Actions

Work Header

On Shaky Ground

Chapter Text

Eddie lurched towards the steps outside his house. The stab wound in his side was leaking profusely despite the pressure he’d been trying to put on it. It was fortunate, really, that it had happened so close to home, but Eddie was still attempting to piece together an answer as to why it had happened at all.

Not far now Eddie, just a little more.

It had been a regular Friday night, and they had stopped off at the bar for a drink as per usual. Eddie would chat with the bartender a bit, and smile away at Venom’s running commentary, while practicing sending his replies via thought instead of out loud. After a few beers, they’d wander home while Venom whispered into Eddie’s ear all the things they were going to do to him when he got there. The walk back never took very long.

But tonight, as soon as they’d left the bar, Eddie had been jumped by maybe three, possibly four men. They’d bundled him into an nearby alley, and before Eddie could even properly react, he had felt the white hot kiss of a knife being plunged between his ribs. The gang scarpered after that, not even trying to take his wallet.

Eddie had just sat there in shock afterwards, staring at his hand covered in his blood. It had all happened so fast his mind had lost coherent thought. Without Venom, he might have still been sitting there.

Eddie! We need to get home! NOW!

It was the fear in Venom’s voice that compelled him to move. It knocked him from his daze and brought him back to the present. But without the shock, the pain kicked in. He pushed at his side, biting back a yelp, and tried to stem the bleeding. He began walking as quick as he was able, already aware of how wet his jeans were getting. He was probably leaving bloody footprints behind.

Eddie dragged himself up the steps to their house, doing his best to hide his anguish so as not to alert the neighbours. The door was already open for him when he finally stumbled inside. He leaned against the wall, panting with the effort, and contemplated climbing yet more stairs. He was already starting to feel light-headed, and cold was seeping into his bones.

Come on, Eddie. So close now, Venom urged.

“I don’t-” He swallowed. “I don’t think I can, love.” The world was starting to go wonky. He pushed his hand harder against his wound, but not even that could cut through the dullness taking over his mind.

Then we will carry you.

He found himself falling, as though a trapdoor had been suddenly opened beneath his feet. The drop was quick, but to Eddie it felt like slow motion. He saw the hallway shift as his perspective changed. His skin barely registered the malleable texture of the floor he was falling through. And then there was only black.

It was probably only for the briefest of moments, not even a full second, but Eddie felt like he was back in Venom’s domain. Inky darkness swirled around him as he passed through it, but something was different. Through half-lidded eyes, he could see a white shape tinged with opaline colours. It might have been two white shapes, but the glimpse was too fleeting for his mind to catch it.

He fell back into reality and was instantly caught by a safety net of strong tentacles. They lowered him to the bed, and before he had even reached the mattress, small tendrils buried themselves into his skin, blooming warmth into his being. The white shapes were quickly forgotten.

We have got you Eddie. We will fix you, Venom soothed, sending waves of reassurance across their bond.

The tentacles cradled him as he was delicately laid down. They remained close around his body, fawning over his supine form. Eddie’s eyes were already fluttering shut, the knowledge of being safely within Venom’s embrace a powerful sedative. His head rolled to one side and a tendril, as small as a finger, butted at his lips. He instinctively let it in, and his mouth was flooded with a sweet liquid. Eddie drank it down as fast as he could.

He had come to realise a long time ago that, while the nectar given to him by Venom would fill any hunger and quench any thirst he had, it was also a conduit for their healing abilities. It wasn’t the first time he had come home with an injury, but those were minor cuts and bruises compared to this.

However, to Eddie, it didn’t really matter in what context the nectar was offered. He was all too aware of how much he had come to rely on it. There were days when he absolutely craved it. There was no other food or drink of earth like it, and Venom would always oblige him.

Right now, it was rapidly soothing away all of the pain, and igniting intense pins and needles around the stab wound. His abs tensed at the sensation, and his skin itched as it was knitted back together.

Nearly done, Eddie.

He grabbed at the tentacles around him for a distraction. Their surface was reassuringly firm and smooth under his fingers, their sheer presence enough to calm any worry he had. They thrummed with strength and security, and Eddie tried to pull them in closer.

Smaller tendrils were gliding over him now. One of them was caressing the site of the injury making sure everything was healed correctly. Another was stroking his face, wiping away the sweat from his brow and tears from his cheeks that he wasn’t aware he had shed. Each touch was heavenly, and he relaxed into all of them.

But he was increasingly reaching the point where he couldn’t drink any more.

Is it enough? he thought, knowing that Venom would understand his meaning.

For now. You have lost a lot of blood, but you are uninjured.

Eddie never questioned Venom’s knowledge of the human body, but he knew that he’d never felt better. He didn’t think he’d even had so much as a cold since they’d bonded.

The tendril was withdrawn from his mouth and Eddie licked the remaining liquid from his lips, not letting a single drop go to waste. The other feelers continued to lavish him with attention, but as he shifted his weight to better accommodate them, he was greeted with the feeling of damp clothes. He let out a heavy sigh, trying his best not to care about it. Getting undressed was too much effort. He could sleep like this, right?

Let us, Eddie. Venom’s voice was so soft that he didn’t argue. The tendrils worked their way under his clothes, brushing gently against his skin, and began working them off him. He allowed himself to be manipulated as every item was removed, even his boxers.

I should...I should take a shower, he thought dimly, sleep already clouding his mind.

Later. Rest now.

Feelers ran through his hair and over his body. Eddie curled up more into Venom’s embrace, exhaustion washing away any desire to move. They blanketed him in their form, a mixture of ooze and tentacles to help him sleep soundly. They had long ago done away with bedsheets, finding that they only got in the way. Venom was better than any weighted duvet in the world. He pulled them in closer, and let unconsciousness take him.

***

Eddie woke up entangled in Venom’s tentacles. It was his favourite way to find himself in the morning. He stretched, letting out a deep contented sigh, and scooped up as many as he could. He hugged them in close to his chest like a body pillow, and nuzzled into their form. He smiled when they nuzzled back.

Smaller tendrils awakened and began stroking his face and hair. It was their usual morning greeting, and he never got tired of it.

Do I have to get up yet? he asked with a half-hearted groan.

No, Venom cooed back. There is still time.

Eddie snuggled in deeper and dozed for a while longer. It was Saturday, and the only plans they had were a trip to the cinema and to run a few errands. All of that could wait though. Most plans could when he was wrapped up in bed like this.

His forehead creased as he felt the ooze retract. He shivered slightly as the cooler air hit his skin. “What are you doing, love?” he croaked out, his eyes still closed. Firmer tendrils had begun exploring his body in slow, graceful touches.

Looking for more damages, just in case we missed anything.

“Oh, well then, don’t let me stop you.”

They worked methodically from the nape of his neck downwards. They kneaded into every part of his back, eliciting soft, sleepy sighs. They worked into his buttocks and leisurely curled along his thighs and calves. Even his toes got an inspection, no matter that the soles of his feet had him flinching away in a ticklish reaction.

Venom absolutely spoiled Eddie, and he knew it. He’d like to think that he didn’t take advantage of it, but what gave him pleasure kept Venom fed. And a full Venom was a happy Venom. It didn't take long for Eddie to realise that keeping Venom happy had become the most important thing in his life. His entire world revolved around them. Every thing he did eventually came back to 'would this be good for Venom?', 'would Venom enjoy this?', 'has Venom tried this before?'. Sure, he still had to work to keep the bills paid, but in the end that was only so he could stay living in the house with them. Strangely though, his devotion to his alien housemate had never scared him. Commitment had always been a worry, yet he never had second thoughts about giving himself over to them. They were permanently connected, and it was only the idea that they could ever be parted that frightened him.

But right now, he was being gently worked into a boneless mass. No doubt, this delightful massage would have continued into a more sensual experience, like it normally did, but Eddie’s bladder was demanding his attention. With an annoyed grunt, and a small whine from Venom, he pulled himself away from their grasp and headed to the bathroom.

“I’ll be right back, love,” he assured.

However, while he was attending to his business in the cold light of day, he saw just how much blood was actually caked into his skin. It had dried in thick patches, clinging to his body hair, more so over his thigh where his jeans had spread it as he walked. Not even Venom's tentacles had been able to wipe it all off in the night. His injury had clearly been worse than he thought it had been, even though Venom hadn’t said anything. He wondered if he should ask, but the idea that he had seriously been close to dying made him shudder. If it had been that serious Venom wouldn’t have been able to fix him so quickly, right?

He realised that he didn’t really want to know, and tried to chase the thought from his head. Why spoil a lovely morning with such dark ideas? He decided to focus on the present where he needed a shower. And as he was already naked, he might as well do it now.

There was an indignant huff as he turned on the taps. You said you were coming right back.

“I’m a mess, love. Need to get clean first.”

They sighed again, but let the matter drop.

The water was gloriously warm, as always, as he stepped in. He immediately began scrubbing at the muddy brown blood stain that ran all down his leg. He watched as the discoloured water swirled around the drain, letting his worries about the previous night swirl down with it. But when he reached his ribs, he found his fingers lingering over the wound.

All fixed, Eddie. We made you better.

“I know you did, love, I know.” He didn’t want them to become aware that he was worried about what had happened. “You just- you never cease to amaze me.”

Something fluttered in his chest, and he had to put a steadying hand onto the wall. “Whoah. That was new.”

While Eddie and Venom had always been able to share emotions while they were touching, it had never before happened while they were apart. Yet, it was unmistakable that that was what he’d just experienced. It sent his mind racing.

Could you feel us, Eddie? Venom’s voice was just as surprised as he was.

“Yeah... I think I could.”

His hand went to his sternum as another emotion, this time much stronger, bloomed within. Eddie knew what that one was. It was still faint overall, but happiness is a hard thing to miss, no matter how small it is. It mixed in with his own and doubled the sensation, making him gasp.

“Holy cow,“ he breathed. “This is intense.”

Good intense though? Venom asked.

“Oh definitely,” he reassured. He stayed under the shower with his eyes closed, just focusing on the feeling until it drifted away. He really hoped that wouldn’t be the last time it happened.

Wrapped in a towel, Eddie stared at the pile of bloodied clothes on the bedroom floor. His jeans were dark enough to be salvageable, but his t-shirt was done for, and he didn’t have high hopes for his sneakers. The blood was worn right into the tread of the sole. He’d have to check Google later for tips on how to get the stains out. He was certain there’d be plenty of them.

What are you going to do, Eddie?

“I dunno.” He looked over his forlorn shoe. “Throw them out probably.”

We mean about the ones that attacked us.

“Oh,” he sighed. He quickly ran through the available options in his head. “Nothing, I suppose.”

Nothing!? Venom was astounded at Eddie’s casual attitude. But they attacked us!

“That they did.” He toweled himself off and picked out a fresh pair of boxers. Black, of course.

But you will do nothing?

“What would you like us to do?”

Seek retribution!

“Oh really?” A wry smile crossed his face as he rummaged through the dresser. “And how would we would do that?”

We would find them and we would... we would do something.

“Is that so?” He pulled on a clean shirt. “Think you’re going to need more of a plan than that.”

You mock us. He could hear them pouting. 

“Yeah, slightly.” He grabbed a pair of jeans, trying to decide if they were still wearable. He wasn’t sure when they had last been washed.

How can you not care? The ire was gone from their voice, replaced with disbelief.

“I care, Vee, I do. It’s just that, there are some battles you can’t fight.” He figured the jeans were fine for today and put them on.

We do not understand.

“Well, did you get any of their names?”

None were spoken.

“And did you see their faces?”

No.

“And why was that?” He buttoned up his jeans and went searching for some socks.

We were... distracted.

Eddie could guess by what. They were probably preoccupied with planning their sexcapade for that night, and weren’t watching their surroundings, just like he hadn’t been either.

“So, to sum up - we have no names, no faces, and because you saved my life, no actual evidence of a crime.” He sucked in air through his teeth. “I have to say, Vee, I don’t think the police would be very interested.”

We don’t want the police. We want to avenge you.

“Ah, vigilantism.” He sat on the bed to put his socks on. Immediately he was crowded with tentacles all trying to touch and hug him. They piled up against his back like a breaking wave, leaning their weight against him, and tenderly brushing down his neck. “I appreciate the thought, love, but it might be best to just let it go. It was probably just a case of mistaken identity, or a mugging that got stab-happy too quickly.”

They hurt you, they said quietly. Their reason is irrelevant.

Eddie twisted around and gathered all the tentacles he could into his arms, hugging them hard. “You really know how to make a guy feel cared for, you know that?” The end of a tentacle stroked up along his face, and he angled his head so he could kiss it. “I didn’t say thank you for last night yet, did I?”

Don’t need to. We will always help our Eddie.

The tentacle curled round and nudged against his forehead. A headbutt for a being without a head. He closed his eyes and leaned against it.

“But still, thank you.” He pushed his gratitude over their connection, getting only love and affection in return. But there was also a lingering note of concern that had Eddie puzzled. It was so small, it probably wasn’t meant to be noticed, but it buzzed restlessly like a fly against a window pane. Even if he had managed to throw away his worries about last night, they hadn’t.

But it wasn’t like he could do anything about it. He doubted there were cameras in the area, and if they did somehow find their attackers, what exactly was he going to do? Confront them? He wasn’t strong, or fast, or able to dodge bullets. If anything he’d just end up getting hurt again. It was better to just let the matter drop, and chalk it up to experience. He survived. It was all that mattered.

He lavished an extra long kiss on the tentacle, and reluctantly left his attentive bedfellows to head downstairs. He grabbed his hoodie from the balustrade and put on his boots. But when he tried the door, it wouldn’t open.

“Um, Vee? Wanna let me out?”

We can’t do that, Eddie.

“Open the pod bay doors, please HAL,” he chuckled, trying to lighten the mood, but the reference was lost on Venom. “Uh, why can’t you let me out?”

Because you will hurt yourself again.

“Vee, darling-”

Can’t lose you, Eddie. We won’t let it happen.

“Last night was a one-off! A fluke event.”

NO, IT WASN’T! The force of their reply took him back. Apparently the matter hadn’t been settled. You have been hurt multiple times! they continued. We won’t risk it happening again. One day you will be too far away for us to help... and we will lose you!

Eddie could tell Venom was trying to keep their voice steady, but their upset bled into their words. They didn’t need to be touching for him to understand it, and it made his heart ache. “Oh Vee,” he sighed softly, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

We will protect our Eddie. We won’t let anything happen to you. We will keep you safe.

“By keeping me locked up here forever?”

That is our plan.

“It’s a bad plan.”

It is the best plan.

“And what happens when work comes looking for me, or the food runs out, eh?”

He attempted to puncture Venom’s plans with logic. It was usually the only way to win an argument. But he wasn’t counting on their reply.

We will feed you.

That gave him pause. Venom knew that their nectar was a weakness of his. “R- really?” he asked, unconsciously licking his lips.

Yes, just like we have fed you before. You will want for nothing.

A shiver ran up his spine. Truth be told, that was a genuinely tempting offer. He had hoped to make a smart reply, but his mouth was actually watering at the suggestion. He’d had a taste of that life once before.

Back near the start of the year, they had made plans to do nothing but worship each other over one long weekend. Just thinking about the possibilities of all that uninterrupted time with Venom had kept him horny for weeks. He had raced home that Thursday evening and thrown himself straight into bed, promising that the only time he would leave it would be to use the bathroom. As agreed, Venom made some alterations so they could make the most of the time they had. And, boy, did they make the most of it.

It had been an utterly glorious and decadent three days of fucking and being fed by Venom. They had experimented with all sorts of things, their combined pleasure keeping Eddie on an ecstatic high all weekend. They had never felt more in-sync, their emotions and consciousness flowing together as one, almost like they shared a body. It was hard to tell where Eddie ended and Venom began.

But once they had detangled themselves, and Eddie’s brain was no longer swimming in chemicals, the consequences of their comedown were horribly harsh.

For the rest of the week Eddie’s concentration was totally shot. He constantly fell asleep in the weirdest places, and anything he typed just came out as gibberish. His co-workers assumed it was jet lag or some sort of virus, and Eddie didn’t correct them. He was more than happy to be given a wide berth and just left to his own devices. The switch from superhuman sex machine back to his ordinary self had knocked him sideways, and the recovery was painfully slow. His mind had kept on drifting back to how he felt not days ago, and he had longed to return to it. He was honest enough with himself to admit he felt addicted to Venom, and this only proved it really.

For Venom though, it had been worse. They had never felt so full in their entire existence. They had gorged themselves on plenty of orgies in the past, but none of those had come with the emotional connection they shared with Eddie. It had been the finest meal they’d ever known, but three days and nights of it had left them bloated and completely lethargic. They could barely find the energy to speak, let alone show their tentacles, and the whole house had started to sag because of it. Doors wouldn’t shut in their warped frames, surfaces felt greasy, and colours took on a sickly shade. The physical embodiment of Venom’s state of being had made them seem so forlorn that Eddie had just wanted to gently hug them and tell them it would be ok.

But he couldn’t even do that as they quickly discovered that touching was off the cards. They were both so oversensitive to the other’s presence that even the slightest contact fed more pleasure into Venom and made them both feel nauseous. Eddie had rushed to the bathroom plenty of times during those first few days. The only solution had been to abstain from everything, which only made them both feel extra wretched.

This had gone on for weeks, and Eddie would easily admit how painful it had been to be separated like this. To him it felt like Venom was barely there. No more chatting in his head, no more touching in bed. The house started to feel cold and empty, and he was beginning to get very lonely. He utterly hated having to sleep in the spare room during this time, but it had been the only way to avoid temptation. He knew they just had to wait it out, but even a month after that long weekend, they had to take their reintroduction very slowly. They both promised they’d never take it that far again. 

But right now, Eddie was legitimately considering what a life of being kept by Venom would be like. Done in moderation, it would probably be blissful. He wouldn’t have to care about anything, just let Venom look after him and see to his every need. No more work, no more running errands, just him and them forever.

That is until the money ran out and the bailiffs came pounding on the door. Venom would keep them out; they would keep everyone out. But they would also keep him in. Trapped, just like they were. Was it worth it?

He swallowed thickly. His pulse had sped up at the memory of that weekend, but it was slowly being replaced with a sense of dread. Venom would easily put their plan into motion if he didn’t argue his way out of it. He knew that once the novelty of the situation had worn off, their relationship would quickly turn sour, and he really didn’t need a repeat performance of that.

“Vee, sweetheart,” he started, his tone soft and soothing. “As tempting as that offer is, and it really freaking is, please don’t put me in a cage. I don’t think I would do very well in the end. I promise I can look after myself.”

You have proved that you cannot.

“State your evidence.”

You fell down the stairs at work.

“I was tripped! Not my fault. You were there, you saw.”

You were bitten by that stray dog.

“You were the one that wanted to say hello, even though I said it was a bad idea.”

You tipped your bike and injured your legs.

“A kid ran into the road. What was I supposed to do?”

You frequently cut yourself with the kitchen knives.

Eddie opened his mouth to offer a rebuttal, but the words died on his tongue. “Okay, that’s true, but it only proves that accidents can happen anywhere, not just outside, and keeping me here won’t stop that.”

He could tell that Venom was still unconvinced.

“Come on, what do you want from me, Vee? I’m only human.”

The pregnant pause that followed was disconcerting.

Yes, they said slowly, Only human.

The way they said it didn’t do much for his feelings of dread. He needed to change the conversation, redirect their train of thought. He shook off his tension and affected a lighthearted air.

“So, what about this movie? Are we going to see it or not? You’ve been bugging me for ages to go watch it.”

They didn’t respond, and for a moment he wondered if Venom had already decided to keep him locked the house. He knew he would be powerless against it if they did. He really didn’t want to become a prisoner in his own home, so he switched to a tactic that almost always worked with Venom - bribery.

“I’ll bring you back some chocolate covered raisins…”

The door opened a crack, and Eddie breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank god,” he mumbled.

Can they be chocolate covered peanuts?

“Of course. Whatever you want, love.”

He grabbed his helmet and walked out into the sunshine, trying not to think about the near-miss that had just happened. If he had, he might have given Venom’s sudden change of heart more thought. If he were paying more attention, he might have noticed how his bloody footprints from the night before had been completely erased from the sidewalk. And if he had noticed that, he definitely would have seen the car parked down the street with the two anonymous figures inside, watching his every move.

But as it was, all Eddie could think about was whether they had time to get lunch before the trailers started. He was suddenly very hungry.

 

Chapter Text

The movie was pretty much what Eddie had expected it would be - full of loud explosions and action scenes instead of real plot or character. But it allowed him not to think for a few hours, and he did quite enjoy it in the end, as mindless as it was. Venom had been suspiciously quiet the entire time. Eddie said as much as they left the cinema and headed towards the parking lot.

We were thinking , Venom replied.

“Oh, what about?” he asked as he undid the chains on his bike.

About how to pleasure you tonight .

Eddie nearly dropped his helmet. Venom’s bluntness still surprised him. “I- is that so?”

Yes, we were inspired by the film.

“You were inspired by a movie about cybernetic space aliens invading Earth?”

Yes .

“Should I be worried?”

Yes . Their voice was tinged with amusement, and Eddie could sense a mischievous grin. He really rather regretted that he had other errands to run before they could get home.

As soon as he was through the door, Eddie raced upstairs.

Not yet , Venom announced, making him freeze halfway up. We need time to prepare.

“Prepare? Since when?”

Go and eat your dinner. We will tell you when it is time.

He could tell they were enjoying being a tease. With a frustrated sigh, he turned and went back down. The anticipation on the ride home had had him at half mast all the way, and he gave his cock a sympathy rub through his jeans as a consolation prize.

You must wait, Eddie.

He held his hands up in surrender. “I am, I am.” He made his way to the kitchen and searched through the cupboards, trying to focus on what he could make instead of the throbbing want in his gut. He grumbled under his breath the entire time he was heating up his can of soup, well aware that Venom could hear him. His grumbles were only half-hearted though.

“Do you want to watch another episode of Trek?” he asked as he took his dinner into the sitting room.

After they had joined, Eddie had introduced Venom to all sorts of films and TV shows. They had never really watched them before, as a TV set had just been another item for them to manipulate in the quest for food. But since that was no longer an issue, they now had the time to explore this new medium. Eddie had quickly learned that Venom loved stories. Whether they were true or completely fictional, romantic, action, drama or suspense, they were always enraptured by them. Eddie wasn’t sure why he had chosen to show them The Next Generation , but somewhere he must’ve thought they would benefit from the moral quandaries.

Also, you know, aliens. He chose to skip the episode with Tasha Yar and the tar monster though.

No , they replied. We need to concentrate.

“Wow, this must be serious.”

We have never tried this configuration before.

“Really?” He blew on his soup. “After all this time I would have thought you’d have tried everything.”

Willing partners were… scarce. Eddie closed his eyes and wanted to kick himself in the head for making such a stupid comment. We have only recently become so imaginative because of the things you show us.

“Oh, so I’m to blame,” he said, smiling.

Completely.

“Well, I guess I don’t mind that. Take all the time you need.”

We shall.

Eddie smiled again and ate his soup, catching up on the day’s news. He got pretty engrossed in it in the end, scribbling down a few notes for possible story ideas.

Really though, he was more relieved that the morning’s conversation seemed to have been forgotten. He hoped it was a topic that wouldn’t come up again any time soon. Sometimes it was all too easy to forget just how powerful a being Venom actually was, especially when they were so gentle with him. He only ever got to see a small part of them, or at least, that was how it felt. He wondered if he’d ever get to see them whole or if their appearance was even fixed. They weren’t from this world. Did they look different in their own realm?

Anyway, he just needed to try his best to not hurt himself and give Venom more reasons to keep him locked indoors.

It wasn’t until a few hours later that he heard the seductive whisper in his ear.

Eddie.

“Hmm?” He was slouched out on the sofa and scrolling through his laptop.

We are ready now.

“Ready?” he asked, still distracted by the internet.

Ready for you.

He snapped to attention, and the laptop was quickly discarded. He all but shot upstairs, entering the bedroom with a flourish, and standing with his arms outstretched.

“How do you want me?” he asked with a grin.

Strip. Then kneel on the bed.

It wasn’t often that Venom was this authoritative. Eddie immediately liked it.

“As you wish,” he replied.

It didn’t take long. He kicked his clothes off into a pile onto the floor then jumped onto the bed on his knees, facing the wall of tentacles. The anticipation of what Venom had been preparing was already making his cock swell.

Other way.

“What?”

Turn around. With some confusion, Eddie complied. Now hold onto the bed post.

He shuffled forwards and did as he was told, grabbing the post at waist height. Two tendrils appeared and loosely lashed his wrists together, pulling his hands up to his eye level. Eddie raised an eyebrow, but it wasn’t like they hadn’t played around with bondage before. He watched as another tendril snaked down his arm then looped up around his head, covering his eyes.

“Um, Vee?”

Want you to just feel, Eddie, not see.

He wasn’t going to argue with that, especially as he could sense their trepidation through their connection. They were nervous, and that instantly charmed him. “I’m at your mercy, love.”

It was all the encouragement they needed.

Eddie became dimly aware of something shifting as he was approached from behind. He flinched slightly as a warm substance was unexpectedly slathered up one side of his back. But before he could fully react to the action, the liquid evaporated from his skin with a fizzing sensation. It was like a mix of static electricity and Pop Rocks, bursting into existence, but then instantly gone again. He took in a quick breath; this was like nothing else they had done together so far.

There was a pause. Venom was waiting for his reaction.

“Do that again.”

They did, but much slower this time. Eddie realised it wasn’t just the liquid that was new; the tentacle applying it had been modified too. It was covered in small, tightly packed nodules that flexed and moved around the contours of his body. It was almost like a tongue. Venom had made a tongue.

The liquid evaporated again and Eddie shivered from it.

Do you like it, Eddie?

He sucked in some air between his teeth. “Ooh, I dunno, love.” His tone was dripping with false concern. “I think you might have to keep on going till I can make my mind up.” He smiled wide, Venom’s glee swirling into his being.

Then we will not stop until you have.

The tongue returned and licked a stripe down his ribs, the light touch of the nodules verging on ticklish, and making Eddie giggle. Once the tingle had faded, they repeated the motion down the other side, and he laughed again.

Not supposed to be funny, Eddie.

“Sorry, love,” he said, still smiling. “Maybe try somewhere else?”

They found the soft underside of his raised arms and licked there. That gave him goosebumps. Another swipe curled round to cover his throat in a thick stripe, leaving evaporating kisses under his jaw.

“I think you’re getting the hang of this now.”

We think so too.

Eddie swallowed, his excitement growing for where the tongue might go next. Wherever it landed, he would be ready. But he hadn’t been expecting for there to suddenly be two of them.

They curved over the top of his thighs, and his breath hitched with how close to his cock they were. But then they ran down the inside of his legs instead, prising them open further. The fizz was utterly delicious against his sensitive skin, and Eddie shuddered as his dick rapidly reached full hardness.

One of the tongues moved back up to trail along his shoulder blades, his increasing body heat making the evaporation quicker, but the other took to slowly working up his torso.

It started at his hip, then leisurely danced along his tensing abs. It finally covered his nipples, the sparkling substance left in its wake making him whimper out a moan. The dual sensation of the friction and fluid was electric on his chest, and upon seeing his reaction, Venom did it again.

Eddie’s mind was already racing ahead to how these new additions would feel wrapped around his cock, how his even more responsive skin would react. Thankfully, Venom didn’t make him wait long to find out.

Ready for more?

“Oh god, yes!”

He felt the tongue make contact near the base of his spine and begin inching its way towards the cleft of his buttocks. Eddie held his breath as it approached his entrance, hoping it would push inside and put all those nubs to good use, but it continued past. He couldn’t help but be a little disappointed, but the many nodules paid extra attention to the tight ring of muscle, dragging themselves across it and sending sparks of pleasure into his core. His disappointment quickly vanished.

The touch was constant as the tongue fed itself through his legs, the surface of it seemingly never ending, the lubrication feeling completely devine.

The other tongue had come back to his throat, dipping around into his clavicle, and occasionally down to his nipples. It ran over his collar bones, and the tendons in his neck. He rolled his head to give it better access. It switched from long licks to light presses, really starting to feel like wet kisses, each one a surprise.

The tongue down below hugged close to his taint and licked across his balls, covering them in fluid, but then pausing to let it completely evaporate. A strangled noise escaped Eddie’s throat, and he momentarily pulled against his bonds. The fizz made his whole lower body clench up. It was extraordinary. He was desperate to feel it on his completely untouched cock now.

But the forward movement stalled, and a dark chuckle echoed through his mind.

“Don’t stop,” he begged. “Please don’t stop.”

You must wait , they replied, enjoying making him squirm.

Eddie pressed himself against the tongue, but it moved with him, not allowing him to gain any more friction. It took another swipe over his balls, and Eddie felt the precome dribble from his dick.

“Please, Vee,” he moaned, hungry for the stimulation to continue. The other tongue had stilled too, not planting any more kisses on his skin.

Do you like our imagination, Eddie?

“I fucking love it, Vee.”

Will you let us experiment like this on you?

“Anything you want, Vee. I’ll let you do anything.”

Very well then.

The tongue down below continued forward, and Eddie’s whole body tensed, excited for the next part. Every tiny bud caressed his sack as it passed inexorably upwards towards his cock. Eddie was panting with need, his hips trying to encourage it to move quicker, but only rubbing his ass against more little nubs.

It slowly curled up around his length, leaving plenty of gaps for the air to reach his hot, fragile skin. It waited there for a moment, letting the exposed areas fizz and spark. He whined with the lack of pressure; the hold was fairly loose. The teasing was driving him wild.

“Please, Vee. Please.” He tried to thrust again, but all he got was more liquid and no increase in friction. He was hyper aware of every part of his body, and how much of it wasn’t being touched. He needed to be touched.

Is this not enough? they said, thoroughly amused.

“You know it isn’t. Please!”

Well, as you asked so nicely.

The tongue abruptly tightened and stroked upwards, pulling the entire length under his body with it. Eddie lost it.

He cried out as the sudden rush of movement made all his nerve endings sing. It didn’t wait long to pull itself back down, this time from behind like some bizarre towel floss, but hitting him in all the right places.

“Oh fuck. Oh fuck,” he groaned into his arm, his hips bucking on their own.

The motion was repeated, and Eddie threw his head back, his strangled cry of pleasure giving Venom much satisfaction.

Every up and down stroke brought more friction across his ass and balls. The nubs caught on the glands under his flared head each time, firm enough to flick over, but soft enough to deliciously drag. His breathy moans filled the air with each movement. It didn’t have to be fast when it felt this good all over.

“Don’t stop, don’t stop,” he begged with each breath.

Fresh liquid was slathered onto his dick, a blob of which was deposited right onto his slit. He keened hard as the tingling sensations felt like they actually entered his urethra. The tip of the tongue took to polishing his head with each pass, covering it in more fluid.

Eddie was overwhelmed with sensation. So many parts of him were firing off at once, all shouting for his attention. He couldn’t do anything except bury his head into his shoulder and take it.

The length under his body was momentarily pulled away, exposing it to the air and allowing the slick to evaporate. The feeling of it happening against his hole made him thrash and jerk, and he was desperate for Venom to do that again.

Once more? they asked. Eddie could only furiously nod in response.

He could feel a buildup of fluid being lavished against his entrance, and he was of sound enough mind to relax a little. The desired result was enough of the slick finding its way into his hole, and the subsequent exposure sent tingles right into his gut.

“So good, so good,” he moaned.

Meanwhile, the other tongue had sought out fresh patches of skin to cover in their sap. If it hadn’t vanished almost as soon as it was applied, Eddie would have been dripping in it. It trailed down his back, following the curve of his spine, and rubbed it into his ass cheeks.

But by now, his thighs were starting to tremble. He had been kneeling in the same position for a some time, and his legs were starting to ache. He didn’t want to change his posture and reduce the access the tongue had, but he couldn’t maintain where he was either.

“Vee!” he managed to get out. “Could you-?”

Don’t worry Eddie, we’ve got us.

Two tentacles, as soft as silk, wrapped around his thighs and pulled him slightly upwards. Eddie let them carry his weight, and he began eagerly thrusting into the grip around his cock. His breaths were ragged now, his knuckles going white, all of his focus lasered onto his building orgasm.

The strokes became more urgent, the friction from the nodules giving unending stimulation. He couldn’t hold on much longer. The fire in his gut was threatening to erupt at any minute.

“Oh god. Oh Vee! I’m going to- I’m-!”

At the very last moment the tip of the tongue on his dick morphed to cover his entire cock head. Eddie’s climax exploded through his body, and he was left reeling from the intensity of it. His grip on the bedpost faltered, and it was only the tendrils pulling taut that stopped him from toppling backwards.

He stayed there, gasping and suspended above the bed as he drifted in the afterglow.

“Holy fuck,” he breathed, “ho-ly fuck !”

The tongue made a few last lazy strokes, coating him in one final round of lubrication before it slowly began to retract. The evaporation made him shiver, the caresses against his cock encouraging overstimulation. As the tip finally reached his ass, it ever so slightly dipped inside, depositing a healthy drop around his rim.

“Oh god, Vee. You’re killing me,” he moaned as it too evaporated and left nothing but pleasant sensations behind.

The regular tentacles took over now. The tendrils around his wrists let go as the larger ones coiled around his shoulders and waist. The ones around his thighs helped lower him as he was gently brought back towards the head of the bed. The blindfold went too, but Eddie had his eyes closed anyway, an expression of bliss across his face.

Was that good, Eddie? they asked, rather smugly.

“The best,” he panted out.

The tentacles cradled around him like they always did, and Eddie snuggled down into them. He was surprised for a moment to find his leg being lifted, but it was only to allow one of them to fit snugly between his thighs and close to his body. He appreciated the gesture, and gave it a squeeze.

He hummed. “You can do that to me any day.”

We are glad you approve.

A tendril was pushing against his lips, but he gently swatted it away.

“Not tonight, love,” he said, his voice full of sleep. “I’m not hungry.”

It’s not for that, Eddie. We also know that you would like to feel the ache tomorrow.

It was true that his legs were a little sore, and he had asked Venom many times to be allowed to feel the effects of their sexy adventures the next day.

“But then what-?”

Your blood levels are still low from last night. We want to fix that.

“Oh, okay then.” If it was for health reasons, he didn’t have much cause for complaint.

He let the tendril in and lazily suckled at it, the sweet nectar adding to his sleepiness.

He knew how lucky he was to have to Venom in his life. No one else could drive him to such heights of pleasure, and take care of him so tenderly afterwards. He was being stroked all over, the tentacle between his legs throbbing so pleasantly. He couldn’t wish for anything more.

He still couldn’t quite figure out how the movie they watched that afternoon had inspired all this this, though.

***

Eddie stretched as he awoke - and immediately regretted it. He knew what it was to feel sore the next morning after being nicely fucked, but this was like he’d spent hours in the gym on every piece of equipment. Even his fingers ached. He gave a little whimper of distress and instantly Venom sprung into action.

What is it Eddie? What’s wrong?

Hurt, love , he thought back.

We said we would not fix that.

“I know, I know. I must be getting old,” he groaned. Last night’s session was not that intense. Surely only his legs should be stiff?

You have not aged a day since we met you.

A tendril stroked down his cheek and Eddie smiled at the compliment, but that quickly turned to a grimace. Even his facial muscles ached. How was that possible?

Please help , he asked.

Always , came the reply as the nest of tentacles around him awoke from their slumber.

They shifted his position so he was lying on his back, his head and body completely supported against their smooth surface. Tendrils drifted over his skin until they found their assigned muscle groups, then dove deep into the tissue, even under his back. Warmth bloomed within him all over, from his toes to his cheekbones. A steady vibration followed making everything feel loose and lovely.

Eddie’s eyes fluttered. “Aw fuck, that’s so good.”

He would have to make himself sore like this more often, especially if this was going to be his reward. He sank into it, every part of him relaxing. He closed his eyes and focused on the sensations in his body. The vibrations had shifted from steady to rolling waves. They began at his neck and fanned out down his arms, continuing onwards to his toes at the same time. He wiggled them, a satisfied sigh escaping his lips.

“You take such good care of me, love,” he murmured.

We try to. We want you to be perfect.

“I thought you said I was already perfect?” he smiled, his mind already drifting away with the deep tissue massage.

More perfect then.

If there was a deeper meaning to their comment, Eddie missed it. He was distracted by the other gliding touches over his skin. People would pay small fortunes for a massage like this, and here he was getting one from his lover for free.

He pushed his love and gratitude towards them, making sure they knew how much he appreciated it. Strangely, he didn’t get a reply, but he wasn’t concerned. He gave his fingers a quick flex around the tendrils embedded in his palms. They felt usable again, but he didn’t want his massage to end.

Sadly, it wasn’t his choice, and he was swiftly brought back from reaching nirvana when the vibration ceased. The tendrils were slowly withdrawn, and he immediately missed it.

Need to get up Eddie.

“Ten more minutes,” he softly groaned.

Have to go to the market today , Venom reminded him.

“I know, love. Just, five more minutes,” he pleaded.

When he made no attempt to move, Venom did it for him.

Up, they insisted.

He was given a gentle shove behind the shoulder blades, pushing him into a sitting position. Eddie let out a resigned sigh, and planted a kiss on the nearest tentacle.

“Good morning to you too.”

***

The market was as crowded as usual, the small square heaving with stalls and Sunday morning shoppers. Eddie didn’t have to come here for groceries. He could have easily taken them to the supermarket where the prices were cheaper. But Venom enjoyed seeing all the different people, and Eddie had to admit that the food did generally taste a little nicer.

He weighed the melon in his hands. It didn't feel very heavy. None of them did. His mood had changed since he left the house, and he was feeling slightly odd. He was antsy, almost like he had too much energy. He had gone from being unable to move to unable to keep still.

He absentmindedly tossed the melon from hand to hand, trying to make a decision. He hadn’t been very impressed with any of fruit or vegetables on offer today, and he couldn’t shake a prickling sensation on the back of his neck either. Probably not enough sunscreen.

This fruit is as good as the other ones, Eddie. They sounded bored and annoyed with his dithering.

“Is it though?” He had long lost any inhibition about talking to himself in public.

Yes. Just buy it. We have other stalls to visit.

“I guess.”

He shook his head, and went fishing in his pockets for his wallet.

The melon suddenly slipped from his grip and shattered on the ground as a jolt of heat surged up his back. It was like someone had put a space heater behind him. It took him completely by surprise.

“Vee? Is that-?”

Not us Eddie. They sounded worried. Something is wrong. Their voice was strained, and the heat was intensifying.

“Hey! You break it, you brought it!” the stall holder called. Eddie hurriedly pulled a few notes from his wallet, not looking at what they were, and slapped them down. His fingers were already drenched in sweat. The skin on his back was getting painfully hot.

He stumbled away from the stalls and braced himself against a street light.

“Are you sure this isn’t you, Vee?” he whispered harshly.

Eddie! They sounded so distressed that he was immediately convinced.

He ground his teeth against the building pain. It was like someone was using a blowtorch against his skin. His spine arched trying to get away from the heat, and he was certain he could already feel it blistering under his hoodie.

But if this wasn’t him, and it wasn’t Venom, that only left one option...

His eyes snapped open as his mind connected the dots. The full horror of it settled in his stomach like a dead weight.

“Oh god.”

The house was on fire.

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie had never thought of himself as much of a sprinter. He was designed more for long distance running. Well, jogging if he could help it. Maybe walking for most of it. But he was sprinting home now. He was running faster than he ever had, for longer than he ever had, flames literally licking at his back.

The bike hadn’t even been a consideration. This time of day, the streets were filled with Sunday morning traffic, all going at a leisurely pace and managing to get in the way. He knew he never would have made it with the bike. He pounded down the backstreets, the long way home, but far less crowded.

His back continued to burn. The friction of the clothing against his blistering skin shot agony up his spine, but he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t slow down even if he wanted to.

Eddie, please . For the first time he could hear pain in Venom’s voice. He didn’t like it. Anger flared in his gut and propelled him to go faster still. He focused on it, shoved all his hurt into feeling rage instead. It was the only way he was going to make it back.

His lungs were burning while his muscles pumped battery acid, but home wasn’t far now. He tore down Pine Street, running right in the middle of the road, knowing that the relative quiet of his street would work in his favour. He could smell the smoke already. A quick glance revealed a steady stream of it coming from the back of the house. It was still relatively thin and reedy though, a sign that it hadn’t fully taken hold yet. He burst through the side gate, not caring if it had been locked or not, and barrelled round the corner.

The back wall was ablaze, and he recoiled from the heat. The outside tap and hose were on the other side of the garden, and he made a dash for them. He furiously twisted the tap as far as it would go and placed his thumb over the end of the hose. The water shot out in a pressurised stream and rained down upon the fire.

Eddie could feel the coolness of it hitting his back, but he didn’t stop until the whole area was completely drenched and the fire put out. His shoulders sagged with relief, and he was still attempting to catch his breath as he turned the tap off and dropped the hose.

“Vee?” he asked between pants. “Vee, are you okay?”

But no answer came. He looked at the patch of blackened wood, the edges of the paintwork all blistered and ragged. He was certain that his back probably looked pretty similar.

“Vee, please answer me.”

But there was nothing. He stumbled towards the patio door, the exhaustion from running and ache from the fire setting in. He shambled inside, his hand still dripping with water, leaving wet footprints in his wake.

“Vee?” he called up the stairs, somehow expecting an answer that wouldn’t come from inside his head. Nothing stirred, and he leant against the balustrade for support. He should take off his clothes, and assess the damage. But his main concern was Venom. Yes, they were big, and they were old, but they’d never been this quiet, not when he was injured like this.

He built up his resolve, and breathing heavily through gritted teeth, managed to pull his hoodie off. He let out a grunt of agony as it fell to the floor, the effort of doing so sapping his dwindling energy.

“Please talk to me, Vee,” he whispered, his worry spilling over into tears.

The silence was so much worse than the pain he felt. He clung to the balustrade and heaved himself up the stairs, breathing heavily with each step, his concern pushing him forwards. He reached the top and looked into the bedroom. Empty. He leaned against the doorway dejectedly, his heart pounding in his chest.

He would have to try the attic instead.

Lifting his arm to reach the toggle brought fresh agony across his back, and he stifled a yell. “Please Vee,” he begged. “Let me know you’re okay.”

There was a pause, and then the attic ladder creakily descended by itself. Eddie nearly wept with joy, his relief at knowing they were still there spurred him on to climb up as quickly as he was able.

The circle in the floor glowed faintly, but there wasn’t any sign of Venom. He hurried over and, with a fair amount of grunting, lowered himself down, kneeling in the centre of the circle.

“Vee? Are you there? Please be there.”

His voice cracked with concern; his back was throbbing under his vest. He didn’t dare look over his shoulder at the damage; it was probably worse than the stabbing. He couldn’t twist his neck anyway. Even looking down pulled horribly at his skin.

He closed his eyes instead, searching for any whisper of Venom’s voice inside his head. They were still here, he knew it, he just had to find them and make sure they were okay.

Something warm and smooth, with the texture of silk, found his hand on his knee and nudged at his fingers. Eddie couldn’t stop the sob of joy from escaping his chest. He had the tears to match, too. He wound the small tentacle between his fingers and gazed down at it lovingly.

Still here Eddie.

More tears fell from his eyes, and relief surged through him at hearing them speak, no matter how quiet it was.

The circle was glowing brighter, and more small tentacles crowded against his legs and hands, but their movements were slow and weak. Though Venom was holding it back, he could sense how their pain mirrored his own. It was an open wound that required attention.

“Tell me what you need, love,” he said, his voice wet with emotion, and tenderly stroking the tentacles within his reach.

Just you , came the reply.

“Do whatever you have to.”

A tentacle grazed too close to his back, and he flinched away from the touch.

But you are also hurt.

“I’ll live. You first.”

But Eddie, you are shaking.

“I’m just happy to see you, love. Let me help you first.”

We will help each other.

The tentacles between his fingers lengthened to coil up his arms, thinning out into tendrils as they reached his shoulders. They both stroked the skin behind his ears, and Eddie nodded his consent, wincing slightly from the movement. He held his breath as they dove under his skin, not entirely sure what Venom was intending to do.

A startled gasp escaped him as a deep, heavy arousal ignited in his gut.

“Oh fuck.”

It started to rapidly build, and Eddie had to dig his nails into his knees from the sensation of it. His legs shifted wider as his cock began to stir against his jeans. He could almost feel the tendrils in his brain moving around. It was like they had found a shortcut that had sent him from nought to sixty in three seconds flat.

Too much, Eddie? Venom asked, concern tinging their question.

“No. No, don’t stop,” he insisted.

He was already halfway to an orgasm. Ten seconds to get to where a good five minutes would normally take - and that was if he’d already been horny all day. It was bizarre to feel so much without being touched. His pleasure wasn’t located to the regular areas either; it was all over. His body thrummed with it. Venom was setting his whole nervous system alight.

His jeans were getting distractingly tight, though. It wouldn’t be long before they were damp too. “Just, could you-” He didn’t even need to finish the thought before tentacles were already working his fly.

The familiar sheath took its place over his cock, its comforting warmth making everything feel so much more normal, but he was quickly gasping in shock as his first climax washed over him. It fired off his brain, the lack of physical distractions making it so achingly pure. It had happened so quickly that it left his mind spinning.

He shuddered in deep breaths, becoming instantly aware of how his orgasm had dampened Venom’s pain. It was smoothing off the tattered edges of their trauma, and making them stronger. But it wasn’t over yet. The pleasure hadn’t left his brain, and he was back to being halfway to an orgasm again. Whatever Venom was doing in his head was completely obliterating the need for a refractory period. He guessed there really wasn’t one when it came to the brain.

He cracked open his eyes and saw that the circle was glowing brighter. The tentacles around him were getting bigger and moving more purposefully. He reached for one, desperate to hold onto something as his climax built again, but his hands slipped from his knees and thudded to the floor. Fresh pain burst across his back, and he sucked in air through gritted teeth.

He tried to ignore it and instead focus on the mounting pleasure. His hips began to move on their own, the instinct to seek physical contact taking over. But even the slightest movement of his spine pulled at his broken skin. He whimpered, but was determined not to let it distract him.

Drink, Eddie.

He opened his eyes to find the usual tendril in front of his face.

“But you…” he gasped out.

Can do more than one thing at a time! they admonished. Now, drink .

He didn’t protest any further, and welcomed the offering into his mouth. His second orgasm struck as he began swallowing that sweet nectar, any lingering pain washed away in a wave of pleasure. He didn’t even feel the intense pins and needles like he usually did, but it was obvious when his back was healed.

He was fully on his hands and knees now, his body cushioned against the hard floor by Venom’s tentacles. His legs were wide, his hips rutting into the air chasing his next climax, as his fingers clung to Venom’s form.

His brain was buzzing with the stimulation, the constant high level of arousal soaking into his every pore. He came again with a muffled cry, and every nerve ending danced with joy.

That is enough, Eddie, Venom said softly.

Eddie shook his head . No it isn’t , he thought back, his hands and mouth too preoccupied to do anything else. I can still feel you’re hurting .

It is enough for now.

One more , he begged back. He sounded out of breath even in his head. He was thrusting into a frenzy now - not that any of the sensation was actually coming from his still achingly hard cock. It was all in his head, and he faintly wished that Venom had done this to him sooner.

Last one , Venom agreed and the movement inside his brain increased.

Eddie moaned madly around the tendril in his mouth and accelerated his bucking to the point of losing all sense of rhythm. The build-up was so deliciously sharp in his brain. It was like someone smoothly turning the volume up, all his synapses firing louder and louder, till the speakers burst and his ears were ringing.

His orgasm thundered through him, and he was dimly aware of his cock finally releasing its load. His body spasmed, and his eyes rolled backwards, stars clouding his vision. It was so sweet and so pure; his head felt like a cloud. He flopped sideways towards the floor, landing softly on a bed made of Venom, and panting around the tendril in his mouth, but still sucking on it.

It had all been so intense. His afterglow was just as strong. His whole body throbbed in time with his heartbeat, his skin covered in tingles. So many orgasms in such a short time was a record, even for Venom. He felt dizzy from it.

He twitched as the tendrils retracted from his brain, but the one in his mouth lingered, allowing him to drink from it for just a little longer.

The larger tentacles took over and encased him in their form. They rolled tightly around him, almost swaddling him, but Eddie was glad for the contact. The fact they were so big meant they were improving, that he had helped. The tendril withdrew, kissing him on the lips before it left.

“Feeling better, love?” he whispered, his afterglow mixing with the wave of exhaustion that was hitting him hard.

Much better , they whispered back.

They pawed at his hair, encouraging him to rest. It didn’t take much more for him to fall into a deep sleep. His body had done so much in such short amount of time that he might as well have run a marathon. He was utterly spent, physically and mentally, but Venom was here, and they were ok. And that was all he needed.

***

Venom still had him swaddled when he woke up hours later.

The pale blue light from the circle pulsed gently in the dim attic, highlighting the rafters. Eddie was pretty certain that if he was quiet and still enough, he could feel the same rhythm pulsing through Venom. It was almost like another heartbeat. He instantly loved it.

Awake, Eddie? Venom asked softly, the tendrils back in his hair.

