. He doesn't want to miss a single gasp - every single one belongs to him, and he wants them all. Eddie's hand gathers around him and shows Venom the rhythm he wants now, slow and a little tighter, deep to the root and then a long glide to the head. Every few strokes, he swipes his thumb across the crown and bites into his lip.

Venom tries the motion for himself; Eddie shudders, fresh colour flushing across his face.

"S-Shit." His head drops back against the glass. "Holy shit... ohh - "

Enraptured, wanting to learn, Venom eases around Eddie's testes - cupping them, gently moving them. Eddie responds most to a slow squeezing, his groans dropping low into his throat and his muscles tensing in his thighs. It's easy to work the squeezes into the rhythm.

Eddie's fingers soon dig into Venom's back. He lets go of himself, shaking, and lets Venom take care of him instead. As Venom strokes, keeping up the pace Eddie set, he watches relief and trust shiver through Eddie's expression and knows without a doubt that he would die for Eddie in a heartbeat. Eddie begins to pant, stretching against the shower wall, and the pleasure Venom can feel coursing through their nervous system is overwhelming. Eddie's whole body is rioting with it. His brain is flooding with hormones and neurochemicals, his heart beating harder and harder, his breath drawing shorter. Flushed patches are appearing on his chest.

Venom leans down to kiss them.

Eddie swallows around a whimper. His arms tighten as Venom looses his tongue, rolling it over his nipples again.

The tiny rings are so pleasing to flick.

"Oh - ohh, s-shit - " Eddie jerks. "Stop," he gasps. "Stop, V - "

Venom stops at once. He lifts his head.

"Stop or I'll come," Eddie pants, grasping in desperation at Venom's back. He's trembling all over. "Oh god, I-I'm close - "

Venom considers.

They have many, many nights ahead of them. Eddie will live a long and happy life; Venom will be there to ensure it. Whenever Eddie wants to feel pleasure, however often, and for however long, Venom will look after him.

This is just the first time.

He leans close, catches Eddie's mouth with his own, and resumes his rhythmic stroking.

Come for me, Eddie, he murmurs in their minds, filling Eddie's mouth with his tongue. Eddie moans, long and loud; his hips buck. Venom quickens his motions. Share it with me.

Eddie gasps and whines into his mouth, wrenching him closer. The pleasure swells in Eddie's body like sudden heat. It ruptures through Venom's senses, frying his every thought as it blisters between them, searing and singing. At the edge of his consciousness he feels Eddie's cock strain in his grip. It begins to pulse, welling over and spattering white fluid between them.

When this happens in his sleep, Eddie breathes hard and whimpers.

Awake, he almost howls.

Venom drinks every drop of the sound from his lips. He kisses Eddie as if they'll never kiss again, overcome by how Eddie clings to him, shaking in the last waves of climax. Eddie holds him like he's needed.

Mine, Venom whispers, stroking through Eddie's hair. Joy leaps inside him in time with Eddie's pulse. He's never felt so complete. Mine, mine...

Eddie shivers from head to foot, gasping against his lips. Venom feels him release a shuddering breath.

"Yours," Eddie moans. His chest heaves. "Fuck... f-fucking yours..."

Mine, Venom breathes, cupping Eddie's jaw. Their kiss deepens. All mine. My Eddie. My perfect.

Oh my god. Even in their minds, Eddie sounds shocked and breathless. The moans from his mouth and the moans from his soul blur into one, his fingers raking up Venom's neck. Oh, Jesus. Take me to bed. Now.

Venom spreads himself slowly across the muscles in Eddie's back, just beneath the skin. He begins to rub as he retrieves the washcloth from where it fell near Eddie's feet.

When you're clean, he murmurs, wringing it beneath the spray. Soap spatters the tiles. Relax, Eddie... let me care for you...

Soft, sated moans fall from Eddie's mouth as Venom finishes washing him. There isn't much left to do - gently over Eddie's stomach, down his legs, between his thighs where his cock is now softening after climax. Venom keeps rubbing Eddie's back as he works. Eddie seems nearly molten within his embrace, shivering a little and responding to Venom's murmurs with quiet noises of his own. They kiss slowly and softly beneath the spray; Eddie strokes his chest.

By the time they step from the shower, sleep is fuzzing at the edges of Eddie's mind. Venom can feel it. Eddie's movements are loosening, his thoughts unspooled and warm. Venom dries him off with a fresh towel, switches out the light and guides Eddie to bed, settling down beside him in the darkness.

In his bulky full form, he's sure he takes up too much room. Eddie likes to turn over as he sleeps, likes to stretch - Venom doesn't want to crowd him into a corner of the bed.

"Stay," Eddie mumbles before he can shrink, nuzzling into his neck. Both arms wrap around him. "Stay as you are, starshine... wanna feel you..."

Venom's core glows a little. He pulls the covers up around Eddie, not wanting him to get cold in the night.

I hope that was alright, he murmurs.

His host shivers with a sleepy laugh. "Are you kidding? That was amazing, V... I feel born again."

You are beautiful, when...

"Y-Yeah?"

Yes. Venom brushes the tips of his claws through Eddie's hair. I could watch it forever.

Eddie's pupils swell. He lays his hand on Venom's cheek, and there's a moment of quiet as they gaze at each other.

Their pulse flutters, skipping a beat.

"Weird to think... work in the morning." Eddie hesitates, his gaze straying to Venom's mouth. "Don't know how I'll concentrate on anything. I'll just wanna come home. Be with you."

Venom runs a hand slowly down his side. You will be with me. I'm with you always... your secret.

He watches Eddie's mouth curve.

"Kinda like the sound of that." Eddie's leg hooks around Venom's; his toes slide down the back of Venom's calf muscle. "That was good for you too, wasn't it? You enjoyed it?"

Venom can't suppress the wave of warmth which overcomes him. He wraps himself around Eddie, drawing him closer, and the press of Eddie's skin against his full form is sublime.

A great deal, he says. I'd - like to feel more, Eddie... more of how humans love each other.

Eddie bites his lip.

