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A Wince and a Smile

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Eddie looked nervous. Annie knew all the signs. The visibly clammy skin, the three day old face scruff. The way he kept fidgeting with the mala beads on his wrist.

"It'll be fine, Eddie," she said soothingly. Most of her attention was on driving, but they'd been on the highway for a while and it was easy going. Dan was next to her in the front passenger seat, with Eddie in the back of the rental. "Your family won't find out about Venom. It'll be a fast visit, and then we're gone. We can leave right after the ceremony, too, if it gets too weird."

It had been several months since Eddie had acquired Venom. Annie was still happily seeing Dan, and both of them were friends with Eddie. Venom was a strange addition to the friendship, but he did seem to mellow Eddie out quite a bit. Which shouldn't have been how all this worked, but that was how things usually went with Eddie.

In all the time he and Annie had been dating and engaged, she'd never met his extended family. He'd always seemed to be a little self-conscious when mentioning them. Said that he never felt like he really fit in, so he left. It wasn't that he hated them, he just never really wanted to visit. Whatever the problems were, Annie couldn't believe that they were too awful. Eddie was pretty emotionally intelligent and mostly trauma free, as far as she could see, and he never had anything but good things to say about his cousins, the little he spoke about them. Maybe it was that he never felt like he measured up.

Annie had been dying of curiosity for years.

So when Eddie showed up a few weeks ago saying that his cousin was getting married and he had to go, Annie immediately offered to go with him for moral support. Dan just shrugged and nodded along. While Eddie was hesitant at first, he must have been really worried because he agreed with almost no arguing.

So yesterday they'd flown into Boston, stayed the night at a hotel, and today there were up bright and early to drive out to meet Eddie's family.

"If they give us issues, we can just eat them," Venom said, poking one inky blob of a head out of Eddie's shoulder.

It was difficult to tell where Venom ended at the suit began, especially with the black on black monstrosity that Eddie picked for formal wear. Not that it wasn't nice, it was! It was also just a touch morbid looking for a wedding.

Annie had picked something nice and summery, a blue floral dress with a light, airy skirt. It was flattering without being suggestive. A good friend-of-a-friend wedding outfit. A touch of makeup and a little hair gloss for her straight, blonde hair and she was golden. Dan was in a nice grey suit, something that suited his short dark hair and thin frame.

"Trust me, V, that is not gonna work here," Eddie said with a twist of his lips that was equal parts amused and apprehensive. "My family…they're. Uh. Tough, I guess." He shook his head. "No, that's. I mean, yes, they are tough, but they're crazy accepting. They love everyone. They aren't gonna be a pain."

Annie hummed to herself. That certainly fit with her previous impressions. The perfect family.

Well. She and Eddie might not be together anymore, but he was a good man. If his family tried to make him feel shitty about himself, even on accident, she would happily rip them a new asshole.

"You're still anxious though." Annie watched through her rear view mirror as Venom's bobbing head shifted around while he watched Eddie's face, sliding sideways like a snake trying to get a better look at something.

"Yeah, because I've been a dick and haven't visited in years," Eddie protested. He looked down and picked at a button. "Not like they did anything wrong. They're just a lot to deal with. Well intentioned, but…" He shrugged.

"Lots of people don't visit their extended family with any frequency," Dan said. "That's normal."

"You don't get it. They're really tight knit." Eddie shook his head. "The Family is important, and, I donno, I just needed some air."

Annie exchanged a Look with Dan. Venom grumbled but subsided back into Eddie’s shoulder.

“So, what should we expect?” Dan asked. Always on point.

“Hmm?” Eddie blinked and shook his head. “Oh. Well. The Family is pretty huge. It’s my mom’s relatives. Dad’s been gone for years, and mom passed away when I was in high school. My aunt and uncle raised me after that, with their three kids. Their daughter, Wednesday, is the one getting married. She’s a couple years younger than I am.”

Annie shared another side-eyed look with Dan.

“Wednesday,” she said, making a bit of a face. “That’s a heck of a name for a girl.”

Eddie just snorted. “Wait ‘til you meet the rest. Anyways, the whole Family gets together a lot. All the big holidays. Debut parties for the teens. Graduation parties. Any major life event, really, plus pretty regular balls.”

“Balls.” Dan sounded more confused than surprised.

“Yeah, you know, like dancing?” Eddie shifted in back; more nervous shuffling. “It’s a big deal.”

“I can see why you didn’t really stick around,” Annie said. “Kinda not your scene.”