He hummed a reply. “Starting to think I should sleep up here instead of the bed.” He snuggled down as if to emphasise the point. It was almost like a memory foam sleeping bag mixed with an all over body hug. It was wonderful.

We like you on the bed. More room to have fun.

Eddie smiled at Venom’s reasoning. They weren’t wrong. The bed definitely had more going for it than the empty attic. But then he remembered why he was up there in the first place, and his smile dropped.

“Someone set you on fire, Vee.”

We know , they said with a soft sigh.

He shifted, the tentacles sliding off him as he sat up, then reforming around him to make a nest. “How do you feel now though? Do you need more…?” he trailed off, not actually sure if he was ready for round two.

Not right now. We no longer hurt, but... we are also no longer pretty.

“Hey now,” Eddie interjected, his voice full of dismay. “You’re always pretty.” He lifted a tentacle and kissed it as a demonstration. He could feel how they blushed, which was an achievement considering they didn’t have a face. He kept hold of the tentacle and gently caressed it. The nest around him curled in tighter.

We mean outside. It will take longer to heal. We will be ugly until it does.

“Vee,” he chastised. “You’re beautiful okay? And I mean this you.” He squeezed the tentacle still in his hands. “I don’t care what the house looks like, all that matters is that you’re alright. Walls can be repainted or repaired. You’re all I care about.” He was immediately crowded with tentacles, their solid weight pushing against him in the best kind of hug. “I was really scared for a while there, you know? You went so quiet.”

We were scared too.

It was at that moment that Eddie wished Venom had more of an actual body he could hold. He wanted nothing more than to pull them in tightly, stroke their skin, and tell them that everything was going to be okay. For a being that was over a century old, in some ways, they could still seem so young.

“Oh, sweetheart.”

He did the next best thing he could and gathered up as much of Venom as he was able in his arms, burying his face into their mass. He sent waves of love and affection over their bond, along with the same sense of security he felt whenever Venom wrapped themselves around him. They were going to be fine. Someone set the house on fire, but they were going to be fine.

You will take care of us, won’t you Eddie?

“Always. You’re mine, Vee, and I’m not going to let anyone else hurt you.”

Smaller tendrils swarmed over his skin, a dozen fluttering touches in carefully chosen places to show him their appreciation.

Eddie was worried though. He’d never known Venom to be scared before, and they’d definitely never shown this kind of weakness. Of course he knew that altering the house could hurt them, but this felt different. It didn’t sit right with him.

With a heavy sigh, he flopped back down onto his tentacle bed, and Venom swirled around him. He idly played with a tendril as his mind started working back over the details.

A day and a half ago, he was stabbed, and this morning his house was set on fire. It seemed unlikely that these two events were unconnected. But surely, if someone had wanted him dead they would have had better aim with the knife? And starting a fire on the outside of a house wasn’t the best way to get it to burn down. If they were warning shots, they were messy and their message was unclear.

He tried to think if he had made any enemies recently that might retaliate in these ways. The cosmetics company wasn’t happy about him exposing their animal testing practises. The organic food shop lost business for covering their leftovers in bleach to stop the homeless helping themselves. And a whole charity had been closed down in disgrace when he’d shown how the chairman was embezzling over 70% of the donations. But would any of them really try to kill him?

And why hadn’t Venom stopped the fire before it started? He’d seen them do so many incredible things that this felt oddly out of place.

“Hey, uh, Vee?”

They had been tracing his tattoos and paused when he spoke. Yes?

“Why didn’t you stop the fire?”

It was not within our power.

“No, I meant, stop it before it started. You saw the people who did it, right?”

No. We were with you.

“What?”

We were with you at the market. We didn’t know what was going on.

“Hang on.” He sat back up trying to process what they had told him. “Are you saying that when I’m not in the house, you’re not here?”

Our intelligence is with you. We have limited awareness when you are away. We knew only that something was wrong, and that it was painful.

“So you didn’t see anything?”

We saw…. we can show you what we saw?

“Um, yeah. Okay.”

Another tendril curled up his arm, but this time it aimed for his temple. Eddie closed his eyes and an image filled his mind. Everything was a similar shade of gray, and he could just about make out the lines and shapes of the back garden. His was looking at it from the wall’s point of view. Figures entered the garden from over the fence, but it was like trying to watch shadows in a darkened room. Their forms were indistinct, only identifiable as human.

One of the people was carrying a can and sloshed liquid against the wall. Eddie felt it hit his skin, and the smell of gasoline filled his nose. The other person sparked up a lighter, the flame bright white against the background, then held it to the surface. Heat bloomed up across Eddie’s face, and he yelped away from the sense memory. The tendril pulled out of his temple, but stayed to stroke his cheek as Eddie caught his breath.

“Christ.” He swallowed. He had no idea Venom was so vulnerable when he wasn’t around. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Tell you what?

“That when I’m not here, neither are you.”

We thought you would know.

“How? How would I know that?”

Venom didn’t reply, but their tentacles recoiled slightly. Eddie regretted his tone, and took a long breath to soothe his ire.

“I’m sorry Vee, it’s just- it’s just that I thought you were pretty indestructible, you know? That you were mostly unbreakable. And now I learn that when I’m not here, you’re just as exposed as everyone else.”

Would never let anyone in, Eddie. You can be sure of that.

“But what happens if someone does get in? What happens to you if the house does burn down?”

We do not know. We would probably burn with it.

Eddie reeled at Venom’s words, and quickly gathered them back into his arms. “Please don’t say that. Couldn’t you escape? Couldn’t you go back to where you came from?”

Trapped, remember. We would be unable to leave.

Oh yeah. The whole ‘stuck in a cage’ deal. Ever since he had learned about that, he had tried to forget it. It ripped his conscience apart to know that Venom was forced to be here, but he also didn’t want to let them go. In theory he knew how to do it, but the risk that they could never come back was just too big to take.

“I’m so sorry, Vee. Sorry you’re stuck here.”

Tendrils moved through his hair and across his skin.

We are not. Not when we have you.

The amount of love that poured into him made him tear up. It was so absolute, so pure that it made his heart ache with the beauty of it. He knew he could never let this go. He could never set Venom free, not when this is was his reward for keeping them imprisoned. It was so utterly selfish, and he hated himself for it, but he knew of no other way they could stay together.

He hugged them harder, the tentacles free of his grasp wrapping around him to hug back. They stayed like that for some time, neither one wanting to let go. It made them both feel very peaceful.

***

Eddie stepped outside. The smell of charred wood still hung in the air. The water hadn’t entirely dried up either and now caught the colours from the setting sun. He surveyed the damage. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as before. The wood was still exposed, but it appeared to be only lightly singed instead of resembling charcoal. The paintwork had already crept back over the edges. It faded into the wood in an ombre, and he ran his hand over the smooth surface.

“See,” Eddie said. “Still pretty.”

He walked to the area of the fence where he’d seen the two figures come over. If there was any evidence, he wasn’t good enough to spot it. He considered asking his neighbour about it, but then vaguely remembered they were on vacation. They had asked if he could feed their bird or something. He had feigned allergies to get out of it. Maybe whoever it was that came from their garden had a key to the house? Either that or their sidegate was easier to jimmy open than his was.

He went to his sidegate next and checked to see if he had actually broken anything. The lock seemed fine, which meant it was unlocked when he arrived, whether through Venom or the perpetrators using it as their escape route he couldn’t tell. There was, however, a nice dent in the wood of the gate. He lined his elbow up, and it seemed to match perfectly.

“Did I do that?” He didn’t remember his elbow hurting, but then again, there was a lot of pain going around at that point, so maybe he had.

We will fix that, Eddie.

“Yeah, but no rush, okay? It can wait.”

He was too preoccupied with the gate to notice the sense in the back of his head altering him to another’s presence. Venom didn’t have enough time to get out their warning, either.

Eddie! Hid-

“Hey neighbour!” a bright, female voice called out over his shoulder.

Eddie inwardly cringed, but then quickly turned to face her. He had no idea what state the back of his tank top was in. He had forgotten to check. He slapped on an affable smile and kept his back to the wall.

“Hi Claire. How are things this evening?” He didn’t actually want to start a conversation, but as he had learned, it was actually the quickest way to get rid of her.

“Oh, pretty well, pretty well. You?”

“Can’t complain,” he forced out with a fixed smile.

“Actually, there was something I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Is that so?” There was always something. Parking violations, street parties, dog fouling. She once spent 20 minutes telling Eddie about the new environmentally friendly light bulbs that were being put into the street lamps. He learned more about the local bat population that day than he ever wanted to know, though Venom had been pretty fascinated.

“Someone who shall remain nameless,” she held up a hand to cover half of her face and whispered, “Mrs Paul,” - the hand was dropped - “noticed that there was smoke coming from your back garden today. I thought I should let you know that bonfires aren’t allowed in this area.”

“Right, yeah, of course.”

“Because this is a clean air zone, and you can actually be fined for having one.”

“I know. No bonfires for me.”

“I’m just telling you this, as a friend, of course. Just a friendly reminder.”

“Gotcha.”

“Because if you were having a bonfire it would be really rude not invite everyone around - just saying!”

And now Eddie was confused. “What?”

“Oh right. You weren’t here for Karen’s divorce party. Torched all of her husband’s possessions in a massive bonfire. We all got horribly drunk and had a wonderful time. Except for her sister, Kate, who ended up with third degree burns. But she’s fine now. You can barely see the scar.”

“Right.”

“So. No more bonfires.”

“I promise you, it wasn’t a bonfire.”

“Oh really? Then what was it?”

Eddie opened his mouth ready to spin any lie he could think of as being barely plausible, but had another idea instead.

“Actually, Claire, you know what?” He leaned in conspiratorially, and she instantly followed suit. Eddie knew precisely how to play a gossip, and Claire was the best gossip around. He started with those golden irresistible words; “Keep this to yourself, but someone set fire to my house.”

“No!” She leaned back, utterly scandalised, her eyes wide and gleaming at hearing a new secret.

“Yeah,” he replied. “Came home, found the back wall on fire. Someone had used gasoline.”

“Oh my god!” she said, completely shocked and thoroughly captivated. “Did you call the police?”

“And say what? I put the fire out, and there’s barely any evidence of it now. It was only a small one.”

She peered over his shoulder towards the garden, but he angled himself to block the view, just in case she made a dash to see what was left.

“But don’t you have footage of who did it?”

“Er, no.”

“But you said they used gasoline?”

“Yeah.”

“How did you know?”

He blinked. “I could smell it. They must have spilt some on the lawn or something.”

“Wow. That’s going to leave horrible dead patches on the grass. How did they get in?”

“Well, this is the most interesting part.” He leaned back in and she did the same. He even paused for dramatic effect. “They came in over next door’s fence.” He pointed with his thumb.

“Mrs Daniel’s house?” He nodded and she looked at the building to her left. “She’s on vacation right now, isn’t she?” He nodded again. “Oh, this is so juicy.”

“I know, right? But this is the thing, you see, Claire - I don’t know who did it. I don’t even know why they did it, but someone did. I was wondering if you might have heard anything? I know you know people who know things.” He was totally playing up her ego now. “And, well, people can trust you with a secret, can’t they? So if you do hear any little whispers, could you pass them on to me?”

“You know what Eddie? I will. I’ll keep my ear to the ground, see what I can find out.” He was about to relax, about to congratulate himself for a job well done, when he could see the ‘but’ forming on her lips. “But,” she continued, and his shoulders sagged, “you have to come to the Homeowners meeting next Wednesday.”

He groaned internally and so wanted to roll his eyes. He had managed to avoid that group of people for the best part of a year, but if he had any hope of maybe finding a lead, Claire and her cohorts were his best shot.

“What time do you meet again?” he sighed.

Claire was beaming. “8pm. We’ll be over at Angela’s house this time, that’s number 117. Bring a bottle if you can. Or maybe even two if you can spare them!” She grinned and he smiled weakly in return. “I kid, I kid. But seriously, bring a bottle. Charlie goes through wine like water. She has a bit of a problem with the ol’ al-ki-hol, but she’s the most fun drunk.”

God, this was excruciating. “I will see you there.”

“Excellent. Good talk neighbour!” She made finger guns at him as she walked back down his driveway. He offered a wave in return. The gate was shut and locked as soon as she was out of view.

That woman is very annoying.

“Oh agreed, one hundred percent.”

 

Eddie slumped onto the sofa. It had been something of a day, but Venom’s vulnerability was playing on his mind. He didn’t like knowing that they were so open to attack when he wasn’t home. It chilled him to think what might have happened if he hadn’t gotten back in time. Their once stable existence suddenly seemed to be on such shaky ground now.

You are worried, Eddie.

“Am I being that obvious?”

We can feel it.

He looked up towards the ceiling. “You can?”

Yes. It is not a pleasant feeling.

“No, it isn’t,” he agreed.

You are worried about us.

“Yeah, I am.”

We cannot help what happens when the house is empty.

“I know, I know. But it’s never really empty is it? You’re still here - technically. I’d die if anything…” He sighed heavily and rubbed his forehead. “I’m starting to think you keeping me here wasn’t such an awful idea.”

It can still be done . There was a playful note in their voice, but Eddie wasn’t in much of a playful mood.

“How about a security system? A proper one. One that connects to my phone, or something, and can alert me if anyone’s nosing about. Motion activated and that.”

And what if you are too far away to help?

“Then I can call the police, or the fire service, or - god forbid - Claire and her cronies to look into it. I don’t want to leave you unguarded anymore.”

And what about you?

“What about me?”

Who will guard you?

“You will.”

We cannot help you fight off attackers or heal you when you are not here.

“No, you get to be my extra set of eyes.”

We only see what you do, Eddie.

“Yeah, but two people looking at the same stuff can see different things. You can be my lookout. And I promise now, that until we figure out what’s going on, I won’t leave the house unless I absolutely have to. Okay?”

Something fluttered in his chest again. He couldn’t quite get a fix on it, too many emotions were swirling together, but it was there. He placed his hand over it, like it was something delicate that needed protecting. He wanted to protect it. This little bit of Venom that wasn’t just a consciousness in his head. It was new, and fragile, and he urged it to grow into something more. To settle down roots and thrive, to make a permanent connection.  

But just at that moment, his stomach grumbled. He closed his eyes in frustration. “Shit. I left everything at the market.”

We can feed you again?

Eddie considered it, the memory of nectar playing across his tongue. But then the recent associations of pain and agony came with it.

“Um… would you be really offended if I ordered a pizza?”

Venom chuckled inside his head. They didn’t mind at all.

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie woke to find himself alone on the bed. He looked around in confusion. Everything else in the room was dark, so dark that beyond the bedposts was only black. Except, it wasn’t just black. It was moving. It was swirling. It was Venom.

“Um, Vee?” he haltingly asked. “What’s going on?”

There came no answer. Instead, he saw a form moving towards his feet out of the darkness. He flinched backwards slightly, until he realised it was a hand, an enormous hand made from Venom that ended in clawed fingers. It grasped his left ankle, going all the way round with ease, and stayed there. The hold was strong and heavy. The ‘arm’ it was connected to sunk into the bed just like a normal tentacle would.

Eddie swallowed hard, his pulse raising slightly. Whatever this was, it was new, but he was willing to see where it was going.

Another hand loomed towards him and made contact with his right ankle, but then it slowly slid up further to grip his calf. Eddie shifted his feet slightly to test the hold, but there wasn’t much give. The fingers squeezed in response, but whether this was a warning or reassurance, he couldn’t tell.

Then both of the hands started to tremble. They bubbled and bulged, doubling in size, until there was a new pair of hands resting upon the first.

“Uh-?” Eddie gulped.

The extra one on his left ankle moved first. It flowed over the original hand and glided up his leg. It dipped into the hollow of his knee, brushing the soft skin, and came to rest high on his thigh. The tips of its fingers edged just under the hem of his boxers, while the thumb traced a small semi circle, digging the pointed tip ever so slightly into his flesh.

Eddie was breathing harder now as his gaze switched to the other leg. The motion was the same. The doubled hand climbed over the first and continued smoothly upwards, lavishing his inner thigh with attention, before coming to stop across his hip bone. It splayed out its fingers, edging close to the middle of his shorts, where a bulge was rapidly forming.

Never in a million years would Eddie have thought of himself as touch-starved. His life was filled with more physical contact than it ever had been before. Venom never missed an opportunity to manifest around him. But he couldn’t deny that having hands, even inhuman ones at that, on his body was having an effect on him. He felt a pang of longing for something he didn’t even know he had been missing. It was something deep and primal that made his chest constrict. He wouldn’t give up Venom’s touch for anything, but tentacles couldn’t replace the human contact he had known all his life. Heat was rising to his skin, and it was hard to not want more.

He wish was quickly granted as he watched the hands grow again to make more doubles. The right side went first this time.

The hand slid sinuously over his stomach and abs, making sure to catch his nipple with the tip of a claw as it passed. Eddie gasped at the touch, a spike of pleasure running through him, but the weight of the other limbs kept him still. The hand continued up his neck and came to rest cradling the whole right side of his head. Eddie leaned into it, his mouth trying to desperately capture the little finger that was lingering so close to his lips. The other claws rubbed against his scalp, sending tingles down his spine.

The hand on his left thigh shifted and followed a similar path to the first, grazing over his torso with a firm nip to his other nipple on the way to his shoulder. It stopped in the crook of his neck, the thumb pushing dangerously up into the hollow of his throat. He swallowed thickly, knowing that Venom would never hurt him, but that little hint of danger gave him an extra thrill.

There was a final trembling and bubbling as the hands doubled for the last time. The first, on his left shoulder, glided down to encircle his forearm, the thumb and pinky easily touching as the index stroked near his elbow.

The right hand double on his face drifted down his other arm and rotated so it could slot into the gaps between his fingers. Their hand easily overshadowed his, so there wasn’t much space for the fingers to go, but they still curled under. It made Eddie’s chest throb with want.

Venom gave him so much, more than any partner he’d ever had, but hand holding wasn’t something that they did. Eddie instantly realised how much he had missed such a simple thing. He gripped their hand tight, not caring how it hurt his fingers to be spread so wide. It only added to his worked up state, and he was so worked up.

He was practically panting with need now. He was heat drunk, his skin flushed and his cock straining hard. He was so desperate to feel all those wonderfully large, warm and smooth hands roaming across his body that he felt like he was going to burst. But they weren’t moving. Only the fingers stirred, either swiping their soft pads from side to side, or dragging their pointed tips across his skin.

He fidgeted on the bed, trying his best to encouraging them to move, but they didn’t budge. Their hold was absolute. They hummed with the same power and strength as the tentacles. He was restrained without the chance to get any relief.

“Vee, please, come on,” he whined.

He tried to shift his hips, to shift any part of him to get some friction, but his arms and legs were locked in place. He groaned in frustration. His arousal was being denied like it had never been before. It grew to greater heights, swirling in his gut and clouding his head. His free hand clawed at the mattress. He wasn’t sure how much more he could take.

As if his prayers were finally answered, the hand against his face reacted and held his head up higher. It seemed to be directing his attention past the tent in his boxers, towards the end of the bed.

“W- what?”

He looked straight ahead, beyond the bedposts into the void. The darkness appeared to be swirling faster. A new shape was emerging. It pushed out from the inky mass and caught the light, swimming with opalescent colours.

It was a pair of eyes. Only it wasn’t just eyes.

The hands held him tighter.

He was struggling.

No.

He was screaming .

His mind was utterly rebelling at something it couldn’t even begin to fathom. It was beyond the eyes, a sight so horrifying it struck terror into his very soul. He convulsed on the bed, every muscle pulled taut. It hurt so much to look at those eyes, but he couldn’t tear his gaze away.

His ears were ringing with his screams in the enclosed space. His throat quickly ran raw, and still he was being held with a crushing intensity.

He was growing hysterical, begging to be let go, begging to not see any more. He couldn’t bear to see any more. He had to escape. He felt like his brain was folding in. The horror was just too much.

Eddie’s eyes snapped open, and he instantly had to get away.

He thrashed against the tentacles coiled around him in a blind panic, scrambling to the floor as soon as he was free. He gagged as bile rose in his throat. He was going to throw up.

He dashed to the bathroom and made it to the toilet just in time to heave his guts out. It didn’t stop until his stomach was entirely empty. He groaned through the last few spasms, kneeling over the bowl, and resting his head on his arm. He spat out the last bits of bile, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. In the dim street light filtering in through the frosted window, the residue almost looked black.

Feeling like the worst was over, he sat back on his haunches and tried to piece together what had just happened. His heart was still hammering in his chest, his body still in fight or flight mode. He knew he had had a nightmare, and it was a bad one. But as he tried to remember the details, the eyes flashed up in his memory, and his world caved in again.

Instant, blinding pain filled his head. He cried out and pushed his hands against his skull, trying to force the hurt away. He dug his nails in hard, surely drawing blood, and the pain relented. He was breathing fast, his confused pants amplified by the tiled acoustics.

“What’s... what’s going on?”

But there wasn’t an answer.

He reached for the sink and shakily pulled himself up. His tongue tasted vile, and he hurriedly scooped cold water from the tap into his mouth. He swirled it around and spat it back out, his arms trembling from the onslaught he has experienced.

But one glance into the mirror and suddenly the eyes were flashing into his mind again.

The agony was absolute and overwhelming. He crumpled back to the floor, tears streaming down his face. His knees knocked painfully onto the tile, and his fingers gripped the porcelain rim of the sink so hard that it cracked. There was nothing but pain.

Except, just there, was a voice. It was a voice that wasn’t his own, and it was trying to talk to him. It was saying something. He fought through the fog to listen for it.

...back to us. Come back to us, Eddie. Let us help you.

Venom. Venom was there. Venom would fix him.

He swallowed down great lungfuls of air as he crawled towards the bathroom door. His pulse pounded in his ears, and the edges of his vision was veined with red. He made it as far as the landing before another flash of the eyes stalled his movement. He wailed through the pain, his quivering fingers grabbing fruitlessly at the carpet.

He just had to not think about it, that was all. He had to concentrate on something else. The four times table. He could do that.

One times four is four. Two times four is eight...

He was making progress, inching towards the bedroom, but it had never felt so far away.

Three times four is twelve. Four times four is sixteen. Four times five is-

Five. Five fingers. On each hand. Hands gripping him, holding him down, forcing him to look. The eyes boring into his soul. The eyes.

He was curled up on the floor, his ragged breaths not getting enough oxygen to his lungs. He needed something else to think of. The seven times table. Yeah. That was harder. Need to concentrate more on that.

One times seven is seven. Two times seven is fourteen....

He was moving again, slowly dragging himself back to the bed.

Three times seven is twenty one. Four times seven is twenty eight…

He could see the bed in the dim light. He could see the way all the tentacles were reaching for him, straining for him to get closer.

Five times seven is thirty five. Six times seven is...is…

He faulted, and the eyes were there again. It hurt so badly. His whole body ached with the force of it, and he screamed into the carpet. He couldn’t go any further. He was exhausted.

So close now, Eddie! You have to move. Just a little more. Please!

They were so worried. Their words sounded so desperate. He had to get to them. It wasn’t far now. Barely a few paces.

With one last push of effort, he gathered his will and roared as he heaved himself forward off the floor. His outstretched hand was grabbed by a tentacle, and it pulled him hard. He lurched towards the bed, his shins knocking painfully against the frame, but it didn’t matter. He collapsed onto the mattress, his fingers grabbing uselessly at the surface.

Sobs wracked his body as the tentacles crowded around him. They looped and coiled around him, hugging him tight.

“Help me, Vee,” he wailed.

We will make you forget, Eddie. We will make it all go away.

Two tendrils entered into his brain behind his ears, and the eyes flashed once more. Eddie thrashed and yelled, but his shout died on his tongue. There was no pain this time. He found instead that his mind was going fuzzy. The eyes were still there but they were starting to blur. They were losing definition. He was losing his focus.

His mind was filling with a gray haze that made his movements sluggish. His mouth went slack, and his body went limp. His pulse no longer pounded in his ears, he felt he could breathe again, and his eyelids were getting heavy. He tried to remember what had caused all this, but he couldn’t think anymore. It was a blessing not to think.

He was dimly aware of being rearranged on the bed. Tentacles curled around him, pushing waves of warmth and comfort into his being. He swam in them eagerly, letting them fill him up as sleep took over.

Nothing hurt now. There was only a peaceful quiet.

***

For the first time in a long time, it was Eddie’s alarm that actually woke him. He fumbled around for the snooze button, giving himself nine more minutes. A few tentacles stirred around him.

“Morning, love.”

Morning, Eddie, they quietly sighed.

“What, don’t I get a kiss today?”

Sorry, Eddie.

A few tendrils moved half-heartedly over his face, lacking in their usual grace and care.

“What’s wrong, love?”

Just tired. They sounded it too . Eddie wasn’t sure if he’d ever heard them be tired before. He didn’t even think that they slept, at least, not in the way he did.

“Anything I can help with?” he offered.

No , they sighed again. A tendril came back to his face and stroked it with more enthusiasm.

“I guess the weekend really took it out of ya, didn’t it?”

We will recover.

“You have to let me know if there’s anything I can do, though.” He felt their gentle smile.

You will be the first to know.

He didn’t wait for the alarm to turn back on, choosing instead to just get on with his usual morning routine. Venom was quiet the entire time, even while he ate breakfast. It was disconcerting. Perhaps the fire had affected them more than they were letting on? He decided not to probe, just in case they needed more time.

He was also plagued by a niggling feeling like he’d forgotten something. There were no reminders on his phone, and Venom didn’t mention anything, so he figured it couldn’t be that important. But it itched at the back of his head like he’d left the stove on. He hadn’t - he barely used the stove. And even if he had left it on, Venom would see to it that it was safely turned it off.

But clearly whatever he wasn’t remembering would have to wait though, as now came the decision of work.

It felt like a risky move to go into the office. If anything happened, he definitely wouldn’t be able to get back quickly. He didn’t like the idea of being that far away. At least, not until he put some extra security in place.

He sat at his laptop in the dining room and put a call into his boss, Joana. He told her he’d be working from home today, and added on a quick lie about him feeling like he was coming down with something, just in case he needed a few days off too. He got the go ahead as long as he stayed on emails. As he hung up, he heard an indignant huff from Venom. It was reassuring to know they were still there and listening.

“Problem?” he asked.

You have never offered to work from home before.

“That’s because I know exactly what will happen. You’ll spend all day whispering sweet nothings into my ear, lure me upstairs, and in the end I won’t get any work done at all.”

Sounds like fun to us.

“Sounds like a great way to lose my job.”

We would take care of you.

“I know you would, love. I know.” He paused, not really wanting to say what he had to next. “Also, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to break my promise already.”

Which promise?

“I need to leave the house, Vee.”

For what reason?

“Well, one - my bike is still at the market, and I kind of need to go and get it.”

Hmm , they considered it. Agreed. You require your bike.

“Okay, this is good.” He got up and moved towards the front door. “Two - I really want to get that security system today. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just needs to be...something, you know? I need to know that I’m keeping you safe.”

This is also acceptable. We don’t like your worrying.

“And, well, three…” He sat on the stairs with his boots in his hands. “I still need to get groceries.” He winced at the reply he knew was coming.

No! We will feed you!

“Vee-”

Or you can order in. You have done that many times before.

“We don’t really have the cash for constant take out right now.” He put his shoes on, pulling the laces extra tight. “Please, Vee. Just a few basics. I love that you want to keep me fed, but sometimes I just want a sandwich. I promise I’ll be quick.”

The whole house seemed to bristle as Venom grumbled under their breath.

Fine. But if there is any danger-

“I’ll be out of there before you can say... Ticonderoga.”

Then we will allow it.

“Good, I’m glad we got that settled.”

He knew he should probably be more worried about Venom wanting to control his actions, but he couldn’t say that if their positions were reversed, he wouldn’t be demanding the same thing. Ultimately, they were only trying to keep him safe. He couldn’t fault them for that.

He did have a hard time convincing Venom to let him walk to the market, though. They wanted him to take a cab, but he countered saying it was a waste of money, and not very far away. But after he’d been walking at a decent pace for at least 15 minutes, he was beginning to suspect that it wasn’t actually as close as he remembered. Did he really run all this way yesterday? Frankly, it seemed rather unbelievable now.

He stopped and looked back at the way they had come.

What is it Eddie? Is there danger?

“No, calm down. It’s just- it’s a lot further than I thought it was.”

We did say to get a cab.

“No, I mean...I ran home yesterday. I can barely run up two flights of stairs.”

But are humans not capable of amazing feats when needed?

“Well, yeah. You hear of mothers lifting cars to protect their kids, or something. I just never thought that would apply to me.”

Protecting your child from a car?

“You know what I mean.”

You think of us as a child?

“Vee. Stop being a dick.” He smiled at their intentional idiocy.

We thought you liked us being a dick? they teased, their tone becoming suggestive.

“Not here,” he replied, a slight blush rising to his cheeks.

When we get back home then.

Eddie smirked. Venom’s mood had clearly improved since he had woken up, but his train of thought quickly went back to the day before. He supposed that running that far was possible, really. Adrenaline mixed with pain and fear can make a person do some pretty incredible things. And he was exhausted by the end of it. It wasn’t like he was suddenly Superman. Plus, Venom had been in danger. Maybe it wasn’t quite so impossible?

He continued on for another ten minutes or so, relieved to finally see the market come into view. It was a Monday morning, so the square was practically empty. Eddie thanked the parking gods that his bike was still there and didn’t have a ticket. He gleefully gunned it to their next destination.

He spent longer at the electronics store than he had meant to. Their selection of cameras wasn’t extensive, but they were all going to require drilling for cables or mounting. Eddie still refused to do any of that to Venom, but after a rather long and animated, but not actually out loud, argument, he finally relented and brought a set. It was fairly basic, just two cameras and a router with some cloud storage, but he figured he could McGuyver a solution using wood glue and cable ties.

The trip to the supermarket was extremely brief. Eddie tried his best to ignore Venom’s constant hurrying, but the mounting anxiety in their voice meant he left without half of the things he had been intending to buy. At least he managed to get bread, a few things for sandwich fillings, and a bag of tater tots. It would do for now.

Back at the house, he read through the instructions for the cameras. It was all quite simple, but the problem came with where to put them. He connected up the first camera to the internet and tested out the feed on his phone. It was pretty decent, but now the challenge came with actually placing it outside.

He went out onto the front porch and balanced on his tiptoes while looking at his phone screen as he tried to find a good angle for the camera.

It needs to be higher, Venom provided.

“I know that, but my arms only go so far.”

Now you can only see the road.

“Maybe you could help by, I dunno, holding the camera for me?”

And how would we do that?

“I dunno, do that portal thingy. Make the wall go all wobbly”

If we did that ‘portal thingy’ we would have to always keep it open, and that is very tiring.

“Okay, fine. Don’t do that.” He dropped his arm with a frustrated sigh. He should have brought out a ladder, or at least a chair to stand on. His eyes fell on the wires trailing out through the open door. “I don’t think there’s a gap for the cable to fit through the door anyway. I wonder if setting it up at the window would be enough?”

Just drill a hole through the wall.

“I told you, I am not doing that!”

We would not mind it.

“Well I mind! I’m not going to hurt you!”

He had said that last part much louder than he had intended, which wouldn’t normally be a problem except that he had failed to notice the sense at the back of his head tingling. It was telling him there was someone on the path behind him. He span around to find a man with a slightly confused expression.

“Hi,” Eddie said awkwardly.

“Do you... need any help with that?”

“Sorry?”

The man pointed to the camera in his hands.

“Oh, er…”

Eddie looked the man over. He was probably in his early fifties, fairly lithe in build, and with prominent crow’s feet. His black hair was going gray at the temples, and his tanned skin suggested a life of work in the outdoors.

“I’m Nathan, by the way. I live over there.” He pointed across the road a few doors down where a dark green van was parked. ‘Nightingale Construction’ was emblazoned on the side. “I’m actually a contractor by trade, but I do the odd bit of handyman work on the street. So if you need some help...”

Eddie considered his options. He still barely knew his neighbours, but he was sure he’d seen Nathan around. And he was coming up empty with any other ideas for how to get the cameras in place. He couldn’t punch holes into Venom; he just couldn’t.

Let him help, Eddie.

“Er, yeah. That would actually be really good. Thanks.” There was a pause. “Oh, and I’m Eddie.”

Nathan climbed the steps with his hand outstretched and a smile on his face. Eddie shoved his phone into his other hand so they could shake. He went to let go, but Nathan held on. He leaned in closer and Eddie’s nerves spiked.

“Actually, I’ll be honest. I have a bit of an ulterior motive for coming over,” Nathan admitted.

“And what would that be?” Eddie said, trying to sound casual, but feeling his hold on Nathan tighten.

“Well, it’s my wife you see. She’s really jealous of your garden. She really wants to know how you get your borders so nice.”

“Oh,” Eddie said with a relieved smile, his shoulders relaxing. He glanced over to the garden. It always did look pretty. He should tell Venom that more often. “Well, you’d have to ask my partner about that. They do all the work.”

Nathan let go of his hand with a surprised look. “Partner?”

Partner? Venom asked at the same time.

Something warm and sweet swirled inside Eddie’s chest, and it took all of his resolve not to show it.

“Yeah,” he continued, suddenly emboldened by his revelation. “You probably haven’t seen them about much, but we’ve been together a while now. Love of my life.”

God, it felt so good to say that. He hadn’t actually meant to say any of it of course. Venom was supposed to be a secret, but didn’t regret a single word. There was a sense of pride that came with admitting he was in a relationship. And as far as he was concerned, he and Venom were totally and completely an item.

Nathan smiled. “That’s really nice to hear. And they definitely have a green thumb.”

“Yeah, they do,” Eddie agreed.

A notification bleeped from Nathan’s pocket and he glanced at his phone. “I do actually have to be off to another job right now, but I could come back around 5pm and get the camera set up, if that works for you?”

“Yeah, that would be perfect. I’ll see you then.”

They waved at each other as he left, and Eddie went back inside. As he closed the door, Venom asked a question.

Is that how you really think of us... as a couple? They sounded timid and unsure of themselves.

“Yeah, course I do. Why wouldn’t I?”

Because… They trailed off, not finishing their thought. Eddie paused from unplugging the camera.

“Vee?”

A shiver of uncertainty that wasn’t his ran through him.

You should get back to work, Eddie. You have several emails waiting.

“Vee-”

One of them is from your boss.

They obviously wanted to change the subject, so Eddie went along with it for now.

“And how exactly would you know that?” He went over to his laptop. He did have six unread emails in his work inbox.

It is easy to see the screen.

He rolled his eyes. “Right, of course.” He scanned over the messages. All of them could wait. “First though, lunch.”

Eddie spent the rest of the afternoon tapping away, doing research and putting together a draft of an article. It was mostly a fluff piece, but they couldn't all be Pulitzer Prize winners. He stretched in his chair, and noticed how still the house was. Venom hadn’t said anything in a good while either. To be fair, they were pretty good when it came to being quiet while he was working, but this felt different.

“Hey, Vee? You okay?”

We are fine.

“You’re just being very quiet.”

Didn’t want to disturb.

“Oh, I dunno.” He leaned back, lazily scratching his chest. “If you wanted to start whispering sweet nothings into my ear and lure me upstairs, I wouldn’t be against it.” He smiled, but couldn’t feel Venom’s smile in return. “Seriously, what’s wrong?”

You say that we are a couple and yet…

“And yet?”

We are not human.

“So?”

You would like us to be human.

“Hey!” he chided. “When the hell did I say that?”

You do not need to say it. We know it.

“Hang on! Vee-!” He shook his head. “No.”

He got up from the table, and stormed upstairs. He was greeted by an empty bedroom, which simply wouldn’t do. He looked up at the ceiling as he moved closer to the bed. “You come down here now. I am not having this conversation with a wall.”

A single tentacle, about as thick as his arm, descended shamefully from the ceiling, and draped over the edge of the canopy.

“Really?” he said incredulously. ”One of you is all I get?” He coiled the end of it around his own arm and gave it a gentle tug. What he got in return basically amounted to a shrug, but it was the kind of shrug you gave when you’re desperately trying to not let your emotions overwhelm you. His shoulders sagged. “Oh, Vee,” he sighed, and rested his head against the tentacle’s smooth surface. “Why on earth do you think I want you to be human?”

Because then we could be together.

“We are together.”

But still separate.

“You’re literally in my head, Vee. I’m not sure how much more together we could get.”

There was a hesitation before they responded. We want to be able to touch you all the time . The end of the tentacle stroked across his skin as if to demonstrate the point.

“Well, I would like that too. Still doesn’t mean I want you to be human, though. I just want you to be you.” He started planting a line of kisses up it’s length. “I love what you are - whatever that actually is. Wouldn’t change you for the world, Vee.”

Another tentacle dropped down and hugged him around his shoulders. He held it lightly with his other hand, and pulled it into the crook of his neck so he could nuzzle it.

We want to be more for you, Eddie.

“Don’t you already know that you’re enough?”

But he could still sense that Venom’s emotional turmoil wasn’t calmed. There was a nagging doubt that wasn’t being voiced, and he couldn’t do much about it until they did. He held them tighter and pushed his love towards them, hoping that would help.

“You’re the only one for me, Vee. I’m not going anywhere, if that’s your worry.”

It is not that.

“Then what?”

We… we-

There was a knock at the front door. A quick glance at the clock confirmed it was 5pm, and his sense told him it was Nathan waiting outside. Eddie sighed and planted one last kiss on both tentacles. “To be continued, darling.” He began moving towards the stairs, and watched as they snaked back into the ceiling.

He opened the door to find Nathan holding a large toolbox with a ladder leaning against the wall. “Hi again,” he said with a warm smile.

“Right on time.”

“So, what’s the plan?”

Eddie showed him the kit that he brought, and they went through the details of the installation. One camera was going on the porch to cover the path and driveway; the other was going out the back to keep tabs on the garden and back door. However, when they got onto the patio to discuss placement, Nathan noticed the fire damage from yesterday.

“What happened there then?”

It was looking much better already. The bare patch was so much smaller, and the wood just looked unpainted now instead of burned. Eddie ran his fingers over it.

“Oh. Um. Let’s just say an experiment gone wrong and leave it at that?”

Nathan made a face, but accepted Eddie’s explanation. They went back to the front porch, and he removed a drill from his toolbox. Eddie couldn’t help but flinch at the sight of it.

“So, um, here’s the thing, Nathan.”

“Nate.”

“Right, Nate. I kind of have a problem with drills.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. Just- bad experience, you know? They kind of make me nervous.” Nathan looked entirely confused. “Dentist,” Eddie supplied, and suddenly Nathan’s face was full of understanding. “I mean, I know that a power drill is nothing like a dentist drill, but- it’s irrational!” He held his hands up as if in surrender.

“So, um, what…?”

“I’m just gonna go upstairs. Please do everything we talked about; I trust you don’t need me supervising. But, I just kind of need to not be here while you’re working - if you get my drift?”

Nathan finger gunned him with a click and a wink. “Gotcha. I’ll give you a shout when I’m finished.”

“Thank you.”

Eddie went upstairs and hurriedly closed the bedroom door. He almost instantly began pacing.

You are stressing Eddie.

“Of course I’m stressing,” he hissed out in a whisper.

We told you, it won’t be like last time. You won’t feel anything.

“Yeah, but I’ll still know it’s happening.” He walked over to the window and opened it, breathing in the warm air from the garden. “Maybe I should tell him to stop. Call the whole thing off. We can find another way to keep you safe.”

We want the cameras, Eddie.

He span around to face the room. “Yeah, but at what cost?”

Even through the closed door, the noise of the drill was loud. Eddie jumped on the bed with a yell and stuffed his hands against his ears. His eyes were screwed shut, and though he wasn’t feeling any pain, he was intimately aware of what was happening. It set his teeth on edge.

He could feel the drill biting into the plaster and wood, how the ladder pressed against the surface under Nathan’s weight.

He could feel the shards and splinters fall to the floor, the way the air flowed into the newly exposed space bringing in all the spores and pollution from outside.

He could feel the vibrations running up the wall, how it shook the dust from every crevice and made the glass rattle.

He could feel the horrible memories coming. At any moment, he was going to be plunged under.

But then he also felt a gentle pawing at his groin through his clothes.

Eddie’s eyes opened to find a thick tentacle lying on the bed and running up between his legs.

“Hey, um, Vee? Whatcha doing?”

Distracting you.

“Distracting me!? You’re the one having holes put in you.”

Then let us distract ourselves by distracting you.

The tentacle moved up and slipped under the waistband of his sweats, seeking to get into his boxers.

“Vee! There is a person downstairs! What if he walks in on us?” he hissed.

What if he does?

They were inside his boxers now, rubbing their smooth length against his cock. He could have swatted them away, could have pulled them out, but he didn’t. A broken sigh escaped him. He just couldn’t resist when Venom wanted to play. Blood was already rushing to meet their touch.

The drill continued to sound down the hall in short bursts. If he kept quiet, he was sure they wouldn’t be heard. It wouldn’t exactly be the first time he’d masturbated in questionable circumstances. And what if the idea of being caught did turn him on just that little bit more?

“Okay,” he agreed, “but make it quic- Nnughf!” His words were lost to a string of syllables as Venom engulfed his cock in their liquid heat. He fell forward onto his elbows, and his knees spread wider. Pure arousal swirled in his gut, and he quickly reached full hardness.

But then he felt the texture of Venom change. In place of the tight slickness were hundreds of firm, but silken nubs. It was like the tongue except without the lubrication. It entirely surrounded him with a steady pressure like the best fleshlight in the world.

His hips shifted forward and he groaned. Such wonderful friction, such a divine sensation. He did it again. The nubs pulled at his foreskin and tugged at his glands, shaping and reshaping to the contours of his dick for maximum contact.

Do you like it, Eddie?

“Fuck yeah I do.”

He began properly thrusting, grinding down into that little pocket of heaven. It extended to cover his balls too, cradling them and igniting more pleasure with every movement.

Eddie grabbed onto the tentacle on the bed and used it as leverage. He heaved himself in deeper and quickened his pace. His breathing was heavy, and full of quiet moans.

You associate the drill noise with pain. We will make you know only pleasure instead.

Other tendrils curled up around his face and head, running through his hair and over his lips.

“Oh god,” Eddie breathed between thrusts. “You’re going to turn me into Pavlov’s dog, aren’t you?”

You will never be able to go near a construction site again , they teased.

Eddie felt their amused grin as small tentacles circled up round the back of his neck and across his shoulders. Others curled their way up his legs and squeezed around his thighs.

He was so supremely thankful at that moment that the bed didn’t squeak. He was practically jack-rabbiting into the mattress now. He was so lost in his own pleasure that he could barely hear the drill.

Oh god. He couldn’t hear the drill.

He froze, searching his sense for where Nathan was.

It was fine. He was still downstairs. But he was on the back patio, not very far below the open bedroom window. Eddie heard the clatter of the ladder as he set it up against the wall.

Don’t stop now, Eddie, Venom urged. They twisted their tentacle ever so slightly, snapping Eddie’s attention back to the task at hand. Keep going.

He began rocking forward slowly, so suddenly aware of every sound he was making. It was an effort to keep his mouth shut, so used was he to vocalising everything he did with Venom. But their impatience was becoming apparent.

You will never be done before he is at this rate.

“Wha-!”

Was all Eddie managed to get out before a tendril inside the main tentacle found its way onto his slit. The resulting moan was loud, but thankfully covered by the drill starting up once more. Eddie rutted into the tentacle, chasing that contact again, but the tendril never went away. No matter where his dick was, it would rub across his head in constant stimulation. He couldn’t stop his ecstatic whimpers.

“Oh fuck, Vee. You’re fucking amazing. Never stop being amazing,” he gasped.

His orgasm was quickly growing now, aided immeasurably by Venom’s delight pouring into him. He let himself wallow in it, to let it mix with his own pleasure. All thoughts of being quiet were quickly abandoned as Eddie desperately bucked towards his climax.

Yes, Eddie. So good, but you must hurry.

He didn’t know where Nathan was anymore, and he didn’t care. He just had to finish before he was found. Being heard would be embarrassing, but being found was dangerous. No one could know Venom was here. But, god, if the threat of being caught wasn’t pushing him higher. He was so close.

There were footsteps in the kitchen, so he clung on tighter.

There was movement in the hallway, so he thrusted even faster.

There were creaks on the stairs, and he was almost there. Just one more moment.

Nathan knocked on the door, and Eddie’s hips snapped forward. He shuddered into Venom as his orgasm fired off in his brain. He had to bury his face in their tentacle to muffle his euphoric cry. He couldn’t stop his body from jerking as Venom worked the last of his climax from his cock.

“Hey, Eddie? You okay in there?” Nathan asked through the door.

“Yeah, um, just a minute!” Eddie called, his voice a little rough and slightly strangled.

Venom decided to twist as they pulled away from his softening dick, making him gasp out one more stuttering moan. They slithered seductively away from him and back towards the ceiling.

You bitch , he thought with a smile as he watched them go.

You love it , they replied.

You better fucking believe I do.

He tried to quickly compose himself, shoving his dick back into his pants, and wiping the sweat from his brow. He really hoped he didn’t look too flushed, and it wasn’t obvious what he’d been doing. He glanced in the mirror. That was a mistake. Better to bite the bullet and just get on with it.

He stumbled to the door and opened it, finding Nathan on the landing preparing to give another knock. He gave Eddie a quick once-over, but didn’t comment.

“Everything’s in place if you want some help adjusting the angles?”

“Yeah,” Eddie replied, sounding more out of breath than he meant to. “Let’s do that.”

They spent the next 10 minutes tweaking the cameras for the best coverage. Eddie looked at the feed on his phone while directing Nathan which way to move. Thankfully, the topic of what Eddie might have been doing in the bedroom never came up. He really hoped that if Nathan had heard, he wasn’t the type to gossip. No doubt it would end up getting back to Claire. Maybe he could say that he was working out? That sounds believable, right?

In the end, he was pretty satisfied by the cameras. Venom was right to insist they were properly installed. As Nathan was packing away his things, Eddie suddenly questioned how much cash he had on him.

“Hey, so, um, what do I owe you?” he asked.

“What? Oh, nothing. Consider it a neighborly favour.”

“Seriously?”

“Honestly, it wasn’t much work, and, really, I’m just glad to have another camera on the street, you know? Makes the neighbourhood feel just a little bit safer.”

He gave Eddie one of his warm friendly smiles. Eddie betted he got a lot of business from showing those around.

“Wow. That’s really generous of you. Thank you.”

“Not at all.” He picked up his toolbox and shouldered his ladder. “Though my wife will be back for those gardening tips.” He winked.

“I’ll be sure to have them ready.”

Can’t have them ready, Eddie. She can’t garden like I can.

Do I want to know how you garden?

Probably not.

Then I won’t ask.

He kept on smiling as Nathan walked down the path and over the road. Either he had just received a favour by a really nice neighbour, or a total stranger managed to get a really juicy bit of blackmail fodder on him. He told himself it was better to believe the former, and went inside.

 

 

Chapter Text

They spent the evening on the bed, wrapped up in each other, only half paying attention to the TV. Eddie leaned into their little nest, softly stroking every surface he could find. The tentacles curled and moved under his fingers, enjoying his gentle ministrations.

He hadn’t forgotten their conversation from earlier, though. He still couldn’t figure out why Venom suddenly thought he wanted them to be human. He racked his brain trying to fathom their reasoning. Could it be something he said or perhaps some subconscious behaviour he’d been doing? He searched through the past few eventful days, looking for anything that would indicate where Venom’s thought process began, but all he got was that nagging sensation again, like he’d forgotten to lock up his bike.

Perhaps it was his declaration that they were a couple that had thrown them? He supposed it was likely that no one else had ever called Venom their partner before, and he knew all too well how putting a label on a relationship could cause problems. He remembered the first time the guy he had been seeing in college called himself Eddie’s boyfriend, and how Eddie had freaked out about it for weeks afterwards. He’d never had a boyfriend before, and having that label suddenly thrust upon him had triggered a whole host of internal issues that eventually resulted in their break up. It was possible that Venom was simply having the same doubts and anxieties.

He looked for their current frame of mind through their bond. What he mostly found was a sense of contentment, so he decided he wouldn’t break the mood with bringing up the topic again. It could wait until tomorrow. Maybe they just needed a bit more time to get used to the idea? Besides, he had just had another thought that was far more pleasing.

He shifted on the bed and began to untangle himself from Venom’s many tentacles.

Where are you going? they asked, their voice sounding surprisingly sleepy.

“Just to get those chocolate peanuts from the cinema.”

Oh. Hurry back, they replied, suddenly sounding much brighter.

Eddie padded downstairs to search through his jacket pocket in the hall. He glanced up at the new wires coming through the wall for the camera. He knew it was all worth it, but he still couldn’t help feeling a little bit guilty.

Eddie, Venom gently chided. Stop that.

“Stop what?”

Stop feeling so shameful.

“Wow. You’re really getting the bum deal with this new connection thing. All you’re getting from me are negative vibes.”

We are still happy to feel them.

“You sure?”

Yes.

He approached the wall with the wires and ran his finger down it.

“You are okay, though, aren’t you? You’re not in any pain?”

No Eddie, no pain.