"Can't show you that," he says. Venom's veins briefly constrict. "But I can help figure out how you and me love each other."

The happy swooping sensation must have shown on Venom's face. Eddie grins at it, stroking his cheek.

"Might need a couple hours' sleep first," Eddie adds, his eyes bright.

Venom attempts not to shiver. You're tired?

"Mm hmm... you've worn me out..."

Then you should rest, Eddie. Venom strokes back Eddie's hair, enjoying its softness, damp and clean-smelling after their shower. I'll watch over you.

He feels Eddie draw a breath.

"G'night, V..." Eddie stirs in his embrace, pressing a gentle kiss to the corner of his jaw. Every inch of Venom shivers in response. If this is what human love feels like, he understands now why their planet is beautiful. "Think about what you want for breakfast, 'kay? Whatever it is, I'll cook it. As much as you want."

Venom smiles against Eddie's hair. You're rewarding me with breakfast.

"V, you keep fucking me like that? You can have five breakfasts a day."

It's hard not to purr. Venom sinks his reach beneath Eddie's back, rubbing slowly into his muscles.

Eddie groans.

Goodnight, Eddie, he murmurs. Have sweet dreams.

 

Chapter Text

It's been a while since Eddie woke up smiling.

Before his eyes are even open, the smile becomes a grin. He beams up at his bedroom ceiling, happy to the bone and not interested in hiding it. He's naked beneath the covers. He can feel Venom webbed across his bare body, not just over his chest but lower onto his stomach too.

Shifting, wanting to see, he brushes aside the sheets.

Venom has plastered himself from Eddie's throat to mid-thigh. As Eddie watches, his stomach rising and falling slowly with his breath, the morning light gleams upon those patches of Venom risen up from his skin. In other places his symbiote has sunken in, leaving fuzzy dark grey shadows on the surface. There seem to be two major spreading points where Venom has emerged from his body like surface roots: one between his nipples, slightly to the left; the other six inches beneath his navel. Venom's black veins have spread themselves comfortably around his cock, sneaking down between his thighs.

It's almost a little possessive. 'Mine now'.

Eddie likes it.

Holy shit. He lets his head drop back into his pillows, grinning again, and breathes it into his lungs along with the light. We fucked last night. Messed around, at least. Not that it had felt like messing around - not for a second. He can't remember ever finding it so easy to come with someone. Venom had turned a hand job into a goddamn spiritual experience. There were monks meditating in Tibet right now who'd spent decades trying to attain what had happened to Eddie in the shower last night. He'd slept without stirring for nearly nine hours.

God... what's going to happen when we actually fuck?

He'll need a week off work to recover. Even the thought of Venom easing lazily inside him...

Hoo, boy.

Eddie shifts a little, redirecting his thoughts.

As he reaches for his phone on the bedside, thinking of answering some emails, a murmur stalls his hand.

Eddie...?

Eddie looks down, smiling.

Hey, he tells the black webbing, reaching to stroke his fingers through it. You awake?

Mmhm... Venom spreads along Eddie's fingertips, engulfing them in sleepily rippling black. He melts his way up Eddie's arm. Good morning.

Eddie grins. How'd you sleep?

Very well.

Any nice dreams?

Mm. One.

Yeah? Spill.

Venom's liquid darkness pools at the side of Eddie's neck, thickening and nuzzling up behind his jaw. His chin tilts back; his grin widens, enjoying the sensation.

I dreamed you let me touch you, Venom murmurs. Eddie's chest heaves with his breath. You let me kiss you, comfort you and please you. I dreamed I helped you come, Eddie... and it was beautiful.

Eddie swallows, his stomach tightening already.

Sounds like a pretty good dream, he says.

Venom hums in the back of his mind. I was very lucky to have it, he says, tickles up into Eddie's hair and sweeps across his scalp.

Eddie bites his lip and shifts, pretty certain that gentle hair touching shouldn't be filling out his cock like this. He has a feeling it's just Venom - Venom's voice, Venom's attention - he doing things to Eddie's thoughts that his body can't ignore.

Eddie... his symbiote soothes, and stirs across his stomach. Eddie's pulse hitches. You're aroused...

"God." Eddie didn't mean to whisper it aloud; he bites into his lip, shuddering a little. K-Kinda horny. That okay?

'Horny'?

It's... like hungry, but for...

Mhm. He can feel Venom brushing through his pubic hair, stroking down between his legs. His breath cracks. May I take care of that for you?

Sure. B-Be my guest.

There's something I would like to try.

The flicker of nerves isn't enough to quell Eddie's interest. O-Okay.

He watches down his own body, a little short of breath as Venom emerges from the inside of his right knee. His symbiote forms a head and shoulders and arms, his clawed hands soothing up to Eddie's waist where they curl.

Eddie realises what's about to happen half a second before it does. He has time to suck in a breath, then Venom tongue coils out around his cock, laving across him in a hungry swipe. Eddie digs his fingers into the mattress with a pitched moan. Venom's tongue twists its way around him, spiralling down until its owner can lick inquisitively around the root while still gently squeezing the head.

Eddie's eyes cross. They roll back into his head, his mouth dropping open. The chances of him ever getting into bed with a human again were slim; they've just plummeted to zero.

"Oh - Jesus."

Venom's smirk won't be fading in his memory any time soon. His symbiote leans closer, humming, opens his mouth and uses his tongue to guide Eddie's dick in past his teeth. The equal lurches of arousal and panic are enough to blow Eddie's eyes wide. He watches, panting, as Venom swallows him to the root without so much as a blink. He gazes up from Eddie's crotch with a look of somewhat rounded innocence, his tongue still swirling slowly around his mouthful, teeth now safely cushioned behind his coal-black lips.

As he begins to bob, there's only slick heat and stroking - wet sounds, rhythm. He takes it slow.

Eddie nearly passes out.

He moans as his hips jerk up, moaning louder as Venom gently pins his pelvis to the bed.

He screws his eyes tight shut.

Does that feel good, Eddie?

Eddie's pulse kicks. The wet and lazy sounds are already killing him; Venom's tender murmur makes it so much worse.