Eddie nodded ruefully. “They’re not mean about it, though. Everyone has a really good time, and they pull people right in. Just. I donno. Be careful of what you drink or eat. Some people like to spike the drinks with some not-so-nice things.”

“Noted,” both Annie and Dan said.

The last thing Annie wanted was to get trashed at Eddie’s aunt and uncle’s house.

“If they get to be too much, just tell me,” Eddie said, suddenly sounding worried. “They mean well, but they’re, uh…”

“Eddie, it will be fine. It’s just a wedding. How bad could it be?” Annie smiled at him in the rear view mirror.

Eddie’s smile back was more of a wince.

---

They got off the highway about a half hour after that, and slowly drove their way through what looked like an average, if expensive, suburb. Each house was a mansion, or in some cases, what looked like a couple of mansions glued together. There were large, heavy fences around each expensive property, with lavish gardens, trees, and fountains that peeked through the holes in the iron gates.

“Holy shit, Eddie. You grew up here?” Annie said in a low whisper. Both she and Dan were currently craning their heads around to get a better look at all the property porn around them.

“Well, sort of. We had our own place before Mom passed, but we were still here every weekend for family meals.” Eddie sounded almost bored.

“Which one is your aunt and uncle’s place?” Dan asked.

“You’ll know it when you see it,” Eddie said cryptically.

They drove for another few minutes, quietly taking in the scenery.

Then Annie saw it.

“No. Eddie. Eddie. No. Tell me that is not your aunt and uncle’s house.”

The property they pulled up to was barren. Dead. There was a brick wall around it, yes, but the house itself was on a hill far up a winding driveway, making it very visible from the street. The grass was shriveled and grey, and there were no trees. None. Well, there were a couple skeletons of trees up by the house.

And the house.

It was tall and thin, or maybe it just looked that way from the distance of the street. There were a lot of windows, so it had to be huge. It just looked so bleak and desolate up there. It was painted black with a black pointed roof. Vultures circled overhead. Vultures.

“Oh. My god.” Dan’s voice was faint. Annie did not blame him.

The car slowly rolled to a stop in front of the gate. There wasn’t any intercom that Annie could see. No way to get in unless someone walked the long, long way down from the house to open it up.

Eddie rolled down his window and said, “Hey, Gate. Would you please open up for us?”

Before Annie could question his sanity, the gate shuddered and then slowly creaked open, like something out of a horror movie.

Annie just sat there with her jaw dropped.

The gate rattled a bit. Almost like it was urging them to move.

“Eddie. Are you fucking kidding me,” Annie said flatly.

“Nope,” Eddie said, wide eyed and his face already filled with regret.

For lack of anything better to do, Annie started driving up to the house.

She still hadn’t gotten her jaw up off the ground by the time they pulled up to the door. The house was far bigger up close than what it looked like on the street. Crows perched in the trees. Sickly looking vines covered the base of the house and creeped out into the dirt driveway.

Frankenstein’s monster was waiting for them. Or at least, a man that looked very much like Frankenstein’s monster. He was tall, so ungodly tall, with sallow skin and an unusually large head that was somewhat flat on top. His short dark hair looked like it had been greased down haphazardly, and he wore a dusty solid black uniform.

Eddie got out of the car first.

“Hey, Lurch. It’s good to see you,” he said to the...man?

Lurch’s lips twitched into a faint smile and he moaned, like words were things for other people. Slow and ponderous, he turned and gestured towards the massive front door.

Annie and Dan finally got their shit together and stepped out of the car, too.

“Should we park somewhere?” Annie asked quietly, unsure if she should be asking Eddie or Lurch.

“Nah, just give the keys to Lurch. He’ll park the car out of the way. By tonight, there’s gonna be so many people here that valet parking is gonna be the only option. He’ll get us a good spot.” Eddie smiled at Lurch, and earned another groan for his efforts.

Annie swallowed hard and stepped up to hand the keys over.

She was a lawyer. A good one. There was no way in hell she was going to be rude to Eddie’s family. No matter how unsettled she was.

She smiled warmly at him as she passed over the keys. “Thank you.”

Lurch gave her a similar face-twitch-smile and nodded a little.

Eddie paused before walking through the door. He twitched his fingers nervously and took a deep breath.

“Everything is gonna be fine, Eddie. We’ve got your back.” Annie was not as all ashamed to be using her soothe the client voice. It was a very useful facade when she herself was internally freaking out.

From Eddie’s wry glance at her, he realized what she was doing too. But he nodded anyways and took another breath.