“So everything feels okay?”

Yes. We have already sealed around the edges of the holes. We are getting used to them.

“And what about the cameras?”

We cannot see out of them yet, but we know they are there.

“I’m still sorry you had to go through it all, though. The installation, I mean. It can’t have been pleasant.”

We had you to distract us. It was only a mild sting.

“Like getting your ears pierced, I guess?”

Perhaps. We would not know.

“Yeah, I suppose not. But in any case, thank you.”

You are welcome.

He lingered for a while, noticing that any dust or debris had already been cleaned away by Venom’s unseen hand. He was certain if he looked closely at the holes, they would look like they had been there for years. He knew he wouldn’t have to worry about weatherproofing either. Venom probably had everything sorted before Nathan even knocked on the bedroom door.

Eddie?

Venom broke into his train of thought. “Hmm?”

Please come back with the chocolate peanuts.

He chuckled. “On my way.”

He retrieved the candy and returned upstairs, quickly settling himself at the foot of the bed. The nest reformed about him and draped themselves over his shoulders like a cape. He opened the paper bag in his left hand.

”You ready?” he asked, an eager smile on his face.

Yes. We will be victorious, as always.

“Everyone’s a winner here, Vee.”

We are better at this than you are, therefore, we are the winner and you are the loser.

“Ouch!” Eddie feigned hurt with a hand to his sternum. “You wound me, love.”

We tell only the truth. They were grinning as much as he was. Now, please will you begin?

“Impatient much?” But he didn’t hesitate to pluck the first piece of candy from the bag.

This was a game they had often played before. Eddie lightly threw the chocolate down the bed towards the wall of tentacles, then watched, amazed, as Venom snatched it right out of the air. They never missed.

“Good catch!” he chuckled.

Sometimes, Venom would throw it back, and Eddie would try to catch it in his mouth. This was where he usually failed, despite Venom’s incredibly accurate aim. Maybe he missed on purpose sometimes. His clumsiness usually got a laugh or two. Tonight, though, the chocolates were all for Venom. The candy was quickly absorbed into their mass, and it instantly created an pleasurable response that was fed directly into Eddie.

They had discovered Venom’s love of chocolate fairly early on. It was the only food they ever asked for, and they both had had great fun trying all the different kinds. What was fascinating to Eddie was how what he felt over their connection differed slightly depending on the type of chocolate Venom had. White chocolate resulted in a floaty, light headed feeling, almost like he was getting high. Good quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content was practically an aphrodisiac that made them both pretty insatiable. But cheap milk chocolate, especially with the nuts inside, was what Eddie equated to a good beer. It gave him a soft, cosy feeling, and covered him in warm goosebumps. He knew by the end of the bag they would both be nicely buzzed.

He threw another piece into the air and Venom deftly caught it. They wiggled their victorious tentacle in the air.

“Nice!”

Another wave of cosiness brushed over him as Venom ate their prize, and he hummed in happiness.

“Get ready for my curveball.”

We can catch anything you throw, they smugly announced.

“Oh yeah? Try this!”

He threw it far to the left side of the bedpost. Venom had to stretch their farthest to reach it, but still caught it.

“Dang! I thought I had you that time.”

You were cheating.

“Just mixing things up.”

He stilled as he looked down at the bag. A tendril had snuck inside.

“Vee,” he warned, giving the tendril a playful, sly look. It flinched back at having been caught, but stayed near his hand. “Wait your turn.”

But we, er- we wanted to feed you too, they said, sounding slightly flustered.

“Oh, is that so?” He raised an eyebrow.

Yes, they said more confidently . This way you will not miss. Open up.

He paused, but then offered them the bag. The tendril pulled out a piece and he obediently opened his mouth. It was delicately placed his tongue, and he happily ate it. He threw another towards the tentacles, and once more the tendril gave him a chocolate. He placed a quick kiss on the end of it before munching the candy.

“Kind of takes the fun out of the game though if you’re just putting it directly in my mouth.”

We are still enjoying it.

Eddie tossed another piece that fell rather short, but Venom still got it before it hit the mattress. This time the tendril lingered in his mouth after putting the chocolate in. Eddie rolled around it with his tongue before it slipped out from between his lips. On any other night this would have totally instigated something more, but Eddie was feeling too soft and cosy to take it any further. He just hummed appreciatively and threw the next candy towards the top of the bed. The tendril lingered longer with each piece, practically becoming a French kiss each time. His throws became worse with every chocolate Venom ate, but they still caught every last one. Nothing was wasted.

Eventually the bag was empty, though, and they were both rather tipsy.

“All gone,” he announced glumly.

He balled up the bag and tossed to the side. He crawled up towards the head of the bed, and Venom drew themselves around him. He quickly reached out towards the nightstand and checked the camera feeds on his phone. Everything was bathed in shades of green as the infrared lit up the nighttime scene. But aside from a few bugs, nothing was stirring.

All safe, Eddie?

“Yeah. All safe.”

He snuggled further down under Venom’s hold, and pulled in an armful of tentacles to hug. He gave them sleepy kisses as feelers moved through his hair and down his back under his t-shirt. He sighed with contentment.

“Hey, Vee?”

Yes, Eddie?

“Can you show me the stars?”

It had been such a long time since he had asked to see them. He used to do it nearly every night, but he had, regretfully, fallen out of the habit. Part of him, the still slightly sober bit, hoped it might remind Venom how much he adored their otherworldliness. It was such a special thing that only they could do. And it had been far too long since he’d last seen the stunning view.

Of course, Eddie.

The ceiling swirled away to reveal an alien starscape of planets and moons. The room was bathed in a velvet soft light that circled between greens, blues and pinks. But there was also the gentle hum that came with it, the ambient sound of a different reality. Eddie was fairly certain he could feel it inside of him, just the mildest vibration. It was instantly soothing.

“Love you, Vee,” he mumbled.

Love you too, Eddie.

***

The morning passed mostly without incident. Eddie called in to work from home again, and met little resistance from his boss. He figured he had done enough on his article yesterday that he could use the time to do a little snooping on his newest, friendliest neighbour.

But it turned out that Nathan really just might be that friendly. His construction company checked out. It had been running for nearly 25 years with him as the boss, smiling corporate photo and all. His public Facebook profile was what you’d expect from any middle-aged user - full of pictures with friends, shared articles about his interests, and bad memes. Everything pointed him being a genuine person, so Eddie put his concerns about him to the side for now.

He switched his attention to the possible other suspects for the fire and stabbing. The cosmetics company was too large to bother with petty revenge. They had managed to turn his exposé into positive publicity with press releases about changing their animal testing policy. The organic food shop had done something similar by stating they were now working with a local shelter to donate all their unsold fresh food.

That left only the disgraced charity as a variable suspect. The chairman was still serving jail time for his embezzlement, but it was possible that one of his subordinates was acting on his orders. Or even just wanting to get back at him for the loss of their job. It still felt like a stretch though.

He started the long slog of trying to trace where all the other board members were now, but by lunchtime he was getting restless. He felt antsy and he couldn’t get comfortable no matter how he was sitting. His body itched, and he finally realised it wasn’t because of him.

“Hey, Vee? Is that you?”

Is what us?

“This feeling, like, I dunno… anxiety? Is that what this is? Feeling anxious?”

Venom didn’t reply.

“Vee?”

...It might be us.

“Are you okay?”

We were… we were waiting.

“For what?”

For you to take a break.

“Why?”

So we did not disturb you with another of our ‘experiments’.

“Well, I’m disturbed now, so what have you been planning?” he asked with an intrigued smile.

We will show you! came their eager reply.

Eddie shuddered out a gasp as a sudden, heavy throb of arousal sprang forth in his gut. For a moment he thought Venom had their tendrils in his brain again, the surge was that strong, but he was alone downstairs. The feeling dissipated, and he took in a few very long breaths.

“What was that ?”

Can you feel it, Eddie?

“Yeah. It was-” He groaned as another wave thrummed through him. He curled inwards and squeezed his thighs together. “How are you doing that?” he whispered, his eyes closed against the unexpected sensations.

We wondered if we could intentionally send an emotion over our new connection. We have been testing it all morning. But the only thing that has worked is thinking about how much we want you.

A third wave of Venom’s hot desire had Eddie clinging onto the edge of the table.

“Gfnh! You have me,” he panted.

Then come upstairs... Venom’s beckoning voice sounded so close to his ear, he could almost feel their warm breath lick up his neck. Any resolve he had to keep working crumbled right there and then.

This was, of course, precisely the reason why he’d never worked from home before.

He abandoned his laptop and began shedding his clothes as he climbed the stairs. More arousal hit him as he entered the bedroom, and he crumpled against the doorframe. A husky moan fell from his lips. His legs felt weak with it.

“You’re killing me, Vee.”

Then come closer.

The mattress was completely black with Venom’s ooze. Tentacles reached up from the dark mass and were making ‘come hither’ motions. Eddie ambled towards them almost in a daze. They found his hands and pulled him in, coiling up his arms, and guiding him onto the bed. He knelt with his knees wide, his swollen cock standing proudly to attention.

“This is new,” he noted.

Not done yet.

Eddie watched with fascination as the ooze beneath him began to shift. It rose upwards, forming a mound between his spread legs. A tendril then exited the mass and delicately wound its way around his throbbing erection. He only had moments to be confused before it gripped him tightly and jerked him forward, plunging his dick into the mound, right up to the root.

Eddie gasped out a cry. It was so tight, and warm and perfect inside. He fell forward onto his hands, and his knees automatically shifted around to a more comfortable position.

Tentacles curled up around his thighs and encouraged him to pull out. He did, and for once the ooze didn’t follow. He pushed back in, spearing himself into Venom’s form, and loving this new configuration.

“Oh god, Vee,” he breathed.

He rocked back out and in again. He couldn’t even think of anything to compare it to. It was both liquid and solid, firm and malleable. It felt slick, and he glided with ease, but the pressure around his dick gave the best kind of friction.

All for you, Eddie.

The tentacles stayed around his thighs, no longing guiding, just gently squeezing. Eddie’s fingers dug deep into the ooze, grabbing great handfuls of it as his hips began setting a rhythm. His eyes closed as he focused on his pleasure.

Two more tentacles brushed over his chest, tweaking his nipples and running along his ribs. They moved around to his back and began stroking down it. It was almost like arms, like he was being held as he fucked down into the mattress.

“Fuck, Vee,” he moaned, “This is so good. You’re so good.”

The tentacles across his back tightened and pulled him further down onto the bed, until he was resting on his elbows. It reminded him of the traditional missionary position - something that he hadn’t done in a long time.

His head dropped forward, and he found a rising mass coming to meet him. It cushioned him, and he turned his face against it. A small nub grazed his cheek, so he went back to seek it out with his mouth. He greedily sucked upon it once he had it, and a rumbling purr told him that Venom was satisfied with this development.

There was a pang of familiarity about it though, a sense of déjà vu that he couldn’t quite place. Almost instinctively, his left hand felt up the other side mound for another nub, and he found one. He rolled it between his fingers, the mass around it feeling more gelatinous and yielding the longer he massaged it.

But the ooze around his cock was changing too. It was less of a shapeless goo now and more of an actual cavity. A tight, slick hole for him to thrust into. It very closely resembled... but no, that couldn’t be right. Could it?

Something at the back of his mind was telling him this was wrong. His hips kept on moving, and his hands and mouth kept on teasing the little nodes like Venom’s pleasure depended on it. But that’s not how this worked. The tentacles on his legs were gone, only the two stroking down his back remained. And they were getting sharper. They started raking down his spine. Not actually breaking the skin, but no doubt leaving marks, just like fingernails would.

Fingernails.

Eddie’s eyes snapped open.

There was no longer an amorphous blob beneath him, but a female human form. It was weirdly elongated, with shoulders that ended in tentacles, and no legs. But it definitely had breasts, and was even rapidly materialising a head.

Eddie recoiled in horror, scrambling to get away from this uncanny valley nightmare. He tumbled from the bed with a thud, and scurried even further back as the human form rose up from the bed like a vampire in its coffin. The final straw was when it turned to ‘look’ in his direction.

“What the FUCK, Vee!?” he shouted in a half panic, unable to look away from the goo person staring at him. It didn’t even have a face, but Eddie knew it was staring. “What the fuck is this thing!?”

We thought you would like it.

Their words were tinged with hurt, but Eddie was too disturbed right now to care.

“What?! Why the fuck would you think that!?”

It doesn’t matter.

A long sigh emitted from the form, and it flopped back onto the bed, splashing into a puddle of ooze again. It quickly dissolved into the mattress, and the other tentacles were making a hasty retreat.

Eddie put his head into his hands and pulled at his hair with a frustrated shout.

“This is that ‘wanting to be human’ thing again, isn’t it?”

It doesn’t matter , they repeated, sounding more sullen.

“It does matter, Vee.” He looked up towards the mostly empty bed. “I don’t know how I can convince you that I don’t want that .”

We know that you do.

“How!? What on earth gave you the idea that that is something I would want?”

There was a stubborn silence as Venom didn’t answer.

Eddie balled his hands into infuriated fists, knowing he wasn’t getting the full story here. He took a few deep breaths trying to calm his anger, and eventually his shoulders sagged with an exasperated sigh.

“Please Vee, just- tell me where this all came from. I want to understand.”

When their reply came, it was unusually quiet.

We couldn’t protect you.

“What?” He moved in a little closer to the bed, almost like he would be able to hear them better if he did.

We couldn’t protect you, they said a little louder. We couldn’t stop you from getting hurt. We could only watch, and then hope that you got back so we could fix you. We almost couldn’t fix you, Eddie.

“What?” he asked again, all his anger and frustration melting away into disbelief.

We almost… you almost…

A tentacle tentatively reached out for him, and he took hold of it.

He was instantly flooded by emotions so strong that it made his chest twist tight. He wheezed out a gasp. So much anxiety and worry. So much concern and grief. And god, the fear. They were utterly terrified. And they’d kept it all from him. He had been so close to dying, and he didn’t even know it.

Eddie let the tentacle drop, and choked out a shocked breath. He had barely made it back to the house in time. A few more minutes and... and...

His hand moved to where he was stabbed. Of course there was nothing there, only the ghost of a memory, but he still rubbed at it. His other hand sought out the bed for purchase. He needed something solid to hold onto. He slowly sat on the edge of it, his mind racing with all the possibilities of what could have happened.

“Fuck,” he breathed. He rested his elbows on his knees, his face in his hands. Tentacles softly curled around him. They hugged his waist and across his shoulders, giving him time to process this new information.

It had all been so much worse than he had thought. His memory brought back the image of his blood caked skin. How he’d scrubbed at it to wash it all away. He remembered how cold he had felt when he finally got inside. What if he hadn’t made it back? What if he hadn’t walked quickly enough? He would have bled out on the street, and Venom would be alone again.

He pinched the bridge of his nose as everything over the past few days was put into a new context.

Should we have told you sooner?

“I… I don’t know.”

And the truth was, he really didn’t. Sure, it would have explained Venom’s recent behaviour. But he knew himself well enough to know that he probably would have said yes to their suggestion of keeping him locked inside the house. It’s impossible to guess how you’ll react to a near death experience until you have one. And could Eddie say he really would have kept his cavalier attitude if he had known?

He wiped his face, figuring it was better to get back to the issue at hand. The fact that Venom nearly couldn’t save him or not, it only explained half of the situation they were in.

“Okay,” he sighed. “I can understand why you would want a body outside of the house, or even just away from the bed. I get that, I do. But why this obsession with being human?” He turned to face the wall of tentacles that had descended again. “It doesn’t seem to correlate.”

We can sense your desire for human contact. You have not been touched by another in a long time. We thought that combining both problems would create a solution.

He could just about see their logic, as flawed as it was.

“Okay. I will concede that, yes, technically I’ve not been with ‘someone’ for a while. But I have you. I don’t need anyone else.”

Eddie-

“No, you gotta understand, Vee.” He moved more onto the bed, kneeling in front of the headboard. “If my subconscious is telling you things, you have to ignore them. I choose you, okay? I chose you the week I moved into this house, and I’m going to keep on choosing you. Exactly as you are.”

But Eddie-

“No buts. You’ve somehow managed to convince yourself that being human is better. But it isn’t. Do you know how annoying humans are? They are loud, and they are messy, and they generally have a habit of letting you down. Or you somehow let them down. But the point is… they are limited. I am limited. But you aren’t. You’re infinite.”

He raised his hands to caress the tentacles before him. They rose up to meet his touch, and more curled around his feet.

“You are a strange and wonderful being that I had the good enough fortune to meet. I mean, I don’t really believe in karma, but I must’ve done something right once to get you into my life. Most people can go their whole existence without anything miraculous happening, yet you manage to pull that off every day without even thinking about it. It’s incredible. And, if anything, I’d much rather be more like you than you being more like me.”

Do you really mean that?

“Of course I do. Can’t you look into my heart and know that it’s true?”

There was a hint of a smile and a gentle swirl of sweetness in his chest. It urged him on further.

“Do you really think there’s a person alive out there that can touch me like you do? Who could talk directly into my head like you do, or fix me like you do? I know there’s no one out there who could care for me like you do. And…”

He picked up a tentacle and kissed it before looking up at the wall with a grin.

“I definitely know there’s no one out there who could fuck me like you do.”

Venom laughed uproariously, and Eddie was happy to hear the sound. It reverberated around the inside of his head, reinforcing his own smile. The atmosphere in the house suddenly felt so much lighter, even though he hadn’t been aware of it being heavy before.

There was still laughter in their voice when they had recovered enough to reply. We like how we fuck you too.

“So, it’s settled then? No more ‘human’ business?” he asked, taking hold of the headboard, and hoping he had done enough to allay their fears.

Okay, Eddie, they agreed. No more ‘human’ business.

More tentacles came to embrace him, stroking over his face and arms.

“But you should know,” he added, “I’m not opposed to whole ‘body’ idea.”

Really?

“What, you think that I don’t want you around me all the time? Can’t you just imagine cuddling on the couch, or sitting behind me on the bike? It’d be wonderful.”

A thoughtful silence followed, but the tentacles didn’t stop moving.

“Maybe it’s something we can look into, together? If there’s a way to do it, I’m sure we can both find it.”

Venom didn’t reply, but Eddie could tell from the way their tentacles became more enthusiastic that they were happy with the suggestion. And frankly, he was too. It was a tantalising thought to give Venom a proper body, one he could hold and enjoy away from the bedroom. He couldn’t even begin to fathom what kind of form it would take, but just the notion of Venom being free to roam and wander wherever they pleased was a pleasant one.

Eddie?

“Yes, love?”

Can we try again?

“Try what, love?”

He felt a nudge against his flaccid cock, and looked down to find a tentacle poking it inquisitively. Eddie laughed.

“I think the mood has somewhat passed.”

Oh. They were very clearly disappointed.

Eddie sucked on his teeth. Really, he should get back to work. But he reasoned that it wouldn’t be too bad if he took an extended lunch break. After all, what’s the point of working from home if you couldn’t indulge in a little afternoon delight?

“Hey. Why don’t you give me some more of that insta-horny you used earlier, and we can see where it goes?”

Are you sure?

“Well, I can go back downstairs to the laptop if you want?” he teased.

No! We want you here!

“Well, alright then. Give me your best shot.”

He felt Venom’s happy grin right before heat bloomed in his gut once more. He shuddered out a breath, his hands gripping onto the headboard tighter, and his eyes closing with pleasure. Their best shot was amazing.

“Fuck that’s so good.”

Again?

He nodded. Another wave of want and desire swirled inside him, making his blood run hot and his skin flush with heat. His cock was rapidly coming back to attention now, and a few tentacles decided to help it along. Their lazy strokes had him groaning under his breath and canting his hips to get more contact.

Eddie , Venom called softly, making him open his eyes.

Between himself and the headboard was a rising mound of ooze. It nudged his knees further apart and stopped growing just around the height of his navel. Eddie raised an eyebrow.

We promise it won’t be like before. We will just be ourself.

Eddie gave a smirk, then angled his cock lower. He pushed into the mound slowly, groaning and marvelling at the way it flowed around him but held him snugly within its embrace. He gave a quick thrust and found it was perfectly stable enough to take the force of the motion.

“No more tricks, okay Vee?”

No more tricks, Eddie.

He rolled his hips, relishing in the alien texture, and set a gentle pace. He didn’t want to rush this.

Tentacles began climbing over his moving body, creeping and criss-crossing like vines on a statue. They held him tightly in a latticework of a hug. He felt tied up but completely free at the same time.

”So much better than a human. Better than human,” he murmured, and then repeated again and again with each thrust. He faintly hoped that maybe fucking the message into Venom would get the point across, once and for all.

His thoughts became a mantra of ‘ better than human, better than human, better than human ’ as he drove in and out of the pile of ooze. He knew he was forever wrecked by Venom after the first week of living here. He could never have normal sex again, and he didn’t want to anyway. No amount of toys or attachments could ever replicate what Venom gave him. Human sex was boring by comparison. He knew no other lover would ever satisfy him.

Would you like more, Eddie?

“Whatever you want to give me,” he panted out.

There was movement at his hip as one of the vines became a tendril that arched around the curve of his ass. It crept down into the cleft of his buttocks, and he gladly welcomed it as it pressed at his entrance. It was already slick in a way he never had quite figured out, and deliciously wiggled its way inside. It quickly began growing, and Eddie let out a long and low moan. It stretched him just enough so he could feel it, enough for him clench around it, but then went still and maintained a steady pressure.

Eddie increased his pace, sweat starting to sheen his skin. He wasn’t out of breath, but he was panting with lust. He was amazed that his thighs weren’t aching, even after all the kneeling he’d been doing. He really felt like he could do this all day - that is, if it wasn’t for his rapidly approaching orgasm.

He continued to quietly moan his mantra, well aware he was reaching the point of no return.

Do it, Eddie. We want to feel you come inside us.

He toppled over the edge with a cry, his hips snapping forward, balls deep into the ooze. It rippled and sucked around him, milking him for everything he had to give.

“So much better, so much better,” his strained voiced declared.

He slumped against the mound, his hips twitching the last of his climax out of him. The ooze stilled, but remained close and warm around his spent cock. He rested his head against the wall of tentacles, their surface feeling cool against his flushed skin. The ones wrapped around his body continued to squeeze and pulse against his flesh.

“So good, love. You’re so good.”

We enjoyed it too. You are always delicious to us, Eddie.

He smiled as he felt himself being gently tugged away. His cock came free with a slick pop, and he crabwalked further back down the bed so he could stretch his legs out. He flopped down with a blissful sigh, luxuriating in the feel of Venom still caged around him.

His eyes fell upon the clock on the nightstand and he saw it was well after 1pm.

“I should get some lunch,” he idly thought, scratching at his stomach.

Can we…? Venom offered, a tendril coming into view.

“Sure,” he shrugged. He didn’t feel much like moving anyway.

The tendril lingered by his face and waited for him to pull it into his mouth. As soon as that sweet nectar hit his tongue, he was in heaven. It had been too long since they’d done this just for pleasure and not for healing. It made his brain spark, like an itch being scratched. The only reason he didn’t ask for this every day was… well, he was struggling to think of a reason why he didn’t ask for this every day.

It washed down his throat into his hungry stomach like the best meal in the world. He curled up onto his side, both hands holding on as he greedily sucked on the thickening tendril.

So good to us, Eddie, Venom cooed, as a feeler stroked through his hair. You feed us so well. We want to feed you too. Want to keep you full, to keep you satisfied. Would you like that?

Eddie nodded as best he could. Of course he wanted it. Being full of Venom was one of his favourite things. He would have it all the time if he could.

He was suddenly reminded of the plug up his ass as it grew ever so slightly. He groaned around his gag, but didn’t stop sucking on it. His mind was becoming a lazy haze of pleasure, and before he knew it, he could feel his soft cock twitching back to life.

Maybe this was why he didn’t do it every day? Being fed by Venom was so intertwined with sex that one inevitably lead to the other. Having Venom for breakfast would mean being late for work, and having them for dinner would probably deprive him of sleep. But, my god, it would probably be worth it.

He was, however, having slight trouble in believe that he was ready to go again so soon. He suspected Venom might be pulling strings.

Vee, are you...? he managed to think across to them.

Maybe, just a little. Just to get you started.

He didn’t really mind, though. It had been a while since Venom had had a proper meal, and he was happy to give it to them.

His cock was swelling rapidly, but before he could take himself in hand, he was being turned onto his back again. The vines pulled his left arm away, leaving his right to hold the thick tendril in his mouth. He found that his legs were being spread wider, and when he glanced down, he saw an undulating mass of ooze bubble up from between his thighs. It spilled forward like a wave and completely enveloped his dick. The quickly began working his length, and Eddie’s eyes rolled backwards.

It was like the greatest hits of every hand and blow job they’d ever tried. It was using so many touches and motions that they had experimented with in the past, in so many configurations that it made his toes curl. Sucking, pulling, twisting, vibrating - everything was on the table and made available.

Eddie whimpered and moaned. He struggled against the barrage of sensations, his body twitching and bucking, but the vines around him simply tightened, locking him in place. He didn’t want to escape, not really, it was all just so intense. And Venom was making sure he experienced it all.

Shall we stop, Eddie? they seductively teased.

No, no don’t stop , he breathlessly mewled, his eyes screwed shut while his hands searched for something to hold onto for dear life.

Then we shall give you more.

The butt plug came back to life, surging into him and filling him up. The tendril fell from his mouth with a gasp as his back arched as much as it could. His legs kicked out across the bed, but were quickly stilled by more tentacles.

The plug pumped into him slowly, expanding and altering the tip into those silken, but firm nubs. It stroked across his prostate, climbing Eddie to higher states of pleasure. He writhed against his bonds, his body overloaded with sensation.

He didn’t know how he was lasting so long under this double assault. His heart hammered in his chest, and his nerve endings sang raptures.

He was dimly aware of a tendril rubbing across his temple, and just about scraped together an enthusiastic thought of permission. It dove inside, and Eddie’s mind filled with an image. It was of himself, as he was right now, splayed across the bed.

He could see in intimate detail how he was being held, how the silken vines pressed and rubbed against his skin. He could see how his muscles flexed and rolled, how they tensed and relaxed under Venom’s ardent ministrations. But Venom drew his gaze towards his mouth, the way his jaw was slack with moaning, and how the sweat glistened on his forehead, dampening his hair.

So beautiful , they cooed.

And then Eddie got to watch himself as he climaxed.

His whole body went stiff, his face contorted in ecstasy, every part of him straining with his release. Then just as quickly, he went totally limp. He was splayed across the mattress, his face turned to the side as his breath escaped him in tiny sighs.

But from this vantage point came more than just his own orgasm. It was matched by Venom’s deep satisfaction of a hearty, unctuous meal. Both sensations mixed together creating an intense afterglow.

Delectable , Venom purred.

The tentacles began their slow retraction, including the one inside Eddie’s mind. He was left in a soupy haze of pleasure, too blissed out to move.

Tendrils sprang up to smooth across his heated skin. They wiped away the moisture from his face, and danced featherlight touches over his torso and legs. Only the ooze around his dick and the tentacle up his ass remained, pulsing gently in time with his slowing heartbeat.

Drink, Eddie, Venom urged, and he did. He let the tendril in without any resistance, his mouth was absolutely parched. Will you stay up here all day with us?

He shouldn’t agree, not really. He had had his long lunch break, and there were other things to do, things that required his attention. His job, for example. But Venom was sending him the equivalent of puppy dog eyes, and he found his resolve weakening. A quick stroke across his prostate seemed to seal the deal. He had apparently lost his refractory period. His cock felt nothing but cosy inside the ooze, not a tingle of oversensitivity in sight.

The goo lapped against the inside of his thighs softly, but insistently. He knew he would probably pay for this tomorrow, but hey, he still had his ‘feeling sick’ lie to fall back on.

Sure. Why not?

Venom’s glee was infectious and lit him up from the inside.

With all thoughts of work abandoned, he eagerly gave himself over to a decadent afternoon of sex. But it wasn’t quite what he had experienced before. Normally their marathon sex sessions were hot and heavy, full of lust and desire. But this was something else, more tantric and, well, almost spiritual.

He couldn’t even remember how it began, only that he was suddenly in the middle of it. He completely lost all sense of time, and more than once he found himself adrift in a sea of tentacles. He was rolling in waves of unending pleasure, but couldn’t actually recall coming very often. Whatever Venom was doing was keeping him floating on a high level of constant bliss, and he just wanted more of it.

He did remember drinking Venom’s nectar several times. Each dosage seemed to make his brain spark and fizz more than the last. And all the while there was that pulse. It wasn’t so much a sound as a feeling, a vibration that worked its way into him. It reminded him of Venom’s pulse, the one he had felt in the attic. It was beautiful, and inviting, and he didn’t try to stop it. He accepted it, and it soaked its way into his pores, into his cells, drenching him in euphoria.

Before he was lost to the conscious world, Eddie could only conclude that he did manage to get his message across afterall. Maybe Venom finally understood that they were better than a human, and that was how he wanted them to be?

But also, maybe Eddie should have thought more about his words. Perhaps ‘better than human’ wasn’t the best phrase to use, and had, in fact, become more of an open invitation than he had ever intended?

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie didn’t remember seeing nighttime. When he blearily opened his eyes, daylight was still streaming through the window. It could have been a few hours; it could have been the next day. He was wrapped up in Venom, as usual, and gave a long luxurious stretch.

“What time is it?” he croaked out, wiping sleep from his eye.

Not long after eleven.

“In the morning?”

Yes.

“Wow.”

So, the next day then.

“We, er, we really went for it yesterday, didn’t we?”

We did. And we very much enjoyed it.

Tendrils appeared and caressed over his face. Eddie smiled in response and hummed out a sigh.

He felt pretty good, all things considered. While their sexcapades usually left him with a pleasant ache, today he was unmarred by sore muscles. He felt well rested, as opposed to the groggy jet-lag that normally accompanied Venom’s alterations to his nervous system. He loved that they could give him the best sex of his life, but the resulting hangover, as it were, did sometimes put a bit of a downer on the day following a glorious night of excess.

Eddie stretched again and wiggled down further into Venom’s tentacles. They shifted and curled around him, lazily stroking across his skin in fleeting touches.

“I should probably email my boss, tell her I have a fever or something.”

Can it wait a while?

“Why?”

Because the phone and laptop are downstairs, and we want to keep you here. Just for a little bit longer.

He wasn’t going to argue with that. He closed his eyes and let Venom continue their exploring. They seemed to be paying lots of attention to his temples and down the sides of his neck. They glided over the tops of his legs, and even raised his knees so they could attend to his calves and the underside of his thighs. It wasn’t a massage exactly, but it was nice.

Eddie felt himself dozing off again, but only until Venom began tickling him along his ribs. He squirmed beneath the multi-tentacled assault.

Mustn’t sleep all day, Eddie.

“I’m awake, I’m awake!” he protested with a smile, trying to swat away his attackers.

They ambushed his feet instead. It didn’t take long to transform Eddie into a curled up giggling ball, trying - and failing - to defend his weak spots.

“No more! No more!” he eventually managed to gasp out. “I surrender!”

Venom relented and allowed Eddie to catch his breath.

You would be a useless hostage. You cannot withstand the simplest torture.

“And I need to stop letting you watch those crime shows.”

They are educational. And we would not let anyone torture you anyway.

“Thanks, babe. That’s good to know,” he chuckled.

He regretfully heaved himself from the bed, but barely made it two steps before his balance faltered.

His head suddenly felt cloudy, and for a moment it was as though the world had gone grey. The walls and floor seemed to be covered in bright blue streaks, and as he threw out his hand searching for something to grab, he caught a glimpse of silver on the inside on his arm. He stumbled into the doorframe and blinked several times. The fogginess cleared, and the world looked normal again.

Eddie!? Are you okay?

“Eh, yeah. I think so.”

What happened?

“I don’t know.” He looked at his arm. There was nothing on it. “Just head rush or something, I guess.”

Head rush?

“Yeah. It’s when you stand up too quickly. Makes you dizzy for a minute.” He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.

He’d never had a head rush that made his vision go funny before. But the brain was a weird thing, and he had two consciousnesses in his. He tentatively let go of the doorframe and his balance seemed fine.

But you are well again now?

“I guess so.”

He took extra care descending the stairs, but by the time he’d reached the bottom, he was convinced that whatever it was had passed. Just one of those random one-off things.

He woke up his laptop on the dining table to see what the damage was. Amazingly, his inbox wasn’t too bad. He sat down to quickly compose an email to Joana to explain why he suddenly vanished yesterday afternoon. He claimed that he had been feeling under the weather and had gone to take a nap, only to wake up with a fever this morning. It was partially true; he had gone to bed at lunchtime and spent a good portion of time asleep. At least he figured he must have.

He clicked send, and his eyes fell upon the date.

“Oh god, it’s Wednesday, isn’t it?” he groaned.

Is that a problem?

“It means that tonight I get to spend the evening with Claire and her cronies. A whole inescapable room of them.”

We do not have to go.

“Yeah we do, Vee. I’ve not been able to find any other leads, and Claire might genuinely know something that could help.”

Then it would seem we must attend.

“Sadly, yes.”

He wasn’t too happy to be leaving the house at all, but he reasoned that he was only going down the road, and they had extra security now. He would be able to get back in a heartbeat if there was trouble.

Eddie’s email pinged with a reply from Joana. It basically amounted to a ‘get well soon’ message, but he could tell she thought he was faking. He really hoped he would only have to lie for a little while longer.

You should eat breakfast, Eddie.

It could be that his lightheadedness was due to hunger. He wasn’t sure when Venom had last fed him.

“Yeah, good call.”

He ambled into the kitchen, though quickly decided that frying bacon naked was probably a bad idea.

 

The rest of the day passed all too quickly as far as Eddie was concerned. He logged out of his work emails to keep up his ruse of being ill, and continued to look into anyone else connected to the charity he helped to take down. But it was one dead end after another. He was starting to get very frustrated with his lack of progress. Maybe it was worth going back to the bar from Friday night to see if there were any leads there? He knew that his stabbing and the fire were connected, but the link was eluding him.

Venom, meanwhile, had occupied themselves with the new cameras. It was late in the afternoon when they proudly announced their achievement.

Eddie! Eddie! We can see outside!

He smiled. “I’m glad for you, love. I knew you’d figure it out.”

Now we can watch and keep you safe.

“Keep yourself safe, you mean.”

Keep both of us safe.

“But only while I’m here, right? You can’t see through the cameras when I’m out of the house, can you?”

No, we cannot , they replied glumly, and Eddie cursed himself for puncturing their little bubble of happiness.

“Why don’t you tell me what you can see now?”

You can just look at your phone , they said, still sounding sullen.

“I’d rather hear you describe it. Tell me what you can see, Vee.”

They huffed out a long sigh, but complied with his request.

We can see the porch, and some of the garden , they stated unenthusiastically. And a person walking four dogs. Why does she have so many dogs, Eddie? And she is jogging. Why do people jog for fun? What is its purpose? One of the dogs has seen a cat on the other side of the road, and the cat is hissing. Oh, and there is a butterfly!

Eddie smiled to himself as Venom quickly found their excitement again. He happily listened to them babble away about the world outside their front door for the rest of the afternoon. He never knew his street was so eventful.

But before he knew it, the evening had swiftly come on, and he was standing in front of a house that wasn’t his own. He fiddled with the cuff of the blue shirt Venom had picked out for him as he hesitated to ring the bell. The bottles of the beer six pack he held in his other hand clinked softly.

Someone will notice us waiting and think that we are weird , Venom prompted.

“We are weird anyway. I share my brain with an alien.”

Well, there was so much empty space inside. It would have been rude to waste it.

Eddie sent them the mental equivalent of sticking his tongue out. But he was a little intimidated by Angela’s house. It was bigger than theirs, and had three main levels with a garage underneath. It was painted white with grey highlights, and radiated an aura of money. Just standing on the porch made Eddie feel shabby by comparison, and he had made his best effort to make himself look presentable. He was wearing his best jeans and everything.

With a deep breath he swallowed his nerves and pressed the bell.

The door was quickly opened by a black woman in her 50’s, who looked just as well put together as the outside of the house. Her eyes flicked over him, and settled with a faintly disapproving look.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Er, hi. I’m Eddie. I’m here for the Homeowners... thingy.”

Her whole expression instantly changed, and her body language lit up with a smile.

“Eddie! Of course. Claire said you would be coming tonight. Well, come in, come in. And I’m Angela, by the way.”

She opened the door wider, and beckoned him inside. Eddie made sure to wipe his feet on the welcome mat before he did.

He had guessed from the outside that her house would be a mirror image of his own, with the reception rooms on the left instead of the right. But he wasn’t prepared for how much larger the space would seem inside, and yet, so empty.

Everything had been done in shades of white with grey and metal accents. There was glass and brushed steel, and so many hard edges and corners. It was extremely tastefully done, but Eddie couldn’t help feeling that it was a little soulless.

Angela guided him towards the lounge where a group of people were seated, leisurely chatting away. Two sofas were facing each other across a coffee table, with what looked like dining table chairs filling in the gaps on either side. Laid out on the table was a platter of cheese and canapes, along with a huge red binder.

“Look who’s here everyone!” Angela announced to the group.

The conversation stopped, and every head in the room turned towards him. There were seven in total, six women and one man. The only face he recognised was Claire’s.

“Eddie!” she called, standing from her chair, and moving across the lounge to greet him. “So glad you could make it. Come over, and let me introduce everyone.”

She took him by the elbow and steered him further into the room.

“Me you obviously know, and Angela you just met. But this is Susan, Pauline, Charlie, Mark, Delia, Gemma, and Hannah.” They all gave a little wave or acknowledgement when it came to their name. Eddie tried his best to quickly assign each of them a descriptor.

Susan was thin with sharp cheekbones and dark brown hair, probably in her late 40’s. Pauline was older, 60’s maybe, with completely gray hair, rimless glasses and a colourful silk scarf. Charlie was blonde with, frankly, enormous breasts in a tight fitting top, and was a similar age to Susan. Mark was the only other male in the room, probably early 50’s, bald, and kept his paunch tightly behind belted slacks and a tucked in shirt. Delia had long auburn hair pulled loosely back with a clip, bright red lips, and was maybe mid 50’s, but it was hard to tell. Gemma was a large woman who wore a lot of bangles, early 50’s too, with a severely sharp bob haircut. And Hannah had very short hair, with multiple studs in her ears and a few visible tattoos. He guessed she was mid-thirties, like himself.

Eddie mumbled a quick “Hello”, and waved his free hand back. It was hard not to notice that the guests in Angela’s home were as white as her walls, save for Charlie’s copious amounts of fake tan. He had to figure that the Homeowner’s Association, or at least Claire’s version of it, attracted a very certain type of person.

The drinks, Eddie.

“Oh.” He turned to Claire. “Um, sorry. I knew I was supposed to bring wine, but I got a little, er, it slipped my mind.” He held up the beers with his apology.

“It’s all good,” Claire replied as Angela took the drinks from him.

“I’ll just pop them in the fridge for later,” Angela said before heading towards the back of the house, where Eddie could only assume the kitchen was.

Claire tugged lightly on his arm and angled herself up to murmur into his ear. “I’ve not forgotten about our little arrangement, by the way.” She winked at him with a smile, and Eddie nodded back.

“Oh, Claire?” Angela called out from around the corner, getting her attention. “Can I grab you a minute?”

“Sure thing,” Claire called back. She turned to Eddie again. “We’ll be starting soon, so make yourself comfy.” She patted him on the arm and left him as she went towards the kitchen.

The conversation between the group had resumed, and Eddie lingered on the edge of the circle. All of his social skills suddenly felt extremely rusty. Thankfully, Mark threw out a lifeline, and patted the space on the sofa next to him. Eddie took the invitation and settled into the couch with a small smile.

“So,” Mark said, turning towards him, his brown eyes shining behind his rectangular black glasses. He had a round face, accentuated by his neatly sculpted beard, which seemed to be compensating for the lack of hair he had on top. The fingers that held his wine glass were stubby, but his fingernails were well groomed. A hint of chest hair peeped out through the open collar button of his shirt, and a gold band glinted on his left hand.

“What dirt did Claire finally dig up on you?” His voice was gentle and a little bit camp.

“Sorry?” he spluttered.

“Oh come on.” Mark looked at him over the top of his glasses. “You’ve been on the street, what, ten months now?”

Eddie did the maths in his head. “Yeah, about that.”

“And Claire has been trying to bag you since day one. So, what did she find on you?” He playfully nudged him with his elbow.

Eddie blew out a breath, not at all willing to give an honest answer. He rubbed the back of his neck. “I dunno. Just wore me down, I guess.”

“Oh yeah, Claire will do that.” Gemma had come to sit in the space on the other side of him, wedging him in with her ample thighs. She was swathed in a heavy perfume that made his nose itch and reminded him of potpourri. Her harsh fringe made her full face look even more square, but her makeup was applied flawlessly. Her large earrings matched the multitude of jewellery she wore on her arms and fingers, and it all jangled as she talked.

“But I commend you for holding out for as long as you did,” she finished.

“Um, thanks?”

“But whatever you do,” Mark interjected, “don’t let her bully you into repainting your house. You are our little goth in a sea of preps, and we want to keep you that way.”

“Oh yeah,” Gemma joined in. “You have to keep it as it is. It’s the only interesting thing about our street.”

We like them, Eddie.

“Yeah, me too.” He realised too late that he had said it out loud. “Um, I mean, I agree. I’m not going to change it. It’s one of the first things I fell in love with when I saw it.”

Aww, you love us , they teased.

You know I do, Vee.

“Glad to hear it,” Mark replied. “You know, I wanted to do ours in a beautiful turquoise colour. Would have been gorgeous , but no. She somehow convinced my husband that it should be ‘sunshine yellow’, so that’s what we have. I suppose, at least living inside it I don’t have to look at it.”

“It’s not that bad,” offered Gemma.

“It’s vile, and I hate it.” He took a sip from his glass. “Oh, Eddie, you don’t have a drink!”

“Oh, I’m fine. I don’t-” but Mark hushed him with a wave of his hand.

“Everyone gets a drink. Or at least one before Charlie gets going.” He glanced over at the busty blonde across the coffee table. She was already refilling her glass. “I’ll be right back.” He got up and moved towards the kitchen.

The conversation lulled as Eddie tried to think of something to say. He had gotten so bad at this, being with Venom all the time. He had forgotten how to talk to strangers when it wasn’t for work.

“They’re not real, by the way,” Gemma murmured.

“Huh?”

She motioned back over towards Charlie. “She had them done a few years ago after her third divorce. But the surgeon messed up, and now she has dead nipples.” She took a drink from her own glass.

Eddie sat there rather stunned, quite obviously staring. “Is that so?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve seen them. Not a pretty sight. But she is single, and as the newest, most eligible bachelor, she might press herself onto you after glass number four - just a warning.”

“Oh. Actually, I’m taken.” That got a surprised look from Gemma. Sweetness swirled in his chest, and Eddie tried to hide how gleeful he was. It was the first time he had felt Venom away from the house. A glass of wine came into view over his shoulder.

“Hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty of choosing,” Mark said.

Eddie took the glass. “No, I don’t mind at all.” He gave it a sniff. It smelled like every other wine he’d ever had. He never could tell the difference, but it tasted nice enough. Rather sweet actually.

“Mark, Eddie was just telling me that he’s not single.” She wiggled her eyebrows.

“Oh, do spill!” Mark urged, taking his place on the sofa again.

Yes Eddie, do spill.

“Uh, well, we’ve been seeing each other for a while now. I’d say it’s pretty serious.”

“Wedding bells serious?” Mark asked.

Eddie smiled. He’d actually had a dream once where he was standing at the altar in a packed church opposite a pile of tentacles. Of course, he had been naked at the time, and the entire congregation had watched while he and Venom consecrated their marriage right after the priest had declared them married. But it had gotten him thinking.

“I’m not opposed to the idea.”

“But they are?” Gemma said.

Eddie thought about how to best word his answer. “There are some… complications. They’re not from around here.”

“Ah,” said Mark with a thoughtful look. “Immigration.” And he tapped his nose.

“Something like that.” He paused, expecting some sort of comment from Venom, but none came. “Er, what about you two? Any partners, etcetera?” he asked, trying to redirect the conversation.

“Oh, I’ve been married way too long,” Gemma started. “High school sweethearts, and all that, which you know could only mean trouble down the line...” She kept on talking, but Eddie wasn’t listening anymore.

Hey, love, you okay?

We are fine.

You sure?

Would you really marry us?

Are you proposing?

Don’t be silly, Eddie.

Because if you are, I should probably let you know that another house has caught my eye , he teased.

Eddie.

It’s a very smart little apartment, very close to town.

Eddie, stop.

I think I might be really falling for it.

Pay attention, Eddie.

Gemma was still speaking “....but that was the last I heard about it, so I have to assume that it’s not happening anymore, you know? Though I’m reaching the point that I wouldn’t really mind if it was.”

“Oh Gem, don’t say that!” Mark admonished.

“It’s true!” she replied. “Anyway, that’s my tale of relationship woe. You tell him yours.”

“Well, not much woe from me. Javi and I have been married, what, six years now? Wow, how does time fly. Together for much longer, but you know how it is. However, last year we were blessed with our beautiful Serena.” He removed his phone from his pocket and swiped through some of the many baby photos on it. Eddie made all the appropriate noises. “Via surrogate, of course. Javi’s with her tonight, but it was the choice between coming here or a teething baby.”

“The lesser of two evils,” Gemma offered.

“Oh, totally.” And they both chuckled into their wine glasses.

At that, the conversation was halted by Claire tapping the cheese knife against the coffee table.

“Hello everyone, and a big welcome to our newest member. I reckon everyone who's going to come tonight is already here, so let’s get started shall we?” She consulted her open binder before her. “Sticking with old business first, I’m afraid to say that number 89 has put yet more solar lights on their front path.” There was a moan of discontent among the group. Claire put up her hands to placate them. “We now have twelve stakes lights.”

“It looks like a damn football stadium,” said Pauline.

“They already had those ones around their bushes too,” said Susan.

“Oh, I quite liked those,” said Delia, an unexpected Southern drawl accenting her words.

“I did too,” agreed Angela. “They were nice and subtle.”

“But twelve is really too much. Don’t you agree, Eddie?” Mark said, and all eyes turned to him.

He cleared his throat nervously. “Um, yeah. Twelve does seem a bit much.”

“But what can we do about it?” asked Hannah, taking the heat away from him. He took a grateful gulp of his drink.

“I guess sabotage is out of the question?” offered Gemma with a sly smile. The others giggled at their inside joke. The only other one who wasn’t laughing was Charlie, who was too busy picking crumbs of cheese out of her cleavage. Eddie could sympathize.

“A strongly worded letter does nothing these days,” lamented Pauline.

“As if anyone responds to letters anymore,” Hannah replied.

“Death threats seem to work,” Mark commented.

“Bomb threats too!” added Delia, and they both shared a grin.

“We’re not going to send them any kind of letter,” Claire hushed, urging for calm with her hands. “It’s just a development we’ll all have to live with for the time being.” She made a tick in her open binder. “Now, I’ve had a response about the noise complaints made against Number 101 due to the work they’re having done on their house. All the relevant departments, including the police, have said that they are well within their rights to start at 7am - even on the weekends.” Another groan went up from the group. “Howe- however,” Claire called over the commotion, “Alec has assured me it will only continue for another 3 weeks. And don’t worry, I will hold him to that as I got it in writing.”

“Of course she did,” Mark muttered, and Eddie tried to suppress a smile.

Another tick went in Claire’s binder. “I do have some good news for everyone though….” She paused for dramatic effect, looking around the room. “We got the permit for the bake sale!”

The group erupted in a cheer, and the conversation quickly devolved into a discussion over arrangements and organisation for the event. A heated debate broke out between Pauline and Hannah over whether dietary restricted items should be offered, and even Eddie was somehow persuaded to bring something to sell.

After that, the meeting continued around him, going from the bake sale, to road repair, a proposed fundraising barbeque, and late bin collection. Eddie let it all wash over him, only offering comments when asked. He ate from the cheese platter and drank from his glass. Any hopes he had for learning something helpful were quickly dwindling.

But, just like he could feel Venom’s smile, he realised he could feel something else from them. They were completely absorbed by the conversations, listening with rapt attention to every word being said.

It clicked with him that to Venom, this was all utterly fascinating. It was a window onto the world outside of their door which they had never been able to be a part of. They had seen people come and go, watched families grow up and move on, and witnessed a century's worth of time pass. But only as far as the end of the garden path.

He suddenly felt so sad for Venom, reminded once again of how trapped and alone they had been. Maybe he would consider coming again to a meeting, just for their sake. It hadn’t been so bad really. At least the wine had been good.

Speaking of which...

“Uh, which way is the bathroom?” he whispered to Mark.

“To the right of the stairs, down the hall,” he whispered back with a motion of his head.

Eddie got up with an awkward smile, and picked his way out of the circle of chairs. He finally breathed a sigh of relief once he was away from the group, and followed Mark’s directions.

The bathroom was just as sleek and modern as the rest of the house. It was all granite tops and chrome taps. He looked in the mirror as he washed his hands, checking he didn’t have any of the canapes stuck in his teeth.

