Eddie gave the best kisses - at least as far as Venom was concerned. They weren't those slobbering, noisy ones they saw on TV where the man and woman tried to eat each other's faces off. No, Eddie's kisses were gentle and tender, delivered by his soft lips and always with a smile. It made Venom shiver every time he did it, and he always did it when they weren't expecting.
Venom loved those kisses. They tried their best to get as many as they could. Sometimes, just manifesting themselves was enough. For no reason at all they'd get a kiss. For just being there they'd get a kiss. They adored Eddie's lips. He would talk endlessly with them, slurp spaghetti with them, even bite them when he was nervous or stressed.
Venom would lay there at night, pooled on Eddie's chest, watching him sleep and study those lips. They would marvel at how delicate the skin was, how sensitive they were. Occasionally they would run a tendril across them and get a kiss in return. Even in his sleep Eddie was giving out kisses.
They wanted to kiss back, but Venom knew they didn't have the right features. They tried to mimic Eddie's perfect lips, to recreate their shape, their plumpness, the way they moved, but it was never right. The texture was off. They weren't moist like his were. They weren't warm and graceful like his were. They were blunt and cold and no different to the rest of their form.
They would have to try harder.
Why do humans kiss like that?
Venom was watching TV while Eddie worked on his laptop. He looked up to see the couple in question doing that face chewing thing again and digging their fingers into each other's skulls.
"Er, because they're passionate about each other, bud."
It does not look pleasant.
"It depends who you're doing it with I guess."
The couple were closing a bedroom door. It was a romcom so the scene just skipped to them lying in bed, his chest was exposed while hers was conveniently covered up by a bed sheet. Venom was already losing interest in the story. Eddie had gone back to his article.
We like your kisses better.
They were in front of him now, their opal eyes gazing lovingly at those lips again.
"Yeah, um, thanks buddy." He wasn't really listening.
We do. They are much softer. Like this.
Venom tried to tap Eddie's cheek with a tendril, but it didn't quite convey the message they wanted. Eddie was too distracted and just caressed the offering between his thumb and finger instead.
Then his brain actually caught up with the conversation and he blinked.
"Hang on, wait, I don't kiss you."
Yes you do.
"No I don't."
Yes you do. You do it all the time.
Eddie had to think about that one. Did he really kiss Venom that much? Physical contact was definitely something they did, but he hadn't really considered kissing a separate part of that. Venom ran a few memories through his head and Eddie had to concede that he had kissed them a lot. How did he not notice?
Why do humans kiss each other Eddie?
Eddie was so occupied with his unconscious actions that it took a moment for him to reply.
"Uh, well," he began, "it's just another part of bonding really." He thought about what it meant to kiss someone. There was always intent behind it. "It's a very vulnerable thing to do. It's a sign of affection. You kiss a person to show that you love them."
His train of thought shuddered to a stop and he went cold. Kissing was something you did when you loved a person, and he kissed Venom a lot. Did that mean....?
He wasn't going to finish that idea. He couldn't.
He jerked from his reverie. Venom was looking up him with their beautiful iridescent eyes. Concern fluttered from their side of the bond.
What is wrong?
They had sensed the way Eddie's mood had suddenly shifted from perfectly fine to something akin to dread. They thought they had somehow caused this. They wanted to know what the problem was so they could fix it.
"N- nothing bud....I'm good."
They knew he wasn't. There was a cold sweat breaking out on his skin. He had thought something he didn't like and didn't want to share. They hated not knowing.
"Just, um, just go back to your film, okay?"
Eddie returned his attention back to his laptop. They weren't going to get anything more from him, and they had learned long ago that there were times when Eddie didn't want them to pry. This was one of those times.
Dejectedly, Venom returned to the TV. Their kissing questions had failed. They would have to try again another time.
Sadly, another time didn't come soon. If anything it had only made things worse.
Eddie had stopped kissing them.
It was as though bringing attention to them had caused them to go away. Venom regretted bringing it up. It had all gone wrong. Eddie had even mostly stopped touching them too and they dearly missed it. Missed the way he would tangle his fingers in their form, missed the little rubs and scritches. Missed the unexpected moments of contact, the way he would hold them in his hands, or lean towards their head.
It all stopped. Eddie was closing himself off and Venom didn't understand why. It hurt. It was like being slowly rejected. They had worked so hard to reach that comfortable place and now it had all gone away. And it was all their fault.
They would still touch him when he slept. They could still get kisses that way, but it wasn't the same. They were no longer freely given. They had to be stolen, taken in the night while no one was looking.
They caressed his face in the way they knew he liked. A little sigh escaped his wonderful lips and deep inside there was a throb of emotion. It was powerful, and strong, but it was caged. It wasn't allowed to come out, wasn't allowed to be seen. Eddie's body ached with the strain of keeping it contained. Why wouldn't he let himself feel what he wanted, even when he was asleep?