"Don't you dare," he gasps, his face flushing hot. "Don't you dare dirty-talk me during a blow job."

Why not?

Eddie twists against the bed. His knuckles whiten as he grasps the sheets. "I-It's cheating."

I think it makes excellent use of my skills.

"Ohh - oh Jesus, fuck - "

Mmhm... just there? Venom repeats the little tongue flick beneath Eddie's frenulum. As Eddie chokes and moans, transferring both hands to Venom's shoulders, his symbiote hums and sucks him harder. Oh Eddie, I like this... I like it a lot...

For a second Eddie wonders if he maybe actually died in the rocket explosion, and this is some sort of depraved pagan heaven.

Venom's tendrils then wrap around both his thighs, nudging them further apart, and Eddie no longer has room in his head to wonder anything.

Eddie? Venom's murmur strokes like velvet across his senses. His inquisitive touch winds itself around Eddie's balls. May I lick you here, too?

"Oh - f-fucking Jesus - "

Is... that a yes?

"Y-Yes - yes, god - " The slick flash of a tongue across Eddie's asshole makes him jerk; his back bows upwards from the bed. "Oh - ohh, okay..."

Venom explores him slowly. He makes no move to go inside Eddie, just licks and strokes and searches. Within minutes Eddie finds himself grasping Venom's shoulders so hard it would bruise a human. Venom's tongue feels like nothing he's ever felt, squirming and sliding and curling, even as the tongue in Venom's mouth keeps working up and down his dick. It should maybe unsettle him that Venom apparently now has two of them - but picturing exactly what's going on between his legs is low on his list of priorities. He's too busy feeling it, swearing and whimpering, letting out his restless shudders by gripping Venom's muscles harder.

He doesn't need to move - doesn't need to think, doesn't need to do a thing. He just has to lie here and let Venom have him.

As his cock starts to ache, he bends back his knees so Venom can access him better.

Vines coil their way up his legs and he shudders.

"V," he breathes, as the tendrils secure themselves around his knees and hold him open. He wraps a hand around the back of Venom's neck; his fingers shake. "Oh fucking god, V...!"

Venom hums fondly, keeps licking and stroking and slowly sucking. Thoughts unbound, his heart hammering, Eddie experiences a wild flash of memory to a conversation he had twenty years ago in college - a girl at a party, talking about being licked out by a guy, and he remembers the curious surge of jealousy he'd felt, wanting that. It sounded nice, licked out. So much better than sucked off. He couldn't imagine anyone ever showing him how it felt to be licked out, and it had left him weirdly sad.

He's just found out what it's like.

And it's good.

Venom's claws ghost gently through his hair. The voice in his mind murmurs, I'm here, Eddie... relax... it's all alright...

Eddie pulls a long breath into his lungs.

"Oh, god - it f-feels - "

Mmhmm... breathe slowly, Eddie. Let me look after you.

Guilt bubbles nervously through Eddie's chest. "C-Can I - something for you? M'just lying here."

Exactly as you should. Venom's tendrils come creeping over his stomach as he pants, up to his nipples and brushing lightly across them. I feel your pleasure too. All of it. Now lie there and feel pleasure for us.

The first gentle pinch sends a jag of hot lightning through Eddie's abdomen. He moans it out, broken; his chest arches. Venom hums around his dick and between his legs, the wet swipes of tongue growing firmer.

There, Eddie... beautiful...

Eddie pants through his teeth as he feels his balls begin to tighten. He can't take much more - three sites of perfect fucking pleasure now burning through his nerves, Venom handling them all with a focus and care most human lovers can't even give to one. He's never had his cock sucked like this; he's never had someone just lick him open like they love him, lap across his asshole over and over; he's never felt both nipples teased and gently pinched just right. He's about to come or die - or possibly both.

"V-V?" he gasps out, too turned on to suppress the need, too hot with it now, too close.

Mm, Eddie?

"Can you - ohh s-shit - can you give me something to suck on? O-One of your..."

Quiet curiosity flickers through their connection. Eddie feels it brushed aside for now, to be returned to at a time when questions may be asked.

One of the slender vines tormenting his nipple leaves its post. It eases its way over his collarbones like a grass snake, up the side of his neck and gently along his lower lip. Eddie groans, opening his mouth.

The tendril steals inside. It brushes over his tongue, fondly, playing with him; it feels like kissing.

F-Fuck - thicker -

The vine swells within his mouth, the size of a slender cock now and still tapered. Eddie shudders, panting around it as he tips his head back against the pillows.

Thicker - p-please -

After a moment's hesitation, the tendril begins to fatten. It swells slowly until Eddie's lips feel the stretch, until his gasps are muffled by the feeling of full, filled up, fucked, and Venom's claws curl around his hips to hold him down - to keep him from bucking up - to hold him here right here, make him feel it, keep him taking the pleasure. He sucks on Venom's tendril with all the fervour he'd give to sucking his cock, fellating it as if he'll feel Venom come down his throat at any moment. His mouthful thickens his sobs of enjoyment into moans. He can't hold it any longer.

As he comes, his entire body seems to dissolve into ecstasy. He's no longer a creature of skin and nerves; he's just pleasure, ringing and shining, holding onto a single sensation to guide him through: the very tip of Venom's tongue, lapping gently at his asshole. With orgasm wrecking him, it feels like a promise.

When it starts to end, and he's released back into his own body, Eddie finds to no surprise that he's a mess - a broken, sweating, panting mess. He's trembling like he's just been born. Venom slides free from his throat, out of his mouth. Eddie uses the sudden space to whimper.

"V?" His heart's slamming against his ribs. "H-Holy shit. V..."

He gets his eyes open in time to see Venom come crawling up the bed to him, smirking the full width of his face. He looks so fucking pleased with himself that Eddie wants to cram his head immediately back between his legs.

"Jesus," he gasps, shaking - then realises he's grinning too. "F-Fucking Jesus, V..."

Venom pins him back against the pillows, amused, leans down and claims his mouth.

Beautiful, he breathes between them. Eddie shivers, every hair rising onto end. You are beautiful.

