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Better than Intestinal Roundworms

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The nametag of the guy behind the counter at Subway is totally blank, which seems about right. Subway is the kind of place where you get stripped of your identity and purchase an affordable sandwich. Eddie used to go for the daily deal but Venom has other ideas. Venom has a lot of ideas. Some of them are good, actually. He likes hanging out on the roof.

They brought a folding chair up there and they split half out, so he and Venom can talk while they’re looking at the city. That’s one of the good ideas.

Climbing out of his body and putting his tongue in Eddie’s ass while he’s showering is another idea. Is it a good one? Well, hard to say. If you’re the neighbour who shares a wall with the bathroom, probably not. If you’re future Eddie thinking about his water bill, again, no. But Eddie’s dick likes the idea. And the great thing about getting cum in the shower is it’s so easy to clean up. That’s partnership. That’s being considerate. It’s the little things about Venom that get him. Little gestures.

He used to be an egg salad kind of guy. Even Annie had a problem with that. She said it was both gross and boring. But she wasn’t big on Subway, so it wasn’t an issue that came up much.

“What can I get you?” nameless dude behind the counter asks. Eddie opens his mouth and hesitates.

We should have eaten that guy back there

“Footlong meatball,” Eddie says.

Eddie! No!

“You’ll like it, it’s good,” he says. The dude behind the counter averts his eyes to focus on cheese. He asks if Eddie wants it toasted. He says yes. Venom says no. Venom’s wrong though, so he mumbles “Trust me.” Nameless dude has really good ears, apparently, because he hears that and gives Eddie a concerned look.

You never listen to me, Eddie

He waits until he’s actually paid for the sandwich to open that particular can of worms. Venom will be less angry when he’s less hungry anyways.

It’s nice being able to fall off a roof and not die. There’s a kind of security that comes with that. Makes you feel… healthy or something. But there’s also the fact that basically every day he gets so hungry it hurts . That’s no good. That makes his life rough. And a partner is someone you love despite whatever their faults may be, but that’s a big one.

This is actually good. Very weird

“Yeah, I told you.”

You are stupid a lot of the time, what can I say?

“Do you have to hurt my feelings right now? We were having a good day.” The woman sitting nearest to them stuffs her laptop into her bag and leaves. Eddie shoves the rest of the sandwich into his face. Some of the ache goes away.

I’m sorry Eddie. You know I didn’t mean that.

“Just, yeah, it’s fine man.” He’s actually really tired. It’s only eleven, but they’ve been out all day. If Venom’s also feeling it, he hasn’t mentioned anything. “How ‘bout we head home?”

If you want.

See that’s sort of subdued, he thinks. Maybe Venom’s as wrecked as he is. It’s weird because he doesn’t usually get tired. He usually just gets hungry. It’s only been, what, less than three weeks but everything before is already starting to feel like a distant memory. Like maybe he dreamed it. He stuffs his hands in his coat pockets and waits for the light to change.

Venom senses shit all the time that Eddie doesn’t. That’s how they don’t get stabbed in the back very much. So he doesn’t hear anything as he’s crossing the street, but he feels that kind of ripple in his bones and Venom goes: Hey, bad guys.

And they are bad guys. They’re mugging some exhausted-looking girl in an alleyway. Actually, the girl from the Subway. She’s handing over her backpack with tears in her eyes.

“Yup, you got that right,” Eddie says. They’re already suiting up, and in a second or two they’re on the far side of the alley. They slap the one dude into the wall, bullets, okay, fine, and then get tased a few times--fuck, ow. Smack the taser into the asphalt. Last guy into the wall. The girl picks up her backpack and runs for it, and Venom drops back into Eddie.

It’s like… hard to breathe, kind of. He braces himself on the wall as one of the guys groans and spits a handful of teeth onto the pavement.

Eddie? What’s going on? Venom climbs half out of him so he’s looking at Eddie instead of through him.

“Just kinda tired. Just need to uhh. Sit down or something.” He seriously feels like shit, but he’s not going to say that, because Venom’s not gonna like it. And there’s still probably a chance he’ll get sick of Eddie and eat him. Hell, there’s a chance he’s eating him now, and that’s why he feels like garbage.

Either way, he wants to go home and sleep, but the next step he takes turns into a stumble, and Venom envelops him again without asking.

I got us. Eddie.

“Oh, okay, great.” Nope. Bad. Being suited up is making him feel like puking. It’s like the more energy he expends as Venom the more he feels like he’s going to die. “I gotta rest pal.”

Hold on, Venom says. And then he… takes the cable car. He slips back into Eddie right before they get on, and then Eddie’s slumped against the partition trying not to think about marinara sauce. He’s not gonna puke, that’ll just put him back where he started. Hungry and tired. Venom prickles against his back, almost as if he’s trying to be reassuring. It doesn’t really help.

