The difference between the Eddie-side of Venom and the V-side of Venom is that Eddie is who they are and is ashamed of it, and V is who they are and is proud of it. It’s a complex thought, but it’s their fundamental difference. Some days, it’s too much, and some days, Eddie is pathetically, desperately grateful for it. Other days, it’s hard to explain.
For example, today, Eddie wants to stay in bed and watch Netflix and eat bad food and not move. He feels lazy, terrible, his brain is fuzzy like the static on an old television. He should move. He should be a productive adult member of society. He should be reasonable and decent and responsible. He’s being lazy and terrible. A parasite on society, really, and here he teases Venom about being the parasite.
Venom, on the other hand, wants to stay in bed and watch Netflix and eat bad food and not move. This sounds like an excellent idea. Netflix is one of the best things humans have come up with, that and foam mattress covers, and nacho cheese. Nacho cheese is a really good thing, and also Venom knows they have a tub of Half Baked Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream in the freezer, which is also a really good thing, so all in all Venom is set to just curl up on their foam mattress cover and binge Stranger Things and eat. They have eaten two paedophiles this week, they are being excellent contributors to society, Eddie finished his last article last week so they’re covered for rent, and today is going to be a good day.
But Eddie feels fuzzy, and so Venom is prodding at his brain, trying to understand the feelings of not enough and lazy asshole and not worth it that are swirling through his host’s mind. It’s a very odd sensation for Eddie, like intrusive thoughts, only instead of intrusive thoughts it’s intrusive memories, not quite a flashback, just flicking bits of sensation as Venom parses through his emotions and tries to match them with previous experiences.
We are feeling… depression, Venom diagnoses after a moment, sounding more confused than anything. This is the shadow on your brain?
Eddie groans quietly but manages to try to crack a joke to take the focus off himself and his fucked-up brain. “Pretty sure you’re the shadow on my brain, bud,” he says, thinking of the inky-black tendrils of Venom threading through his head. Venom prods at a rib in retaliation, still flicking through memories, and then a tendril grabs Eddie’s phone, and the swirling hiss-and-squish of Venom’s head dips out of Eddie’s shoulder to peer at whatever the symbiote’s been looking up.
This is a chemical imbalance, Venom says, after a bit, and Eddie sighs. Oh, god. He’s on Web MD. Eddie’s fucked. Venom’s going to start diagnosing him with brain tumours now. Don’t be stupid, Venom grumbles, There are no tumours in your brain. I would have eaten them all.
“Right,” Eddie grumbles and rolls over slightly to look at the phone screen. Venom is scrolling faster than Eddie can read, but he’s realised a long time ago that there are certain things V is better than him at doing. Like everything, for example. If only he could just… turn off, for a while. Not exist.
No, Venom says immediately. We like Eddie existing.
“You sure, V?” Eddie asks, voice muffled by the pillow being halfway against his mouth. “You could have my body, you’d be set.”
Venom pauses and then snorts. This is called suicidal ideation, he diagnoses, and it is because your brain is not having enough brain chemicals. Like when I do not get enough chocolate and brains, and we feel bad. Only mine does not make me feel like stopping existing. It makes us hungry.
“Which is what made you try to eat the neighbour’s cat the other day,” Eddie remembers, half grumbling, but also feeling… oddly pleased. Venom isn’t judging, and he’s not clinical, like a doctor patiently explaining what serotonin and dopamine and neurotransmitters are in a voice that says you are broken and should be fixed. Eddie knows he’s broken, that attitude doesn’t help.
V doesn’t have a trace of that in his voice. Instead, he’s comparing their hormonal needs and dips and turns as though it’s entirely normal to be unable to produce decent brain chemicals for yourself. Eddie supposes it is, for V, but it’s nice that V extends it to Eddie as well, not blaming his host for the way his brain is fucked up.
The cat looked tasty, Venom is saying, and then he is scrolling further. The chocolate helps you, too, Eddie. It has these… endorphins. Also, pressure. We are good for you, Eddie. It sounds pleased by this, twirling around Eddie’s chest with just enough tightness to make Eddie feel hugged warm and tight, and it does help, like a weighted blanket, like care.
A spike of self-loathing. Eddie doesn’t deserve this.
We deserve nice things, V tells him. I deserve brains and chocolate. You deserve holding and chocolate and Netflix. And Nacho Cheese.
Eddie snorts despite himself, but V is facing him now, eyes fixed on Eddie’s face, and then suddenly disappearing inside him, warming his chest, relaxing his back, ridding his body of the tension it attempts to hold over and over. We deserve nice bed days. We deserve good food and nice things. Your brain doesn’t know this for us, but I will tell you anyway. So you don’t forget.
Eddie’s throat goes tight, and he’s blinking hard, and then Venom adds, sounding mildly confused, We are also allowed to cry when we like, Eddie. It gets rid of the bad chemicals, and nobody here cares if we are a loser. We figured that out at the beginning, and the dam breaks.
“I d-don’t even know why I’m cr-crying!” Eddie gasps, voice going high pitched and cracking, but V is, if anything, fondly amused by him, and Eddie can feel it, the fondness, the lack of judgement, as V replies.
Humans get rid of stress chemicals in their tears. We have gotten rid of the muscle stress. The chemicals have to go somewhere, and they come out your eyes. It is a good system, it purrs, and adds, It means we need to drink things. We have hot chocolate.
Eddie chokes on a laugh as he sobs. “Oh my god, I have an alien therapist,” he gasps out and begins to cackle, crying, laughing, emotion flooding his brain in a riot. Venom seems to be sampling the concoction in bemusement.
I am not a therapist, it says, I am you, and you are me, and we are Venom. I am just being good to us when you can’t be. You are good to us when I want to eat the neighbour’s cat. We can be kind to ourselves. It is loving us, that is not so strange, Eddie.
Eddie’s cackles fade into sniffles and tiny hiccups of chuckles. He still feels fuzzy. He still feels slightly guilty about staying in bed all day. He still doesn’t quite understand how they merge and mix and are in this strange they-them-us they’ve made together in his head. But it’s so much simpler from Venom’s perspective, and he clings to that, like a life raft through the muddy water of his mind. “Yeah? We’re gonna love ourselves, then? Is that what that is?”
Yes, Venom hums. With hot chocolate and Stranger Things.
Eddie lets V relax them into the mattress. “And tomorrow?”
Tomorrow we are going to the docks and eating drug rings, and writing articles about it, Venom says comfortably, and loving ourselves then, too.
“Yeah,” Eddie says quietly. “Thanks, V.”
We are welcome. Hush. I want to watch the little number girl now, Venom says, and presses play.