The door opened before he could even touch the handle, and the moment they got inside it slammed shut behind them.

“Eddie Brock!” a woman called out.

Then Eddie was enveloped in a hug, something that looked delicate but no less heart felt.

“Auntie ‘Ticia,” Eddie said with a bashful smile. She kissed his cheeks, once on each side. How the hell she managed to do that without leaving even a trace of her flaming red lipstick on Eddie’s cheek, Annie had no idea.

Damn, but Eddie’s aunt was gorgeous. She was dressed in an incredibly tight black dress, one that hugged every curve, trailed at the wrists and feet, and showed off a bit of snow white cleavage, too. Her hair was long, straight, and solid black, and her face had sharp, aristocratic lines.

“Here, let me have a look at you,” she said, pulling back. “It’s been too long.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Eddie muttered, rubbing the back of his head.

“Nonsense,” she tutted at him. “Everyone takes a little time to find themselves, we Addams know that best. We’re just glad you could make it. Wednesday has been beside herself since we got back the RSVP.”

Wow. Despite appearances to the contrary, Eddie wasn’t wrong about how nice his family was. Annie found herself stunned all over again.

“Now, tell me who these two beauties are.” Eddie’s aunt switched her gaze to Annie and Dan. She rested one hand on her hip and the other she held up just in front of her chin, like a dainty lady making play at covering a smile. Her nails were long, sharp, and black.

Two beauties?” Dan muttered quietly.

“Oh, right,” Eddie turned and gestured towards them. “Aunt Morticia, these are my friends, Annie Weying and Dr. Dan Lewis. Annie is a defense lawyer, and Dan works at the hospital.”

“Oh my.” The way Morticia spoke it sounded almost like pillow talk. Annie had mixed feelings about that. “A doctor and a lawyer. My, my, Eddie, nicely done.”

“Auntie ‘Ticia, it’s not like that,” Eddie groaned and rubbed his face.

“Pity,” Morticia said, still eyeing them.

Wow.

Morticia turned and started walking, and waved them to follow her.

That gave Annie a chance to look around. The inside matched the outside. Everything was dark, faded colors. Dust and cobwebs were everywhere, though it looked like the furniture was expensive and heavy. Books and weapons lined the walls, along with some of the most disturbing artwork Annie had ever seen. She did not blame Dan at all for walking very close to her.

“We’re still running around getting things rea---” Morticia begin.

“EDDIE, MY BOY!”

A tall, pale man in a very snappy dark suit barreled out of the hall, wrapping Eddie in a massive bear hug.

That must be the uncle. Annie was a little impressed with the warmth of that welcome.

Then the man shifted his hold on Eddie. There was a second’s pause where the man’s smile turned evil and delighted.

“Venom, don’t freak out,” Eddie muttered.

Then he was flying through the air, thrown across the room to land in a heap on the floor.

Several things happened all at once. The man in the suit pulled a fucking sword off the wall and made like he was going to go dispatch Eddie for good.

The second Annie saw that, she dashed to the wall herself and grabbed the first thing she could reach. It turned out to be a club.

Then she proceeded to give the man in the suit a solid bash to the back of the head.

“Eddie, get up, time to go,” Annie said as calmly as she could.

“Annie, no it’s fine,” Eddie said as he pulled himself up off of the floor. To Annie’s intense shock, Venom hadn’t shown himself. Eddie didn’t look concerned at all.

The man in the suit bounded back up off the floor like he’d never been hit at all. Which was bullshit, because Annie was goddamn sure that she’d brained the fuck out of him.

He looked at her wide eyed and somehow even more delighted. He had a thin, little mustache, dark shining eyes, and a grin that almost cracked his face in half.

“Eddie, who is this radiant creature that you’ve brought with you.” It sounded like a sincere compliment. Which, honestly, wasn’t what Annie expected from a guy she just bashed in the head with a club.

“Uncle Gomez, this is my friend, Annie Weying, and her boyfriend, Dr. Dan Lewis.” Eddie brushed off his pants and headed over to them. Happily, he looked no worse for wear.

Gomez---god what a name--- stepped forward with his arms open, almost like he was about to wrap Annie in a hug, too. She pointed her club at him and gave him a look.

Gomez made a little sound. Not quite a sigh, not quite a hungry growl. Whatever it was, it was pleased.

“I like her,” a gravelly male voice said from behind them.

Perched right in the entrance way was a tall, bald man and an old crone.

