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Understanding your Symbiote

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Life with an alien creature taking up residence in the various nooks and crannies of his body isn’t as weird as it probably should be. Lot less chest-burster, murder extravaganza and more figuring out what foods will keep them healthy without giving them explosive diarrhoea.

“One time!” Venom snarls in his head, snatching the packet of chicken legs and shoving it in their basket, “It happened once!”

Eddie scoffs but doesn’t think anything at Venom, they know what he thinks of the Lasagne Incident and they’ll never hear the end of it.

Sure, in the beginning it was overwhelming, hungry, hungry, confused, hungry, Host, Host, Eddie. Too much to take in, seeing everything, sharper and brighter, the sparkle off a woman’s diamond ring, the dirt scuffed into his shoes. Hearing everything in a room, people muttering to each other, forks scraping on plates, the dull click of lobster claws. And the heat, so hot, burning up hot, that’s why he climbed into the fucking lobster tank.

Everything felt too much, smelt too much, waking up in that MRI machine was almost nice, just cool cushion underneath him, paper thin gown barely brushing his skin. The bright white hurt to look at but his eyes adjusted, those few seconds of nothing were actually nice, then Dan turned the thing on and everything was hell again.

Learning to live with all of Venom’s “enhancements” is hard, tuning out conversations he shouldn’t be able to hear, not wanting to touch things because they feel bad. Sometimes he lays in bed and can’t sleep because he can hear his neighbour taking a shit, or he can hear cars scuttling down the street, or his own heart is beating too loud in his chest. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is pouring into his head, bouncing off his skull and slicing his brain to ribbons.

It’s a lot, so much, but Eddie wants to think he’s adjusting okay. Compared to those first few hours he’s doing pretty damn good if he does say so himself. He’s out and about in public now, shopping for things to make an actual dinner at a fancy supermarket instead of getting take-out.

Venom’s even being nice, less ordering him around and more figuring it out together, baby steps but at least they’re steps. Right now they’re pretending to be his shirt, a little too black, a little too tight but Eddie doesn’t mind, he likes the feeling of a cool, snug, alien hug. Hey, he’s even got headphones in so he doesn’t look crazy when he talks to Venom, ie himself, and he likes to think Anne would be proud. He’s settling into his new-found domesticity without a single fuck up, she’d be ecstatic.

Even if he's settling down with an alien goop that bites peoples’ heads off and makes him hear voices. And makes him scarf down whole fucking lasagnes in the middle of the night when he should be sleeping.

 “Do you want an apology?” Venom snaps, but Eddie can hear the pout in their voice and smiles into his sleeve. He doesn’t want an apology, Ven’s already given him a hundred apologies by helping cook, helping proofread his articles, by always sounding so bitchy and put out whenever Eddie brings up the Incident. It’s nice.  

 Anne might bust a gut if she ever finds out he’s the emotionally mature one in this relationship. After slapping him for keeping the alien of course.

“I want you to admit you don’t know everything about me,” he mumbles, squinting at a pack of sliced turkey bits. They’re getting better about this diet thing, Eddie’s pretty terrible at keeping himself healthy but Venom isn’t. They’ve been reading articles about human diets and scrounging through Eddie’s memories to figure out the best way to keep their shared body healthy.

Venom is actually kinda anal about it, which is coming from the alien that would gladly eat a sewer rat. They say Eddie should eat nutritionally balanced meals, or the parts of them at least, because he needs to keep his energy up and his brain chemicals balanced. Half the time they sound like one of those soccer moms that swear charcoal cleanses are the key to living to a hundred. The other half they’re reminding Eddie that beer is not a suitable substitute for water and how the hell did he survive before they got here?

Of all the things he is, and despite how life-destroyingly stubborn, Eddie knows when to give up. He lets Ven plan and cook their meals, cause he’s no good in the kitchen. He can burn water and has warped pots; he’s happy to let someone else take over, even if the someone else is a gloopy E.T with hunger-based anger issues.

Today’s dinner looks like lean meats, and yeah Eddie trusts his gloop but uh some of this stuff is kinda pricey and he’d really hate for it to go to waste if neither of them can cook it. Sure he has a job again, steady income, no debtors banging down his door, but he’s just starting out on the writing. He’s not a freelancer but he might as well be, just as hard, just as much risk, almost the same paycheque.

“I know everything about you, Eddie,” Venom growls, wrapping tighter across his chest and dropping the turkey in their basket.

He thinks about taking it back out, just to spite his alien, but leaves it where it is. They can afford some pricey meat once in a while and Eddie knows Venom likes the better cuts, fills them up the way garbage chicken doesn’t. Ven says they only need this one brain chemical neither of them can figure out. They say it tastes like sweet mint and google doesn't really have much to offer when Eddie looks up "what do neurotransmitters taste like?". Ven says it doesn't matter anyway, they can survive on brains and the occasional dog, it's no problem if that's their entire diet, but Eddie's starting to know better. 

This whole alien-host thing is a two-way street; hard to catch the cars whizzing by and pedestrians are always moving but at least the stores are big and bold. Which uh, what he means is, the big stuff is easy to know, like Ven being hungry, the minutiae is harder, like what Ven wants to eat.

So Ven needing actual food is like a racecar speeding down the road, burning rubber and barely missing the pedestrians, but it’s real hard to miss. Eddie can taste the rubber on his tongue and feel the car whipping past him. Venom only needs the one chemical to survive but they need more to thrive, be healthy, comfortable, and Eddie wants Ven to be comfortable. He’ll do whatever he has to.

Even if whatever includes some way over priced meat and a supermarket that’s more hipster than he’s comfortable with. Seriously, who’s gonna pay forty bucks for some “organic spinach”? He’s happy with his wilty, chemical saturated leaves, thanks.

“You know diddly squat about me,” Eddie teases as they head over to the bread aisle. Of all the things he thought his alien would care about, bread wasn’t high on the list. Chocolate, potatoes, human organs, maybe a dog or two, but never bread.

They get to the top of the aisle and a happy sigh tickles his brain, and somehow that’s not the weirdest thing right now. Weirdest is probably the guy in an actual dog collar, with a chain attached, sitting at a woman’s feet while she decides between whole wheat or whole grain. Second weirdest is Eddie’s alien dragging him all the way down to the gluten free section and making him pick up two whole loaves of bread with no gluten.

“I know you’ll like this,” Ven purrs, pushing a picture of steaming hot chicken swimming in some thick sauce with just barely toasted bread on the side. There’s even garnish on the chicken, a little sprig of something green, and a slice of turkey folded over in the sauce.

It’s something out of a cooking show, because Venom loves watching those after he’s asleep, but then it shifts and slides until it’s on their crappy table. The chicken’s sitting in one of his chipped plates and the bread’s on a saucer that doesn’t match and there’s even a bottle of beer next to it, lightly frosted. Eddie can smell the chicken, roasted to perfection and cooked in its own fat, just like Ina Garten said it should be, and the bread is so warm and rich, good.

Eddie blinks and realises he’s drooling in the middle of the bread aisle. Venom snickers, bass low and rumbling, but it’s a playful snicker and Eddie pouts as he wipes away the drool. He is not going to be the weirdest thing in this place, he’s already winning that over at Mrs Chen’s, but he doesn’t argue with Ven knowing what he likes. They’re still learning but they’re pretty good at guessing and Eddie really wants that chicken.

“Home,” Ven rumbles, soft and soothing, while Eddie sighs happily. Home sounds great, just them, some chicken and whatever’s good on Netflix.

Investigative journalism is actually a lot more work than people think, himself included cause he forgot what this was like. Tracking down people is a challenge, searching social media, using official resources then getting fed up and using less than legal methods. And after you find the guy you’ve been looking high ‘n low for, sometimes they don’t wanna talk. Especially when what you want them to talk about is the illegal shit their Boss does and you need them to break NDA’s to get the story.

“C’mon Jake, gimme something man,” Eddie groans, scrubbing his hands on his pants to get rid of the clammy, sticky feeling that comes with nursing beers for too long. They’ve been here for a while, drinking shit beer in a shit bar, sitting in a dark corner like they’re in a shit detective movie. Eddie’s almost sure he’s gonna get followed back home tonight, Jacob too, and then he’ll get a couple threats and loose his lead.

Soo, if Jacob’s gonna talk, he needs to do it now.

