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This grocery store is always over air-conditioned, like they’re trying to discourage customers from coming in by keeping the general atmosphere at a comfortable temperature of freezing. Eddie draws his jacket in a little tighter and snags a cart from the entryway. Eggs. Meat. Chocolate pudding. Milk.

Eggs first. He puts twelve cartons in the basket, trying to ignore the curious looks from the woman next to him. “Party,” he says hoarsely to her, and attempts a smile. “Big…party.”

“Ah,” she says, and turns away.

Eddie flushes red and grabs the cart. Milk next. Six gallons, if last week is anything to go by. He never used to buy milk before. He hates how expensive it is.

Meat. Chicken and beef, mostly. A few steaks. Also something he’s had to compromise on recently. Eddie’s never been much of a steak guy, but he likes them and Eddie’s learned to pick his battles.

Pudding. He throws in a couple packs, then pushes the cart the rest of the way down the aisle. He slows down as he goes past the coffee. It smells so good. God, he hasn’t had coffee in so long. He misses the taste of it. The rush of caffeine. The feeling of sitting on the front stoop with a warm cup in hand. Slowly, carefully, his hand stretches out for some.

No.

Eddie yanks his hand back like he’s been burned. “I-I wasn’t,” he stammers. “I know you don’t…I wouldn’t. I’m not.”

There’s a noncommittal hum in the back of his head. Good.

He pushes past the coffee and turns towards the checkout, but halfway there something shifts in his head and suddenly his body is no longer under his control. “No,” he starts to say, but his jaw locks and the protest dies in his throat.

His body stops in front of the frozen section, then his hand reaches out and pulls open a door. Explain.

“Um.” Eddie stumbles, suddenly regaining control over his legs. He squints into the depths of the freezer. “Pizza. It’s pizza.”

Explain more.

“Pizza,” Eddie says again. “Uh, it’s got crust, and cheese, and pepperoni. It’s um…it’s pretty good.”

Buy it.

“Sure,” Eddie agrees.

He makes it to the checkout line under his own power, thank God. As he loads the conveyor belt, he bumps into the girl behind him. “Oh shit, sorry.”

“No worries,” she says, grabbing the last few cartons of eggs and putting them on the belt for him. “Cool necklace, by the way.”

He gingerly touches the black band around his throat. It pulses softly under his fingers. “Uh, thanks.”

“Where’d you get it?”

Eddie swallows. The band seems to tighten around him. “A…friend gave it to me.”

“What’s it made out of?”

Parasite, he wants to say, but he’d rather dance naked on this conveyor belt than ever say that word out loud again. He settles for a shrug.

The tired worker bags up everything. Eddie loads the things in the cart with a nod of thanks, and starts pushing it all out to the rental car. It annoys him that he has to rent a whole car for shopping once a week, but there’s no way he’d be able to carry all this on his bike.

So, Venom says, amused, I’m a friend, am I?

“I think the truth would have freaked her out,” he murmurs.

He feels Venom writhe just underneath his shirt. Yes, I suppose so.

Eddie finishes loading the car and slams the trunk shut. “Okay. Let’s go.”

Wait.

Against his will, his head turns. There’s a figure leaning against the wall of the store, half in shadow. He’s smoking something. Local drug boy, probably. They’re close to that side of town.

Venom stirs again underneath him. Eddie shakes his head. “No. Please.”

I am hungry.

Eddie gestures helplessly to the car, at the bags of groceries he just bought. “But we…”

Hungry.

“It’s too exposed,” he argues. “Too many people out here. They’ll see.”

There’s no answer except a vague rumbling of anger and disappointment in the back of his mind. Eddie slowly reaches for the car handle and opens the door. “We’ll go straight home,” he promises. “And you can eat.”

Are you telling me what to do?

“No,” he says quickly. “I’m just…offering suggestions.” Suggestions that don’t include eating innocent drug dealers.

You disapprove of my habits. Venom seeps out of his arm where’s sitting on the gearshift. The terrifying and familiar face slowly forms, complete with grinning teeth. It disturbs you, doesn’t it?

“It’s not great,” Eddie says, his voice tight.

Venom chuckles. The sound is like ice down Eddie’s spine. We will not eat him, if it makes you so uncomfortable. The head moves closer, linked to him through undulating tendrils of sticky blackness.

“Great,” Eddie stares straight ahead, trying not to flinch. “Can…can I go?”

No.

A black tendril sneaks over his lips. It rubs against them gently, then pushes over his chin, down his neck, and into his shirt. Eddie jolts as it finds one of his nipples and
toys with it idly. “Ah,” he says, his voice sounding higher than he wants it to. “Not here. Please, not here.”

Venom chuckles again, but doesn’t let up. The tendril sprouts a friend and heads to the other side of his chest, flicking the sensitive skin over there as well. Choose, then. I’m hungry. I will have that hunger sated.

“Choose,” Eddie repeats, clenching the steering wheel. “Choose what?”

The face moves into his line of vision. He sucks in a breath and looks directly into those soulless alien eyes. You…or him.

His left nipple is twisted for good measure, and as Eddie barely stifles a cry, another tendril slithers its way down into his jeans. It pulses along his skin at the waistband. “That’s not really a choice,” he grunts.

Sure it is. The monster tongue slides out and traces over the outline of his mouth. We can eat him. Or we can fuck you. The tongue probes. Eddie presses his lips together, but another twist makes him gasp in pain and the tongue slips into his mouth. He doesn’t bite—that’s been well trained out of him by now—but he does gag.

Right here, Venom continues. We’ll fuck you right here in this seat. Is that what you want?

Hating himself, Eddie shakes his head. Venom hisses in pleasure and probes more deeply with his tongue before retracting both it and the other exploring tendrils. Out of the car, then.

“Does it have to be him?” Eddie asks, unclenching his hands from the wheel. “He’s not even doing anything.” Venom turns that monstrous head to glare at him, and he quickly adds, “We could go north a few blocks. You like north.”

With the increasing amount of gang warfare that’s been happening the last few months, north is not particularly safe for anyone human, but Eddie doesn’t have to worry about those types of things anymore. They’ll go, Venom can eat someone, and then he can go home.

Fine, Venom agrees, sinking back into Eddie until nothing remains. I am not unreasonable.
“Great,” Eddie whispers. He turns the key, puts the car into gear, and roars out of the parking lot before the parasite can change his mind.

 

He didn’t go into this looking to host a sexually insatiable, head-eating monster under his skin, though. Really, he just wanted to make some trouble in an interview with Carlton Drake.

So, he did. Which subsequently got him fired.

“You want your job back, you go apologize,” his boss had said, and so Eddie crawled back to Drake with his tail between his legs and groveled appropriately. Drake, the ever magnanimous prick, patted him on the head and said everything was fine, and hey, would Eddie like to look around his lab and see that nothing untoward was going on?

Eddie agreed, and after a tour, even he had to admit that everything looked clean on the surface. So of course, he stuck around for after hours, to see what wasn’t on the surface.

Three hours, one very loud alarm, and several shooting guards later, Eddie was at the top of a tree with his mind reeling and his heart thundering in his ears. The bark was painfully rough under his hands, the sky was grey around him, and all he could say was, “What. The. Fuck.”

The Fuck turned out to be Venom. A gooey, black looking monster that had been picked up by Drake’s astronauts while on a scouting mission, and brought back for further study. He’d been suffering under Drake’s attentions for months in fruitless attempts to find a stable host. When Eddie had accidentally opened the secure lab containers with his stolen pass, Venom saw his chance.

There was a physical adjustment period, made more inconvenient by the fact he was actually arrested and held for a few days in jail. Drake’s security team was 99% sure Eddie had been snooping around where he shouldn’t have been, and he was questioned relentlessly. But they couldn’t prove it. They had no video evidence, he’d dropped the pass in the woods, he knew better than to leave fingerprints anywhere, and he’d taken the pictures on his private burner phone which he’d hidden after the whole tree thing. In the end they had to release him. He was banned from the premises and forbidden from speaking to Carlton Drake ever again.

Venom remained silent and hidden during all of this, to the point where Eddie started to believe he’d imagined the thing lunging at him from out of Drake’s lab. Alien parasites were not real. He had no reason to believe otherwise. It was just a flu, surely. Give him a few days, and he'd be fine.

Right?

Chapter Text

“Fine,” Eddie snarls at his boss. “Probation. Whatever. I didn’t do anything!” “

You got arrested! You’re making the network look bad!” His boss gestures to the legal letter on his desk from Drake, detailing the fine points of his unofficial restraining order. “Go home. Take a few weeks and cool off. We’ll call you when we need you.”

“Fine,” Eddie snarls again, and he storms out the door, slamming it for good measure. What a fucking prick. He stabs at the elevator button, and when it doesn’t come fast enough, he hits it again.

HUNGRY.

Eddie jerks at the voice. “Huh?”

“I asked how you’ve been,” a woman says, stepping up behind him and pushing the button as well. Eddie vaguely recognizes her as one of the camera girls he’s worked with. “I heard you were pretty sick.”

“Oh. Yeah.” That was the official story as far as everyone else knew. And it wasn't entirely a lie. He has been sick. Some vague nauseating feeling has been under his skin and in his stomach for days, ever since he left Drake’s lab. He threw up three times in the police station. “Yeah. I’m uh…I’m better. Feeling better.”

Also a lie. He feels worse, actually. He has for awhile now. It’s half the reason he didn’t fight his boss about leaving, when normally he would’ve put his foot down about it.

“Good.” The door opens and they steps in. “What floor?”

“Uh, lobby.”

They make small talk until she gets off at the seventeenth floor. Eddie watches her leave, trying to ignore the roiling feeling in his stomach. She looks very…delicious.

Delicious? “Get a grip,” he says firmly. “Go home, eat, go to bed.” Achievable goals.

HUNGRY.

He spins. “Who said that?”

Look up.

He looks up. He stares. “What the…”

Hello, Eddie.

The ceiling is covered in mirrors, which is a strange design choice in Eddie’s opinion. But that’s not the weirdest part. A tall, black monster is looking back at him. Its skin is made of a strange, shifting substance that seems to absorb all the nearby light. Rows of sharp white teeth blaze at him with menace while silvery eyes hold his gaze.He shrieks in a very manly way and jumps back, banging his head as he looks around the elevator wildly.

But there’s no one else here. He dares to look up again. The monster is still there. Still staring. In the same spot he is.

“Holy shit,” Eddie says, touching his face. The monster touches his at the same time, in the same manner. But all Eddie feels is normal human skin under his trembling fingers.

The elevator dings and the doors open. He looks out at the people, then back up again.

Normal Eddie. Scared Eddie, but normal.

“What the fuck is going on,” he whispers, and steps out of the elevator. Must be sicker than he thought, if he’s hallucinating and hearing voices. Yes, he definitely needs to get home before it gets worse.

I require food.

He flinches.

“What?”

Food. I need it.

Oh great, his hallucination is talking back to him. Eddie shakes his head and walks as briskly as he can manage towards the door. He nods at the doorman, but hurries out before the other man says anything. He’s in no shape to carry on a conversation right now, even with his friends.

His bike is where he left it. He jams the key in and puts his helmet on, then pulls away from the curb. Home. Gotta get home.

There’s a rumbling in the back of his mind. An anger, almost. A distinct quiet rage that most definitely isn’t his. And then the voice, again. If we do not eat soon, I’m going to start having your pancreas for a snack.

“You are not real” Eddie says out loud, the words muffled by his helmet and the rush of traffic. “I’m tired, and I’m sick, and you are not actually real.”

The anger shifts suddenly into…amusement? I’m not real? Well then. Let me prove myself to you.

His hands suddenly lock on the bike and he jams the throttle wide open. The bike roars in response and shoots forward, narrowly missing a car. Eddie swears loudly and tries to lift his foot for the brake, but it’s stuck fast. He can’t move it. He can’t move anything.

But he is moving, because his arms are turning the bike in different ways. He’s weaving in and out of cars like in a movie. Except it’s not him doing it. He’s driving the bike, but he’s not the one in control.

He screams. The voice chuckles. Still think this is all in your head?

“What the fuck is happening!”

The bike suddenly slows and turns down a narrow side street. Eddie feels something shift in his head again and just like that, he can move. He navigates the bike over to a dumpster and stops. “What the fuck,” he whispers again, pulling the keys out and climbing off.

The bike itself looks okay. Nothing harmed. He does a quick inspection, but it doesn’t look like it locked up for any reason. Whatever just happened, it wasn’t a mechanical issue.

Eddie pulls off his helmet and gazes up at the rooftops above. “Where the hell am I?”

Let’s get a better view, shall we?

Blackness suddenly oozes out of his skin and up his arms. Eddie shrieks as it covers his entire body, even his head. His vision changes to be clearer and sharper. Color becomes muted, while grey and black stand out in sharp contrast. Hold on, the voice says, and it—he—jumps up. Eddie moans in fear as the arms (his arms?) reach out and grab the wall, climbing twenty-seven stories of vertical like it’s a walk in the park. He ends up on the edge of the rooftop, staring out over the city below.

The black goop melts back into him.Eddie quickly steps off the edge and gets away from it. He doesn’t like heights. He’s never liked heights.

“What was that?”

Not what. Who.

From his back, a series of pulsating black tendrils emerge and curve around to his front. As Eddie watches in horror, they form the face that he saw in the elevator, complete with the grinning teeth and a pointed, overly long tongue.

Hello, Eddie, it says again, and Eddie barely manages to stop himself from whimpering in fear.

“What are you?” he whispers. His hand half extends to touch the tendrils, but then he freaks out and pulls it back.

The creature makes an annoyed sound. Not WHAT. Who. I am Venom.

“Venom?”

Yes. I am Venom. And you, Eddie, are mine.

“How did you climb up here?”

Venom laughs. For a reporter, you are disappointing. You are not asking the right questions.

“Well, I have lots of questions,” Eddie says, stumbling backwards. He wants to run away screaming, but how do you run away from something in your own body? “Like why are you…in me?”

You are my host. This is symbiosis. You help me live in your world, and I provide protection.

“Oh God,” Eddie says, faintly disgusted. “I have a parasite?”

As soon as the word is out of his mouth, he regrets it.

Chapter Text

Venom growls, which is all the warning Eddie has before his body is slammed backwards into the ground and the monster’s face comes frighteningly close to his.

I am not a parasite.

“You’re using my body as a host.” Eddie laughs nervously and tries to sit up. Black tendrils curl around his body and keep him locked to the ground. “Hate to break it to you bud, but I think that’s the definition of a parasite.”

I AM NOT A PARASITE.

“But you—”

Venom roars in his face, blasting him with bits of spit and bringing those teeth way too close to his head. I AM NOT A PARASITE!

“Okay,” Eddie agrees weakly, terrified and now half-deaf. “Okay. Not a parasite.”

Apologize.

“I’m sorry.” Venom scowls, and Eddie tries again. “I’m really sorry.”

I do not believe you.

Eddie swallows as the creature’s mouth opens, and teeth scrape over his neck. “Oh God,” he whimpers, closing his eyes. “Okay. Got it. Don’t use the p-word.”

Venom hums in agreement. The tongue sneaks out and licks over his neck and the underside of his chin before tracing up his jawline. Eddie squirms in disgust at the trail of drool it leaves. Venom finally pulls back, satisfied, and allows him to sit up. He immediately scrubs the wetness off with his sleeve and looks the monster in the eye. “How did you…get me?”

You opened the door, Eddie. I just took advantage. He roils around Eddie, examining him from all angles. I merely wanted to get out. I was unaware you’d be such a perfect host. Such a good match.

“Uh huh,” Eddie says. “Well, what do I have to do to get you out?”

Venom growls again, and Eddie is slowly brought back to the floor by the tendrils. They curl around his wrists and pull them up over his head. “Fuck,” Eddie says, unhappy with the sudden vulnerability. “Let me up, please.”

I do not think you understood me, before. Venom licks him again, right up his neck. I said you are mine. And that means you are mine forever, Eddie Brock. I will not let you go.

Anger ripples through Eddie, and he snaps. “I’m not gonna be a slave to some parasite!”

He realizes his mistake a half second later as the tendrils around his chest tighten to the point of pain. Venom lets out a low, rumbling growl and manifests more of himself out of Eddie until there’s arms and a torso attached to the head above him. A pair of heavy hands wrap around his arm and he’s yanked to his feet.

Venom manifests the rest of the way. He towers over Eddie by at least two feet. And he’s still growling. I. Am. Not. A. Parasite.

With each word, another tendril coils up and around Eddie until he’s suspended in midair, eyes wide with terror. “I didn’t mean to,” he stammers. “No, please. I didn’t mean to.” He has no idea what’s going to happen, but he’s pretty sure it’s going to hurt.

It does. He’s taken a few nasty beatings in his life, but Venom makes those all look like a walk in the park. The giant fists pummel him relentlessly, knocking him down every single time he tries to stand again. After the fifth or sixth hit, he just stays down and covers his head.

Venom jerks him off the ground and suspends him in the gooey mess of blackness coming from both their bodies, then steps up into his personal space. Mine, he rumbles. Mine to do with as I please.

“I’m sorry,” Eddie sobs, spitting out a mouthful of blood. “Please. I didn’t mean to.”

Mmmm. Venom still sounds pissed, although slightly less so. Instead, he traces his hand (with claws, where the fuck did the claws come from?) over Eddie’s face and thumbs his split lower lip open. You are very soft.

Eddie’s eyes have been closed, but they snap open at that. “What?”

Soft, Venom repeats, and he suddenly pulls Eddie’s shirt off in one massive tug. The fabric rips viciously. He discards it over a shoulder and reaches for the jeans.

“What are you doing?” Eddie asks breathlessly.

Exploring what is mine.

The jeans survive. The tendrils shift until Venom can slide them down off his legs entirely, and along with his shoes they fall to a pile beneath him. Now completely naked, Eddie shifts uncomfortably as Venom’s claw hands drifts too close to certain sensitive anatomies. “No,” he breathes, both trying to look and not look at the same time. He feels something else creep around his waist and move downwards, sliding towards his ass. “N-no,” he says again, kicking his legs. “Don’t!”

He’s trying really hard not to panic, but it’s difficult. Venom hisses and tightens his grip until Eddie heaving chest is the only movement he can make. You should not fight me.