The man was also white as a sheet, with unhealthy looking dark circles under his eyes, and an unhinged looking smile. He wore something like a robe, also dusty, dirty black, and looked to be either a little overweight or bundled in several layers.

The crone was small and wizened, with long, curly grey hair and several layers of natty shawl. She looked like the damn definition of a witch. All she was missing was the pointy hat.

Both of them were grinning at Annie. It was profoundly unsettling.

"Fester! Grandmama! Come meet Eddie's lovers," Gomez grinned and waved the newcomers in.

"Lov-- No, no that's not---" Dan started babbling from where he was standing next to Eddie, with one hand on Eddie's shoulder. He probably went to check on him; the doctor's urge to help ran strong in him.

Dan very obviously suddenly realized that he still had a hand on Eddie. He pulled it away like he'd been burned, took a step towards Annie, and glanced nervously around.

"Yeah, no, not lovers, not at all," Annie rambled at the same time, shifting a little back towards Dan and resting her club on her shoulder.

All she got was a lot of knowing looks.

"Annie, Dan, this is my Uncle Fester and Grandmama. Fester is Gomez's brother. My mom was Morticia's sister," Eddie explained, tugging at his sleeves nervously. "Uncle Fester, Grandmama, these are my friends, Annie and Dan. Annie and I used to be engaged, but we broke up about a year ago. She's with Dan now, but we're still friends."

"Eddie." Gomez's voice was filled with reproach. "How could you let a glorious creature like this escape you."

"He fucked up and I kicked his ass to the curb," Annie said acidly. Then she winced. She shouldn't have said that.

She also hadn't expected to get into melee combat with Eddie's uncle either. It was safe to say that Annie was feeling a little stressed.

Morticia twitched one eyebrow up and smirked at her. Annie could not shake the feeling that it was a very impressed expression.

"Men," Morticia said. "Make them grovel before your power, in torment and endless longing."

Gomez took a quick step towards her. There was a feverish light in his eye.

"Destitute. A wanton slave to your beauty," he said, eyeing Morticia like she was the last scrap of food at a buffet and he'd been starving for weeks.

Morticia's eyes lit on him and her lips parted. "Drink in his suffering like the fine wine it is."

She held out one hand to him, which Gomez promptly grabbed and started kissing.

"In agony, bereft from your touch," he muttered between fervent kisses that slowly worked up her arm.

"In anguish," she breathed out.

Gomez had made his way up to her shoulder. "Cara mia," he whispered reverently.

"Mon cher," Morticia cooed back.

Then they were enthusiastically swapping spit. Their arms wrapped around each other as Gomez nearly bent Morticia over sideways with the force of his kisses.

"Oh wow," Dan said quietly, sounding vaguely horrified.

Annie just stared for a second, eyes wide.

"Don't worry about them," Eddie said to her and Dan, waving his hand dismissively. "Happens all the time." A wistful little smile tugged at his mouth. "Kinda nice, actually. All these years and they're still in love."

Yeah. In love. Because that's exactly what that looked like.

Annie paused to think about it. Maybe that was what that looked like.

"It's the spells," Grandmama said from right behind Annie, causing her to nearly jump out of her skin. "Good love spell lasts a looong time."

She was grinning up at Annie.

Oh god, did she just lean in to smell me?!

"Nice," Grandmama said with a wink. "Little too blue.” When Annie just raised an eyebrow at her in confusion, Grandmama pointed at her outfit. “Your dress. Try a darker color next time, honey, it'll bring out your eyes."

"Grandmama," Eddie groaned.

"And you," Grandmama spun in place to stalk towards Eddie. “There’s something different about you.” She squinted at him. Then she leaned in and gave him a solid sniff. “Do you have a parasite?”

“What?!” Eddie protested violently. “No! No! No, not at all, Grandmama, why would you ask that? Nope.” He made a face and shook his head vigorously. “No. No parasites here. Not--- Not even little ones.”

Annie pinched the bridge of her nose and fought to keep herself from rolling her eyes.

God, Eddie, really?!

Grandmama didn’t look convinced. She hummed at him and squinted harder.

The exchange snapped Morticia and Gomez out of their make-out session, and they both stared at Eddie with mild concern.

“...Alright,” Gomez said finally. Then he turned to look at Annie, smiling broadly. “Would you like a tour, my dear?”

“Is no one going to talk about how Eddie just got thrown into a wall?” Dan said before Annie could answer. He was back to having a hand on Eddie’s shoulder, and was peering into his eyes like he was checking for matching pupil dilation. At this point, Eddie was used to it, so he just went along with it, despite the fact that they all knew he couldn’t actually get concussed.