We could be like this.

“What do you mean?”

This style. We could be like this.

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

Really?

“Yeah. Our house is way nicer than this one.”

Their smile was all Eddie needed to know they were happy with his answer. It did make him think back to what Mark had said about having moved in ten months ago, though.

“We should do something, you know, for our anniversary.”

Anniversary?

“Yeah, one year since I moved in. We should mark it. Like we did with my birthday.”

We can have chocolate cake!? came their eager reply.

“Well, yeah,” he smiled, “but we could also take a trip. Haven’t done that in a while. Or go to a fancy restaurant. Whatever you like.”

We like having you at home, in bed.

“Well, we could do that too. Have a think about it.”

We shall.

“Right, let’s see this thing through to the end. Fingers crossed Claire has something for us.”

He returned to the lounge in the middle of Pauline saying something vaguely racist about the smell of curry. He chose not to listen until he was back in his seat. He noticed that Charlie had fallen asleep. Mark offered him his glass once he was settled.

“Gave you a quick refill,” he whispered.

“Thanks.” He took a sip. It tasted sweeter than the last one, but he figured it must be a new bottle. Pauline had come to the end of her rant.

“Thank you for that, Pauline,” Claire said as she scribbled a note down in her binder. “Does anyone else have anything to add?”

“Oh, has anyone else noticed the car?” questioned Hannah.

“What car?” asked Delia.

“It’s been parked on the street for a good few weeks now. It moves a bit every day, but it’s there. Not far from your house, Eddie.”

That got his attention. Venom’s too.

“What kind of car?” he asked.

“Um, you’d have to ask my girlfriend; she’s the mechanic,” Hannah replied, “but it’s dark red, pretty old looking. The strange thing is, I swear I keep on seeing someone inside, but every time I went up to it, it was empty.”

“How very weird,” Mark commented.

“Maybe it’s a haunted car,” Delia joked.

“It’s probably just a bum,” Angela reasoned.

“Or someone trying to avoid the authorities,” suggested Pauline.

“Well, we’ll make a note of it and keep an eye out for it,” Claire said, putting an end to that conversation. She moved onto something about a garden competition, but Eddie was mulling this new information over.

This feels important, Eddie.

I think it is.

If someone had been parked down the road from their house, it was likely that he was being watched. It gave credence to the idea that these attacks were not random. He suddenly felt the urge to check the cameras on his phone. They were clear, no signs of movement, and he let out a little relieved sigh.

“Problem?” whispered Gemma.

“No. No, all good,” he whispered back, returning his phone to his pocket. He took another sip of his wine. This one was definitely starting to go to his head. It did go really well with the cheese, though.

“Right,” said Claire, “any other news?”

Susan put up her hand. “Actually, I have some.” She stood up, her hands grasped in excitement. ”Sarah got accepted into Stanford!” Screams and squeals filled the air, the noise finally rousing Charlie from her slumber. Many of the group stood to give her a congratulation hug, and she answered all the questions she could with a gleeful smile. Eventually Angela offered a toast.

“May she excel at her studies, and have a wonderful time.”

Everyone cheered and drank from their glasses. Eddie decided he might as well finish his. He was definitely feeling the effects now. He felt rather dopey and loose limbed.

“Okay, settle people,” Claire called. “This actually reminds me, we need to talk about-”

But she was interrupted by Delia who was holding up her hand and wagging her finger. “Ah, ah, ah. It’s 10pm.”

“But just one more thing,” Claire begged.

Delia held her finger to her lips. “Save it for next week, sugah.”

“Fine,” she grumbled, making a note of it in her binder. “Meeting adjourned.”

There was a mess of movement as everyone started standing and stretching at once.

“If we don’t stop her at 10, she never stops,” Gemma supplied. Eddie gave a wonky smile in return. He was drunk.

The dregs of glasses were drained, and discussions toppled over each other about dinner plans and school runs. Eddie spied Charlie determinedly eating the remaining cheese, and wished he’d thought to do the same. He hadn’t eaten much all night, which was why third glass had probably hit him so hard. Or was it his fourth?

“Come on, up you get.” Mark was offering him his hand. He took it and pulled himself to standing, wobbling slightly when he got there. “Did you bring a coat?” he asked, and Eddie shook his head. He felt his warm hand on his back, guiding to the front door where everyone was thanking Angela for hosting as they left. It was quickly his turn.

“So glad you could make it Eddie. Will we see you next week?” she asked.

“Um, maybe,” was all he could commit to now.

He paused. There was something he was forgetting to do, something that was supposed to happen at the end of the meeting. What was it? He took Angela’s hand. “Really great wine.”

“Thanks,” she replied, slightly taken back by the compliment.

He ambled through the door, and turned down the road towards home.

Eddiiiieeee, you are intoxa- intoxicated.

Was Venom struggling with their words?

“Yeah, I am. And you don’t sound much better.” He was talking out loud on the quiet street with no regard for himself. “How much did I drink?”

We were not counting.

“Yeah, me neither.”

He didn’t think he had that many glasses, but then again, he never saw the bottle it came from. Considering the crowd that was there, it was probably really good wine, the kind with a high alcohol content.

He swayed into a bush and apologised profusely to it.

“Are we nearly there yet?” he asked Venom.

Nearly.

“Good.” He grinned goofily.

He loved his house. He loved everything inside his house. It was his. He owned it. And Venom was his. He had his own amazing creature from another world that loved him back. And the sex was amazing. He could probably go for some of that right now, actually.

“Vee, Vee?” His speech was slurred.

Yes, Eddiiiiieeee?

“Will you sex me when I get back?”

Do you want us to?

“Oh yes,” he replied enthusiastically.

Venom was smiling, but whether that was with lust or amusement at his drunken antics, he couldn’t tell. He didn’t care. They were happy. He had made them happy. And that made him happy.

Eddiiiieeee?

“Hmm?”

You have walked past the house.

“Oh right.” He turned back around, walking till he spotted his bike in the driveway. “Hey, that’s my bike!” he said, overjoyed to see it.

He just about made it up the steps, but failed to find the door handle three times. Venom opened it for him in the end.

“I’m back now,” he announced. “Will you sex me?”

Come upstairs, they said in a sing-song manner.

Eddie looked up at the mountain he had to climb.

“But that’s too far,” he whined.

You can make it, they encouraged.

With an exaggerated grunt of effort, he mounted the first step. It wasn’t so bad. He could do the next one. Okay, one at a time. This was manageable.

“Immm commmmin’ to getcha, Vee!”

He began to strip the moment he was on the landing and Venom’s tentacles came into view. He undid his jeans and pulled them down with his boxers, but he still had his boots on. He shuffled towards the bed, trying to to undo his shirt buttons, but his fingers weren’t cooperating. He got frustrated and attempted to take it off over his head. He quickly got stuck.

“Help,” he whimpered.

Come closer , Venom said, their voice dripping with amusement.

He did and immediately felt the pull of tentacles all over him. They danced awkwardly under his clothes, lacking their usual poise and agility. They felt sluggish, like he was. They maneuvered him out of his shoes and pants relatively easily, but struggled with the buttons too. With an annoyed grumble, they eventually resorted to simply popping them off.

When his head was finally free, Eddie drank in the sight before him. A bed of writhing tentacles all for him. All wanting him, primed and ready to take him in any way that he pleased.

“‘Ello gorgeous,” he grinned.

Edddiiiiieee , they moaned.

And then he promptly face planted into the mattress, out like a light.

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie’s cock was hot and instant against his thigh. It was a rare occasion these days when he woke up with morning wood. It was almost like a throwback to his pre-Venom life, especially when he was single and it had a been fairly common occurrence. Lying on his side, wrapped in a blanket of tentacles, he basked in the feeling for a little while longer. Resisting the desire to touch himself only allowed his erection to engorge even further. The gentle creep of it against his skin was delicious.

He did feel remarkably clear-headed considering the drunken state he had been in the night before. He had never not woken up with a hangover the day after a binge, but today the only thing he was was thirsty. And horny. It made for a nice change.

A caress over his face told him he wasn’t the only one awake.

Good morning, Eddie.

“Morning, love.”

We see that you have a situation.

“Noticed that, eh?”

We have thought of a solution for it, if you would like it?

“Go for it.”

A new tentacle appeared from near his face and slithered over his arm. It moved down along his body, hugging close to his skin and seeking it’s target. It enveloped his dick from the tip down, and Eddie gave an appreciative hiss. His muscles tensed momentarily as he was wrapped up in that tight, warm embrace. If he wasn’t fully hard before, he was now.

A different tentacle then prodded at his lips.

Open up, Eddie.

“No, love. I’m not-”

Promise it’s something different.

Intrigued, he did as he was asked, and it moved inside his mouth. It definitely wasn’t the usual tentacle that fed him, that much he could tell. Once he had sealed his lips around it, he felt the intrusion begin to change. It shifted, becoming more defined and detailed. It formed a flared mushroom head, and veins ran up its length, faintly pulsing against his tongue.

Filled with curiosity, he gave the tentacle a quick exploratory lick. He flinched with surprise as the same sensation happened on his cock. He quickly tried again, swirling his tongue around the underside of the glands. Again, the movement was instantly mirrored on his own dick, and he moaned deeply around his gag. Venom’s delight filled his chest.

You see. Different. They sounded particularly proud of themselves.

Eddie didn’t wait for any further instruction. He firmly grasped the tentacle in his mouth with both hands, and hungrily began sucking on the replica of his cock.

His head ran wild with the possibilities. All the things that various partners had done to him that had sent him wild, all the things he wished they’d done, all the things he’d wanted to try, he could do them now. He closed his eyes so he could totally focus on the feelings he was giving himself.

This is amazing, Vee.

He mercilessly played with his slit, and polished the head like he wanted it to shine. He tried to hum, but every time he started it was broken by a moan or gasp. The feedback loop was intense. Even the grip of his hands on the shaft were replicated. It took masturbating to a whole new level.

But it was oddly solo. He wasn’t used to Venom being such an inactive bystander.

Come join me, love.

They readily accepted his invitation, and the bed came alive around him. Tendrils stroked through his hair and along his back. They coiled around his legs and over his shoulders. Then they found the delicious points on his scalp and applied a steady pressure. It was all too easy for Eddie to imagine they were fingertips trying to guide his head, like a regular blowjob.

His hips began moving on their own, pumping the tentacle further into his mouth. It was too early to try deepthroating, but his brain was giving out mixed signals. The primal part of him wanted more. More heat, more friction, more wetness. But his rational part knew how much he could swallow. So he found a compromise by seeking out his most sensitive spot and working it relentlessly.

Yes, Eddie. That is the best place, they added, encouragingly.

In any other moment, he would have probably found it hilarious how much better Venom knew his body than he did. But right now it merely spurred him on, too lost in his pleasure to comment.

He didn’t last long. How could he be expected to when he was giving himself the most perfect blowjob in the world? He came into the tentacle on his dick with a long strangled groan. The one in his mouth sent a splash of nectar down his throat as a reward, and he gladly swallowed it all.

But it wasn’t enough.

He rode out his orgasm, still sucking on his cock, milking the very last out of it. But he didn’t stop. He didn’t take a moment to enjoy his afterglow. He wanted more. He needed more. His cock was still achingly hard, and a hunger that he didn’t understand was growing in his gut.

Let us help.

He felt a pressure at his entrance and opened his legs to offer better access. A different tentacle took hold of his raised knee to keep it aloft. The one at his ass slipped in easily, well lubricated in whatever it was that Venom used, then began to grow, stretching him delightfully. It was very much like getting fucked on his side, a position he realised he liked, but that thought would have to wait for later.

He hadn’t stopped working his cock. He couldn’t. He didn’t know how he was still hard, how he hadn’t become over sensitive yet. This wasn’t like him at all, and he didn’t feel like Venom was to blame for it. They seemed as surprised as he was, but he was starting to get agitated. He needed to come again. He needed it like a thirsty person needed water. His orgasm wasn’t building fast enough. The spots he had found before weren’t working as well. The sensations felt dulled.

He began working himself with increasing intensity, pushing back against the tentacle in his ass, encouraging Venom to put more in. He sucked and pulled at his cock, his tongue starting to cramp and his jaw ache.

His movements were getting rapid and frenzied. Sweat glistened on his body as his mind became a haze of need and want.

Eddie? Venom asked, their concern obvious.

Just keep going. Please! he begged. Venom brushed against his prostate, and the extra surge of pleasure came as a welcome relief.

There. Stay right there , he implored.

They did, and soon he was coming again.

But it still wasn’t enough.

The hunger in his belly was twisting into a knot that kept on getting tighter. He shoved his cock deeper into his mouth and choked around it. Tears sprang to eyes, but he kept on forcing it down.

Eddie! Venom cried out. They yanked the tentacle from his mouth and he reached after it.

“No, no! Give it back! I need it!”

No, Eddie. Something is wrong.

The one over his dick slipped through his grasp before he could stop them, but he was quick enough to grab the one in his ass. He sat up, kneeling on the bed so he could push himself against it more. He drove it deeper, thrusting himself upon it.

But he could feel Venom squirming. They were resisting him. He wanted to let them go, but his hands only held on tighter. He couldn’t stop. His actions weren’t his own anymore.

Venom should have been able to easily overpower him, to restrain him. They were infinitely stronger than he was. But instead they only retreated. He was left alone on the bed save for the one tentacle. He felt abandoned, left alone with his pain.

The knot in his belly tightened further. The cramping was horrendous and he cried out. His face was wet with tears, but he had no control. All he could do was keep pushing himself down onto the only part of Venom he had. They had gone still inside him, acting like nothing more than an inanimate sex toy.

Somehow, his cock was still hard, and it was hurting not to touch it. Eddie risked letting go of the tentacle with one hand to wrap it around his length. It had been so long since he’d actually used his own hand that it sent an unexpected shiver through him. He stroked it quickly, his actions desperate and uncoordinated. His stomach hurt so much.

“Please, Vee, please . I need you,” he moaned in distress.

This wasn’t about lust or desire. He was starting to feel like he would die if he didn’t come again soon. He knew his body was getting overworked, that his sensitivity was dulling with each thrust and pull. But the pain meant he had to keep on going. He had no choice in the matter.

Venom finally reacted by pressing against his prostate again, and it was enough to push him over the edge once more.

His orgasm barely registered as, as soon as he came, all his attention zeroed in on his hand. The amount he had spilled out was pitiful, but something told him that that was what he craved. With barely a hesitation, he lifted it to his mouth and licked it off.

Immediately the knot in his stomach untied, and pure pleasure radiated throughout his body.

He fell forward with a surprised orgasmic sigh, suddenly aware of how much clearer his mind felt. He hurriedly wiped over his cock again, trying to find every bit of cum he could. He sucked it from his fingers, the taste of salt and sweat covering his tongue. It made his mouth feel even drier, but it was the cure for his anguish. He was almost hysterical at having found some relief. But he knew there wasn’t enough. Venom had taken his first two loads from him. He needed more.

His mind began searching for all the possible ways he could get some. He had plenty of neighbours. He could get those sex apps for his phone. Hell, he could just go to the nearest seedy bar and find a glory hole. But none of that was going to happen quick enough. He could already feel the knot beginning to tighten again.

The tentacle in his ass took the opportunity to wiggle free, leaving him empty and completely alone on the bed. Why had they gone? Couldn’t they see that he needed them? He couldn’t do this by himself. Did he have any toys he could use instead? Maybe there was a bottle downstairs? It was a useless train of thought. He knew he had nothing left to give, but he still took hold of his throbbing dick again.

"I can't stop. Why can't I stop?" he whimpered, covering his face with his other hand, and dissolving back into crying.

The pain increased, and he curled up into a ball, hugging his stomach. He sobbed into the mattress.

“It hurts so much,” he wept.

Tentatively, a tentacle stroked down his back. He wasn’t alone anymore, and when he didn’t make a grab for it, more appeared.

Shhh, shhh. We have got you, Eddie.

Tendrils stroked through his hair as tentacles looped carefully around him. He was being lifted, and suddenly all around him was darkness. He was floating in the void.

The air around him began to hum and vibrate. Pressure piled up against him like an altitude change in an airplane. It made his eardrums hurt.

We are sorry Eddie. This will not be nice.

He barely heard Venom’s words, but even if he had, it wouldn’t have prepared him for what happened next.

Energy shot down his spine, shocking his systems, and throwing his body wide. He screamed loud and long, more intensely than he ever had before. His veins burned with fire and ice. Electricity poured into his skin. Every muscle strained against the onslaught, and the air crackled with static around him.

Lights danced behind his screwed shut eyes. At first, they were just splotches of colour burning shadows into his retina. But soon they were shapes. They had form. It was just one he didn’t recognise. He couldn’t form a coherent thought to figure them out even if he had wanted to.

He went into spasms. Every part of him was contracting randomly, his joints crying out under the force of it. Fresh tears fell from his eyes. It was all just too much.

But then it began to slow, and his consciousness started to drift. Bursts of energy still ran through him, but they were gentler now. He flinched and jerked, but it didn’t hurt anymore. All of the pain was gone, though his body still hummed with its echo.

Tendrils glided over him in soft touches. They guided him to relax, to let go. And there was that pulse again. Soft and rhythmic, and lulling him to rest.

Forgive us, Eddie. We fixed it. We fixed the problem...

***

A phone was ringing. It buzzed incessantly against the carpet. The actual ringtone was muffled by whatever it was under, but it definitely Eddie’s. It cut off, probably going to voicemail, but after a few moments started up again.

If Eddie had felt perfectly fine when he woke up before, now he was utterly wretched. His whole body ached, and what was worse, he was completely alone on the bed. Not a tentacle in sight.

“Vee?” he croaked, his throat raw and dry.

Here , they weakly whispered.

“What… what happened?”

Poison.

“Poison!?”

But they didn’t reply again.

“Vee?”

Phone, Eddie.

It was still ringing, and clearly wasn’t going to stop any time soon.

With a deep groan, he edged off the bed and slid onto the floor. He crawled over to where his jeans had been discarded the night before, and fished out his phone from its pockets. According to the clock, it was four in the afternoon, and he’d already missed six previous calls from work.

He let out a heavy sigh and sat back, pulling his jeans over to cover his crotch. For some reason it just felt wrong to talk to his boss on the phone while naked. He answered on the next ring.

“Hello?” he rasped out.

“Eddie! Thank god. I’ve been trying all day to reach you!” It was Kate, Joana’s assistant.

“‘M sorry. I’ve not been well,” he said, rubbing his eyes.

“Whatever. Look, you need to get into the office - like, now.”

“What? Why?”

“Because…”

There was another voice in the background. Eddie could just make out, “Is that him?”

“Yes, he-” Kate was cut off as the phone was handed over. It crackled and popped as the cord swung and stretched.

“Eddie! Where the fuck have you been!?” Joana’s irritated voice blasted down the line. Eddie had to hold his phone away from his ear for a moment.

“I’m sick.”

“Well, as of right now, you’re un-sick.”

“Joana-”

“No. I need you to get over here as fast as humanly possible. This isn’t negotiable.”

“Seriously, Joana. I have the flu.”

“I don’t care if you’re missing a leg. Jobs are on the line here.”

“What? You’re going to fire me?”

There was a long exasperated sigh from the other end of the line. “Ms Whittaker and her associates are currently in the conference room, and we’re all waiting on you.”

“No. That- that advertiser thingy isn’t until next week.”

Really, with everything that had been going on, Eddie had rather forgotten about the planned meeting. He had been hoping that if the paper could acquire extra funding, he might be able to get back to his investigative journalism. But first he had to prove that it was worth it. He had barely even started to get his presentation together.

“Well, guess who happened to be in the building and decided to come in early,” Joana replied sarcastically. “And right now, we’re making the worst impression.”

“But- but we don’t have anything ready.”

“I am well aware.” There was another long sigh, but this time it sounded extremely tired. “Look. I’d like to think I was a pretty decent boss. I don’t mind my staff working from home after a weekend bender, as long as they get the pages in. But it’s Thursday, Eddie, and no one is buying the ‘sick’ routine. I’m not going to be a dick and threaten you with the loss of your job, but this paper is in a precarious position as it is. If we can’t produce something today then they might actually decrease our funding, and then we’re all screwed.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he sighed. “I understand.”

“I’ve got the team doing their best to stall for time while I scrape a few slides together. Just- as fast as humanly possible, yeah?”

“Yeah,” he agreed, although reluctantly.

“Good.”

The phone crackled again as it was handed back to Kate. She spoke to him in sympathetic tones.

“Hey. Just come in, show your face, and if you’re actually ill, they’ll reschedule, right?”

“Hope so.”

“Good luck,” she offered before hanging up.

Eddie did the same. He wiped his face as he looked around the room. Venom was conspicuously absent.

He heaved himself back to the bed and flopped down onto the mattress. Everywhere felt sore, and he was certain he could feel a headache coming on.

“Vee?” he asked, rolling onto his side.

A tentacle emerged from near his head, and slid itself under Eddie’s palm so he could curl his fingers around it. It didn’t look right. The shiny lustre seemed to have dulled. He pulled it close to his face, nuzzling it with his forehead.

“What did you mean, poison?”

In your body... Affected us too.... Made you behave strange… Made us both sick.

They were talking quietly in short sentences. This wasn’t good.

“Could I have… died?”

No. Not fatal... Painful and unpleasant... Would have worn off tomorrow.

“So, you’re saying I was drugged?”

We think so.

Eddie would have thumped the mattress if he had the energy. He knew he hadn’t drunk that much last night. Not enough to pass out at any rate. His mind whirled. He never did see the bottles the wine came from. And Mark had been the one to always refill his glass. How did he react when Hannah mentioned the car? Was he really part of it all, or could it have been someone else at the meeting pulling the strings?

But then, what exactly was he drugged with? Since when did rohypnol make you crave cum and leave you in agony if you didn’t eat it?

He shivered with the memory of it, hoping to never repeat the experience. It would probably still be going on if Venom hadn’t intervened.

“We’re okay now, right?”

The toxin has been... removed.

“You didn’t answer my question.”

We are dealing with it.

“Vee-”

We will be fine. We need to rest... You should go.

“No. No way am I leaving you. Not now.”

Eddie. You need your job.

“And you’re not well. Hell, I don’t think that I’m well.”

We will recover.

“Love-”

It is as the woman said... you will go, show your face, and return. Eddie could feel how much effort it was taking to talk this much. We have the cameras. We will be safe... And it will prove to your attackers... that their poison did not work.

“I guess. But…”

Another memory came to him. Him, using Venom, even though he could feel them resisting. Guilt crashed through him, and he squeezed the tentacle between his fingers.

“I’m sorry for earlier, Vee. I, er, I didn’t… I couldn’t...”

A tendril was stroking the back of his head.

We know, they soothed. It was not you... Not your fault.

A sweetness trickled into his chest, but he wasn’t sure he deserved it. He rubbed his eyes as a wave of tiredness that wasn’t his own washed over him. The headache was his, though.

“I won’t stay a second longer than I have to.”

The tentacle pushed itself against his face and he kissed it. He wanted nothing more than to stay right where he was, to care for Venom, or to keep them company while they both wallowed in their recovery.

Go, Eddie.

There wasn’t time for a shower, so he quickly gave himself a once over with a damp washcloth. He pulled on some vaguely presentable clothes, but as he reached for his keys in the dish next to front door, he hesitated. Something, like an intuitive instinct, was telling him not to take the bike.

“I think I’ll call an Uber.”

As he waited for his ride to arrive, he went searching for some aspirin. Thanks to Venom, he hadn’t needed any pain killers since moving in, but they clearly weren’t in a state to help right now. He was pretty sure he had brought some with him from the old apartment, but where they had ended up, he wasn’t sure.

He took a deep breath and quickly checked his sense of the house. They were in the kitchen, under the sink, next to the old first aid kit. He took a couple of pills and downed them with three full glasses of water. The only reason he didn’t drink a fourth was because his phone pinged that his car was outside.

He lingered at the door. He didn’t want to leave. That same intuitive instinct was screaming at him that he needed to stay, but jobs were on the line. His he could stand to lose, maybe, but he knew how much his colleagues depended on theirs. Advertisers were fickle. They knew that they held all the power.

He pushed through his feelings of unease, and opened the door.

“See you later... darling,” he called quietly over his shoulder. There was a warm sensation, like a small smile. Eddie held onto it for as long as he could.

He was halfway to the office when he felt the first cold, greasy wave ride over his skin. He shuddered in the backseat of the car, and pulled his jacket closer around himself.

“Vee?” he whispered into his collar, trying not to be heard above the driver’s music. His headache hadn’t abated yet, and trying to direct his thoughts was too much effort.

Sick, Eddie.

“I know, love. Do you need me to come back?”

No. Keep going.

By the time they got to the office, he was panting slightly. He felt too hot and too cold at the same time. Perspiration prickled along his hairline.

“I should come back.”

“Sorry?” asked the driver.

No, Eddie... You are there now.

They sounded so weary it took everything he had to not order the guy to take him home again.

“Are you okay, man?” he asked. “You don’t look so good.”

“I’m fine,” Eddie lied, exiting the car.

By the time he made it up the elevator to the right floor he was shivering. He trudged through the office, looking blearily for which meeting room they were in. The aspirin had done nothing for his head, and the lights were hurting his eyes.

“Eddie!” He heard Kate call him name, and turned to face her. It was at that moment he knew he must look as god awful as he felt. She paused, her high ponytail swaying as she brushed her bangs out of her eyes. “Jesus Christ, you weren’t kidding.”

“Where…?” He gestured lamely.

Kate cocked her head towards one of the frosted glass doors, sending her ponytail into motion again. “Conference room B.”

He didn’t knock as he entered. Joana was standing at the top of a long table next to the monitor on the wall. She was surprisingly young for the position she held, actually younger than Eddie, but deadly serious about her work. Her blonde hair was down about her shoulders, and she looked rather professional in her black sweater and jeans. She had stopped mid sentence, her laptop open in her hands.

“Eddie?” She seemed just as surprised at his arrival as she did at his appearance.

A cough brought his attention to the rest of the room. Seated around the table were several people, all in very sharp business attire, but Eddie’s vision was too fuzzy to make out any details. He was, however, very aware of how every eye was on him.

“‘M- I’m here,” he slurred.

He made a grab for the back of an office chair for support, but it skittered away from him as soon as he leant on it. He went with it and crumpled to the floor in a heap, the tough carpet scratching at his oversensitive skin.

“Oh my god!” Joana was quickly kneeling by his side, the laptop abandoned on the table. There was the clattering sounds of other people standing up.

“Eddie? Are you okay?” Jonana asked.

He gave a weak, directionless wave of his hand. “‘M fine. The floor is good. I’m good. Continue.”

“You are so not fine,” she replied. She pressed a warm hand to his clammy forehead. “Fucking hell,” she spat in a low whisper. She stood again to address the room. “So sorry everyone, but maybe we should just take a five minute break? I’m sure my assistant will be happy to get a coffee order in.”

There was a disgruntled murmur of agreement, then a string of people stepped over Eddie to get outside. He didn’t move. He was okay where he was. It was better than standing.

“Kate!” Joana hissed through the door.

“What the-?” came her reply.

“Put our guests in the next room, get in a coffee order, then call an ambulance.”

“Don’t need one,” he mumbled into his sleeve.

“Yes you do. Don’t argue.”

“No, I-.”

His phone was making noises, noises that he hadn’t heard before. He dragged it from his pocket and tried to clear his vision to look at the screen. It was a notification from the camera app. Someone was at his front door.

Joana was kneeling next to him, talking to him again, but he wasn’t listening. He opened up the feed and there was a woman standing on the front porch. He didn’t recognise her, but she was obviously making sure the coast was clear. She stepped up towards the camera and looked directly down it. A pair of wire cutters came into frame. Then the signal went dead.

Eddie’s eyes shot wide. He switched to the back camera. There was someone already there and they were doing the exact same thing. Both feeds went offline.

His pulse was racing. He needed to leave.

Eddie... They sounded weak and distant. Someone is... inside…

So much for being fucking safe.

It took a lot of effort, but he curled his hands under him and pushed himself up from the floor. He managed to get to his knees.

“Eddie, for god’s sake, don’t move!” Joana scolded him.

“Have to,” he croaked. “My house is-”

His body shuddered as a new feeling took over. It was a strange wave of pressure that rolled around within him. It knocked against his insides and bounced off his bones, making his breathing turn rapid. He trembled, his skin fizzing with static. Every hair was standing on end. He groaned and pushed his head into his shoulder. He wasn’t sure if he was going to vomit or pass out.

It turned out to be neither.

It was like something had flipped a switch within him and suddenly all he could feel was desire. All of his previous aches and pains had been washed away. Strength poured back into his muscles. He felt powerful, but more than that, he needed to assert that power.

Joana placed a concerned hand on his back. His head whipped up to look at her, and she flinched. He could see her sudden fear. He knew his eyes were full of furious want and his teeth were bared.

“Eddie?” she asked, a tremor in her voice.

He growled and was immediately on her, forcing her backwards onto the floor. He pressed against her, his nose buried into her neck, inhaling her scent. She smelled of perfume, hair conditioner, and the sweet tang of panic.

He wanted her, but this wasn’t about sexual conquest. It was about hunger. He wanted to devour her. He wanted to rip into her flesh and pull her apart with his bare hands. He yearned to taste her so badly. His brain was assaulted with a deep craving to lick her skin, and he nearly did. But his rational mind kicked in at the last moment, and he was instantly horrified.

He flung himself off her, scrambling towards the door.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” he all but shouted. His shame overwhelmed him. He couldn’t bare to look at her. “I’m sick,” he moaned, grabbing the back of his head.

He still was. Having trampled down those frenzied urges, that cold, greasy feeling had returned. Whatever was going on was happening on top of everything else. And Venom was being silent through it all.

Eddie dragged himself upright, leaning heavily on the doorframe. He had to go. Leaving the house had been a huge mistake. Joana hadn’t moved from the floor. Her shock had rendered her speechless.

At that moment, Kate came back into the room.

“Everyone’s settled, and the ambulance is on its-”

Eddie snapped at her. Literally lunged towards her and snapped at her with his teeth. She jumped away with a squeak, and he was overcome with guilt again.

“I’m sorry,” he apologised. “I need to go. My house is being robbed.”

He  bent down to scoop up his phone, and then stumbled past Kate out into the main office. He was eager to get away from everyone. He had no idea what he was going to do next, but those bursts of feral desire wouldn’t leave him alone.

He spied a delivery man leaning over the reception desk and couldn’t stop himself from digging his hands deep into their backside. He pushed his crotch in close and groaned into their ear. But before the guy could turn, Eddie was gone again, trying his best to hide his face as he dashed for the stairs. No one else used the stairs. They were eight floors up. Only sadists used the stairs.

“Talk to me, Vee,” he wailed as he pounded down the steps, leaning heavily on the hand rail. The lack of reply only heightened his hysterical state. He had to get home. He had to know what was wrong. He had to fix this.

Back in the lobby, he could feel his eyes roving around, looking for their next target. So many tasty delights were offered to him, so many targets to choose from. He dug his nails into his palms, forcing his brain to focus. He raced for the exit, not caring who he bumped into along the way.

Once outside, he searched for the nearest cab, desperate to put as much distance between himself and other people. Someone walked past him with a hotdog, and before he could stop himself, he grabbed it from their hands and stuffed it into his mouth. He kept moving and didn’t stay long enough to hear their angry shouts. He spotted a man getting into a cab, and quickly stole it for himself. He growled at the driver, demanding to be taken to his address. As soon as they saw the look on his face, they immediately complied.

Eddie spent the ride home curled up on the backseat, whimpering and shivering. He couldn’t stop shaking. His breathing was rapid and irregular, and every few minutes he had to stop himself from rutting against every surface. He shoved his arm between his legs, hoping that the pressure would be enough to satisfy his urges, but he wasn’t even hard. The desire he felt wasn’t about pleasure. It was about taking. It was about owning and possessing. And it scared him. He didn’t understand how this could be coming from Venom. This was the complete opposite of the Venom he knew, of the Venom who fed him chocolates and wrapped around him at night. He couldn’t help imagining the worst. And they still weren’t talking to him.

When he finally got out the cab, the driver didn’t even stick around to be paid. They sped off down the street, leaving Eddie alone on the sidewalk as the sun slipped closer to the horizon.

He couldn’t see anyone lingering around the house, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. He looked around to see if the car was parked down the road, and cursed himself for not checking before he left. But there was nothing obvious nearby. Though, it would stand to reason that their tactics would have changed now that he knew about them.

He returned his attention to the house. It all appeared normal, but an intense feeling of foreboding was filling him up. He lifted his foot to step onto the garden path...

Don’t.

“Vee!?”

Profound relief flooded him, but a warning was not what he was expecting to hear.

Don’t go in, Eddie.

They were so quiet. Even inside his head he had to strain to hear them.

“Why?”

It’s not- it’s not safe.

“I don’t-”

We are not… not in control.

“Vee-”

Had to protect us... Had to let go... Not safe.

“Vee.”

Not safe, they whispered.

“I need to try anyway.”

Eddie stepped on the garden path, and was instantly brought to his knees. The sense at the back of his mind had kicked up into overdrive, but it was only filling his head with gibberish. He breathed hard, trying to sort through the garbled mess, but it was like radio static mixed with too many people talking at once. It was overwhelming, but he wasn’t going to let it stop him.

He fought through it, pushing it away so that he could crawl up the stairs to the door. As horrible as those feral feelings were, he could have really used a burst of energy right about now.

Please, Eddie, they begged. Run away... Run away and don’t come back.

“I’m not leaving you,” he grunted through gritted teeth.

He pulled himself up onto the porch and tried the handle of the door. It was locked, of course. He focused past the static to dig out his keys, and fumbled with the lock to push the door open.

Stepping inside was like walking into a Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher painting brought to life. The walls bowed and shrank, rippling in unnatural ways. Every straight line was twisted. Nothing stayed still. It made Eddie’s eyes hurt just to look at it.

“What the-?”

He remembered something, a snippet from that article he had read when he was trying to figure out what was happening when he had first moved in:

"Do NOT come to the Pine Street house. 'Pet' has somehow infected the building with their essence, and is slowly driving everyone mad.”

Is this what Thomas Willard-Campbell was talking about? Had Venom reverted back to their old self?

The door slammed shut behind him, but Eddie wasn’t scared. He realised that he finally felt better. The greasy coldness interspersed with insatiable desire, had faded. It was as though being inside had cured him. Even his sense of the house had quieted down, no longer filling his head with garbled nonsense. He could think clearly again, but that didn’t last long.

His balance wavered as once more his mind clouded over. The monochrome and blue streaks on the walls were back, but now he could see that it was writing. They were runes, much like the ones around Venom’s circle, but these ones had all been crossed out. They covered every surface from ceiling to floor, each one about the size of his palm. He touched one of them, and a fizz of static raced up his arm. He didn’t know what these runes were supposed to do, but he highly suspected that they were clearly no longer working.

Run, Eddie, Venom repeated, fear lacing their words.

“No, I-”

The ground suddenly gave way beneath him. He fell forward with a shout, but then winded himself on the still solid edge of floor.

It was a portal, like the one Venom had used when he had been stabbed. His legs kicked out at nothing as his fingers searched for purchase. There was nothing to hold onto, nothing to grab that he could use to pull himself up. He just needed to shift his weight a little bit further over the edge, but he could already feel the floor beneath his chest going soft as the portal widened.

“Vee!” he yelled.

The solid strength of a tentacle wrapped around his right leg, sending Eddie’s eyes wide.

And then it pulled .

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie was yanked downwards into the portal, then instantly hauled up through the floor of the bedroom. The sudden switch in gravity made his stomach flip, and the hotdog he had stolen before the ride home threatened to make a return appearance. But that was quickly forgotten as his eyes registered the sight before him.

The whole room had been warped almost beyond recognition. The walls bowed out to impossible proportions. The furniture was stretched upwards, every line concave. The ceiling seemed to be as high as a cathedral’s. The perspective made his head spin.

But dominating it all was Venom.

They tumbled out of the portal, each tentacle as thick as a tree trunk, and all finding space in the room like the roots of a redwood. They climbed over the walls and furniture in a sickly looking web. Only part of the floor was clear.

It was this area that Eddie was currently dangling over, suspended in the air by the tentacle securely wrapped around his leg. He felt so small against their towering form and utterly defenseless. His arms wheeled through the air, and blood was quickly rushing to his head, making his ears pound.

“Vee. Vee!” he yelled. “Talk to me!”

A horribly dark chuckle vibrated around him.

HELLO, EDDIE.

It was wrong. It was all wrong. The voice that sounded like Venom was coming from both inside and outside his head. It oscillated in his skull like a bad frequency, full of static. It was distorted, and layered over with menace and an evil glee, the likes of which Eddie had never heard before.

It wasn’t his Venom anymore.

“Vee!” he pleaded. “What’s going on?!”

WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU, EDDIE.

“What!?” he exclaimed.

WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU. GOING TO DEVOUR YOU. GOING TO RIP THE FLESH FROM YOUR BONES, EDDIE, SUCK THE MARROW FROM YOUR SPINE.

The tentacles around the room began to flex and twist, edging closer. The one around his leg coiled tighter, making him hiss out a breath.

WE WILL CONSUME EVERY LAST BIT OF YOU.

The air filled with an agonised cracking sound, and the floor below him was ripped open. Eddie looked down in horror. Inside of the hole was a massive gaping maw. It was full of sharp teeth, and a long pink tongue that whipped its pointed tip about, searching for its target.

“No! Vee, no!”

Panicking, he scrambled to grab the tentacle around his leg and pull himself away from the giant mouth. He managed to get a hold, but tiny tendrils appeared and wormed their way under his grip. Gravity pulled him back down, and once again he was facing his doom.

YOU WILL BE EVER SO TASTY, EDDIE.

The mouth opened impossibly wider.

“NO VEE! STOP!” he desperately yelled.

Another dark chuckle.

THAT IS NOT OUR NAME.

He was being lowered in. The tongue was reaching for him.

“VENOM!” he shouted, and suddenly everything stilled.

He could barely think over the pounding of his heartbeat in his head.

“I COMMAND YOU TO PUT ME DOWN, RIGHT NOW!”

Every tentacle began bristling with anger. It had been a valiant attempt.

WHO ARE YOU TO COMMAND US !? they roared.

Another tentacle shot out and coiled tightly around his body, trapping his arms by his sides. He was spun the right way up, but the grip around him was getting tighter. He kicked futilely against the hold.

YOU ARE NOTHING! YOU ARE MORTAL! WE HAVE DOMINION HERE!

He was being squeezed like a boa constrictor. The breath was quickly leaving his lungs.

“Vee, please!” he choked.

YOUR CRIES OF MERCY MEAN NOTHING. WE WILL ENJOY FEASTING UPON YOU.

He needed an idea, a spark of hope to get him out of this nightmare situation. He closed his eyes, searching inside for the connection that they shared. He had to make Venom normal again. His air was running out; he could feel his body crying out under the pressure - but there it was. A tiny little point that snagged in the back of his mind. There was the bond.

He tried his best to flood it with every bit of love he could find. He tried to ‘feed’ it memories of their life together, of learning to understand each other, of their joining. He conjured up all their road trips, all their quiet nights in. He tried to remind them of what they meant to each other.

Some of it must have worked. The grip loosened slightly, and he filled his lungs with as much air as he could.

WE UNDERSTAND, they purred. TO EAT YOU WOULD BE A WASTE.

The mouth below him didn’t close, it just simply fell away, leaving Eddie suspended over a black hole. He wasn’t sure it was much better. Their tone was not encouraging.

YOU WILL FEED US IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

The tentacle around him seemed to thicken. New tendrils were winding around it, and they quickly wriggled their way under his clothes.

“What?! No, wait-!”

They slithered across his skin, streaking up to his neck and down towards his cock. He squirmed, kicking his legs furiously.

“Stop! Vee, stop!”

BUT YOU ENJOY THIS, EDDIE.

“Not like this! Not like this!”

He felt a tendril curl around his cock while another headed down the cleft of his ass. But there wasn’t enough space. His jeans, mixed with the binding hold Venom had on him, meant there wasn’t room to move. The tentacle had to loosen slightly. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to twist his hands free.

Not that that got him very far. His arms were still trapped, and his shoulders couldn’t move. He only had one option, and if it didn’t work, he had no doubts that this Venom would have their way with him however they wanted. It was a prospect he didn’t like. Time for a Hail Mary.

He dug his fingers deep into the tentacle around him, and squeezed with all his might.

On any other day it shouldn’t have worked. He shouldn’t have been able to pierce their skin with his puny nails. He shouldn’t have been able to force his fingers through till he was basically making a fist with only a slither of Venom running across his palm. He shouldn’t have had the strength to injure them. Yet here he was, having essentially ripped the tentacle in two. He pulled as much as he could, and the tiny fibres left in the middle of his hands snapped.

The following scream was ear piercing. Eddie felt it split right through his head, completely missing the echo of pain that tore into his own arms. But it was all lost in the sensation of suddenly being dropped. He slipped through their grip and fell towards the black hole.

But instead of a never ending fall into nothingness, he landed with a hard thump on the carpet. Had it been an illusion? Venom had often shown him the stars, so why not? But he didn’t really have time to question it. The length of broken tentacle splatted next to him, and oozed black gunk from the torn ends. The rest of it was flailing wildly in the air above him, the other tentacles had retreated back, contorted in pain.

How had he managed to cause such damage? He looked down at his hands. They seemed so ordinary. They were now covered in gunk, and he felt a stab of guilt about that, but nothing seemed different. Though, something was shimmering underneath the black.

Run, Eddie.

The voice that whispered in his ear was so quiet and so soft, he wasn’t even sure he had heard it. But the message was clear. He could figure out his miraculous escape later. He scrambled to get his feet under him, and dashed for the door.

The stairs were still some sort of trippy funhouse nightmare. He took the first two with apprehension, the wood sagging like marshmallows under his weight. But then Venom roared in the room behind him, shaking the whole house, and he quickly made a lunge for the next one. He might as well have been trying to walk on butter. His foot slipped off the edge and he skidded down the rest, landing in a heap at the bottom.

Venom roared again, their prey having gotten away from them. Eddie didn’t wait around to see if they were going to grab him with any more portals. He grasped the door handle and prayed to god that it would open. By some miracle it did, and he flung himself outside. He raced down the garden path and only stopped once he reached the middle of the road.

He span round to look back at his beloved house. From the outside it was hard to tell that anything was wrong. All proportions and perspectives were present and correct, and adhering to the laws of physics. But there was a vibe, a horrible twisting vibe that radiated from the building.

They were gone. The Venom he knew was gone, and his love for them hadn’t even made a dent. He was shaking, his breaths coming out in pants. He had lost them.

And then his whole body was shaking for another reason. 1,200 volts of electricity was being pumped into him from the taser that had fired into his back. He crumpled to the asphalt, jerking and twitching madly. How the fuck was his day possibly getting worse?

The last thing he heard was a female voice with a gentle Southern drawl.

“Shock him again.”

 

 

He was sitting a chair; he knew that much. There was the murmur of multiple voices around him. His jacket had been removed, and a gentle thrum of static ran over his skin. He wasn’t tied down; at least, he couldn’t feel the bite of rope or cable ties. He shifted his arms and instantly regretted it.

Hundreds of ice cold needles stabbed into his body, and he opened his eyes with a startled yell. He looked down at himself, but there wasn’t anything there. No traps, no devices, just him, sitting in a chair on a very nice wooden floor. He tried to move again and it felt like frozen barbed wire was being pushed into his skin. It brought tears to his eyes.

“Ah, you’re awake.” There was that accent again. He delicately lifted his head, and his eyes locked with Delia’s. She was sitting on the sofa next to him, her red lips pulled in a tight smile, her hair swept back behind her shoulders. “We were startin’ to think you were goin’ to miss the entire thing.”

“What’s going on?” Eddie asked, careful to not move a muscle.

“Why, darlin’, the event of the century is what’s goin’ on.” She stood and moved closer, bending down to his eye level. “And we have you to thank for it.” She placed her hand on his cheek. He wanted to jerk away from it, to slap it from his face, but he knew that would only give rise to more pain. She seemed to pick up on this. “Smart. Wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself, now would we?” She dropped her hand and straighten up.

“What have you done to me?”

“Oh, nothin’ major. Just a simple hex to keep you in place. Though honestly, if we had known this was all it took to keep the creature in line, we would have done it a lot sooner. Saved us all a lot of trouble.”

Eddie’s bewilderment must have shown on his face as Delia’s expression turned incredulous.

“What?” she continued, “You haven’t figured it out yet?” She crossed her arms. “The great Eddie Brock hasn’t worked out that this was all about the monster in his attic and not about him? What an ego you must have.”

“Let me go.”

“No can do, sugah” She reached into the back of her jeans for her phone. “Right now, you’re all that’s keepin’ the monster in your attic from eatin’ another of my acolytes. Luckily, no one will miss him.” She dialed a number and put it onto speakerphone. The call was answered quickly. “Are you in position?” she asked.

“Ready and waiting,” came the reply. He didn’t recognise the voice. Delia turned her attention back to him, thrusting the phone near his face.

“Struggle for me, Eddie,” she commanded.

“Wha-? No,” he refused.

“Strug-gle, Ed-die.” She sounded out the syllables, her sweetened tone lost to menace.

He raised his hand and pain shot through his skin, but that was nothing compared to the tortured screams on the other end of the phone. Venom was screaming, and once again he was the cause.

Delia took back the phone. “Is it behavin’ otherwise?”

“As well as could be expected.”

“Good. Keep an eye on it.” She hung up. Eddie fell under her gaze once more. “A two-way psychic connection. Who would have thought it? I bet you and that monster got real intimate, didn’t you?”

He couldn’t stand her smug gaze any longer, and tried to look elsewhere.

“Your silence speaks volumes, Eddie. I guess that means no comment? Ah well. We shall have to have this conversation later when you’re in a more talkative mood.” She grazed his face with the back of her fingers, wiping away hair that wasn’t there behind his ear. He glanced away from her touch. “I just have mountains of questions for you. No one has ever lasted as long as you have. It’s just a shame it has to end like this.”

“Wait, what? What do you mean by end?” A note of panic rose into his voice.

“Did you really think you’d get to keep it? All that power shouldn’t belong to just one man. It should be shared. Everyone should benefit from Thomas Willard-Campbell’s discovery.”

“What? What power?”

“Oh, Eddie. Did you even know what you had before you lost it?” She gazed at him, intently reading his face. “I guess not. What a shame for you.”

Her phone pinged and she read the message.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and drop off my daughter at her sleepover. Maybe I’ll see you later?”

She gave him a wave with her manicured nails as she walked towards the front door. From an unseen room to his right, two burly looking men exited. To Eddie, they had the distinct whiff of bodyguard about them. One of them opened the door for Delia as she texted back on her phone.

Before she left, she turned on her heel and addressed someone out of view. “You lot, stay here and make sure that our guest behaves. I’ll let you know when it’s time.”

A murmur of agreement came in response. She gave one last look towards Eddie and seemed positively gleeful. “Honestly, Eddie. You played so beautifully into our hands, anyone would think that you wanted all this.”

“Go to hell,” he spat.

“Bye, sugah.” She blew him a kiss, and left with her security.

Now alone, Eddie quickly tested if the- what had she called it? A hex? He tested if the hex was still in force. The way his fingers cramped with pain told him that it was.

Magic.

Somehow he still couldn’t believe it. Still couldn’t accept that it existed. Of course, deep down, he had known that that was how Venom had come to be in his life, but it all just seemed so unreal. So far out of being possible that his mind had just chosen to ignore that fact. And now he was surrounded by it.

Of course they had been after Venom. He should have guessed that sooner. If whatever this group was had been sat out in a car for weeks, they were watching the house, not him. He cursed himself for being so stupid. Maybe he did have a big ego?

Vee? Are you there?

Nothing.

Vee? Please.

His head felt horribly empty. Had they taken it back? Had he lost that part of them too?

His chest tightened, threatening to bring tears to his eyes, but he wasn’t going to show weakness. Not until he knew all hope was lost.

He took a few deep breaths, and decided to focus on an escape plan instead. He looked around the room as best he could without moving his body. He didn’t know how much time he had missed, but it had gone dark outside, that much was obvious. The house he was in was tastefully decorated and clean. Much smaller and cosier than Angela’s, but still a good size. He was in someone’s front room. The draft behind him told him he was in front of a fireplace. To his left was a sofa; to his right a stand with a TV. On the far side of the room was a staircase. It was like his house, only the hallway had been knocked through. He could only assume that beyond the right wall was a kitchen and maybe a dining room. The front door was the obvious escape route, but he would have to remove the hex first.

His ears picked up on the the conversation taking place in the other room. He strained to listen. Some of the voices sounded familiar. Before he could place them, two figures came into view, and he groaned.

Gemma and Mark were walking towards him, wine glasses in hand, beatific smiles on their faces. Eddie had to stomp down the urge to punch them. They came and sat on the sofa near him.

“I bet you’re full of questions,” Mark started. “I know I would be.”

“Is the whole of the Homeowners Association in on this?”

They both laughed. “Oh god no,” Gemma said. “Though it is an excellent place to recruit new members.”