“Put me down,” Eddie gasps. “Just…please.”

But I do like it when you beg.

Great. He can work with that. As the tentacles around him continue probing, he lets a river of words pour from his mouth. They probably don’t make any sense, but he throws in as many please no and don’t do this as he can manage. Venom seems to like it anyway. He’s still uncomfortably close to Eddie’s asshole, but he’s at least stopped probing around.

Finally, Eddie runs out of words. He raises his head to look at Venom. The monster is watching him carefully, a hint of a smirk behind those eyes. You will never use that word again.

“Never,” he promises. He'll strike it from the fucking dictionary if it makes Venom stop touching him.

Good.

The blackness withdraws suddenly and Eddie drops onto the pile of his clothes. “Ow,” he murmurs.

Get dressed. Venom extends himself and looks towards the edge of the roof where they’d first climbed up. There is trouble below.

“What kind of trouble?” Eddie pulls his jeans and underwear back on with trembling fingers, feeling very violated. And also cold. So much for his favorite shirt. “Like the we should stay up here and hide kind?”

Venom gives a very human-like snort. Coward. Come here.

Reluctantly, Eddie steps forward enough to peer over the edge. “That’s…high,” he says faintly, clutching the rough brick.

I will not let you fall.

Only half-reassured, Eddie glances down. There’s an old man standing next to his bike. As Eddie watches, he looks around, then pulls something out his pocket and reaches towards the motorcycle.

What is he doing?

“I think he’s going to steal my bike,” Eddie says in alarm. He stands up and faces Venom. He’s reluctant to ask for anything given what just happened, but he really doesn’t want anyone to steal his only mode of transport. “Um. Can I go down there?”

Certainly. He wraps around Eddie, encasing him like he did on the way up. And then he jumps.

Eddie screams like a little girl all the way down.

Chapter Text

They land on the ground hard in front of him. The old man lets out a frightened yell and nearly topples over. “What the hell!”

Venom retreats back into Eddie, leaving him to face the guy alone. “That’s my bike,” Eddie says, channeling his biggest bravest badass. “Back the fuck off.”

The man is staring at him with wide eyes, but makes no move to get off the seat. “Finders keepers,” he finally says as his hands twitch nervously.

“Get off,” Eddie says again, and he steps forward.  

Three things happen in quick succession. First, the man jumps off the bike with a surprisingly quick motion. Second, he pulls a gun from his waistband and shoves it into Eddie’s jaw, pushing him backwards against the alley wall.

And third…Venom erupts.

He blasts from Eddie’s skin like a black thundercloud, reversing their positions and slamming the man into the wall. The gun drops from his open palm and skitters down the alley. You should not touch things that don’t belong to you, Venom snarls, and Eddie really doesn’t want to explore the deeper meaning in that statement.

Venom grips the man tightly in his enormous fist and raises him to eye height. Eyes. Lung. Pancreas. So many delicious snacks. So little time.

“What?” the man whimpers.

“What are you doing?” Eddie asks nervously, feeling something predatory uncoil in Venom’s mind.

I’m hungry. And with that, Venom unhinges his jaw and bites the man’s head off.

From a distance, Eddie is vaguely aware that he’s screaming. Venom makes quick work of the rest of the body, eating everything from the skin to the bones to the raggedy clothes. When nothing remains but a shoe, he drops it and seeps back into Eddie’s skin.

“Oh my god.” Eddie stumbles and sits down on the floor next to his bike. “You…you…” He can’t finish the sentence. He turns his head and throws up instead.

Vaguely, he feels the monster in his head shift in amusement. Pathetic.

“You bit that guy’s head off,” Eddie says, wiping his mouth. “You ATE him!”

Fuel in the tank.

“Yeah? I get hungry! You don’t see me eating people!”

Venom’s head emerges from Eddie’s shoulder to face him. I can eat your organs if you’d prefer.

“What?”

I require energy to live. I can either eat your organs or I can eat another’s.

A million questions roll through Eddie’s head at light speed, but all he can manage is a faint moan of distress. He buries his face in his hands and shakes his head. “This isn’t real. This can’t be real.”

Can’t it? Venom’s tongue traces up along his wrist and fingers. I assure you, Eddie. I am very, VERY real.

Eddie grits his teeth and tries not to cry. “Fuck.”

Venom laughs. You should go home. You are very tired.

“I don’t want to go home,” Eddie says, standing up. “No, I…I…” He looks around the alley, half-hoping someone will swoop in and rescue him. He should go back to the lab, really. Even though he just spent the past four days convincing the police that he’d never been in Drake’s lab in the first place. But Drake is the only one who knows anything about this creature, and therefore the only one who might be able to help Eddie get him out.

As soon as he makes up his mind to do this, though, Venom hisses in displeasure. There’s a distinct pressure in his head, like the monster is rifling through his thoughts and feelings. He sees the lab flicker up in his head, then an image of Drake, then the containment unit he first found Venom in. You want to go back to the lab.

“No,” Eddie lies, trying and failing to not think of it. “No. Definitely not.”

You are lying to me.

“No,” he says weakly, putting his hands up. “I’m just…thinking of options.”

That is not an option.

“But I don’t want this. I don’t want you.”

That is not an option either.

Eddie reaches towards his bike, but halfway there his hand locks up and freezes in midair. He pushes hard, but it doesn’t budge. “Venom, please.”

If you try to return me to Drake, you will not succeed, and you will not enjoy the consequences.

He shakes his head, desperately trying not to burst into tears. “Wouldn’t you be happier with someone else? I’m sure there’s plenty of people who wouldn’t mind sharing a body with a head-eating monster.”

Honestly, he doesn’t know who would fall into that category, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Venom growls softly and forms his hands, then grabs Eddie’s head and twists it to face that horrifying maw of teeth. I do not want anyone else, Venom says, closing in like he’s going to kiss Eddie. I want you.

“Why?” He tries to pull back, but the grip on his head is too strong. The creature’s breath smells like blood and raw meat.

You interest me.

He doesn’t know what to say to that, so he doesn’t. He just closes his eyes.

You will not return to Drake’s lab.

He still wants to. Desperately. But Venom isn’t going to let him, and right now he doesn’t see any other alternatives. So he nods carefully, and Venom lets go of his head.

The arms retreat back into the pulsating black goo, leaving only that grinning face. You will go home now, Venom orders. You will go home and we will rest.

“Are…are you gonna eat anyone else?”

Most likely.

“Oh, god.” Another wave of nausea flows over him, and maybe Venom senses that, because he adds, But not today.

Eddie pulls his bike jacket from the seat storage to cover his bare torso, then takes out his phone from the pocket. He’s half tempted to dial Carlton Drake’s lab and scream about the human-eating monster he’s managed to acquire, but instead he pulls up the GPS and finds his apartment. Twenty minute drive. “Okay,” he says, stowing it and kicking the bike on. “I have to drive towards the Foundation, but only because I live that way, okay? I’m not going back. So don’t freak out on me.”

Venom hums in acknowledgement, and Eddie backs out of the alley.

Chapter Text

By any human’s standards, Eddie’s apartment is an absolute shithole. It’s small. It’s dim. It always smells vaguely of Korean food, courtesy of his downstairs neighbor’s love for kimchi. The windows don’t open and the front door only locks if he pushes on it in a certain way. He hasn’t touched the stove since the first day, when he turned it on and it instantly caught on fire. His bed is a slowly leaking air mattress on the floor, covered in a pile of sheets and clothes that he washed three days ago.

It is a shithole. But it’s his shithole, and he can’t help but feel better as he locks his bike up and climbs the rickety stairs. Home. Shower. Sleep. A few hours to put his head back together, and then he can figure out how to get rid of his new friend.

Venom emerges as soon as Eddie closes the door. He stretches the connection between them as he examines the space. You live here?

“Yeah,” Eddie says, dropping his keys on the counter next to the unpaid bills. “I do.”

In answer, Venom pulls up a memory of his other apartment. Where is this?

“That’s Anne’s place.” He ignores the twist in his gut at her name.

Who is Anne?

“My ex.”

Venom runs through his memories of her, a kaleidoscopic effect that leaves Eddie feeling a bit sick. “Do you have to do that?”

Why are you not with her?

“Because I’m an loser,” he says honestly, and he walks towards the bathroom. “And I fucked up the one good thing I ever really had.”

Venom doesn’t respond to that. Eddie closes the door and turns the shower on. He avoids the mirror out of habit, stripping off his clothes and dropping them next to the sink. The water is warm and he lets out a sigh as it streams down his chest, washing off the sweat and the terror of the past few hours.

The exhaustion hits him hard after that and he makes quick work of cleaning himself. Venom watches with interest as he soaps up. What is this?

“Soap?”

It smells nice, Venom muses. A black tendril emerges from his skin and slides over his chest, turning in the water. I like this.

“Good for you,” Eddie mutters, turning so he can rinse his head. Before Venom can get any ideas akin to whatever he was going for on the roof, he gets the last of the soap out of his hair and turns the spray off. Venom hums in displeasure, but doesn’t say anything as he opens the shower curtain and gropes around for his towel.

You will sleep now?

“Yeah,” Eddie says, heading into the bedroom with the towel around his waist. He doesn’t usually care, but it feels weird to walk around naked with Venom here. Even though Venom has technically already seen him naked.

He pulls on some pajamas and decides to hang up the towel later, opting instead to crawl into bed. Usually he has to lay around for an hour before he drifts off, but this time he falls asleep almost instantly. It’s nice.

Despite the trauma of being arrested and infested by an alien monster, his dreams are actually quite pleasant. Warm. There’s a nice subtle sensation of something touching him, sliding over his skin, leaving behind tingles of pleasure wherever it touches.

“Anne,” he sighs, imagining her hands on his body. Her mouth on his cock. Her breath in his ear as they made love, reveling in the closeness of each other. “Mmm…Anne.”

The reality, when he wakes up, is much darker.

Literally darker, because whereas he went to sleep with the sunset drifting down through his flimsy curtains, he wakes up to blackness in the room. The only light is the faint moon drifting through the window. Disoriented, he checks his watch. 3am. Too early to be alive.

“The fuck…?” he mutters sleepily, and that’s when he realizes that:

A) his pants are gone, and

B) Venom is fully manifested above him and is stroking Eddie’s cock in slow, rhythmic movements.

It takes a second for the situation to fully settle in, but the moment it does Eddie lets out a wordless shout and rolls away from the offending hand. “What the fuck!” he yells, coming up onto his knees and facing the monster still on the bed. “What the fuck are you doing?”

It feels good, Venom says. He smiles. It doesn't look friendly. Very good.

“You can’t touch people in their sleep, you sick bastard!”

The eyes narrow, and Eddie feels a flash of fear. You are mine, Eddie. And I can do what I want with you.

“No, you can’t,” he protests, but the words are somewhat pointless as Venom pulls him back to the bed and pins with him with a hundred black tendrils. “Get off! Let me go!”

I’m exploring my options, Venom rasps in his ear, which he then licks. You are very soft, Eddie.

“Oh my god,” Eddie moans, covering his face with his hands. “Venom, please. Don’t do this.”

Why not?

If someone had told him four days ago he’d be explaining the concept of consent to an alien monster inhabiting his body, he’d’ve laughed in their face. “Because I don’t want you to,” he starts, but the rest of the words are cut off as a tendril tightens around the base of his cock. He lets out a little squeak of fear and tries not to imagine Venom's claws down there.

What you want, Venom says, an undercurrent of menace and desire rippling through his words, does not matter here.

Great. So that’s it then. He’s going to be violated by an alien monster who doesn’t understand what it’s doing. “Don’t,” he says again, but the tendril around his cock starts to pump up and down. It moves slowly, but the sensation of it is enough to bring back the erection he’d lost upon waking up. When he’s hard and leaking, Venom stops.

You were saying her name before.

“What?” Eddie gasps, trying to get himself under control so he doesn’t buck his hips in the air like a fucking teenager. You don’t want this. You don’t like this. This does not feel good.

Except it does feel good, and that’s the problem. He hasn’t had sex in weeks, hasn’t even touched himself in a long time, so between that and everything else that’s been happening…well his dick would probably respond a stiff breeze at this point. And the person (monster) touching him is in his head, which means he knows exactly what moves Eddie likes. And he’s definitely putting those to good use.

Anne. You said her name.

“I was dreaming,” he grinds out, twisting his hands into the sheet. “It was just a dream. People say weird shit in dreams.”

I want you to say my name.

The tendril resumes stroking, shattering Eddie’s train of thought for a second. “Huh?”

I want you to say my name.

“Venom?”

There’s a soft growl in his ear, and Venom licks along the curve of his ear. Eddie shudders, not entirely in disgust. No. Like you said hers.

“Ah.” Eddie shudders again. “W-why?”

There’s no answer, but the tendril strokes faster, bringing him right to the edge. Eddie lets out an embarrassingly breathy moan, and then an even more embarrassing whimper as Venom backs off, easing up until there’s only the lightest of touches on his skin. “Don’t,” he says, except he isn’t sure how that sentence is supposed to end. Don’t stop? Don’t touch him?

Venom lets him settle down a bit, then goes right back to the stroking. Eddie bites his tongue hard to stop from shouting as the sensations build again, getting better and better until he’s right there, all he needs is a few more—

Venom stops again, and this time Eddie gives his own growl of frustration. But the second he reaches for his dick, a black tentacle snakes around his wrist and stops him just an inch away. No.

“You’re an asshole,” Eddie breathes, but Venom only chuckles. Still holding Eddie’s wrist, he works him up again.

And again.

And again.

By the fifth time, Eddie is practically in tears. He’s so sensitive he thinks he might actually die if he doesn’t get to come right fucking now. “Come on,” he begs, straining against the hold around his wrist. “Venom, please!”

There’s a pleased rumble behind him. Again.

“Venom!” He puts all of his desperation into the one word, feeling the tendril around him go a little faster. So close. He’s so close. “I need it, please, Venom, please let me, please, Venom…”

One last stroke, one last squeeze, and Eddie finally comes with a strangled yell that’s probably loud enough to concern people in China. His vision whites out for a second and he goes boneless in Venom’s arms, only half aware he’s making some very embarrassing sounds. The monster growls in approval and licks a stripe up his neck as it seeps back into him.

Ages later, some motor control returns to Eddie and he groans, rolling over onto his side. He gropes around on the floor and eventually finds his damp towel, which he uses to wipe some of the cum and sweat off his body. “Christ,” he murmurs into the darkness, dropping the towel back to the floor. His legs are sore. His abs are sore. His dick is sore.

That felt good, Venom hums, and Eddie has to fight the urge to burst out laughing. Because yeah, it did feel good. The best orgasm he’s ever had in his pathetic life, and it came at the tentacles of a fucked-up brain eating alien.

And he’s completely powerless to stop it from happening again.

Chapter Text

Dawn comes with an unwelcome brightness that falls across his face. “Ugh,” Eddie groans, throwing an arm over his eyes.

Bright, Venom says, and he sounds just as sleepy as Eddie does.

“Left the curtains open,” Eddie mumbles, turning over and pulling his pillow over his head. Venom snakes out from him and pulls them over the window. It doesn’t really do much, but it’s a nice gesture. “Mmm. Thanks.”

You are welcome.

Eddie lies there a little longer, drifting in the nice twilight between half-awake and half-asleep until he eventually has to answer the call of nature. Afterward, he washes his hands and studies his reflection in the mirror.

He doesn’t look too bad, honestly. The vaguely sick feeling he’s had since Venom “found” him is gone, and with a pretty decent night’s sleep, he’s actually feeling pretty good. Other than being hungry, anyway. Really hungry. He could go for a couple breakfast sandwiches.

Except that means exposing other people to the horror he’s carrying under his skin, and that’s not exactly something he wants to be responsible for. He shudders as the memory of yesterday afternoon plays before his eyes.

Maybe we should lay down some ground rules, he contemplates while brushing his teeth. Venom is sentient. He can be reasoned with. Surely he’ll understand the concern Eddie has. And if he starts building a relationship now, then maybe he can slowly start convincing him to return to Drake’s lab. And then he can talk to Drake, explain what happened, and be rid of Venom for good.

“I do not think you understood me, before. I said you are mine. And that means you are mine forever, Eddie Brock. I will not let you go.”

Eddie shakes the memory off. It’ll be fine. He can do this.

He combs his hair and dresses. When that’s done, he kicks the mattress back into the corner, throws the clothes on the floor into the laundry basket, and straightens up the room. Might as well pick up a bit before he goes out.

The kitchen is a mess, so he cleans that as well. Dishes in the sink, take-out containers in the garbage. Wipe up the spills on the counter. Put away the cans he bought a week ago. He even sweeps the floor, which he hasn’t done in ages.

Eventually, though, the apartment is clean, and he can’t come up with another reason to stall. So with a last deep breath, he hesitantly says, “Venom? Can we talk?”

After an agonizing moment of silence, he feels the monster stir in his mind. Yes.

He closes his eyes. “Um. Can you come where I can see you?”

Why?

“Because otherwise it’s like I’m talking to myself, and it’s weird.”

There’s a vague noise of annoyance, but after a second the face emerges from his arm. The teeth start to give Eddie second thoughts, but he soldiers on anyway. “I need to go out. I need to get some food.”

So go, Venom says, eyes narrowing.

“Yeah. I’m going to.” Eddie tries to sound firm. “But I think we should make some rules.”

Rules?

“Yeah. Rules. Like no eating people.” Why is his voice so high pitched?

Mm. Venom coils in a little closer. And why shouldn’t I eat people?

Eddie grits his teeth. “Well, for starters, it’s disgusting.” Venom snorts. “And also, it draws attention. If you turn into a giant monster on the street, people are going to see you. And there’ll be questions. And guns. You don’t want to be shot at.”

Guns? Venom asks, picking through Eddie’s memory again. Ah. They will not affect me.

“They affect me,” Eddie says tersely.

Not when I am protecting you.

“Look, you just can’t do it, okay? You said you didn’t want to go back to Drake’s lab? If you start eating people on the street, they’re gonna pick you up, and then you’re fucked.”

How sweet, Venom hums, coming even closer. You are concerned for me.

“I’m concerned for me,” Eddie corrects, trying very hard to hold his ground. “So don’t eat people.”

