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What's in a Name?

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Your name is Edward Charles Allan?

Eddie paused, looking up from the paperwork Anne had dutifully delivered. She’d hopped onto the Life Foundation case, and as much as he didn’t want to get involved his conscience had forced him to promise at least to testify. Though, looking at the stack of papers it had left him with, he was beginning to reconsider. And there was of course the issue of his full name being listed to address.

“Uh, yeah bud. That hadn’t come up in our name conversation?”

No, Eddie. But we like your name. We would have gotten to say all of it, if we had known there was more.

He felt his grimace melt into the confused guilt of his other, and hastened to explain. Truth is, he’d known damn well it hadn’t come up when they discussed human naming conventions, because he’d made sure it hadn’t. Edward Brock, that was his name as far as anyone ought to be concerned.

But the paper has it different, Eddie.

With a soft sigh, he scrubbed his hands over his face and sat back in the creaky kitchen chair. “Yeah. Sorry, I should have told you my full name when we talked about it. You told me yours.”

He heard a noise of agreement from the symbiote and a small surge of affection, the joint memory of Eddie’s futile attempt at saying Venom’s name in their native tongue resurfacing. Though maybe that was stretching what a “tongue” could be considered, given that no tongues were involved at all (surprising for the symbiote). Instead Eddie had found that the Klyntar approximation of “Venom” was a soundless series of thoughts and textures that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t exactly get right.

But Venom had shared it with him, along with a few other words that Eddie was utterly inept at repeating. And he’d felt his other’s small pang of suppressed pain at the memories of his planet, the same sort of pain Eddie’s name brought him.

Yes, but why pain? We will help, you said talking helps, right Eddie? The sleek black head of the symbiote pulled itself out of his chest, looking up to him with alien eyes that still managed to express deep concern.

“Talking helps, right.” Eddie reached out, scratching lightly under their chin and relishing in the resulting purr. “We’ve talked about my dad, you remember V?”

Of course. A small wave of anger rippled under the concern.

“The ‘Charles’ was a reference him—his dad. Never even met him, but always seemed like he was even worse than the bastard himself. Either way, not a family I’m fond to have been a part of.”

And “Allan?”

“Anglicized version of a saint, Dad picked it out for my confirmation. Invented the rosary or something? Shit, that one’s been awhile, sorry V. We can google it later if you want.”

We don’t know what most of those words meant, Eddie. It’s a…God thing?

Eddie laughed despite himself, sending affection towards Venom to make sure they knew he wasn’t mocking them. “This one is mostly just a Catholic thing, but yeah, that’s right bud. A God thing.” He felt a considerate purr as the symbiote rubbed up under Eddie’s chin this time.

His confirmation was…not great, predictably. He was fourteen, old enough to have decided that he no longer believed in the faith he’d been raised in. But he also hadn’t been prepared to contradict his dad, and let himself get pulled through the motions of the sacrament.

It had seemed like it would go fine, until the Renewal of Baptismal Promises the day of. He’d choked, couldn’t get himself to say a simple fucking “I do”, and effectively threw off the entire mass and embarrassed his father. The church had given him a second shot at a later mass (and what kind of fuck up needs a second shot at their confirmation?), but the damage had been done.

Carl managed to not say a word to him for an impressive thirteen days afterwards, a streak that was only broken via an order to get the mud off of his new shoes. God, he was an asshole. Eddie sighed.

That God is not even real, Eddie, but it feels like hurt when you talk about him. Venom thought for a moment. Nothing can hurt us. The silky black rubbed under his chin again, this time with more force. Trying to convince him.

Eddie laughed stiffly as he butted Venom back down. “I know love, I know. Nothing can hurt us. Not now. But old things can, you know? Stuff when…”

He trailed off, but his other understood. When there was no we. They paused, and Eddie felt them thinking. I’m here now, Eddie. Not going anywhere.

Their use of the first person caught Eddie off guard. He wasn’t sure how to take it.

Take it as a promise, then.

Oh. The rush of affection in his chest merged with Venom’s, and Eddie wrapped his arms around the small bit of black outside of his body, squeezing it tight against himself. He moved so quickly that the symbiote wasn’t prepared, ending up smashed back into Eddie’s internal organs before they reemerged as a full torso for an actual hug that wrapped Eddie up tight.

Venom went to pull back after the five seconds they’d discussed as the right amount of time (three if it’s casual, five if it’s something more), and Eddie almost let them. Almost.

Instead, Eddie tugged the symbiote back against him, burying his head into their chest. His hands curled into fists, squeezing the now-fluid black under his nails and absentmindedly hoping that didn’t hurt them.

No, Eddie. You could never. He took a shuddering breath, still pressed against them, and nodded soft. You okay, Eddie?…Want to talk about?

“No, V, not now. I just—shit, I’m sorry.“ His voice cracked, and he let out a shrill laugh as he broke the embrace to rub at his eyes. Eyes that were not tearing up, thank you very much.

Liar. You know we can feel when they do. It was teasing, but gentle, and Eddie couldn’t hold down a real laugh as a warm tongue flicked to wipe his cheeks for him.

“I know, V, I know.” He took a deep breath.

We’re okay, Eddie?

“We are with you, love, yes.”