“Oh yes, that’s where you got me, wasn’t it?” Mark remembered.

“And what exactly is this cult you’re part of?” Eddie asked.

“Oh, Eddie,” Mark chastised. “It’s not a cult, it’s… it’s a lifestyle group.”

Eddie snorted. “Already sounds like a cult to me.”

“Well you would know, wouldn’t you? Worshiping at that monster’s feet, no doubt,” Gemma added.

Anger flared within Eddie. He had to try his best not to move. “They’re not a monster.”

“Oh? What would you call it then?” Mark questioned, taking a sip from his glass.

“Oh! Oh! I know!” Gemma interjected. “His boyfriend .”

They both cackled delightfully to themselves. Eddie risked turning his head away. At least that part of his body was free to move.

“Come on now, Eddie. Share all the deets,” Gemma urged, edging closer to him on the sofa. “We’re all dying to know how good the sex is.” Eddie refused to even look at them. “I bet it’s amazing ,” she continued. “I’ve been fantasizing about it for months . Lord knows how many batteries I’ve been through.”

They both giggled again. The sound was starting to grate. He balled his hands into fists, impotent to do anything other than stay quiet.

“But seriously, Eddie,” Mark said, their merriment quieted for the moment. “You really should tell Delia everything. She’ll get all the information out of you one way or another. It’s easier to just, volunteer it.”

Eddie spoke through gritted teeth. “I’m not telling you anything.”

“That’s really selfish of you, you know?” Gemma said, suddenly serious. “Just think of all the lives that creature could save. Think of all the people it could help…. and all the people it could help get off!”

The both burst into laughter again. Eddie couldn’t stop his growl of rage. He snapped his head round.

“They have a name! They have a personality! They’re not just some hentai creation sent to amuse you. They have a soul. Which is more than you’ll both ever have, put together! You know what? I hope you do meet them, and I hope they rip you all to pieces!”

Gemma’s expression turned sour. She shoved her glass onto the coffee table and stomped over to him. She stood close, glaring down at him. Eddie didn’t even flinch. She picked up a pendant that Eddie hadn’t noticed had been hanging around his neck.

“Say that again, little man.”

“I hope they EAT YOU!” he spat.

Her thumb moved across the flat pendant and cold pain flared up over his body. He couldn’t stop himself crying out. It seemed to cut deeper than before, right into his muscles. She moved her thumb again and Eddie knew his nails were severely indenting his palms.

“Stop it, Gemma,” Mark said flatly.

She moved her thumb once more, and Eddie curled forward, hissing out breath through his teeth. He wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of another scream. The needles hurt so much.

“I said, stop it Gemma!” Mark said more forcefully, and she dropped the pendant.

The pain ceased, but Eddie was panting hard. He forced himself to sit back up, the temporary numbness in his skin allowing him to move. Gemma was sitting back on the sofa, looking at him scornfully over her wine glass.

“Eddie, darling,” Mark sighed. “Stop trying to fight us. You can’t win.”

“Who even are you?” Eddie moaned. He felt so tired of everything. The day had just been one long nightmare, and it showed no signs of ending any time soon.

Mark glanced at Gemma, but she was still apparently seething. He cleared his throat and continued.

“We are the ‘Children of Venom’,” he answered. He threw up a hand before Eddie could reply. “And I know what you’re going to say, ‘that sounds exactly like a cult’, but, honestly, the whole thing was mostly orgies and getting drunk - until you came along that is. You see,” he leaned in closer. “If you hadn’t stayed in the house so long, none of us would have really known that Venom was still there. I mean, we had all guessed. But none of us could actually get in the house to look. But then you move in, and over, what, a week? The whole place is transformed. And you just stay there. You even look happy! So we all figure that you and it have somehow, I dunno, come to an agreement - whatever. The point is Venom is still there, and you have access to their powers. So we concocted a plan to just- double check.”

“You stabbed me,” Eddie supplied.

“Not me personally, no,” Mark replied. “It was Akeel, wasn’t it?” he asked Gemma. “Apparently he’d always wanted to stab someone, so, you know, two birds, one stone.”

“What did that even prove?”

“That you would go back to your house for medical assistance instead of a hospital. And look at you! Not even a scar!” Eddie wasn’t sure he wanted to know how he knew that. Mark picked up on the vibe. “I might’ve had a cheeky look when you were unconscious. Nice tattoos by the way.”

Eddie shuddered to think that Mark had been ogling his body, but he was in a talkative mood and Eddie wanted answers.

“What about the fire?”

“It was so much fun to watch you squirm,” Gemma said with a sadistic smile.

So, someone had been watching him at the market too.

“We needed to see how much you were connected,” Mark explained. “Delia had always theorised that it was possible, and there you went, proving her right. She gave you the honorary title of Guardian after that. It stands to reason that it would need someone to look after the house. It was really quite vulnerable when you think about it.”

That still left one unanswered question.

“So what about this morning? You put something in my drink last night, didn’t you?”

“Give the man a prize,” Gemma intoned.

“I do feel bad about that one,” Mark offered. “I promise, it was nothing personal, but we had to put you out of commission for a while. And, I mean, you are one tough cookie. It took three doses before you even started showing signs that it was working.”

“And I added in a little ‘cum slut’ for good measure,” Gemma tagged on.

“Oh, no, Gem! You didn’t!” Mark said, utterly scandalised.

Gemma just shrugged and took another sip of her drink. “Delia said to keep him out of the way, and that philtre is the most effective.”

“But still,” Mark continued, aghast at her actions. “That’s unnecessarily cruel.”

“What?” She was completely unrepentant. “It worked, didn’t it? Like you said, it took three doses to knock him out, and even then I bet he woke up not much later the next morning. My way kept him nonfunctioning for longer. Plu s, it weakened the creature too. We wouldn’t have gotten in so easily otherwise.”

“You don’t know that for certain.”

“The evidence would suggest otherwise. I did us all a favour. Though, Eddie leaving the house was even more helpful. We didn’t even plan for that.”

She grinned over her glass in his direction, practically twisting the knife of guilt into his gut.

“You have a worrying mean streak, you know that?” retorted Mark.

“Whatever,” she shrugged again.

Mark turned back to Eddie. “I promise you that, under different circumstances, what Gemma gave you is actually a lot of fun. It’s just- more of a group thing.”

“Oh, remember when we used it at your husband’s initiation?” Gemma asked, her eyes suddenly filled with mirth again.

Mark closed his eyes, his face in raptures. “It was a glorious night.”

“I still masturbate to it,” she admitted without a trace of shame.

“Oh, you.” Mark playfully hit her in the arm. Apparently all of his alarm had already been forgotten.

“The margaritas are ready!” called a male voice with a Spanish accent from the other room. Gemma and Mark looked at each other with glee and happily got off the sofa. They vanished behind the wall, and Eddie could hear the sounds of glasses and conversation.

He closed his eyes. He felt so sore and tired. His body ached. He was sure he could already feel bruises coming up from when Venom was holding him.

But at least now he had answers. Well, some of them anyway. He wasn’t sure the past week would ever fully make sense. Everything was so far out of his control, and he was the one who had let them in. If he hadn’t gone to the office, would he even be sitting here now?

God, he felt so stupid. He had let Venom down so badly. Even if he did get them back, how could they ever forgive him?

There were footsteps approaching him across the wooden floor. He cracked open his eyes to see a lithe man with warm olive skin and a stubbly beard looking down at him. He was probably in his late 40s. His hair was cropped short, and he had kind eyes. He was holding a plastic bottle.

“Here,” he said, pushing the bottle towards him.

Eddie jerked away from it, activating the hex again. He hissed loudly, cursing his moment of forgetfulness.

“Try not to move, okay? Just drink.” Eddie forced his lips closed and shook his head. The man crouched down to his eye-level. “I promise it’s just water. You must be thirsty.”

He offered the bottle again. He looked so earnest that Eddie found his resolve weakening. He was thirsty. He had been thirsty all day. Probably some horrible side-effect from what he was drugged with. And there was that feeling, that instinct, that told him it was okay to trust him.

Eddie lifted his head and opened his lips a little. The bottle was placed against them and carefully tipped upwards. The water was cool and refreshing. The motion was repeated until he’d had enough. It was practically all of it.

“You’re Javi, Mark’s husband, aren’t you?”

The man nodded. “I am.”

“And do you approve of - all this?”

A burst of laughter came from the kitchen. Javi glanced over before he was sure it was safe to talk.

“I used to.”

Eddie stayed silent, not offering any judgement. Sometimes it was just easier to let a person speak. Javi sat on the sofa, fidgeting with the label on the bottle.

“You have to understand, it was fun at the start. A great way to say a big F-you to my conservative, religious parents. It was exciting to be part of something so taboo, even more so than being gay. My eyes were opened to a different way of life, a different way of living. I mean, magic … it’s...”

He mimed his head exploding. Eddie knew exactly what he meant.

“And for years it was just another social gathering we were part of. But then you came along, and everything started changing. It suddenly all became so much more serious. More… zealous. You were either all for the cause or against it, and anyone who was against it was cast out. Shunned. It went from harmless sex parties and hexing homophobes, to assault and arson. It was not what I signed up for. And now….”

He looked back towards the kitchen.

“And now?” Eddie prompted.

“Now I have a daughter. She’s asleep upstairs while all this is going on. I don’t like it. It feels wrong. It has done so for a while now. Mark says we need your… your friend so Serena can live a long and healthy life. So we can live a long and healthy life. But it’s all just a fantasy. Sure, it might cure us of cancer, and fix broken bones. But it’s not going to stop us getting into a car accident or being shot at by some guy with a gun. He acts like it will solve all our problems. Like this is what the whole thing had been about from the start, and we all just forgot.”

He got up and paced behind the sofa.

“And I heard it, you know, when it was screaming. Before it was just some abstract idea. Just a fun thing to fantasise about, and make stupid plans for a day that wasn’t likely to come. But now it’s here, and it’s real. And Delia is utterly heartless. She’ll do anything to get what she believes is her birthright.”

“Wait, birthright?”

“She’s the great granddaughter of someone who went to those orgies back in the 1900’s. The ones the Willard-Campbell’s hosted.”

A horrible thought struck Eddie.

“She’s not actually related to-”

“No, no. No one is. But contraception wasn’t really a thing back then, so… plenty of babies. If their conception was considered to have happened at the parties they were christened as ‘Children of Venom’. The name stuck through the generations.”

“And you and Mark…?”

“We were recruited through the HOA, as most of us were. A lot of bored housewives and middle-aged men concerned with their waning libido. Rich pickings.”

“Does Claire know anything about this?”

Javi’s expression lightened at the suggestion.

“She would probably throw a fit if she did. I wouldn’t mind seeing that, really.”

“Neither would I,” Eddie agreed.

Javi’s faced darkened again.

“But now this is all so messed up. Delia is the worst kind of dominatrix. She’s never been one for sharing.”

Javi paused. He was clearly wrestling with a decision. “Mierda!” he hissed, and suddenly moved in closer, bending down to Eddie’s eye-level.

“Listen, we don’t have much time. I only know a few details, but Delia is planning on taking your friend tonight.”

“What do you mean, ‘take’?”

“She has this ritual designed to move Venom from your house to another location so we can all have access. At least that is what she says. It's why your home was raided today. The idea was to break the containment on the house, then the one on the circle. But… your friend fought back.”

 

“Did someone really get eaten?”

“That is what I heard, but I was here with the baby. It was where I was going to be tonight as well. I had already decided last week that I wanted no part of this. I didn’t care if I was shunned. They underestimated your friend. The information we have is over a century old. It comes from Thomas' book. I don’t know why anyone thought it would be easy. No one has ever been able to get into the house before.”

“They’re more evolved than you think. They’re not just some animal.”

“I believe you. A being does not survive for that long on instinct alone. I know now that it has an intelligence. I’ve seen you talking to yourself in the street, but really you were talking to them, weren’t you? You have this… connection.”

Eddie nodded. Javi glanced over his shoulder again.

“Look, you can’t let Delia have them. She’ll do unspeakable things to them. She believes that they can make her immortal, and none of us want that, even if it was true.”

“What!?”

“Just- save them, okay? Save your friend. Stop Delia from getting what she wants. I don’t know how, but I’m sure you’ll think of something. No one else has ever lasted in that house for as long as you have, I am certain there is a reason for it.”

Javi reached forward and hooked his fingers around the string of the necklace.

“What are you…?”

Static electricity jumped from his skin to Eddie’s neck, and they both grimaced from the mild shock. But Javi persisted, and soon the necklace was off him. Eddie slumped back into the chair, finally able to move his body again. He stretched his muscles, not realising how tense he’d been.

“You have to go now,” Javi urged, as he pocketed the necklace.

“But what about the others?”

They both looked towards the kitchen.

“There’s more than one reason I’m not drinking my own margaritas.”

As if on cue, two heavy thumps emanated from the other room. The sound of two unconscious bodies hitting the floor, along with the shattering of at least one glass.

Javi grabbed Eddie’s wrist and pulled him towards the front door. Eddie could just about see an arm flopped out at an awkward angle from behind a counter.

“Don’t worry, they will be fine. Angry, but fine. I am prepared for the consequences.” He took Eddie’s hand, and looked him square in the eye. “Good luck, my friend.”

“Thank you.” Eddie looked back and put his other hand on top, hoping he could convey all his gratitude.

After a moment, Javi let go and opened the door. Eddie took a deep breath and stole out into the night.

 

 

Chapter Text

He needed to get back to the house. No matter what state Venom was in, he wasn’t going to leave them to their fate. Delia was planning to move them, so maybe his best chance of interfering would be to set them free? He hated this idea, but the thought of the cult getting their hands on them was even worse.

But these people weren’t total idiots. Even if they did think he was under lock and key, they wouldn’t have left Venom unguarded. They probably had people on the lookout. Eddie moved to the bushes at the end of Javi’s garden and scanned the street. No obvious watchers, but there was no telling what these people were actually capable of.

Though, these days, it would seem he had a few tricks of his own up his sleeves.

He took a deep breath and looked inside himself. His new intuitive sense had helped him a few times now. It was worth seeing if he could make it happen on purpose.

At first there was nothing. If he was hoping it would suggest a course of action, he was left waiting. But as soon as he thought about walking down the road, it was as though he’d been hit in the face by a stop sign. Clearly, that wasn’t the best idea. Maybe across the back gardens then? He was already on the right side of the street for it. There wasn’t much of an affirmative in answer, but more like a gentle tugging in his gut that guided him to the side gate of Javi’s house.

“I guess that must be a yes, then?” he whispered.

He paused, thinking that he would have to go back to Javi and ask to be let through the house. But then he felt a soft nudge to try the gate handle. He did, and amazingly, it was unlocked. Eddie shook his head and quietly chuckled to himself. He was going to absolutely kill it at his next game of poker.

He moved further into the back garden and assessed the high fence before him. The plan was to grab the top of it and swing himself over - which sounded simple enough. People in movies did it all the time. He flexed his fingers. They didn’t feel any stronger than normal. But if he was going to fail, it was better that he did it here and now while in relative safety. He took a few steps back, let out a long breath, ran up, and leaped.

His hands completely missed the fence.

There was probably about a foot of air between his fingers and the point he had been aiming for. He yelped as his his hands grasped at nothing and his body made an ungraceful arc over the top of the fence. He landed on his back, narrowly avoiding the flowerbeds of the next garden, and knocking the air from his lungs.

He lay there for a moment, groaning, but nothing seemed broken. It wasn’t just his arms that were strong now, then. It stood to reason the rest of him had been altered too. Suddenly his incredible run back from the market was making much more sense.

“What have you done to me, Vee?” he sighed.

He got up and dusted himself off, making sure he hadn’t alerted the owners. He eyed the next fence. He could do this; he just had to not jump as hard. He ran up and kicked off. This time he did grab the top and easily pulled his legs over, landing much more neatly on the other side. He couldn’t help a smile. As dire as the situation was, this was an extremely cool thing to be doing. He ran to the next fence with glee.

He didn’t stop after that. He deftly hurdled over lawn furniture, barbeques, and even a few water features. He listened to his intuition, and made course corrections when unseen objects would interfere with his landing. He probably even ran past a few people enjoying their evening. He was tempted to shout a ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’ quote at them, but thought better of it.

It wasn’t long before he could see his own house along the row. Even now, it filled him with happiness. He was coming to the rescue whether Venom wanted it or not.

He slowed down when he reached his next door neighbour’s house, catching his breath in the dark. The air was warm and smelled of night blooming jasmine. In the dim moonlight he could see where plant pots had been stacked against the fence to make a rudimentary ladder. He wondered if he would ever find out who had actually set the fire. They would be ever so sorry if he did.

Eddie stepped on the pots now, sneaking a peek over the top. The garden, his garden, looked undisturbed. No sentries to be seen. The back windows of the house appeared dark.

Is it empty? he asked himself, hoping his intuition would provide an answer. This time there was a more definite response. It felt familiar, but he couldn’t place it. All he knew was that it meant ‘yes’. The house was empty, this was his chance to get to Venom. He only hoped they would be in a more welcoming mood. He steeled his courage, and vaulted over the fence.

He landed right in the middle of the lawn. But as soon as his feet touched the ground, every ounce of strength was sucked out of his body. He collapsed face first onto the grass with a whine. Static skimmed over his skin, and his limbs felt like lead weights. A boobytrap. Why didn’t he think to ask about that? If there had been a warning, he hadn’t noticed it. This whole week had been a lesson in ‘must learn to pay more attention’. But he was getting pretty good at knowing what magic felt like.

He yelled into the turf and weakly thumped his fist in frustration. He had been so close. Felled at the last hurdle he hadn’t even seen coming. He tried to move, tried to push his body up from the ground, but he barely got as high as his elbows before his arms turned to jelly and couldn’t hold himself up anymore.

He fell back down, and his nose filled with the scent of crushed grass. He lay there searching for a way to get to get out of this predicament, but his brain couldn't supply one. He was stuck until someone freed him, and by then it would probably be too late. He began to wonder if he would feel it when they moved Venom. His sense of the house at the back of his mind was deathly silent. Maybe the connection had already been severed there?

He stopped fighting and let his body sag against the cool ground. Any lingering bit of hope he had was gone. 

“I’m so sorry, Vee,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry I let you down. It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have left you alone. I don’t even know if you can hear me, if you’re still even here, but I’m sorry. I failed you. I couldn’t protect you.”

The tears flowed freely, dampening his face and running off into the lawn. He closed his eyes against the sight of the house. He couldn’t look at it anymore.

Eddddiiieeee….

It was so quiet that he held his breath, not sure if he had imagined it.

Edddiieee…

It came again, slightly stronger, but definitely there. A deep, basey whisper.

“V-Vee?” he asked, a note of rising hope in his voice.

We are here…

Relief poured out of him. They were still there. He hadn’t lost them, not yet. There was still a chance.

“Are you okay?”

Tired. We hurt.

“Me too, love.”

We know. We feel it. We do not like it.

“I’m not too fond of it either.”

Want to stop you hurting, Eddie. Want to make it go away. But we are tired…

“I understand, love. It’s been a long day.”

His fingers stroked the grass, and he hoped that Venom could feel it. They had proven before that the garden was part of them, but everything was different now.

“What happened, Vee? Why did you… change?”

Had to protect us, Eddie. Had to fight invaders. Defend against them. We were weak. Still sick. Needed power, needed strength. So we let ourselves become… primal.

Primal. Yeah, that was definitely a good way to describe it. At the office he'd behaved like a caveman. 

“What do you mean, ‘let’?”

Because of you, Eddie. We are body and mind. Separate. Together. We are complete with you. Without, we are base. We are unrestricted. We reverted back. Our hunger controlled us.

“And now?”

Now… We felt them shock you. Your pain burned us. We did not know it could hurt so much. It stopped the hunger.

“I’m sorry you had to feel that.”

We are sorry we tried to hurt you.

“It wasn’t you. Not the real you. And I kind of hurt you right back.”

We deserved that.

“But are you going to tell how that was even possible? I know you’ve been doing things to me, Vee. Things I didn’t ask you to do.”

There wasn’t a reply.

“Vee. Do we need to have that whole conversation about consent again?”

We… we know we should have asked.

“Then why didn’t you?”

We were... scared.

“Of what?”

Of losing you.

“What?”

We thought if we made you strong, you could fight better. Fight off any attackers. Not get hurt again.

“But why didn’t you just ask me?”

Because you might have refused. We did not like the risk.

“And what about the things I’ve been seeing? You did something to my head.”

We expanded your perception of reality.

“But why?”

So you could see us better.

“Wait, what?”

After the fire, we tried to show you our true self. We wanted to see if you would still think us beautiful. But your mind could not handle it. We pushed you too far, and we regretted it.

“Whoa, hang on, why don’t I remember this?”

You were in distress and unable to function. So we made you forget. It was the only way to save you. The experience was too traumatic for you.

Eddie wasn’t sure if he should be more angry about Venom messing with his memory, or ashamed that he couldn’t handle their real form. He had often suspected that they had one, this wasn't their reality after all. But it was as though they had finally shown themselves naked and he had run away screaming. It was no wonder their self-confidence had been so low lately.

“Oh, Vee,” he sighed.

But then you convinced us that being ‘better than human’ was a good thing. And we saw no reason why you should not be too. We could be ‘better than human’ together.

So it had worked. His message to Venom had worked so well that they had decided they were allowed to make other ‘improvements’.

“Goddammit, Vee."

We are sorry, Eddie.

He wanted to be angry, he really did. They had been changing his body all over the place without asking, without even telling. But was it really that bad? They hadn’t done anything to hurt him. If anything, the whole process had been entirely the opposite. Tuesday afternoon had whited out into bliss. And he could only assume the muscle soreness on Sunday morning had been the result of their alterations. But even that had become the most wonderful massage in the end.

They had made him strong; they had made him fast. His intuition was heightened, and he could see… well, he still wasn’t quite sure what he was able to see now, but it wasn’t awful. Everything they had done was for his benefit. He was superhuman now. And that was kind of a cool thing. It was hard to be mad at the person you loved when they’d essentially given you super powers. It was a gift, and he wasn’t sure he had the heart to return it. It was all too easy to imagine how badly things could have gone if he was still regular old Eddie.

He mustered up what energy he could, and with a long grunt, managed to roll himself onto his back. It was better to look at the stars. He let out a long sigh.

“I forgive you, love.”

His breath hitched. A tiny swirl of sweetness had filtered into his chest. It brought fresh tears to his eyes. He heaved his arms across himself, hugging tight, and determined to protect the tiny part of Venom he still had. Though, he realised, he might not get to have them for much longer.

“Did you hear everything that happened at Javi’s house?”

We did. We were too tired to speak, but we were listening.

“Then you know that they’re coming for you, Vee. They want to take you away and use you so you can make them immortal.”

We wouldn’t do that for them, Eddie. No matter what they did to us.

“You might not have a choice. I want to save you, Vee, but I don’t know how. Maybe I could, I dunno, set you free? I still have all the stuff in the attic.”

It would not work.

“But the guy said-”

It was never going to work, Eddie. We only made you think it would.

“But, why?”

Their answer was quiet.

So you would not get rid of us.

A spark of angry protest ignited in Eddie.

“Vee, I would never-”

At the start you wanted to.

“Things were different back then.”

But you considered it. We remember. If you had known the truth, you might have separated us.

Eddie had to reluctantly concede that they had a point. He had thought about it near the beginning. Once, he almost went through with it. But it seemed like it required a lot of effort to get it actually done, so Eddie hadn’t bothered in the end. He had always been glad of his decision, but now it seemed it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

“Okay, so tell me how to actually set you free, and I’ll do it.”

We have been marked, Eddie. They would find us if we were in this world or another.

“There has to be somewhere you’d be safe.”

Only one we can think of.

“Where?”

In you.

Eddie was stunned.

“What?”

If we were in you, they would not be able to summon us.

“What, you mean… all of you?”

Yes.

He knew he’d never seen all of Venom at the same time, and even what he had seen had been so much bigger than him. The logistics of it didn’t seem feasible.

“Is that even possible?”

We are not sure. We have never inhabited a human before. As a species you are very breakable.

“Then I guess it’s a good job I’m not quite as breakable these days.”

We don’t want to hurt you again, Eddie. There is a chance our merging could kill you.

“But there’s also a chance that it won’t.”

You would really run the risk of death to be our host?

“If it will save you - without hesitation.”

As much as he currently despised Delia, he couldn’t help using her words.

“I’m your guardian, Vee. Your protector. And I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you from harm, just like you do for me. So tell me what you need.”

Only you, Eddie. Always, only you.

He began sinking into the ground. At first he thought it was another part of the trap, but then he realised that it was Venom. They were trying to move him. Their exhaustion was evident by the way it was taking so long to happen. Eddie closed his eyes and let the lawn swallow him.

The darkness shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. He tried to take a breath, but a thick liquid reeking of compost clogged up his nose. He started to panic. He was being buried alive. He struggled, his movements slow, like trying to push through molasses. His lungs began to burn. Any moment now, the drowning reflex would kick in and he’d end up swallowing whatever it was he was surrounded by. Then he would be truly fucked.

But there was cool air on his back. Gravity was pulling him down. And there was only empty space behind him.

He fell through the roof of the attic and onto the floor, landing heavily on his back. The gasp he had managed to pull in as soon as his face had been freed was immediately punched back out of him. He groaned on the floor, his spine shouting in protest at the rough treatment.

We’re sorry, Eddie. We’re-

“Tired. I know, love,” he croaked out.

He lay there for a moment, catching his breath and steadying his heartbeat. His eyes adjusted to the shadowy room, and he was able to see the faint blue light of Venom’s circle dancing across the rafters. But it was incredibly dim, and the pulses were so far apart. He turned his head, and his face contorted in anguish.

Venom only had a few tentacles out and they all looked utterly lifeless. They were splayed about the circle like a dying houseplant, all of their endless energy spent.

Eddie quickly crawled over, and carefully lifted one of them in his hands. Gone was its glossy black surface and powerful core. In its place was a dull ashen colour, and it sagged like seaweed between his palms.

“Oh, darling,” his voice cracked. “What have they done to you?”

He stroked it, his fingers catching on the slightly clammy surface. It tried to react to his touch, but it was a feeble attempt. A sob caught in his throat. He pulled it in close his face, whispering kisses upon it.

“Tell me what I have to do, Vee.”

The thump of heavy metal caught his ear, and he glanced to his left where a hammer and chisel had appeared. They were old, with wooden handles and patinated metal. But the chisel was still sharp, and a hammer never stops working. He gently placed the tentacle down, and picked up the tools.

You must remove these symbols.

The floor shimmered as the tentacles slowly retreated, save for one that pointed to the far edge of the circle. It indicated a starting point, and an end point six runes down. Seven in total. A memory surfaced of the time he visited that spiritual shop and the guy at the counter had gone mad over his drawing of the runes. If he remembered correctly, those were the same ones he had pointed out too.

Eddie shuffled forwards, kneeling in the middle of the circle, hammer in one hand, chisel in the other.

“Is that all I have to do? Just chisel those ones out?”

This is why we didn’t tell you. It is so…

“Simple.”

He swallowed. He was glad Venom hadn’t told him. This would have been all too easy to do in a fit of rage. A rash action followed by a lifetime of regret.

“But what about the whole merging thing? Do I need to say a, uh, a spell or something?”

No, Eddie. Part of us is already inside you. You just have to want the rest of us.

“I do. Oh god, I do.”

Then, make it so.

He couldn’t help quirk a smile at that.

“Really? You’re choosing now to quote Picard at me?”

They smiled so softly in return that it warmed his heart. He could do this.

Eddie took in a deep breath and aligned the chisel halfway up the first rune. He focused his thoughts to Venom, to wanting to be with them, to inviting them in. He swung the hammer and his enhanced blow dove right into the wood. He pushed the chisel away from him, splintering the floorboard and properly destroying the symbol. A touch of static whispered over his hand and around his wrist. He shifted and moved onto the next rune.

He thought about all those times they had cocooned him in their tentacles, providing safety and warmth. How they hugged him so tightly. He wanted to do that for them, to make them feel protected and adored. Another swing of the hammer, the cracking of wood, a tingle of static.

He thought about all the times they had fed him, be it real food or nectar. He wanted to provide for them instead, making sure they never went hungry.

Swing, crack, static.

He thought about how they had healed him, how they kept him well. He wanted to save them from harm, to make sure they were always healthy.

Swing, crack, static.

He thought about how they laughed together, how there was always something new to discover. He wanted to show them the world, to offer endless delights.

Swing, crack, static.

He thought about how they loved each other, how they could overwhelm with their emotions. Pure, unfiltered, easily given. He never wanted to stop feeling them.

Swing, crack, static.

And finally, he thought about holding them close, about them sinking into his skin, and staying there. He wished for them to never leave his life. To never leave him.

“I love you, Vee,” he whispered, his eyes closed.

I love you too, Eddie.

His breath caught at the singular pronoun. He’d never heard them use it before. He hesitated, his hand raised. Doubt crossed his mind. What if he did this wrong? What if he lost them? Or worse, what if Delia got them? Well, then he’d just have to go and rescue them. He was their protector, and this was his duty. He shook his head. He needed to focus.

Become one with me , he thought.

He hit the chisel and broke the last rune.

The pale blue light of the circle whipped out, leaving him in darkness.

“Um, Vee?” he ventured.

The floor below him began to tremble. In fact, it was wobbling like the surface of turbulent waters. He felt his toes sink into it, but he wasn’t going to move a muscle. He threw the hammer and chisel aside.

“I’m ready.”

The surface of the floor changed. It bubbled up with black liquid, as thick as tar. He watched it swirl around him. It began climbing up his knees. Then, all at once, it surged upwards, and Eddie’s back arched with the force of it.

It pushed into his skin, into every pore. He could feel it invading his muscles, finding room amongst his organs. It rushed into the gaps between his bones, between the tendons, and he cried out with the pain of it. It was a horrible ache, like he was being pushed out from the inside. Every part of him felt heavy. He was being expanded, and not in a pleasurable way.

The liquid crept up his neck and poured into the corners of his open mouth, swirling down his throat, and making him choke. It ran into his ears, and up his nose, burning his sinuses. It pressed into the edges of his eyes and forced them to stay open, tears running down his cheeks. His body was locked in position. There was no escaping, and still it kept coming.

He was full. Every part of him was filled with Venom, right down to his cells. He had no room left, but it continued to flood inwards, finding new spaces to occupy. Eddie wasn’t sure how much more he could take. He didn’t know when he last breath was.

His brain itched, and his head felt like it was ready to burst. The pressure under his skin was immense. He tied to yell, but only gargled black. His whole body strained and tensed against the unending assault. His fingers were cramping. His vision was starting to tunnel.

But then, just like that, it was over. The last traces of ink thwiped into his abdomen, and Eddie was thrown backwards like a punch to the gut. He skidded across the floor on his side, instantly gasping in air. His head was swimming. The whole room was turning. He clambered up onto his hands and knees on unsteady arms, but nothing was keeping still. Bile rose in his throat, and he vomited onto the floorboards.

He coughed out his remaining heaves, but he still felt dizzy. He clumsily tried to wipe his mouth with his shirt sleeve, and noted how the mess he had made was as black as Venom. But he couldn’t hold on. His eyes were rolling in his head. It was too much.

For the third time that day, unconsciousness took him.

 

His ears were filled with a gentle melodic hum. Above him were stars, but the Big Dipper was nowhere to been seen. They weren’t his stars. This sky was alien, filled with alien planets and moons. A comet was drifting by. He knew that comet. He had seen this sky before.

Something soft and feathery stroked under the palms of his hands. It wasn’t carpet, it wasn’t grass, but it was nice to lie on. That was new. He didn’t know that feeling. It was restful. He felt calm, serene. There was a tugging, somewhere around his middle. Just a gentle pull saying ‘not that way’.

The stars were fading. Patches of darkness were covering the sky, like clouds skittering across the moon. They were getting bigger. The ground under his fingers felt solid again. Soon there were no stars left, and Eddie realised that he was looking up at the roof of his house.

He blinked a few times as his senses came back to him.

He was lying on the bare floorboards. The only light was the orange tinge of the streetlights coming through the small semi-circle window. Traffic rumbled in the distance. Nearby a dog barked.

“V- Vee?” he coughed.

We are here.

He shuddered. Their voice was no longer confined to just his head. It thrummed through his entire body. It plucked at his nerves and sent shivers down his spine.

“D- did it work?”

Yes. We are within.

His skin erupted in goosebumps, the sensations somehow going directly to his dick. But, as pleasant as it was, they didn’t have time for that right now. He batted away those thoughts before they could take root.

“How long was I out?”

We do not know. Perhaps twenty minutes.

“Shit.”

He pulled himself up into a sitting position with a groan. He still felt kind of fuzzy. His fingers wouldn’t stop twitching.

Eddie, we should hurry.

“What do you mean, hurry? You’re safe now, right?”

We are not sure this will last. The merging does not feel stable.

“Which means what?”

That we could slip out again at any time. And if we do...

“Delia will get you.” He ran his hands through his hair with a heavy sigh. “We need to go and stop her, don’t we?”

She will only keep trying if we do not.

“So, no running away to the Caribbean, then?” he joked, his voice tense.

Sadly not this time.

Eddie swallowed. It was now or never then. His courage hardened, even if his trembling fingers didn’t show it.

“Let’s get these fuckers.”

A smile curled inside him, and he was hit by a wave of affection so strong that it made him dizzy again. He bowed forward, trying to ride out the sensation.

“Hey, whoa. Let’s, um, let’s try to keep that to a minimum, okay? I can’t handle it yet.”

A touch ghosted down his arm, and he looked to see a tendril exiting from his skin. it coiled down his forearm and into his palm, spreading out to interlock with his shaking fingers. He squeezed back and a warm glow settled around his heart.

Better?

Eddie so wanted to lose himself in that feeling. He wanted to dive into it and sink to the bottom, never to resurface. If there was a heaven, he was sure that this would be it. But giving in to his desire wouldn’t help either of them right now. So he settled for placing his other hand over his chest, and willing that feeling into the rest of his body.

“Better,” he echoed.

He stood up shakily, but quickly found his balance. They exited the attic and walked down the stairs, but Eddie paused at the front door.

“Probably a stupid question, but the house isn’t going to collapse once we walk outside, is it?”

No, Eddie .

They sounded amused. No, they felt it. And he could feel that too. Just a tiny ripple of it. It was wonderful.

His intuition made itself known again, and he quickly checked his pockets. He still had his keys. He would definitely need those from now on. Venom wouldn’t be unlocking doors for him anymore.

They stepped outside onto the quiet street, but stayed in the shadow of the porch.

Do you think they’re still watching?

Open your mind and look.

I don’t-

That now familiar fuzziness washed over him, and his eyes fluttered as his vision shifted. When they refocused, the world had gone grey, but it was also filled with patches of beautiful colours. They were mainly centered around plants and the windows and doorways of the other houses. Auras of different shades and hues, some bright, some faint, shone out into the night. But there were no hidden people.

Look at the path, Eddie.

He did. Every inch from the sidewalk to the top of the steps was covered in a spider’s web of lime green lines.

“Another boobytrap?”

Yes.

“How do we get around it?”

Like this.

Suddenly, Eddie wasn’t in control of his own body anymore. He felt himself crouch down, and extend the index finger of his right hand. It was bizarre, and he instantly tried to fight it.

“How are you doing that!?” he asked, sounding a bit more panicked than he meant to.

We are inside you, Eddie. We can control your every movement.

“You can!?”

Yes. It will be easier on both of us if you do not resist. We will not hurt you.

He knew this, of course, and forced his body to relax. His hand moved forward on its own, the finger still reaching out. He watched, fascinated, as the end of it bubbled up with black that formed into a pointed claw. The claw moved to the nearest string and Eddie could feel the static radiating off it. But then, there was energy radiating off him too. It wasn’t harsh and biting like everything else he’d come in contact with. This was smooth, and silky, and slipped off him effortlessly. It was Venom.

The claw tugged at the string, and it easily snapped. The rest of the web shattered with it, leaving a clear path. The claw retracted back into his skin, and Eddie was able to move on his own again. He straightened up.

“That was amazing, Vee.”

You are easily impressed.

“When it comes to you? Always.”

He looked up and down the street for any more signs of danger.

Up there, Eddie.

He followed where he knew Venom was mentally pointing and saw a wispy column of light peeking over the rooftops. It was also lime coloured, but there was no telling how far away it was.

“Suppose that’s them?”

Undoubtedly.

“Think we should follow it?”

We must.

“I’ll get my helmet.”

That will take too long.

“Then what do you-”

He was already being piloted down the steps and out into the road.

“Will you cut that out!? It’s really weird!”

They stopped in the middle, and Eddie had control of his limbs again.

“Vee?” he questioned, his uncertainty rising.

Trust us, Eddie.

He swallowed his doubts. “Okay.”

Warmth bloomed all over his skin at once. It seeped out of him, covering his arms and legs. Eddie watched as Venom flowed out to encase his body in their black ooze, only now it seemed more solid, more defined. Were those muscles? He was getting taller, his limbs longer. Were those claws!? His chest was swallowed up, his neck, and then it finally closed up over the back of his head.

He panicked for a moment, not knowing if he could breathe. But then he felt his- no their mouth open, and he was blessed with a deep lungful of air. He opened his eyes, not even realising they were shut, and the street came into amazing clarity. It might as well have been day he could see so clearly. His other senses acclimatized, and a whole new wave of sensation came with it.

He could feel Venom’s power, the strength that coursed through them. He could hear the hum of traffic a few streets over, the hustle and bustle of life going on behind closed doors. He could smell the flowers in everyone’s gardens, the stink of garbage bins, the petrol dripped on driveways by careless owners. And he could taste - well, he didn’t expect to be able to taste anything, why would he? But when Venom’s mouth opened, a long and dexterous tongue fell out from between their jaws. It tasted the air, picking up the tang of the electrical wires, the heat residue on the tarmac, and the moisture of a freshly watered lawn.

Fuck , Eddie breathed, knowing that he wasn’t actually talking, but that it didn’t feel quite like thinking either.

He was completely in awe, but then, so was Venom. They were looking down at themselves, slowly flexing their massive hands.

Vee?

This is it, Eddie. This is how it is supposed to be. We are not meant to be single. Separate. We are meant to combine, to inhabit. To be more together. To share. The Old Ones spoke of this. This is our purpose. This feels… right.

Guess you finally got that body you wanted, eh?

Yes. And we are going to put it to good use.

How?

A grin split their face, the corners of their mouth reaching impossibly high on their face. Their stance shifted and Eddie felt a weight building on their back. But Venom’s attention was elsewhere. They were looking at the column of light. It seemed more substantial through their eyes, more inviting.

The quickest way is as the crow flies.

Wait, what-?

The weight on their back solidified, and before Eddie could even think another thought, two wings were unfurling.

Holy fuck!

They were just as black as the rest of Venom, but their design reminded Eddie more of a bat, or a dragon. They stretched out as far as they could go and gave an experimental flap.

Hey, uh, Vee? This might be a good time to mention that I don’t do well with heights.

We know. We were there with you at the top of the Coit Tower when you had a panic attack.

Oh yeah, right... But do you even know how to fly?

It has been a while, but we remember. Well, there was a statement to be unpacked later. Don’t worry, Eddie. We have got you.

Venom didn’t wait for a reply. They burst into motion running at full speed down the quiet street. The acceleration was immense, almost as good as the bike. And for a moment, Eddie enjoyed it. But then the wings picked up enough lift, and Venom was launching them upwards. They beat their wings hard, pulling them up into the sky with ease. They thrilled with the freedom of it. A century stuck inside a house and now they were soaring over the neighbourhood, no longer trapped in either body or mind. They could finally see the stars.

But all Eddie could do was scream.

 

 

Chapter Text

Open your eyes, Eddie.

No. No, I don’t want to look.

But you should. It is beautiful.

His other senses were giving him more than enough information. The chill of the wind as they whipped through the sky, the beat of their wings, the taste of salt from the bay below. He didn’t need any more. That was all terrifying enough.

Please, Eddie. We want to share.

He never could refuse them.

He cracked open his eyes and was instantly seized by panic. They were so high up. The city sprawled beneath them, a grid of streetlights brought to an abrupt stop by the black of the sea. He flailed within Venom, his innate desire to run away overriding everything else. Their wings faulted, and Venom fought to regain control.

Eddie! You must be calm!

You said you could fly!

This only works if we are of the same mind!

They were knocked about by crosswinds, their wings pulling and straining at painful angles. Eddie desperately wanted something to grab and hold on to, but his hands weren’t his own anymore. His legs, or at least the idea of his legs, kicked fruitlessly. They were falling now, and his heart was racing with fear. The air thundered past his ears, deafening in its intensity.

Eddie , their voice called to him soothingly. Be one with us.

Waves of serenity poured into him asking him to relax, and his panic began to lessen. They wrapped around him tighter making him feel how they held him, how secure he was. They weren’t going to drop him. They were so strong and powerful. He stopped trying to move, to resist, and for a moment just let himself fall.

It was all Venom needed to stabilise their flight and put them back into an easy glide. A few wing beats later and they were regaining altitude. Not as high as before, but enough that they couldn’t be easily spotted from below. Eddie clung onto the calm feelings that Venom was still sending his way.

I’m sorry, Vee. I didn’t mean to...

It is okay. This is new for us too.

Just don’t let go, okay?

Never .

They wrapped their long arms around their chest like a hug. Eddie thought he could almost feel it. He chanced opening his eyes again. The Golden Gate Bridge glowed below them, its reflection dazzling on the rippling water.

We are glad we got to see this.

I’ve shown you before. You’ve seen all of this.

But not with our own senses. It is a magnificent thing.

Eddie had to admit that it was. Clarity wasn’t the only thing Venom’s vision brought. Whatever that extra-sensory perception thing was that they had given him, Venom had in spades. The ocean swirled with currents of colour, the bridge looked like it was made entirely of light, the traffic barely registered.

What even is this that I’m seeing?

Life, Eddie. The way it flows and ebbs, and interacts with the world. It is only energy, but you would call it-

Magic.

They sailed across the bay and continued north towards the redwood forests. That was where the column of light was emanating from. Eddie could feel the way it pulled at Venom, the way it was drawing them in. He would have to be strong for them both, help them resist. He wasn’t going to lose them now.

They passed over the hills that had always looked so barren to Eddie, but now they pulsed with life. It was as though the world had become bioluminescent, all the contours of the land brought into stark relief by the contrast between rocky outcrop and flowing streams. Without telephone poles and electric cables, Venom soared in lower for a closer look.

You’re right, Vee. It is beautiful.

They stayed away from the Tamalpais Valley and flew directly towards the Muir Woods. The forest seemed to radiate its own light, completely natural and gentle compared to the harsh beam shooting up into the sky. Eddie didn’t want to go any nearer to it. It was trouble, and promised nothing but pain.

The closer they got the easier it was to see that the light was coming through the roof of a modestly sized house, nestled deep into the trees. Of course Delia had a house in the hills as well as one on the street. Probably would only take a 45 minute drive to get there too. Venom went in lower and they both noticed how the driveway was rammed with cars. She was not there alone.

She also wasn’t without her security. The glow of a cigarette revealed one of the men waiting at the top of the private road that lead up to the house. Venom’s vision picked out the other sitting in a darkened car near to the front door. It was going to make landing tricky.

The house itself was built partially into the side of the hill. It had three main storeys, the top of which connected to the road, and had a large terrace around the back to admire the view. It was all clad in wood that had been stained to match the surrounding forest rather than painted some garish colour. Shadows moved in front of the windows on the lowest level. Clearly, that was where the party was happening. The rest of the house seemed dark.

They circled a few times figuring out how to make a stealthy approach. Despite his initial protests, Eddie didn’t want it to end. They had probably only been in the air for 10 minutes, 15 at the most, but it had been so peaceful. He couldn’t get enough of the way Venom was holding him, how he was just floating inside, surrounded by all that power.

But Venom decided that they had done enough waiting, and suddenly banked, heading for the back terrace.

No, wait!

They swooped down, and at the last moment tucked in their wings, sending them into a roll. They fell forward with the momentum, thudding into the wooden deck, and leaving Eddie to tumble the rest of the way. He eventually skidded to a stop.

“Ow,” he groaned, lying on his back and looking up at the night sky. More bruises to add to the collection.

Sorry, Eddie. It has been some time since we did that.

“I just hope no one else heard.”

He pulled himself up with a grunt, and went to look over the handrail. His stomach cramped violently and he doubled over, fighting down the urge to vomit again. He breathed through the pain till it had faded, knowing it had nothing to do with heights or flying.

“What’s happening, Vee?” he panted.

It is the merging. It is unstable. They sounded strained.

“Can’t you do something to, um, stabilise it?”

We joined too quickly, Eddie. We are too much for your body to handle. It is rejecting us.

“But I don’t want it to.”

You have no choice in the matter. We filled the space we were summoned to. You cannot compete with a house.

“Yeah, well.” He spat out the saliva that had accumulated in his mouth. “Watch me.”

He tried to refocus on the issue at hand. They needed to get inside without causing a fuss. Going in all guns blazing wouldn’t help. Being sneaky was called for.

Still clutching his middle, he approached the sliding patio doors that lead into the house. His hand hovered over the glass to see if he could feel any static. It felt clean. He pulled at the handle. Locked of course.

We could smash it?

“Actually, do you remember that heist film we watched with the lockpick?"

There was a nod of recognition and a sly smile. Eddie extended his index finger and ooze gathered at the end of it. He pushed it up against the keyhole and it slipped inside, testing all the tumblers till it found the right combination. Eddie twisted his hand and felt both of theirs satisfaction as the bolts slid back. He removed his fingers and opened the door.

“Next stop, Fort Knox,” he whispered, his smile mirrored by Venom.

The top floor interior was mostly a lounge space with a few other rooms leading off of the main area. It was annoyingly tastefully decorated, with everything optimised so you could relax while looking out onto the deck. There did seem to be a lot of clothes flung around the place, though. He spied the stairs at the back of the room near to the front door, and they were careful to stay out of view of the windows as they crept past. They listened intently for anyone on the floor below. It all seemed quiet.

Eddie ducked his head down the stairs and saw that it was an open plan kitchen/diner. The light levels were low, but the table was heaving with what looked like a feast. The counters were lined with bottles of booze, some open, most not. Preparation for a celebration. Eddie wasn’t going to let them have it.

Voices wove their way to him from across the room. It sounded horribly like chanting. Eddie approached the next set of stairs that lead down in a wide spiral. Light spilled up from below, but the steps twisted to the right, out of sight.

You ready, Vee?

They didn’t reply. A nervous shiver passed over him. His heart hammered in his chest. It would be all too easy to just run away right now, to see how far they could get before Eddie’s body gave up. But that wouldn’t stop Venom from being hunted, from being summoned from god knows where.

He took a deep breath, and began creeping down the stairs.

Thankfully, the steps didn’t creak underfoot - not that the occupants of the room would have heard them anyway. The spiral turned twice before opening out onto a mezzanine. On the right side was a wooden railing, at the far end was another staircase down, while the wall to the left was lined with hundreds of books. Light flickered across them, and the voices rose. The air was thick with incense and a smell Eddie would later recognise as sex.

He lingered in the shadow of the staircase and looked into the rest of the room. It was huge. Windows covered in floaty drapes ran floor to ceiling and across half of either wall. All around the edges were what must’ve been custom made seating in a deep cream colour. It started high at the back, then gently curved down into a large flat surface, probably the length of a bed. It was all soft edges without any seams. One continuous sweep for maximum comfort. The perfect place for an orgy. Eddie idly wondered how stain resistant it was.

This all left a sizeable carpeted space in the centre, and that was where everyone was standing. Well, half were standing. The others were kneeling. Eddie edged closer to the rail to get a better look.

There were thirteen of them in total. They wore black cloaks with silver trim fastened around the neck, and very little else. Half had their hoods up and their hands raised, their voices chanting in unison. But the ones who were kneeling had their hoods pulled back - all the better to perform oral on the members they were servicing. Hands grasped around thighs to keep their partners upright while heads bobbed and tongues plunged into slick folds. He could hear the way that moans slipped in under the chanting.

“Oh, geeze,” Eddie groaned, forcing his attention elsewhere.

Only one person at the far end stood without a mate, and instead had a small book stand before her. They were all gathered around the edges of circle drawn on the floor. He knew that circle. He knew every rune around the edge of it, knew every line inside of it. It was Venom’s circle, just a bigger version of the one in his attic. It shimmered on the ground, like a heat haze was rising from it.

The voices grew louder, and Eddie felt himself pulled towards the middle of the mezzanine. It was calling to him, to Venom. It was beckoning them closer to the rail, to the centre of the room. He could feel Venom bubbling up out his skin along his arms and chest. They wanted it. They wanted to answer the call.

“Vee, wait!”

Eddie felt the static rippling across his skin. The air was crackling with it.

We cannot help it, Eddie. It speaks to us.

He had to see what was actually happening, there was more to this scene than met the eye. He breathed, trying to will his second sight to open - because that was what he had decided it was. It was true that his knowledge of the supernatural mostly came from films or stories, but the slightly different way of seeing the world definitely fit the description. He looked around him again, and staggered backwards a few steps in a mixture of horror and awe.