Venom chuckles, but after a moment he nods. Yes. I will not eat anyone on this trip.

Not entirely reassuring, but Eddie relaxes a little. That was easier than he thought it would be. “And you have to stay hidden,” he says. “You can’t come out. No one can know you’re here.”

Yes.

Eddie thinks quickly. “And keep quiet. If I’m talking to myself I’m going to draw attention.”

Yes, Venom says, although he’s starting to sound irritated. The silvery eyes narrow again. Are you done?

“And no touching me,” Eddie blurts out. “Like last night. You can’t do that.”

Can’t I?

Before he can protest, there’s a sudden warmth in his jeans as Venom molds himself to Eddie’s cock, moving in a gentle pulsating rhythm. He lets out a choked noise and falls forward, barely managing to catch himself in time.

I think it’s time for my rules, Venom growls in his ear. From Eddie’s back, a mass of tendrils shoot out and grab the ceiling above the couch. Eddie shouts as he’s jerked backwards backwards through the air. He lands on the floor next to the couch, hard enough to make the air wheeze out of his lungs with a horrible gasping sound.

Venom pins his wrists above his head. Yessss, he hisses, licking over Eddie’s mouth. My rules.

Eddie gasps like a fish and writhes weakly, trying to free his wrists.

First rule, Venom says, sliding a series of tendrils under Eddie’s shirt, is that you will not make any rules. The tendrils pop the buttons on his shirt open, and Venom immediately seeps over his chest, toying with his nipples and sliding teasing lengths over sensitive skin. Eddie shakes his head desperately. Get off get off get off.

The second rule, Venom says as he undoes Eddie’s jeans, is that you are mine.

The jeans slide down as the tendrils around his cock hum and vibrate. He finally manages to gasp in a breath and bites his cheek to keep from moaning.

Third rule. You will obey me.

Eddie shakes his head again at the same time his hips buck up into that wonderful feeling, you don’t fucking own me and oh my god don’t stop please don’t stop warring in his head. It builds until he’s teetering deliciously on the edge, just a few more seconds away from—

I think that’s enough for now, Venom says, and he withdraws suddenly. Eddie cries out as everything seeps back into his body, leaving his cock hard and his brain too screwed with imminent pleasures make sense of what’s happening. The best he can manage is a “Huh?”

Get up, Venom orders. We are going out. You are hungry. Eddie reaches for himself, planning to finish off first, but Venom snaps around his wrist. No.

“Aw, fuck,” Eddie pants. He jerks his wrist against the makeshift manacle, but he just ends up straining his elbow. “Fuck!”

Later, Venom says in a tone that sounds very much like a promise, or maybe a threat. Get up. Or I will make you get up, and we will be going out naked.

Eddie manages to gather himself together and sits up. He fixes his shirt and reluctantly drags his jeans up over his dick, tucking it up into his waistband so it’s not too obvious. The friction doesn’t really help matters, but it’s the best he can do for now. Venom watches as he dresses, eyes alert for any untoward movements. When Eddie’s done, he looks up for more instruction, but Venom just melts back into his shoulder.

That went well, he rages at himself, stumbling over to the counter to get his keys. Any other fucking brilliant ideas? Sure, let’s reason with the psycho monster! That can’t end poorly for anyone at all!

He walks to the cafe that’s further away, both for something to do and to hopefully give his erection time to die down. In his head, he can feel Venom cataloguing people as they walk by. Food. Food. Too skinny. Too young. Food. Food.

“Stop that,” he hisses.

Venom sends a flash of displeasure, but he stops. Or at least does it quieter. Eddie walks a little faster, hoping to get to the cafe and back home before Venom changes his mind and decides to have his own snack.

The cafe is busy, but as soon as his favorite barista sees Eddie, she smiles and waves. “The usual?”

“Yeah. And some sandwiches.” He points to the display case. “Like four of those?”

“Sure thing, sweetheart.”

“You must be hungry,” says a familiar voice behind him. Eddie spins around.

Anne.

Chapter Text

God, she’s beautiful. He always manages to forget that until he sees her again. Beautiful, and smart, and funny, and Eddie is a fucking idiot to have let her get away.

“Hey,” he finally stammers out. “Uh, hi, Anne. What…what are you doing here?”

“Same thing you’re doing, I’d imagine,” she laughs, stepping around him. Eddie shuffles out of the way, embarrassed. Yeah, he’s an idiot.

“Got some time?” she asks. “We could talk.”

“Yeah, I got a few minutes,” Eddie says. He takes his bag of sandwiches from the counter and picks up his coffee. “How you been?”

“Good,” she says, brushing the hair out of her face. Eddie notices the ring on her hand as she does.

“I take it things with Dan are going well,” he says, nodding towards it.

Anne blushes as she picks up her coffee. “It’s not an official engagement ring or anything,” she says. “We’re not ready for that. But I’m getting it sized and I didn’t want to forget it.”

They sit at a small table by the window. Eddie curls his fingers around his coffee, letting the warmth seep into his skin. “So…how’ve you been?”

“I’m good,” she says. Her eyes are full of concern. “I heard about what happened to you, though. Are you okay?”

For a second Eddie thinks she means Venom, and he panics at the thought of having to explain that to her. But then he remembers the police station, and the multiple days of interrogation. “Oh. I’m fine. It was all a misunderstanding.”

She nods, although he can tell she’s skeptical. “Do you still…have a job?”

“Yeah,” Eddie says, trying for a smile. “Boss is too scared of the execs to try that again.”

“I heard—”

“I’m on leave,” he interrupts. “A couple weeks off. Just to get my head straight. Let the network do damage control and all that.”

“Oh.”

They make small talk after that. The weather. Her job. How her mom is doing. It’s nothing like their past conversations, and Eddie finds himself aching for it. He’s lonely. He’s been lonely for months. Anne, for all the faults in their relationship, was the only person who ever really got him.

“I have to go,” she finally says. “Call me sometimes, okay? I miss talking to you.”

Sure thing, is what Eddie means to say, but when he opens his mouth what comes out is, “I love you.”

Instantly, hot embarrassment shoots through him and he clenches his fist, looking down at the table. Fuck. Fuck, he’s an idiot. She’s never going to talk to him again.

Her hand gently lifts under his chin. “Eddie,” she says softly, but he doesn’t meet her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbles. “I don’t know why I said that.”

She sighs. “Eddie, I love you too. But I’m with Dan now…”

“I know.” He doesn’t take his eyes off the table. “I know that. I’m not going to…I wouldn’t…”

“Don’t worry about it,” she says. “Eddie, look at me.”

He does. There’s sadness in her grey eyes. “I don’t like the way we ended things. I always felt that was wrong.”

A glimmer of hope rises in him. He squashes it down hard.

“And I think we should talk about it. Not right now. I have to go. But later, okay?”

“Sure,” Eddie agrees. “Later. Yeah.”

“I’ll call you,” she says. She kisses his forehead and picks up her purse. “I promise.”

“Sounds good,” he says, and he watches her leave.

As soon as she’s out of sight, Venom stirs beneath him. Your emotions feel strange.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Eddie picks up his sandwiches and coffee and leaves the cafe. He’ll go back home, eat, and then figure out what to do to help keep his mind off Anne. Maybe he can go set up some leads for a new story so he can hit the ground running when the office wants him back. Or work on his bike, there’s a few things he’s been meaning to tinker with.

Venom, though, has other ideas.   

As soon as Eddie closes the door behind him, the monster oozes from his chest to face him. Eddie ignore hims and kicks his shoes off, then pulls a sandwich from the bag. “What,” he finally says, mouth full of bagel and egg.

You love her. A odd feeling pulses across their connection.

Eddie pauses in mid-bite. “Yes?”

Why?

"Because we were together for a long time. I can’t help it.”

But she left you.

“She did.” He rubs a hand across his face and abandons the sandwich, suddenly feeling sick. He really doesn’t want to explain the complicated depths of his feelings for Anne, but he has a nagging feeling Venom isn’t going to drop this. “We were going to be married, okay? We dated for three years and then I proposed, and it was all great, except then I fucked it up.”

How?

“I chased a story I said I would leave alone.” He clenches a fist. “I used her as a resource without her permission. And it cost her her job.”

He remembers the fight the night they broke up. She’d thrown his ring at him and snarled, I hope it’s fucking worth it, Eddie. I hope your fifteen minutes of fame is worth those years of us.  

It wasn’t. The story broke in a big way, but then the movers and shakers stepped in, and the bad guys got off anyway. When the smoke finally cleared, Eddie was jobless, homeless, and fiancee-less. He’d fixed the first two with a couple phone calls and cashing in some favors, but there was no getting Anne back. Three months after that night in the street, she was with Dan. And now, a year later, they were apparently planning marriage.

Eddie shakes off the melancholy and straightens up. “Don’t worry about it,” he says. “It’s better now.” He forces himself to finish the sandwich in his hands, putting the rest in the fridge.

It is better now, Venom says, curling around his arms as he closes the door. You are mine. The odd feeling pulses again. Jealousy, he belatedly realizes. Jealous that Anne had him first? Or jealous that Anne still has a part of his heart now?

Either way, he’s suddenly consumed with worry for her. If they’re going to meet up again and talk, he really doesn’t want Venom bursting out his chest and eating her brains or anything. “We’re not getting back together,” he says carefully, looking the monster straight in the eye. “I’m not stupid enough to try that. Dan’s a good guy. I don’t want to hurt her.”

But you still feel for her.

“Doesn’t mean I’m acting on it.”

Good. Venom hums and writhes around his arms. Eat the rest of your food.

“I’m really not hungry anymore.” It’s a lie, but he’s pretty sure if he eats anything else it’s going to come back up.

Yes, you are. Eat.

“I don’t want to.”

Remember my rules? Venom hisses. What were my rules, Eddie?

He does remember, but he doesn’t want to say them. “Later, okay? I promise.” He starts to walk back towards the front door, but Venom suddenly locks up his ankles. He nearly falls, managing to save himself with a quick hand on the counter.

What were my rules?

Eddie cringes. “Come on, man.” He tries and fails to move his foot. God, this is so fucking unfair. “Okay. Fine. I’ll eat.”

No, I don’t think so. The monster pulls out from his torso, fully forming himself. Despite his best efforts, Eddie shrinks in terror. He’d back up if he could move his legs. Venom is tall and broad; he dwarfs Eddie by a good two feet. He could tear him apart without trying. And God, those teeth…

“W-what do you want?” he asks, hating how his voice trembles.

Venom grins. The effect is exceedingly terrifying. What do I want? His tongue drags over Eddie’s lips. He leans in close.

I want you to take your clothes off.

Chapter Text

On the list of things he was expecting, that answer was not one of them. “Oh,” says Eddie, which is about all he can think of. He sees this ending a few different ways, none of them very pleasant for him. “I—”

Now, Eddie.

“Okay,” he whimpers, leaning back from the teeth that are far too close to his face. “Yeah. Okay.”

He unbuttons his shirt and slides it off his trembling shoulders, folding it before putting it on the counter. Venom releases his hold on his feet so he can kick his shoes off, then reluctantly undoes his jeans. He folds those too. Then he peels off his socks one at a time and places them neatly on the pile.

Those too, Venom says, tugging on his boxers with one massive hand.

Eddie closes his eyes and slides them off. This is so much worse somehow. At least on his other…violations, Venom had done the undressing himself. Being forced to participate feels almost like Eddie wants it somehow. Like he’s helping.

Mine, Venom purrs, twisting around him and examining all angles. Eddie grits his teeth as a hand probes around his navel, then dips lower to his cock. Another hand slides the opposite direction and runs over his ass, squeezing and prodding.

He can’t help but shout a little as a (clawless, thank God) finger probes into his unprotected hole. Both his hands slam onto the counter and grip tightly to stop himself from reaching back there and shoving the intrusion away. “F-fuck,” he breathes out, trying not to focus on the burning sensation. “Fuck!”

In a moment, Venom says, unconcerned.

Eddie freezes. Then he twists his head around to look at the monster’s face. “That wasn’t an invitation,” he says tightly.

I do not need an invitation.

Another finger joins the first. Eddie shouts again as the burn increases and his hole stretches to uncomfortable limits. “You’re gonna tear me,” he says over his shoulder, hearing the sheer horror in his voice.

Nonsense. I need you healthy.

“Then stop!”

No.

“Dammit, Venom, you can’t do this—!” he’s cut off as a heavy hand slams into his back, pushing his chest into the counter and making him wheeze in pain.

Rule one, Venom growls, scissoring those too big fingers. You don’t make the rules.

“I’m not—”

What’s rule one, Eddie?

“Stop, please!” Tears track down his face as he struggles to move. Fuck, it hurts. It hurts.

The fingers scissor again. Say it.

“I don’t make the rules,” he sobs.

Rule two. You belong to me.

The fingers pull out and Eddie gasps in relief before they’re replaced by something much bigger. “No—no that’s not gonna fit, no!”

Say it.

“I-I belong to you.” Eddie scrabbles his hands against the counter, desperate to get away. “Venom, please, I am begging you.”

He can feel Venom’s satisfaction at his words, but the thickness behind him pushes in anyway. It takes an agonizingly long time to breach the tight ring of muscle. Eddie feels every fucking inch. 

Rule three, Venom says, pushing the rest of the way into Eddie. Do you remember rule three?

Eddie shakes his head. He can barely remember how to breathe right now. Fuck it hurts it hurts it hurts stop stop stop

You will obey me. Venom pulls back out to the tip before slamming Eddie forward, eking out another agonized howl. The slimy tongue slips up the back of his neck and into his hair, leaving a trail of cold drool wherever it goes.

Eddie starts to say it—he knows that’s what Venom wants—but every time he opens his mouth, the only thing that comes out is a scream. It goes on forever. The pain. The grunting of the monster behind him. The burning torture in his ass. God just let it end let me die.

Never, Venom says, and Eddie suddenly realizes he’s spoken that out loud. You can take much more than this.

“I can’t,” Eddie whimpers. “Please stop.”

What’s rule three, Eddie?

“I’ll obey you.” His voice cracks. He drops his head on the counter and shudders in defeat. “I’ll obey you.”

With a few final thrusts, Venom stops. The cock in his ass withdraws, and Venom’s hold on him releases. Eddie’s knees buckle, suddenly unable to take his weight, and he hits the ground like a sack of potatoes.

Eat your food, Venom says, and he seeps back into Eddie’s skin.

Eddie lays there and shakes for a bit, attempting to get a handle on the radiating pain. Venom waits patiently as Eddie tries to put himself back together.

After an eternity, he manages to crawl up to his knees, then push himself to his feet. His vision whites out as he stands and he ends up half-sprawled over the counter. “Fuck,” he says, breathing heavily. He’s shaking pretty hard, and he’s cold, and his ass has never hurt so much in his entire goddamn life. He can feel the blood slowly seeping down his leg. He needs to shower. Scrub the feel of shame and fear off.

Eat, Venom says again, his tone warning. Eddie shudders in fear and gets the sandwiches.

Chapter Text

Venom fucks him multiple times over the next three days, all of them as horrifically awful as the first. He’s not really sure why Venom does it at all—the monster never seems to have an orgasm or any other kind of physical pleasure from it, although that doesn’t stop him from enjoying himself. Nothing Eddie does stops him from that.

He's also in a fair amount of pain, given that his hole never really gets to heal in between sessions. Venom dug deep in Eddie's memory and rimmed him the last time, which at least provided some lubrication. But it still fucking hurts to sit, to stand, to move. And so by the third day, he’s jumpy and twitchy and afraid to do just about anything lest he set off the monster.

The problem is, he needs to go out again. The grocery situation is getting dire, and quite honestly he’d love to talk to anyone who’s not permanently taken up residence in his head. Anne’s called him twice, but both times Venom was having his way with him and Eddie decided not to answer. She didn’t leave a voicemail either time. He's not sure what that means.

He’s making a tentative plan to broach his needs with his new friend when his new friend emerges from his chest and saves him the trouble. Eddie.

He cringes. “Yeah?”

I’m hungry.

Well, fuck. He knew this day was coming but he’d been hoping there’d be more time in between. “Okay. What can I get you?”

You know what I need, Eddie.

He cringes again. “Does it have to be people? Can’t you eat…I don’t know, seafood or something? Sushi’s raw.” Eddie takes a moment to contemplate how ridiculous that would look—imagine watching Venom eat a small roll of sushi—but his hopes are dashed anyway as Venom growls in disgust.

Not good enough.

“I…”

Eddie. Venom tilts his head. Your organs, or someone else’s.

“Fine,” Eddie sighs, picking up his keys. “Okay. But can we set some—” he chokes on the next word, which was about to be rules. “Guidelines, maybe? To keep us safe?”

I’m listening.

He’s also coiling threateningly around Eddie’s shoulders, which is somewhat intimidating. “No kids,” Eddie says. “Or babies. And you’ve got to be quiet about it.”

Do I?

“Police,” Eddie says tiredly. “Police, and guns, and other things we probably want avoid.”

Venom laughs. Fine. No small ones and don’t attract attention. Easy enough. He glides over Eddie’s skin and comes up right next to his ear. Anything else?

Eddie shudders hard. “Nope.” This is where he’d fucked up last time. He’d pushed his luck too hard. This time he is taking his agreement and sticking to it. Venom chuckles and seeps back into his skin. He forces himself to breathe.

Venom takes control over his muscles as soon as he gets outside. He scans back and forth, cataloguing people as they walk by. Too loud. Too old. Food. Eddie, hating the feeling of being a passenger in his own body, just sits and hopes Venom doesn’t eat anyone particularly important.

When the neighborhood around them changes though, he dares to say something. “Be careful,” he mumbles.

Why?

“Wrong side of the tracks.” Venom pulses in confusion. “Gangs. Bad guys. Guys that don't like strangers on their turf.”

I will not let anyone harm us.

That both does and doesn’t make Eddie feel better. Venom walks them right into the projects, off the streets, and into a local park. Or at least he thinks it used to be a park. There’s a few rusty swings in the center, and the remnants of a kiddie slide.

There’s also a few unsavory looking types hanging around the fringes. They stare at Eddie as he stops in the center of the park. “Um,” Eddie says, stumbling a little as Venom gives him control of his body again. “Venom?”

Let them come.

