I want to be inside her, Eddie.
Anne putters around their new apartment, shooing Mr Belvedere from under her feet. She gets ready for work in her usual haphazard fashion (bathroom, brush teeth; bedroom, fuss over wrinkled blouse; bathroom, comb hair, still fussing; bedroom, apply makeup, step into heels; bathroom, last pit-stop before facing the morning).
Eddie listens to her trot back and forth, accompanied by the groan of the dustcart as it struggles up the steep street below. With two incomes to their name they can afford somewhere with such luxuries as dividing walls and a breakfast bar. It’s at this that Eddie sits, sipping a glass of off-brand Orange Miscellaneous from Ms Chen’s store that will, according to Dan (who still pops by every now and then, bringing wistful looks but no hard feelings, promise) give him diabetes, cancer, or both.
On these occasions, Eddie reminds Dan that he’s fused to an alien symbiote. Frankly, the Orange Miscellaneous can take its best shot.
I want to be inside her, says the alien symbiote in question, when we fuck.
“That’s the general idea.”
You aren't understanding. I want to be with her.
“Body and soul, bud.”
Eddie rolls Orange Miscellaneous round his mouth. Once you’ve sucked away the sweetness, it tastes kinda sulfuric, like those preserved apricots he used to love as a kid.
Mr Belvedere wanders past, having tired of his attempts to commit kitty-suicide by diving beneath Anne’s stilettos. Eddie takes another gulp of Orange Miscellaneous and imagines how much better fresh cat-meat would taste.
There’s a sigh from somewhere inside him. As in, I want you to fuck me, Eddie.
Mr Belvedere treats him to his customary morning hiss, the dustbins clatter outside, and Eddie Brock spits out his drink.
It’s still kinda weird hearing the symbiote say that word. Fuck. All full-throated and rumbly like an idling motorbike.
This is mostly because Venom only learned the meaning of fuck a month ago.
Here’s how it went down.
Scene: nine pm, Friday evening, post date-night.
By now, the two of them have fallen back into old routines. It’s as if that whole year - the LIFE Foundation, Carlton Drake, hacked computers, poor Doctor Skirth, symbiotes and skin-suits and one rather mortifying episode involving a lobster that still has Eddie on the Banned Persons’ lists of all the fancier restaurants in midtown - has been snipped out and discarded. Like it never happened.
You want me to what?
Okay, so perhaps some of that year stayed with them.
“Get out of me,” says Eddie, patiently. “Just for an hour. I’ll be back before you suffocate, promise.”
The last time I left you, I had to hitch a ride in a chihuahua.
Ah. Venom’s not gonna make this easy. Eddie grimaces. “I know. And I’ve said sorry for that. Repeatedly.”
I acquire a fraction of the traits and knowledge of whomever I possess.
I sniffed another dog’s backside, Eddie.
That’s some mood-killer. Until he barged into the bathroom with the intent of evicting his lodger, Eddie had been light-headed and fizzly from the kiss. This kiss wasn’t his and Anne’s first since they decided to try making things official again, but it had been by far the steamiest.
(This is, of course, discounting the snog Venom initiated in the middle of the LIFE facility’s forest. Eddie does his best not to think about that - or, for that matter, how much he enjoyed it.)
But anyway. Anne. Groping his muscular shoulders like she can’t get enough of them, winding herself ivy-tight around him, panting hotly as she sucks on his tongue…
Eddie wants to get back to that, pronto.
A stripe of lipstick clings to his stubble. It’s sensible red, lawyer red, a subtle promise of sex. His blood’s headed down-south, and every second wasted here is another second he’s not in Annie.
“I said I’m sorry.”
Venom huffs. It was not a pleasant experience.
“You can’t blame me for that! I thought you were eating me. Hell, you were eating me.”
I told you I was dealing with it. Just had to make you crave the right proportions of living protein so I didn’t need to take sustenance from your organs.
“And, what? I was supposed to trust the crazy alien voice in my head?”
Yes, says Venom. It sounds offended that Eddie would ever think otherwise.
Eddie tears off two squares of triple-ply. He dampens them in the sink and scrubs the lipstick away.
“Look, buddy,” he says, meeting his own eyes in the mirror. They glaze over, white and sticky-looking, like PVA glue. “No chihuahuas this time. Promise. Just hop out of me for an hour. I’ll be back before you know it. Think of it as a favour. Man to man, brother to brother.”