“I…they’re dangerous people and this was a mistake, thanks for the beer,” Jacob mutters and Eddie wants to bash his head against the table. Hard enough that his skin splits open and he starts bleeding all over this sticky piece of shit table. He doesn’t, but it’s close, and he just watches while his lead snatches his coat and does the hurrying-but-not-hurrying thing people do when they think they’re being sneaky.

The door swings shut behind his lead and Eddie leans back with a sigh, that went well.

“Should’ve forced him,” Ven mutters, crawling along his fingers and out onto the table, Eddie would stop em but it’s too dark to see a living shadow moving around. Ven crawls into Eddie’s mostly-full beer bottle and drinks all the shit beer right up, comes out licking their lips and flashing fangs. It’s still so weird to feel his stomach fill up without eating anything, well, without anything passing through his own mouth.

Venom usually takes what they need and leaves the rest to Eddie, and they don’t need much actually, aside from the one chemical. A few vitamins, some endorphins, a little adrenaline every now and then, and he’s got a happy Venom purring against his throat. Which is Ven’s favourite place and where they climb up to now, settling around his neck as a fine-knit scarf, covering his jugular.

Maybe it’s a cosmic joke that Eddie’s brain doesn’t produce enough of Ven’s one needed chemical for his own body, much less an alien-klyntar goop. He’s got plenty of adrenaline, always producing tons of it, Ven grumbles about an over-active panic response and Eddie sighs, because yeah, basically. Maybe if he ever got back on his meds, his brain would work right, settle the anxiety in his stomach and the depression cloud rumbling in his head.

He could, if he works harder, gets more reports out, does some overtime, he could afford his meds again. If he puts some money aside for the next two months he might be able to find a good psychiatrist to write him up a prescription, see about getting on a regular schedule again. Dan might know someone, if Eddie asks, but he’s not sure he wants to, yet at least.

Venom stays quiet while Eddie thinks, a presence on the edge of his thoughts but not wrapped up in them. Eddie appreciates that, knows Ven is all about the bond, no secrets between partners, no unknowns, but they know when to let Eddie work things out for himself. Not everything needs a second opinion, or input, or anything at all.

He scratches at the wood of the table while he thinks about how losing this lead will make it even harder to start fixing his brain. This’ll be two weeks of work out the window and all he’ll have are the allegations. Allegations don’t get jack shit in this line of work, facts and evidence are what he needs, eye witness accounts, paper trails that people can trace. He can’t…he can’t let this be another Sin Eater, another Drake.

“We should shake him down, scare him,” Venom suggests, a comforting purr against his skin. Ven tries to be helpful, tries to fix everything, and offers to eat to people because getting rid of em is the easiest way to make Eddie happy again. It’s sweet, in a murder-cat kinda way, and Eddie appreciates it but he can’t accept that kinda help.

He never wants to slip into using Venom for some kind of monetary gain. Work is work, he won’t use his alien to make witnesses talk and he won’t scare em stupid because scared people don’t ever keep shit to themselves.

“Too much risk,” Eddie mumbles, frowning when the table top starts splintering under his fingers. Apparently, he was absentmindedly scratching tally marks into it, counting out the seconds while his lead got further and further away.

His lead, Jacob Elias, accountant for Winston Industries, a shell company for a bigger corporation that’s doing something real bad. Human experimentation maybe, trying to whip up a soldier in a bottle to sell to the highest bidder, or it’s a bio-weapon, or it’s some new miracle cure-all. Eddie doesn’t know, it’s all rumours and allegations, nothing but unsubstantiated hearsay. But if they can get their hands on those expense reports, if they can track down some other shell companies, and if they can find out where the money’s going, then they’ve got a case.

If not, it’s all just smoke in the hole.

Eddie,” Ven growls, sharp, alert, curling around his throat protectively. He wants to jump, startled, but he’s getting better at not reacting when his heart shoots into this throat.

Usually Venom will tell him what’s going on, point out whatever, but this time they just show him. Nudge his face towards the far wall and close his eyes so he can hear better. What’s on the other side of the wall? An alley, back alley with a dumpster, then a Chinese place; the alley in the middle's a lonely little connector between streets.

Eddie can hear jagged panting, harsh, he can taste the blood in the air, tinny and drooling between split lips. There’s…it’s Jacob, their lead, he’s up against the wall, breathing hard and terrified, they can hear his heart beating out of his chest. And there’s someone else there, a man bigger than Jacob, bigger than Eddie, and he has something in his hand. Gun? Knife? Not sure.

Venom wants to go, Eddie doesn’t think about saying no. They’re up, leaving the bottles behind, pushing past the rest of the crowd. Someone shouts at them, they made him spill his beer, but they don’t care. Out into the street, in the cool night air and they can taste the tint of gunpowder bitter on their tongue. Gun then.

“Please I didn’t say anything! I swear, please, you gotta-” Jacob’s whimpering, ready to piss himself when Eddie bursts into the alley. Eddie not Venom because they can’t kill, not in front of their lead.

But Eddie is still they, and they are very dangerous. The man holding Jacob against the wall whips around, pulling out the gun they tasted, and aims like he knows what he’s doing. Venom doesn’t like that, the threat, the suggestion, and they’re charging before the man can think about pulling the trigger.

They don’t need style when they have power, nothing flashy when a solid punch to the side has the man doubling over. They can feel ribs breaking under their knuckles, the squelch of organs bursting under the skin, sick but good too. Eddie smiles, sharp toothed and nasty, as they bring a knee up and breaks the fucker’s nose. Copper tones fill theirs, instant and insistent, then they ram an elbow down, bashing into the back of the fucker’s exposed skull.

They can feel the bone there break too, crackling and chipping under their elbow, more blood spilling. They’re rearing for more, lick their lips in anticipation, but…that’s it. The man collapses, face first onto the dirty ground, and they’re falling out of their stance, stepping away from him. Venom’s purring under their skin, humming happy, violence sweets them so nice, but Eddie’s already racing through the consequences.

Jacob just saw that, Eddie laying out a guy in three hits, making him bleed, breaking him. He’s not a fighter! Well okay yes, he used to go take lessons at a gym back in New York and he does know how to box, kinda, but he’s not a brawler or anything. He’s Eddie Brock, reporter, and he just knocked a man out cold...actually, the guy might not wake up from that. They used too much force, hit too hard, but he was aiming at them! A bad man, not good, would kill them and their lead if they let him.

It’s a discussion for another time, later, now they have Jacob to deal with. Jacob who’s trembling and sweating and stuttering out some word.

“T-th, thank you, I-thank you,” Jacob babbles like a child learning to talk all over again and Eddie slouches, brings his shoulders up, gets smaller. He’s not big, never was, but he knows what he looks like when they’re Them. Scary, even if they’re not all the way alien, intimidating on a primal level.

Their teeth are too sharp to be all human and their eyes reflect light like some kind of animal. So, they keep their face tipped down, breathe harder than they need to, like they’re out of breath, and keep their mouth closed. Venom strokes along their back, soft along their spine, security around their neck, and settles under their ribcage. Eddie does their best not to be threat, moving slow, stilted, even though they just concussed a man.

 "Gun man, bad man," Venom reminds him, keeping the thought quiet enough not to distract.

“You okay man? I uh-are you sure you don’t wanna talk?” Eddie asks because beating around the bush won’t really work here. He’s got his hands jammed in his pockets but they’re still speckled with blood, Jacob’s still shaking in his shoes and his lips busted pretty bad. There’s no nice ‘n easy way outta this now. His Boss knows he contacted someone and he’s gonna get the shit beat out of him whether he talks or not, and that’s if he’s lucky.  

Eddie’s seen unlucky before, been the one reporting on their body being found, been the one speculating about what they knew. He knows how this shit goes and he doesn’t want that, not this time, he can help this time. They can help.

“Talk? I no-yes? I have-I have the expense reports saved, at home,” Jacob rambles, stopping and starting weird but that’s just the shock. Eddie can feel it jumping in his own veins, not the lightning strike it used to be but it’s still there. Buzzing at the back of his head, like a mosquito that won’t go away.

“Your laptop? A desktop? We can go, together,” he adds because he wasn’t talking about him and Jacob. Not that Jacob notices, he’s too busy running his hands through his hair and wiping his mouth on his collar. He’s a mess and ideally Eddie’d wait a while but they don’t have a while, not really.

“Listen man, go back inside, I’ll meet you and we can figure something out,” Eddie tells him, trying to sound more confident than he feels. Tries to sound like he knows what he’s doing for once and it fools Jacob at least, he doesn’t argue at all, just scurries away like a cockroach.