They do. Eddie fights the urge to shout and tell them to stay away. They form a circle around him, and he thinks this is probably the most awkward and uncomfortable he’s ever felt in his life. “You lost?” asks one of them, tilting his head and giving Eddie a predatory look.

“No.” Eddie turns, taking them all in. Four. His size or bigger. Venom, now would be a good time.

“You sure?” another reaches out and grabs his shoulder, spinning him around. “Maybe you’re looking for something then.”

Venom… “I…” Eddie starts to back away, but they just close in. “No. This was a mistake.” He doesn't know what Venom is playing at, but he hates this. He needs to get out of here.

“What do you want?” His hand curls around Eddie’s neck possessively. “Drugs? Money?” He gives a leering smile. “A good time?”

“Venom!” Eddie screams, desperately shoving the guy backwards.

I’m here.

The familiar blackness oozes up around him. The four of them scream as Venom bursts free with a roar, then clamps a hand around the neck of the one who’d grabbed Eddie. You will do, Venom says, holding him up.

The other three run away screaming. Venom watches them go, then turns his attention to his snack. Hold still.

Eddie closes his eyes this time, but he can’t avoiding hearing the noises. Venom eats with relish, leaving nothing behind but a few drops of blood when he’s done. For half a second Eddie wonders where it goes—they’re sharing the same digestive system, aren’t they?—before deciding that he’d really rather not think about that at all.

“Can we go now?” He needs to get out of here. The other thugs aren’t likely to call the cops, but he sure as fuck doesn’t want to get shot at if they come back.

Certainly.

"Why'd you wait so long?"

Satisfaction ripples back to him. I like it when you're afraid. Everything tastes better.

"...oh." He starts walking, unsure how to respond to that. “So... how long does this keep you full for? Like, is this gonna be a daily thing?”

My energy consumption works the same way as yours, Eddie. Just more efficiently. If you eat enough for us, I can go several weeks without a snack.

“Great.” So a few weeks of respite then, provided he remembers to eat. Enough time to think of a plan. Carlton Drake’s lab is still his best bet, but there’s not any good way to get there without Venom finding out. He’ll either have to draw some major attention to himself, or figure out a way to contact Drake discretely.

He’s composing his email in his head—can’t risk a phone call—as he steps back into the more familiar parts of town. Dear Drake, remember that one time I said I didn’t break into your lab? Well, I lied. I broke in there, and I accidentally set your monster free, and now he’s literally up my ass. Any help would be appreciated.

Eddie snorts. Yeah that would go over real well.

What is funny?

“Nothing. Just amusing myself.” A breeze starts to blow, and Eddie perks up at the smell that’s carried on it. “Hey, coffee." Just what he needs to pick him up a little.

Coffee?

“I had it the other day.” He focuses on the memory of the cafe, deliberately leaving out the part of Anne.

Venom hums in understanding. Ah, yes. Coffee. I did not like coffee.

“Well, you don’t have to drink it."

I still have to taste it. It does odd things to your brain and your heart rate.

“It’s called caffeine, and it’s wonderful.”

I don’t like it.

Eddie tastes the start of an argument, and he stops walking. “Look,” he says quietly, stepping out of the way of the passers-by. “Coffee is one of my favorite things. Please don’t take this from me.”

I said I don’t like it.

A protest forms in his mouth, but he’s distracted by a woman who brushes past him, nearly knocking him off balance. “Hey,” he snaps, turning, but she’s running with headphones in and doesn’t hear him. Her dog, a beautiful golden retriever, sniffs at Eddie’s shoes before being dragged along behind her.

Venom makes an interested sound. What’s that?

“That? It’s a dog.”

What is a dog?

Eddie scratches his chin. “It’s an animal. People keep them as pets. You have to take them out on walks and stuff, and they play fetch and eat your shoes. They’re great.” He used to have one as a kid. He’d wanted to get one with Anne, but they got the stupid cat instead. He’s never been much of a cat person.

Interesting, Venom says. A pet.

“Yeah.”

Like you.

“I’m not your pet,” he hisses sharply.

Aren’t you?

“I’m a person,” he says.“A sentient human being with thoughts and feelings and ideas. I’m not a dog!” This last part he says a little louder than he means to, which earns him some strange looks from a couple walking past.

The dog is owned by a higher life being. How is that different? Venom laughs. I’ve been examining your memories, Eddie. You humans all think you are the smartest creatures to walk upright. But you’re all just dogs to beings like me.

“Shut up,” Eddie growls. He takes a step towards the coffee shop. He’s going to get his damn coffee, and then he’s going to go home and sit on his shitty couch and watch his shitty TV and try not to think for a few hours. Groceries can wait for another day.

He says as much to Venom, and the monster laughs quietly. I don’t think so, Eddie.

Well, he’s already being reckless. He may as well go full bore. “Fuck you,” he says, crossing the street. “I’m tired of this shit. You got to eat someone, now I want to get my coffee and go home. You’ve literally been fucking with me for three days and I’m sick of it.”

Venom growls, but it’s not the short, irritated growl he’s used to hearing. This one is deep and menacing, and Eddie feels it in his own throat. His blood runs cold and he pauses with his hand on the door.

I thought you understood me, Venom says, spreading out underneath Eddie’s shirt and down his arms, but clearly you need another reminder of how things are now.

“N-no, I really don’t.” Eddie glances around frantically, alarms going off in his head. If this thing is going to hurt him, he really doesn’t want to be around other people while it does.

Inside. Bathroom.

He bursts through the door and beelines for the bathroom, which is mercifully empty. As soon as the door closes behind him, he grabs the sink and braces himself against it. He’s pretty sure he knows what’s coming, and it’s not going to be particularly pleasant.

Chapter Text

Sure enough, his jeans are already slipping down his legs. Venom forms behind him and grazes his teeth over Eddie’s shoulder. Look at me, he says, and Eddie forces himself to look up in the mirror at his fearful, desperate reflection. Tell me who owns you.

“I hate you,” Eddie says instead, and he drives an elbow back into Venom’s chest. He actually manages to hit something vaguely solid—Venom clearly wasn’t expecting it and there’s a satisfying grunt of pain—but then Venom traps his hand and twists it, hard. Eddie screams as his bones shatter underneath the iron grip. The monster uses it as leverage to push Eddie down over the sink, and then—

Then—

He screams again, louder. He can’t help it. There’s a white hot lightning strike up pain going up his spine and Venom is forcing himself into Eddie’s ass with all the finesse and grace of a wrecking ball. “S-stop!” he gasps, bucking up against the grip on his arm. “No!”

You seem to think, Venom says, dragging teeth over his shoulder as he fucks Eddie, that I should be held to your standards. Eddie winces as they leave bloody lines, little starbursts of pain superimposed against the inferno happening behind him. You seem to think that I am like you.

Venom slams forward, making Eddie choke in pain, and then pulls out entirely. Eddie collapses to the floor, legs shaking too badly to hold himself up. Venom yanks up him from the floor and shoves hard, sending him into the opposite wall. The bathroom isn’t big, and Eddie hits the wall hard enough to leave a dent in the grab bar. He feels his left wrist break on the impact, and he screams for the third time.

Someone pounds on the door. “Hello? Are you alright? Open the door!”

Venom picks up him up by the throat and slams up him up against the wall. But I am not human, he hisses, leaning in close and flicking his tongue over Eddie’s lips. I am far better than that. I was alive long before you crawled out of the mud, and you are NOTHING compared to me.

Eddie has done some truly stupid things in his life, but he’s pretty sure antagonizing Venom to this point is probably the stupidest. He opens his mouth to say something—beg? Apologize?—but as soon as he does, Venom forces his tongue inside.

He gags hard, and bites down on reflex, but the intrusion is relentless. I own you because I am strong enough to take you. And you, you PATHETIC little blood bag, will not defy me any longer.

The tongue goes deeper. Eddie can feel it moving towards his stomach, and he gags again. He can’t breathe. At the same time, a thick tendril slams back into his hole, and starts fucking him in a bruising rhythm. Caught between the two appendages, Eddie digs his hands into Venom’s arm and tries to just hold on.

Except holding on becomes difficult as his lungs start to ache for air. The tiny shallow breaths he manages to take when Venom retracts his tongue enough aren’t cutting it. Tears blur his vision as he struggles uselessly against Venom’s grip on his throat. He’s going to kill me, Eddie suddenly thinks, and sheer terror floods his veins as his vision starts to flicker on the edges.

Venom doesn’t touch his cock, doesn’t aim for his prostate, doesn’t do anything except fuck Eddie in both directions. This is not about forcing pleasure. This is about control. It’s a power play. And so, left with nothing else to do, Eddie forces his hands up from their desperate grip on Venom’s arm. He shows his empty palms to the monster, then slowly lets them drop to his side.

Venom tilts his head, interest flickering in their mental connection. Then, just as Eddie is about to pass out, he withdraws his tongue. Eddie gasps and coughs, spitting up a disgusting mix of Venom’s slime and his own saliva. “Okay,” he says hoarsely, once he has enough air for words, wincing as the tendril in his ass continues fucking, albeit slightly slower. “I get it.”

You said that earlier. I don’t believe you now.

“I get it,” he repeats. “You’re in control.”

Satisfaction pulses from the monster. Tell me who owns you, Eddie.

He closes his eyes in defeat. “You do.”

And what are my rules?

Eddie fights back tears. “I don’t make the rules. I belong to you. I obey you.”

Good. I want you to remember those. A tendril slides around his hand, squeezing, and Eddie chokes, his broken bones screaming in pain. This doesn’t have to be hard, Eddie. You just have to listen to me. Venom smiles and releases him, letting him drop onto the floor. Eddie coughs again and spits weakly to the side.

Someone pounds on the door.“Open the door please!”

“I’m fine,” Eddie shouts as loudly as he can, which honestly isn’t very loud at all. “I just fell over. Give me a second.”

He surveys the damage done to his body. His ass is definitely bleeding, and his left hand is a swollen mess of crunched bones. His left wrist is broken too. Not to mention the bleeding shoulder from Venom’s teeth, and the concussion he probably has from being slammed into multiple hard surfaces.

Eddie carefully curls his arm into his body and uses his other hand to help push himself up to his knees. He uses the sink for leverage to pull into standing, although the pain of it nearly makes him black out. Venom, ever the asshole, just watches smugly. Good pet.

A black tendril seeps out and wraps around Eddie’s throat, covering a few of the bruises. Eddie touches it with his shaking right hand, then looks back at Venom. “I—”

The dog had one of these. To keep it connected to its master.

Eddie nods tiredly. A collar. Of course. Why not?

He uses his good hand to pull his jeans back up and retrieve his phone from the floor. Then he slowly, painfully opens the door. A barista is standing there, fist poised to knock again. As he takes in Eddie’s condition, his eyes open comically wide. “Oh my god,” he says, reaching out.

“What the hell happened?”

“I fell,” Eddie says, leaving out the part where an alien helped him fall, very forcefully, several times. “No, don’t touch me. Please.”

“Someone call an ambulance!”

“No!” Eddie pushes out with his right hand. “No, don’t. I’m going home.”

He ignores the protests, ignores the concerned patrons starting to rise from their nearby chairs, and walks right out.

Don’t you want your coffee? Venom asks, the paragon of innocence. Around his throat, the collar tightens. Nausea churns his stomach and he shakes his head. No coffee. He doesn’t think he’ll ever want that particular drink again.

The walk home is hazy and pain-filled and Eddie is honestly surprised to see his front door when it finally appears in front of him. He’d been half-expecting to collapse and bleed out on the sidewalk somewhere. He shoves his key at the door, makes it in the lock on the third try, and stumbles over the threshold.

“Oh my god,” someone says. “What the hell happened?”

Eddie blinks and raises his head. “Annie?”

“Eddie! Are you okay?” She reaches for him, jostling his broken arm, and his vision whites out.

“‘m okay,” he slurs, and promptly passes out in her arms.

Chapter Text

Eddie.

No.

Eddie, wake up.

He groans.

Venom’s voice is low and urgent. Get up. We need to leave.

“Leave where?” he tries to ask. His throat is a scratchy mess, though, and all he makes is some incomprehensible sound.

“Eddie?”

That’s a different voice. A better one. He likes that voice.

“Eddie, are you awake?”

Anne.

He blinks his eyes open, wincing at the light of the room around him. “Ow,” he mumbles, and Anne seems to understand him. The lights dim to a tolerable level, and her face reappears in his vision.

“Hey,” she says gently, smiling. “You’re awake. How are you feeling?”

What is this place?

“Hospital,” Eddie croaks. “Water?”

She gives him an ice chip instead, which he sucks on greedily. The desert in his mouth slowly greens. “You’re in the hospital,” she confirms. “You were pretty beat up. I called an ambulance.”

In his head, Venom writhes. I don’t like this. I want to go.

“It’s okay,” Eddie says to both of them. “It’ll be okay.”

Concern is written all over Anne’s face. “Eddie, what happened to you? You weren’t answering my calls, and then I find you looking like this…”

“Uh…” Eddie looks around the room, trying to think of a plausible excuse that doesn’t involve aliens.

“Mugged,” he says finally. “I was mugged.”

Her brow furrows and she gives him more ice. “But you still have your wallet and phone.”

“I fought them,” he lies.

She starts to say something else, but the door opens and a nurse walks in. “Oh, you’re awake,” she chirps. “That’s good. I’ll page the doctor.” She checks Eddie’s IVs, then steps over to the computer and starts typing.

Eddie squints at the bags hanging on the pole. Morphine? Something painkiller-esque. A bag of antibiotics. Saline.

I want to go, Venom says again. He sounds tired, and Eddie wonders if the drugs are making him sleepy.

“Relax,” he whispers, flicking his eyes towards Anne. For once, Venom seems to understand, and he fades into the back of Eddie’s mind.

“Doctor will be in shortly,” the nurse says. “Feeling up to answering some questions for me?”

“Sure,” Eddie says, trying to sit up. Between the three of them, they manage to get him to an upright position.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” the nurse says, turning to Anne.

She scowls. “It’s okay,” Eddie says, intervening before she can say anything. “She can stay. I don’t mind.”

“You sure?” Eddie nods. “Okay then. Give me a pain rating, one to ten, with one being great, and ten being the worst you’ve ever felt.”

“Uh…six?”

“Where?”

“Head, mostly,” he says. “Arm. Left arm. And my throat.” His ass hurts too, but he doesn't really want to say anything about that in front of Anne. Awkward questions and all.

She types this out. “Do you know your full name?”

“Eddie Brock.”

“Do you know where you are?”

“Hospital.” He glances around. “General?”

“That’s right. Do you know what day it is?”

That one stumps him a little until Venom stirs to life. Thursday.

“Thursday?” Jesus. He’s lost over half a day.

“Yep.” She finishes typing. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

“Getting mugged. Walking home. Anne.” He turns to her. “Why were you…?”

She flushes. “You weren’t answering my calls.”

“So you broke into my apartment?”

“You gave me a key,” she reminds him. That’s right. He’d forgotten.

The nurse asks a few more questions, then closes out her computer and tells him the doctor will be along in a few minutes. Eddie settles back into the pillows and has more ice chips.

The doctor turns out to be Anne’s boyfriend, Dan. He’s nice looking, and younger than him, and Eddie instantly hates him just a little bit. “I need to speak with the patient alone,” he says firmly, and Eddie gives Anne a whatcha gonna do shrug as Dan ushers her into the hallway.

“So what’s wrong with me?” Eddie asks as soon as the door closes.

Dan raises an eyebrow. “How about you tell me what happened to you first?”

“Mugged. Two guys. I fought them off.”

“You left-handed?”

“Right,” Eddie says, and instantly realizes his mistake as the eyebrow raises higher.

“So what were you doing punching people with your left hand?”

He doesn’t have a good answer for that. He settles for the shrug again.

Dan perches on the end of his bed. “You have a broken wrist,” he says. “Closed fracture. All five of your metacarpal bones are broken too, and if you want to keep the full use of your hand, surgery will most likely be your only option. Your phalanges are fractured as well, although not as badly. You also had some pretty severe anal contusions and bleeding. We had to put in some stitches. And all of this is on top of a concussion, some severe bruising to your trachea and larynx, and those gouges on your shoulder.”

Eddie winces. He doesn’t feel a lot of what Dan’s talking about, but he suspects he will once the morphine wears off. “Okay.”

“Eddie,” he says, leaning forward. “This is serious stuff. This could have killed you. It still might.”

Nonsense, Venom snaps. I would not let us die from this.

“Right,” Eddie says, ignoring Venom. “So now what? What do we fix first?”

“Your hand needs surgery pretty soon, and by pretty soon I mean within the next few days. That’s first. It’s not life threatening, but if your hand heals that way you’re going to have very limited use of it. After that, you’ll probably undergo some intensive therapy for your hand and your wrist, and I’d like to refer you to a brain specialist for your concussion. We’ll also have a speech therapist come in and check your swallowing. You’re bruised pretty badly.”

Eddie nods miserably. He’s not going to be able to afford all this with his shit health insurance.

I can fix it, Venom offers. But we need to leave first.

“Eddie, are you dating anyone?” Dan asks, bringing his attention back.

Eddie blinks, nonplussed by the question. “What? The hell does that have to do with anything?”

“Listen,” he says, putting a hand on Eddie’s bed. “I’ve seen a lot of cases come in here looking like you.”

“You have?” Get lots of aliens around here, do you?

“Many times. You’ve got a nicely fabricated story, and it sounds good on the surface. But your injuries are indicative of a little more, particularly the contusions and tearing.” Dan leans forward, eyes full of concern. “It’s not all new. Some of those bruises are a few days old.”

“What’s your point?”

“I’m saying those are some pretty clear signs of ongoing trauma, Eddie.” Dan tilts his head and studies him. “Signs of rape.”

The word makes him wince. It is rape, technically. He doesn’t want it. But he also doesn’t really want to hear it. He already feels like less of a person, he doesn’t need extra reminders of how helpless he really is. “I…”

“Whoever you’re protecting…Eddie, you don’t have to stay with them. You have options. I can give you some numbers to call, if you want to talk to someone about this.”

A hysterical laugh bursts out of him without permission. He’d love to talk to someone, except the only person who would believe him is Carlton Fucking Drake, and the odds of that conversation ever happening are astronomically low. “I’m fine,” he says, getting himself under control. “I don’t want anyone’s help. I’m fine.”