 

*

 

There's only time for a quick shower. As he scrubs shampoo from his hair, Eddie realises he can feel his hormones starting to slide and wishes they had longer. He wants to wash each other properly, kiss and get clean, then go back to bed and stay there.

It's weird to think he'll be out in the world soon - surrounded by people who couldn't possibly understand what happened to him this weekend. It's a dizzy, tender feeling: he just wants to be with V.

But duty calls.

He gets out of the shower and gets dry, doesn't bother shaving, sprays under his arms with the first deodorant he finds. He can feel the Monday bearing down now. The sight of the bed almost physically hurts - the gorgeous wreck they've made of it, sheets twisted and pillows dragged down from the headboard. The bedroom smells of sex.

As he pulls open the wardrobe, searching listlessly for a t-shirt, black vines slip between his fingers. They slow the movements of his hand.

Confused, Eddie lets them take over.

Venom moves through a few more t-shirts, considering each one in turn. He then hums, and removes a soft grey button-down Eddie hasn't worn in years.

This one, he croons. He undoes the top button and slips it from the hanger.

Eddie can't keep himself from smiling. He moves compliantly, saying nothing as Venom negotiates the shirt gently up his arms and over his back. The two halves glide together at his chest; tiny tendrils make short work of the buttons.

As Eddie watches, amused, Venom reaches towards the basket of dry laundry near the door.

These? he checks, retrieving a pair of shorts.

Heart warm, Eddie nods.

Venom partly materialises to help him put them on. He appears before Eddie, kneeling; Eddie places a hand on his massive shoulder for balance. The shorts rise up his legs and settle around his waist, the shirt smoothed over them with care.

Venom then reaches for jeans.

Eddie grins a little, lifting his foot.

"Styling me now?" he asks, as Venom eases the black denim over his ankle.

You will look nice with these. Venom lifts his other foot for him. It's cute that you do this.

"Do what?"

Clothes.

"I mean... public nudity's kinda frowned on..."

Venom makes a soft sound of amusement, nuzzling into Eddie's stomach as he pulls up his jeans. All of you are cute, he says. Clothes. Soft things you cover your skin with... favourite colours. Patterns.

Eddie's never thought about it that way. He watches as Venom buckles his jeans for him, taking his time with the fastening.

I like to choose for you, Venom murmurs, gazing up. I like to hide your skin away safe.

"Yeah?" Eddie bites his lip. He likes it, too. "Which jacket am I wearing?"

The leather one. It's warm. Venom reaches towards the basket again. And these socks.

 

*

 

Halfway to work, Eddie feels a distinct buzzing start up in his back pocket. It continues for a minute or two, then stops.

A text arrives another minute later.

As they pull up at the lights, he tilts his head.

"V? Was that my phone?"

Yes, Eddie. I think you had a call.

"Check who it was, will you? Might be from the guy we're meeting."

Venom reaches into his back pocket for him, extracts the phone and brings it round to Eddie's eyesight. He snaps up his visor to squint.

One Missed Call from Sam King. One New Message from Sam King.

"Open the message for me?" he says.

Venom taps the screen.

 

Hi Eddie, just wondering if we could rearrange our weekly catch up. I'll be out of state on Friday. I don't suppose you're free this morning?

 

There's a pause.

Shall I reply, Eddie? Venom asks.

Eddie glances at the lights. His mouth tugs as he snaps his visor back down. "Better just go straight there," he says. "Get it out of the way."

Venom slides the phone back into his pocket, saying nothing.

"You okay with that?" Eddie checks.

Inside his helmet, there comes a quiet nudge against his cheek. Yes. I'm sorry.

"Don't be." Eddie nudges back as best he can. "And don't worry."

Mrhh. Mine.

"Yours, starshine. Hundred per cent." The lights change. "We'll get brunch when we're done, yeah?"

 

*

 

Sitting outside Sam's office, answering emails on his phone as he waits, Eddie's mind starts to wander. Flashes of this morning keep coming back to him, each one bringing a quiet surge of happiness.

He feels Venom stroke across his stomach beneath his shirt.

The corner of his mouth lifts.

You okay? he checks.

Yes. You are happy. A gentle brush across the back of his neck threatens to turn his smile into a grin; Eddie fights it, focusing on his phone. All of your body is happy today.

Happy sexy chemicals?

Happy sexy chemicals. He can feel Venom stirring through his brain, bathing in whatever it is he's creating. You need more orgasms, Eddie. They're good for you.

Jesus.

How often can you have them?

Err. I've never tested.

Mm. The door of Sam's office opens; a client leaves, smiling and shaking her hand. She's wearing a red printed dress that a week ago might have crippled Eddie. Today, he sees it for what it is: clothes, something soft to cover her skin with. It's cute that she's chosen it. She stood in front of her wardrobe this morning, searching through her outfits and deciding on this one - this dress she likes, the pretty colour, the pattern. It wouldn't fit you, Eddie. And it would ride up on the bike.

Eddie smothers his grin at once. He's wrestled it into a polite smile by the time Sam spots him.

"Eddie," she says, pleased, holding open the door. Her eyes are bright. "Come on in."

As he sits down at her desk, Eddie realises he's more comfortable in her presence than he ever has been. He's no longer painfully aware of his voice and his posture, what his face is doing - whether it's smiling or not. He's just here to catch up.

It feels like he's breathing again.

"Good weekend?" she asks with a smile, as she reaches for a notebook.

Something stretches cosily inside Eddie's chest. He smiles, feeling his heart glow in response.

"Awesome, actually," he says. "The best in a while."

"Yeah?" She's pleased for him, flipping open her notes with a grin. "Get up to anything fun?"

Eddie realises he's going to say it only a moment before he does.

It comes out as easily as breathing. He's not afraid.

"Finally got some proper time with my boyfriend." If she's surprised, she doesn't show it. "Just slept late and caught up on our shows... you know those weekends?"

He doesn't hear the first part of her answer.

He's too busy trying not to grin, feeling something like fireworks erupting inside him.