“Family tradition,” Eddie supplied.

“That’s called the inter-generational cycle of violence,” Dan supplied.

“Such a sweet talker,” Morticia cooed, shifting in place a little like she’d just had a happy pants moment. What even was with this family. “What kind of doctor are you, Dr. Lewis?”

“ER surgeon,” Dan said absently. He quickly glanced to Morticia when he answered and then did an equally quick double take, obviously noticing how she was leaning towards him, showing off her cleavage.

“Aww, not pathology.” Morticia made a moue of disappointment.

“But emergency rooms,” Fester growled out, low and happy. “Think of it, Morticia. Bodies and stab wounds and gunshots and poison!” He clenched his fist and grinned.

Annie blinked. She could practically feel Dan having the same what the fuck reaction next to her.

Eddie clapped his hands together and gave them all a forced smile. “How about that tour? I can show you my old room.”

Sure. Why the fuck not.

It would probably be best to know all the exits anyways.

--

Eddie was one hundred percent unsurprised when Annie kept the club. Probably a good idea, really. He kinda wished he had one.

Eddie, Venom whispered into Eddie’s mind. Your family seems nice, Eddie. Why haven’t you visited?

Can’t talk right now,” Eddie muttered under his breath.

Aunt Morticia gave him a sideways look, as if he was hiding a present in his suit jacket. Poorly. It was one part intrigued, two parts pleased.

They toured the lower parts of the house and then worked their way through the tower. Annie and Dan followed behind him the whole way like freaked out ducklings.

Dan had on his ‘I don’t know what the fuck is going on but I Am Coping’ face, and Annie walked like she was headed into a courtroom. Filled with bears.

Which reminded him…

“Oh, uh, watch out for any furs or taxidermied animals,” Eddie said quietly to them. “They like to play.”

“Play,” Annie said flatly.

“They get lonely now that the kids are grown and gone,” Aunt Morticia said with a matronly smile. “Why, my youngest, Pubert, left for internment years ago. We couldn’t be prouder, but it does make the house seem awfully empty.”

Annie blinked and nodded, at least halfway pretending to be politely intrigued.

“Internment? Where’d he get in?” Eddie asked, curious. “I haven’t been home in a while, but that last time I heard, he was still checking out reeducation camps.”

“Oh he did attempt one of those,” Aunt Morticia said with a nod. “Some place out in the midwest. Very remote. They tried electroshock treatment to cure him of his unnatural lusts. He ended up staging a revolt. They still haven’t found the remains of most of the educators there.”

Morticial beamed with pride.

Did he eat them? Eddie, why didn’t you tell me your family ate people! You said eating random people was bad!

“Like sister, like brother,” Eddie said with a nod. Wednesday had done something similar to her summer camp one year. Morticia and Gomez tried to enroll her the following summer, but she’d been banned. “Sounds like those assholes had it coming, though,” he added for Venom’s benefit.

The message must have gotten across because he could feel Venom pouting, like static tickling up the base of his skull.

“Indeed.” Morticia sounded pleased as punch. “We’d gotten a letter from a lawyer saying that Pubert was in a facility somewhere in the Southwest, but that’s all. I do hope he’ll be back for the wedding, but, well. Sometimes life gets busy.”

Eddie nodded along.

They looked through a few more rooms. The upper conservatory. One of the ballrooms. The children’s play area. With every room Annie and Dan stood closer and closer.

It was kind of nice, actually.

Yes, it is nice, isn’t it? They should be closer more often, Venom purred quietly.

Eddie held back the snort of derision. He was pretty damn sure that a foursome with his loser ass and his alien goo-monster was the last thing on Annie and Dan’s To Do list.

That didn’t stop him from thinking about it.

“Eddie,” Morticia interrupted his train of thought with a slightly chiding tone. “You’re being so shy, you should pay attention to your guests more. Either that or share your filthy thoughts with the rest of us.” She quirked her eyebrows suggestively. “You do look like you’re thinking very hard.”

“Auntie,” Eddie groaned. This was part of why he left. His family was great. They loved him and accepted him, no matter what. But for fuck’s sake, he liked having a little private life.

“I’m sorry, dear, you know I don’t mean to pry.” Morticia wrapped her arm around his elbow and guided him to the next floor. “I just worry. You need to express yourself more.”

“I’m a journalist, Auntie. I express myself all the time,” he said, feeling a little sulky.