“That’s not nice,” he mumbles, knowing Venom doesn’t like weakness, fear, they think it’s disgusting. Only when it’s other people though, they think Eddie just needs help working through his own panic, it’s kinda sweet.

“You uh, you wanna take care of this?” he asks, crouching next to the passed-out guy. He’s still breathing, for now, and the gun’s still in his hand. Ven covers their hand and Eddie bats the gun away, off into a corner, they don’t like guns.

Eddie looks away while Ven manifests a head, one full of sharp teeth with a shark’s smile. His stomach does a queasy flip, eating people isn’t something he can get used to but it’s something Venom needs, and he’ll always give Ven what they need. Even if it makes his skin all tight and prickly.

“No, not this one. Leave him for the pigs,” Ven says instead, rubbing their cool not-really-a-cheek against his before dissolving back into a scarf. Eddie frowns, cocks his head confused, Ven always takes the chance for a meal.

“Not always. We need to go back inside, we have a case, Eddie,” Ven prompts him, standing them up and turning them away from the man they probably broke. There’s a conversation to be had there, about who needs what and how both of them can’t just not do things they need to cause of the other’s comfort, but Ven’s right. They have a case.

“Thanks,” he sighs, snuggling down into his scarf and brushing a kiss against the “fabric”. Next time they’d eat together, this time, they’ll just get to work.

Diving into the bay should be traumatising. Last time he was here, he was plunging into the water while burning half to death and screaming for his alien. Last time was not good, this time it’s great. This time they jump off the golden gate and punch right through the surface, a clean dive that barely splashes up. The fall is a little dizzying, Eddie feels his heart do a weird little buh-bup but it's exciting too, like bungy jumping maybe? And the water's so cool, feels good, so much better than last time. 

“Because we’re together,” Venom says as they sink down-down into the depths. Everything should be pitch black down here, it’s night time and they’ve gotta be at least a hundred feet down, but it’s not. He can see, sort of, it’s weird, hard to explain.

Venom’s doing something to their eyes, making the murk look sharp but colourless, and it’s more like he’s tasting the water than seeing through it. Like a shark maybe? He’s not sure, he’s not a marine biologist, he’s not an alien biologist either so where’s that leave them?

“Two hundred feet deep and hungry?” Ven offers, propelling them with an honest to god mermaid tail. Well, more shark than tuna but it’s still a fish tail where their legs should be, it counts. Even if their tail’s got tiny tentacles sprouting along it, tasting the water for prey.

All in all, it’s not scary, it’s actually pretty damn cool. A lot of Venom’s like that. They’re a huge alien monster that likes to eat heads, that’s horror movie shit if Eddie’s ever heard it, but they’re not…scary? Intimidating? Hmm, they are scary, pants-shittingly terrifying, but only when they wanna be.

And the people they want to scare definitely deserve it. Murderers, rapists, scum of the earth. At least that’s what Eddie keeps telling himself, over and over. Some people are just too messed up and far gone to keep around, and if Venom needs to eat someone, then it might as well be them. The ones that ruined lives and only make things worse for everyone they meet.

“Eddie takes good care of us, feeds us heads, feeds us fish,” Venom says as they cut through the water, hunting after something tasty. The play of senses between them is a little confusing, humans are pretty visual, they know things on sight, klyntar aren’t. Their real bodies are tiny piles of gloop, they’re more about sound and scent, they don’t even have eyes.

So, Venom smells something in the water and the information translates into something sort of flat and flappy in Eddie’s head. He has no idea what it is, but Venom isn’t picky, not knowing what something is never stopped them from eating it before and it won’t stop them now. They dive after it, tracking it across the bay floor, waiting for it to settle again.

Sometimes Venom’s so lightning quick that Eddie doesn’t realise they’ve moved until he feels the shift in muscles, but he’s getting better at keeping up. This time he realises they’re moving mid lunge and isn’t so freaked out when their jaws clamp down on something chewy and a little soft. The thing fights up, tearing itself on their teeth, kicking up clouds of sand, and Ven lets it.

They like playing with their food when they have the chance. Down here at the bottom of the bay they’ve got all the time in the world. So the flappy thing fights and fights, breaking its own spine in their grip and spreading its blood everywhere. Eddie wrinkles his nose at the smell, pungent, but Venom absorbs some of it with their hands, they like it.

Reminds them of something from another planet, a thing that lived on dense clouds, jewel toned with tentacles. The flappy thing’s blood tastes like that creature’s flesh. Another few seconds of play then Ven shakes their head, viciously, and kills the thing dead. A few post-mortem flaps and its hanging limp in their mouth.

Eddie thinks about surfacing to eat their fishy friend, so the water doesn’t flood their stomach, but Ven just starts tearing into it then and there. And no, the water doesn’t start pouring into their belly, maybe a few gulps but that’s it. The taste is distinctly fishy but the texture is more rubbery than any fish Eddie’s ever had, it’s chewy but it shreds like butter under their teeth and is gone in a few bites.

“Delicious,” Venom growls, sucking the last specks of blood off their claws before moving again. Eddie isn’t sure he agrees but it’s better than clothes, he really hates swallowing clothes but the thought of stripping his victims before the deed is just too messed up. He’ll take coughing up random threads of cloth over eating a naked guy any day.

“What else does the bay have, Eddie?” Venom asks as they do a couple flips in the water, stretching their muscles. He thinks while they race towards the deeper part of the bay, throwing up bubbles in their wake, like a god damn motorboat, it’s actually really cool.

He knows there’s sharks in here, great whites sometimes cause they’re close to the shark attack triangle, but other than the he’s got nothing. He’s never really covered shark attacks or the fishing community out in San Fran, although he really should, there’s gotta be improper fishing practices or something going on. There always is.

“Sharks? Let’s have a shark,” Venom growls excitedly, like a puppy perking up, ready to play. A puppy that wants to attack a shark apparently. Eddie really, really hopes they don’t find a great white out here, he’s pretty sure those things are endangered. He’s also pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to tell Venom “No” if they do find one, there’s only so much he can deny his alien without feeling like he kicked the world’s biggest puppy.

“That’s right, don’t be mean,” Venom says, smug, as they make a sharp turn and shoot off towards the shallower areas. There’s something there, Eddie doesn’t know what, but it’s a lot of somethings and Venom’s interested.

Turns out there’s a lot of fish that come out at night, and, and, there’s sharks that come hunting the fish. Venom bursts into the middle of a school of fish, jaw unhinged so they can scoop up as many as possible, and slams right into a shark. Eddie would scream if he had a working throat, cause holy fuck and shit.

The shark looks at them with a huge eye then tries to slap them with its too long tail, Eddie’s somewhere between horrified and disbelief cause seriously, what even looks like this? Venom’s not very impressed though, snorting in their shared headspace, and catching the tail that whips at them. They rake their claws down the length of the thing, slicing it into bloody meat ribbons, and lunges while the shark flails.

There’s no playing around this time, Venom bites right through the shark’s spinal column in one massive munch, and swallows down the tangy bits of gristle and meat. The fish scatter, swimming away from the predator of their predator, and Eddie’s left stunned as his alien goes to town on a thing that’s at least twice as big as them.

Ven’s pretty methodical about everything. Breaking the head open first then tearing out huge junks of shark flesh with each hand, bloodying up the water as one does. Eddie slowly gets over the shock of killing a flipping sharp with their bare hands and settles into their meal. He likes shark, when it’s cooked, but this isn’t terrible.

Chewy, not as chewy as the flappy-possible-a-ray thing but there’s some rubber to the bites. There’s also something almost rank, like a sourness on their tongue. Venom likes it, thinks it gives the meat some zest, Eddie doesn’t really have much to say about that.

Takes them longer to eat a twenty-foot shark though, crunching on the cartilage bones and sucking on the various organs. Bit by bit they get through it though, snatching bits of fish out of the water around them just to keep the taste interesting. When they’re done, there’s nothing left but little scraps of skin and wisps of blood, but they’re not hungry anymore.

Which is nice, a full belly is nice, and not something Venom ever got to enjoy before. Back on whatever planets they made it to, klyntar would fight over resources, hoarding ‘em or gobbling them down as fast as they could. No time to enjoy a meal, always had to metabolise the food into energy to keep fighting some more. Eddie thinks it’s kind of sad, a little heart breaking, specially cause Ven just accepts it as how things be.

“Not anymore,” Eddie mumbles as they climb out of the bay, water sluicing off their oil spill skin. The night air feels good, cold and fresh.