" - out to Ocean Beach on Sunday. We took a walk with the dogs." Sam beams, resting her chin on one hand. "My wife's outdoorsy."

"Yeah?" Eddie sits back in his chair. "Never been. Is it nice?"

"God, beautiful. We got engaged there." She drops him a wink. "Take your guy and a picnic some time."

"You know what? I think I will."

Her eyes sparkle. "Shall we talk shop, champ?"

Eddie grins. "Yep. Let's do this."

 

*

 

Half an hour later, Eddie steps into the elevator on the thirtieth floor, hands in his pockets with an expression of mild disinterest.

He leaves it on the ground floor with his hair raked on end, the collar of his shirt upturned and a dazed grin spread from ear-to-ear.

 

Chapter Text

It's one of those evenings where the sun seems to melt as it sinks, flooding the sky with colours so bright they're barely real. People come to a halt on the sidewalk just to stare. They fish their phones from their pockets, hoping to catch all the different shades now spilled across the sky, keep them forever in a picture—but they don't come out right on a screen. These aren't the kind of colours that can be put away for later. The only option is to be present, look and breathe.

On the bike heading home, Eddie puts up his visor. He drives slow, taking his time to be careful, but it seems everyone else on the road is taking it easy, too. Nobody can bear to speed past this kind of sunset.

He finds his heart filling up with thoughts of summer.

He'd thought about taking off for a couple of weeks, but those colours have him thinking maybe longer—head to Idaho, drive Hells Canyon Road; Western Oregon; the Colorado Rockies maybe, drive off and keep going, see what they find.

Underneath his jacket, tucked safe beneath his t-shirt, quiet arms wrap gently around Eddie's chest. Though they don't feel like human arms, they hold him just as tight.

I'd like that, comes the murmur. He can feel V glowing with him, every bit as vivid and gorgeous as the sunset. I'd like to see the world.

Eddie smiles, feeling his pulse kick. "Yeah? I'd like to show you."

Take me there. To the wild. Venom's tendrils splay across Eddie's heart, listening to it beating through his skin. Eddie has the curious feeling he's listening to it from the inside, too—nestled safe somewhere close to it, where he's warmest. What about Savage?

"I bet Annie and Dan might look after her for a while. Couple of months, maybe. She could take a vacation while we go on ours."

She wouldn't like it on the bike...

"Nah, she wouldn't. She's used to a certain lifestyle now. I don't think she'd wanna rough it with us two."

Venom's laugh raises the hair on the back of Eddie's neck. He feels the black vines around him constrict, hugging him. I want to rough it, Eddie. I want to be everywhere with you.

God. "I'll take you, starshine. As much of it as I can. I promise."

As they pull up at the lights, Venom's tendrils slide out beneath Eddie's cuffs and ease between his fingers. They wrap around his hands, holding.

Throat tight, Eddie glances up at the colours cast across the sky—and realises in a rush that he won't be lonely again. This is it. Every breath he ever takes, Venom will be there breathing with him. Every plan he ever makes, he'll be making it for two. No matter what life throws up, no matter what appears on the road, he'll be a single quiet thought away from someone who loves him. He won't even have to reach. They're just together, always.

It's a hell of a realisation to have, just sitting at the traffic lights.

He feels Venom stir inside his chest. Gentle tendrils stroke up across his cheeks, brushing beneath his eyes.

Eddie grins, blinking it back with a laugh. "Thanks, V."

You're welcome, Venom murmurs.

 

*

 

As they head up the stairs, Eddie becomes aware of a playful, almost sly sort of quiet forming in the back of his heart. He wonders at once, fighting a smile. As he presses the sensation gently, it eases out of reach of his awareness.

Eddie's smile grows. He doesn't ask—and he can feel Venom watching him not ask, enjoying this temporary holding of a secret—and as they ascend the stairs together, both waiting for something to happen, Eddie isn't sure if the nervous excitement now bubbling through his chest is his own or not. It feels like some kind of offspring emotion—not entirely his, not entirely Venom's, grown between them instead and so real and so wonderful it feels stronger than his own feelings ever did. He doesn't have a clue what Venom is plotting. The door key in his hand seems to tingle, though—something there—to find out, he'll have to wait.

Feigning ignorance, well aware Venom knows that it's pantomimed, he approaches his door as if he hasn't a care in the world, and idly fits the key into the lock.

As the key pushes inward, a gentle and irresistible force pins him up against the door. Eddie shudders, his breath catching in his throat at once. Venom spreads across his back, along his arms and down his legs, flattening him up against the smooth expanse of wood and covering him in a molten blanket of black liquid. His tendrils coil into Eddie's hair; Eddie bites into his lip to suppress a groan.

Mmhm. Mine. Venom's voice rumbles down the back of his neck. It lifts his hair onto end. What was that word this morning?

"W-Which word?"

Like hungry... but for...

Eddie swallows, shivering as he feels Venom seep slowly across his back muscles. "'Horny'?" he says, and Venom ripples with a hum along his inner thighs, coaxing them to spread. "W-Whoa—hey—i-if someone comes up the stairs—"

Venom considers this, thoughtful.

You are right, he says, turning Eddie's hand around the key. The lock clicks. As the door swings open, Venom vanishes into Eddie's body with a feeling of a parachute being retracted.

Eddie nearly stumbles inside, his hands shaking.

He locks the door behind them, safe for the night, and turns around to find Venom forming in the darkness before him, smoke thickening into shape. There's barely time to inhale before his back hits the door with a thud. Venom's mouth finds his own at once. Eddie jerks, groaning, opens his mouth and lets Venom kiss him like he's the air Venom needs, eating at him. Shadow bulks into muscle beneath Eddie's grasping hands. Twin forces slide down the inside of his thighs, hook behind his knees and wrench a squeak from him as they lift him up to Venom's proper height, holding him there against the door with his knees pinned apart. Tendrils coil beneath him, taking his weight. They wind under his clothes, spreading across his skin, tickling and stroking and finally reaching where he wants them, tiny feathers of sensation across his nipples, around his cock, between his asscheeks, and the noises he's making into Venom's mouth will probably summon the neighbours any second to see if he's being murdered. He's never wanted to have the clothes physically ripped from his body before; he now needs it more than he needs to live.