“And such a wonderful job you do. Lurch has a collection of all your clippings and mug shots.”

Annie snorted behind them, and then quickly stifled the sound.

“You say it like I get arrested all the time,” Eddie bitched. “It was one time.”

“Well you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” Morticia said sagely. “Now, here’s your room, darling. We’ve left it just as you did. Please, take as much time as you need, and if you want an audience or the morning after pill, you know I’m always happy to help.”

Eddie just covered his face with his hands and tried to rub the experience right out of his head, while Annie and Dan choked behind him.

Yeah. Yeah, this is exactly why he didn’t visit.

Morticia gently shoved them all into his room and shut the door, watching them intently until the door sealed shut.

There was a long, quiet pause, and then the slow click, click, click, of Morticia’s heels heading away down the hall.

“Oh my god,” Dan whispered quietly.

“Yeaaaaah.” Eddie grimaced. “Throw the bar, will you?”

He gestured towards the drop bar poised next to the door.

After a hard blink, Annie went and secured the door.

“Does she really think we are gonna fuck in here?” Annie whispered, sounding horrified.

“Ehhhh? Probably just wishful thinking.” Eddie shrugged and collapsed onto his bed. He sank down about six inches into the mattress and a massive puff of dust flew up upon contact. “Folks in my family aren’t shy. About...basically anything that most people are shy about.”

“Are these medieval torture devices?” Dan asked.

Eddie looked up from his bed to see Dan walking next to one of his book shelves. It was dusty as hell, too, just like everything else.

“A few. Some are family heirlooms, some were gifts. Auntie ‘Ticia and Uncle Gomez really tried to make me feel at home here.”

“Is this what home was like?” Dan looked at him, his eyebrows drawn together in worry.

“Eddie, I have seen three different incarnations of you apartment. It looks nothing like this!” Annie was still talking in a hushed whisper. She looked afraid to touch anything.

Probably wise of her.

“It wasn’t that bad.” Eddie screwed up his face as he thought about it. “It’s hard to explain. You just...you get used to it.” He shrugged. When all he got back in response was flat looks, he shook his head. “No, really. People marry into the Family all the time and at first it’s, I donno, jarring, but within a few months they blend right in. Like Cousin Itt’s wife.”

“Cousin. Itt.” Dan pursed his lips.

“You’ll meet them tonight, I’m sure. Itt and Margret make it to all the events. Their kid, What, must be old enough for college by now. High school at least.” Eddie couldn’t quite remember. Damn, but time flew.

“I feel like you need to tell us more about what’s gonna happen tonight,” Annie said seriously. She leaned on the club like it was a cane and put her other hand on her hip.

It was a nice look.

Venom partially materialized out of Eddie’s skin to look at Eddie as well. “Yes, Eddie. Tell us. We need to know when it is alright to maim people.

Eddie sighed and fell back onto his bed again.

“Alright,” he said finally “Might as well. Safer in here for you two than out wandering around, anyways. If we look too bored, Grandmama will have us digging up graves all afternoon.”

“I’m starting to see why you haven’t visited,” Annie said.

“Man, you don’t even know,” Eddie groaned.

---

They spent a good portion of the afternoon in Eddie’s room.

If it were up to Eddie, they probably would have stayed locked in there longer, but Annie started to worry about being anti-social.

“It’s a wedding, Eddie,” she hissed. “The point is to mingle.”

“Your funeral,” he muttered, but Venom reabsorbed back inside of him and they took their chances downstairs.

The pre-party had already started, and the Addams clan was rolling in. Right along with the Glicker clan, Wednesday’s soon-to-be in-laws.

The Glickers looked as out of place there as Annie and Dan did. Expensive linen suits and bright floral dresses abounded. To Eddie’s mild shock, they seemed determined to have a good time, though there was a fair amount of muttering and they all very sensibly crowded together in large groups.

Even though the Glicker family was a little more mainstream, Eddie found himself naturally gravitating towards his own kin.

His family drove him crazy, but he liked them. They were weird and funny and full of surprises. And kind. He’d missed how kind they were.

As the afternoon turned to evening, Annie and Dan seemed to relax a bit, too. Annie kept her club, but she rested it on her shoulder easily, much to the envious glances of Addams and Glickers alike.

Drinks and hors devours were ferried around by the waitstaff. Eddie made sure to taste test them first and directed Annie and Dan to the non-poisonous ones.