“I know Eddie, you’ll always take care of us,” Venom croons as they slip back into his veins, settling just under his ribs. They feel content, right down to their very last cell, and Eddie’s fiercely glad for that. They deserve to enjoy things, even if they do commit murder every other week, they’re just trying to survive.

“Mhmm, but no great whites please. My heart, y’know?” he says as he wanders over to where they hid their motorcycle. Thankfully no one messes around down here at three in the morning and everything’s in one piece. Ven’s too lethargic, digesting their meal, to comment on Eddie’s lack of protective jacket, and just forms around him instead.

“Thanks,” he murmurs, throwing a leg over the bike and pulling on his helmet. Maybe they break the speed limit getting back home, and maybe they do a couple of those heart stopping jumps too, but Venom loves them, and Eddie’s never gonna deny his alien a little happiness.

Eddie likes to think he’s an adaptable person, a roll with the punches kinda guy. Sin Eater happens? He just packs up and heads to San Fran to be with his gorgeous fiancée. Life Foundation? Uh well find a new place to start piecing his life back together, which didn’t go great but y’know it wasn’t hellishly bad. Alien lifeform attaches itself to his brain? He makes friends with it and saves the world, while having several breakdowns and committing many murders along the way.  

“Three for three, you’re on a roll,” Ven teases, bumping against his cheek with that little noodle head of theirs. Eddie rolls his eyes, hard, because there’s only so much a guy can adapt to in a handful of minutes. Hearing his goopy alien head-mate say, with their own mouth, “I have had a dozen offspring, Eddie, one more won’t be a problem” is really pushing it.

“Yes Eddie, offspring, children,” they stress, because figuring out what a kid is, is the problem here. Eddie really needs more than good ole Jack to deal with this but that’s all he’s got so screw it.

A half empty bottle of Jack Daniels is nothing to him now, Ven always filters out the toxins and leaves the taste behind, not even on purpose. They just do it, part of keeping the host healthy or whatever, Eddie never really pays attention to the half answers. Ven doesn’t know exactly how their body works but neither does Eddie, so it’s fine.

What’s not fine is coming home, exhausted, collapsing in bed and getting hit with Venom’s apparent baby-making talk? He’s actually lost here, but the whiskey’s nice, burns a little, and tastes so much better now that he’s got a “refined palette” ala alien. Lots of vanilla and oak and corn playing around in his mouth right now, and the burn snaking down his throat, reminding him that this is really happening and not a dream.

“I didn’t mean now, we need to scope out the Life Foundation first, get a better job,” Ven adds while Eddie just drinks. He really needs to replenish the stash of slightly-less-shit alcohol in the house, he’s been going through it like shitty beer. In his defence, he never gets drunk anymore, doesn’t have to worry about a beer gut, or even a hangover. There’s no downside to drinking.

So he drinks, and drinks, until he hits bottom, not a drop left. Which means, it’s time to actually have this talk, slumped at the foot of his bed, cradling an empty bottle, with his noodle alien bobbing in front his face. Not his worst Wednesday in recent memory by a long shot.

“Before we get to those kids of yours, you wanna tell me why we’re even having this conversation?” he grumbles, reaching up to smooth his fingers along Venom’s lil goop head. Feels like petting something wet, fishy, but with no moisture, just cool and slick.

In the back of his head, somewhere around the curve of his skull, he can hear bass-deep purring, happy. And then somewhere nearer the front, he can feel his own fingers running along Ven’s neck, it’s a weird feedback loop of sensation but they both love it. ‘S almost like having someone else touching him, human warm, but better because it’s Ven touching him instead. A touch from the inside out and outside in.

“You were thinking about babies,” Venom says, manifesting more tentacles, wrapping around his hand, slipping through his fingers. Eddie squeezes, soft, light, and it’s like sticking his hand in a tub of something with less give than water but just as cool and flexible. Something that can press back against his hand so perfect it’s like holding hands. 

Wow, he’s holding hands with his alien, talking about babies, and it’s still not his weirdest Wednesday.

Venom says he was thinking about babies, but Eddie honestly can’t remember, today was packed. Running downtown to catch a lead before they left town for the weekend, rushing back uptown for a fluff-piece interview, ducking into the office to write up the interview cause his laptop was out for repairs, heading back out to look at a potential case. Lots of up and down and around today, not a lot of time to talk to Ven, and now this.

He really can’t remember, maybe it was something specific, maybe it wasn’t, Ven’s better at picking up thoughts than him. Ven’s also the one with the eidetic memory, even though technically these aren’t things to see, they’re thoughts but same difference maybe?

“The fluff-piece, we were close to the shelter and you thought of the boy, then about the babies they took in last month. You thought about taking care of babies and did a thing,” here Venom stops to wrinkle the place a nose bridge would be and narrow their big white eyes. Eddie knows they’re trying disgust, he knows the face he makes when he thinks about taking care of babies, but that face on Venom is just unnatural.

Expressions are unnatural for them, they don’t technically have a face, just amorphous mass that they form into different shapes for convenience. The face is for Eddie’s benefit, because he’s human and weird and prefers to talk to something with a face than thin air. Even if the face is full of teeth and looks like early concept art for a xenomorph.

“Those aren’t real Eddie,” Venom scoffs, because of course they aren’t.

“So I made a face when I thought about babies, how’d we get here?” he asks instead of asking what is real, if xenomorphs aren’t...Predator, if you’re out there.

“You think they’re too much work, and you don’t like them, but klyntar spawn are easier. We don’t need care, only food,” Venom explains, steamrolling over Eddie’s Predator ideas and-oh, oh. Eddie’s not sure if this is sweet or one of the creepier things his alien goop has ever told him. Venom’s reassuring him. Eddie doesn’t like human babies because they’re work and they’re fragile and he’s never gonna be ready to have one but Ven’s already got all that figured out.

Eddie won’t have to worry about any of that if they have a klyntar baby, a little gloop of their very own that they can kick out immediately. God that’s weird, baby Venoms. What do klyntar spawn even look like?

“This mostly,” Ven says and shoves another memory in his head.

They’re under an alien sky, no, not alien, they’re under their home’s sky, the klyntar homeworld. Pink and striped with blue, no clouds, and the closest star is further away than earth’s sun. It’s pleasantly cool and dry. They’re in a pit lined with something soft, something decaying, like peat, but Eddie doesn’t know if this is animal or plant or some weird mix of both.

And they’re tiny, less mass than he’s used to, and there are other little creatures with them, crowded away. Tiny amorphous blobs, all black, but they shine different colours, more defined than Eddie could see on his own. There’s dragon’s blood pink and dying star white, void of space black, burning meteor orange; they’re alien and beautiful. This is Venom as a tiny little klyntar-symbiote-spawn with all their siblings, resting in the tiny little nest their progenitor spawned them in.

Where is their progenitor? Gone, not here, don’t stay. Klyntar don’t stay for their offspring, don’t need to. Siblings don’t stay either. They’re already crawling out of the pit, forming little spidery tentacles that are weak, collapsing under their own weight. Forming spikes to stick into the soft walls, dragging themselves out of the divot, it’s really more of a divot. Some of them fall back in, some squall, bass-low and rumbling, but they all leave, find their way out into the world, and Venom is alone.

Then they’re on a different world, one with a harsher atmosphere, cold, there’s something like snow on the ground but its dusty and pus-yellow. They’re bigger, more mass, closer to what Eddie’s used to squirming around under his skin, and they’re bonded to a host. The thing is big, too many limbs, too many eyes, furry, but they have delicate paws with ten fingers each and they’re holding something cupped close. A tiny klyntar blob, offspring.

Eddie can feel the soft, cool flesh moving in his own hands, tiny but dangerous, hungry. This one is shot through with red, human blood red, arterial Venom supplies, and Eddie nods. It’s so weird to have someone else’s memories playing out across his eyes, overlapping their crappy living room. It’s also kind of nice, like having a daydream play outside of his head with all the stimulus; touch, smell, taste, it’s all there.

Venom shows him more offspring, ones that are purple, ones that are pink, one that shines silver and-

“Riot was your kid? We killed your kid?” Eddie sputters, tearing himself out of the memories of a tiny little Riot glooping around and bonding to a weird snake thing. He understands that klyntar don’t care about family, he gets that and they don’t, but fuck. He didn’t realise they were murdering Venom’s spawn in that rocket, he didn’t realise Ven’s kid was trying to kill them in the first place. What kind of unholy Freud meets Shakespeare shit?