The huff of amusement against his mouth makes his heart strain.

I like these clothes... Venom comments, and something twists open the button of Eddie's jeans. He starts to pant into the kiss, shaking as his zip comes down. A shame to rip them.

The web of little tendrils across Eddie's back thicken enough to support him. He wraps his arms tight around Venom's neck as his symbiote lifts him away from the door, moving through the flat with him as if he weighs nothing at all. They're still kissing, consuming each other. Venom's shoulder muscles feel one moment as solid as stone, the next like a warm and viscous liquid, coating Eddie's fingers and dripping from them as he claws to tighten his grip.

As he carries Eddie to the bedroom, Venom gets the jacket, shoes, socks and jeans off him without so much as a skip in their kiss. Eddie barely has to move; tendrils ease his arms back gently when required, tug the socks off his ankles, even stroke between his toes to cool them after a long day in his boots. The t-shirt comes up over his head as Venom lays him on the bed. His shorts, next, and Venom doesn't even get out from between his legs, just settles on top of him, kissing him, and the fabric vanishes from between them like they're a magician's knot. He's never been undressed so quickly and efficiently in his life. As their mouths grind, and Venom's form melts across his bare and eager skin, Eddie realises it still took too long. They should have been here all day like this, blurring into one. He suddenly feels whole again. The soft and heavy thumping of his heart provides the bass to a low, insistent rumble, almost like a growl—and he realises in a rush that it's Venom, wanting him—enjoying the taste of him, the warmth of him, the way he squirms with pleasure for more skin contact. Their thoughts are fuzzing at the edges, overlapping. They're sliding into each other. It's a single heady swirl of two shades, wrapping tighter around each other, I want you, I want you, and it feels like he can't quite reach enough of Venom with his two inadequate hands. It makes him ache with frustration. Venom's form has webbed across his body, feeling every inch of his skin as he writhes, at the same time that Venom's muscled weight pins him down against the bed.

For you, comes the whisper in his mind. Venom knows he likes the weight—he likes the mammalian heat and solidity of muscle. Eddie hadn't realised. Venom knows what he wants before he knows it. You like being pinned. Carried. It makes you feel safe.

Eddie's brain is already too fried to cope with subtlety right now. You're big. Big feels good.

Mmhm. You like knowing I could protect you. Venom's claws dig gently into Eddie's hips; the rush of longing it provokes seems to knock out his pulse for a second. I want you, Eddie. I want to claim you. I want to fuck you like you need.

H-Holy shit... Eddie's throat contracts, hard. His every nerve seems to ignite. Please. Please, I want that. I need that. I need it right now. I need you.

Venom blurs into him, moving through his body, sweeping into his muscles and getting them to move. Eddie's eyes loll shut. He can feel himself turning and being lifted, but the whole motion is no more than a flurry of Venom's cells travelling through his own, shifting them both across the bed. When they untangle again, separating back into two forms, Eddie finds himself sitting astride Venom, his symbiote huge and muscled beneath him and lying back against the headboard. There are vines of darkness stroking up his sides to hold him, support him; heavy claws curl slowly around his hips.

As Eddie plants his palms on Venom's broad chest, panting, he feels a feather-stroke between his legs.

He drops his head at once, trembling.

"Oh, shit," he whispers—then sinks his teeth into his lip as the gentle tickle comes again, lapping. It nuzzles against his asshole. "Oh, shit. Fuck. Please."

The first breach is hardly anything, tiny, slipping into him easily and without a flicker of pain. Venom feels oily and slick; his body clenches with enjoyment around the feeling. As Eddie digs his hands into Venom's chest and moans, the first exploratory vine inside him eases just deep enough to start him aching. He doesn't even need to voice the small flash of discomfort; Venom pauses at once, waiting, letting him pant.

Light tickles draw Eddie's focus up to his nipples, swirling around his rings.

The noise that leaves him is an inescapable whimper.

"Oh god," he whispers, and clenches again around Venom inside him, shuddering. "Oh god." He can feel Venom growing, stretching a little, testing if he's ready for thicker and firmer. The wetness inside him feels like cooling high-end lube, generously applied; a gentle tingling around his sphincter makes him quiver. "I-I'm okay—I'm okay, V—"

He feels Venom's voice as much as he hears it, vibrating through his palms and up his forearms. "Your body wants to resist me."

"It'll relax," Eddie whispers, shaking. "J-Just need—oh shit, you're inside me. Oh god. Oh, god."

Venom's claws idle gently up his sides, stroking him; careful thumbs graze his nipple rings. "You're safe, Eddie," he murmurs. "Safe with me. Let me inside you."

Oh shit. All Eddie can do is pant, arching his chest into the teasing of his nipples as his body starts to adjust. It happens far faster than he remembers this used to take; Venom's natural lubrication seems to help. Soon, with a shaky stir of his hips, he feels Venom move a little inside him and it's easy and slick.

He moans his readiness, soft.

Venom swells inside him. Eddie keeps moving a little, just to feel it, and at the point he starts to ache, he feels Venom stop.

"N-No," he gasps, gripping with his thighs. "No. Bigger. Please."

"Eddie—"

"Need it. I'll adjust." Eddie grinds down, panting open-mouthed for a few seconds. The animal need to fuck seems to be pulling him apart. "Please. Please, please."

He can feel the nervous hesitation from beneath him, Venom desperate not to cause him pain. As his symbiote thickens again, stretching him, Eddie shudders and concentrates on the satisfying edge of the ache, trying to share it with his symbiote. It's good. It's good, I promise. I'm okay. He keeps coaxing Venom, reassuring him, persuading him to grow until the stretch inside him feels like the largest he can take and not regret it in the morning.

"There," he gasps out, his cheeks hot. He shudders and tests it, gentle up and down; pleasure ripples through his abdomen. "Ohh—f-fuck—oh, V—"

Venom's eyes haven't left his face once. They watch him just as intently now, bewildered that he wants and needs the slight pain, but trusting him enough to let this happen.