“You deserve to be treated better,” he says, and Eddie envies his idealistic nature. “You aren’t a punching bag.”

“I’m okay,” Eddie says. “Seriously. I just…I just want to sleep right now.”

Dan nods. “I understand. This is a lot to process. I’ll tell the nurse to let you rest for a few hours. You’re safe here.”

He keeps talking, but Eddie stops listening. He’s tired, and he’s hurt, and he really needs to speak with Venom. “I want to be alone for a bit,” he interrupts. “If you don’t mind.”

“Certainly.” He gives a few more instructions, mostly about caring for his hand, which he nods politely at. Then he clears out, closes the door, and Eddie is finally alone.

He doesn’t waste a second. “Hey. You there?”

Yessss, Venom hisses, drawing out the word. I do not like this place.

Well it’s your goddamn fault we’re here, Eddie wants to hiss back, but he doesn’t. He’s been beat up enough for today. For forever, actually. “I know. Anne panicked. I’m sure she felt like she didn’t have any other options.”

What was he talking about?

“Who?”

The doctor.

“Dan? He was telling me what’s wrong with me. Which is a lot, by the way.” He decides not to say anything about the whole “abusive relationship” spiel. Not like he can do anything about it anyway.

As if to punctuate this thought, Venom twists underneath his gown. I was making a point. I will not apologize.

“I noticed. Point made.” Eddie lets out a deep breath, then says, “You said you could fix this?”

Yes.

“What does that mean?”

Venom forms from his shoulder. It means I can fix it. Blackness creeps down Eddie’s arm over a bruise. When it retreats, the bruise is gone. Eddie gapes at his arm, then at Venom.

“You can heal me?”

Yes.

He gestures to his broken bones and swollen throat. “Um, then what are you waiting for?”

You do not want us to be noticed.

Oh. Right. Eddie slumps back onto the pillows. “Okay. So what, I just check out of here and go home and you fix me up?”

Yes.

“Why didn’t you tell me that earlier? Or do that when I was going home? Or do that at any point over the past week?”

Except he must have been, Eddie belatedly realizes, because there should have been a lot worse damage based on what had happened to him. Venom must have healed him just enough to fix the most severe of it. The notion is not exactly reassuring, as it means that Venom either likes seeing him in pain, or just doesn’t care about it as long as it doesn't majorly affect his functioning.

Because a lesson taught is not necessarily a lesson learned.

His anger swells up suddenly. “So you were just going to let me bleed out and die, were you?”

Venom snarls in irritation. I would not let you die. You are far too good a match to throw away so soon.

“Fucker,” Eddie mutters.

Venom twists hard around his bad wrist, making him gasp in pain. Do I need to make another point?

“No,” Eddie says quickly, taking a deep breath to calm himself. “Jesus, no. I remember.”

Good boy.

He cringes “So now what?”

Now? We leave. I want to go home.

“Easier said than done,” Eddie tells him. “I need some time.”

That is fine, Venom says as he curls around Eddie’s shoulders. He can’t help the spike of fear that jolts down his spine as the monster leans in and licks the shell of his ear. I'm sure we can think of something to do until then.

Chapter Text

Leaving the hospital is a significant pain in the ass. Despite his veiled threat, Venom graciously lets Eddie sleep the rest of the day away. But the next time Dan walks in, Eddie sits up and says, “I want to get out of here.”

“Well, we’re going to get you to that point.”

“No,” Eddie says. “I mean I don’t want any treatment. I’m done. I refuse. However you say it. Just let me go, please.”

Dan is staring at him. “Eddie, I don’t think you know exactly what you’re saying—”

“I do know,” Eddie interrupts. “I know exactly what I’m saying.”

They go back and forth for a bit, with Dan explaining exactly what will happen to him if he leaves now, and Eddie insisting that he wants to leave anyway. He can’t believe he’s actually trusting his well-being to this asshole monster that’s taken up residence in his body, but honestly he doesn’t really have a choice. Either he goes, or Venom will bust them out in spectacular head-eating fashion.

He wavers for a moment when Anne is called in as the reasonable-sounding backup, but when Venom tightens around his wrist again, he holds his ground. Finally, unable to make him change his mind, Dan sighs. “Alright. Fine.”

“Dan!” Annie shouts.

“He’s of sound mind, Anne. There’s nothing I can do to make him stay. He understands the risks he’s taking.”

Finally, Venom hisses. Now, let’s go!

Three hours later, they go. Anne accompanies him down the steps outside the hospital, his hands full of paperwork—he'd had to give a statement before leaving— and his mouth full of excuses. At the bottom of the stairs, she turns to him with a scowl. “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you.”

“I just want to go home,” Eddie says, his voice full of misery. He hurts now—they turned off the morphine when he was signing paperwork—and he’s tired again, and he just wants to sleep forever. “Annie, I’m sorry.”

He’s not actually sure what he’s apologizing for, but it feels like the right thing to say. Anne evidently disagrees, because she throws her hands up and storms back up the steps.

“Shit,” Eddie mutters as he watches her go. “Well, that went down like a lead balloon.”

HOME.

He startles violently, which jostles his bad hand. “Fuck. Don’t do that to me.”

Go.

“Alright, alright.” He starts walking. It’s slow, it’s painful, and not surprisingly Venom doesn’t do a godddamn thing to help.

Eddie is exhausted by the time he gets back. He drops everything on the counter, kicks off his shoes, and falls face first onto the couch. His arm hurts. His hand hurts. His throat hurts.

What are you doing?

“Regretting my life choices,” Eddie says into the cushion.

What?

He rolls over onto his side, careful not to jostle the splint on his left arm. “Nothing. I’m doing nothing.”

Get up.

“Ugh.”

You said I was in control, Venom says, emerging from his shoulder. Let’s test that, shall we?

Eddie contemplates running away screaming, but after a moment decides that probably won’t work very well. So he pushes himself up to his feet and stands next to the couch like a wobbly giraffe.

Good, Venom purrs, approval evident in his voice. Clothes off. Now.

“My hand,” Eddie says, holding his arm up. “I can’t—”

If you obey, I will fix you.

Well, that’s probably about as good as he’s going to get. Eddie undresses one-handed. He doesn’t bother to fold them this time. Just drops them on the floor.

Good boy, Venom praises. Kneel.

Eddie drops to his knees and stares straight ahead. He feels a few tendrils creep their way down his bare chest. It’s such an odd feeling. Like tickling, but almost too firm to even be that. It leaves a trail of goosebumps as they writhe around. Soft, Venom hums almost to himself. And so very warm.

“Glad I’m up to your standards,” Eddie says, looking down despite himself. It’s horrifying to see tentacles emerging from his own skin, but there’s also a strange fascination to it. He’s always liked those weird body-horror movies, although living one is certainly different to watching it.

Venom laughs. I like you very much, Eddie. You are brave.

“No I’m not.” If he was brave, he’d march his way over to Carlton Drake, consequences be damned. Instead, he’s letting an alien rape him in his own apartment. He feels very much like a coward.

You are. My other hosts were too quiet. Too obedient.

“I thought you wanted obedience,” Eddie says quietly, gently prodding a tentacle with his right hand. It kind of feels like touching Jell-o, in a way. Firm, but with a bit of give. It’s weird. Venom rolls under his fingers and winds around them, and for a second it looks like they're holding hands.

I do. But you have spirit. You do not submit easily. I like the challenge.

Great. The monster gets off on his rebellion. Eddie drops his hand back to his waist and sighs. The easy answer would be to stop fighting, but that means rolling over and giving up, which Eddie is very much against on principle. “Good to know, I guess.”

Venom laughs again. Mine, he rumbles, sliding down Eddie’s stomach to his limp cock. All of you. Mine. The inhuman face forms, and he grins at Eddie. Put your hands behind your back.

Eddie does so, clenching his jaw against the pain that shoots through his wrist and hand. Get through this and Venom will fix it, he thinks. He promised.

He realizes he’s trusting the word of a rapist monster, but that’s really all he’s got to go on right now.

Venom’s tongue slides out and Eddie clamps his lips together, recalling the last encounter. But Venom doesn’t go for his mouth this time. Instead, he teases around Eddie’s navel before dipping low and wrapping around his dick.

Je-sus,” Eddie says, his hips jolting forward without permission. “Oh my god.”

It’s warm, and it’s wet, and it feels fucking amazing. He hates himself as he starts to harden. He clenches his teeth against the moans threatening to erupt. It feels good, but he’s not going to humiliate himself this time. He’s not gonna make a damn sound no matter what—

Venom wraps around Eddie’s throat briefly and the pain there suddenly melts away. He takes an easy breath for the first time in hours. “Why—”

I want to hear you, Eddie.

Of-fucking-course he does. “Yeah?” he says, proud of how he keeps his voice level. “What do you wanna hear? I could tell you the First Amendment. Or I know some poetry. Think I’ve even got some Bible verses up here.” He fists his right hand and digs his fingernails into his palm as Venom moves a little faster. “In the beginning there was the word, and the word was ahhhhh—”

Humiliation flushes his face as he abruptly cuts off the obscene noise, but Venom is already laughing. That, Eddie. I want to hear that.

“Oh,” he gasps out, unable to stop his body from moving again. “Right.” He feels his orgasm approaching quickly. Anne was pretty good at giving head, but even she was never able to make him come this fast. He moans again as Venom starts going even faster and other tendrils start playing with his balls. Fuck. Fuck, it feels good and he can’t stop it, he doesn’t even want to, he’s going to come from this right fucking now—

Eddie lets out a shout as he spills across Venom’s tongue, pleasure wringing through his body. It’s not the best orgasm he’s ever had, but it’s pretty damn good, and it takes him a solid minute to come down from it. When he opens his eyes again, Venom is watching him with a feeling of satisfaction.

Open, he says, moving his head towards Eddie. He can see the ropes of cum glistening on the tip of the tongue.

“What? No fucking way,” Eddie says, leaning backwards and breathing heavily. He remembers that tongue from their last encounter.

OPEN, Venom says again, as the tendril around Eddie’s throat squeezes. Now.

Left without a choice, he opens. The tongue snakes in and swirls around, depositing cum and drool and exploring his mouth before pulling back out. Swallow, he orders, and Eddie does. He gags at the feel of it all sliding down his throat, but Venom nods. Good. My turn.

“Wait,” Eddie says as tendrils form around his cock, stroking the too-sensitive skin. He jerks away from it but of course they don’t move. “My hand.”

When we’re done. Consider it…incentive to participate.

“You’re a dick.”

So you’ve said, but he sounds more fond than annoyed. Venom probes around his ass, touching the tender place where he tore Eddie last time. This, I will fix.

A tendril molds around his hole, making him wince in pain. But when Venom pulls away, the pain is gone. Eddie twists around and probes at it gently with his right hand. No pain. No blood. No stitches, even. “Wow.”

Impressed?

“A bit,“ Eddie admits. He shouldn’t be. Venom is the reason he was torn in the first place. But he can’t but be a little impressed at the healing factor. Dan had said at least two weeks, and suddenly it was gone in two seconds. “I’d be more so if you did that to my hand.”

Patience, pet. Venom slides a thin tendril in Eddie’s ass, and even though it’s certainly uncomfortable, there’s no pain. I want to play first.

The tendril thickens, stretching him slightly. Eddie grunts and shifts his weight. His knees are starting to get sore. “Can we move this to the couch, maybe?” he asks.

I like you here.

“My knees hurt.”

Stop whining. The tendril thickens again, and Eddie lets out a pained hiss as it pushes him to his limits. He falls forward onto his right hand, tucking his left into his chest protectively.

“Ow,” he says. “Easy, please.”

Venom ignores him. The tendril starts to move in and out, and any good feelings he had from his orgasm are most definitely gone now. There’s just pain, and uncomfortable stretching, and a burning as Venom pushes in a little further. “Ow,” he says again, hating the plaintive tone in his voice. “You’re hurting me.”

The tendril pushes in a little more and suddenly there’s a bloom of pleasure amidst the pain. Eddie whimpers and falls forward more, pressing his forehead to the floor. He’s sure he looks like the picture of submission, head down, ass up. Venom seems to enjoy it, giving a growl of pleasure at the sight.

You like this, he says, dragging his claws down Eddie’s back. Not enough to break skin, but enough to make him whimper and set his nerves tingling.

“It hurts,” Eddie grits out, blinking away tears. “I don’t like it!”

The tendril in his ass flares out a little and hits his prostate again, making him groan as pleasure flicks up his spine. But it feels good.

Eddie chokes back an explanation on nerve endings and rape and consent and just shakes his head. He can’t think. Not right now. “Just get it over with.”

Why would I do that? This is the part that feels the best. Venom hits his prostate again and again, setting up a bruising rhythm that both hurts like hell and sends shocks of pleasure through him.

Touch yourself, Venom orders, and Eddie lets out another sob as he pushes himself back up to kneeling. He feels so full, and he can almost see the bulge of Venom inside him as the tendril ruthlessly fucks him. He hates it. He hates everything about this.

Eddie reaches for his dick, finding it already hard and leaking. Why does his body like this so much? Why can’t he control his own arousal?

Rationally, he knows. Everything he was going to say to Venom. He understands about physiological responses; he knows that the pain-pleasure wires in the brain can get crossed, and that his nerves don’t know the difference between sex and rape. All they know is that it feels good, and they want more.

So yeah, he gets it. But his head can’t get with the program, and that’s the part that’s killing him. He wishes he could disassociate from this somehow. Cut off his brain and just let his body take over. Would that make it easier?

Touch yourself, Venom says again, irritation leaking into his tone, and Eddie shakes his thoughts off before sliding his hand up and down his dick. It takes him a moment to find a rhythm that matches up with the thrusting, but when he does, Venom hums with approval. Yes. More.

More. Okay. Eddie tries to focus, tries to close his eyes and pretend he’s somewhere else. With someone else. This is just a weird sex toy and he’s just trying something new. He strokes up, swipes his thumb over the head of his dick, and gently rubs at the sensitive spot right below it. He can do this.

Again, Venom says, and the illusion shatters with a cartoonish sound effect. Eddie opens his eyes, robbed of the safety of his imagination. He obliges Venom’s request and lets the feelings wash over him. He just needs to finish this.

Eventually he’s panting, his hand moving quickly, and he’s almost there, almost, he just needs a few more…

No.

Venom moves inside his cock, and Eddie jerks in surprise, his hand faltering, his moment stolen. “What are you doing?”

Not yet.

“What?”

Not yet.

“Come on,” Eddie says, his heart sinking. His hopes of getting off and getting this over with are dropping by the second.

Not. Yet.

Venom takes over touching duties and quickly works him up again. He’s edging him, Eddie realizes, and he groans in frustration. If their first night is any indicator, this is not going to be over quickly.

It’s not, of course, and after long enough, Eddie is so wired for touch that he could probably come just from thinking about sex. Or at least he could if Venom would let him. It’s not like the first night when the feelings built and retreated like a rollercoaster. This is like walking an endless tightrope, where all he wants to do is jump off and Venom won’t fucking let him.

“Please,” he grinds out, all semblance of dignity forgotten as he pushes his hips forward. He’s still kneeling, and his knees still hurt, but they’re a background noise against the cacophony of pleasure-pain rocketing through him that’s been building for the last half hour. He’s edged himself before, but it’s never lasted this long or been this strong. He should be sore, and tired, but all he can feel is Venom around his cock, Venom playing with his prostate, Venom licking up his thigh, Venom, Venom, Venom everywhere. “Please!”

Please what? He sounds entirely too happy with himself.

Eddie starts to stumble out something about wanting to finish, but Venom laughs derisively and continues stroking his cock. You’ll have to beg prettier than that, Eddie.

“F-fuck,” Eddie groans, covering his face. “Venom, please. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t. I need this, I need it, please…”

We could keep you like this forever, you know, Venom hisses silkily. All hot and wanting and needy for us.

“Why?” Christ, he sounds pathetic.

I like the way you sound. Venom licks his cock and laughs as Eddie whimpers. I like the noises you make. I like how your legs tremble and open for me.

“I hate you,” Eddie says, and he’s humiliated to find tears forming in his eyes. “I fucking hate you.”

Yes. So many emotions. Pleasure. Pain. Hate. You humans are so wonderfully complex.

“Please just let me come,” Eddie says. “I’m doing everything you want.”

Yes, you are. Like a good pet.

“Good pet,” Eddie agrees brokenly, and Venom growls in pleasure.

Good boy. Come.

It takes him half a second to realize that the calm word is the command he’s been waiting for, but as soon as he does, he doesn’t waste any time.
It starts in his toes and rockets up towards his core, turning his bones to jelly and his muscles to quivering puddles. He lets out a deep moan and collapses forward, unable to even catch himself on his good arm as his vision whites out. Stars burst and reform along his skin, fucking galaxies of pleasure blasting through his veins and leaving him breathless and wrung out on the floor.

He comes to as Venom licks along his neck and his ear. I liked that, he says, and Eddie just starts laughing. He laughs until Venom sinks back into his skin, until tears form in his eyes, until the noises start turning into sobs that he can’t quite control. He rolls onto his back, chest still heaving, and lets the exhaustion take him.

Chapter Text

He’s sore when he wakes up, and still ungodly tired. There’s no sign of Venom, but Eddie can feel the monster in the back of his mind, sated and happy. Good. Maybe he’ll leave Eddie alone for awhile.

With a groan, he pushes himself to his feet and stumbles over to the kitchen sink. He turns the cold water on full blast and sticks his head underneath. The water wakes him up a bit. He scrubs at his face, feeling the rough stubble scraping at his fingertips. Should probably go shave that.

His left hand throbs in its splint, and Eddie glances down at it. “Hey,” he says, reluctant to disturb Venom, but unsure what else to do. “Um. Venom?”

Yes?

“My hand. Can you…?”

Mm. I did agree to that, didn’t I?

Eddie holds his breath, waiting for Venom to dismiss his request and leave him to his pain. But then tendrils emerge from his arm and probe around the straps of the splint. Eddie quickly undoes it, wincing at the shocks of pain, and watches as Venom slides over his wrist and hand like a strange looking glove. In a second, the ache is gone and Eddie’s hand is back to its normal size.