It’s Venom who takes them up the stairs, four at a time. Eddie drops onto the sagging couch and lets out a low groan. He seriously feels like he can’t get up. And he’s cold, and he feels like he’s… leaking. No, shit, actually--Venom bleeds out of him and before he can do anything or say anything the blob of black has vanished under the door.

For a moment Eddie lies there stunned. That didn’t… actually happen, right? But there’s no weird comforting presence around his organs anymore. And that weird background hum, the thick unspeakable energy that Venom hums his bones with is gone. It’s just him and his ravaged, exhausted body. He’s alone. He’s alone alone.

He stares at the swooping patterns on the ceiling for all of three minutes, and then he absolutely caves in on himself. He cries, snot runs down the back of his throat, and then he has to sit up, and once he sits up he’s got to puke.

In the bathroom he leans back into the tiles but he can’t move all that far from the toilet because fuck, it’s one thing to lose your fiance because you’re sort of a bastard, but getting ditched by your alien...whatever because he’s disgusted by how weak you are is something else , and his breath is clogging in his throat, and he kind of wishes he would denature like Venom does, melt into the floor and lose his ability to breathe.

And then he chokes and does lose his ability to breathe for a minute or two, and it’s pretty scary. He slumps against the toilet and hangs out there for a while. There’s a sound from the other room--like the door hitting the wall and bouncing off. Heavy footsteps. And before he can move the door to the bathroom is wrenched open.

Eddie .” He looks around to see uh, Mitch? The guy who lives down the hall. Sort of thick, has a lot of tattoos, used to almost scare Eddie before. He’s holding a CVS bag. And then Venom hulks back over him, and everything clicks into place.

“Ahh. Ah,” Eddie says. He’s kind of crying again. Part of it is vomit-crying, but part of it is just weak relief. Venom scoops him off the floor and carries him back to the couch. He sits down beside him and cups Eddie’s face in his hand.

What happened?

“Nothing happened.”

You’re upset. You were upset.

“I thought uh…” he doesn’t want to say it. But Venom’s here. He’s not going anywhere, clearly. And this is unbecoming. Making him look bad, Venom would say. “Thought you ditched me,” he manages to mumble.

What?

“I dunno. You probably don’t wanna be in someone who’s all… fucked up and sick.”

Wait here. Just a minute. ” As if to emphasize this request, Venom presses both hands to Eddie’s chest. Then he ducks out into the hall, presumably to shed his host. Sure enough, the Venom that comes back in is just a crawling blob, and he climbs over the couch but waits for Eddie to reach out to him. Venom slips in and curls around his organs like he’s trying to reassure Eddie--trying to be as close to him as possible.

Then he pours half out.

I was worried about you, Eddie.

“Yeah. Sorry. Just not… feeling so hot right now.”

Asked the pharmacist what to get you. But he didn’t know.

“Did you--”

No, I didn’t eat him. Just got you some of everything.

And it’s true. Eddie checks the bag and finds pretty much every type of painkiller and cold medicine. Useful to have around, certainly. There’s also a bottle of gatorade, and, because it’s Venom, a huge chocolate bar. He chugs half the gatorade and some tylenol, and then collapses back onto the couch. But Venom pours out of him, keeping just a few tendrils wrapped around his spine, and carries them to bed. He also takes Eddie’s pants off, which is sort of uncomfortable, but he does throw them in the hamper.

Hey. Eddie.

“Trying to sleep here, buddy.”

You’re going to be okay, right? I don’t know that much about humans but none of your organs are damaged. So… you’re not going to die, right?

When Eddie doesn’t respond, Venom climbs out to look at him face-to-face.

“Yeah, no. I’m fine. Just like, a virus or something.”

Okay.

“But you’d be okay, right? If something happened to me?”

No.

“I know you might not find as good of a host, but you wouldn’t--”

No, Eddie. I mean I would be sad. I like to be us.

That one knocks him back. Good thing he’s already lying down. Venom tugs the blanket over them, and brushes Eddie’s sweaty hair away from his forehead. It’s almost comical to be looked after by his alien… whatever like this, but it’s also genuinely one of the nicest things he’s ever experienced.

I got you Eddie. I got us.

He’s so exhausted that keeping his eyes open is a real challenge, but he still manages to lift a hand up, and after only a moment’s pause, he feels a hand emerge from somewhere near his shoulder and high-five him.

“Thanks babe.”

No problem honey.

The thing is--the thing is, he didn’t mean to say babe, it just sort of came out. But he’s always felt like, if something feels right, not to question it to much.

So he doesn’t.