The empty room was no longer empty. It was filled with a raging swirling vortex of green light that erupted from the floor. The ceiling was of no consequence, it just went straight through it. He could see then that the roof and walls were slathered with foot high runes, like the ones he had in his house, and they blazed just as terribly. Energy of the same colour was being sucked in from all the people gathered around the circle, channeling more fuel into the maelstrom. It was both beautiful and terrifying.

The chanting went up a notch, and beams of light began to loosen from the cyclone. They whirled around the room like flailing tentacle arms searching for their quarry. Eddie edged further away, thinking that maybe now was probably the time to run. But then one of the beams brushed past him, and it was too late to do anything.

They dove at him all at once, arcing around the room and plunging deep into his body. It felt like being stabbed again, only this time the blades were made from moldy cooking grease and lecherous groping. He gasped and stumbled backwards from the force of it, his hands trying to grasp at the nothing that was invading him. He wanted to yank them out, to throw them away, but they had found their target.

EDDIE!

Pain shot through him as squirming mass of black was dragged from his chest. A multitude of tendrils desperately clung to him as more of Venom was pulled from his body. They were screaming inside his head, and he wasn’t far behind. He grabbed onto them with both hands, but the vortex was so strong that his feet were sliding along the floor. He braced himself against the handrail, using his entire weight to heave them back to him. It was a tug of war he was barely winning.

“LET. THEM. GO!” he shouted. And suddenly, they did.

Venom was flung back into his body, and he dropped to the floor, gasping for breath. His vision blurred itself back to normal as Venom settled back under his skin.

“Vee? Vee! Are you okay?”

We are still here, but their voice was weaker. They sounded shaken. It stood out in stark relief to the quiet of the room.

The quiet of the room.

The chanting had stopped.

He held his breath.

“Nice of you to join us, Eddie!”

He cringed hard as Delia’s Southern drawl called out to him. With trembling fingers, he reached for the rail and pulled himself up. His eyes skimmed over the top at the scene below.

It had been her at the head of the room, the only one without a partner. Her hood was down, her red hair shining in the candle light. She stood there proudly, a wicked grin on her lips, her milky white skin completely on display. It was hard not to notice that the collar and cuffs matched. For a mother, she still had an amazing figure.

As for the others, they were all looking at him too. It was an even mix of men and women, mostly white but with a few other skin tones thrown in. In comparison to Delia, they all appeared so much older. Most of them were the later stages of middle aged, their bodies soft and starting to sag. Hands palmed lightly between legs to keep the feelings rolling. Some still used their tongues in quick sweeps. He was grateful not to see Mark or Gemma among them. They were probably still out for the count. Naked strangers were somehow easier to deal with.

“It’s very rude to crash a party you weren’t invited to, though,” Delia continued. “Maybe we can find a way to put you to use?”

The floor to the left of him creaked, and he turned to see two of the group had climbed the other stairs. Their erections still stood proudly. Nobody was attempting to cover anything up.

“That cock of yours must be pretty good if it kept that monster satisfied. I’d love to take it for a ride.”

He had two choices right now - run back the way they had come, or face down his new nemesis. Delia licked her lips. Venom growled within him. Eddie’s decision was made in an instant.

He launched himself over the railing and sailed through the air down into the room, landing deftly on his feet. The nearest group members scattered away with startled noises, and the others broke formation. Everyone was standing now.

“Why, Mr Brock,” Delia cooed as she edged around the circle. “It would seem we have underestimated you.”

“Stop all this. Now .”

He glared at her, but surrounded by so many people, his burst of confidence was shrinking.

“Or you’ll do what?”

She put her hands on her hips. He tried to keep up an intimidating stance.

“Or we’ll have to stop you instead.”

“We? Looks to me like you’re all alone.”

“Then maybe you should look agai-”

His words were cut off by a strangled cry. His body curled forward and he clutched around his middle. The discomfort was bigger this time, it was more than just his stomach. He felt it in his lungs, burning up the air inside and twisting inside his gut. He sank to the floor, his legs feeling shaky.

Vee!

The merge is failing!

He had no strength to get back up.

“Grab him,” Delia commanded, and instantly he was covered in hands.

They manhandled him, pushing him further down and pulling his arms behind his back. There were so many of them, touching him all over. They stank of sex, moist fingertips rubbing across his exposed skin.

A memory slipped into his head; hands - eight of them, black as pitch, all huge with clawed fingers. They were holding him down, pressing against his struggling body. He was screaming. He was terrified. Opal eyes bored into his soul. He couldn’t escape. His couldn’t move. Pain tore at his shoulders. His spine arched at an unnatural angle. His head was jerked backwards. His mouth was prised open. Liquid was poured down his throat.

But wait. That wasn’t the memory. There was nothing in his mouth in the memory. There was horror, and fear, but this was something else.

...ddie! Eddie! EDDIE!

Venom’s voice cut through the fog in his mind and he came back to himself.

He was kneeling on the floor, his head pulled back and his arms locked behind him in a tight hold. Sour tasting fingers had invaded his mouth, keeping his jaws open. Another pair had pinched his nose. He gargled and gagged on the substance in his throat, his eyes darting around the eager faces crowding over him. Their arousal at the scene was obvious. Many had taken to working themselves over again.

“Now come on, darlin’. Take your medicine.”

Delia’s smug face loomed forward so he could see her over the hands. She held a small empty bottle. Someone was stroking his neck, encouraging him to swallow. He tried to move, to shake them off, but he had been rendered immobile.

“You can’t hold your breath forever, sugah.”

He had to swallow, he had no choice. He was running out of air.

He screwed his eyes shut and let Delia get what she wanted. He coughed as not all of it went down the right way. There was a satisfied murmur and the fingers retreated from his nose and mouth. His head was let go, and he nodded forward trying to catch his breath. The hold on his shoulders was released, and he flung his arms away from the grip around him. His anger bubbled up, and he went to lunge at the nearest member. But it was suddenly aborted, the energy he had mustered dying almost as soon as he had summoned it.

Eddie! You must fight this! They have drugged you.

His muscles went lax and he sagged forward. There weren’t any hands on him now. His body slumped, all defiance gone. His eyes were only half open.

“W...w- wha-t diii... did you givf mmee?” he slurred.

“Just a little ‘Sweet Submissive’,” Delia replied. “A whole bottle was probably too much, but after your immunity display at the HOA meeting, I thought it best to err on the side of caution.”

He felt his mind hazing over. His vision was going soft around the edges. She ruffled his hair, and it felt nice. She kept her hand on his head, making her look up at him. Even at this angle, her boobs looked fantastic.

“Now, why don’t you go sit over there, keep quiet, and we can get on with our little party.”

She cocked her head to the side of the room, indicating the continuous seating around the edge. Eddie obeyed without hesitation. He wanted to obey. He got up onto wobbly feet and ambled towards his destination. He flumped down, his arms flopping uselessly by his sides. His mind was blissfully blank. All he could do was watch as Delia and the others retook their places. The chanting, and the felatio, quickly started up again.

He couldn’t sit upright anymore and fell onto his side. He knew he was supposed to be doing something, supposed to be saving someone. But no one looked like they were in trouble. They all looked like they were having a wonderful time. He wondered if they would ask him to join. He wanted to be asked. No, he wanted to be told . He wanted to be ordered around. He wanted to be made to comply. He was there to serve.

Do not worry, Eddie. We are working to remove the poison.

“Poison? Wha poison? Did sumon drin-k poison? They should c-all the dokter.”

His voice was quiet and still slightly slurred. He felt dopey, but was quite enjoying the view of all the naked bodies.

We will expel as much as we can.

“Esspel?”

Something solid was pushing up through his gullet. His gag reflex took over and diaphragm contracted. Liquid flooded his mouth and he weakly heaved it out, coughing the remains of it into the fabric. It pooled under his chin, then trickled towards the floor following the curve of the sofa. Turns out, it was protected against stains.

Sorry, Eddie. Some of it is still in your system. We cannot effectively neutralize it.

“S’okay.”

He sluggishly wiped his mouth, the taste of bile not even registering. His head felt a little clearer, but no one had given him another order yet. He couldn’t understand why. He shoved himself away from the wet patch, but didn’t move any further than that.

Eddie, we must not lie here.

“Delia said I should stay.”

Delia does not control us.

“Are you my master?”

No, Eddie. We are your partner, remember?

There was a sweetness in his chest that made his breath hitch. It was so much prettier than anything he could see. It wrapped around his heart and lungs and threaded between his ribs. But it wasn’t what he had been ordered to do.

“I must do what I’m told.”

Eddie, please! You must fight this! We cannot do this alone. We must be of one mind. You must stop-

Any more of Venom’s words were lost as his body burned with pain again. He curled up, groaning, tears pricking the corner of his eyes. He could feel it all the way down in his legs now. He kicked out, his muscles spasming of their own accord. He felt wretched, almost like the beginnings of getting the flu. Everything ached. A patchwork of bruises were starting to make themselves known. God, he was tired.

Must not sleep, Eddie. We need your help.

“Want to help. Want to serve,” he mumbled. His eyes were drifting closed, dislodging the tears that had accumulated there.

Then we command you to wake up.

Eddie’s eyes shot back open, the tiredness instantly chased away to the corners of his mind. A thrill ran through him. He was being ordered what to do.

We command you to sit.

Another thrill at another order. With a grunt of effort he pushed himself back up. His pulse was beginning to quicken.

Now, Eddie, we command you to open your mind.

This was getting easier now every time he did it on purpose. His eyes fluttered as his second sight took over. The whirling vortex was back. It hadn’t yet reached the same ferocity as before, but it was quickly building.

Look at her, Eddie. Look at your Master.

His gaze slid over to Delia, and he recoiled in horror.

Gone was her elegant beauty and smooth skin. In her place stood a screaming black skeleton, outlined with a haze of white where her body would be. Her aura burned red with deep pink licks of flame. Lime green runes blazed on her bones.

She is empty, Eddie. She gutted out her soul long ago.

He looked around at the other members. They were nowhere near as bad, but their faces were turning hollow. He could see their skulls under their skin, a symbol on their forehead marking them as one of the group. Their auras glowed dark green with the same bursts of deep pink. Many of them were working themselves up into a frenzy, their faces lost to ecstasy.  

Eddie couldn’t take any more and tore his eyes away. The static was rising against his skin.

“Tell me what to do, Vee. I need to be told,” he whispered. There were still traces of that stuff in his system. He knew he wanted what Venom wanted, but he couldn’t quite make himself do anything. “Or do that thing where you take control. Take control of me, Vee.”

No, Eddie. You will beat this. You will resist its influence.

Whether they knew it or not, they were still giving him orders. And more than that, it was working.

You will stop them from summoning us again.

His head was getting clearer. His vision was sharpening.

You will not let them tear us apart.

Energy flowed back into his limbs. He flexed his fingers feeling their strength again.

We will fight. Together.

His resolve snapped into place. He didn’t need to obey anymore. He stood up on the seat.

“Then let’s join the party”

Ooze burst out to cover him, and Eddie sank deep into that warm embrace. All of his aches and pains were momentarily forgotten, all consumed by the person he loved that now wrapped themselves around him.

They towered over everyone, nearly 8ft tall without the extra boost of the furniture beneath their feet. But no one had noticed the creature in their midst. They were too busy getting off. So Venom heaved in a massive breath, and together they roared out all of their frustration, all of their anger, and all of their hate.

The screams that followed were music to their ears.

The members scattered away from Venom, running everywhere but the sensible option of up the stairs. Only Delia looked on in awe.

YOU WANTED US! WE ARE HERE! Venom bellowed, their arms spread wide.

It took Eddie a moment to realise that they had actually spoken out loud. He didn’t know that was possible. In that moment me desperately wanted to hear them with his own ears, but that would have to wait.

We think that this is no longer required!

They jumped from the sofa and slashed their claws deep into the carpet. They ripped clean through the floorboards, destroying half of the circle. The resulting energy burst released felt like firecrackers against their skin. Half of the candles were gutted out, and a haze filled the air.

They strode through it towards Delia, who was backing away from their approach, clinging onto a small book. Her legs hit the seating and she toppled backwards.

“My lord!” she cried, her voice trembling. “You have come!” She was crawling towards the windows, trying to put as much space she could between them. “We have waited so long for your r- return. We have prepared-” Her cloak clasp strangled her and she hastened to undo it.

Venom reached out a claw and simply tore through the fabric. She squeaked, but tried to regain her composure, scurrying backwards until her shoulders hit the curved recline. She had nowhere else to go.

“We have prepared for this moment, my Lord,” she gulped.

Venom leered in close, their face only inches from hers. They opened their great maw and stroked their tongue down her cheek, leaving it wet with saliva. She recoiled at the touch, but tried not to show it.

We do not think you were expecting us like this.

They dug their claws deep into the seating either side of Delia’s supine body.

“N- no, my lord. But this is better.” She forced a smile.

You thought you would be able to control us. To make us into your little ‘pet’. You were wrong. We will not do any of your bidding. We will not be used again. Our power is not yours to take. But... we could take yours.

Venom suddenly reached back, their arm extending into a thick viscous tentacle. It wrapped around the lower staircase and heaved it away from the floor. It flew across the room, sending chunks of wood and plaster in every direction. More screams followed. There was no chance for escape now.

They grinned at Delia, and for the first time Eddie felt just how many teeth they had in that mouth of theirs.

“W- what are y- you goin’ to do with us?” she whimpered, her eyes wide with fear.

Eddie could feel Venom’s desires coursing through him as though they were his own. They wanted to maim, kill, destroy everything that had hurt them, that had hurt Eddie. They wanted to pull every person limb from limb and bite their heads off. They wanted to feast upon them, to fuck them till they died of pleasure, to chew on their bones and decorate the walls with blood.

And it would be so easy to do it. It would be so eas y to let those claws sink into the trembling naked flesh before him and slice it open like a hot knife through butter. He could bleed them all dry, every person in the room, and really test out the stain resistance of the furniture. He could become death, fill his belly with their still warm hearts, and rid the world of their corrupted souls.

But could he really become a murderer?

He did want vengeance, this was true. And to see Delia’s face contorted in pain would give him great satisfaction. But what about after that? Could he really live with himself if he gleefully took the lives of thirteen people? At the end of it all, even after everything they had done to them, they still were just people. They had families, and partners, and mortgages to pay. They had jobs, and school-runs, and pets that needed to be taken to the vet. To wipe them out would be immensely gratifying in the moment, but then their deaths would be investigated. Questions would be asked, and he was certain it would somehow be connected to him. Even if they left no evidence, just removed everyone in this room from the face of the earth, people would come looking for them. The consequences weren’t worth it. But to also just leave now wasn’t an acceptable solution.

Venom pulled Delia into their grip, their hand elongating and becoming a tentacle that wrapped  around her midriff. She squealed and struggled, but was no match for their strength.

Venom paused, and Eddie found that they were waiting for him. Although their primal instincts were shouting at them, craving death and destruction, it was Eddie who they wanted to be in charge. They were partners, equals. And they both got a say.

What shall we do, Eddie? Venom asked.

He pondered his reply.

We set an example.

How?

He stretched his fingers, and saw how Venom’s movements matched his own.

Fingers.

Hands.

Hands as black as pitch.

I think you should show her what you really look like, love.

They grinned with understanding.

Don’t hold back.

We won’t.

They raised their other hand to touch Delia’s temple. She jerked away from it, whimpering with fear, but Venom pressed on, and in. Delia’s eyes blew wide, and her gaze locked with Venom’s. She began to quiver. She jerked in a breath, and then another.

“No. No, no, no,” she moaned.

She tried to look away, but Venom turned her head back.

“No! No please!” she cried.

Her face was a picture of anguish. She quickly began screaming. She was worked into hysterics, tears running down her cheeks. Eddie felt a pang of sympathy, a faint echo of half forgotten feelings running through his mind. But not enough to stop. Eventually her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and her whole body began convulsing.

That’s enough, Vee.

They placed her back down onto the sofa, removing their hold, but she didn’t stop spasming.

Venom turned to the other members, and melted back into Eddie. Many let out a shocked gasp having not made the connection.

“Let this be a lesson to you all,” he yelled. “If you ever come after me or Venom again, this is what will happen to you.” He gestured to Delia who was still jerking intermittently, her tongue lolling from her mouth. “Spread the word,” he continued. “This cult of yours is over. We are never to be disturbed again, understand?”

There were enthusiastic nods. Most would not meet his roving gaze.

“And if either of us even get a whisper that you lot are fucking around with forces you don’t understand again, we will rain hell down on you. Got it?”

There was a more vocal response.

“Good. Now, we are leaving. I suggest you all find a better use for your evenings. Maybe start a book club, or something.”

Eddie ran forward and leaped, easily clearing over the railing of the mezzanine. He sent a smirk back down to the crowd gathered below. He was sure they’d figure out a way to leave the house… eventually.

He jogged up both flights of stairs and went back out onto the deck.

“Think you can get us home, love?”

With pleasure.

Venom rolled over his skin, sinking Eddie back into that warmth. Their wings formed at the same time. They stretched and gave them a flap.

Are you sure you do not mind this?

No. I know you’ve got me, and he sent a wave of love and affection towards them. Their whole body shivered. Powerful, isn’t it?

They crouched on the handrail, the wood groaning under their weight.

The best.

The launched themselves from the terrace, and quickly gained height over the trees. They didn’t fly so high this time, and gladly rode every thermal they came across.

Eddie felt he probably could have handled the view this time round, but all he wanted to focus on was Venom. He wanted to crystalize this memory for the rest of his life. The peace they both felt at having defeated their enemy. The warmth that bathed his body and mind. That pulse through his nerve endings that mirrored his own heartbeat. The calm after the storm.

But the calm was a trap designed to lull him into a false sense of security. For how could the storm be over when he was merely in the eye of it?

 

 

Chapter Text

Social media would talk about it for days. It had been unimaginatively dubbed ‘The Shriek’, and had been heard for miles over the city. It was a wretched noise, inhuman and full of pain. No one had figured out the source of it. Even those who claimed they had seen something in the sky that night couldn’t find any evidence of it on the ground. There were a few recordings, all accidental, that just happened to capture the sound, but it was always buried under something else. In the end it was forgotten, removed from the trending pages by the latest celebrity scandal, relegating it to the conspiracy theory sites and other shady areas of the web.

Eddie would never forget it though.

They had just reached the other side of the bay when his body had decided it had had enough. It burned with pain, setting every part of him on fire. It was worse than being stabbed, worse than being tasered. It blistered outwards from his very core. They screamed out into night, and were quickly plunging through the air.

Venom tried to valiantly hang on while Eddie’s body did its best to expel them. Patches of ooze roamed over his skin, their wings disintegrating then reforming, their altitude plummeting then stabilizing. Eddie was in agony. The world around him was a blur. He had no concept of how low they were till he felt the heat of the city brush over his exposed face.

Nearly home, Eddie. Nearly home! Venom reassured, their voice strained.

But Eddie didn’t care. He just wanted the pain to stop. All day he’d been in pain. It was too much. It was still the same 24 hours in which he’d woken up drugged, dragged himself to the office feeling like death, had been constricted with tentacles, electrocuted, tortured with icy needles, been drugged again, and just generally thrown around in every direction like a ragdoll. It had been the worst day of his life, and he was desperate for it to end.

Eddie, look!

He cracked an eye and saw the familiar layout of the street. It was rapidly approaching as Venom increasingly lost control of their flight path. Then, their wing clipped a lamppost, and they both went tumbling to the ground.

Eddie landed in the middle of the road, his skin tearing on the tarmac. But that pain was lost in the cacophony of other aches. He was still burning up, his breaths coming out in strangled gasps. He writhed on the ground, tears staining his face.

“Make it stop, Vee! Make it stop!” he begged.

We are trying.

“Please, please ,” he whimpered.

This was worse than the drill. His very cells felt like they were on fire. His bones were going to liquify from the heat.

We are sorry, Eddie. They sounded upset. We can only find one way.

“Do it, do it! Please!”

As you wish.

There was a shift inside of him, something he could barely register over the blinding pain.

... Goodbye, Eddie.

His eyes shot wide.

“What!? No!”

Formless ooze began seeping from his skin.

We must, Eddie. We are the cause of the problem. Their voice wobbled. If we stay, you will die.

The ooze slipped off him and vanished into the ground. More and more of it exited his body like a stream.

“No, no, no,” he moaned, trying to claw it back with shaking hands.

He hurt so much, but Venom was his. He wasn’t going to lose them now, not after everything they had been through. His fingers raked through their form, but it just flowed around them. He couldn’t stem the tide.

“There must be another way!” he pleaded.

There is not.

Silver light shimmered around the edges of where Venom sank into the ground. Eddie’s muscles were cramping. Where once there had been warmth, now there was only cold.

“Don’t leave me, Vee!” he cried, sobbing into his chest.

We love you, Eddie. You are our most precious person.

The stream was thinning. They were nearly all gone.

“No, Vee. Don’t go!”

Goodbye.

A fierce wave of love crashed over him. It was so strong that he lost his breath, his body arching away from the road. But it couldn’t hide the sensation of Venom bleeding from his head. The very last bit of them trickled around the back of his skull, caressing the skin behind his ear in one final affectionate motion before it too was gone.

He slumped back down, howling with loss.

“Come back, Vee. Come back,” he wailed.

He dug at the asphalt, desperately trying to find them. His fingers quickly turned raw, but there wasn’t a trace of black ink to be found. Not a single ounce of them remained. Not a single mark. The immediate pain was gone, but he suddenly felt so alone and so incredibly empty. He curled up into a ball, hugging himself, his heart utterly broken.

He had lost them. After everything, he had lost them.

“Please come back, Vee. Please!”

If they came back he could put them in the house again, could find a better way for them to live. They could still be together. Even if it was just in his head, even if they never got to touch again, they could still be there. They could still be complete.

“I need you,” he whispered.

He was so cold now. He was shivering, drenched in sweat with a heartbeat that refused to slow down. The shaking increased. He was going into spasm. Every part of him was trying to convulse in a different direction. Through either shock or just the general build-up of trauma, he was fairly certain his body was shutting down.

He wasn’t going to try to fight it. He didn’t try to force himself to breathe. He was too exhausted. His eyes were rolling backwards in his skull. If this was the end, then at this moment, he was ready to let it happen. He was just so tired.

But there was a hand on his back. Unfamiliar words tumbled into his ear.

And then, nothing.

*** 

Eddie didn’t know what had woken him. He felt comfortable. The blanket over his body was warm, and the cushions underneath him were soft. It felt familiar; it smelt familiar. It was his couch. He was lying on his couch in his sitting room.

His whole body ached, but it was more of a dull throb now than the searing pain. He flexed his fingers. They felt stiff. Band aids tugged at his skin. There were bandages elsewhere too, and the faint aroma of antiseptic cream.

There was that noise again. It sounded like the pages of a magazine being turned. A gentle breathing accompanied his own. He wasn't alone.

He slowly opened his eyes, caked as they were with sleep. The daylight momentarily blinded him, even though is was subdued behind the drapes. He blinked away the blurriness, and the person he least suspected to find was looking back at him.

“Hey neighbour,” Claire said softly, a kind smile on her face.

She was sat across from him near the fireplace on one of the dining room chairs, a gossip magazine in her hands.

“C- Claire?” he croaked, his mouth was horribly dry.

The magazine was quickly abandoned, and she leaned over to offer a glass with a straw in it. He took a long grateful sip. The water was wonderfully chilled.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

He let the straw drop from his mouth, and the glass was returned to the coffee table.

“Uh-” He wasn’t sure how to answer that without inviting more questions, but then decided to heck with it anyway. “Sore,” he answered.

“I’m not surprised. That’s quite a collection of injuries you have. We found you in the middle of the road the other night in quite a state. Angela and Nathan wanted to take you to the hospital, but Javi said it wasn’t necessary. He is a trained medical professional, so we trusted his opinion. And who wants the headache of dealing with medical bills anyway?”

“Trained professional?”

“He’s a nurse. Didn’t you know?”

“No, actually, I didn’t.” But for some reason the news didn’t come as much of a shock.

“Anyway, once we got you inside, he shuffled us all out of the room to give you a proper look over. Medical privacy and all that. I think he must’ve been pretty thorough as he took a while. Looked so tired by the end of it. Must have been a hard day. That’s his dressing gown by the way.”

Eddie hadn’t even noticed that his clothes had been changed. His jeans and shirt had been swapped for a soft cotton tee, pyjama bottoms, socks and a lightweight gown in a peacock blue pattern. It was a bit bright for Eddie’s tastes, but the material was silky against his battered skin.

“He said all you needed was some rest, but that someone should keep on eye on you while you slept, so we’ve all been taking it in turns for the last two days. I hope you don’t mind that we sort of ‘broke and entered’ your house, but the keys were in your pocket, so we didn’t technically break into anything.”

Part of him recoiled in horror at having people he barely knew inside the sanctuary of his home. But it was better to wake up here than in someone else’s house. With the exception of the dressing gown, everything was his. They were his clothes, his blankets. It was familiar, safe. He was glad he had thought to take his keys.

“Uh, it’s fine.”

“And once word got round about your situation, everyone wanted to lend a hand.”

Oh god, had every member of the HOA had been in his house, watching him while he was asleep, touching his stuff? Claire seemed to read his mind.

“Oh don’t worry, it’s only been Angela, Nathan, his wife, and myself who have been babysitting. Everyone else has been on food duty. Let’s just say, you won’t be going hungry for a while. The fridge is full of stuff you only need to heat up in the microwave. Though, I’d avoid Hannah’s contribution if I were you. It’s aggressively vegan.”

He wondered if he should really be accepting prepared meals from the HOA. Afterall, it was where he was drugged.

“Um, was any of that food made by Mark and Gemma?” he asked, trying to keep his tone casual.

“Oh no, poor things have the flu, apparently. I hope they didn’t have it at the meeting. I really don’t need to be getting sick right now. Though maybe that’s why Javi looked so tired? Men are the worst when they get ill.”

She smiled, but Eddie couldn’t quite find the energy to return it. Her face stilled.

“Don’t let a few bad apples ruin the whole batch, Eddie. I promise you, we’re mostly harmless.”

“Wait, what?”

She rubbed her thighs and let out a long breath, forcing the smile back on her face.

“Well, you’re awake now,” she continued much brighter, “so I’ll get out of your hair.”

She started collecting her things, putting her phone and magazine back inside the handbag that had been by her feet.

“Whoa, wait. Claire…” Did she already know that her organisation was being used to recruit people into a cult? “Um, about the HOA.”

“Oh don’t worry, I won’t expect to see you at the next meeting.”

“Yeah, that’s not- I mean… Delia-”

“Oh yeah! I forgot about that little tasty nugget.”

She leaned in like she was sharing some juicy gossip, like that odd little moment hadn’t just happened. She even paused for added dramatic effect.

“She’s been institutionalized.”

“R- really?” He tried to sound at least a little surprised.

“Yeah. Apparently she had some sort of mental break-down. All very tragic of course, those poor kids of hers, but that’s what you get for being a power crazy whack-job.”

She said it so off-handily, with such a bland unimpressed look, that it threw Eddie for a loop.

“What!? You... you knew ?” he spluttered.

Her face softened.

“Eddie, darling. Of course I knew. You really think I wouldn’t notice her recruiting my members into her little sex, group, cult... thingy?”

Eddie choked back a stunned noise.

“Of course, consenting adults are free to do with their lives whatever they want to, be that orgies, drugs - ‘whatever’.” She even used air quotes. “But they forget about how much I pay attention. It’s the little things I notice. I like to think of it as my superpower. I see everything.”

Anxiety rose up in his chest.

“So the other night, you saw… “

“I’ll tell you what I saw.” She leaned over, resting her hand gently upon his. “I saw a neighbour in need of help that I was able to give. That’s all.”

There was a sparkle in her eyes which told him she probably saw a lot more than she was letting on. Hell, she probably knew way more than she was letting on. He was starting to think he had massively underestimated Claire - in every way possible. Certainly, she appeared to be a busybody and a nosey gossip, but underneath there was a sharp intelligence at work. And more than that, she genuinely appeared to care for people, even relative strangers like himself. He was definitely going to be friendlier to her in the future.

“Um, thank you… for everything.”

“Not at all.” She gave his hand a soft pat. “Now, want to see if you can manage to get to the door? I’m not going to leave you if you can’t walk.”

“We can try.”

His body felt stiff and loudly protested as he shifted himself on the couch. With a grunt of effort, he got his feet on the floor. Claire helped him up to a standing position by putting herself under his shoulder and momentarily taking his weight. He groaned, his joints cracking and popping as he stood. Everything ached. He had bruises upon bruises. His muscles were tight and did their best to limit his movement, but he managed to shuffle towards the hall well enough. He made it to the archway and leaned heavily upon it. Claire went back to retrieve her handbag.

“By the way, here is my number if you need anything.” She handed him a scribbled note. “ Do not be afraid to call, okay? Even if it’s just for a cup of sugar or some milk.”

“I promise I will.”

“Good. Oh, and your keys.” She handed them over too. She fixed him a solid look. “Do try to take care of yourself, Eddie.”

“I’ll do my best.”

She smiled at him once more and moved towards the front door.

“Oh, and Eddie? Just for the sake of my own curiosity, were you, by any chance, thrown from the back of a moving vehicle?”

“Er-” He paused, considering his answer. “Something like that, yeah.”

She tapped the side of her nose. “I thought as much. Good thing Nate fixed your cameras for you.”

“H- he did?”

He glanced up the wall, but the repair was probably on the outside.

“Yeah. He noticed that the wires had been cut. The work of some thoughtless vandals, no doubt.”

“Yeah, no doubt” he quietly agreed.

“See you soon, neighbour,” she finished brightly.

She opened the door, flooding the hall with late afternoon sun.

“See you...”

He trailed off as he felt his head go fuzzy. His second sight was taking over. He screwed up his face and pressed his fingers into his eyes, willing it to go away.

“No, no no,” he whimpered. He slid towards the floor. He didn’t want to see whatever it was trying to show him. He had barely been awake for five minutes. But it wasn’t leaving.

He chanced a look and only caught a glimpse as Claire left. The sun was behind her making it hard to see, but he got the distinct impression of something soft in a silken champagne colour. Something gentle, and serene. Something that quite possibly resembled feathers.

He steered his gaze away, determined to squash any curiosity. He had had enough of otherworldly mysteries. The door clicked shut, and he was once again alone.

His eyes fell on the scratched out blue runes on the floor. They was already fading. He touched one. Only the briefest hint of static brushed against his skin. He shut his eyes again trying to force his vision to return to normal. He didn’t want to see any of this anymore. He didn’t want reminders about everything that had happened, everything that he’d lost.

God, it was so quiet.

He curled forwards, his chest tight with grief. He couldn’t hold it back, couldn’t keep it in. It flooded out of him like a torrent. His agonised wails echoed around the empty house. It hurt to breathe, to pull in those harsh breaths between sobs. It hurt to move, to bring his knees up to hug them. But he was certain that if he didn’t hold onto something, he’d end up drowning in his despair.

Venom was gone.

He was alone.

And there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

He sobbed until his stomach hurt, and then continued until he had no more tears left to cry.

 

He must have fallen asleep at some point. When he opened his eyes again the sun had set. He lay there on his side, his arm throbbing from where he was putting pressure on the wrong places, just listening to the house. The fridge kicked on in the kitchen down the hall, and the hot water pipes gurgled, but there wasn’t anything else. No creaking, no groaning, no other signs of life. He would have taken anything at that point. Even creeping mold and scalding hot door knobs. But there was nothing.

His stomach growled. The last thing he’d eaten was the hotdog he had stolen off some stranger, and  that was three days ago. If he had been lying on the couch, he probably wouldn’t have moved, but the floor wasn’t doing his damaged body any good.

With a concerted effort, and much grunting, he pulled himself up to standing. Leaning against the wall for support, he ambled into the kitchen and opened the fridge. It was just as Claire had described it - jammed full of tupperware, each with a note on it about its contents. He pulled one out at random, not really caring what it was, but did consciously avoid choosing Hannah’s box.

He also took out two beers and placed them on the counter. Returning to close the fridge, his eyes fell on the radio. He hesitated, not really knowing what to expect if he turned it on. He did anyway, and was greeted with static. He tried the tuning knob, and scrolled through to both ends of the dial, but he couldn’t find a station.

“Figures,” he dejectedly muttered, and turned it back off.

He brought his meal over to table and ate it without bothering to heat it up first. When he was finished, he went back to the fridge and took out another. It was dark now, so he flicked on the light on the hood over the hob. He noted absentmindedly that he would have to do that now. He would have to turn lights on and off. He would have to close curtains and lock doors. He’d have to do the dishes, mow the lawn, and put the garbage out.

Venom used to do so much for him. So many little things that seemed inconsequential, but were so important to them. They would actually go into a huff if he tried to tidy up, or put his own laundry in the washing machine. And heaven forbid if he threatened to get out the vacuum. Venom was proud to keep the place absolutely spotless, even if Eddie never could figure out how they did it.

A new wave of loss took over him. Apparently he still had tears left to cry. They salted the cold lasagna he continued to eat. No amount of food was going to fill that void he felt inside himself, though. So he tried beer instead. After drinking the first two in the quiet of the kitchen, he moved back to the couch and put on the TV, desperate for any background noise he could have. He flicked through the channels looking for the loudest thing he could find. A game show with an enthusiastic audience. That would do.

In the glare of the TV he properly looked at his hands. His left had plasters over his fingertips, the right a scrape on the palm from his rough landing. His elbows were grazed, and he had thick matching strips of purple all up his arms. He hunched over and lifted the cuff of his sweatpants to find a similar set winding around his right ankle and calf.

He was lucky, really, that all he had were cuts and bruises and aching muscles. He would have to be careful now, much more so than before. He didn’t have an instant heal button anymore. He would just have to be patient and hope his body could repair the damage like a normal person.

“Don’t go getting stabbed again,” he mumbled to himself.

He was on his fourth beer, but it wasn’t having the desired effect. He knew he didn’t have anything stronger in the house, though the idea of going out to get more was too unpleasant to consider. His phone was on the coffee table, helpfully charged by someone he supposed. He didn’t even want to look at his notifications. He could wait for another day to find out how fired he was. Right now, he was looking into the fastest way to get alcohol delivered to his door. Turns out, it was pretty easy. They could even be there in under an hour.

He decided he wanted whiskey, and ordered whatever was cheap with a high percentage. Taste was not a priority right now. He downed more beers while he waited, doing his best to not let himself think about anything. When the delivery man arrived, he struggled to lift Eddie’s box up the front steps. It wasn’t a massive one, but was heavy. Eddie had no trouble bringing it in. Venom’s changes were apparently still in effect. He tore the box open, grabbed the first bottle, and climbed inside.

As he exited the bathroom later that evening, bottle in hand and wavering slightly on the spot, he looked into the bedroom. The bed looked so forlorn, devoid of Venom’s tentacles and inviting warmth. Eddie steeled himself, trying not to cry yet again. As tired as he was, he couldn’t face sleeping in there. He took the bedding from the spare room instead and set himself properly up on the couch. Venom had made it as comfortable as any bed anyway, and he was glad of it as he settled under the covers. The TV stayed on. Without it, the quiet was deafening. Eddie never wanted to hear silence again.

The days passed in a haze of booze, mindless TV, and unheated food from the fridge. He drank until he felt numb, because feeling numb was better than feeling empty. He didn’t want to feel anything really; he wanted to shove it all away into a little box and never open it.

But when the TV wouldn’t hold his attention, he would look around the room, and everything came back to Venom. He would notice the photos on the fireplace that showed only him, but where they were both smiling. He would notice the artwork on the walls they had argued about so passionately. He would notice the cold fireplace that they would light to keep him warm, and the carefully arranged ornaments that he hadn’t touched since they unpacked them for him.

Everything came back to Venom, and how they were no longer there.

He raged against the loss, his despair twisting into fury. He swept his arm along the fireplace, throwing the photos to the ground and smashing the glass. He tore the artwork from the wall and tossed it into the fireplace. He pulled down the shelves, scattering the ornaments and bellowing with outrage.

He stormed upstairs and yanked down the attic ladder, snapping the string in the process. He glared at the empty circle, his anger boiling under his skin, bitter tears staining his cheeks. The half empty whiskey bottle sloshed in his shaking hand.

How dare they leave him.

How dar e they make him feel so empty.

How dare they not tell him how to save them.

God, why didn’t he ask how to save them? Why hadn’t they come up with a plan for after they had won? Why didn’t they think ahead? Venom had said it might break him, but he never considered that it might break them too.

His anger was quickly doused by his anguish. He should have done more. He should have thought more. No one ever said their merging would be permanent, but he wanted it to be. He had wanted to keep Venom inside him for the rest of time. For all eternity, if that was possible.

He flopped to his knees in the middle of the circle, silent sobs pulling at his chest. He traced the lines with his fingers. They were completely cold, just like he was. He curled up on the floor and tried to funnel his will into it, like he had done the night he released them. But nothing happened. There was no ethereal blue light, no flicker of static, no comforting embrace of tentacles coming up through the floor to greet him.

There was only his stuttering breaths, and the muffled noise from the TV down below.

“I need you, Vee,” he whispered. “I need you to come back. Please come back.”

He buried his face in his arm and wailed.

 

At some point the night turned to day, but Eddie had stopped paying attention to the time ages ago. There was a knocking on the front door. He had no intention of answering it. Though he no longer had his sense of the house - he supposed that had left when Venom did - his intuition was still there. He asked it if it was important for him to answer the knocking. The reply was pretty much a shrug, but leaned towards ‘no’. So he didn’t move from the circle, and whoever it was eventually left.

His stomach made it known that it was hungry. He tried to recall when he last ate, but it was a haze. He decided to listen to it, and stumbled down to the kitchen. The fridge was nearly empty. He only had Hannah’s container left. But as he reached for it, he felt a nudge suggesting he should check the porch.

He opened the front door to find a cooler box waiting for him. Inside were more meals donated by the HOA. He smiled for the first time in over a week. He would definitely have to become a proper member now - or at the very least, find a way to pay back their kindness. He took the cooler inside and restocked his fridge. Charlie’s lasagna was the first to be eaten. She might’ve said nothing at the meeting, drank all the wine and eaten all the cheese, but damn could she cook.

His phone was ringing. It vibrated against the coffee table surface, slowly moving across the top. The caller ID said it was his boss’s number, but clearly his intuition was on a roll today. It pushed him to answer. Somehow he knew it wouldn’t be Joana on the other end of the line. He let his forkful of cold pasta drop back to the bowl.

“Hello?”

“Eddie? Hey. It’s Kate here, Joana’s assistant?”

“Oh, yeah, right. Hey.”

“I was just calling to see how you were doing. We’ve not heard from you since… well, in a while.”

“Really? After the way I acted, you’re still calling me?”

“Well, you weren’t well. That was obvious.”

“I attacked Joana. And if I remember correctly, I wasn’t exactly pleasant to you either.”

“Yes, well, like I said, you were sick. Joana knows that wasn’t you, we all do. Though, I’m not quite sure what kind of illness would make someone act like that. Except maybe rabies. You don’t have rabies do you?”

His mouth quirked up a little.

“No, I don’t have rabies.”

“Well, if you’re all better now, and you do sound it, Joana says you still have a job.”

He was stunned.

“Wow, that’s…. that’s really kind of her.”

“So, could we expect to see you next week?”

“Uh…”

He looked around the house. The place was a mess. Every surface was littered with empty bottles, dirty tupperware, and discarded pizza boxes from when he was too drunk to remember he already had food. The sitting room was still trashed. Only his laptop looked to be a decent state, but even that was dead due to him forgetting to charge it. He caught his reflection in the screen and winced. He looked awful. He wasn’t ready to face other people. Not yet.

“To be honest, Kate, I’m really not doing great. I, er, I lost someone very close to me recently, and I, erm...”

He trailed off. His throat was beginning to tighten up and he didn’t want to start crying over the phone to his boss's assistant.

“Oh, Eddie. I’m so sorry. Was it sudden?”

“Y-yeah.” His voice had gone up a pitch, and he could feel fresh tears pricking the corners of his eyes. He pushed his fingers into them, willing them to stop.

“Okay, well, I’ll pass on that information, and maybe we can work something out? We’ll call back next week and go from there. How does that sound?”

“Yeah, that, er-” he cleared his throat, breathing purposefully to stave off another breakdown. “Yeah, that sounds good.”

“Okay, Eddie. Take care of yourself.”

“Bye Kate.”

He hung up and tossed the phone onto the coffee table, both hands immediately swooping up to cover his face. He was determined not to cry again. He felt like he’d only just got a handle on it, but telling someone else about his grief had brought it back to the surface again.

“Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry,” he told himself, forcing his rising emotions back down.

He focused on his breathing, focused on the things he could smell and hear and feel, and soon he had himself under control again.

His eyes fell on the reflection in his monitor. He was a state. His skin was sallow with a scruffy beard he’d not bothered to shave. His eyes were dull and had bags under them. His hair was a greasy mess, and he didn’t even want to mention the aroma his body was carrying these days. He’d barely changed his clothes since waking up in Claire’s company, and was still wearing Javi’s dressing gown. It had acquired stains it didn’t have before. He’d have to get it properly cleaned before he returned it.

He considered a shower, but figured after a night on the floor, his muscles would more appreciate a long hot bath.

The water took ages to heat up. It always did these days. He sat on the toilet with the lid closed, waiting for it to turn warm. He inspected his arms. The bruises were much better now. They were more yellow than anything else, and no longer tender to the touch. His cuts and grazes had mostly scabbed away to nothing. In a week or two more, there wouldn’t be any evidence left at all. No more evidence that Venom was ever here. Steam finally began to rise and he placed in the plug, letting the tub fill up.

He settled down into the gloriously hot water. A bath had been a blissful idea really. He could feel it seeping into his body, teasing out any soreness. He closed his eyes and let his thoughts drift. They lingered on the memory of the morning Venom had done this for him, easing his muscles after they changed them without asking. It was a good thing Claire hadn’t taken him to the hospital the night he lost them. Who knows what they would have found? Did she know that? Was that why she had listened to Javi instead?

He shook his head. He didn’t want to think about this. He didn’t want to think about anything. He was starting to wish he had brought a bottle of something up with him. He hadn’t had a drink all day yet. He was probably sobering up too much.

A touch on his leg caused him to freeze. He didn’t dare open his eyes. It was just a washcloth, right? Yeah. It had fallen in and he hadn’t noticed. But then there it was again. A caress up his calf that made his breath hitch.

“V- V- Vee?” he asked, his voice shaking with a mixture of hope and fear.

His pulse racing, he steeled himself to open one eye. Black was seeping out of his skin and into the water. He jerked backwards in surprise, the ink continuing to spread until he couldn’t see himself anymore. He lifted his hand and the viscous liquid ran off his fingers, just like Venom would.

His heart swelled with joy.

“Vee! Is that you?! Are you.. are you back?”

The surface of the tub rippled.

“Vee? Talk to me.” His joy was edged with concern.

The ooze suddenly contracted, locking his body in place, his knees wide apart and exposed. Eddie went cold, dread dropping into his stomach. But then he felt a rolling and writhing across his skin. The ooze was moving against him. The tightness was necessary to allow for maximum contact.

Eddie sank into it. “Oh god, Vee,” he swallowed, “that’s so good.”

It kneaded into his muscles, finding sweet spots on the soles of his feet, the flesh of his thighs, his shoulders, and the small of his back. Eddie moaned as the massage expanded to include his calves, his arms, and his chest. It paid special attention to his nipples, rubbing them into firm little nubs. The roving touch felt glorious.

He drove his fingers deeper into the ooze, taking great fistfuls of it. The kneading moved further up his legs and down his chest, teasing across his abdomen and stomach till it joined at the hips. The pressure around his cock was loose, allowing the ooze to lap at it in gentle waves, slowly bringing him to full attention. Getting hard in that thick liquid was a treat in itself. The force of his erection parting a way through like Moses and the Red Sea. He smiled at the ridiculous thought, but the sensation was marvelous.

“Oh god, Vee. Don’t stop.”

His breath was racing, his small groans amplified by the bathroom acoustics.

Finally the pressure swirled into place around his dick and his whole body jerked in response. He wondered if this was what it felt like to be vacuum sealed in latex. He couldn’t move any of his limbs, and his cock was fixed jutting away from his body like a strap-on.

The kneading motion moved closer to his groin, and continued round to grope at his ass. It reached his balls and he whimpered with the exquisite way they were being fondled.

“It’s perfect, Vee. You’re perfect.”

A surprise came when, instead of working up his dick like he was expecting, the ooze began at the head and pushed its way down. He cried out. It felt like he was entering a tight wet hole, but then being pulled out again. The surge pushed down once more. It was completely without friction, but hit him in all the right places. It pulled off him and set a slow repetitive rhythm that delightfully tugged at him with each upstroke.

Meanwhile, there was pressing at his entrance. Eddie wanted it in, wanted it to be like old times where Venom would just lazily fuck him and rub at his prostate, but it didn’t move. It just stayed there, contoured to his body, occasionally pulling him open a little bit due the massage on his ass. But it was enough for him to clench against, enough to add to all the wonderful other sensations going on.

They still weren’t talking to him though. The ink had come from his own body, but he couldn't feel them. Maybe they weren’t connected properly? Or maybe they were still healing? They had used sex to make themselves better before, maybe that’s what this was? If they needed him to come to give them strength, he was happy to provide. He would give them a banquet to feast upon if he could. He was certain once it was over they would be speaking again. Everything would be back to normal.

The pace was starting to pick up. Eddie could feel himself sinking further into the ooze. It was climbing up his neck and rippled under his chin. The massage was everywhere now. Not a single part of his body wasn’t being touched or squeezed. This, mixed with idea that Venom had returned, was a heady combination. He knew the wetness on his face wasn’t from the water.

He moaned louder wanting to show his appreciation. He wanted them to know that they were amazing, that they were doing a fantastic job. Actions had always had more impact with Venom than words. He threw his emotions towards them blindly, hoping that even without a bond they would understand.

Ooze licked over his chin and up towards his bottom lip. He had sunk deeper. Not even the tops of his knees could be seen anymore. He angled his head back to get more air, but somewhere, something was telling him that this wasn’t right. His bath wasn’t that deep.

“Vee,” he breathed between moans. “Show me it’s you.”

The thrusting quickened again, sending sparks of pleasure into his core. He knew he would come soon. He’d gone from nearly daily sex to nothing overnight, and his body yearned for a release. He had drowned himself in alcohol and food, ignoring any feeling that wasn’t thirst or hunger. Now it was all about gratification, about going over that edge.

Except, he was actually drowning.

The pressure at his ass suddenly surged upwards and he cried out. Immediately his mouth was flooded with liquid. It locked his jaw open, and his eyes bulged with panic as it raced to the back of his throat, blocking off his air.

He was being pulled downwards. He couldn’t move his arms to grasp the edge of the tub, he couldn’t kick his legs to sit up. Everything was stuck solid and the level was rising. The only thing that moved was the ooze around his cock. He was going to come and die at the same time. Venom was going to kill him.

The heat pooled in his gut, ready to explode. His ears were covered, the surface climbed up his cheeks, threatening the corners of his eyes. His muscles were tensing, his orgasm was cresting.

He screwed his eyes shut, and was pulled under.

Only to immediately burst right up again.

The contents of the bathtub sloshed over the sides, drenching the bathroom floor. Eddie spluttered out water, coughing hard, and feeling the burn of it in his lungs and up his nose. He looked frantically around for the danger, but the water was just as opaque as it had been when he got in - if not feeling rather more tepid now.

He breathed hard, coming to realise that it had only been a dream. He’d fallen asleep in the tub and nearly managed to drown himself.

“Fuck.”

He wiped his face with his hands, relief quickly turning to sorrow.

He thought for a moment that Venom was back. He had felt it with his heart. Felt the joy of their return, only to have it all snatched away. He ached for the loss all over again. He couldn’t have stopped the tears from coming even if he wanted to.

“Fuuuck!” he wailed.

He couldn’t do this anymore. He couldn’t take it. He felt hollow inside. He was missing a vital part of himself. He punched the water.

“FUUUUUCK!” he shouted, making his ears ring in the small tiled room.

He was done with this. It was time to get Venom back.

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie was lurking. He knew he was lurking. He even looked like a lurker with his hoodie up, lingering under a lamppost. He was trying to muster up the courage to go and knock on Javi’s door. He’d already done him two very big favours. It seemed almost greedy to ask for a third. But Javi was kind, and maybe he would take pity on him. At least give him a place to start if nothing else.

Eddie had watched Mark leave the house earlier for work. He didn’t feel a huge animosity towards the man, he had tried the soft approach with him after all, but Eddie wouldn’t have minded if he happened to drop his phone from a height onto a concrete floor. He deserved some comeuppance for his actions, even if it was only a minor inconvenience.

He had also seen Javi come out the house once to empty the bin, so he knew he was at home. He thought that maybe if he could convince himself that he was asking for Venom’s sake, not his own, then he could feel less selfish about the whole thing. But it was a lie he couldn’t believe.

“Just do it,” he whispered to himself, chiding his inactivity.