Venom tried to soothe the ache away like they always did by gliding over his body and massaging his skin, but that only seemed to make the aching worse. He was getting distressed and Venom could only conclude that they were the cause. They retreated back inside, determined to not induce any more harm, but spent the rest of the night wrapped around his heart. It beat solidly, rhythmically, and if Venom tried hard enough, they could pretend that it was like a kiss.
It was one of those evenings at home that used to be Venom's favourite. Eddie would choose a film and make some popcorn and spend the entire time idly tracing shapes into the top of their head. He would stroke and squeeze and do so many wonderful things with his fingers that made them purr with happiness. They knew Eddie liked it too, but he wasn't doing it tonight.
Tonight they were just sitting there, like two strangers.
When it seemed like no contact would be forthcoming, Venom gave up and went back under Eddie's skin.
"Hey bud, not interested in this one? Shall I choose another?"
A stab of bitter hurt went straight to Eddie's gut.
"Hey, hey," he said softly. "What's the matter?"
They sounded tired. It hadn't taken long for Venom to pick up Eddie's bad habits of being stubborn and uncommunicative. If he wasn't going to talk then neither were they.
"Come on buddy, don't be like that. Did I do something wrong?"
There was a pause. The reply was laced with shame and guilt.
No. We did. It was our fault.
Eddie racked his brain.
"What do you mean? What did you do?"
"It does. I can't think of anything. Please, come on, talk to me."
He was touching his chest, trying to make Venom appear. He always used to do that.
Slowly, they emerged, taking full advantage of Eddie's hand cupping around their form. They kept themselves small and he didn't remove it once they were fully out. He even smiled at them.
"There you are. Now come on Vee, tell me what the problem is."
They were hesitating, afraid that saying things out loud would once again make things worse. But they had to explain. They wanted the comfortable place to come back. They had to find a way of asking for it.
You...you do not like us anymore.
Eddie started at that.
"What!? Where did you get that idea?"
You do not touch us anymore. You do not... kiss us.
The realisation hit him cold.
"Oh," was all he could say.
He didn't know what he'd been doing - or in this case, not doing. He had gone too far in the other direction. He'd over-corrected and made Venom think the wrong thing.
We have done something wrong. We made it go away. You do not like us.
They began to slither back into Eddie's chest with the intention of forming around his heart, but he quickly took hold and gently tugged them into his hands.
"No, come back, come back. Of course I still like you Vee."
He had to be at least part way honest. He couldn't have Venom thinking that they did something wrong. It hurt to think they thought they were responsible for his behaviour.
"That's not at all the reason."
They looked up at him. A tiny spark of hope reignited within them.
"No, I-..."He searched for the words. He wasn't ready for this. As much as he wanted to clear up the misunderstanding, he wasn't ready to tell the whole truth. It was too big. The consequences were too big.
He abruptly paused the film and moved to the kitchen. Venom swung around to his back as Eddie poured a glass of water and downed it in one go. He didn't turn to look at them when he was done. He gripped the counter trying to find the nerve. As much as they had a mental connection, Eddie needed to say the words. He wanted to take responsibility for Venom's hurt feelings. They had to know.
"It's not you Vee, it's me. I'm the problem."
No Eddie, you are perfect! Venom protested.
"Yeah, well, I've been doing a pretty shitty job of it lately."
He took a deep breath. Just do it. Rip off the band aid.
"I'm sorry. I didn't realise I was being so cold. It wasn't fair. I was just-... god, I was scared."
The reply was so quiet it was almost a whisper.
Of what Eddie?
A tendril emerged and traced along the curve of his neck. It was so gentle, so soft and understanding. Eddie reached for it and squeezed.
Deep within there was that throb again, but this time it was so much stronger, so powerful that it threatened to break its cage.
He spun around and pulled Venom's form in close, their foreheads touching. Eddie's hands grasped desperately at Venom's skin, it was like he suddenly wanted all the contact. Everything he had denied himself the past weeks, he wanted it now.
The words weren't coming out. Why wouldn't they come out?
His forehead creased with anguish. He needed to say it. Needed to allow himself to feel it. But the fear was too overwhelming. What if it was too much? What if Venom didn't want it? What if Venom left him because of it?
More tendrils stroked his face, their touch nothing but reassuring. They ran through his hair and around the shell of his ear. It calmed him a little. It also made him realise how much he'd missed it too. He should never have stopped, no matter what the reason was. You don't just suddenly withhold affection from someone you care about. It was cruel.
Venom's words were soft. They were laced with tenderness.
Would never leave you Eddie, my Eddie.
The cage exploded.
It was love.
Love is what he had been so afraid of, so scared to let himself have.
It poured into Venom, wrapped them up in it, soaked into their very soul. It was the most beautiful thing they had ever known.