He makes a fist and opens it, reveling in the movement. “Thank you.”

You are welcome.

Eddie waits for something else to happen, but Venom seems content to just twist around his forearm and hands. It feels odd, but he’ll take that over being raped any day.

He goes to the bathroom and digs up his shaving kit, then removes the offending stubble. Venom watches with interest, but doesn’t comment as Eddie washes his face and brushes his teeth. He dresses as well, not wanting to be naked in front of Venom anymore. Really he wants to get in the shower and scrub the feel of the monster off his skin, but that’ll take energy he just doesn’t have right now. He sponges off the cum and the worst of the sweat and resolves to do the rest later.

Venom healed his ass and his hand and his throat, but there’s still the gouges in his shoulder. They’re not super painful, but they’re definitely red and irritated. Eddie digs through his meager supplies until he comes up with some antibiotic cream, which he smears over the cuts. “Anything you can do about these?” he asks, without much hope for an answer.

I could, Venom muses, but then how will people know you’re mine?

Figures. “I seem to remember you showing that in other ways,” Eddie mumbles to himself, thinking of the collar. Venom latches onto the memory, and in the mirror Eddie sees the tendril wrap itself around his neck.

I’d forgotten. Thank you.

“I’m an idiot,” Eddie says to his reflection. He really is. Can’t keep his goddamn mouth shut for half a second, can he?

Venom laughs, but before he can say anything, Eddie’s phone rings.

The sound is startling, and Eddie jumps before he realizes what it is. “Shit,” he mutters, frantically patting down his pockets and scanning around.

He finds it next to the couch and answers on the last ring. “Brock here.”

“Eddie!”

“Jack?”

“Yeah, it’s me. Listen up, man. I’ve got one hell of a proposition for you.”

Eddie scratches his chin. “I’m listening.”

“You ever hear of Cletus Kasady?”

“Of course.” It was a while ago, but Eddie still remembers the terrified headlines. SAN FRANCISCO SERIAL KILLER STRIKES AGAIN, SEVENTH VICTIM.

“He’s agreed to do an interview.”

“That’s nice,” Eddie says, intrigued despite himself. “And you’re telling me this because…?

“Because he wants to meet with you, dumbass. He says he’ll only talk to you and no one else.”

Eddie’s blood runs cold. Why the hell would a psychopathic serial killer want to have a conversation with him? “Uh…that’s great?”

Jack snorts. “Cut the shit, Eddie. It’s fucking terrifying is what it is. But the FBI are on my ass about this. You realize you’re the only person he’s willingly agreed to talk to in the last ten years?”

“Why does he want to meet me?”

“Who the hell cares? It’s set up for Monday. The FBI will send an agent by on Saturday. They have some questions for you to ask him.” Jack pauses, and then adds, “Do this for us, man, and we’ll open up talks about the Eddie Brock Report again.”

“I’ll need to think about it,” Eddie says, because negotiating is automatic for him. But he knows what his answer will be. He doesn’t even care so much about his show, but the thought of talking to a serial killer that no one else has ever been able to interview…well, there’s a reason he became a journalist in the first place.

“Text me by the end of the day,” Jack orders, and hangs up.

Eddie slowly lowers the phone from his ear. Cletus Kasady wants to talk to him. To him. Could have picked any reporter in the world, and Kasady picked him. Eddie isn’t sure if he should be terrified or flattered.

Who is Cletus Kasady?

“Serial killer,” Eddie says, shaking off his thoughts and standing up. “He killed at least seventeen people a few years back. Staged their bodies in really freaky ways. He never said why he did any of it. And the FBI was pretty sure there were more, too, but no one ever found them.”

Interesting. Venom ripples in delight at the thought of so many bodies. And he wants to meet you?

“Apparently.” Eddie suddenly feels twitchy, like there’s something on the back of his neck (which, given his situation, is not entirely unrealistic) He paces around his kitchen. “I don’t know why. It’s weird.”

He scares you.

“Well he gruesomely murdered at least seventeen people, and now he’s asking for me by name. It’s a little scary.”

I would never let him harm us.

“I know that,” Eddie says, and it surprises him to realize that he believes it too. Venom might well kill him someday, but he’s pretty unlikely to be hurt by anyone else while the monster is around. “But it’s still…ugh.”

So don’t take the interview. Stay.

“Are you nuts?” Eddie demands, still pacing. “Of course I’m gonna take it. Maybe he’ll reveal the rest of his victims. Then their families can get some closure.” Also, despite the fact that his skin is crawling a little bit at Kasady’s request, Eddie can’t help but feel a little bit proud. No one has ever been able to score an interview with Kasady, and yet he asked for Eddie by name. He’s been in disgrace the last few weeks with all of the Carlton Drake business, but this will boost his reputation a little. It’s nice. Nice to finally have something good—if a little strange—happen to him.

Venom doesn’t say anything after that, which Eddie isn’t really sure how to interpret. He paces some more, then grabs his keys. Might as well go for a walk, if he’s going to move. He sure as hell doesn’t really want to stay here.

Except as soon as his hand lands on the keys, Venom snakes out from his skin and curls around his fingers, lashing him to the counter. “What the hell,” he says, tugging on the tendrils. “Venom, what are you doing?”

Where do you think you’re going?

“Out,” Eddie says, tugging harder, trying to fight down the hysteria. “A walk. Catch the sunset. Get some food. I don’t know. I just want to move.” His heart starts to quicken. He can’t do this again. He can’t. “Venom. Please.”

The monstrous head forms from his hand and faces him. Eddie, he says, and Eddie falters. What did you promise me?

I’ll obey, his memory chirps, and God help him, Eddie isn’t willing to face the consequences of doing otherwise right now.

He stops struggling. Sets his other wrist down next to the first. Closes his eyes.

Good pet, Venom purrs, writhing across his wrist and pinning that one to the counter as well. Now. Open your mouth.

Eddie parts his lips, suddenly aware of how dry his mouth is. Venom’s tongue slides in, probing across tongue and teeth. He growls in pleasure. The sound is incredibly loud in Eddie’s ears.

The tongue retracts and Eddie gasps in a quick breath of air. Then it’s back, probing deeper, and Eddie gags hard. Don’t do that, Venom admonishes him, pulling back out.

“Can’t help it. Reflex.” Eddie ducks his head and wipes his mouth on his shoulder.

We’ll have to train you, Venom sighs, faux regret in his voice, and Eddie does not like the way that sounds at all.

“Taking the pet analogy a little far, aren’t we?” he asks, then curses his stupid fucking mouth as Venom’s eyes narrow and the tongue plunges back in. It forgoes the exploring and instead moves straight for the back of Eddie’s throat. He gags again, and again, and when that doesn’t dislodge Venom, he bites down hard.

The monster growls long and low, then slowly pulls his tongue back. Eddie coughs and spits to the side, then glares at Venom head-on. Okay, maybe he is willing to take some consequences. Better than sitting there passively while Venom chokes him.

You bit me, Venom snarls.

“I’m so sorry,” Eddie snarls back. He’s gonna ride this temporary wave of bravery all the way to shore.

Bad pet.

Eddie scowls and clamps his lips together. If Venom wants this, he’s going to damn well have to take it.

Except Venom doesn’t force his mouth open. Instead, he curls around behind Eddie and locks him in place. Unable to turn his head, Eddie feels his heart rate spike with fear. “Wait,” he says, and that’s all he gets out before he feels teeth lodging in his back.

He screams, too startled and too terrified to monitor his response in time. Warm blood drips down his back and splashes onto the floor. If you bite me, Venom says, spinning back around to Eddie’s front, then I will bite you.

It’s a unique kind of agony, feeling the punctures in his back and seeing the red tinges on Venom’s white teeth. Some rational part of his mind screams about germs and space viruses, but it’s overridden by the sheer magnitude of pain in his back. Eddie tries to make a coherent response to Venom’s words, then gives up and leans forward, dropping his forehead on the counter by his wrists. Breathe. Just breathe.

Get up, Venom orders. Now.

After a long time, Eddie straightens. Tears leak unbidden down his cheeks. “I’m sorry,” he says again between gasps of air, and this one he actually means.

Open your mouth.

He does. Venom returns his tongue to Eddie’s throat, and although he gags again, he does not bite. Venom hums in pleasure and slowly moves, tongue-fucking Eddie as the latter struggles to breath. Eventually, when Eddie is almost unconscious, Venom retracts his tongue and lets Eddie fall onto the floor, coughing and choking. His shirt is wet with blood.

Better, Venom praises. We will work on it.

Chapter Text

“Work on it” in Venom-speak means that Eddie spends the next three days in some variation of being fucked. Either in his mouth, or in his ass, or just his whole life in general. Venom asserts his control with an iron dominance that leaves Eddie very little wiggle room. A few snarky comments and a few token protests is about all Venom is willing to put up with before Eddie hits the limits of his patience and pays for it in bruises.

He bites one more time, more so on reflex than on purpose, which earns him another set of puncture wounds on his back. After that he forces his mouth to stay open no matter how deep Venom probes or how much he gags. This seems to both please and disappoint the monster.

Venom does stay quiet for the entirety of the FBI visit, which Eddie is grateful for. The two agents (McDouchey and McAsshole, he names them) question him brusquely, give him a list of things to ask Kasady, and generally act like a pair of dicks. Eddie draws out the conversation as long as he can—even being treated like an idiot is preferable to being Venom’s pet—but he can’t keep them forever. And as soon as the door closes, it’s back to the status quo.

Venom tells him when to eat, when to shower, when to sleep, when to come. He quickly gets used to it, for lack of a better term. He fights, but all Venom has to do to is probe the slowly healing punctures on his back, and Eddie quickly gives in after that. He’s tired of being in pain.

Anne calls him on Sunday to see how he’s doing. Eddie assures her he’s okay, and keeps the conversation short as Venom starts to wrap around his cock again, stroking with maddening slowness. “I’ll call you tomorrow,” he promises, and hangs up.

That was rude, Venom says, stroking a little faster.

“Yeah, well, you were being distracting.”

Am I?

Eddie squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head as he feels the familiar heat pool in his stomach. He’s honestly tired of having orgasms, which is not something he’d ever thought he’d feel. His teenage self would be screaming at him right now.

Then again, his teenage self didn’t carry around an insatiable, sex-hungry parasite either, so Eddie thinks being tired of orgasms is a very reasonable feeling.

This one is at least quick, like even Venom is bored of what they’re doing. Eddie gives into the sensations and spills into his hand, which he then licks off his palm before washing his hands. Venom really likes that for some reason, and it’s not a hill that Eddie’s willing to die on right now.

He’s prepped for the interview tomorrow, or at least as prepped as he was able to get with Venom insisting on attention every thirty seconds. He’s got a list of questions and concerns, even a few that the FBI explicitly said not to ask. But he just wouldn’t be Eddie Brock if he listened to the FBI, now would he?

“We should go out,” Eddie says to Venom, belatedly realizing that he’s using the plural pronoun. “To the store, I mean.”

Why?

Eddie gestures to his empty fridge. “Food. My bank account isn’t limitless. I can’t keep ordering in forever.” Especially not the way you eat, he privately adds. Before yesterday, Eddie had never ordered $300 worth of anything in his life, let alone McDonald’s delivery. Venom devoured all of it within three minutes.

Hmmm. I suppose.

“Great. Thanks.” Eddie picks up his keys, then pauses. With the amount of food that Venom eats, he’s not going to be able to cut it on his bike.

He does some quick research and finds a temporary rent-a-car service. He picks the cheapest option. “Do you want anything specific?”

A tendril snakes its way between his ass cheeks and Eddie fights back the nausea. “From the store, Venom. What food do you want?”

Eggs. And milk. And chocolate pudding. And…steaks. Lots of steaks.

“Fine.”

Chapter Text

The day of the interview dawns cloudy and grey. Eddie pulls on his last long-sleeved shirt and his nicest pair of jeans. He needs to do laundry when he gets back. The situation is getting dire.

Venom turns under his skin, brimming with energy after his meal yesterday. “Easy,” Eddie says as he combs his hair. “It’ll be fine. The guy’s in a cage, he can’t hurt me.”

He will not hurt you. You are mine.

Eddie puts the comb down and looks in the mirror. It’s about as presentable as he ever gets. “Listen,” he says, heading out to the kitchen. “You’ve gotta stay quiet for this, okay? This isn’t a we thing, this is a me thing. And I really, really need this.”

The band around his throat pulses tighter, but he feels a sense of agreement in their connection. He must sound desperate enough. I will not interfere. Unless you are in danger.

“I’m not going to be in danger.”

You don’t know that.

“I have a reasonable guess.”

Someone knocks on the door. The FBI agents, probably. He told them he’d drive himself, but they were very insistent. Eddie opens the door.

“Oh good, you’re here,” Anne says breathlessly, and she steps inside without waiting for an invite.

“What the hell?” Eddie asks, turning around. “I thought—”

“I heard you had an interview today. With Cletus Kasady.”

“How the hell did you hear that?”

“I have friends at the network too,” she says. “Eddie, don’t do it.”

“He’s in jail,” Eddie says. “He’s surrounded by armed guards and he’ll be in a cage. I don’t think he can do anything to me except spit.”

Anne bites her lip. She actually looks scared, properly scared, and Eddie isn’t sure how to handle it. “I just have a really bad feeling about this,” she says. “Please, Eddie. Don’t go.”

“It’ll be okay,” he says, and reaches out to brush her hair out of her face.

With his left hand.

He realizes the mistake about a second after she stares at it, then at him. “Wasn’t that…?” she asks, gesturing to his wrist. “That was…you were…”

“What?” he asks, stalling for time. “I…”

“Your hand was broken,” she says. “Eddie, your hand was absolutely shattered. I saw the X-rays!”

He can’t deny it. He doesn’t even try. “It was.”

“But it’s fine now?”

“Yes,” he admits. “It’s healed.”

She looks at him helplessly, why and how written all over her face. “I don’t understand,” she finally says, and he doesn’t know how to explain it without putting her in danger.

So Venom does it for him.

The monster seeps from his shoulder, forming the terrifying face and teeth. Hello Anne, he says, and she turns white as a ghost, mouth opening to scream.

"What...what is that?" she finally says. "Eddie, what the hell is that?"

Venom bobs in the air, and all Eddie can do is stand there, his fists clenched and fear coursing through him. “Anne,” he finally says. “Uh. Remember when I said I didn’t break into Drake’s lab?”

“Uh-huh,” she says faintly, eyes locked on the alien.

“Well…I lied. And um…I met Venom there.”

“What?”

I am Venom. Carlton Drake stole me from my world, and kept me in his labs. Eddie helped me get free. Venom roils around Eddie until his entire upper body is criss-crossed in lines of black, like some weird mesh shirt. He is mine now.

Understanding seems to click on her face like a lightbulb turning on. “You…you did all that to him?”

He was not being a good pet. Venom licks up his ear and Eddie flushes bright red, shame breaking through the fear. But he is now. Mostly.

“A pet?” Anne mouths, unable to process what she’s seeing.

“He…” Eddie struggles for the words. “He likes things a certain way. And um…when I didn’t listen, he…”

He can’t say it. He can’t tell her about the rapes. About the way Venom makes him feel on a daily basis. He can’t. The humiliation will kill him.

Anne, bless her heart, doesn’t push him. “Did he fix your hand?”

Eddie nods.

She eyes up the bruises peeking out from underneath his shirt. He pulls his sleeves down. “And he did all that too?”

“I’m not very good at listening,” Eddie says softly, and Venom chuckles.

You are getting better. You are trainable.

“Trainable?” Anne repeats, and he recognizes the tone of her voice. The barely concealed rage. “He’s a person! He’s not a pet! You can’t treat him like this!”

I can do what I want with him. He’s mine.

Anne steps forward. Eddie backs up. “Whoa! Hey, Anne, I’m okay, alright? I’m okay. Please don’t…just stay back.”

“Eddie,” she says desperately, stepping forward, “you can’t let him do this to you. This isn’t right! Does Carlton Drake know? Have you tried contacting him?”

Oh, shit. Thin ice. Very thin ice. He can feel Venom’s irritation starting to swell. “Anne!” he shouts, and she stops, looking at him with worried eyes. “Anne,” he says again. “I’m okay. You have to believe me. I can handle this.”

He’s not sure if that’s a lie, but what he definitely can’t handle is Venom eating Annie. He doesn’t think he’ll survive that. “You have to stop,” he says, holding his hands out in a placating gesture. “I’m in control. I’m figuring it out.”

That’s definitely a lie, but she at least stops coming forward. Venom hums and settles back a little more into his skin, his head still manifested at Eddie’s shoulder. “You should go,” he says quietly. “The FBI are on their way.”

“Go? Eddie, I can’t go! We have to talk about this!”

“You have to go,” he stresses, shaking his head as she steps forward. “Right now. I’ll call you after the interview. We can talk then, okay?”

She stands there, looking at him. Really looking. She must see the terror in his eyes, the way his hands are shaking, because she eventually nods. “Okay.”

“We can talk,” Eddie promises. “I…I’ll explain everything.”

She nods again, her eyes fixed on Venom. “I’ll be waiting for your call,” she says.

“I’ll call,” he promises, relief sagging his limbs. “Thank you, Anne. Thank you.”

Anne steps towards the door, then suddenly spins back and points a finger at the alien. “Don’t you fucking hurt him,” she says, ice dripping from her words. “You hear me? Don’t fucking hurt him, or I’ll find some way to hurt you.”

Eddie cringes hard, but Venom just laughs. I will not hurt him as long as he behaves, he says, and Anne seems to understand that’s the best she’s going to get.

Someone knocks on the door again, and this time it is the FBI. Eddie mumbles out something to Anne as McDouchey and McAsshole forcibly collect him and boot her out, barely giving him enough time to lock the door before sweeping him down the hallway. Anne stands there, staring after him, tears in her eyes.

I like her, Venom says, and Eddie shivers. He isn’t sure if that’s a good thing or not. She has fire to her.

The agents escort him into the car, seating themselves on the bench seat across from him. Eddie fiddles with his pen and tries not to think about what just happened.

“Please don’t eat her,” he whispers to Venom, low as he can. “She’s important to me.”

I won’t. Venom turns underneath his shirt. Probably.