"C-Can you go deeper?" he begs, breathless, and feels Venom nuzzle a little further inside him. The first brush across his prostate makes him jerk; he grinds down against it, panting. "Fuck. Fuck, there—"

Inside him, Venom nudges against the sensitive gland. "Here?"

Pleasure sparks across Eddie's lower back. It's enough to cry out, throwing back his head. "F-Fuck...!" His hips start to rock of their own accord, chasing that animal rush of enjoyment. "Fuck, fuck—" He feels Venom ripple all over beneath him, shivering, and the noise Venom lets out is unmistakably a moan. Eddie's heart erupts with it. He grapples for Venom's shoulders, stretching forwards to reach them, his back arching. He wants to be close. He wants to kiss.

Venom's claws rasp up his sides.

They pull him nearer, close enough to kiss.

As their mouths meet, Eddie ruts back against the cock Venom has formed for him. If they were human, this angle wouldn't work—they couldn't fuck like this, him lying on top of Venom, kissing and moaning softly together—but Venom stays in him no matter how he moves, how he shifts. Hands and tendrils stroke and glide over Eddie's skin, petting him as he rocks.

There, Eddie... Venom's voice is as close as his own inner voice; it wraps him up in its rumble, safe and warm. Enjoy me. Take everything you need.

Eddie can't breathe. He can't think, only feel. Some part of him knows Venom is gently massaging his prostate, rubbing him in time with the anxious rolling of his hips, filling him with a hot and gasping pleasure no human lover could ever cause—but it's almost too much to process. He's not in control of himself anymore. He's just a mess, an animal, whining softly as he's fucked. He's never felt this safe in his whole life.

And it feels like they fuck slowly for centuries, easing and cooling in cycles. Whenever the need to come grows too sharp, too tight, everything seems to soften on its own and there's panting and kissing for a while, calming—and Eddie realises V is reading him, gently adjusting his temperature to keep him like this for longer. They fuck until Eddie's sweating and every muscle in his legs and lower back has turned to rock. The pain and the exertion are nothing; he needs to keep going.

Venom stirs beneath him, stretching up, and seems to blur through Eddie's body. Their sex doesn't stop; they stay connected as Venom passes through him, melting into his front and forming instead from his back. Tight coils wrap around his chest, pulling him backwards. Eddie lolls like a ragdoll. He drops back against the broadness of Venom's chest, panting, and finds he's now in Venom's lap, back-to-chest, his thighs parted and held wide by black tendrils.

His steady fucking continues without a skip; he moans, stretching, wrapping his arms over the coils secured around his waist.

Venom's tongue flickers behind his ear. Mmhm?

Eddie's voice cracks in his throat. "Y-Yeah—f-fuck..."

The coil he's gripping twists, forming fingers between his own. It pulls his hand down to his own desperate cock.

Soon, Venom murmurs, as he guides Eddie to grasp himself and stroke. Here, mm? Here for relief?

Eddie lets out a frantic moan. He starts rubbing himself hard and fast, panting as his body twists in Venom's grasp. Every slick thrust into his body strikes his prostate now. It's relentless. It's not easing. He's going to come this time, come with all the force of an exploding star.

Venom's going to let him.

Too far gone, too desperate, Eddie can't even put the words together for what he wants—but Venom knows. He reads the almost panic-stricken surge of longing in Eddie's mind and supplies him with just what he needs.

A tendril tickles at the seam of Eddie's lips.

He lets it in at once, panting; he groans as it swells in his mouth.

Sucking brings him the comfort he needs. The rush of relief and closeness tightens his balls up into his body, and as his hands flies up and down his cock, Venom keeps on fucking him just as slow, just as deep. Coils play between his toes. They tickle patterns over his exposed inner thighs.

My Eddie, the voice inside him breathes. My beautiful Eddie. Come for me. Let me feel.

It starts to break; Eddie cries around Venom's thickness in his mouth. The feeling ruptures from his throat in near-panic. Venom holds him in place—and Eddie realises he's going to fuck him through it.

It feels like every cell in Eddie's body blows itself apart at once. The sheer shattering force of it rips its way up from his balls to his brain, heaving him open and burning all his senses into oblivion. He can feel himself moaning; he can feel the vibrations of his throat as he tries to shout. He can't hear himself, though. The only sound left in the world is Venom's voice murmuring to him, whispering to him, crooning in the back of his mind that he's beautiful.

Eddie sinks into it, whimpering; he lets the thunder break him into pieces.

As it starts to subside, and he returns to some kind of consciousness, he can feel his body still clenching and releasing around Venom inside him. There's come spattered across his belly; Venom's tendril is still filling up his mouth.

He inhales, shaking.

A gentle black blur floods through his body.

It engulfs him in an instant, cloaking his vision and surrounding every inch of his skin in perfect quiet and coolness. Drenched in comfort, he feels his pounding heart begins to slow; hormones bubble through his brain.

He drinks them in, melting.

It's several minutes before he realises Venom's breathing for him. He can feel Venom in his lungs, expanding and releasing them in rhythm, acquiring his body what it needs. The ensuing rush of trust and love is overwhelming. Eddie floats in the feeling as if it's water, letting it seep through his skin into his soul. He realises it's changing him, breath-by-breath.

Overcome, overwhelmed, he lets himself change.

His heart suddenly aches for all the people who'll never feel this—people who'll never rest inside someone who loves them, cherished, feeling their lover keep them breathing. You are my life, he thinks, reeling with it. You are literally my life. That's exactly what you are.

And I'm your life.

Just as I am.

The love he knew before—human love—was always built on expectations. There were always a thousand ways he could fuck it up. Even when he'd hoped he'd spend the rest of his life with Annie, he'd known he'd spend it letting her down. Their love had been founded on her patience and her willingness to forgive. When those were withdrawn, it was over. It was out of his hands. There was nothing he could do to make it okay, nothing he could do to fix it, nothing left but to let it break, and the sincerity of his love didn't matter at all.

Now there's this.

And it's just love.