Those slimy eyes narrow. I am not a man.
“Sure.” Eddie fastballs the paper into the pan, flushes. “Genderless alien goo. Whatever.”
I am not your brother either, Eddie.
“And here was me thinking we were getting along...”
We. Are. One! Its voice amplifies, ringing so loud that Eddie has to clutch the cistern to stay upright. You, me... We.
Eddie’s grin looks all kinds of ghastly, paired with those alien eyes. “Sure are! Except when it comes to boning my soon-to-be wife. Then it’s you and me, separately, and the ‘me’ is the one doing the boning. Deal?”
Venom snorts. It is not a deal unless I get something out of it.
“Eddie?” Anne doesn’t bother disguising her impatience. She knows how much he likes to picture her waiting for him, her hand rolling slow and sweet between her thighs. “You coming?”
Eddie swears his cock rises in time with his pulse. He burns with it: desire, love, all those things that Venom will never understand.
I understand perfectly. You need her. We need her. Venom heaves a sigh. She’s beautiful.
“You don’t have any concept of ‘beautiful’. Comes with the territory of being genderless alien goo.”
Those white eyes curve upwards, smug as a cat’s. I am your genderless alien goo, Eddie. It was after bonding with you that I could gaze out across your city and see a world worth saving, and… It pauses for dramatic effect. A woman worth that world and more.
Eddie takes control of his eyes back for long enough to roll them. “God, you’re such a sap. You really weren’t lying about being a loser.”
Takes one to know one.
“Oh, you did not just playground-comeback me!”
“Eddie,” Anne calls. “Is this your way of telling me you want to jerk it in the bathroom? Because I’ve got a bullet in my sock drawer, and I’m not afraid to use it!”
Right. They’re not here to banter. Eddie adjusts his belt, glaring at himself in the mirror. This right now is business.
“You said you wanted something out of this deal,” he says, bracing his palms on either side of the basin. “So talk. I want an hour to fuck my fiancée without hearing your ongoing commentary. What do you want?”
Simple. Venom sounds pleased with itself. Ask Annie if I am allowed to join in.
There have been many times in Eddie’s life where he hears something so shocking, so awful, that he forgets how to speak. He’s a reporter, though. Those times rarely last long.
“You what now?”
Let me join you.
“In… in bed?”
Venom shrugs. Seeing as it’s currently twined around Eddie’s organs, this is rather unsettling. The location hardly matters. You have this one particularly vivid memory of lifting her onto the kitchen counter in your old apartment and -
Eddie holds up both hands. “Buddy,” he manages, head still spinning. “Buddy. That’s private, okay?”
You and me are ‘we’. There is no such thing as privacy.
“No, you’re just nosy! Look, dude, it’s not happening. And - and it’s all well and good you wanting to know whether Anne’d be cool with it! What if I’m not cool with it, huh?”
“Not cool with what?” yells Anne.
“Tell you later!” Eddie squares up to the mirror. He looks himself in the shiny, lidless eyes. “Look, Venom. Buddy. Pal. I say this with the utmost love, you know I do - but no. N-O. Simple as that.”
Silence. Eddie groans.
“Don’t tell me you’re pouting.”
I do not pout.
“Sure you don’t.”
My fangs are too numerous; they do not allow it.
“Mm-hm. Alright, have we got this sorted out? One day, you’ll find yourself a nice goo-wife. You’ll settle down, have two-point-three goo-kids. I’ll be your best man, yeah? I mean, I’ve got a goldmine of anecdotes. They mostly involve you biting off people’s heads without my permission, but to be honest, your kind would probably find that amusing.”
There’s a ripple under Eddie’s skin. Next moment Venom’s there, bobbing above his shoulder like some sort of mutated parrot.
My species reproduce asexually, it says. It sounds worryingly sincere. We do not mate, and even if we did, even if I was not a traitor despised by the rest of my race, I would not wish to copulate with my own kind. Warmth nuzzles low in Eddie’s chest. Want you. Want her. Want us.
Oh. Eddie swallows. That was a touch more heartfelt than he expected.
“Those’re my feelings you’re picking up on,” he tries to reason. “My desires. Not your own.”
Anger. A sharp frisson of it, stabbing out from his spine. Not a parasite, Eddie.
“I know, I know.” Venom is so much more. Eddie sucks his teeth. “Look,” he says, slowly. “I’ll ask, okay? No promises. Because even on the off-chance - the very, very slim off-chance that she’s into this? I’m still a lil’ pissed that you never asked what I think.”
