Eddie enjoyed his work, now that he had work again. Work that paid. Going out into the world, finding the truth no matter where it led him and sharing it with the rest of the world … it made a difference. He made a difference. Even before Venom, that was all he'd wanted. To expose the corrupt. To help those who needed help. That was why he was a reporter. That was who he was and what he did.
That hadn't changed now that he had Venom along like a permanent shadow, in his thoughts and in his body. Someone to watch his back. Someone to help him do that good, even if Eddie was the linchpin in the alien’s evaluation of what was considered good or not.
In a lot of ways, the symbiote made the work easier. There was no denying that the knowledge that he was pretty much invulnerable and invincible in the right circumstances left him relieved. He never had to worry about being mugged again, and that was nothing to say about if he got into some trouble with someone who decided it was time to level a gun at him.
In other ways, however, it was most definitely not easier. Not with Venom adding constant commentary while he interviewed a source. Not with Venom sometimes overriding Eddie's control to plant them in the middle of a robbery because he was hungry. Not with Venom getting them into worse situations than that simply because he was bored, the alien swearing up and down that it was purely for the sake of Eddie’s work.
Eddie knew better, and Venom knew he knew better. Eddie couldn't say anything though. Didn't, even though maybe he should. Venom's power was heady, and even he wanted to stretch his legs with more than interviews these days. To feel the rush. To move.
Today had been one such day, where he'd tailed someone and bitten off more than he'd planned for. Venom had been elated, and Eddie really hadn't minded the rampage which had followed in the warehouse. It was fun in its own way, once he looked past the head-eating. The women who'd been imprisoned there were saved and freed. He'd been shot at, but nothing Venom hadn't immediately been able to fix. It had been good, and he'd entered his – their – apartment generally proud, comfortable, and sated with the day’s work, before collapsing onto the bed.
It was a good day, Venom agreed, curling at the back of his mind, equally pleased. We hope it will be that way tomorrow as well. Every day should be like today.
"I don't know about that, buddy," Eddie sighed. "Maybe not every day."
Every day, Eddie. We know you enjoyed it.
"You know what I would enjoy?" Eddie said as he stretched his arms high above him, relishing the long pull of his muscles. "After a day like this, you know what I'd do if I could manage it? A massage."
Venom sent a wave of interest and curiosity his way. A massage?
"Yeah, man." Eddie thought about the massages he'd received in his life, aware that Venom would see them as well. "I used to go to this one place in New York. There was a masseuse there who could get every kink out. Magic hands, I swear. Felt like my muscles were new."
And Anne did it for you when you moved here, Venom said.
Eddie nodded. It was one of those little things that had meant so much to him in their relationship. It was tactile and intimate, close to sex but not quite. Not so much lust-driven, but love-driven, though it had certainly taken its turn toward lust more than a few times.
Much as he missed that sort of fun, he didn’t need it, not right now, and especially not with Venom riding along. Just a simple back rub would’ve been heaven. He sighed.
"It's indulgent, I know, but if I had just a little more spending money, I'd go. It would be great."
We could do it for you, Eddie.
Eddie's eyes opened in surprise.
A massage, Venom replied, and from under his skin, Eddie felt Venom rising from the depths of his being. Darkness beaded along his skin as a black tentacle manifested. We could give it to you. A ripple flowed from the bottom of Eddie's back slowly all the way up to his shoulders, and a groan slipped out of his mouth. Turn over.
“I don’t know,” Eddie said, eying the tentacle that had whipped a man nearly in half earlier. “It can be easy to fuck up, and you’re not exactly Mr. Gentle.”
Would never hurt you, Eddie, Venom replied. Turn over.
Bemused but curious, Eddie slowly flipped onto his belly after he'd stripped off his shirt. He reached for his flat pillow and bundled it under his head, curling his arms around it.
"So, you know how to massage?"
We know you, Eddie, the symbiote replied as warm, firm, slick waves of motion eased their way up his back again, hitting every single muscle with a steady, lingering pressure before smoothing out and moving on. Everything about you. Every fiber of your being. We know what hurts, the alien pressure applied itself to a persistent knot right at the top of his shoulder and Eddie grunted at the blunt pain which streaked through it. And we know what feels good. The pressure lifted and the long, drawn-out groan of pleasure which followed was almost obscene.
A blush stung Eddie's cheeks. Even knowing there was no way to avoid it, even with the mounting number of humiliating situations he had endured already while acutely aware that Venom was there and watching, he hadn’t quite gotten used to it. To the blatant intimacy. To the fact that he couldn’t hide. Not his pain. Not his shame. Not his pleasure.
Venom chuckled knowingly.
"Oh, shut up."
Didn't say anything, Eddie.
"Uh-huh, yeah, totally convinced—" Eddie's sentence cut off as he buried his face in the pillow to stifle yet another moan of ecstasy as Venom worked not only the knot at his shoulder, but several others at the same time. The alien undulated across them, thick tentacles lifting out of his skin to roll and kneed each in a steady rotation, one right after the other with no break between them. It made Eddie's toes curl and his eyes roll.
We like this, Venom said smugly within his mind as the alien worked its way up Eddie's neck. It felt better than hands and fingers ever could. Venom wasn't just working his muscles from the surface of his skin, he was deep down too, in the depths of Eddie’s muscles that not even the most skilled masseuse had ever been able to reach. It feels good, Eddie.
Eddie could only moan in agreement. The symbiote was everywhere, flowing over his back and shoulders. Up his neck, down his legs, along his arms. Each tendon was catered to and soothed, every joint checked and eased in a way he knew no person had ever experienced before in the history of mankind. As he let the alien work, he happily allowed himself turn into a pliant pile of flesh, tensionless and warm, filled with nothing but relieved pleasure and a weight that clung to his bones and dragged him down like gravity. This was great. He never wanted to get up.
"You are really good at that," Eddie mumbled into his pillow, eyes heavy. The ripples and motions Venom had used to work his muscles were slowing, coming to an inevitable close, but instead of sinking back into his body like the symbiote usually did, it lingered atop his skin like a glistening, black, weighted blanket. It was warm and grounding in this unexpected state of bliss.
Pretty perfect, actually.
Fatigue dragged at his brain, but he still heard Venom's deep rumble of a voice as it rolled through his thoughts, enclosing around him there as well.
Will take care of you, Eddie. You're mine.
"You know," Eddie said between a yawn. "Most don't like that. Possessiveness. Especially from their parasite."
A growl curled through Eddie’s mind. Venom tightened around his body.
Not a parasite.
"Right, sorry. My bad."
You like it.
Well, he had liked the constriction, if he was being completely honest with himself, which was easier to do now that he was relaxed and tired.
Not that, Venom whispered. You like that you're mine.
"Wouldn't be too sure about that, pal," Eddie slurred with a contented smile, unwilling to let Venom get to him. "And it's impolite to read minds."
Another low chuckle slipped from Venom into Eddie, and it sounded so nice and it felt so good.
Tell yourself what you like, Eddie. We’re patient. We can wait.
"Liar," Eddie yawned again, getting comfortable and shifting onto his side. Venom shifted with him, a living blanket. He curled a hand into the warmth, pulling it tighter as he teetered on the cusp of sleep. "If you were patient, we wouldn't be getting us into fights every other day."
Venom constricted around him again, cocooning him.
You like that too.
He gave his symbiote a huff of amusement before he let the darkness in. Maybe Venom was right. Maybe he did.
And in his sleep-fogged mind he thought that maybe, just maybe, Venom might be right about other things too.