They belong together. They're one body, one life, and there's nothing more that anyone needs to know. Venom doesn't want him to improve. He just wants to be near Eddie, just as he is, tater tots and deadlines and overflowing laundry basket. He wants to be close because they're in love. He wants Eddie to feel good.

And they're together now.

And nothing else will matter.

Venom? Eddie whispers, his voice soft in the perfect silence all around them.

He feels his symbiote hug around him, glowing. Yes?

The words are big—but they belong here.

I need you, Eddie breathes. You're the other half of me. I mean it. Voicing it feels like light breaking through his skin. I love you, V. I love you so much.

Venom's joy ruptures through his senses, flooding out everything else.

Eddie—I-I love you—

I fucking adore you. I mean it. Don't ever go. Don't ever leave.

Never, Eddie—never, never—

Let me be with you. Always. Please.

A-Always—

Anything you want, I'll find you. Anywhere you wanna go, I'll take you. Anything that'll make you happy, I'll do for you. I love you. I need to show you.

E-Eddie?

Yeah, starshine?

Venom's voice breaks. He starts to cry. C-Can we make pancakes, please?

 

*

 

As small bubbles start to appear on the surfaces, Eddie reaches out for a spatula. The black warmth wrapped around his torso tightens hopefully.

He tilts his head with a smile. "You wanna do it?"

Venom nuzzles at his cheek. Can I?

Eddie offers the spatula up to his shoulder. Venom takes it between his teeth, floats down to the pan and carefully flips each pancake in turn. They've turned out well—Eddie let the batter sit while they showered. There's a jug of maple syrup waiting by the cooker. V's even allowed him to add some blueberries this time.

All of Eddie's utensils have little teeth marks along the handles now.

He couldn't bear to see them without.

When the pancakes are turned, Venom settles back by his shoulder. He presses his small black cheek against Eddie's, makes a tiny humming sound and strokes Eddie's stomach through his t-shirt.

Eddie? he croons.

"Mm, gorgeous?"

Mmhm. Venom licks Eddie's cheek. Why something to suck on?

Eddie grins, sliding one thumb bashfully through the belt loop on his dressing gown. He reaches for his coffee.

"'Cause humans are filthy," he says, and takes a drink.

You... like to feel as if you're pleasuring me, too.

Eddie bites his lip. "Yep..." he says, placing down the coffee. "There it is."

I already feel pleasure when we mate, Eddie. I share yours. You don't need to do anything.

Something about the word 'mate' makes Eddie's stomach squirm. He's not sure why he likes it. He decides he's not going to feel too guilty about it, though. "You enjoy causing the pleasure, right?"

Yes, of course... very, very much.

He tilts his jaw, nudging against Venom. "S'why I like the idea of causing yours."

Venom nuzzles back.

I think I understand, he says. He reaches a slim black coil towards their waiting plate, and retrieves himself a small handful of blueberries. Intimacy is better with reciprocation.

"Mm hmm. It's nice to share." Eddie smiles as Venom feeds him a blueberry. "It's... maybe an 'inside me' thing as well," he admits, chewing. "Feels good having you that close. Taking you into me. It's... satisfying."

Venom squeezes him gently. I'm always inside you.

"Into my mouth, then. Into..."

Into intimate places, with purpose.

"Mm."

Being vulnerable with someone you love feels good, Venom concludes.

Eddie smiles, accepting another blueberry into his mouth. "Sure does." As he leans back, Venom's tendrils wrap him in a tighter cuddle; a tiny kiss presses against to his temple. "This day couldn't have gone any better... you know that? I feel like I'm shining."

Venom ripples, emitting a pleased rumbling noise. What are we doing tomorrow?

"Well... thought we'd chase up that lead we got on Friday for the Garcia case... the guy should be back from vacation now, so we can get some answers outta him. Better get that book back to the library or they'll hit me with a fine. Oh, and pick up some groceries... that okay? We'll get the bus out to the store and stock up. I haven't baked for you in ages."

Mmhm. I like the grocery store.

"And you remember from last time, right? You eat the things after we've paid for them. Not like a restaurant."

It's not my fault it's a confusing system, Eddie. They should put that somewhere.

"They should, baby. You're right. It's just kinda hard for me to explain to a cashier how I ate six boxes of pop tarts by accident."

Mmrmh. Venom feeds him another blueberry. Alright.

"We'll get some crab, mm? Some decent sourdough, do a proper cioppino one night." Eddie takes the pancakes off the heat, retrieves the spatula and flips it between his fingers. He's not surprised to find himself smiling again. Grocery trips, blueberry pancakes for dinner... this is all getting blissfully domestic. Before he knows, they'll have six kids and a mini van.

"I think it's gonna be a good week, starshine." As he reaches for their plate, Venom kisses him on the cheek. "Don't you?"

 

*

 

THREAD: Hello again internet. I have news.
POSTED BY: [Unregistered User]

Hello everyone.
A few days ago we talked about eddie. You were all very kind to listen to me. I wanted to come back to tell you whats happened since and to share my happy news, in case you are worrying.
Eddie found the conversation I had with you all. I left it open on his laptop by accident when we were asleep. I was terrified at first that he would be angry, that he might ask me to go. But we started talking.
Eddie worried I was just curious and wanted to experiment. He didnt realise I love him. He didnt realise I care for him so much. Since then I have learned that eddie needs to feel special and safe before he can feel close. Lots of people in the past have tried to change him. They wanted him to be different than he is.
But I think he is perfect.
Ive told him that now.
And we are close now.
Eddie has also told his boss at work that he has a boyfriend. She was very pleased for him and says we should take a picnic to ocean beach. Eddie has promised we will go there at the weekend and spend the day.
Eddie says he loves me.
He is asleep next to me while I type this. I have his laptop. Im going to go soon and help him sleep but I wanted to say thank you internet. I wanted you to know Im alright. Im more happy than I have ever been and so is Eddie.
And I think we will only get happier and happier.
Goodbye internet. Thank you for all your help. I hope you always have someone to feel close to. I hope you find your life becomes as happy and easy as mine is.
Yours sincerely and with best wishes from
V x

 

The End