“Yes, they were always a little shit,” Ven shrugs, nuzzling close, staring up at him with those big white eyes. They don’t understand why Eddie’s freaking out over this, actually, they’re keeping their shared heart beating at a normal rate. Which Eddie’s glad for, he hates the anxiety sweats, but this is still so weird and wrong.

Killing Drake was a…necessary evil? Eddie’s not really sure, Drake was just as bad as all the other rich fucks they’ve been eating, willing to kill people for his own gain but Riot? Technically they were just doing what they had to for their species right? Venom would’ve done the same thing if they didn’t fall for Eddie, it was just survival right?

But then, they only killed for survival too. Riot was going to kill them, tried to consume Venom, stabbed Eddie, fair’s fair. Eddie’s covered tons of cases where victims killed their attackers, fearing for their lives, lashing out a reaction instead of thinking about it. Maybe it was justified but fuck, it still leaves an ugly feeling in his stomach. They killed Venom’s kid.

“Not kid, offspring, klyntar do not have kids,” Venom hums and promptly floods their system with good endorphins, the kind Eddie’s body refuses to make on its own. And maybe it’s manipulative, Ven’s technically forcing him to feel better and get his mind off parenticide and infanticide and all the other family-cides, but he really doesn’t care. He likes getting his mind taken off things sometimes.

“Kids are weak, need care, like the boy,” Venom reminds him, dragging those memories up instead. A scrawny kid, up against a wall with a knife aimed at his face. A scrawny kid in their arms, not making a sound while a monster carried him to safety. That same kid, waving at Eddie when they went over to the shelter to help out, talk to some of the people there.

His name’s Robbie, he’s eleven years old, and he doesn’t have anyone else in the whole world. The head of the shelter has been talking with their social worker, trying to figure out what to do with him, a foster home? Adoption? He’s eleven, almost aged out, and he refuses to tell them about any family, they don’t know what to do with him.

Eddie’s tried to talk to him, Venom encouraging him for once, but he can’t do it. He can’t be there for a kid, not even one he doesn’t have to take care of. It’s too much responsibility and he’s a genuine fuck up, always fucks up. Carl stamped that in his head years ago, forced it in, carved it into his skull. Fuck.

“Which is why klyntar offspring are perfect,” Venom growls happily, and Eddie’s never been more glad for their one track mind. If they’re so busy “winning” this “argument” then they don’t pay attention to the thoughts running around in Eddie’s head. “I know everything about you Eddie” his ass.

“If we want offspring, kids, they can be klyntar and we won’t have to do anything,” they grin in his face, teeth shining in the dark, somehow. Eddie honestly has no idea where to go from here, what conversation do thy have now? Ideally, they won’t.

“Okay yeah, if we ever have a spawn, it can be klyntar,” Eddie sighs, scrubbing a hand down his face and smiling raggedly at Venom’s lil goop head. He’s never wanted kids, doesn’t think he ever will, but it’s nice to have the option of not fucking one up. Sure, it might decide to turn full psycho cannibal and go on a killing spree but at least it won’t have his anxiety or his terrible, terrible self-preservation skills.

“We’ve got an early morning tomorrow, so could you,” Eddie waves a hand by his head, chucking the bottle at the garbage. He doesn’t have to look to know it landed perfectly, Ven’s nice like that sometimes.

Ven’s also nice enough to flood his system with whatever makes people dog tired, Eddie’s barely got his jeans off before he’s collapsing onto their shit bed. Springs squeak under them, sounds like they’re two boings away from skewering him, but he’s too sleepy to care. Venom gets their legs up on the bed, pulls their blanket up, Eddie just mashes their face into the pillow.

“Thanks,” he mumbles, or he thinks he does, maybe? Yeah maybe.

Cleaning isn’t something he gets to do often, most of the time he gets home, throws dinner on the counter, and hunkers down to type up his latest report. Or Ven will take over their body to make dinner while Eddie reads on his phone, or they’ll stay out the whole night and drag themselves back home so they can collapse for a few hours. There’s no time to clean, in between work and chasing down leads and finding people to keep Ven healthy; there’s not enough hours in the day, not enough days in the week.

So it’s kinda weird to come home for the weekend, reports just waiting on an edit, belly full of McDonald’s and nothing else to do. Eddie thinks about what he’d do on a regular Friday night before all this and vaguely remembers date nights. Going out with Annie, hitting all the nice restaurants, eating good food and coming back home for some hanky panky.

“You mean fucking,” Venom snorts, clacking away on the laptop, and Eddie rolls his eyes. Yeah, he means fucking but unlike some people, he has the decency to only imply improper things. The alien hovering by the table, stretched a foot away from their body, doesn’t seem to give a shit about decency and Eddie really doesn’t know why he’s surprised.

“We could have date night,” Venom suggests, running a tentacle along his arm, down to his hand, circling his fingers. He looks like he’s wearing black rings, black brass knuckles.

Eddie runs his thumb over each band and thinks about it. Him and Venom, them, they’re uh, they’re Them, and it’s easy being them. Reporting is easier when he doesn’t have to worry about threats and he’s got world’s best co-pilot keeping him safe. He eats regular meals now, has to, and is getting more exercise than he has in the last ten years. He feels good.

 Ven’s pretty reasonable when they’re fed too, likes telling Eddie about other planets they’ve lived on, the things they’ve killed. They’re also real good at keeping Eddie out of his head when things start getting too much, they take him on runs through the city and show him what everything looks like through alien eyes. They even make eating people easier. Eddie’s learning to like the taste of blood cooling in his mouth, clotting and sticking in their teeth. Helps that Ven covers their mouth in black, grows them some fangs and shows Eddie how to crack a man’s skull like an egg.

That pedo last week, Jackson, Eddie liked that. Choking down organs, slurping up brains, it was…nice. At the time, it was so much more than nice, it was euphoric? Good, so good, delicious, feeling his stomach fill up with fresh meat; licking blood off their lips, curling their tongue in the skull, baring their fangs.

Being Venom is wild power, a rush, like racing down the highway in the middle of the night, hitting speeds that would turn him into a nasty smear on the road. Afterwards is like getting off the bike, legs locked up, hands cold and stiff. It’s like coming back down after a high, hearing more than the wind in his ears, feeling something other than the rumble of the engine gunning between his legs.

Picking shards of bone out of his teeth isn’t nice, burping and tasting fleshy, raw something isn’t nice, but it isn’t terrible.

“Does that count as a date?” Venom asks, picking up on his thoughts easy as breathing, like those thoughts are theirs. They are, kinda.

Eddie kneels by the sink, digging around in the cabinet there while he thinks. Was it a date? They went out, got a bite to eat, had a few drinks and a good time. Venom even brought them back home and Eddie remembers a slippery, bloody kiss in between the rush of the hunt. Date nights with Anne were usually dinner then home for some canoodling; sometimes they’d go dancing, clubbing, but not so different.

Less murder, cannibalism and vigilantism but same thing.

“Guess it does,” he answers when he finally finds the bleach and a couple sponges. There’s a few rags too but those are black and a little slimy and he really doesn’t remember buying black rags. Pretty sure they didn’t come with the place either. Ew.

“I liked it, one of the nicer dates I’ve been on,” he hums as he gets up, bleach and sponges in hand. No better place to start than the sink right? There’s some stains on it that look rusted into the metal but he’ll try his best with em. Then he can move onto the oven, maybe even tackle the toilet if he’s feeling ambitious.

“It was, we should do some fucking next time,” Venom says, eyes never leaving the laptop while Eddie blushes hot. If there’s one thing his alien gloop is, it’s not shy. Always saying whatever they’re thinking, eating, fucking, doesn’t matter, and always grin shark-sharp when Eddie gets all flustered.

They’re such an asshole but existing with Venom is easy, way easier than existing with another person. There’s no awkward silence hanging around while they do their stuff. Eddie scrubs the sink until it shines, and until he’s pretty much lost a layer of skin. Venom researches whatever an alien researches, grumbling to themself when they need to google a term or cross reference something.

There’s no blatant back and forth, no conversation, but they’re always there, in the back of his head. It’s comforting actually, never being alone, Eddie’s had enough of being alone to last a lifetime. Plus, it’s nice to just have someone around, makes this place feel homier, and less disgusting when a roach scuttles out of a cabinet and he backs up real quick.