The wedding itself was held out in front of the graveyard, with a white chuppah set up overlooking some of the most impressive tombstones. The Addams clan wasn’t Jewish, but they looked wholly delighted to be part of the celebration.

Eddie wasn’t sure what he was expecting with Wednesday’s fiance, but somehow Joel Glicker was everything and nothing like what he’d pictured. He was thin with short, dark hair and thick black glasses. He had on a very Addams-like black suit and cravat, but also had a white sash draped around his shoulders and a grey yarmulke.

What made Eddie pleased the most was how excited and happy Joel looked. He looked like a man about to have all of his dreams come true, and it made something bright and good swell in Eddie’s chest.

Oh. Oh, that’s good, Venom rumbled in Eddie’s mind. I’m glad we came. Your hormones are delicious right now.

“Way to ruin the moment, V,” Eddie muttered. Luckily, no one was paying much attention to him.

Wednesday was a goddamn vision. He hadn’t seen her in years, not since she was a teenager, and wow, had she grown up.

So much like Morticia, she was a paragon of grace and beauty. Her black hair was coiled up tightly at the nap of her neck, and her dress fit her like a second skin. It covered her completely, from neck to wrists to shoes, and trailed down several feet behind her as well. To Eddie’s mild surprise, it wasn’t solid black. The base color was white and it was liberally covered with large black embroidered flowers. The veil was so thin that Eddie could barely tell it was even there, though he thought it was white.

To anyone who didn’t know her, she might have looked impassive. Wednesday wasn’t a very expressive person on the best of days. But Eddie grew up with her. He could see the secret light in her eyes, and the way she moved with purpose. Her mouth had a barely-there smirk, one that only showed up when she was truly pleased.

The wedding was beautiful, and he did not fucking cry. He didn’t.

He was just a little sniffly.

Luckily, Annie had an extra tissue in her purse. She was always very prepared.

The party afterwards was just as riotous as Eddie expected. The Addams knew how to throw a ball, and it looked like the Glickers were trying to give them all a run for their money. The booze flowed like water, and it only took about five minutes for the knife throwing to start.

Apparently, there were several important dances. Eddie avoided most of these on principle. He briefly encouraged Annie and Dan to give it a spin, but all he got was flat looks in return.

So he mingled and Annie and Dan followed along with him.

Finally, he got a chance to say hi to Wednesday.

“Eddie,” she said coolly.

“Hey Wednesday,” Eddie said with smile. “You look great.”

She didn’t hug him. From the tension in her shoulders, if he tried to hug her now, he’d get stabbed.

“You’ve been gone a long time.”

“Yeah, I have,” Eddie said, nodding and ducking his head a little. “It wasn’t you. Not any of you. I just wanted to be alone for a while.”

She pursed her lips at him, but then nodded.

“Next time, you will write.” It was a threat, and Eddie knew it.

He nodded. “I will write,” he promised.

Eddie, I like her. She looks willing to force you into being less of an idiot.

Eddie smothered a snicker, and then tried to play it off by smoothing back his hair and looking elsewhere in the ballroom.

When he turned back to Wednesday, she had one delicate eyebrow raised.

“Are you possessed, Eddie?” she asked calmly.

Annie and Dan shifted and coughed next to him, probably smothering laughter.

“No! That’s…” Eddie pursed his lips and kept shaking his head. That was pretty damn close to the truth, actually. “That’s crazy,” he said lamely.

“I see.” Wednesday narrowed her eyes and looked him over up and down. “Congratulations on your union with the forces of Darkness. I’m a little envious.”

Eddie covered his face as laughter bubbled up.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law, Eddie. We are Venom. Venom felt smug as hell, and heat rippled up Eddie’s spine.

“It’s like they can sniff it out,” Dan muttered quietly, shaking his head.

“We’re very observant people,” Wednesday said, turning her laser-like attention to Dan. “Who are your guests, Eddie?”

“Right. Shit, manners. Wednesday, this is Annie and Dan. Annie and Dan, this is my cousin Wednesday.” Eddie waved a hand back and forth between them. “Her brothers are around somewhere, I think.”

“Pugsley is hanging from the gallows in the attic,” Wednesday answered promptly. “He’ll be down before the mamushka. Pubert is over with Great Uncle Throckmorten. Allow me to introduce you to Joel.”

“Hi!” Joel popped up from somewhere behind Wednesday. He smiled extremely awkwardly at them and waved and then kind of...faded into the background again, standing awkwardly behind Wednesday like he was a mannequin in a store.

Shy kinda guy, it seemed.

