“Eddie, I’m worried about Dan.”
“Yeah, love, so am I.”
“He’s sad all the time.”
“They said it wasn’t his fault.”
“It wasn’t, V. She had an undiagnosed heart defect, no one could have known.”
“Then why is he sad?”
“Because he’s a doctor, love, and he doesn’t want any of his patients to die, especially when he’s operating on them.”
“I don’t like it when Dan is sad.”
“Neither do I, love.”
“We need to make him happy again.”
“We’re trying, V.”
“We need to try harder.”
“Then what do you suggest?”
“He’s always happy when he dances. Let’s take Dan dancing.”
Eddie opened his mouth to suggest that perhaps dancing wasn’t the most appropriate of choices but then shut it. Maybe Venom had a point. The current circumstances were tragic - the girl had only been twelve - and Dan had been devastated. He’d done all he could to save her but it had come to naught. There was an autopsy and an internal review, and it was found that the girl had had a ticking time bomb inside of her, and she would have suffered from heart failure within days even if she’d not had the surgery. Dan had been cleared of any wrongdoing and even his patient’s parents didn't blame him, but Eddie and Venom could tell that Dan blamed himself. He was quiet and withdrawn, moped around the house when he was home, and he’d even taken to sleeping in his own room - something that he hadn't done since the trio had gotten together.
A distraction was definitely required and getting him drunk and on a dancefloor might be exactly when he needed. “You’re right, love. Let’s take him out tonight.”
Eddie had expected Dan to object when they sprung the plan on him when he walked in the door, but he simply nodded and headed to his room to change. Venom fretted and Eddie tried his best to comfort the symbiote, all the while trying not to drown in his own worry. He’d never seen Dan this depressed, even after things had ended with Anne, and he didn’t know how he could help his boyfriend. He hated seeing him this way and longed to see the smile that he adored so much. Logically he knew that it would take time and patience, but if a night out at a club with thumping music, booze, and a carefree dancefloor could help even temporarily, then it was a no brainer.
Dan returned from his room wearing form fitting jeans and a casual button down and Eddie couldn’t help but run his eyes appreciatively over him. Venom was also enjoyed the view and he looped around Dan and then hauled him in for a hug against the two of them. “You look good enough to eat.”
“Absolutely gorgeous, babe,” Eddie agreed.
Dan huffed out an almost laugh and kissed them both on the cheek. “Thanks, guys. You both look pretty good yourselves.”
“Eddie has dressed up but I just look like I normally do.”
“And?” Dan said, a hint of a smile on his lips. “You always look good, V.”
If Venom could blush, Eddie was sure that he would be scarlet. He ducked his head down shyly and thanked Dan, and for a brief moment, Dan’s smile was how it used to be. Then it fell from his face, to be replaced with the thousand yard stare that he’d taken to wearing lately, but the fact that he had smiled at all was a win. Eddie vowed that by the end of the night, he’d have seen that smile again.
Venom tucked himself away under his host’s ribs, and the two men collected their wallets and phones, then headed downstairs to wait for their Uber. Eddie slipped his hand into Dan’s and gave it a little squeeze and he felt the ticklish sensation of Venom oozing out from the sleeve of his jacket to twine around their joined hands. He felt Dan squeeze his palm back and the small movement of one of the doctor’s fingers stroking over Venom’s tendrils, and then a car was pulling up at the curb and they were climbing in, the quiet, intimate moment over.
The club had only just opened when they arrived and so it was quiet, the crowds not arriving as yet. They made their way to the bar and ordered drinks, then found some bar stools a little way down the counter so they could sit and enjoy them. Dan took a sip of his drink and then spun around on the stool to face the interior of the club, the lights hadn’t dimmed yet which highlighted the dark circles under his eyes. He looked tired but when he caught Eddie watching him, he offered him that small half-smile he was prone to lately, and reached over to take his hand. “Stop worrying,” he told him. “I’ll be okay. It’s just going to take time.”
“I know,” Eddie said, and brought his hand up so he could press a kiss to Dan’s knuckles, “but I want to do everything that I can to make you okay sooner.”
“God, you do, Eddie - you and V both do just by being there for me. I really appreciate it.”
“Yeah well, we care about you a lot, babe, and we just want to see you happy again.”
“And that’s why I love you two.” He leaned over and pressed a kiss to Eddie’s lips and then pulled back. “Thank you. I’ll try and have fun tonight, okay. It’s hard to forget some days but for tonight, I’ll try.”
“We know it’s not something that you’ll get over right away,” Eddie told him, “but we don’t want it to consume you, that’s all. We just wanted to distract you for at least one night.”
Dan lifted his glass to his lips and drained the rest of it in one go. “Right, well, let’s get this distraction started. Another drink?”
The lights had dimmed, the music had been turned up, a crowd was undulating on the dancefloor, and Dan was onto his fifth drink. His shoulders were looser and although it never quite reached his eyes, he was smiling more. Eddie sipped at his drink as he watched the crowd, one ear cocked towards where Dan was sitting next to him, caught up in an animated discussion with a small group of people who were out for a night on the town. One of the women was wearing a crop top with a Captain America logo on it which had prompted a discussion about superheroes and Dan was passionately outlining why he thought that the Sokovia Accords had been needed so someone was held accountable for the deaths of civilians that were caught up in the crossfire.