Venom doesn’t need to say it, doesn’t even have to think it, because Eddie feels the amused, affectionate “pussy” wisping around his brain and pouts. Not his fault he hates roaches, or that their apartment has an infestation. God there’s so many roaches, he’s always seeing them when he gets up for a drink or gets in after a night out.

Still, he figures the bathroom’s a beast for another day and he really doesn’t wanna scrub anymore so he moves on to sorting drawers. Aka, throwing out whatever shit he didn’t need and keeping whatever shit he might one day not use.

He dumps out one whole drawer on the floor, by the relatively new coffee table. The roach placidly watches him from the kitchen floor and Eddie swears the thing is gloating, evil. Venom snorts, never looking up from the laptop; Eddie's alien is an asshole.

It’s mostly junk; beer caps, broken plastic utensils, may they rest in piece, old coupons for a place that closed down, a flyer about God and Jesus. And, oh yeah, a metric shit ton of plastic bags, all from take-out he’s nearly one hundred percent sure. He never learned to cook, Mary wasn’t a good teacher and in college there was the cafeteria or more take-out, or a nice date that’d take pity on him and cook some real food.

God, he misses the days of being able to bat his eyes, stick out his lip, and get some good hot food. Now he’s gotta convince his asshole alien not to spend too much on spices cause they’re expensive, and he’s a white boy who can’t handle them anyway. Annie wasn’t a great cook but damn could she grill, and she’s got Dan now, he’s the cook between them.

“And you’ve got the asshole alien, aren’t you lucky,” Venom teases, typing so fast Eddie wonders if they’re on reddit again. Last time wasn’t so great, they found one of those smear pages about the Brock Report and got banned in an hour.

Eddie ignores his asshole alien and just keeps emptying out his plastic bag hoard. There’s receipts in all of them, bottle caps, even a stapler that’s missing a spring; junk, the bags are full of junk. Then he finds one that’s heavier and opens it up to find…his old phone?

He turns the thing over in his hands, trying to remember why he didn’t just throw it away. The screen’s broken; slipped out of his hand in the middle of a crosswalk two months after the Drake Incident, and landed screen first. He remembers using it for a solid week, the cracks weren’t all that bad, but the glass splinters were kinda dangerous.

Took another two weeks before he got the phone he has now, a couple models along, an upgrade, so why’d he keep this? Emergencies? Contacts? He frowns down at the cracked screen and is actually shocked when it turns on for him. Four months and it held the charge, well shit.

The homescreen’s generic, probably reset itself, and there’s nothing but default apps. A quick scroll through, and two glass splinters later, and there’s nothing interesting. Some pictures in the gallery that he backed up to the laptop and some contacts he didn’t bother to take.

He’s about to throw it in the designated garbage bag when he notices the voice message icon right under the worst crack, and that’s right, he got such a good deal on his new phone that he bought a new sim too. New number, new start, or something like that.

The message on his old number is from someone he doesn’t recognise, not even vaguely, and it’s from a day or two after he cracked the screen, probably why he didn’t see it. Whoever left the message probably gave up on him when he didn’t return the call, and it probably wasn’t that important anyway but he’s already here. Might as well listen and find out what someone wanted six months ago.

“Message from 1-718-734-5422. April 23rd, 4:32pm,” the automated message reads out while he starts looking through other bags. He’s looking at a receipt for the really nice Thai place that closed down last month when the message starts to play and the voice, that voice, is a slap to the face.

Slap in the face, glass in his lungs, bone slicing through skin and leaving him a crying, bloody mess. Eddie hears the first words of the message and he’s thirteen again, clutching at his broken arm, staring up through the tears at Carl, at his dad.

“You got some nerve contacting me at all but calling to ask for money, Edward? Haven’t you taken enough from me already?

What? You thought I’d feel sorry for you, cause you fucked up again and need someone to come bail you out? Not on your mother’s grave boy. You got yourself into this mess and, as far as I’m concerned, you can get yourself right back out. If you can, cause it looks like you really stepped in this time; stuck your fuckin nose in where it didn’t belong and got it chopped off, didn’t cha?

I say good, maybe you’ll learn this time and start keeping out of people’s business, including mine. Maybe you’ll finally learn how to deal with the consequences of your own damn actions, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll finally take responsibility for your actions like a goddamn man.

Don’t you ever contact me again. Don’t look for me, don’t even look up my number. And don’t you even think about calling Mary. Unlike you, she’s doing pretty good for herself, got a nice boy, nice place. A nice life, Edward. The last thing she needs is her failure of a brother dragging her back down just when she’s making something for herself. She doesn’t need you moping around, crying for her to wipe your ass cause you don’t know how to do it yourself.

For once in your life, Edward, do the smart thing and leave us the hell alone…End of message.

To play this message again, press 1. To delete message, press 2. To—"


He…he remembers sending a text, when he was drunk one night, sad, lonely, scared. No one would hire him, no one would touch him, and everything was finally sinking in. How bad he fucked up, how much he hurt Annie, how this wouldn’t just go away.

Drunk on shit beer and Jack, stumbling over his own feet, falling and smacking his shoulder against the wall. The message, fuck what’d he even say? Something about needing some help? About moving back to New York? Shit he doesn’t know, doesn’t remember, but he sent it to his dad.


His dad who never talked to him after he left for college, never called, never looked for him. His dad who hated him and just wanted him gone, gone, gone.

Eddie,” Venom growls, quiet, sombre, and he sniffs. Swiping at his nose, licking his lips, and looking away, at the wall.

Why’d he ever think that would work? Looking up Carl Brock, finding his new number cause of course he changed it. Couldn’t have Edward finding him, right? No calls from Edward, no contact from his dumbass, disappointment of a son. Fucked up in New York, fucked up in San Fran, fucked up everything everywhere.

“Eddie no,” Venom says, coming back to him, goopy head bobbing in front his face.

Not that he can see Ven properly, they’re all blurry, blurred, a smear of black. He sniffles, harder, and bites down on his tongue to stop from saying something stupid, tries not to think it either. At the time, well at the time he just thought his dad never answered, nothing new there right? But there’s this now, and uh, it um, yeah.

Hurts, it hurts.

“I can fix it, let me fix us. What hurts?” Venom offers, almost frantic. Eddie can taste something like metal in the back of his throat, panic, and for once it’s not his. Well shit, now he’s freaking out his alien, great, good going Brock, really out here doing the Lord’s work.

He only realises he’s crying when Ven uses their hand to wipe his eyes, black tipped fingers tasting salt-water tears, like old pennies and sour disappointment. No idea which of them is making their body breathe, who forces him to suck in one stuttering, shuddering breath, until he’s crying for real. Slumped down, shoulders up, to make himself be smaller, not as big, not as there.

Venom’s fluttering around the edges, trying to fix the sharp ache in their shared throat, trying to understand what’s going on. Eddie wants to explain, it’s not fair to Ven, this isn’t fair, but he can’t. He’s got his hands mashed into his eyes, bottom lip caught between his teeth, but the tears are still slipping between his fingers and he still sounds pathetic.

All those little hitching whines, whimpers, like a kicked dog. That’s all he is, a fucking dog sitting in a pile of fucking garbage.

“No Eddie, you’re mine, you’re ours,” Venom growls, circling his wrists, pressing against his neck, their jugular. They don’t have words for this and don’t know how comfort works. Klyntar are not kind, they don’t care about their hosts or their offspring, but Venom is trying. Kindness doesn’t come easy and it isn’t soft or gentle, but they’re doing their best.

Forcing their idea of him into his head. He’s Eddie, a Perfect Host, so good, takes good care of them. He’s Eddie, a good human and so beautiful. They see him through Maria’s eyes and he’s a saving grace, a vision in the darkness, not real but please be real. They see him from Anne’s, someone they love even though they shouldn’t, someone to save, someone to help because he is a good person who made bad choices. They see him as their Eddie, theirs, only theirs.

Their Eddie, licking blood off their fingertips, crunching bones with their mouth. Their Eddie, working hard to make the world better, protecting kids, killing bad people. Their Eddie, taking care of them, even though he doesn’t have to, could get rid of them with one little trip. Their Eddie who is nothing like Carl Brock thinks and they could kill him. Venom wants to.

Eddie gasps, trembles, because oh lord that’s morbid. His dad spitting up blood clots and bone shards, hair matte down with sweat, looking up at Venom. Carl Brock on his broken knees, can’t move without scuttling through the dirt, like an insect on the ground. Then with broken arms, face mashed into the floor, crying into it while they grind their heel into the back of his head. Then with no arms, no legs, just bloody stumps and snapped bone. Then dead, for hurting Eddie, for lying about him and making him cry.