Wednesday was more than capable of taking over the conversation, though. She set her keen eyes on Dan and Annie.

“So you’re all lovers, then? I’m not surprised that it takes two of you to keep Eddie in line.”

Dan and Annie both turned red in the face, and Eddie just groaned.

“Noooo, why does everyone keep thinking that?” Eddie tilted his head back to stare at the ceiling and contemplated putting Annie’s club to good use.

“Because you all look like you’re pining, darling,” Auntie Morticia said, gliding up next to them. “It’s so deliciously painful.”

Wednesday just nodded.

“I’m not even into…” Dan started, and then stopped. Then he shrugged minutely. “Alright, I’m into guys sometimes,” he muttered, looking off to the side.

Eddie couldn’t help but perk up.

Oh really?

Joel snorted in amusement. He wasn’t much of a talker, maybe, but he certainly was listening. Wednesday actually cracked a smirk.

I told you, Venom grumbled. You owe me a chocolate bar.

“Alright, alright,” Eddie grumbled back to Venom, earning him another raised eyebrow from Wednesday.

Before he could say anything else, something solid hit Eddie in the shoulder blade.

No. Not hit.

Pierced.

There was blood pouring down the front of his suit and the end of a knife poking through to his chest. From the pattern on the metal and the shape of the point, it was one of the blades used in the traditional dances.

It hurt like a motherfucker.

“Well, shit,” Eddie said.

To Eddie’s utter lack of surprise, his stabbing didn’t actually garner much attention. One of the Glickers fainted, and Joel looked a little green, but the Addams mostly cooed appreciatively and then promptly ignored him. The music didn’t even pause.

No. We will not let you get stabbed, Eddie,” Venom said, surging up around him. It wasn’t a full covering, Eddie wasn’t subsumed within Venom, but black ink flowed over his wounded shoulder and smaller version of Venom’s head lowed up out of the other shoulder. “They are trying to kill you, Eddie, that means we can eat them.

“V, no,” Eddie said, feeling like the parent of an over active toddler. “And they aren’t trying to kill me---” He let out a grunt as a black tentacle pulled the blade out of him. “Someone just has shitty aim. I should have been paying more attention.”

Dan breathed out a somewhat hysterical laugh next to him.

Within seconds the pain started to fade. The blade was then deposited in his hand.

Venom hissed at him. His many long teeth shone in the dim light like pearls and his incredibly long tongue probed the wound. Or what was left of the wound. It was nearly healed already.

I thought you said family doesn’t try to hurt family,” Venom’s voice was a low growl by nature, but he was clearly trying to stay a little on the subtle side.

“Yeah, they don’t, but this is. This is fine, we are fine.” Eddie waved the blade dismissively.

“Move, Venom,” Dan said firmly, shooing away Venom’s coating with a few flicked fingers. “Let me look at it.”

Annie had already moved to cover them, standing so that Venom’s head was less visible. She scanned the room and hefted her bat a little more menacingly.

“They know,” Wednesday said in quiet surprise. “And they’re helping you.”

“See. I told you, they make such a good group together.” Morticia smirked and tapped one polished fingernail on her cheek. “It’s perfect.”

“We’re not together,” Annie said sourly.

“I know Eddie is a bit of a fixer-upper, but all good men need a little guidance,” Morticia said consolingly. “Be patient and keep the club. Consider it a housewarming gift.”

“Auntie ‘Ticia,” Eddie groaned.

Venom just snickered. “We could, all four of us, be Venom,” he said, obviously leering at Dan and Annie. Before Dan or Annie could say anything, Venom sunk back into Eddie’s skin completely.

If anything, that just made Annie and Dan look the other way and turn an even brighter shade of red.

They didn’t actually object, though.

That was. Interesting.

“I thought you said you weren’t possessed,” Wednesday demanded, with the outraged air of having caught someone in a lie.

“Venom’s not a demon. He’s an alien,” Eddie said, feeling a little chagrined.

“He’s charming,” Morticia said with a smile.

The moment Dan moved away, having seen that the knife wound was totally healed, Morticia moved in for another hug.

“Oh, Eddie,” she said to him. “Your time away has done you a world of good, and now you’re back with friends and lovers and parasites---”

I am not a parasite! I am a symbiote!” Venom hissed out of Eddie’s shoulder.

Morticia ignored him, and pulled back to look at Eddie. “Look at you. A credit to the Addams name. Welcome home.”

After all the worry, the nerves, and the angst, Eddie just had to laugh.

He really did love his family.

 

The End.