Another of those internal shrugs. I do not need to.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I’m in your head. I already know.
Is it saying what he thinks it’s saying? Surely not. It can’t be - firstly, because no, secondly, because ew, thirdly, because… No.
You can lie to yourself, grumbles Venom. But you can’t lie to me.
It’s out of him before Eddie can rustle up a response, slithering from his chest with a noise not unlike a plunger being extracted from a blocked-up toilet (Rude, Eddie). It pools in the sink, oil-slick black, a turbulent sea tugged by miniature tides. Eddie gets the distinct impression that it’s glaring.
“One hour,” it says, in its own voice, out loud. The squeak from the other room indicates that Anne just jumped hard enough to knock a pillow off the bed. It will have ruined the seductive picture she’s constructed to greet him once he walks out the bathroom.
Never does anything by halves, does their Anne. That’s another thing they love about her.
He. Another thing he loves about her.
“I’ll be back soon,” croaks Eddie.
“Or I eat Mr Belvedere.”
“Don’t you fucking dare.” Eddie runs a hand through his hair, forcing himself to calm down, to focus on the here and now. Venom’s being an ass, that’s all. It’s not like Anne will ever agree to this. So, why worry?
He flashes Venom a grin, cockiness returning, and shuts the bathroom door behind him.
Anne recovers her pillow. She plumps it with the most adorable furrow between her brows, as if she’s disappointed by its betrayal.
Eddie doesn’t mention this, mostly because he doesn’t want it thrown at him.
Looking at her sends his senses haywire. He can smell her shampoo - something fruity, citrus. Can imagine how her breasts would weigh so perfectly in his hands, on his stubbled cheek. How he’d push her bra strap to match the one already dangling off one freckled shoulder...
“Annie,” he breathes.
Anne glances up. A lock falls from behind her ear. It’s the color of sunshine, of all the things good in the world. “Did I hear him threaten to eat my cat?”
Eddie winces. “I… won’t let that happen. And, uh. Just so you know. Venom’s an it, not a him. Gets pretty touchy about that.”
Anne tries not to smile, but one corner of her mouth keeps doing its best. “Genderless goo-pride and all that.”
“You promise you won’t let it eat my cat?”
Eddie presses a hand to his chest. “Heart crossed, ma’am.”
Fuck, she’s beautiful. After all this time, Eddie still gets moments like these, moments where he has to stop and wait for reality to catch him up. Moments where he’s convinced this must be heaven - that, or one hell of an acid trip.
He did the impossible, you see. He survived the battle against Riot. And, more importantly, he got his Annie back. He gets to touch her, be with her, be hers again.
It’s too... neat.
Eddie’s mind is as chewed up and cynical as that of anyone who navigates the big business underworld. Real life doesn’t have happy endings, not unless you’re rich enough to buy one. So why the hell does he get to ride away on his Ducati, his girl in his arms, off into the ruddy-red San Fran sunset?
He cost Anne everything. Her job, her reputation as a cutthroat big-city lawyer, very almost her life. It seems unjust that he’s not being punished.
Still, Eddie’s too selfish to let Anne go out of some sense of cosmic karma. He’d rather listen to one of Ms Chen’s meditation CDs.
He’s waiting for something, he realizes, as he crawls onto the bed beside her and tucks that blonde strand back where it belongs. He’s waiting for the voice in his head to tell him to get on with it and kiss her already.
He’s waiting for Venom.
That voice never comes, because Venom is busy not-pouting in the sink. Eddie doesn’t know what he feels about that.
Annie scoots in. Her chest flattens against his, plush and warm. Her red, red mouth glances off Eddie’s cheek, his jaw, the lobe of his ear.
“You realize I could hear every word of that conversation?” she asks. She closes her teeth on it and tugs, light enough to tease. “Your half, anyway.”
Eddie’s hands drift to their favorite places in the world: one on the curve of her lower back, the other stroking the swell of her thigh. Fine blonde hairs tickle his palm.
“Sorry,” he says. “I told it that this wasn’t. Y’know. Appropriate.”
She smiles then, a hard press of teeth against his pulse. Eddie recalls that brisk evening after all the madness, when two of them sat in a crusty downtown doorway, sharing a cigarette and reminiscing on what it meant to be powerful, to be a part of something so much greater than themselves. A part of Venom.
He remembers the shine in Anne’s eyes. Right now, they have that same greedy glint.