“Eddie, my Eddie,” Venom snarls, slipping black strands between his fingers, stroking a tentacle down his bowed back. There’s nothing to heal, no atrophied organs or endorphin deficiency, but they can fix this, they know they can. Offering up touch, physical affection, and klyntar justice. Hurt for hurt, tit for tat, Carl made Eddie cry so Venom will return the favour.

“No,” Eddie croaks, husky and broken, it’s rough and whispery but he says it. No, he doesn’t want to see Carl Brock, not for revenge, not for anything. He’s doing…Eddie’s doing okay for himself now, he has Venom, and if Carl doesn’t want to see him then at least he can be a good son for once.

Even if the fantasy of hunting their way across the country is nice, racing through woodland, killing monsters in cities they don’t know. All for Eddie, only their Eddie. They would make Carl Brock’s death terrible, nothing short and painless. They would spill his blood, smear it in on the walls, rip out his organs, choke him with his guts.

But they will not, because Eddie said no.

“Okay Eddie,” Venom rumbles across his tongue, petting his hair with supple tendrils, smoothing it down.  

Eddie knows his face is blotchy, flushed red and spotty, he can feel the ugly blush hot on his cheeks. And his chest still aches, feels like the ribs caved in and pureed his lungs, but he can still breathe. And his eyes are stinging and gummy from crying, but Venom is wiping away the tears faster than they can fall.

They’re fixing it.

Together, they stuff everything in one bag and throw it out the window and directly into the dumpster outside. Then, they eat half a rotisserie chicken and spend the rest of the night editing reports and arguing with people on reddit.

There’s still the rough, nagging ache in his chest, like sandpaper rubbing down his ribs, but Venom’s there too. Reminding him that spelled should be “spelt” and telling people that think Eddie Brock is a hack exactly how they can go fuck themselves. Every time he thinks about his dad, Ven wraps a tentacle around his wrist and squeezes, growling about people complaining about things they know nothing about.

It’s a distraction, of course it is, Ven doesn’t even try to be subtle, but who gives a shit about subtle? Eddie’s grateful for the touch, the words, the getting his head off a man he hasn’t seen in years. He’s grateful for his Venom.

Date night ends up on a Thursday at four am because that’s just how it is. Tracking down mob bosses isn’t a daytime thing, not anymore. Eddie doesn’t have to look over his shoulder when he runs mob stories anymore, doesn’t gotta worry about who might be waiting around the corner, nothing. He can be as controversial as he wants as long as he’s got have the evidence to back him up.

Not that this is a story. This is just a meal.

 “Tasty,” Venom growls, satisfied and happy, and Eddie couldn’t agree more. He’s still riding high on the kill, system flushed full of all those feel good endorphins.

Solomons wasn’t nothing special, just a bad man with too much shit on his hands. Eddie didn’t even have to do a check on ‘im, just search the name and bam, there he was connected to every major mob hit of the last five years. He was top of the ladder, the big dog, and now he’s a gory crime scene for one of his boys to find.

They didn’t bother being neat this time, no need to rush. Unlike Jackson, Solomons lived in a nice penthouse apartment that just so happened to have a real convenient deck out front. Who needs stairs when you can just run up the side of the building instead? And who needs luck when your meal’s as predictable as a clock.

They caught him on the deck when he came out for a smoke.

“Here,” Venom says, pouring some gin into a fancy glass while Eddie basks in the afterglow. Everything’s so nice, loose. He feels good and well-fed, and not even the literal blood on his hands can bring him down.

With Venom’s tongue, the blood tastes good, like salt and quicksilver. And with Venoms claws, the squelch and squish of pulpy organs doesn’t feel so bad. Breaking bones even feels nice, like cracking an egg and tipping his head back to catch all that gooey goodness.

“Thanks babe,” he hums as a black tentacle lifts the glass to his lips, presses the cool edge to his mouth, and holds it steady while drinks. It’s like drinking a Christmas tree, piney, sharp, reminds him of going to look at the huge tree in Times Square. The slur of lights twinkling away, the tinsel, the music; it’s refreshing and nudges out a bit of liver stuck between their teeth.

Venom’s curling around his throat, pressed up against the artery, and they’re across his chest, and they’re heavy around his hips. A nice weight to keep him grounded here and now, that’s good cause he feels like he’ll float away. Like he just had the best sex of his life and can’t keep his feet on the floor.

And he knows Ven feels almost exactly the same, eating’s pleasure, crunching down on a chunk of meat and gristle, swallowing it down and lapping up the overflow is so so nice. Even better now that Eddie’s into it too, perfect host, feeding for them, eating for them. Sucking the marrow out of bones, slurping down grey matter and popping eyeballs like grapes. Just for them, aren’t they special?

“Yes we are,” he laughs, giddy, reaching up to stroke the thick tentacle wrapped around his throat. They are, they’re so special, no other klyntar could compare. Eddie’s a real lucky guy.

He ambles over into the living room, looking around at how a rich man lives. Lived. Everything’s so minimal, not like their apartment where things are minimal cause they can’t buy shit to full up the space, this is rich people chic. There’s lots of empty space, bright walls, glass doors spanning entire walls.

And the view. Wow. The view’s something else. Not overlooking all of downtown this time, they’re not high enough, but god it’s domestic and gentrified. Eddie wonders what it’d take to get a place like this, something nice and secluded, with nice thick walls and a nice accessible deck. Venom could come and go as they pleased, spend a night out on the town and come back at ass o’clock without having to worry about nosey neighbours.

“We could take this,” Venom suggests, lounging on his lap like some kind of goopy alien cat. God they’re beautiful. Oil black and threaded through with slivers of silver, it’s like having his own little piece of nightsky. A piece that’s always the perfect temperature, always the perfect texture, supple and smooth, keeping him happy and healthy.

“Can’t. Someone would find out,” he sighs, petting his alien night cat, tracing a shimmering constellation with the very tips of his bloody fingers. So pretty. Gorgeous.

Venom’s something extra-terrestrial, and y’know, Eddie’s always had a thing for space. All the possibilities out there, everything that could exist. How’d his little alien goop survive out there? In the space between stars, jumping between so many hosts until they found him?

“We could eat them too, they would taste delicious,” Ven purrs, creeping higher, stroking along his jaw, tracing his lips. Eddie smirks into the touch and snickers when soft turns insistent and opens his mouth. He knows Ven’s chasing the taste of blood and gin, likes minty things and likes bloody things and loves Eddie.

Somewhere along the way he stopped trying to define things; does this count as a kiss, is this a relationship if they’re one person, sex or narcissistic masturbation? Now they don’t care. If something happens and they like it then they do it some more.

Like room service,” he thinks, sucking on the klyntar tongue systematically licking its way through his mouth. Then the tongue slips down his throat, sliding down slick and easy, throat fucking him so good. Doesn’t care that he can’t breathe, Venom can, doesn’t care that he’s arching into the touch, he wants more.

And Venom gives him more. Venom makes him feel himself, sucking on their tongue, lets him taste his own mouth; the mix and meld of everything lingering in the soft, wet crevasses of his throat. There’s gin, cool and fresh, and the blood is warm and thick, and Eddie is good, good, good.

Venom loves their host, their perfect host, gives them what they need. Perfect host that doesn’t try to get rid of them, doesn’t force them out, can even keep up with them. Eddie is strong, initiates a mental link so easy, handles the strain without breaking a sweat. Does he even notice the strain? No, don’t think so, perfect Eddie is so perfect for them. And tastes so good, he’s always so good.

Eddie moans so good, deep and guttural, when they stuff their face full of liver and meat and brain. And when they break open a skull, scoop out the brains with their fingers, he shudders as they lap up the soft, gooey chunks, when they suck on their fingers like he’s sucking on their tongue right now. Just like when they fuck.

When they feed, his mind goes slow and thick, narrowing in on the taste, the smell, the sounds, the feeling of warm blood smearing on their skin, warm and wet and slick. He throws his head back, Adam’s apple bobbing, tongue hanging out while he waits for Venom to take the lead. Sometimes they get him on his knees, thighs spread so nicely while they hunch over their meal, and he groans, belly deep and desperate. Ready and waiting for whatever Venom gives him, desperate for it.

The kiss breaks with a vulgar sound, wet and smacking and Eddie grins dopey and loopy. Nothing compares to Ven.