He crossed the road and went up to the door. But before he could press the doorbell, a suggestion popped into his head that he should lightly knock instead. He followed it, and the door was quickly answered. Javi was extremely surprised. His eyes flicked over Eddie’s dishevelled state, and he clearly didn’t approve.

“Eddie, hey.” His kept his voice low, his tone ever so slightly tense.

“Hey,” Eddie replied as softly as he could.

He knew his appearance wasn’t great. He might have been clean, but his clothes were not. He still hadn’t attended to his facial hair, and with his shoulders hunched and hands shoved into his pockets, he painted a somewhat hostile picture.

Javi looked back into the house, and delicately placed himself in front of the open door. Eddie very much noticed.

“What, er- what do you want?”

There was another glance over his shoulder. No doubt Serena was inside. Probably asleep, judging by how quiet Javi was keeping his voice. Eddie tried his best to match his level.

“Um. I, er, I came to say, uh, thank you... For what you did for me.”

Eddie tried to keep eye contact, but it wavered. He still felt so raw. Being mostly sober with a mild hangover didn’t help. But Javi’s defensive stance softened at the gratitude he wasn’t expecting to get.

“Oh, well. Mark and Gem-”

“No, not that. After that…” He chose a spot on the wall and stared at it. “Uh, Claire told me what you did.”

“She did?”

“Well, not exactly what you did. But I got the impression that it was no small thing. So, er...” He pulled his gaze back to Javi’s face. “Thank you.”

Javi relaxed, a small smile playing on his lips.

“That’s ok.”

They lapsed into a moment of silence. Eddie looked everywhere, trying to think of how he could segue the conversation into what he wanted. In the end though, he would just have to be blunt.

“Listen, could I come inside for a minute?”

Javi stiffened.

“I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

“Please? I really don’t know who else I can ask.”

There must have been something in the way he sounded, how his voice broke a little with emotion, how he held himself, or how his blue green eyes pleaded, that persuaded Javi to open the door further. He welcomed him in with a sweep of his arm.

Eddie stepped inside to the same living room he had been held captive in not very long ago. His eyes couldn’t help but linger on the spot where the chair had been. The door was quietly closed behind him, and Javi went to fuss over a small folding hammock near the TV stand. Under a green blanket was a serenely sleeping infant. Once Javi was satisfied that she was still fine, he turned his attention to moving baby things off the sofa so Eddie had a place to sit. He himself sat in the armchair, which Eddie figured was probably his favourite spot.

“What do you need to talk about?” he asked softly.

Eddie glanced at Serena, not sure if he should really be asking this in front of a child, but he took a deep breath anyway.

“Venom. I need to get them back.”

“What!?” Javi said, louder than he meant to, then instantly checking himself. “They’re really gone then?” he asked, much quieter.

“Yep,” Eddie said shortly, already feeling his grief starting to rise. He stared at his hands. “Vanished into the ground two weeks ago. Not a trace of them since.”

He fiddled with a thread from the frayed cuff of his hoodie, breathing deeply, while Javi digested this information. The memory of the event was quick to surface in Eddie’s mind, and he forcefully pushed it away, picking more intently at his sleeve. He didn’t need any reminders.

“I didn’t know,” Javi said. “I mean, I had suspected, but…”

“I need to get them back.” Eddie’s eyes snapped up to meet Javi’s. “We didn’t go through everything we did just for this to be how it all ended.”

“Eddie-”

“Please, just hear me out. There has to be some way. I need them in my life again.”

“Do you not know what they did?”

“Oh course I do, I was there. For every blindingly painful moment I was there. But I need you to understand that what you’ve probably heard isn’t accurate.”

“Really? So all that damage to Delia’s house didn’t really happen? All that damage done to Delia didn’t really happen?”

Their voices had risen. Serena made a small noise of agitation, which Javi instantly seized upon. He gave Eddie a peeved look, then motioned with his head to go into the kitchen. He moved first, with Eddie following behind.

The space was a large open plan kitchen/diner with a full sized table and chairs near to the sitting room wall. The left hand side was all counters and cupboards with a island in the middle. Along the back wall was a door into a downstairs bathroom and a set of sliding patio doors. This is where Javi went to stand.

“She’s in an institution, you know?” he continued in a harsh whisper. “They say she’ll never recover. Her mind is too far gone because of whatever your friend did to her.”

“That was in self defense,” Eddie retorted, matching Javi’s voice level. “We had to put a stop to her somehow. You said that yourself. And I wasn’t about to make us into murderers.”

“So insanity was the only other option?”

“And what exactly would you have done if the love of your life was under threat of being kidnapped and used as a sex toy for the rest of eternity!?”

Javi paused, taken slightly aback.

“Love?”

Eddie’s building indignation instantly crumbled.

“Yes... love,” he mumbled.

His eyes began to prickle. He pushed his fingers into them, taking a steadying breath.

“Look, they’re not a monster, okay? I know what you’ve been told. I know what people saw. But that’s because we were in danger.” His hand dropped. “If you’d only seen them as they were, you’d understand. They were so soft and gentle.”

He huffed out a sigh, his gaze falling onto Javi’s garden.

“For god’s sake, they liked eating chocolate and watching Star Trek! How dangerous is that?! They loved making the flowers grow and seeing butterflies. They were delicate, and kind, and generous, and… and they gave the best damn hugs in the world.”

Tears welled, threatening to overflow at any moment. His throat was getting tight. He turned back to Javi.

“You never even got to meet them. No one did. Not the real them. I knew the real them.” He prodded himself hard in the chest, his resolve strengthening. “I need to get Vee back. And I’m willing to do anything, whatever it takes.”

“Eddie-”

“I’m serious. I don’t want to live my life without them. It isn’t a life at all. If I can’t get them back then… then… I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll… I can’t...”

The tears spilled over, and he buried his face in his hands. He could feel the rest coming, everything he had spent ages trampling down before he came here. All of the sadness, the desperation, the unending emptiness. It was ready to erupt at a moment’s notice. He didn’t want to turn into a sobbing wreck again, at least not in someone else’s home in front of a person he barely knew. He was certain he would wake the baby, and then Javi really would kick him to the kerb and he’d be even more lost than before. He shouldn’t have come. Should have waited until he was more stable, more able to put in a reasonable request. He should have at least had a shave.

He felt the soft press of a hand on his shoulder. It distracted him from his spiral.

“Did you ever consider that maybe it’s for the best that they’re gone?” Javi soothed. “They’re finally free.”

Eddie sniffed, wiping his face. Javi was the perfect picture of composure. Of course he wouldn’t baulk at a grieving, distressed person. He was a trained nurse.

“But it’s my fault that they left in the first place.” Eddie voice was tight. “They didn’t want to go. I just wasn’t strong enough to hold onto them.“

He looked back out into the garden, trying to push his grief and guilt away again. He had been over that moment so many times in his head, the whole evening in fact, trying to figure out how he could have acted differently. How he could have somehow saved them. He never could come up with an answer, but that didn’t stop him from blaming himself for the whole thing.

In the reflection on the glass, Javi appeared thoughtful.

“So they really were inside of you?”

Eddie nodded.

“Dios mío,” Javi breathed, taking his hand back. “It’s a wonder you were able to survive at all. I don’t think a human has ever hosted a being such as Venom.”

Eddie shifted uncomfortably. It was better to be honest, right?

“That would probably be because... I’m not- I don’t think I’m quite... human... anymore,” he quietly murmured.

“Qué?”

He glanced furtively in Javi’s confused direction.

“After I was stabbed, Vee decided to make a few ‘changes’ without asking. They thought it would make me better protected in the future, or something.”

He waited to see how Javi would react. A few expressions ghosted over his face, but he seemed to settle on curiosity.

“What kind of... ‘changes’?”

He leaned away a little, suspicion crossing his brow. Eddie squirmed slightly under his gaze.

“Um, well. Physically, I’m stronger. Faster too - I think. Then they also did something to my mind. I’ve been calling it ‘second sight’, but I don’t know if that’s the right term for it. It’s like, the world goes grey. But then there are these colours, like energy flows. I dunno, it sounds so stupid to say it out loud,” he added, dismissively.

“Hold on, are you talking about your third eye?”

“Maybe?”

Javi moved in closer.

“Because that would be a genuinely rare gift. Many have notions of it. With serious training and concentration, some can open theirs a tiny crack. But few have full control of it.”

Eddie shrugged.

“I just think it and it’s there. Vee said they did it so I could see them better. We never actually got round to trying it.” He wistfully turned to the garden again. “God, there was so much we didn’t get to do. I had a plan to take them to the Grand Canyon for our anniversary. Maybe do a few days in Vegas. They would have loved Vegas. All those lights.”

Javi’s face furrowed in confusion.

“But I thought you wanted to put them back into the house? You want to make a new circle, correct?”

And this was the other part that Eddie had been dreading, the part he knew was probably a lot to ask for. He really hoped it was possible.

“No.” He shook his head. “I want them in here.” He placed a hand against his chest, directly over the part where he had been feeling Venom’s emotions seep into him. Even though it had been such a recent development, he missed them dearly. He felt hollow without them.

Javi’s eyebrows shot up.

“You cannot be serious!?”

“I am.”

“Eddie!” He pushed on Eddie’s shoulder, spinning him back round to face him. “You were nearly dead when I found you! You can’t expect your body to take that kind of strain again!?”

“We didn’t do it right that first time. We rushed it. Vee tried to warn me. They said that they had been summoned to fill a house, and that to go from that into a person was too much. And it was. But if we did it properly, if we put them directly into me, then everything would be fine. I’m sure of it.”

“Eddie.” His warning tone meant he clearly didn’t believe him.

“Please, Javi.” He grabbed his hand with both of his. “Just tell me what I need to do and I’ll do it. You don’t need to be involved. I’m ready to take all the risks.”

“I don’t even know if it can be done. What you’re suggesting is… well, it’s more than asking a spirit for some assistance. Your want to have Venom put inside of your body, permanently ?”

He nodded. Javi pulled his hand back.

“It’s insanity! Beings like that are not meant to be eternally bonded.”

“But Vee thought that they should be. In those moments when we weren’t fighting Delia, or my body wasn’t rejecting them, it was bliss. It was perfect. I can’t even begin to describe how perfect. I had never felt more like myself in my entire life. I was…” He searched through the air, looking for the right words. “I was... complete. That’s what it was. I was finally whole. They’re the other half of me. I never really believed in the whole concept of soulmates, but it just- it just fits... And I lost them. I’ve lost half of my soul, Javi, and I need to get it back. Any way that I can.”

Eddie stared into Javi eyes, who returned his gaze with a long, hard look. He chewed on his lip and sighed through his nose.

“Give me your hand again.”

Eddie offered his right arm, palm up, puzzled at the sudden turn of the conversation. Javi took hold of it, placing his left hand under Eddie’s wrist, and pushing up his sleeve so his right hand could rest on his forearm. His fingers were warm, and surprisingly soft considering his career. The truth was, it had been quite some time since another human being had touched Eddie with such gentleness, and he fought to suppress a shiver. If Javi had noticed, he didn’t comment. He merely closed his eyes and concentrated, mumbling a string of unintelligible words under his breath.

A spark of static rolled up Eddie’s skin and he hissed, trying to pull back his arm. But Javi’s grip was firm and he didn’t let go. Instead, he removed his right hand, revealing what was underneath. He looked down at the same time Eddie did, and their eyes both went wide.

From the tip of Eddie’s middle finger, all the way down his forearm, and continuing up under his hoodie sleeve, was a string of silvery symbols. They weren’t like the runes he had seen everywhere recently, these were completely different. Completely alien. They were made from smooth lines, with curves and dots. It could have easily been a made-up language from a sci-fi film.

Eddie touched his skin with his free hand. The markings rolled with it, just like a tattoo, like the very tattoos the symbols ran under . He hooked his fingers into the sleeve of his left arm, and pulled it back, uncovering the same string running from fingertip past his elbow.

“You’re seeing this too, right?” Eddie asked. Javi nodded.

“Ay caramba. How far do they…” His eyes flicked up to Eddie’s face. “Whoa.”

“What?”

Javi didn’t answer, deciding to just push him back towards the bathroom instead.

His hand was still gripping Eddie’s wrist as he pulled him into the bathroom. It was a modest sized room, with a proper shower cubicle, toilet and sink, but the main feature was a massive mirror along one wall.

Javi stood Eddie in front of it.

“Holy cow,” he breathed.

He couldn’t quite believe it. The symbols appeared from under the collar of his hoodie, running up both sides of his neck, then up his face in front of his ear, finally vanishing into his hairline around his temples. He stepped in closer, examining his reflection. He touched them with slightly trembling fingers.

“Are they all over…?” he trailed off, his curiosity getting the better of him.

He lifted the hem of his sweater to find more symbols on his skin down both sides of his torso, disappearing under the waistband of his jeans. He lifted a leg to pull up the cuff of his pants. They were there too, a string running down his shin and his calf, and presumably over his foot.

He straightened up, swallowing a gulp as he started into the mirror with Javi.

“What do they mean?” he asked, his mind racing.

“I haven’t a clue,” Javi admitted, “But they’re special.”

“How can you tell?”

“Can’t you feel it?”

Javi looked at him, the actual him, not his reflection, with searching eyes.

“Your energy, your mana. It’s so smooth.” He ran his fingers over Eddie’s arm again in an almost reverential fashion. “It’s not like any other power I’ve ever known. I thought when I came to help you the other night, it was just residual. Long exposure to anything can change a person in many ways. But it’s been weeks, and I can see it now. It’s you, Eddie. This is just how you are. You really aren’t quite human anymore. You’re something else. Quite possibly something new.”

“But what does that actually mean?”

“It means,” Javi said with a sigh, “that you can probably do things the rest of us can only dream about.”

“Does that include…?” he asked, allowing hope to raise its head.

“You know what? Yes, I think it does. I think you might actually be able to pull it off.”

Eddie was surprised his chest just didn’t explode with happiness right there and then. He yanked Javi in for an exhilarated, and somewhat, bone-crushing hug.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” he cried.

“Hey! Whoah, Eddie!” Javi choked.

Eddie let him go, the symbols fading from his skin the moment they broke contact. Javi rubbed at his sides with a pained expression.

“You weren’t kidding about the strong thing, were you?”

“Um, sorry,” Eddie said, feeling sheepish. At some point, he would have to learn what the limits of his improved body were.

“Dios mío,” Javi complained, still touching his ribs. “Anyway, you shouldn’t be thanking me yet. I haven’t found out how to do it.”

“But you will, won’t you?”

Javi patiently smiled. “Yes.”

Eddie grinned. “That’s all I need.”

He left Javi’s house with a spring in his step and a drop of joy in his heart. There was hope again.

*** 

The next few days were torturous. Eddie busied himself with readying the place for Venom’s return. It wouldn’t do to have them see what a pig sty he had turned their home into. He cleared away the trash, filled up the recycling, and did several loads of laundry. He carefully swept up the glass from the broken photo frames and put them back on the mantle. He promised he would buy new ones when he had the chance. The artwork was salvaged with very minor damage, but the shelves were a lost cause. Maybe he could get Nathan in to fix them?

When that was all done, he cleaned the kitchen, restocked the fridge, and washed up all the tupperware ready to be returned it at some point. He even moved his bedding back into his room. He was determined to sleep in there at least one night. It was definitely a lonely experience, and he spent the entire time aching to feel Venom curl up around him, but was better than the couch. He had missed his bed.

He also decided to bite the bullet and get back in contact with work. It was a difficult call to make without falling into that gaping pit of emotion that he was constantly on the edge of these days, but Kate was very sympathetic. They agreed that he could work from home doing simple copy until he was feeling more on his feet. He still sent a bouquet of flowers to Joana to apologise for his behaviour. She never mentioned receiving them, but he did suddenly find himself included back on the department emails. Facing her in person was another matter, but also a problem to be dealt with by future Eddie.

Finally, the day came when Javi walked up to his door.

The expression on his face told Eddie everything he needed to know about how much his appearance had improved since last time they spoke. He awkwardly scratched the back of his neck. It’s amazing what not being on an alcohol only diet will do for you.

“Hey, er, come in.”

He wondered what Javi had thought the first time he’d come into the house, knowing the history of the place as he did. By the way his eyes were roaming all around, Eddie figured he’d not much had a chance to look before. His fingers skimmed over some of the carved vinework as Eddie closed the door. He spotted the paper bag Javi was holding with his other hand.

“So, is this good news visit?”

Javi turned around, jolted out of his reverie. He glanced down to the bag.

“Yes,” he replied, hesitating. “But…”

“But?”

Javi swallowed his resolve, his shoulders going square.

“I need a promise first.”

“Anything,” Eddie eagerly said.

“Whether this works or not, I need you to promise that you won’t come after Mark.”

Eddie blinked. “What!?”

“I’ve had a few days to think about the consequences of this thing you’re going to do, and I need you to promise that you won’t seek revenge, or some other shit, against Mark - or the others. He is my husband, and the father of my child. And though he pulled some insanely stupid crap, I was a willing participant for most of it. So if you want him, you’ll have to go through me.”

Eddie was stunned. The idea of getting revenge hadn’t even crossed his mind. A good bit of karma would be nice, but he didn’t intend to be the one dishing it out. He floundered trying to think of a response.

“Y- yeah… I promise,” he eventually fumbled out.

“I mean it, Eddie.”

“So do I. But do you really think I would do something like that?”

“I don’t know what you’ll do. It’s a lot of power, and power corrupts. You say what I’ve heard about Venom isn’t accurate, but I know twelve people who tell a very convincing story.”

Eddie held up his hands.

“You’re right, you’re right. But all I want is Vee back. I don’t care about the rest. I mean, I can’t say that if I see one of them in the street that I won’t punch them in the face, but I feel I’m somewhat entitled to that.”

Javi’s head bobbed indicating that he could probably see his point.

“But it’s over, it’s done with. If they don’t come after me, I’m not going to go after them. None of this has ever been about power or revenge. We did what we had to to survive, and even that didn’t really work in the end.”

Javi mulled over his words. Eddie hoped they seemed reasonable. After a pause, Javi held out the bag with a sigh. Eddie took it with a smile.

“I had to look into some pretty obscure places for your request. The guy at the store probably thinks I’m insane.”

Eddie unrolled the top of it and looked inside. There were a few items jostling about. A small bottle of seemingly clear liquid and a folded piece of paper on top of a roll of black leather. But also a book. He took it out, recognising it as the one Delia had been holding during the ceremony. It was bound in old green leather, the spine cracked from decades of readings. The faded gilt letters revealed its title: Transdimensional Theory and Application for the Modern Alchemist by Thomas Willard-Campbell.

“Is this…?” Eddie asked in awe.

“I rescued it from Delia’s house when I went to see the damage. In fact, the group was glad to be rid of it. I figured you were probably the best person to have it. I don’t know how many other copies are still around, but not a lot according to what I’ve heard.”

Eddie nodded, still a little dumbfounded, and moved into the sitting room. He placed the book down and rummaged through the rest of the bag. Javi lingered in the archway.

“The group disbanded, by the way. Well, disbanded enough that we’re probably not a cult anymore. Just a regular old swingers party now, I guess. Though Mark and I might stop being members.”

Eddie pulled out the roll of material from the bottom of the bag, and it was something else he recognised. It was the jacket he had been wearing the day he lost Venom.

“Thought you might like that too,” Javi said with a smile.

He stroked it gently. He had forgotten that he’d even lost it. So much had happened that night.

“Thank you.” He then paused as he had a thought. “Oh, your dressing gown...?”

Javi waved him off with a hand. “Keep it. The colour looked good on you.”

Eddie smiled with the compliment. Secretly, he was pretty glad. He had become rather attached to wearing it around the house.

The last two items were the bottle and paper. He held them up.

“So, is this…?”

Javi moved further into the room.

“I don’t even know if it’ll work, but it’s the closest thing I could get.”

“What do I do?”

“The instructions are on the diagram.”

Eddie unfolded the paper. There was a design for another circle on it, along with a verse of something that looked like Latin. A few bullet points outlined the sequence of events that should take place.

“That stuff is going to taste horrible, by the way.” Javi motioned to the bottle in his hand. “And it won’t be pleasant to drink, but it shouldn’t kill you. If you still feel ill by the next day, call me.”

Eddie noted he had included his phone number on the bottom of the paper. He was overwhelmed.

“I can’t begin to thank you-”

Javi held up his hands. “If it works, then you can thank me.”

Eddie nodded.

“One thing though? What do these words say?”

Javi brushed the question aside with a flick of his wrist. “It’s not about the words. It’s not even about how you say them. It’s the intent. They’re a focus, a way to direct your thoughts.”

“Then why not use English?”

Javi shrugged. “Tradition maybe? I only know that I definitely feel more like a mage when I’m sprouting terrible Latin instead of trying to make a four line poem rhyme in English.”

“This is supposed to rhyme?”

Javi smiled. “Like I said, it’s a focus. You have to be pure of thought. You can’t let any doubts in. You have to want what you want with every molecule you possess. Push all of your will into it.” He put his hand on Eddie’s shoulder. “You managed it once before. You can do it again.”

“But Vee was already a part of me the first time.” His memory went back to that awful feeling of their warmth trickling out of his skull. He hung his head. “They’re not now.”

“Eddie.” Javi ducked under and smiled at him, making sure to capture his gaze. “You saw yourself in the mirror; Vee left their marks all over you. Your energy is aligned with theirs.” He prodded at his chest. “You two have a connection. I’m confident you can find it again.”

“You are?”

Javi straightened up. “Yes. Whether in this life or the next, love always find us.”

“God. I hope it’s not the next life.”

“But you should be prepared if it is.” Eddie offered him a questioning look. Javi sighed. “Just because you’re reaching out to Vee, doesn’t mean that they have to respond.”

“No, but they-”

“Think about it, Eddie. Yes, they might love you, but they’re also free now. That’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Eddie had to admit that it was. He had no idea if offering up himself as a host was just inviting Venom to live inside another cage. He wasn’t going to force them if it was.

“What will you do if they say no?” Javi asked.

Eddie shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. “I don’t know. Find a way to live again, I guess... But I have to know that they’re out there, and that they’re safe first.” He motioned towards the book. “This already helps - a lot.”

Javi patted him on the shoulder. “Then I wish you all the luck, and hope you get the outcome you desire.”

“Thank you, and thank you ,” he said, lifting up the bottle and paper. “I owe you big time.”

“You owe me nothing except what you promised. But if you must punch my husband, maybe aim for the balls instead of the face? It was his dick that got us into all this trouble to begin with.”

Eddie grinned. “I’ll do my best.”

Javi let go of his shoulder and moved towards the front door. Eddie followed, leaning on the staircase.

“Can I ask a question, though?” Javi turned. “Do you ever use your ‘extra skills’ at work?”

“You mean at the hospital?”

Eddie nodded.

“Well, I can’t cure cancer, or regrow a kidney. But if I can take away someone’s pain, help them to sleep, or calm their anxiety before a procedure, then yeah, I do.”

“Is that what you did for me?”

Javi huffed out a laugh.

“No, Eddie. What I did for you left me with a headache for three days, while also dealing with the fallout from my husband. You are lucky that most magical maladies can be cured with other magic.”

“Then why help me at all?”

“Because you didn’t deserve what happened to you. And in the grand scheme of things, I’d much rather go up there,” he pointed upwards, “then be down there.” He pointed to the floor. “A lapsed Catholic I might be, but there are some things you just cannot shake.”

“You’re a good person, Javi.”

“Tell that to my parent’s priest. Buena suerte y adiós, Eddie.”

Eddie smiled and gave a small wave as Javi left through the door.

He looked down at his hands, which were still holding the bottle and paper. This was it. He finally had a way to get Venom back. Whether it worked or not was now up to him. He wasted no time in getting started.

He considered setting up the new circle in the basement, but quickly decided that the attic was their spiritual home. He grabbed a nail, some string, and a sharpie, and headed upstairs. The hammer was still there from weeks ago. He set up on the opposite side of the attic, tapping in the nail and tying on the string to create a circle around five feet in diameter. He carefully copied the runes from the diagram around the edge, all the while focusing on the result he wanted.

There wasn’t anything in the instructions about clothes, but he stripped down to his boxers and a tank top anyway. The air was warmer up here, and it was actually pleasant to sit on the wooden floor. He settled himself, and tried to memorize the verse.

Once he felt he finally had it, he picked up the bottle. The contents were mostly clear, with small particles swirling inside. He wondered for a moment if he should have asked what was in it, but maybe it was better not to know. He took of the cap and gave it a sniff. He reeled away from the sharp tang of what was surely vodka. Javi did say it wasn’t going to be nice.

He let out a long breath. “Okay.”

There was still a part of him that couldn’t believe he was doing this. He was actually going to attempt some sort of magic. It was insane. But Javi said he couldn’t have any doubts. He had to have a clear mind and focused intent. He wanted Venom back. This was worth it.

“Bottoms up.”

He pinched his nose and downed the bottle.

It burned, oh god how it burned. Eddie was certain this was what it felt like to drink acid.

He forced himself to swallow it, and coughed heavily once it was down. His sinuses stung and his eyes watered, and he knew the moment it had hit his belly. He could feel it travelling outwards, infusing his body with fire. He could take pain. He had so much of it recently that after the first initial burst, it merely became a background throb. It could have almost been mistaken for the good kind of burn you get after a full body workout. Sweat broke out on his brow, and was very glad of his choice of attire.

He started to say the verse, garbling the words till he found a rhythm. The paper and bottle were discarded outside of the circle. He closed his eyes, and channeled his will into the ritual.

He could feel energy rising, but it wasn’t like the static he had felt before. This was closer to what he had known with Venom. It was smooth and silky, and licked against his skin warmly. It was like Javi had said; this was his power now, his mana. Hope rose within him, and he pushed his words out more forcefully.

He became aware that he was seeing, but he knew his eyes were still closed. He tilted his head downwards and could see all the symbols glowing sliver on his skin. But more than that, every line of his circle was blazing with purple light.

Whatever he was doing, it was working.

He refocused, and called out to Venom with every ounce of will he could muster. Something was building. The silky energy pushed against his skin, almost insistently, almost like it wanted in.

So he let it.

All at once it rushed inside, throwing his head back and arching his spine. It wasn’t unpleasant or painful, just a sudden force, like a shockwave made of velvet coming at him from all angles. He didn’t stop chanting. His eyes now stared at the ceiling, his whole body pulsing. And then there was a flash.

It was too quick at first. Just a glimpse of pink and green. But then it came again, and it was longer. There were shapes. Big shapes. Another flash and Eddie knew exactly what it was. It was Venom’s stars. They were drawing him in. One more flash, and the image stayed. He was there.

The chant died on his tongue, lost to the hum that caressed his ears. He was no longer in his attic. He was looking up at a beautiful alien sky, full of planets and comets, bathing him in green and blue light. It was just as stunning as he remembered it, but all the more devastatingly magnificent for seeing it with his own eyes. He would never forget it.

His other senses registered that he was sitting on something odd, and he slowly brought his gaze downwards. It appeared to be a carpet of grass, but it moved and danced like seaweed caught by the current. It glowed faintly luminous, and he ran his fingers through the silken strands. As he did, the markings on his skin caught his attention. They were still showing, but now they fluctuated slightly, like they too were caught by the current. He took another moment to appreciate them, following the path they took from his fingertips to his shoulders on both arms.

He was getting distracted. Venom. He came to find Venom.

He looked up towards the horizon and saw a great plain that stretched out for miles before him. To his right and left in the distance were the beginnings of purple mountains, and he turned around to discover a forest, but it too was fairly alien. It appeared to be made from plants that looked like wonky palm trees, deep fuschia in colour, and swaying in the same current. The underbrush was dense and full of too many bizarrely coloured spikey things to even consider walking through.

But that was when he spotted the pool of tar a few steps away, and his heart skipped a beat.

“Vee?”

Eddie crossed the distance quickly, and kneeled down by the edge. The surface moved slowly and thickly, the tiny ridges reflecting back the light from the stars.

“Vee, is- is that you?”

Nothing changed. There was no sign of recognition, no ripple of significance.

Eddie reached out his hand and let it hover over the surface. He hoped he might be able to feel something, that Venom might react to his presence more - if it was them at all.

“Please be you,” he whispered, looking for any indication that it was. “I miss you, Vee. I need you. I came to find you. I just wanted to know that you were safe, but really… really I came to get you. I came to get you back, if you’ll have me. I don’t want to be your jailer anymore, Vee. I won’t force you into another cage. I just want to be your partner. I want to keep you close to my heart, like we were that night. Two beings in one body, sharing a soul. But only if you want it too. If you do, I’m inviting you in.”

Without warning, a surge of energy burst from his chest and shot down his outstretched arm. Eddie took in a gasp, each symbol blazing as the pulse travelled past. The force knocked him forward, his hand making contact with the surface of the tar and sinking partly in. The energy dissipated in a whorl of purple mist, like fog being blown over water.

Eddie pulled back on his hand, but it wouldn’t budge. The tar had him. And now it was moving. It began to rise up under his fingers, building upwards and taking his hand with it. Soon, he had to stand. The form the ooze was taking was growing taller than him, and into a more organised, recognisable shape.

They had become a figure, almost abstract in design, only having a head and shoulders. The rest was merely an outline of a body that tapered down towards the ground where a much reduced pool of tar still rippled on the grass. The figure loomed over towards him, their face completely blank of any features.

Eddie gulped, but couldn’t help noticing that his hand was over where a human heart might be.

“V- Vee? It’s me, Eddie. Remember?”

Two white teardrop eyes swirled into existence, covering half of their face. Eddie smiled, the trepidation he had been feeling was slowly being replaced with joy.

“Yeah, that’s right. Eddie. Your Eddie.”

The face leaned in closer and Eddie looked deep into those opaline eyes. There wasn’t any fear anymore, no otherworldly horror to drive him insane. There was only the love that he felt for them, that he wanted to wrap them up in and keep them in forever. He didn’t flinch, he barely even blinked, he just tried to project everything that he wanted through that place where their bond used to be.

The figure seemed to inspect him, like he was some sort of curiosity on display in a museum. They tilted their head from side to side, as though that would help them make a decision. Eddie’s hand was being sucked in further, right up the wrist as the figure curved over towards him, but he didn’t care. He didn’t try to angle back as the space between their faces shortened. He was certain he had found them. They just needed to remember.

“Come back to me, Vee,” he said, his voice cracking. “Come home, love.”

Suddenly, those iridescent eyes were swooping closer, swooping in. Eddie’s vision was filled with them. Pinks, and greens, and blues danced around him, danced through him. His mind lit up like a supernova, sparks and stars, a tingle on his skin, and the taste of nectar on his tongue.

Then, there was only white, and he could see nothing else.

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie had been awake for a while now, but he’d not yet opened his eyes. He’d been meticulously checking his body for any noticeable changes, for any sign that Venom was with him. So far he had found very little. His arm had gone to sleep beneath him where he’d slumped over to one side, and his knees were at odd angles from tipping over while cross-legged. He shifted them to something more comfortable, stretching as he did. His back felt warm from where the late afternoon sun shone through the little attic window, which meant he hadn’t been out for too long, and there was a slight singed smell in the air that he hadn’t yet figured out.

But other than that, there was nothing new. There was no movement over his skin, no whisper inside his head, no emotion that wasn’t his own. He was still alone. It hadn’t worked.

That fragile tower of hope he had allowed himself to build came tumbling down around him. He screwed up his eyes, trying to force back the tears. He should have known he was going to fail. He wasn’t some wizard or mage. He was just an ordinary man trying to pull off something impossible. He didn’t even know if it had been Venom that he found, it could have been anyone. Heck, he could have just simply hallucinated the entire thing. And even if it was Venom, maybe Javi was right, and they much preferred being free over being his. If he chose to believe that he hadn’t imagined what he saw, then Venom had rejected him, but they were safe. They still existed in whatever that place was, though it was of little comfort right now. Right now, he needed a drink.

He pulled himself up and rubbed his eyes while the feeling came back into his other arm. He looked about the attic, noting how it appeared to be filled with a light haze. Then his gaze fell upon the circle around him and he understood why.

It was burned black. Wavy scorch marks flowed over every line and rune, rendering everything illegible. He tentatively touched one, soot rubbing off on his fingers, but there weren’t any traces of energy. It was dead, just as dead as the old circle was. A lump came to his throat, and he pushed the heels of his hands into his eyes.

“Vee?” he asked out loud to the room. “Vee. please tell me you’re here. Just- just give a sign.”

Nothing, not even a tingle.

“Fuck,” he cursed.

He really needed that drink now.

He shambled from the attic, picking up the dressing gown that was laid over the baluster and putting it on before heading downstairs. He made a beeline for the cupboard in the kitchen where he’d stored what was left of his whiskey, all too ready to drown his disappointment for the rest of the week. But as he reached for the bottle, his stomach was seized by a painful hunger. Eddie curled forward, sucking in a hiss through his teeth. It must be some side effect from Javi’s potion. It was fine, he could drown that in alcohol too. He pushed his discomfort to one side and went for the bottle again, only for the hunger to redouble its efforts. It felt like he hadn’t eaten for a week, like his stomach was trying to consume itself in desperation.

“Alright, alright,” he grumbled, and turned towards the fridge instead. He still had a few meals leftover from the HOA. He grabbed the first one and dug in.

Now, normal hunger abates pretty quickly. As soon as your brain gets the message that you’re feeding yourself, it’ll tell you to stop when you’re full. It’s a basic biological process. But as Eddie ate mouthful after mouthful, he felt just as hungry as before. It wasn’t making a dent. He shovelled down the rest, hoping speed would help, and it did take the edge off that gnawing sensation, but once he had finished, it came back. He clutched at his middle, unsure what to do. Maybe he should call Javi?

Or maybe he should keep eating? Yeah, that’s what he should do. He was fine, perfectly fine, just hungry. He’d probably burned a lot of calories doing that whole ritual thingy, and he just needed to replace them. He got out the next meal and started wolfing it down.

He polished off all four of the remaining HOA dinners, licking the boxes clean, but it still wasn’t enough. So he moved onto the junk food next. He gorged on packets of chips and cookies, on chocolate and cereal, and anything else pre-prepared he could eat straight from the packet. He could barely get it all into his mouth quick enough. He had passed the point where he should have been feeling overstuffed ages ago, but it was like a bottomless pit had opened up inside of him and there was nothing he could do to fill it. All he could think was more and now . He was caught in a ravenous food frenzy.

He raided the cupboards for canned goods. Cold soup was followed by plum tomatoes, tins of sweetcorn, tuna, and peaches in syrup - which he never even remembered buying. He tossed an entire bag of tater tots into the oven, and fried up a whole packet of bacon while they cooked. But even the bacon was taking too long, so he greedily ate spoon after spoon of ice cream until he could shove the greasy strips of meat down his throat. The tater tots were still cold in the middle when he impatiently removed them from the oven, but he was beyond caring.

He finally resorted to eating anything he had left in the fridge that his body could handle raw. He slathered everything in condiments, slapping it between two pieces of bread and making the most ridiculous combinations in order to appease his insane appetite. He scooped jars clean of their contents, Nutella followed by chutney, honey, and dill pickles - including the brine. He ate the butter, drank all the milk, and swallowed a carton of eggs, pausing only to break the shells first.

He was sitting on the floor, leaning against a cupboard, making his way through a bag of uncooked pasta when that void in his stomach finally felt full. He groaned and rubbed his belly, not feeling the least bit distended, or even nauseous. He looked around at the destruction in the dim light of the stove hood. Empty packaging was strewn everywhere, as were the accompanying stains. It looked like a tornado had blown through and sucked away everything edible away with it. He knew it wasn’t humanly possible to eat that much. He should call Javi, ask him if this was normal. There was no way on earth that it was, even if magic had been involved.

He was about to get up when he felt a stirring in his gut. God, it had to be over. There’s no way he could still be hungry. The only things he had left were a bag of flour and a bottle of soy sauce, and he wilted at the thought of having to eat those. But then then he realised the stirring wasn’t from more hunger. It was arousal.

He let out a wet sigh as his body flushed with heat, his cock throbbing to life in his boxers.

“Oh god, what is going on!?”

His breathing became heavy as he watched it rise to attention, pulling the fabric into an appealing bulge. He palmed it a few times, his eyes closing with just how good it felt. It had been weeks since he had gotten off. Even the dream in the bathtub hadn’t allowed him to properly come, and he surprised himself by just how badly he now needed it.

He slipped his hand under the waistband and released his dick from its cotton prison. The first few strokes were greeted with the perfect amount of precome to assist him. It took no time for him to spread it generously about. His hand felt amazing. Had it always been this good? Where this sudden boner had come from was a mystery, but after weeks of misery it was a welcome relief. He used his other hand to fondle his balls, and let every moan he had drip from his lips.

There was no reason to take it slow or make it last, so he quickly began to chase his release. The sound of skin slapping against skin reverberated wetly around the kitchen. He couldn’t help but giggle at the idea that after ten months of the most inventive sex in the world, here he was doing something so incredibly vanilla.

“Can’t beat the classics!” he laughed, almost hysterically.

He so wanted to push something into his ass right then, but there wasn’t anything within his reach, and he was worried that if he moved he might lose his rhythm. He could feel his climax building so deliciously, his hand moving faster and faster. The cupboard door was rattling behind him with the force of his motions.

He let his mind go blank, his attention focused on only what he was feeling. He had to drop his other hand to stabilize himself on the floor. The cool tile beneath him was getting slippery with the heat radiating from his skin. His head was thrown back, lustful whimpers contorting his face.

He desperately need to come. He didn’t know how desperate he was until he was almost there. Since Venom had left, he’d gone from a steady diet of sex to nothing overnight, and the lack of release had been killing him. He was all pent up. He could feel the tension in his muscles. His body needed this as much as his brain did.

His fingers clawed at the floor. He was so close now. So close. He could feel it pooling in his belly. He thrusted up into his hand, putting just the right amount of pressure around the head. Only a little bit more and he would go over the edge. Nearly there… nearly there… and....

It would be fair to say that during his time with Venom, Eddie had come thousands of times, in hundreds of different ways. But never once had it been like this.

At the same instant his cock exploded all over his fist and fireworks burst inside his brain, pleasure shot through his entire body. From the top of his head to the end of his toes, every part of him was alive with his orgasm. Eddie arched high off the floor, his strangled cry echoing down the hallway. It was electric. It was like being shot with the taser, but the only thing he could feel was white-hot pleasure. He thought that full body orgasms were a myth, or only something that tantric sex masters got to enjoy. But here he was, riding an incredible wave of ecstasy that just seemed to keep on going. He felt like he was seeing stars, it was so intense.

The wave finally crested over, and he flopped back down onto the floor as a boneless mass. He panted into his shoulder, his hand still around his cock, valiantly trying to pump out any cum he had left.

His body buzzed with the strongest afterglow he’d ever known. His head felt fuzzy from it. Experimentally, he used his other hand to gently tweak one of his nipples. It sent another wave of rolling pleasure through him, and he moaned with how gorgeous it felt. Not strong enough for another orgasm, but utterly luxurious to wallow in.

The same hand trailed down his chest, his skin singing with the touch. Laughter bubbled up in his throat. He couldn’t help it. He had rocked his world with his own hand after eating every item of food in the house. It was ridiculous. Though, it wasn’t like the previous year of sex had been normal either.

He laid there for a while, just trying to catch his breath. He felt like he was high, just totally blissed out. But with all the excitement over, sleep was pulling at him. He was tempted to curl up right there and let it take him.

Go to bed , a tiny voice at the back of his mind urged.

But it’s comfortable here , he argued back with himself.

No it isn’t , it replied.

And it wasn’t. He was lying in the dark with only his shoulders against the cabinets, and no lower back support. The tile was cold, and sitting on the hard floor for so long was making his ass go numb.

“Okay, okay,” he said, admitting defeat.

He pushed himself up to standing, then shimmied off his boxers. The friction of the material sent little waves of pleasure buzzing around him. He was still so sensitive, but only in a good way. He used them to clean up his dick, unable to stop the sigh of how good that felt, and washed his hands under the kitchen tap. He then ambled upstairs, giving his nipple another tweak on the way.

The sensation wasn’t as strong as before, but still perfectly lovely, and his eyes were half closed by the time he reached the top. He threw his shorts in the general direction of the hamper, and shrugged his dressing gown off onto the floor. He fell onto the mattress on his back.

“Happy?” he asked.

Very , came the reply.

He still felt wonderful. Moving from the kitchen hadn’t killed his afterglow. He ran his fingers all over himself, basking in the way it made his body feel. If this was a side effect of drinking Javi’s potion, then he would gladly do it again. He let his hands drift towards his groin, and wondered if he should try for round two, but he was already drifting off.

He rolled over and pulled the covers with him, snuggling down. It was the first time in weeks he’d felt this relaxed and at peace with himself. It was the least undisturbed sleep he’d had since Venom left.

***

There was sunlight on his hand. Only, there couldn’t be. The sunbeams never reached the bed from the window, and definitely not on the side that was closer to the door. There was something separating his fingers and curling round onto his palm too. Eddie stilled. His brain was trying to remind him of how it had felt all that time ago when he had made first contact with Venom, before they had bonded. They had always felt like sunlight on his skin. A warm, gentle presence that was practically weightless.

He slowly opened eyes, but didn’t even give them time to focus before snapping them shut again. He had only seen a glimpse of something black, but that was enough to make his pulse spike. He wasn’t going to do it. He wasn’t going to allow himself to believe what he was seeing. He wasn’t going to suffer through yet another crushing disappointment. He turned his head into his pillow.

“Wake up, wake up, wake up,” he harshly whispered to himself.

It was dream, it had to be, and he wasn’t ready to have another one of those yet. It was too torturous. Maybe in a year he could handle dreaming about Venom, but not right now. Not after his failure yesterday.

He snuck another look. It was still there.

“No. Nope. This isn’t real. It isn’t real,” he tried to convince himself, a tight edge invading his voice.

The sunlight vanished from his skin, and Eddie immediately regretted it. He opened his eyes to find his hand completely bare. He brought it closer to his face, waving his fingers, inspecting them like there would be any evidence to find. There wasn’t.

He clenched his jaw, his emotions zipping from one extreme to the other. Why couldn’t he let himself dream a little? Why was he denying himself a tiny smidge of happiness, even if was just imagined? Because, the other part of him reasoned, after the happiness comes the crushing weight of reality. It wasn’t worth waking up feeling worse than when you went to sleep. No. It was better not to dream. At least, not until he could handle it. But who knew when that would be?

He thumped the mattress and angrily turned onto his back. He was being stupid. He couldn’t control his dreams, so there was no point thinking about it. He was still grieving, and his mind was likely to play all sorts of tricks of him. He should just be glad that Venom was safe. They were fine, and eventually, he might be too.

He took a deep breath and stared at the ceiling. He still needed time to get over his disappointment. Maybe he could go away for a few days? Just take the bike out for a ride with no destination planned, and clear his mind a little bit. Everything surrounding him reminded him of what he’d lost. A nice long drive sounded like a great idea. He’d do it later today, after he’d tidied the kitchen.

That, of course, got him thinking about the life-altering orgasm he’d had the previous night. Fuck, it had been amazing. He should have made more of it. Gone for round two. He’d probably never get to experience that again. But hey, he was always up for trying. And, he was pretty sure Javi would know a thing or two about it. Maybe that had been his plan all along? Just to give him a mind-blowing orgasm to distract him from his grief. He couldn’t say that it hadn’t helped.

He settled back against the pillows with a sigh. A distraction was nice and all, but what he really wanted was Venom. He wanted them back so badly. His chest was getting tight, he should focus on something else. He thought about going back to sleep again, just putting off the start of the day for a while longer, but there was an odd tingling sensation across his skin.

No. Under his skin.

“What the-?”

He looked down at himself and started, but found he couldn’t move. Black ooze was coalescing above the sheets over his thighs and stomach. His wrists felt pinned to the bed. A form was quickly building; an abdomen, a chest, a strong pair of shoulders, and arms that slinked down to hold his own in clawed hands. But also a neck, and a head, and finally two crescent slits that opened up into teardrop eyes.

The form towered above Eddie, at least one and half times his size, pushing him down with their weight.

“Whoa,” he gulped, his heartbeat racing. “You’re so... big.”

The opal eyes studied him intensely as he took in all the details of their form. Their muscles were well-defined and powerful; the hands that gripped him were velvety smooth. They had no legs to speak of, merely merging back into his body where they made contact. It felt warm there, and he was barely aware of minute movements across his skin.

Eddie gently tugged his right arm, and was allowed to pull it free. Licking his lips, he hesitantly raised it, and placed it on the side of their face. It felt like them, oh god, it felt like them.

“Vee?” he asked, scared that he really might not been dreaming now.

Their head leaned into his touch, their eyes half closing with contentment.

We are here, came the rumbling voice in his head.

Eddie let out a happy gasp, his face contorting with joy.

“Is this real? Am I awake?” His words caught in his tightening throat.

Yes, Venom purred, lifting their hand to cup his face. Eddie pushed his cheek into their palm. The surface was soft and silky, but firm and achingly familiar.

Ecstatic tears rolled from his eyes, his elated sobs pushing out his breath in a ragged rhythm.

Venom leaned in closer, placing their forehead onto his. Eddie grasped their face in both of his hands, scared that to let go for even a second would make them disappear.

Don’t cry, Eddie. We are home now. You called us back.

A torrent of love and affection thundered into him, and he was overcome. The flood was so powerful that it almost hurt to feel it, but he didn’t want it to stop, not for the world. It was so much stronger than anything they had shared before. It seemed to infuse his entire body, to fill up all his empty spaces. He was certain he would explode from it.

“I- I thought it hadn’t worked,” he said through halting breaths. “That you- you didn’t want me.”

Never, Eddie. You are our home now. We never want to be anywhere else.

Eddie let his own dam burst, and felt the shiver run through Venom as they received the turbulence of his emotions. His misery and heartbreak of their loss, his anger at desperation to get them back, then finally the joy and euphoria of their return. It mixed with Venom’s feelings, creating a storm of emotion that raged within them both for what seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes. They clung on tightly to each other as they rode it out, neither one resisting or asking the other to stop.

Eventually the storm settled and they both relaxed, the maelstrom having transformed into a glow that hugged close to Eddie’s heart. Venom lifted their head and brushed away the tears on Eddie’s cheek with their thumb. Eddie stared back, sliding his fingers over their skin and exploring their face.

“I thought you had a smile?” he asked after a few moments.

Venom’s head tilted slightly away, a prickle of nervousness and self-doubt rising to the surface.

“What’s wrong, love?”

This is all still new, Eddie. We do not want to scare you.

“Scare me ?” he replied with a chuckle.

We scared you before with our teeth when we were primal. The cult members were frightened of us.

“That’s because we were trying to be frightening, Vee.” He slid his hands down their neck and onto their shoulders, giving them a reassuring squeeze. “I’d still like to see it if you’re willing to show me.”

Venom hesitated, but turned back. Slowly, a slit formed in their face that widened to reveal interlocking rows of long pointed fangs.

“Holy cow,” Eddie breathed.

He was in awe. Feeling them as part of your own mouth was one thing, seeing it from the outside was quite another. But clearly his reaction was not a reassuring one.

See, we are scary! Venom declared, twisting their head away in a fit of despair, and covering their mouth again.

“Hey, whoa!” Eddie’s shocked voice asked for calm as the force of Venom’s motion pulled him up into a sitting position. He recaptured their face with his hands, and gently pulled them round to look at him. “I never said that, okay? I never even thought it.”

Venom was unconvinced. Eddie was already able to read their expressions well enough to know that their gaze wasn’t meeting his.

“Please let me look again?” he asked, a small encouraging smile on his lips. “I was just surprised the first time.”

Venom shook their head.

We are scary, and we are ugly.

“You are most definitely not ugly. I mean, just look at you.” He smoothed his hand over their head, marvelling at the stark difference between his pale skin and their dark form. His hand trailed further down their neck and towards their chest. “You’re beautiful, Vee. I’ve always thought so. Surely you know that?”

But we are different now.

“Still beautiful.”

Even with these?

Venom uncovered their mouth quicker this time, pushing their face towards his, practically smashing their teeth into his nose.

Eddie paused, wondering how best to proceed.

“Can I touch them?” he asked.

Venom was clearly confused by the question. They took a moment to process it, then slowly nodded.

Eddie gently brushed a finger against the razor sharp incisors. They felt absolutely solid under his touch, and gleamed like polished ivory in the morning light. He could feel Venom’s confidence growing as he made his appreciation known. Perhaps the corners of their mouth were slowly nudging up more into a smile?

“You’re right, Vee. They are a little scary. But I like them.”

And just to emphasise his point, he quickly dipped forward and planted a kiss on them. Venom flinched backwards completely surprised, but Eddie could see they were smiling. He felt it too. It was like a blush of excitement. He was sure their cheeks would be colouring, if it were possible. He decided to keep the forward momentum going.

“Now, wasn’t there something else too? Something rather long and pink?” He raised an eyebrow to go with his crooked smile.

Emboldened by his reactions, Venom dropped their jaw slightly, and their massive tongue rolled from their mouth. It swayed between them, tasting the air, undulating like a snake. Eddie ran his fingers all over it, not caring about the saliva, paying more attention to its shape and texture. As he reached the end of it, it wrapped around his fingers like a tentacle.