“But it’s not Captain America’s fault if the alien invaders kill innocents,” the woman protested. “He’s trying to stop them.”
“No, it’s not, but who was responsible for the deaths in Johannesburg when Wanda Maximoff brainwashed the Hulk and he destroyed half the city?” Dan countered.
“But that was a one off and it was before Maximoff joined the Avengers.”
“And? Should those families not have closure?”
“Well yes, of course they should, but generally the blame for those casualties lies with the invaders.”
“It’s not just deaths though, is it?” Dan continued. “What about when these so called heroes break the law? Who holds them accountable then? Why do they get to choose which laws to adhere to and which ones to flaunt?”
The woman pursed her lips, obviously unhappy at Dan’s not so subtle dig at her beloved captain. “I trust Steve Roger’s judgement more than I trust a bunch of shady politicians.”
“It’s the UN - they have standards. Besides, Rogers is just a man. He can make mistakes just as easily as the rest of us.”
“What do you think?” the woman asked, leaning across Dan so she could meet Eddie’s eye.
“Who, me?” he asked, surprised at being drawn into the conversation.
“Yeah. Do you agree with your friend?”
“Um, I think I’m going to refrain from answering that,” he told her.
“Why?” she demanded. “Worried that you’ll piss off your friend by disagreeing with him?”
“Don’t be daft,” one of the guys in her group spoke up. “That dude is Eddie Brock. ‘Course he’s not gonna get into a discussion like this in public when he might one day have to cover it for his show.”
Eddie had actually been thinking about the fact that he often took the law into his own hands when he and Venom ‘ate out’ and so he didn’t have a moral high ground to debate from, but the man’s point was valid enough to be a reasonable excuse. “Uh, yeah, exactly.”
The woman huffed and got up from her stool, done with the debate and stalking off into the crowd. The guy who had spoken up slid into her vacated seat and held out his hand to Dan. “I’m Phil, nice to meet you.”
“Dan,” the doctor said and tilted his head to Eddie. “And you obviously know who he is already.”
Phil nodded. “Yep, big fan. I’m gonna grab another drink, can I get you one? You deserve one for going toe to toe with Janine.”
“Sure,” Dan said, giving him a small smile. ‘I’m drinking rum and coke.”
“You want one?” Phil asked Eddie.
“Nah, man, I’m good.”
Dan seems happier, Venom said silently as Phil ordered drinks and he and Dan struck up a conversation about what they did for a living.
Yeah, he does. This was a good idea, love.
Do you think that he will be sad again tomorrow?
Maybe, V. What he went through was pretty traumatic and he’s not going to get over it in one night. All we can do is keep doing things like this, reminding him that life will be there waiting for him when he’s ready. That we’ll be there waiting for him when he’s ready.
I miss him in our bed, Venom said sadly.
Eddie glanced over at the doctor, his brown eyes seeming to sparkle as the lights from the dance floor reflected in them, his hands gesticulating animatedly as he explained about the pro bono surgeries that he worked on to help out transitioning kids. In that moment he had never been more beautiful and it hit Eddie like a punch in the guts just how much he loved Dan. Loved him. Shit. Dan had declared right at the beginning that he had fallen in love with the duo but had stressed that there was no rush to say the words back. Eddie had adored Dan, maybe even loved him even then (he certainly did as a friend anyway), but he’d been hesitant to actually say it. He wasn’t sure why, maybe it was because it wasn’t just his own heart that he had to protect but also Venem’s as well? Whatever the reason, he’d not said it back which was stupid because there was absolutely no doubt in his mind now that he loved him.
Took you long enough to realise it.
He blushed and dipped his head as he swirled ice around in his glass. I’m a bit slow, I guess.
You are, but I love you anyway and so does Dan. We should tell him.
He looked again at Dan, smiling and laughing as two of the women in Phil’s group of friends were trying to entice them onto the dance floor. Not now, V - he’s having too much fun.Tonight when we get home.
“Do you mind?” Dan asked, turing to Eddie and leaning in close to be heard over the music. He hitched a thumb at the heaving dance floor.
Eddie shook his head. “Not at all. It’s why we’re here, after all.”
“You wanna come?”
“Nah, we’re good here. We’ll just enjoy watching you shake your booty.”
Dan laughed. “Or watch me make an absolute fool of myself.” He took another gulp of his drink and then slid it over to Eddie to watch, and after one last smile at his partners, headed out into the crowd with his new friends.
They watched Dan dance for a while, enjoying the way that he was jumping up and down and looking carefree for the first time since his patient had died. He was easy to spot, being one of the tallest on the floor, which made it hard to miss when he began doing The Robot and The Sprinkler. Venom squirmed in his chest and Eddie laughed. You okay, love?
What is he doing, Eddie?
He’s having fun, V.
But what are those ridiculous movements?
They’re dance moves from the 80’s.
He looks silly.
Yep, but he’s having fun so that’s all that matter. Look, that Phil guy is joining in with The Running Man.