Probably?”

 The FBI agents give him sharp looks, and Eddie decides to stop talking to himself.

Chapter Text

The ride to the prison is short and silent. Eddie runs his hand over his notebook until he catches the edge of it with his thumb and gives himself a paper cut. He hisses in pain and raises it to his mouth.

Quick as a thought, Venom oozes over his thumb and then vanishes again, leaving behind nothing but unmarred skin. Eddie looks to see if anyone else noticed, but they’re too busy engaged on their phones to even look at him. “Thanks,” he breathes, and he feels Venom hum in acknowledgement.

At the prison, Eddie is searched very thoroughly by a man who spends entirely too much time near his groin. A few times he has to grit his teeth against Venom’s growl that threatens to erupt from him. MINE. MINE.

“Shut up,” Eddie finally hisses, and the man pauses in surprise. “Are you done?”

“Yeah,” the guy says, handing Eddie back his notebook. “Here.”

The agents accompany him through three sets of cell blocks before stopping. “We can’t go any further,” says McAsshole. “If he sees us, he won’t talk to you.”

“Great,” Eddie says nervously.

“Stick to your questions, Brock,” McDouchey orders. “You have one hour, but if you want out before that, just let the guard know. Stay behind the yellow line. We’ll be listening.”

They push him forward and Eddie stumbles through the next block on his own, trying not to feel like he’s walking to his own death.

Before entering the block Kasady is held in, Eddie is searched again. They take his pen, which he protests about, but the guard stands firm. “This guy will make a weapon out of anything,” she says. “He killed another inmate with a magazine once.”

Eddie swallows and nods. They give him a fat felt tip marker, cheap and prison approved, and then they let him into the last block. “Stay behind the yellow line,” the guard says as parting instructions. “Don’t antagonize him.” Her eyes are full of some unreadable emotion as she looks at Eddie. “Also…don’t get freaked out by his cell, okay?”

“Why would I be freaked out by his cell?” Eddie asks, but then they’re ushering him into the larger room and closing the door behind him. They weren’t going to stay—that was one of Kasady’s demands—but it still sent a shot of adrenaline though him as the door buzzed shut.

I’m here, Eddie. You’re not alone.

“Right,” Eddie says, clutching his shitty new pen. “Okay.”

He steps forward towards the cage in the middle of the room. It’s fairly roomy for a cell, with a bed, a toilet, a desk, and a bench. All bolted to the floor. There’s a few stains on the back wall—bloodstains?—and in the middle of it all, a brilliantly red-haired man standing in white clothes. “Eddie Brock,” he calls, throwing his arms out. “At last.”

“In the flesh,” Eddie says, stepping a little closer. It’s at that moment he sees the decorations, and suddenly the guard’s warning makes sense.

There’s pictures of him everywhere. Snapshots from the internet, newspaper clippings of his articles, paparazzi shots, his mugshot from the network’s webpage, and what even looks like screen grabs from his various shows. The pictures are stuck all over the back wall, the desk, the bed, the chair…

What the fuck, Venom says, and for once he and Eddie are on the same page.

He realizes that he’s been frozen to the same spot for about twenty seconds, and he forces himself to move forward. “Always nice to meet a fan.”

“I’ve waited a long time to meet you,” Kasady says, and the grin following that statement is so unnerving that Eddie pauses again. “A long, long time. Come closer, Eddie. I want to see you.”

Eddie makes himself walk up to that yellow line. He’s only a few arm lengths away from the most notorious serial killer in the whole of San Francisco. For the first time since they met, he’s actually glad Venom is here too. He wouldn’t have the nerve otherwise. “I’m here.”

“Yes,” Kasady purrs, wrapping his hands around the bars. “Yes. Finally. You are here.” He licks his lips and smiles again. “What do you think of my decorations?”

“Um.” Eddie tries to think of something nice, but it’s not really forthcoming. Kasady doesn’t seem to mind, though. He just laughs and settles into a more casual posture against the bars.

Eddie clears his throat and tries again. “I have some questions for you,” he says, opening his notebook.

Kasady rolls his eyes. “Yes, yes. The FBI. I know they brought you here. Useless fucks.” He spits derisively and pitches his voice higher. “Names, Kasady, give us names! How many girls were there?

Eddie twists the pen in his fingers. “But it was more than girls,” he says. “You were hard to catch because you didn’t have a type.”

Kasady laughs. “Oh, I most definitely have a type, Eddie.” He looks him up and down with an unbridled lust. “But you are correct. There were girls. There were boys. Men. Women. Children. When the compulsion takes me…I’ll admit that I have no preferences then.”

Eddie stares at him. “Children?”

“Yes, Eddie. Children. Would you like one of their names?”

He nods. Kasady sighs. “So predictable. Disappointing.”

“What did you expect?” Eddie asks. “You promised names in exchange for meeting me. You can’t call me predictable for asking for them.”

Those piercing blue eyes seem to stare though him. “Yes. I suppose not.” A look of melancholy settles onto his face. “Alright. I will give you the names. But then you must promise not to ask for more. We have far more interesting things to discuss, you and I.”

Eddie nods in agreement, and writes down the three names as they’re given to him. He remembers hearing about one of them, but now isn’t the time to dwell on it.

“Okay,” he says, nodding. “So. Is there anything you want to tell me?”

“This is an interview,” Kasady says, sitting on the edge of his bed and crossing his legs. “You ask the questions, Eddie. I want to see what your great mind has come up with.”

Okay. Eddie opens his notebook. “Why you’d agree to this interview?”

The killer looks disappointed again. “Predictable again, Eddie. I’d expected better.” He crosses his arms. “To meet you, of course. And to…demonstrate my goodwill. I’ve been in here for a long time, you know. I’m bored.”

“So you want something out of this?”

His gaze is unreadable. “Doesn’t everyone want something?”

“What did they promise you?”

There’s a long pause, and then he says, almost reluctantly, “A field trip.”

A field trip? “Sounds exciting. Where to?”

“Life Foundation,” Kasady says, and he chuckles as a flash of confusion ripples across Eddie’s face. “Yes. Carlton Drake asked for me specifically, you know.” He looks down at Eddie. “Jealous?”

“Drake’s an asshole,” Eddie says, his mind spinning. What would Drake want with Cletus Kasady? “And if he asked for me personally, I’d probably run the other direction.”

Kasady tilts his head. “I asked for you, and you came.”

Yeah, because he’s a fucking idiot with a death wish. “Interview of a lifetime. I couldn’t give that up.” Eddie flips back to his page of questions, looks at Kasady, then tosses the notebook onto the floor. Alright. He wants unpredictable? Eddie can give him unpredictable. “How do you dye your hair in prison?”

Kasady blinks. Then after a long second, he bursts out laughing. “They bring me dye every six weeks,” he says, running a hand through his hair with a gruesome smile. “Took a little…negotiating in the beginning. I have to do it myself, but I’ve gotten very good after ten years.”

“Why bother?” Eddie doesn’t ask about the negotiation. He can only imagine what that entailed.

“Why not? Breaks up the monotony.”

Eddie steps a little closer. “On the wall,” he says, indicating the stains. “Blood or dye?”

“Blood.” Kasady bares his teeth. “Someone got a little too close, once. That’s why they drew that pretty yellow line, there.” He locks eyes with Eddie. “Gotta keep the kiddos safe.”

It’s a challenge, for sure. Eddie looks down at the yellow line under his shoes. He can either stay here and ask questions, or he can get closer and have a conversation. The first way will get him answers. The second will get him information.

Why is Carlton Drake recruiting prisoners? Why did he ask for Kasady specifically?

He’ll never know unless he tries.

“You got me?” he whispers to Venom. He realizes he’s just hiding behind the bigger bully, but it makes him feel a little bit better at least. If Kasady tries to grab him, Venom will eat his head.

I got you. The monster curls around his ribcage protectively.

He crosses the line.

Chapter Text

“You had one fucking instruction,” McDouchey says as the door closes behind him, but the amazement on his face sort of undercuts the curt tone. “I’m very surprised he didn’t break your neck.”

“He likes me,” Eddie says, which is true, but also makes him want to take a very hot shower. He shoves his notebook at the agent. “Here. The names.”

He wants to sit down and transcribe the interview while it’s still fresh, but they detain him for an unnecessary amount of time and ask him the same questions over and over. Eddie answers with patience until the third round of “why did you ask about his hair dye” and then he finally snaps.

“Because your way wasn’t working!” he shouts, standing up. “Because he was taunting me about being predictable and it was the only way I was going to start gaining his interest so I could actually, really interview him.”

He points at the notebook. “I got your names, alright? I got your names, and some interesting stuff besides that, now will you please let me go so I can write this all up?”

McDouchey and McAsshole hem and haw amongst themselves for a minute, but finally they give Eddie back his notebook and pen and direct him to the car waiting outside. “Thanks, guys,” he says, pulling on his jacket. “It’s been a real pleasure. Let’s never do this again.”

Then he’s out in the rain, and breathing the fresh air helps the anger thundering through him to calm a little. “Useless fucks,” he growls under his breath, only realizing a moment later that he’s echoing Kasady’s words.

I could eat them if you want, Venom offers, and Eddie shakes his head.

“No. We’ve got better things to do.” He pauses, then says, “Thanks for having my back in there.”

You are mine, Eddie. I will protect you.

“I know,” Eddie says. “But it was nice to have you.”

He actually means it too, which is somewhat alarming. But even despite all the unwanted touching and the fact that Venom could take control at any second…it was nice to feel protected. To feel safe. To have a partner.

Eddie shakes the water out of his face and growls at himself. He’s been alone too damn long. His wires are getting crossed. Venom is not a partner. He’s an alien in control of Eddie’s body, they are not friends, and Eddie needs to get him out before his head gets any more fucked.

The monster curls underneath his ribs, flickering emotions too fast across their connection for Eddie to make any sense of them.

The door slides open as Eddie approaches the car and he gets in, able to stretch out across the whole backseat now that McAsshole and McDouchey are gone. “You can just take me back to my apartment,” he says absently to the driver, and the car starts to move.

Eddie spends the drive scrawling things into his notebook. Venom helps on occasion, bringing up flashes of memory for him to write down more accurately. By the time they pull up to his apartment, Eddie has the bulk of the interview transcribed in his own shorthand. He’ll have to spend the next few days refining it, making it readable, polishing it up. It’s a good interview, somewhat rocky start considered. One of his better ones.

But he can do that later. Right now he needs to call Anne, let her know he’s alive, and then he needs to figure out why the hell Carlton Drake wants prisoners, and what the hell he wants them for. And for that to happen, he needs to have a chat with Venom.

But first, Anne.

She’s understandably panicked when he calls, but he manages to calm her down with some soothing words and promises that yes, he’s really okay. He doesn’t tell her the finer points of the interview, and he definitely doesn’t mention the pictures. He’s still not sure himself if that was supposed to be something to throw him off, or if Cletus Kasady is really that into him. He suspects it was the former more than the latter, but who knows.

She asks about Venom then, and he gives her a very, very abbreviated version of the story. He doesn’t know if she hears what he’s not saying, and he definitely has to talk her out of coming over, but eventually she settles down and promises not to tell Dan. When he hangs up, he feels emotionally wrung out. It’s barely noon and he’s exhausted. It’s been a rollercoaster of a day.

But it’s not over yet. He clears his throat, gets a grip on himself, and says, “We need to talk.”

Venom forms up next to him. What?

“I need to go to the Life Foundation.”

Venom growls, starting to manifest more fully. Eddie throws his hands up. “Whoa! Hey! Not to turn you in, alright?”

I do not want to go back there.

“I know you don’t,” Eddie says, backing away instinctively. Venom towers above him, fully formed, and Eddie clamps down hard on his fear. “But there’s something weird going on here, and  you know it. You heard Kasady. Why does Carlton Drake want prisoners?”

He experiments on them.

Eddie’s jaw drops. “He what?”

Venom writhes around his arm unhappily. He experiments on them. He tried to match me with a host for months. They were all prisoners, or humans that no one would miss. I saw their memories, Eddie.

Well, that’s a new reaction. Eddie stares at Venom. “Are you…are you scared of him?”

The blast of anger across their connection nearly knocks him over. I do not fear any human!

“Okay!” Eddie shouts, throwing his arms over his head. Venom growls and backs down, still churning around his arm. “Okay. Not scared.”

Not scared, Venom agrees. Angry. Angry at what, Eddie isn’t sure. Probably about being an experiment trapped in a glass container. He’d be pretty angry at that too.

“How does he get away with it?” Eddie asks, flipping open his notebook to a new page and scribbling some thoughts down. “Prisoners have protection too. You can’t just chew through them like candy. Someone’s gonna notice.”

They did not all die.

“But enough of them did?”

I don’t know. I didn’t see.

“We have to get in there. We have to find out what’s happening.” Eddie wracks his brain trying to think of something to convince Venom. “Come on, buddy. Think with me. I have you, right? He lost his prime subject. So why does he still need people? Why is he after Kasady specifically?”

Venom is uncharacteristically quiet, although Eddie can feel him thinking. I don’t know, Venom eventually says, and Eddie nods quickly.

“Exactly. That’s why we have to figure it out.”

Why us?

“Because no one else is going to,” Eddie says. “No one else gives a shit.”

Why do you give a shit?

“Because I’m a nice person.” He’s really not, but it sounds pleasant. Really, he just wants to see this story through. He broke in in the first place because Carlton Drake was up to something shady. He has some photos from that first attempt, but he didn’t know what he was looking at and so they’re not very clear. Not clear enough to be good evidence. He needs to go back and take his time, making sure that he gets enough information to take Drake down. He explains this to Venom, who just looks at him.

“And this is the kind of thing I make a living off of,” he adds, in case the first answer wasn’t enough. He leaves out the part about how going back to the Life Foundation might give him a clue about how to get Venom out of him.

He meets Venom’s gaze and waits. The moment of truth.

Venom’s eyes narrow.

His heart sinks.

I think you are trying to get rid of me, Venom hisses, curling around his forearm with an uncomfortable tightness.

“I’m not,” Eddie lies, wincing as his circulation is slowly cut off.

I told you once before, Eddie. If you try and return me to Drake, you will not like the consequences.

“And I remember that. Vividly.”

You are lying to me.

Oh shit. “What makes you say that?”

Venom twists around his chest, forming crisscrossed lines of black that begin to tighten as well. I am inside your head. I know when you are lying. Your heart rate quickens and you breathe faster.

Eddie swallows. “Maybe I’m just scared of you. Humans get adrenaline surges when they’re scared. Makes our hearts beat faster.”

You are scared. I like the taste of it. Venom squeezes again, and Eddie struggles to breathe. But fear tastes different than lies, Eddie. And I know the difference.

Eddie tries so hard to keep himself together, but as Venom starts to constrict even more, his composure cracks. “Yes! Okay? Yes, I want to get rid of you.” His heart is thundering so loudly he can hear it in his ears. He thinks he might vomit any second. But the secret is out now. He might as well get it over with. “What the hell did you expect? You took over my body and my life, and you either beat me up or rape me every goddamn day, and you use me to eat people! Of course I want you gone! I want my life back!” He’s shouting by the end of it, face to face with a monster, letting his fear bleed out through his words.

Venom doesn’t say anything after his tirade, and Eddie gasps in air, his whole body shaking. “I appreciate the help you gave me in there. But I didn’t ask for you,” he says a little more controlled. “And I don’t really want you here.”

Venom still doesn’t say anything. Just keeps winding around Eddie until his entire chest is covered in black goo. Eddie has never been so scared in his life, not on that rooftop, not in the bathroom, not even walking into Kasady’s cell. This monster could kill him with a thought or at least make his life exceedingly miserable, and all Eddie can do is wait.

Finally, Venom tilts his head and meets Eddie’s wide-eyed stare. Honesty, he says, hissing the word. At last.

Eddie lets out a trembling breath. “A-Are you going to kill me?”

No, Eddie. I’ve told you before, you are far too good a match to throw away so soon.

Relief sags him a bit, but it’s immediately replaced by fear as Venom adds, But I am going to punish you.

Chapter Text

"We could talk about this instead,” Eddie suggests, backing up despite having nowhere to go. “Have a reasonable discussion.”

I am done having discussions.

“Yeah, but—” he doesn’t get to finish as he finds himself pulled backwards and slammed against the wall, feet kicking in midair. “Wait!”

I’m done waiting, Venom says, his tone cold. I think it’s time we added more rules.

Well, fuck. Eddie struggles, but it doesn’t do a damn thing, and Venom just waits until he exhausts himself. This cold, calculating Venom is new, and Eddie does not like it. The rage was understandable, if terrifying. This…this is too hard to read.

Venom comes closer and wraps a giant fist in his shirt, then tears it off completely. Eddie grits his teeth and watches the scraps fall to the floor. He waits for Venom to undress him the rest of the way, waits for the rape to start, but all he does is lay a single massive claw against Eddie’s right collarbone.

What were my rules, Eddie?

Eddie winces as the claw digs into his skin. A single bead of blood wells up and drips down his chest. “I don’t make the rules. I belong to you. I obey you.”

Good, Venom purrs, and he slashes diagonally.

An inhuman scream bursts from Eddie without permission, without warning, and it startles him almost as much as the pain does. Blood pours from the wound and Eddie looks down, following the line across his entire torso to his left hip. It’s deep. God, it’s deep. He can see muscle and tissue sliced through, laid bare enough that the white of bone peeks out from underneath. He curls in on himself, but Venom forces him straight again.

Rule four, Venom says, his tongue licking up the blood. You do not lie to me.

Eddie nods frantically, unable to stop the whimpering sobs as Venom puts a claw against his other collarbone. “No, no, no, no,” he begs. “Please no.”

Venom slashes, and Eddie howls in agony. The lines are clinically neat and straight, forming a perfect X across his body, and right where they meet a thin black tendril is oozing from Venom’s body to Eddie’s. Rule five, the monster says, leaning in close. You will not leave me.

The tendril pulls on the wound, pries it open, and Eddie’s nerves bursts with agony as he sees blood pour onto the floor, as his ribs are slowly revealed.  

Say them all, Venom orders, and he slides a thick tendril into the wound, working it slightly wider.