“I’m down for it if you are,” she says, and from behind the bathroom door comes a grouchy “Told you so.”
This is how it goes.
Eddie, Venom. Together, joined.
And Anne too, as much a part of them as she can ever be. She shakes on the bed, gasping, arching, as Venom, at Eddie’s direction, extracts a slim black tendril from his lower belly and brushes feather-light round her clit.
“Oh - oh, fuck, oh, Eddie…”
Eddie hears himself growl. It comes out a whole octave lower than usual and Anne’s legs jerk like he’s touched her with a live wire.
There’s significant danger of kneeing. She always bucks like a wild thing once she’s passed her third orgasm of the night. She gets real twitchy, over-sensitive and aching, though she won’t say stop until she’s sobbing from it.
Eddie waits for that moment, watching her, reading her body, ready to pull away. They’re almost there when something changes.
Anne’s eyes pop open and her pupils blow huge. A quiver jolts through her, from her back-tossed head to her curling toes.
Eddie, still thrusting into her clutching, soaking core, glances left and right to find black ropes wound around each of her ankles. They hold her spread for him. For them, for Venom…
“Fuck,” he chokes.
His pace stutters. His belly cramps. And, as his cock twitches and his balls clench and he hammers in his last, desperate, chasing thrusts, he feels something low in his body writhe.
He can’t describe what it’s like to hear Venom’s soft purr of “Eddie” as he sinks over the edge, pumping wet heat back along the length of his dick. He certainly doesn’t know how to feel about Anne kissing him, sloppy and ferocious, before flopping on the sweat-soaked mattress with a pat of his cheek.
“Good work, you two,” she says.
“Anne…” Venom doesn’t seem capable of coherence yet. It said its species was asexual, and Eddie finds himself wondering whether this was its first time.
That thought’s adorable, in a weird sort of way. Eddie blames it on the orgasm.
Heaving great sucks of air, Eddie shuffles back, sliding free. Through the messed condom, he can see thick black veins bulging rhythmically up and down his cock. Can still feel it, feel Venom, pulsing and oozing deep inside.
The alien’s a shot of something intravenous, a drug diffused in his bloodstream. Part of him, inexorable, but also so-very-addictive. His.
Eddie hopes, in that moment, that this high doesn’t pass.
And indeed, for the next month, as he and Anne rediscover each other’s bodies (Anne kneads his inseam as they watch an old re-run of Independence Day and suggests that they christen the new couch; Eddie pinches her ass as she walks past on her way to work, and although she refuses to be late she’s amenable to a five minute fumble on the kitchen table; Venom claws at Eddie’s belly, an avaricious churn, snarling and pleading for more) the high remains.
Anne walks in. Her heels clickety-clack on the fancy pine parqueting. She stretches her blouse in the vain hope of smoothing out the crease.
She takes one look at Eddie (blank-eyed, slack-jawed, dripping with Orange Miscellaneous) and groans.
“Did you break my fiance, Venom?”
Venom worms out of Eddie’s shoulder. Somehow, despite being a freaky alien hagfish, it manages to look sheepish. “Morning, Annie. Not intentional.”
“Hm. You two had better clean that up, okay? I needed to be on the tram five minutes ago.”
Anne swipes a nutri-grain bar from the counter and flays it in one efficient rip-and-twist. She drops a kiss on Eddie’s unresponsive cheek, then another on Venom’s. It makes a sound that’s worryingly similar to Mr Belvedere’s purrs.
“Behave,” she tells them, mock-serious. Then she’s gone with a wink and a whirl of lemony shampoo. The door creaks shut, latch turning.
Orange Miscellaneous drips from Eddie’s chin. Venom does him the favor of shutting their mouth.
Thought reporters never forgot how to speak?
Eddie gurgles something inarticulate. His mind is a blizzard of conflicting wants, fears, lusts, shames, loves. All those hues on the human emotional spectrum that don’t make sense when you observe them from a distance. The ones you have to squirm deep to truly feel.
Venom suspects it has gone deeper than any Klyntar before. When it peels Eddie’s mind open, exposing him to the rawest fibers of his being, it sees everything his odd, brave, wonderful little host thinks - whether or not Eddie’s ready to admit it to himself.
I see, it says.
It rights the empty orange-stained glass, then transforms Eddie’s arm into a twelve-foot tentacle and nabs the cleaning cloth from beneath the kitchen sink.