Eddie pulled, but Venom wouldn’t let him go. Their eyes narrowed, so he went along with it. He kissed it too, and Venom was once more surprised by his actions, their form going tense. Eddie grinned and went in to plant another, but Venom rapidly let him go and retracted their tongue. They sealed up their mouth completely, but Eddie still had his hand around their neck. He covered the distance and kissed where their teeth had been.

You’re still beautiful, Vee. More beautiful that ever , he thought at them, sending over a wave of adoration at the same time.

Venom began to relax. Their head tilted in the opposite direction, their teeth reappeared, and their tongue joined shortly after. It prodded at Eddie’s lips for entry, and he gladly let it in. Venom explored his mouth, Eddie’s own tongue twisting and licking at the new appendage.

His hands began to slide all over their head and neck as heat rapidly began to build between them. It was different now. It wasn’t just his own desire he was feeling, it was Venom’s too. They wanted him like he wanted them. He had missed their touch, the feel of them over his skin so much. The shape of them might have changed, but nothing else had.

Strong hands on his shoulders guided him back down onto the pillows. Eddie gladly complied, and soon those hands were roving all over his chest, just as his were gliding over their broad back. He cracked open his eyes to find Venom’s down to happy slits, and attacked their tongue with renewed vigour. Venom pushed further into his mouth, so eager to experience everything in their new form, so Eddie began to suck. It made them quiver.

Oh Eddie. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie , they cooed, their bliss palpable and overflowing into him.

Their claws trailed down his sides, just enough to leave slightly raised marks. Eddie gripped their waist, his hips shifting against the covers that were still between them. Venom probed further still, their tongue ever so warm in his mouth. And suddenly it was in his throat.

Eddie was surprised, but then completely not. Of course Venom would be able to manipulate his body to remove his gag reflex. They had done it plenty of times before. He enthusiastically swallowed it down, his mind suddenly filled with all the amazing things they were going to do with this tongue. Heck, with the whole of Venom’s new body. The sexy possibilities stretched out before them in a vast ocean, with ages of time to explore them all, and zero limitations on location. Venom was within him now, inside him always, and he was already planning on how they could use that to their full advantage. If they had thought their sex life was adventurous before, it couldn’t hold a candle to the things Eddie was imagining now.

Sadly, it seemed like that was too much for Venom.

Eddie! they cried out, their voice sounding strangled and stunned.

One moment there was a hulking great form over him, taking up residence in his oesophagus. The next, Eddie was holding nothing but air, with black ooze splattered all over his body.

He looked down at the rippling mass, and was laughing before he could stop himself. He hadn’t laughed in so long, and it felt so good.

“Are you okay, Vee?” he asked, his voice shaking.

We didn’t… We are…

He laughed more at their dazed response.

“Too much for you, buddy?”

This is all new... We are learning. They sounded a little hurt, like he had wounded their pride. They began to dissolve back into his skin.

“Hey, wait, no!” he pleaded, sitting up on the bed, and trying to scoop up the ooze on his chest. “I’m sorry. Please come back.”

A puddle gathered in his hands while the rest vanished into his body. The puddle solidified into a blob attached to his sternum, then two eyes swirled into being, and Eddie almost died from how cute it was.

“Oh my god, Vee! You’re adorable!”

The eyes looked confused. We- we are?

“I wanna smush you so bad right now!” He cupped them tightly in his hands, rubbing them with his thumbs. Venom immediately reacted to the touch, moving their form to get the best angle and hit just the right spot.

What- what is this feeling, Eddie? We don’t know it.

“It’s called being as cute-as-fuck.” He scritched them with one thumb, using the other to stroke over their head. They pushed into his fingers, trying to get the most contact. There was a little dissonance between their deep voice and their current shape, but it was a nice change of pace for Eddie to be the bigger being for once.

We like this, Eddie. It is delicious.

“Still feeding off pleasure then?”

Yes, but this is a new kind. We’ve never tasted it before. It is... sweet, like chocolate. They paused, gathering their thoughts. We think there is...more. We think there is potential in this new cohabitation, which we did not have in our old life.

“I’m going to have to veto any flying for the time being.”

We do not mean that. We are bonded so closely now. We can see your thoughts so clearly.

“Wait, you can read my mind!?”

Yes. We saw the thoughts you had when you woke up in the attic. But we did not yet know how to talk to you. We wanted to tell you that we were there, that you were wrong, we had not rejected you. But we couldn’t.

There was a wobble, a tremble of shame and guilt that had Eddie clutching Venom more tightly.

And then now, this morning, we saw how much we were hurting you. You wanted to get away from us. We thought you would end up rejecting us instead.

“What, no, Vee. Never.”

He scooped up the little blob and pushed it into his cheek. Smaller tendrils snaked out to stroke over his face, almost like their old morning greeting. Others looped around and between fingers, trailing down his wrists and vanishing under the skin.

But then we saw you still wanted us, so we thought we had to show you. Had to let you see that we were here. You were not dreaming it.

“I’m very glad you did.”

So are we.

They stayed there for a moment longer, just enjoying the feeling of each other, until Eddie had a thought. Well, two thoughts. He leaned back down onto the pillows, and placed Venom onto his chest with his hands still cupped around them. Venom’s tendrils didn’t let go of his fingers, and they curled more around his thumbs.

“So, uh, last night. Was that you with the whole eating everything in the house thing?”

Venom twisted slightly in his hands, looking somewhat coy and little embarrassed.

We were hungry.

“Yeah, I got that.”

We were trying to understand how everything worked. We did not know that our hunger was different from yours.

“And it took me eating every scrap of food there was for you to figure that out?”

Venom wobbled again. This time there was a twinge of guilt.

N- no…

“Vee?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow, his fingers going still.

We didn’t know what it was to really eat food. Your taste receptors excited us, and… and we got… greedy.

“I’ll say.”

But we made up for it, didn’t we? They scooted earnestly up his chest away from his hands. We made you feel good afterwards?

They looked up at him with a concerned pleading expression, like he could ever really be mad at them. Even if he could, it was made a lot harder now by how adorable they had become.

“Ah,” Eddie smiled, “So that was you.”

You did like it, didn’t you?

There was a tiny niggle of doubt that Eddie was quick to extinguish. He positioned his hands back upon their form.

“It was amazing, love.”

And just so they would be extra sure, he leaned forward for a quick kiss. Venom’s relief was like a refreshing breeze on a warm day. He massaged his fingers deep into the blob, and they eagerly lapped up the attention.

So, there was hope he could experience an earth-shattering orgasm again. It really had been incredible, and the knowledge that it had been Venom’s doing opened up all sorts of possibilities. How else could they now manipulate his body? Would there even be limits anymore? Boundaries would probably have to be established, and this neatly lead him onto thought number two.

“Just to get back to the whole mind reading thing, though - a minute ago when we were making out and you went to goo... did you see everything I thinking?”

Oh yes. There was a gleeful grin in their voice.

“...Okay.”

We very much liked what we saw. We want to try all of it!

“Well, this could get very interesting.”

We do not have to read your mind if you do not want us to.

Venom looked up at him expectantly.

“Um…”

Eddie tried to quickly weigh up the pros and cons of such an arrangement. He’d had Venom’s consciousness in his head before, but they were still two separate beings then. They had shared emotions easily enough. Thoughts didn’t feel like too much of a further stretch. But it would mean no more privacy, no more secrets. Though, what exactly would he want to keep secret from them? And would he be able to read Venom’s in return? Did he even want to?

“Why don’t we just see how it goes for now, and figure it out along the way?”

As you wish.

Venom bobbed happily in his hands, encouraging his fingers to rub him more. They had always been so much about physical contact. Touching was always encouraged.

“Hey, Vee. What am I thinking now?”

Venom gave him a questioning look, but then quickly understood. Extra ooze began bubbling up from his skin, warm and tingling, and increasing Venom’s bulk. The little blob quickly grew to about the size of a house cat draped lazily down his chest.

Is this better?

“Perfect.”

Eddie kept one hand near their ‘head’, searching for the best place for his fingers, while the other ran long, slow strokes down their ’back’. Venom was in heaven, and Eddie wasn’t far behind. They gently vibrated with pleasure, and if he didn’t know better, he would think they were purring. It sent them both into a deeply contented state of mind, and for a while they just drifted, letting time softly tick by.

Eventually, it was Venom who broke the silence.

Eddie?

“Hmm?”

We like being surrounded by you. It makes us feel safe. We have never really felt safe before. We understand why people want it.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” he agreed, his eyes still closed.

Venom moved towards his face, and their sudden seriousness brought Eddie back to attention. Their form shifted, their head pulling away from his chest, but still attached to his body by long strands. He idly ran the back of his fingers through them, intrigued by this new configuration.

Thank you. For saving us.

“Come on, love. I was never going to let that stupid cult get you.”

No. We don’t mean that. Thank you for saving us... from being alone.

“You mean, that place with the amazing sky you used to show me?”

There... and here. You didn’t leave, even though you could have. We would not have stopped you. But you stayed. You let us become part of you. And now we are completely together, like it is supposed to be.

Eddie gazed deep into those beautiful eyes of theirs, wondering if Venom knew just how much they had transformed his own life. Yes, there was the sex, and the house that did everything for him, but it was more than that. It was knowing that another being loved you entirely, that you were wanted despite your flaws. Though it hadn’t been obvious, his mental state hadn’t been so great when he had moved in, but Venom had changed all that. They were the reason to get out of bed every day, to take care of himself, and create a better life for them both. He knew that when they were gone it wasn’t just the grief that made him act the way he did. It was his old life sneaking back in, trying to take root like a vicious weed. He was indescribably glad that it had failed.

“Well, I guess we saved each other then.”

A look of confusion ghosted over Venom, but then maybe they read his mind, and they saw what they meant to him. There was a sense of understanding, of knowing, and they bumped their forehead against his in an affectionate gesture. Eddie held them close, one hand still combing through the connecting strands. Their face rubbed against his, and Eddie considered for a moment that they really were more like a cat than he had previously thought.

Venom drew back slightly, and gave him an incredulous look.

“What?” Eddie asked.

Suddenly, they dived into his body, taking all of their form with them.

“Hey, wait. What did I-”

But he was being raised up from the bed. His whole torso was being lifted as Venom filled out behind him like some enormous pillow. He could feel the warm spot where they exited from his lower back. He turned his head to look up as Venom’s face came into view over his shoulder.

“Hi,” he smiled.

They smiled in return, a full pearly, toothy grin.

Could a cat do this?

“Probably not, love.”

This mind-reading thing was definitely going to be more tricky than he had believed. But that was a problem for later.

Eddie relaxed back into their chest, letting his head fall into the massive crook of their neck and shoulder. Venom’s enormous arms came up to wrap across his waist, the clawed tips of their hands reaching far enough to lightly rest over his hips. Eddie put his own arms on top of theirs, and they both squeezed tightly.

For Eddie, this was completely new and deeply familiar at the same time. He’d been held and held others like this before, but never with someone so large, and never without the other person’s legs getting in the way. This was so perfect. There was only one thing missing.

Anything for you, Eddie.

He shuddered, he couldn’t help it. Venom rumbling into his ear with their actual voice caused a visceral reaction, like thunder clapping directly overhead. They would most definitely have to explore it further later, but right now, that hadn’t been his request. Instead, along with Venom’s arms, thick tentacles emerged to wrap around him. They slid over his skin, stroking along all the points they knew he liked, applying thick ropes of pressure across him like a blanket.

It wasn’t quite the same as before, nothing ever could be, but it was close enough to scratch an itch deep down that Eddie knew nothing else would reach. Tentacles had been in his life for so long now that he didn’t want to go another day without them. It seemed like Venom was happy to oblige.

He sighed, utterly happy and content. They were no longer two separate beings, but one complete whole person. Two halves of a soul reunited. Venom’s emotions mirrored his own, not just a tiny swirl of feeling anymore, but a full-blown brass band announcing every nuance over stadium speakers. He loved it. And, if he listened very closely, he could still find that pulse throbbing away deep inside Venom’s core. Their own life force that had kept them going all these years, but now it beat in time with his own heart.

“Are you mine now, Vee?” he asked in a sleepy voice.

Yes , they crooned, tilting their head to rest upon his. We are your Venom. Forever.

 

 

Chapter Text

Eddie became aware of three things in very quick succession: (1) he was lying on his side with his left knee bent up into the air, (2) it was being kept in the air by a pair of shoulders that were comfortably nestled between his thighs, and (3) his whole body was singing with pleasure. His hard cock was being expertly sucked down into a warm, wet hole, while a long dexterous tongue wrapped around it, milking it over and over.

He moaned into the pillows, the fog of sleep clearing away as Venom woke him up with one of their amazing blowjobs. But before his rational mind could quite switch on, it was stopped. That haze between sleep and awake wasn’t lifting, leaving Eddie’s brain in a sort of limbo. He knew it was Venom’s doing; they did all sorts of things with his body these days when it came to sex, and this was one he especially didn’t mind. He felt a little like he had been drugged, like he was drunk without the alcohol. It left him loose and pliant, and only able to feel what was happening in the moment.

Venom shifted below him, their long arms reaching round to encircle his thighs. The mattress was no barrier to them, and Eddie was aware that his raised leg wasn’t really resting on anything that resembled a shoulder. Whatever shape Venom had made was for his comfort. He could feel the patch of warmth where they were manifesting from his lower back, looping under him like a 69 position, but the wrong way round.

He blearily opened his eyes, barely able to keep them open long enough to spy Venom’s head bobbing between his legs. Their teardrop eyes looked up at him with a smile, and Eddie went back to shoving his face into the pillows. The suction was so exquisite, and their tongue so agile, that Eddie’s befuddled mind couldn’t quite decipher if he was getting a blowjob or a handjob. In reality, it was both, and it made his toes curl. His dull fingers clawed feebly at the covers as more groans and whimpers fell from his mouth. He couldn’t talk, he could barely think, and it was wonderful.

His hips started pumping in shallow thrusts, and Venom took that as their cue to swallow him down even deeper, right to the root. They had become very adept at controlling when their teeth appeared, and thankfully, right now they were nowhere in sight. The head of his cock felt like it was being squeezed down into a welcoming throat that wanted nothing more than to keep it there forever.

They had done cock warming of course, along with plenty of other new things since they became one. The few weeks after he had woken up to find Venom inside him, he’d barely been able to leave the house. They had both been so insatiable that he’d spent the whole time naked, just exploring all the new ways they could be together.

His favourite had been the day that Venom had decided to completely fill his ass. It had been a slow, constant slide in and out until he couldn’t take the stimulation anymore. Venom had then brought him to completion, only to then start the whole cycle over again. They had taken him anywhere they wanted, all over the house, just because they could. He had been bent over kitchen counters, the back of the sofa, splayed up against the wall, even while he was on the stairs, clinging onto the handrail as Venom gave him his eighth orgasm of the day. And thanks to Venom’s manipulations, he never got loose or sloppy. He stayed just as tight from beginning to end, only feeling pleasure and an incredible fullness that he immediately missed when he woke up the next day.

In fact, it was thanks to Venom’s new mastery of his body that they didn’t have to worry about any consequences from them pushing their sexual boundaries. Eddie could take anything that Venom wanted to give him, and Venom wanted to give so much. They sometimes switched, of course, and Eddie would get to sink deep into whatever form they held outside of him. And it wasn’t always their humanoid shape either. Just a pile of goo on his lap had been enough to get him going more than once.

Then, there was the day that Venom offered to be Eddie’s underwear and challenged him to go food shopping. Just the feel of them hugging his skin had been enough to leave him with a constant erection, one that Venom had very deftly managed to hide while they were out in public. They had taken the opportunity to transfer every vibration from the bike directly onto Eddie’s prostate. It was lucky that Venom had paid so much attention when they had driven before, seeing as how they had to take control while Eddie’s eyes rolled into the back of his head with pleasure. They had made a rule after that that there was to be no more bike sex, but nothing else was ever taken off the table.

Back in the present, Eddie was quickly reaching his climax. His thighs tried to squeeze together, but Venom’s form was solid between them. They stilled his hips, meaning he couldn’t move at all to escape their talented tongue.

“Vee... Vee,” he whimpered, both of his hands clutching at the pillow, his eyes still screwed shut.

A tendril wiggled up into his hole, and it was enough to send him over the edge. With his brain still in its foggy state, his orgasm had all of its sharp edges taken off. It bloomed within him like an inkspot - strong at first, then slowly dissipating as it travelled through his limp body.

He panted heavily as Venom cleaned him off, licking at him still within their mouth, chasing every last drop. They still insisted on absorbing every bit of cum he could produce; it definitely saved on the clean up, but their ministrations were starting to become a little too much. For although Venom had, and regularly did, remove his refractory period, Eddie always asked for it back. It was the only way to stop one sex act turning into an all day orgy. He flinched a few times as the tongue hit an overly sensitive spot, and Venom got the point.

As Eddie’s brain was finally allowed to become completely awake, Venom withdrew from between his legs, slowly lowering his knee back down but leaving a delicious wedge of themselves between his thighs. They shifted their form to the right way up, and as Eddie rearranged himself on the bed, a warm weight was pressed into his back. Long black arms circled across his chest, and he was aware of more than he saw, the head that formed over his shoulder. They weren’t as big as they could be, choosing instead to be more equal in size.

Happy anniversary, Eddie , they rumbled.

Eddie smiled, his afterglow still making him a little dopey. When he’d first mentioned the idea of doing something for their anniversary, Venom had been confused by it. The concept of marking the passing of time had been a foreign one. But when he’d explained it was like his birthday except it was for both of them, Venom perked up.

Does this mean we will get chocolate cake? they had asked as they helped Eddie fold his laundry in the basement.

“Or we could go somewhere. Take a holiday. Well, a short break. The idea is to do something special, something fun.”

Doing you is something fun , they had replied with a grin, giving his ass a playful squeeze.

“Not going to argue with that,” Eddie said, not even reacting to the touch. “But don’t you want to get out there? See some more of the world, or something?”

Venom considered their answer for longer than Eddie had been expecting.

Would we have to hide all the time? they finally replied.

Now that Venom could go everywhere that Eddie could, they often got frustrated with the need to keep themselves a secret. If it were up to them, they would always be out, hugging him in that slightly possessive manner they preferred. But they had to settle for doing it subtly, touching him only under his clothes where other people couldn’t see. They were always touching him now, at every chance they got, and Eddie didn’t mind one bit.

“Well, yeah, love. I can’t quite go out and about in public with you on my shoulder, as much as I want to.”

Then we would rather stay here and celebrate with you.

They wrapped around him, pulling his back into their chest and resting their head on his shoulder. He reached up a hand to stroke their face.

“As you wish, darling.”

The only obstacle had been deciding upon which date their anniversary fell. Was it the day he moved in? When they had first started communicating? Or should they wipe the slate entirely clean and keep the day after the ritual as their anniversary now? As that had only been a few months ago, they agreed they didn’t want to wait a whole year to celebrate that (and besides, Eddie had already settled on that being Venom’s new birthday). So they were making a week of it instead, marking each pleasant thing that had happened during those first days Eddie was in the house. They had woken him up every morning with a wonderful orgasm, and had tried new take out food every night.

“Which anniversary it is today then, love?” Eddie asked as he twisted his head to look at them lying behind him on the bed.

The day we took you into our void and you let us become part of you.

Even now, Venom still defaulted to talking in Eddie’s mind rather than out loud. He could tell they were still self-conscious of their mouth, rarely showing it on their face, but Eddie was determined to help them overcome it.

“Ah,” he sighed. “The big one. I suppose we should do something extra special tonight to mark it.”

Like what?

“Well,” he said, keeping his tone light and just a little bit knowing. “We could always go to that steakhouse place you wanted to try?”

It was fair to say that since they joined, Venom had become a little obsessed with food. It hadn’t just been that first night where they’d encouraged him to eat everything in the house. They were utterly voracious when it came to new flavours. Out of all of Eddie’s senses that they could access, it was taste they couldn’t get enough of. Venom told him that they had no real taste buds of their own, and Eddie was happy to let them use his. They had become such a foodie, researching new recipes for them to try making, or restaurants for them to go to.

Eddie’s cooking skills had definitely improved over the past two months, and their time spent in the kitchen had become some of his favourite. Venom’s enthusiasm for a new ingredient or meal was infectious, and they would manifest behind him, helping to prepare or cook their dinner. Four hands working as one, feeding him scraps as they went, and buzzing with pleasure when they created a dish that Eddie loved. Bland, basic food was no longer allowed.

More recently, Venom had been branching out into some more experimental and costly flavours. This had led them to discover the steakhouse in question, which reportedly did the best wagyu beef in the city. It was not at all cheap, and Venom had been disappointed when he’d explained that to them, but this was very much a special occasion. He only hoped he’d been able to keep it enough of a secret to surprise them. Arranging it had been one heck of a challenge.

But it seemed that at least part of his intention had worked. A palpable thrill ran through Venom, their eyes going wide at the realisation.

Really!? We’re going!?

“Reservation is at eight.”

They hugged him hard, burying their face into his shoulder, and filling him with their excitement and gratitude. More tentacles emerged to wrap around him, all showing their appreciation, and making Eddie laugh. Their main torso then moved, swirling over his side so they they were facing him. Their arms still held him, and now Eddie could do the same. They pushed their forehead onto his.

Love you, Eddie.

“Right back at ya.”

Their tentacles continued to move across him, curling and stroking, and running up into his hair. It reminded him of the old days, right back to that first week when they were just getting to know each other.

After a pause, Venom pulled back slightly.

Eddie, can we ask you a question?

“Of course.”

Do you miss how we used to be?

He opened his mouth to flatly refuse the suggestion, almost feeling offended at the mere idea, but nothing came out. He would be lying if he said that he didn’t, and Venom would know straight away.

“Well,” he began, licking his lips and choosing his words carefully. “Do you first promise that you won’t get any hurt feelings over what I say? I don’t want to make you feel bad.”

Venom nodded. We promise. We are just curious.

“Okay then.” He took a deep breath. “I do miss how you used to keep me all cosy at night. There used to be so much of you, and you were such a brilliant pillow.” He stroked their face as their head dipped, feeling the gentle shy smile. “And I do miss how you used to feed me. That stuff… god, it was amazing. I’ve never found anything that even comes close.”

The loss of Venom’s nectar had probably been Eddie’s biggest disappointment. There was something about their new arrangement that meant they could no longer create it. Maybe it had something to do with their connection to the other place, which had been severed when they had come into him. Maybe it was another reason. But there were still days when Eddie craved it. It saddened him to think that the last time he truly tasted it had been the morning he had woken up drugged from his visit to the HOA, and he hadn’t appreciated it then. If he had known it was going to vanish, he would have stocked up on the stuff, found a way to store it, and only take a tiny sip at a time to make it last. There really wasn’t anything else on earth like it, and it wasn’t for want of looking.

The resulting twinge of shame from Venom had him tilting their head back up to meet his gaze. He knew they wouldn’t be able to stop themselves feeling responsible.

“But hey, what about you? I’m pretty sure living in me isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. What do you miss?”

Nothing! they replied all too quickly.

“Come on, be honest. I can take it.”

They fidgeted on the bed, their tentacles going still. He gave them a reassuring squeeze.

Well, we miss being able to make the flowers grow. And we miss feeling rain on the roof tiles… and sometimes…

“Sometimes…?” Eddie prompted.

Sometimes, very rarely, we miss the stillness.

Eddie raised a slightly puzzled eyebrow. Venom floundered for an explanation.

The walls were still. And the foundations were still. Even the air was still. But you are always moving. You are never without motion. There is always noise, even when you are asleep. And though we love it now, we had gotten used to the quiet. It had been a constant throughout our life. But this is our new life now… A slit formed across their face, quickly expanding into their mouth. And we are happy for the silence to be gone.

Eddie pulled them in closer, so close that their chest was squishing into his, and he dove for that mouth. The kiss was long and tender, and any traces of shame or guilt that the other had about what was missed was quickly swept away. There was too much affection between them to linger on what had been lost, especially when they had gained so much more.

When the kiss finally broke, Eddie had a question.

“Just tell me one more thing, though. Did you really not know about the restaurant?”

Venom smiled broadly.

We only knew that you had a surprise for us. We chose not to see what it was. Next time you should ask.

“Ask?” he replied with mirrored smile. “Ask my mind-reading bodymate not to read my mind while I’m trying to arrange a surprise for them?”

Yes. If you put your thoughts behind a closed door, we will not look at them.

Eddie raised his hands in a sarcastic exasperated motion.

“Now you tell me!”

 

The day seemed to fly by after that. Before Eddie knew it, he was standing in front of the bedroom mirror trying to look his smartest for their dinner reservation. Venom’s head hovered over his shoulder, also appraising their reflection.

“What do you think, love?”

You look very pretty. But there was a distracted tone in their voice that caught Eddie’s attention.

“What’s wrong?” He turned to look at them.

What if they think you are waiting for someone? Or what if someone else tries to be your date?

He caught their head in both of his hands.

“Darling, you know you’re the only one for me, right?” They slowly nodded. “And besides, they know I only booked it for one person. And I just might have implied I was a restaurant reviewer…”

But Eddie, you don’t write about food.

“But I do work for a newspaper. Heck, this could be the start of a new career for me. Just imagine us, going round reviewing all the places in town. Would be amazing, don’t you think?”

Venom was much buoyed by the idea, their mood picking up instantly.

We would make an excellent reviewer.

“I’m more than certain you would.”

They took public transport to the restaurant, arriving pretty much on time. It was one of those very trendy places with a lot of industrial reclaimed furniture, and an enormous selection of wines all on display. Eddie was shown to his single table in the far corner, and took the seat by the wall so they could look out into the room. There were plenty of hipster types for Venom to goggle at and make comments about. Eddie was sure to take out his notebook and pen to at least keep up a little of the pretense, and he put his phone on the table too, so he wouldn’t look quite so weird smiling to himself.

While the beef was the star event, they took their time over deciding what else to get. The options weren’t extensive, but they were all very tempting. Venom fawned over every dish that came, insisting that Eddie take photos as a souvenir. Maybe he really was becoming a food blogger?

When the beef did arrive, Venom was fizzing with anticipation, and they weren’t the only one. Eddie had wanted to try it for a very long time, but could never justify the expense. His fork cut through the first piece like butter, and he savoured every tender, perfectly cooked, mouthful. Venom had been reduced to making practically sinful noises in his head, which sent more than one tingle in an awkward direction.

So good, Eddie. So goooood, they purred.

Try some for yourself.

He let his wrist hover over a small cube of meat and watched with amusement as a tiny black tendril darted out from his sleeve to snatch it from his plate. Where it went after that he wasn’t sure, but there was a contented response.

How was it? he asked as he took a sip of his wine.

Better when you eat it.

Another tendril sneakily curled behind his ear, caressing the skin along his hairline.

Then I had better get on with it.

They lingered for a while after they had finished, enjoying the atmosphere until Eddie made it to the bottom of his wine glass. Venom was a little miffed when he declined the waiter’s offer of the dessert menu, but he gently reminded them that they had a whole chocolate cake at home with their name on it. Literally. Well, their initials anyway, spelled out in chocolate chips by Eddie’s own hand. The bill was eye-watering of course, even for one person, but had totally been worth it. Despite the abysmal first impression he had made to the potential investors at the paper, they had returned for a second presentation, and all things were pointing to them signing the contracts. Eddie could afford to splash out this once.

It was after they had left the restaurant, satiated with their extravagant meal, that Eddie was given a reminder of some of the other skills he still possessed. Unsurprisingly, once the cult had been dealt with, there wasn’t much cause to break out his new strength or sight. He hadn’t even gotten round to actually testing was he was capable of yet. It had slipped way down on the list of priorities once Venom returned.

It was his intuition that was making itself known now. They were walking down the street towards the nearest trolly point, chatting happily away to each other, when he felt it pull at him. It had been a good while since he felt it, and the sensation made him stop in his tracks.

Is that what that normally feels like? Venom asked, having not yet experienced the ability they had given him from this side.

No. It’s not usually that strong.

In the past, his intuition had been a nudge, a suggestion, an inkling to go one way over another. But this was like he had walked into a rope of elastic. There was a certain amount of give to it, but it was strongly saying, ‘don’t go any further’ .

He scanned the street ahead of them, and couldn’t perceive any danger. But then he heard it. A tiny muffled whimper, a noise that was most definitely a cry for help, almost lost to the traffic and general hustle and bustle. There was an alleyway to his right that quickly fell into shadow away from the street lights. ‘Yes, down there,’ his intuition seemed to say. A hint of static brushed his skin.

What d’you reckon, Vee? Should we go and take a look?

Anticipation seemed to roll around inside him. An eager curiosity mixed with the slightest hint of trepidation bubbled up, and made him want to crack his knuckles in readiness. Ready for what, he didn’t know, but Venom shared the sentiment.

Most definitely.

They moved quietly and stealthily into the dark, keeping to the sides and aware of where their feet were treading. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but when they did, Eddie’s mouth set into a firm, very unimpressed, line.

There was a woman, probably in her early twenties, looking utterly terrified and splayed spread-eagled against one of the walls. In front of her was a man. Eddie couldn’t see his face, but he was very much on the chubby side, with long greasy hair and wearing a baseball cap. He was currently getting frustrated by the girl’s jeans, being unable to get them down very far with her legs fixed so wide open.

Eddie, her feet.

He glanced down and found they weren’t even touching the ground. Something invisible was keeping her suspended up against the wall.

Eddie’s eyes fluttered and his other sight took over. What he saw made him shudder. Thick red bands of lurid light ran over and around her body, keeping her stuck like a fly in a spider’s web. They pulsed in time with a pendant around her neck, no doubt put there by the guy currently trying to get into her pants. It took date rape to a whole new level. Eddie’s anger at the scene boiled over instantly.

Without even thinking, he threw out his arm towards the man, and Venom took over. A long, thick tentacle lashed out from his hand and grabbed the back of the attacker’s clothes. Together they ripped him off the ground and slammed him into the opposite wall. He fell down in a crumpled heap and didn’t make any attempts to move once he got there. Venom pulled themselves back into Eddie, and they stalked over to where he had landed.

“Is he dead?”

No, just unconscious, it would seem.

“Good. We’ll deal with him in a minute.”

He turned to face the woman, whose eyes were even wider with fear. Her cheeks were stained with tears.

“Hey, hey,” he said softly, trying to alter his body language to something non-threatening. “We’re not going to hurt you.”

But she didn’t stop pulling at the invisible ropes around her. She was still clearly trying to scream. Eddie looked her over, wondering how best to remove the hex.

Let us, Eddie.

His arms began to move of their own volition, and he didn’t fight it. Ooze covered both of his index fingers, shaping themselves into claws, and they reached for the woman’s throat. She whimpered again, straining to get away.

“Shh, shh. It’s okay. I promise,” Eddie tried to calm her.

The claws hooked themselves under the string of the necklace, and a harsh stab of energy ran up his arms. He hissed against the feeling, but didn’t pull away. Instead, he focused on tugging the string over the woman’s head. Once she understood what he was trying to do, she did her best to help. She struggled to pull her head away from the wall far enough to let the string slip over, and finally it did.

All of the straps whipped back into the pendant, and the woman instantly fell forward. It took Eddie a moment to realise that it hadn’t been his own arms that had caught her, but he quickly rectified that situation. He shoved the necklace into his pocket as his claws vanished, and he took her by the shoulders. She was too distracted to notice anything amiss.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” she breathed in a terrified whisper, doubling over and grasping her knees.

“Are you okay?” Eddie asked. “Did he hurt you?”

She shook her head, gulping down air, and shakily doing her jeans back up.

“Is there anyone nearby who can help you? Anyone you can stay with until you feel better?”

She nodded.

“My friend Yasmin,” she sniffed, hugging herself. “She’s two blocks away.”

He encouraged her to start walking her back down the alley towards the street.

“Do you want to get a cab there? We can call you one.”

She shook her head again. “N- no. I can get there. I can…”

She looked back over her shoulder towards the man crumpled on the ground, then up to Eddie.

“Are… are you going to… Is he…?”

“We’ll see that he’s taken care of. Don’t worry.”

She sniffed again, wiping her face with the sleeve of her top. “Th- thank you.”

She hurried off, hopefully to find the help she needed. Eddie wished he could do more, but a groan brought his attention back down the alley.

He’s waking up.

They strode down towards him, grabbed him by the collar of his skeezy sweatshirt, and roughly shoved him up against the wall. The man looked at him with dazed eyes - his hat had fallen off and his glasses were askew, his jaw hanging just as slackly. He stank of stale weed and B.O., and was probably no older than 35. But the most intriguing thing was his total lack of magic. Eddie had been around enough magic users now to know what it felt like. It was a subtle aura that he could sense when he got close enough. It hinted at deeper knowledge, of a deeper power than what was on the surface. This guy had none of it.

“Where did you get the necklace?” Eddie demanded.

“What? Wha necklace?” His speech was slightly slurred.

“The necklace you used to assault that young woman.”

“I dunno what you’re talking about, man.” He feebly tried to grab Eddie’s hand, but his movements were uncoordinated.

“Oh, is that so?”

With his enhanced strength, he easily flung the man across the alley face first into the opposite wall. There was a satisfying wet thump when he got there and the tiny shattering of glass, but Eddie didn’t give him a chance to recover. He pulled the necklace from his pocket and forced it over the guy’s head. Instantly the man’s arms and legs were yanked out into a compromising position, his mouth bound over so he couldn’t make a sound. He was absolutely terrified, and Eddie drank it in.

His fear was intoxicating. They had complete control over him, they could do whatever they wanted. There was no one to stop them. No one was coming to his rescue. He had done something wrong and now he was going to pay for it. His actions demanded punishment, and they could take their time with it, really drag it out. They could flay him alive, remove his fingers one by one, eat him agonizingly slowly so he could feel every bite. But why spoil the wonderful meal they had earlier with his rotted meat? Better to just use him and fuck him, like he had been intending to do, until he died of internal injuries from the no doubt punishingly big tentacle Venom could make - all in the name of righteousness.

But that wasn’t Eddie. Those weren’t his deep dark desires rising up. Yes, he wanted justice, the guy’s actions were criminal, but this response was on the extreme side. It was Venom, he realised. It was that primal part of them that had tried to protect the house, that had wanted to take bloody revenge on the cult. Their yearning to sink their razor sharp claws into something warm and wet and wriggling coursed through their bond, and Eddie felt his fingers twitch.

He took a hurried step backwards, breathing in deeply, and trying to refocus his thoughts. His pulse had noticeably quickened at the idea of eviscerating the man caught before them, and quite frankly it was a little scary how rapidly his mind had gone to those dark places. What was worse was how much his mouth had salivated at the prospect of swallowing down all that raw human flesh. The weak throb of arousal in his gut however, was something he refused to acknowledge at all.

“Vee?” he asked, hoping that he would hear a normal reply and not that distorted roar that still haunted some of his dreams.

...We are still here.

Their voice sounded a little deeper, a little rougher, but mostly okay. As he continued to focus on his breathing, the feelings began to lessen. The weight of them started to lift, and he felt more like himself again. He shivered, trying to shake the last of the yearnings off, and resumed his interrogation.

He asked Venom to give him another claw and they complied. He brought it close to the man’s face, right up to his cheek so he would clearly see it.

“Now, we’re going to ask you again - where did you get the necklace?”

He was trying to speak; his body was trembling with it. Eddie listened to his hunch, and used his claw to pull down the gag, freeing up his mouth. The static shimmered against his hand, but it was no match for Venom’s power. The man took in a deep gulp of air.

“I’ll tell you, man, I’ll tell you! Just don’t get me with that thing!”

Eddie rested his claw on his chin. “Go on.”

“I-it was at that shop, th- that crazy sh- shop. You know, one of the spooky ones!”

“You’ll have to be more specific than that.”

“Look, I don’t remember, man. I was high, okay? I did it for a laugh.”

“Raping a woman is a laugh?”

“N- no! Not that! Buying the thing, the necklace! I never thought it would work!”

Eddie considered this. Not only did this man have no magic of his own, he didn’t even believe it existed.

“Who sold it to you?”

“I dunno, man,” he whimpered, “I was high. It was some dude.”

“Some. Dude.” Eddie gave him an unimpressed look.

We should jog his memory , Venom suggested.

“Good idea,” Eddie murmured.

“What?” asked the man.

“We weren’t talking to you.”

We have a proposal?

“Go for it.”

Eddie’s arm was moving again, but this time it was lengthening. Venom’s arm overtook his own, black skin sliding over his hand, and moving downwards. Their clawed fingers reached through the man’s spread legs, and then curled up to press against his balls. He nearly screamed at that. Eddie could already feel the tip easily pushing into the fabric of his jeans. It wouldn’t take much to rip through.

“Your dick got you into this mess, maybe it’ll get you out of it?” he spoke into the man’s ear. His eyes were a picture of confusion as to how Eddie was touching him there without even leaning over. “So, which store was it.”

“Oh god, I don’t know. I don’t know!”

Venom pressed in further. There was definitely a hole now.

“Think. Harder .”

“There was something- something about a face. Or a nose! Please don’t rip my balls off. Please!

Venom pushed all the way in. Eddie recoiled at the fact the dude was going commando. They were going to have to thoroughly wash their hands when they got back.

“Still going to need more details.”

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he mewled. “There was a face, and a dude, and an eye-”

“The Seeing Eye?” Eddie asked, his memory providing the name from when he’d gone to find out information about Venom’s circle. Their claw retracted slightly, giving the man some breathing room.

“Yes! Yes! That’s it!” the man’s voice broke with relief. “The Seeing Eye, yeah. There was a rumour that this dude was giving out stuff that would help you get laid. So me and my buddies went there for a laugh. But it wasn’t free. You had to pay.”

“And how many did you buy?”

“Just one. Just this one. And I swear dude, I’m never doing it again. I totally, totally swear.”

“And what did the guy selling them look like?”

“I can’t remember, dude. It’s all a blur it’s-” his voice cut off into a squeal as Venom’s claw took up residence again. “He was tall!” he shouted. “He was tall, and, like, Indian or something. And, and, he had an accent! Like, British or Australian. I dunno. Please. Just let me go. Just let me go, dude. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He was openly weeping now.

We shouldn’t do that, Eddie.

You think?

He does not seem sorry enough to us.

Hmm, maybe you’re right.

“Tell you what…?”

“Mike,” he moaned.

“Mike. While I know that you’re sorry now, I bet that tomorrow, or even the day after, you won’t be. And you’re gonna go out there, and you’re going to do something stupid again. So I think we need to leave you with a more lasting lesson.”

“Wh- what are you going to do?” his voice shook with fear.

What are you going to do, Eddie?

Give me a claw again for a minute.

He leaned down as Venom’s arm retreated back into his own, but the finger through Mike’s jeans never moved. As far as he was concerned, nothing had changed. He craned his head round to try and see what Eddie was doing. He sent a smirk in his direction, and then pulled.

The claw tore through Mike’s jeans like a hot knife through butter. Eddie tugged it through the waistband at the back, and halfway up his sweatshirt, quickly putting Mike’s unsightly ass on display. It was only the fact that he was pressed against the wall that kept his pants up at all.

Mike whimpered, and wept, but Eddie held no sympathy for him. He straightened up, rubbing his hand on his trousers, like that would get the dirt of being so close to Mike’s crotch off his hands.

“You know,” he whispered insidiously into Mike’s ear. “It’s ever so tempting to just leave you here. To let you be used by any random person who happens to come by. I’m sure there are plenty who would happily take advantage of you. Maybe I’ll even put up a sign by the entrance saying ‘free ass looking for a good dicking’. After all, you were the one who wanted to get laid.”

Mike whined and sobbed, babbling that he was sorry over and over again.

“But you know what, Mike?”

He pulled in a sniveling breath, waiting for Eddie to continue.

“I’m not a monster like you.”

And with that, Eddie reached up with his claw and snapped the string of the necklace. There was a pop of static, and the pendant clattered to the ground. Mike stumbled away from the wall, immediately making a fumbling grasp for the tattered remains of his jeans. He pulled them up, desperately trying to cover his crotch, and pressed himself as far away from Eddie as the alley wall would allow. He gulped down some halting breaths.

Eddie flicked his head towards the exit, but Mike was like a deer frozen in headlights.

“Seriously? GO!” And Mike was off like a shot, tripping and tumbling his way towards freedom. “But if I ever catch you again, you will most definitely be sorry!” Eddie called after him. He wasn’t even sure if he had heard him, but it was the intention that was important. Scared straight and all that.

Eddie bent down to pick up the discarded necklace.

Are you sure you should have done that, Eddie? The punishment was not very severe.

He stood up, moving towards the street so he could get a better look at the pendant.

“Nah, let him get done for indecent exposure instead. He’s not going to be messing with magic again any time soon.”

How can you be so sure?

“Because even without the teeth, we can be pretty damn scary if we want to.”

He angled the pendant trying to get a read on the markings. It looked like a jumble of runes and symbols stamped into a piece of metal. Even with the string broken, a hum of static remained.

“What do you make of this, love?”

Venom chanced manifesting their head over Eddie’s shoulder, being sure to keep in the shadows of the alley.

Hmm , they mused. It is a generic hex, one used to bind a subject.

“Well, I kind of figured that.”

They touched it lightly with one of their own tendrils that sneaked out from Eddie’s sleeve.

There is not a lot else we can tell you.

“That’s okay, love.” He turned his head and used his other hand to bring Venom in for a kiss. “Let’s go home.”

Really? We know you want to investigate this. We can feel your curiosity already eating at you. Someone is selling powerful hexes. It is dangerous.

“And that’s all true,” he said, stroking his hand down the back of their form. “But tomorrow, yeah? Tonight’s still our night. And we have cake waiting for us.”

Venom bobbed happily, rubbing their face against his.

“Annnd, I was thinking we might take the quick route home.”

You mean…? Venom asked, their excitement building.

“There’s more than one reason I didn’t bring the bike out.” Venom’s face split into a grin. “You do your thing, love. Just-”

Minimal damage and no witnesses. We know.

Eddie gave them one more kiss, and carefully stored the necklace away. He took a few steps back into the shadows.

“Alright, punch it.”

Venom bubbled up through his skin, covering him head to toe, and making them both sing with joy. The raw power that flowed through him was better than any drug in the world, and he willingly gave into it every time. Venom leapt easily from the ground to the second storey fire escape, causing the whole thing to noisily rattle. But they were gone just as swiftly as they had came, and anyone who investigated the racket would be met with empty air.

They glided over the rooftops, climbing higher and higher until the whole city lay before them. Even Eddie didn’t mind heights as much when Venom was wrapped so securely around him. In fact, he preferred not to open his eyes at all and just wallow in all the sensations that came across their bond. The thrill of the climb, of the acceleration when they ran. The beauty of the view, the wind whipping over their skin, the release of tension from their muscles as they bounded over the gaps between buildings. Venom revelled in the freedom of it all, of being so unrestrained, and their happiness suffused into Eddie like a natural high.

They were always a little sad when they reached the suburbs and could no longer run about so openly. They were too close to the ground now, too easily spotted. So they dropped down to street level and slowly sank back under Eddie’s skin. He didn’t even break his stride as they switched back, just casually continued walking along, the somewhat goofy grin on his face the only sign that anything had happened.

Venom breathed a contented sigh inside his head. One day he would have to take them somewhere they could run until they actually felt tired. The desert was a good shout, miles of open plain for them to exhaust themselves in. Not getting lost would be the only worry, and the stars would be amazing.

Eddie unlocked and door while Venom got the lights. He was halfway to the kitchen before he realised he wasn’t the one walking his legs.

“Hey, hey! Slow down!”

He forced himself to stop as Venom’s head emerged from his chest.

But, chocolate cake, Eddie!

“Just let me get changed first. I’m not getting frosting all over my nice clothes.”

Only you drop food, not us, they grumbled as they vanished back under his skin, but their words held no heat.

“Patience, love. I won’t be a minute.”

He jogged up the stairs and quickly dressed in his sweats and a t-shirt, remembering to wash his hands along the way. When he came back down to the kitchen, Venom was already creeping up his back to rest their head on his shoulder. He gave them a scritch as he opened the fridge.

The cake really was something else. ‘Death by Chocolate’ was an extremely accurate description. They’d had to remove a shelf just to fit it in there in the first place. The thing could probably feed 20 people. But Eddie hadn’t brought it just because they were celebrating. Out of all the foods Venom had eaten, out of all the new flavours they had tried, chocolate was still the only thing that they could really taste. It didn’t have quite the same effect it used to, it no longer made them feel drunk or super horny, but it definitely gave them a buzz of pleasure like nothing else did.

Eddie removed the three tier monstrosity from the fridge and carefully set it on the counter. He grabbed a plate and a fork, and pulled out a large knife from the block. He cut a decent sized slice and slopped the gooey, fudgey piece onto the plate before tossing the knife into the sink.

Is that all you’re having!? Venom asked, clearly astounded at his meager portion.

“Well, yeah,” he said, picking up the plate and dipping the fork into the frosting for a taste.

But what about us?

“Oh, isn’t it obvious?” he paused with a teasing lick of the fork. “The rest is for you.” Venom looked from him to the remaining cake and back again. He smiled as their delight thrummed through him.

Really? It’s all for us?

“Come on, let’s go watch that movie.”

Two long tentacles were quick to form and take the cake from the side, carrying it behind Eddie as he went into the lounge. They placed it down on the coffee table while Eddie balanced his plate on his knee and cued up the film. It was one of Venom’s choices, a rom-com about a guy who moves into an apartment only to find it haunted by the previous owner, or something. He could understand why they had chosen it.

As the opening credits started, he became aware of a tendril near his face. It was covered in the chocolate topping.

We can still feed you, Eddie.

“Hey, you promised no bad feelings.”

Their face hovered into view.

No bad feelings, just stating the obvious.

He captured the tendril in his mouth, and slowly sucked it clean, licking it like they had licked him that morning. Venom let out a pleased rumble, then dived the tendril back into the topping to scoop up some more.

“And guess what, love?” Eddie said as he offered them a fork full of cake. “I can feed you too.”

They trilled as they opened their mouth to take his present. He felt them shiver as whatever it was that chocolate did to them took effect. Even second hand, it left a light bubbling sensation tingling along their connection, like fizz in a champagne glass. Venom fed him another tendril of frosting, and he gave them another bite of cake.

“Happy anniversary, Vee.”

They snuggled themselves into the crook of his neck, and he kissed the top of their head.

We are so glad you found us.

“Me too, love. Me too.”

They brought the cake onto Eddie’s lap so it was easier to feed themselves great handfuls of it at a time, and amazingly didn’t drop any crumbs. Eddie smiled and returned to his own slice, trying to catch up with whatever part of the film’s plot he had missed. The confection was so rich and dense that Eddie struggled to get through his portion. Venom had no such troubles. He eventually admitted defeat and let them polish off what was left on his plate too.

With all of the cake gone, Eddie settled back with Venom in his arms, full of good food and good feelings, and just let the movie wash over him. It was sweet enough story, but before he knew it, his eyes were getting heavy. He kept on jerking himself awake every time his head nodded forward. All that crime fighting must have really taken it out of him. He huffed out a little laugh at the idea of him and Venom being crime fighters. He briefly imagined them running around in tights and short capes, wearing masks with their underwear on the outside. But was it really such a ridiculous suggestion? He had drifted off again before he could finish that train of thought.

Then his hands were empty.

“V- Vee?” he asked groggily.

He was tilting to one side. The couch beneath him was uneven, causing him to slide to the left. Only it wasn’t the couch. Venom was materialising beneath him, something that felt suspiciously like a lap. He was still topping over, but before he fell too far, he was caught by a strong thick arm. He looked behind him to see Venom smiling down at him, their whole huge humanoid form having taken up residence on the couch. Their other arm hooked under his knees, and they drew him close to their body.

Bed time, Eddie.

He wasn’t going to argue. They stood, easily taking his weight, staying connected via his hip. The TV was turned off with a flick of a tentacle, as were the lights, and Venom carried him from the room. They cradled him as they began climbing the stairs, the wood groaning slightly under their weight. Eddie pawed sleepily at their huge chest. They always felt so solid like this, so real in a way that he found hard to define.

They reached the landing, and Venom took him into the bedroom. They were already lowering him to the bed, and he felt a little selfish pang that they hadn’t gotten to carry him for very long. It was an extremely comforting position to be in. They placed him down, rolling him ever so slightly to face away from the door. Their arms never broke contact, simply merging back into him and pulling the rest of their mass in with them. It collected in the middle of his back before sinking in, then it travelled through him. He wasn’t sure he’d ever really get used to that feeling.

A tentacle reached out to pull up the covers, and Venom emerged again, this time from his sternum as just a small head. Eddie swept them up into his arms pulling them close to chest and tucking them under his chin. Venom hummed happily, and he let out his own blissful sigh. This was all he ever really needed. Just them. Just as they were. Moving into this house had been the best damn decision of his life, and even though they no longer had to stay there, he wouldn’t leave for anything. This was home.

Love you, Eddie, Venom whispered.

He squeezed them tighter, letting every emotion they shared flow freely between them.

“Love you too, Vee.”