“Cannibalism isn’t sex, parasite,” Eddie says so affectionate and just the slightest bit wrecked and fucked out. He says parasite the same way he says babe, soft, in love, totally gone on his alien.

“It could be, pussy,” Venom purrs as they relax into the plush cushions, settling down into Eddie’s bones, seeping into the marrow. Everything’s so slow and sleepy, it’s nice. A gloop head pops up on his chest, opal eyes blinking at him slow and lazy, like a cat.

“Maybe babe,” he sighs happily, petting Ven’s head as he lets his eyes slip close. They should move, probably, but ain’t nobody gonna come looking for Alfie Solomons tonight. They can spend a couple hours lazing around, digesting their meal and sharing sloppy kisses. What’s a few hours?

Besides, they’ll hear anyone before they get caught. And there’s not much that can hurt them anyway, they’ll be fine.

“Yes, we will,” Venom hums, licking his grinning lips. Yeah, they will.

One of the weirder things about his life now, and his life is exceptionally weird, is that he gets lunch on a semi-regular basis with his ex’s boyfriend. Just him and Dan, no Anne, and that’s weird, right?

“Not very,” Venom points out unhelpfully, crawling under a napkin to sneak a piece of Dan’s food off his plate. No one notices.

Well screw the alien, Eddie thinks it’s weird. Even though he really, really owes Dan big time for all he did. Eddie doesn’t think he would’ve been as nice to Dan if they were switched around, especially after trashing the MRI room.

“So, there I am, covered in blood, holding my patient’s femoral artery in my hands,” Dan’s telling him, leaning forward and Eddie is interested, he is, but this is still weird. Him being friends with someone as well adjusted as Dan is weird, nearly as weird as getting together with someone as awesome as Anne. These two deserve each other, they’re both great as their jobs and know how to not turn into a dumpster fire at a moment’s notice.

Thank God he has an alien looking out for him now.

“His wife is screaming, and my nurse is trying to clamp the thing,” Dan continues and Eddie nods along. Maybe hearing about copious amounts of blood and gore should make him a little queasy but he’s seen worse, done worse. Dan’s doctor stories aren’t tummy turning, just interesting and wild, people get into the craziest situations.

“When the PCP guy sits right up and starts swinging on another patient, we had to call in security to deal with the wife and the guy,” Dan laughs and his eyes crinkle up all cute. Eddie grins, leaning back and yanking Venom away from Dan’s plate, they’ve got a real taste for that fake meat stuff Dan orders all the time. Which is hilarious and strange for so many reasons.

Today’s lunch is in a little place right next to Dan’s hospital and Eddie had to literally drag the guy over here. He can see why Anne likes him, workaholics, both of ‘em, but not in the self-destructive way Eddie always manages to be. Anne and Dan manage to be functional workaholics, the kind that never look like two-day old road kill when they finally get forced into doing something not-work.

“We only look like two-hour old roadkill,” Venom whispers in his head, wrapping a tentacle around Eddie’s wrist and making him take a bite of their burger. He almost forgot that was there actually. Dan’s eating too though so it’s not awkward, just two guys-friends, sharing a meal and talking about work. It’s nice, he missed this.

No one really wanted to hang around after the Drake Incident, it would be bad for their careers, which Eddie can understand, that was fine, but damn was he lonely. Only people he’d see were Mrs Chen and Maria on anything close to a regular basis, only interaction he’d get. And yeah he’s a dumpster fire most of the time, and yeah he’s not great at the whole making friends thing, but he’s a social guy.

People call him charming, for some reason, and he liked talking to ‘em. Being the centre of attention on the Brock Report was nice.

“You’ll always have me, Eddie,” Venom pipes up, warming just under his skin, like a shot of hot cocoa to his system.

“We managed to get the patient stable, but we had to sedate the wife and security had to tase PCP guy to get him down,” Dan finishes with one of those charming doctor smiles. And Eddie realises that wow, they guy’s pretty handsome, inna boy next door way, not bad.

Venom snorts and Eddie can feel the eyeroll aimed his way. Of course it takes him months to realise Doctor Dan is also pretty damn attractive, even with an alien enhancing literally every sense he has. He’s a hopeless case and very, very lucky Venom chose to stay with him.

Also, they would not mind in the least if he decided to pursue Dan and Annie. It would be fun, chasing after both of them, they think he could swing it, if he combed his hair once in a while, wore some nice shirts and tight pants. He could roll back the sleeves to show off his tattoos, get some pants that hugged his ass; they could make this work.

“Anyway, how’s work with you? Heard you were covering the Solomons’ case?” Dan says and Eddie very blatantly ignores his alien’s mostly teasing attempts at hooking him up. He thinks Annie and Dan are great, best friends a guy could ask for, but he doesn’t want to sleep with either one of them. Him and Annie are over, done, mutually now that Eddie got to apologise properly, and Dan’s not his type.

“Oh yeah, it’s really something, y’know? No head, limbs thrown all over, organs missing. I got my hands on some of the crime scene pictures, and it was a real bloodbath,” and he’s nodding along, all concerned and frowning like he’s just as confused as everyone else. Oh yeah, who could’ve killed Alfie Solomons? And so gruesome too.

There weren’t no turf wars going down and Solomons had plenty enemies but none who’d do something like this. Looked like something not too human did it, something big and strong enough to break open a man’s ribcage, something that didn’t leave any fingerprints. Something exactly his type.

“Geeze, you don’t think it’s—well, it uh, it’s not a parasite, right?” Dan asks, lowering his voice and glancing around, like anyone would understand what he means. It’s kinda cute.

“Nah, they wanted to take over the world, they wouldn’t be going after mobsters,” he lies right through his teeth and right to Dan’s face. Under his skin Venom’s trembling with barely contained laughter, a rumble that shakes his bones and makes it hard to keep the stupid grin off his own face. Oh yeah, why would an alien ever target a mobster? So farfetched.

Dan relaxes in his seat though, perfectly happy to believe there’s no more alien parasites running around the city, doing God knows what. The rest of their lunch, which runs about fifteen minutes too long, is spent talking about what they’ll get Annie for her birthday. Dan wants to know if a pearl necklace is too much, they’ve been together nearly eight months now but is that a first birthday kinda present or should he wait for Christmas?

Eddie’s planning on getting her a bunch of stupid cat toys for Belvedere, ones in the shape of poos and emojis, and he knows she’ll like them. He also knows she prefers topaz and he tells Dan that, also, don’t go for matching earrings, she likes bracelets. He’s even nice enough to tell him not to give her anything before twelve, cause most likely, she’ll be grumpy over getting older and take a while to warm up to it.

Maybe he should feel weird about giving Dan advice on wooing Anne, maybe, but he doesn’t. Helping Dan feels good, and it’ll make Anne happy too, so it’s double good. And when Dan can’t finish his…whatever that is, Venom gets free reign on picking off the last chunks when no one’s looking. Which no one ever does.

“Thanks Eddie, next time we’ll do lunch at our place, Sunday sound good?” Dan asks when they finally get around to leaving, and make sure to tip. Venom thinks about it, because they’re better at keeping schedules. Sunday they have an appointment with a man that set his wife on fire because he thought she was sleeping with someone else.

The man got off.

“I gotta check, maybe,” he says, because polite company usually isn’t too happy with murder and cannibalism. Technically he shouldn’t be either, murderers are scum, disgusting, but he’s killing murderers, people that the law won’t or can’t touch. That’s gotta be good for something, right?

“Gimme a call when you do, my mom sent over some recipes I’ve been dying to try,” Dan tells him, waving as he disappears back into his nice, neat, PCP-junkie filled hospital. Must be nice being a respected member of society like that.

“Respect is boring, Eddie, I like you much better the way you are,” Ven says, carefully emerging as another scarf, this time with shimmering silver details. No one notices, no one ever does, and Eddie pulls it up over his mouth for a kiss.

“Same babe, we’re both losers and that’s how we like it,” he hums as Ven directs them towards the subway. They’ve got an interview with the head of a supermarket association to get to, and then, later, if they’re good, they’ve got a school of leopard sharks to hunt. Although, Eddie’s pretty sure they’ll go even if Ven isn’t 100% good, he’s gotta keep his Venom happy after all.

“Very happy,” Venom purrs, squeezing him in a full body hug that warms him up more than any homecooked meal ever could. More than any person ever has. When he’s with Venom, he’s never alone, and he’ll always be with Venom.

“Always,” he whispers into his alien scarf, grinning as they stroll down the street, wrapped up in each other.