They rushed to embrace Eddie's body, to cocoon and squeeze him, to show him that they wanted it, that they could take it. They formed a torso and Eddie clung to it so tightly, buried himself in their shoulder. Their massive arms circled his frame and felt his relief at being accepted. The ache was gone, replaced with something else that radiated from every cell in his being. It was joy, and warmth, and comfort and the promise of a million kisses, of a million touches.
Venom took it all in and echoed it right back. They added their own feelings, their adoration, their yearning for contact, their loyalty and their desire for more. For as much as Eddie would give them, they would give in return. They wanted everything he wanted and they would share it all. No more secrets, no more fear between them, just perfect symbiosis. Perfectly balanced in every way for the rest of their lives.
It took a long time to come down from that high. Eddie wasn't even sure he remembered how he got back to the sofa, but there they were, the film once again playing, the popcorn mostly gone. His hand was on Venom's head and he didn't stop moving his fingers for one second. All was once again right with the world.
Or, at least, nearly right.
They turned to look at him.
That was new. Had Eddie meant to do that?
"Should I go back to something else?"
He was suddenly worried he'd gone too far too quickly, but Venom swiftly put his mind at ease.
No, we liked it. Say it again.
He smiled, those lips of his doing delightful things. It made them feel all warm inside.
"Love." And he kissed them on their forehead.
Strangely, that was exactly what they'd wanted to talk about.
"What did you want to ask?"
We wanted to ask about kissing again. We want to- would like to, kiss you.
Eddie quirked an eyebrow. His mind flittered back to the woods. That had been their first kiss and it was, well, it was memorable. But it was also full of need and fear. Adrenaline mixed with desire with an attempted alien invasion going on in the background. Not to mention the excessive amounts of tongue.
No, not like that. Soft. We want to be soft.
"Oh, er, okay. How do you intend to do that exactly?"
We don't know. We haven't figured out how.
Eddie bit the inside of his mouth thinking.
We have tried to make lips like yours, but they were wrong.
He felt a flush of embarrassment that wasn't his own.
"Here, you can try on the back of my hand."
He held it out with a smile, picturing some medieval princess being wooed by a fancy admirer.
Venom took his hand and looped stroking tendrils down each finger. They weren't going to miss a single opportunity now that they could touch again. After a moment of admiring Eddie's delicate muscles and bones, they bowed their head and tried their best. The results were nice, but didn't feel much like a kiss. It reminded Eddie of those edible wax lips.
See. It is all wrong.
They huffed in frustration. Eddie smoothed his hand down the back of their skull.
"No, not all wrong, just not right for you. Stop trying to be me. Just be yourself."
They hesitated, not knowing what to do. Eddie edged forward on the couch.
"Come on, lay one on me, right here."
He pointed to his cheek as he offered it up for Venom.
"I'll even close my eyes." And he did.
He looked so beautiful like that, chin up in the air, slightly smiling, expectant. But then again, when did he ever not look beautiful to Venom?
They decided to go with what they felt best, something that suited them. They covered their mouth but allowed the dull outlines of their teeth to remain on the surface. They pooled all of their warmth to that part of their face and recalled something Eddie had thought about intent. Kisses had meaning.
But they were nervous. They didn't want to get it wrong. What if it was bad and everything got upset again?
"Don't leave me hanging here, love." There was that word again. And there was that feeling.
So they took that feeling, bundled it up with healthy dose of affection and trust, and pushed it through their bond at the same time their altered features made contact with Eddie's skin.
It was like being kissed by sunshine.
He shuddered with the emotions that came with the gentle touch. Eddie was practically beaming, but didn't dare open his eyes in case Venom lost their nerve. It was the best kiss he's ever had.
"Do it again, love."
And they did, on his forehead. He hummed in appreciation.
This one went on his jaw line. Another on his neck. One went on his clavicle, another on his fingers. Venom tenderly turned his arm over and placed kisses all over his palm and forearm. Then they did it along the other arm.
Eddie let out one of those long deep sighs that they loved. He was completely and thoroughly relaxed. But they'd run out of exposed skin to touch.
"I'd say you were pretty good at kissing, love."
Venom swelled with pride and satisfaction.
"But you missed a spot."
He pointed to his lips, his perfect perfect lips. Did they dare kiss him there?
His eyes were still shut so they closed theirs too. Feelers started kneading into his hair, and the couple on TV came back to mind, but they were better than them. They and Eddie had something that no two actors could recreate, that no other two people on the planet could understand.
The touch was soft, just as soft as Venom wanted it to be, and just as warm. It didn't last long, but it didn't have to. It was totally perfect. They opened their eyes to find Eddie looking into theirs with a grin. Nothing else needed to be said.
They nuzzled in under Eddie's chin and he swept them up into his arms, hugging them close to his chest. Sheer contentment washed through both of them and Eddie drifted off with Venom listening to his heart.
It was just like Venom thought - Eddie gave the best kisses.
And now they could give just as good ones back.