Now they both look ridiculous.
Eddie laughed again and silently agreed, glad that it wasn’t him out there embarrassing himself with Dan. A group of goths came up to the bar and Eddie found their attention drawn to them as Venom admired their dark makeup and clothing. They look like interesting people.
They’d probably like you.
Of course they would. I am very loveable.
Yeah, you are, aren’t you?
They watched the small group a while longer - probably for too long, actually. Eddie was the one who forced them to look away, lest they start to get creepy. He absently picked up Dan’s drink and took a sip, only to find his arm flinging the glass across the bar to shatter against the back wall against his own violation. What the fuck, V?
Poison! Eddie, there is something bad in that drink!
Realisation dawned on him and he was immediately on his feet. Fuck, we need to find Dan, now!
What is it? What has happened?
I think Dan’s been roofied. We need to find him, V!
Ignoring the indignant calls from the bartender, Eddie pushed his way through the crowd, trying to catch sight of Dan. So easy to spot only minutes prior, he was now nowhere in sight, and he ducked and dodged his way through drunken revellers, until he was finally out onto the dance floor. His heart was pounding in panic and he spun around on the spot, searching for any sign of their boyfriend. He still couldn’t see Dan but he did spot one of the women who had asked him to dance and he made his way through to her, earning several dark looks as he pushed roughly past people in his way. “Have you seen Dan?” he yelled as he grabbed her arm to get her attention.
She nodded and pointed across the room. “Yeah, he wasn’t feeling well so Phil took him to the bathroom.”
Swallowing around the sudden lump in his throat, Eddie managed a weak smile in thanks and then began to make his way in that direction. He plastered on a scowl and he must have looked dangerous enough as a path opened up in front of him as he stalked towards the amenities.
There was a short queue for the bathrooms, but ignoring the protests from those waiting in line, Eddie pushed past them and into the room, going immediately to the two cubicles. One wasn’t in use but the other had a locked door and he immediately kicked it in. There was a squawk and the man inside immediately covered himself, cowering back from Eddie.
“Fuck,” he swore and muttered a quick apology before he turned and ran from the room. Once he was out in the hallway, he spied an exit door at the end and he made his way towards it, barging out and into the night, finding himself in a quite alleyway. It appeared deserted but having a symbiote did wonders for his hearing and he could make out voices coming from the far end where the alley became a dead end against the back of a warehouse.
Let’s go find out.
Do you need the mask?
Yeah, best to be safe than sorry.
Immediately Venom exploded around him, and Eddie felt himself encased inside his towering symbiote. He walked them on silent feet towards the noises and soon enough they picked up on Dan’s voice, coming from behind a dumpster. It was slurred and quiet, and he was definitely not happy. “No, don’t, please, stop this, ‘m not interested in you.”
“Well I’m interested in you , sweetheart, so one of us is gonna have a good time.”
They rounded the dumpster and saw Dan sprawled on his ass, backing up as much as he could against the wall, his hands held up in front of him to fend off his attacker, but the drugs he’d been given had made him weak and shaky and they kept dropping down. Phil was looming over him, his hands busy with his belt buckle, ready to take what he wanted. Dan’s eyes widened as he saw Venom and he began to giggle.
“What’s so funny, sweetheart?” Phil demanded.
“You’re gonna regret this,” Dan said, almost in a sing-song voice. “I have a danger noodle!” and he tipped his head back and laughed.
“Is that what you call it?” Phil leered, reaching down to grope Dan’s crotch. “Why don’t I get a good look at it myself?”
“Have at it,” Dan said and gestured over Phil’s shoulder.
The man spun around and his eyes widened as he took in the sight of the alien in front of him, but before he could even open his mouth to scream, Venom unhinged his jaw and bent down, only to pause at a cry from his host. We can’t eat him, V! People inside saw him with us.
For a moment Eddie was positive that Venom was going to ignore him entirely and eat the man anyway, but he finally growled, deep and menacing and then turned and hurled Phil at the wall of the alleyway. He fell, limp and unmoving to the ground and Venom picked him up easily and tossed him into the dumpster.
“V!” Dan cried, and tried to pull himself up on shaky legs.
“We got you, Dan,” Venom said, gently helping him up and cradling him against them.
“Knew you’d come.” Dan threw his arms around Venom’s neck and pushed up to capture the symbiote in a passionate kiss, and Venom scooped him up into his arms before his allowed his long tongue to push into Dan’s mouth.
“We will always come for you,” he said as he finally broke the kiss.
“I love you two so much.”
Eddie felt half the mask melt away and found himself face to face with Dan. “WE LOVE YOU TOO,” they said in their combined voices, and then Eddie pulled Dan in for a sweet kiss before the mask swallowed his face again.
“I am taking you both home,” Venom announced, “and when we get there, we are all going to bed and I will hold you both for the whole night.”
“That sounds amazing, V,” Dan said, and buried his nose against the symbiote’s throat.
Eddie relaxed inside the safe cocoon of Venom’s form, overcome with relief that they’d kept Dan safe, and brimming with happiness that they had finally told Dan how they felt, and allowed his symbiote to take them home.