“I don’t make the rules,” he starts, but a scream interrupts him as Venom winds through his ribs. He manages to choke out I belong to you as Venom presses in deeper, and I obey you is stuttered out between panted breaths as the monster seeps into his lungs.

Once, when he was seven, he fell into a pool. He’d sunk all the way to the bottom. From there, he’d stared up at the sky and the blurry sun and watched the last of his bubbles rise to the surface before his lungs demanded he take a breath. But there was nothing to breathe, no air, just water and pain before they’d hauled him out and administered CPR.

This feels the same, as Venom fills up his lungs. They’re expanding, but there’s no air being exchanged. There is nothing but blackness and death in his chest and no matter how quick he hyperventilates, no matter how much his chest moves, he cannot breathe.

This is different than Venom choking him with his tongue. This is torture, pure and simple, and the only thing he can do is stare wide-eyed at the monster doing it while his body tries vainly to do what it’s supposed to, only to fail time and time again.

When his vision blacks out and his kicking feet go slack, Venom pulls back. Eddie gasps in a breath that actually works, and the pain is so encompassing that he nearly passes out again anyway. He thinks, in an oxygen-deprived daze, that he knows now why babies cry when they’re born. It fucking hurts.

Keep going, is all Venom says, watching with mild interest as Eddie coughs and chokes and claws his way back to life.

“Don’t…lie,” he wheezes. “Don’t…leave.”

Again.

Eddie sobs. “I’m sorry,” he says, or at least tries to say. The word gets lost in a convulsion as he throws up, spattering bile all over the floor. Venom makes a displeased sound and sidesteps. Again, he repeats, and Eddie coughs and tries to make his mouth work properly.

“Don’t make rules. Belong to you. Obey. Don’t lie. Don’t leave.” Each word is painful and extended, drawn up by agonizing breaths and delivered through a film of blood and spit and bile.

But Venom isn’t done. Again, he orders, and as Eddie repeats the mantra, he traces his claws back through the gashes, igniting the nerves and causing Eddie to convulse in his grip. Eddie closes his eyes and turns his head away, not wanting to see the shredded mess of his body.

Venom notices and growls. No, Eddie. Look at it.

God help him, he can’t. His head won’t turn and his eyes won’t open and anything, anything would be preferable to this. He can’t escape into his mind, he can’t tune this out, the searing agony keeps him in the moment and looking at it just makes it worse.

Look at it!

He feels Venom wind into his chest again and he looks because he cannot bear to drown again. There’s so much blood, it’s everywhere, all he can see is red red red, red hair, red blood, red sky out the window red in a containment room three rooms down from the one he found Venom in—

Venom stops suddenly. What was that?

“I don’t know,” Eddie says, or he tries to anyway. The words are slurred.

That invasive press is in his head again, and Venom flicks through his memories. WHAT. WAS. THAT?

“I don’t know!” Eddie wails a little louder.

Venom growls in disgust and presses harder on the memory. Eddie winces as the pain in his head grows to a crescendo, and then suddenly he’s back in Drake’s lab dark room too dark need to run where am I fuck they found me what the fuck is that red thing no idea shoot gotta hide hide in here this is good oh my god there’s another one FUCK NO GET OFF GET OUT RUN

They resurface from the memory together, both of them stunned. The tentacles retract and Venom drops Eddie into a heap on the floor. Carnage, he says, and all Eddie can think is yes, this is.

He wants to ask Venom what he means, but the room is spinning and his eyes are so heavy. Later, he promises himself. He’s so tired now. Just a few minutes. Just enough time to rest.

Chapter Text

He wakes up face down in a pool of blood. Finally, Venom says from somewhere above him. You are the weakest species I have ever encountered.

Eddie lifts his head and tries to talk, but all that comes out is some raspy screeching noise, so he gives up and drops his forehead to the ground.

I stopped the bleeding, Venom says. You will survive. It will be painful.

Right. Claws. Drowning. Pain. Christ, his chest feels like someone drove a truck over it.

Get up. We need to go.

He licks his lips and tries again. “Go where?” It comes out as a slur of words but Venom gets the idea.

The Life Foundation. We need to go there. Venom twists around him. Get up, Eddie.

He does, somehow. Every movement tugs on the incisions in his chest, and he nearly slips in the blood, but he manages to get up to one knee, hanging onto the wall to steady him.

Faster.

“You shredded…my chest,” Eddie croaks, breathing heavily. “I’m gonna…be…a little slow.”

Venom makes a disgusted noise and coils around Eddie, gently lifting him up from the floor and putting him on his feet. He takes one painful step after the other, leaning on the counter for support, until he gets over to the kitchen sink and manages to knock the faucet on. He splashes water in his face and takes a few sips to soothe his raw throat.

“You want to go to the Life Foundation,” he says slowly, looking up at Venom.

Yes.

Eddie weakly gestures to his chest. “But I thought…”

You would have searched for information to leave me, Venom hisses. But you are MY ride, and we are done when I say we are.

Eddie closes his eyes. “Okay.”

You will not try to leave me ever again.

“I won’t,” he promises, voice cracking, and in his bones he knows he’s telling the truth.

Good boy.

Eddie rinses the blood off his hands and focuses on breathing. It hurts. Hurts worse than the half-healed puncture wounds on his back, worse than the throbbing memory of his hand shattering under an iron grip. His lungs feel like they’re restricted by a band, and even the most shallow breaths are making his chest ache.

He stumbles into the bathroom and looks in the mirror. The X across his chest is slowly oozing blood from the half inch-wide gouges, but he’s at least not gushing the stuff like earlier. He gently probes the place where the two gashes meet and shudders in pain. “Are you going to heal this?”

Why would I do that?

“You kind of need me mobile,” Eddie says, picking up a washcloth and steeling himself. He’s got to wipe up the blood, get a sense of how bad and deep these really are. If Venom isn't going to heal him, he's probably going to need stitches.

You are mobile. I will take over if I need to.

Eddie scrubs the blood off his face first, from where it was laying in the puddle. “Why did you change your mind?” He suddenly remembers the flash of memory, the red in the container a few rooms down from Venom. Carnage, Venom had said. Like he knew the name. Another alien?

Yes, Venom says, something unreadable flickering in their connection. Carnage. My brother.

“You have a brother?” That's a horrifying thought. He touches the cloth to his collarbone and clenches his jaw to keep from screaming.

Not like humans. He is another symbiote.

“And you want to rescue him?”

I would not leave him to Carlton Drake’s methods. We will take him and find him a host.

“Right,” Eddie says, not liking the we aspect of that. He wipes down his other gash, blinking tears out of his eyes. “Why wait until now?”

I did not know until I saw your memory. I thought I was the only one. They did not let us interact. He sounds…melancholy, almost, and in a strange way Eddie understands. An alien, on an alien planet, with a host that doesn’t want him. Of course he wants to save the only other being like him.

Eddie is not necessarily on board with this but he also recognizes that he really doesn’t have a choice in the matter. So he just keeps his mouth shut and probes at his injuries. Yeah, these are bad. “These are going to need stitches,” he says.

What are stitches?

“Holds the skin together until it can heal.” He isn’t sure where he’s going to get stitches. He sure as hell isn’t going to the hospital again. “Unless you want to fix it.”

I will not fix it, Venom snarls. I want them to stay. I want them to be reminders.

“Then I need stitches,” Eddie says with resignation.

He thinks about calling Anne to get ahold of Dan, but Dan is going to ask questions that he doesn’t want to answer. He’s pretty sure “I got mugged” isn’t going to work twice, and he doesn’t know where to begin on explaining Venom to him. Also Dan’s first instinct is going to be to remove Venom, and Eddie is pretty sure Anne will never forgive him if Dan’s head gets ripped off.

So no Dan. No hospital. No super monster healing powers. Now what?

He ends up calling a veterinarian from a long-ago interview, when he was working on a piece about the rash of abandoned domestic animals across the city. It wasn’t one of his better writings, but the interview had landed the vet some extra business, and she’d called Eddie a few days later to tell him to let her know if he ever needed anything. They’d spoken a few times since then, mostly when Eddie dropped off the occasional stray cat or popped in to visit her when he was in the area.

They also slept together once, after he and Anne broke up, but it didn’t make either of them feel very good, and the night was never repeated. Eddie tries not to think of that night as he dials. Venom is already jealous of Anne, the last thing he needs is to bring another woman into the mix.

The phone rings for a long time, but eventually she picks up. “Hello?”

“Dr. Moon,” he says. “It’s Eddie Brock.”

“Eddie!” she says with a delighted voice. “How’s my favorite reporter?”

“I…I’ve been better,” he admits. “I need some help. Some medical help.”

“Okay.” Her chipper tone vanishes, replaced by a professional demeanor. “When’s the soonest you can get here? I’ve had a few cancellations this afternoon so I’m pretty open. What kind of help are we talking about here?”

“Stitches.”

“I can do that. What kind of animal?”

He swallows. “Not an animal. They’re for me.”

There’s a long pause, and then she says, “Eddie, if you need stitches, you should go to a hospital.”

“I can’t,” he says. “I want to, but I really can’t. I need your help. Please.”

“I don’t work on humans.”

“Please,” he begs. “This is really bad, Cait. If I go to a hospital they’re going to ask questions. I can’t do that. I am begging you. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need it.”

Another long pause, but finally she sighs and says, “Okay. Come in when you can. I'll see what I can do.”

“Thank you. Thank you so much. I’ll be there within the hour.” Eddie hangs up.

Who was that?

“A friend,” Eddie says, stumbling into his room. He needs a shirt, but he doesn’t think he can raise his arms to put one on. He settles for an oversized jacket instead and hopes he doesn’t bleed through it. “She’s a vet. She can help me. And then we can go.” He feels Venom’s reluctance. “Look, your…brother has already survived weeks. A few more hours won’t hurt. Please let me do this, and then we can go. I won’t fight you.”

You won’t fight me anyway, Venom says pointedly, but then he relents and adds, but you may go see your friend.

“Thank you.”

What is a vet?

“A doctor for animals. For people’s pets.” He realizes the implications as soon as the words come out of his mouth. Venom starts laughing.

How appropriate, he says, oozing around Eddie’s throat and forming that fucking collar. Come on then, pet. Let’s go.

Chapter Text

“Jesus,” Cait says, staring at his wounds. “What the hell happened to you?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Eddie says. He doesn’t look her in the eye. “Can you help me?”

He is sitting on her exam table, bare-chested, in pain, and tired as hell. Between traffic and the searing pain, it took him almost an hour to get here. Under his skin, Venom writhes impatiently, sending flashes of irritation worry anger across their connection. Not for the first time, Eddie wishes he could turn down the volume in his head. He’s having a hard time focusing.

Then again, that could also be chalked up to the massive blood loss.

“I can help. It’s going to take some time. These need to be cleaned first.”

“I wiped them off,” Eddie offers, but he realizes how feeble that sounds. Cait just rolls her eyes and pulls over a rolling tray of equipment.

She picks up a syringe. “I’m going to numb the area first, okay?”

No.

The command startles him, and makes him jump, which startles her. “What?” Eddie asks.

Cait repeats herself, but he doesn’t hear her over Venom. No numbing.  I want you to feel your mistakes.

“Don’t numb it,” he says to Cait.

She stares at him. “Excuse me?”

“Don’t numb it. I’ll be okay.”

“Eddie, these are huge. If I don’t numb it, there’s no guarantee you’re going to hold still for the actual stitching part, let alone the cleaning. It’ll hurt too bad.”

His tone gets desperate. “I can hold still. I can. Please don’t.”

Her face is white, which makes her red hair a stark contrast. “What’s going on? How did you get these?”

“I can’t tell you that.”

She sets the syringe down. “Eddie, please just talk to me. You’re scaring me.”

He opens his mouth, then closes it. How can he explain this to her? There are no words for what’s happening to him.

This is a waste of time, Venom says impatiently, and Eddie feels him emerge from his shoulder. Hello, human.

Cait screams in terror and falls backwards at the same time that Eddie jumps up from the table. “Venom, no!” he shouts, backing away from her.

The monster ignores him. You need to fix Eddie, he says to Cait. Now. We are in a hurry.

“What the HELL is that?” She’s backed all the way up against the wall, eyes wide and terrified.

“He’s an alien,” Eddie says, head spinning. “He…I…” He tries to think of a plausible explanation that doesn’t involve breaking into the Life Foundation, but Venom takes care of that for him too.

I found Eddie. He is mine. You need to fix him.

“He’s infected me,” Eddie whispers, holding his hands out. “He’s inside me and I can’t do anything about it, and I just need your help right now, okay?”

“He’s infected you?” Cait says, horror in her voice. “Like a parasite?”

Venom’s anger blasts through them. “Don’t call him that!” Eddie shouts, cringing. “Please. Don’t.”

FIX HIM. Venom moves towards Cait, teeth bared and eyes narrowed. Now, or I will be forced to eat you. He turns back to Eddie. Sit down.

Cait’s eyes are the size of saucers as Eddie slowly steps back over to the table and sits down. “He won’t hurt you as long as you do what he says.”

He’s aware that doesn’t sound reassuring, but Cait gives a jerky nod after a second and Eddie resumes his place on the table. When she reaches for the syringe again, Venom lashes around her arm, making her freeze in place. I said NO.

“Did you do this to him?” Cait whispers, grabbing for the antiseptic instead.

Yes.

“Why?”

Venom turns his monstrous head towards Eddie, who realizes that he’s expected to reply. “I lied to him,” he whispers, face flushing hot with embarrassment and fear. “It’s my fault.”

Cait bites her lip and starts cleaning out the wounds, wincing almost as much as Eddie does. “These are big,” she says. “You lost a lot of blood?”

“Venom stopped it.”

“He can stop your bleeding?”

“He can heal me completely if he wants.”

She looks at him, her face full of pity. “But he’s making you get stitches?”

Pain is a reminder, Venom says to both of them. It sounds almost like a mantra, the way he says it. Like a phrase with memory behind it.

Cait must think the same thing, because as she starts stitching his chest back together, she says, “Did someone hurt you once?”

Yes.

Eddie stares at him. “What? When?”

A long time ago. Venom ripples out from Eddie, making Cait pause, and forms his entire upper body. Then he twists, and Eddie stares at the vicious claw marks scoring Venom’s back, a perfect match to the injuries on his own front.

Cait makes a noise. Eddie can’t tell if it’s fear or sympathy.

I disobeyed Riot, Venom says. And he punished me.

“Riot?” Cait asks. “What’s Riot?”

Riot is what you would call a team leader.

Something flickers inside Eddie. Something hot and burning and dangerous. “You had that happen to you,” he starts slowly, “and then you turned around and did the EXACT SAME THING TO ME?”

Insubordination is not tolerated.

“You fucking ASSHOLE!” He jumps up without thinking, wincing as the needle sticks in his chest on the way up.

Venom immediately seeps back into Eddie and pushes him back down, freezing him to the table. Tendrils toy at the edges of his wounds, sending flashes of pain through his nerves. Insubordination is not tolerated, he repeats. I healed. I learned my lesson. And now I am the one with power, and you are learning yours.

He flicks those silvery eyes to Cait. Finish what you are doing, red one. He will hold still.

“I fucking hate you,” Eddie says, still furious, straining against Venom’s hold. “You know what this is doing to me, you know what this is like, and you don’t care because it makes you feel powerful?”

Precisely.

He locks Eddie’s jaw shut after that and tells Cait to stitch faster. Trapped inside his own body, all Eddie can do is occasionally flinch and nurse his useless anger. Cait looks like she wants to say something, but she ends up just shaking her head and resuming her work.

It takes over an hour, but finally she pulls the needle through one more time and says, “You’re done.” She directs him through a few functional movements to see if any of the stitches will tear or pop, but none do. Then she bandages them and loans him a scrub top that doesn’t quite fit. He pulls his jacket over the top of that. She puts a disposable water bottle in the pocket and tells him to drink as much as he possibly can. “You need a lot of fluids. You’ve had some pretty bad blood loss. You should also eat something if you can. And sleep.”

And get rid of your friend, he hears between her commands, but she thankfully doesn't say it out loud.

“Thank you,” he says. His arms briefly lift for a hug, but she backs away and he drops them. “If I can do anything to help you out…”

Cait nods, her face still very white. “Wherever you’re going next, Eddie…just be careful.”

I will take care of him, Venom says. But we need to go. NOW.

“Please don’t tell anyone,” Eddie says as Venom forces him to start walking towards the door. “No one can know about this.”

“Who would I tell?” she asks, a hint of a smile breaking through the fear.

Eddie walks out the door with one last look back and gets on his bike. “I’m still pissed at you,” he says to Venom as he pulls on his helmet. “But thanks for not eating her.” He doesn’t feel overly thankful, but since he’s already yelled at Venom once, he doesn’t really want to irritate the monster anymore.

Venom twists around his chest, a feeling of…something crossing their connection. He replays the memory of Eddie yelling, flashing through it so quickly that Eddie almost feels sick. “I’ve gotta drive,” he says, pulling away from the curb. “Please don’t do that. It hurts my head.”

You hate me.

“Yes.” He’s said it before, many times. But Venom sounds almost…hurt by it, like he’s just realized Eddie meant every word.

Why?

Rather than say anything, Eddie lets himself remember the beatings, the rapes, the various fights and arguments that he always loses. Lets himself think about the crossed lines of throbbing pain on his torso. Venom hums over the memories, then says, You needed to understand.

“I understand perfectly,” Eddie says through clenched teeth. “Just because I can’t do anything about it doesn’t mean I’m going to just roll over and take it.”

Yes, Venom says, sounding almost delighted. I like it when you fight. I like winning.

“Of course you do.”

His tone gets softer, almost like the monster is trying to cajole him. But it doesn’t have to be this hard, Eddie. We could be a team. True symbiosis—

“Teams help each other out. Teams have each other's backs. You’re not my teammate, Venom. You’re an alien asshole on a power trip and for both our sakes, lets not pretend you’re anything else.” He takes a deep breath. “I’m going with you because I don’t see any other options that don’t involve you torturing me. And that is the only reason I’m helping you.”

Venom is quiet for a long while, then says, Fine. The word is cold and hard. Just remember who is in charge.

“I’ve got one-hundred and seven stitches that won’t let me forget,” Eddie says acidly.

I am not sorry.

“Nobody said you were.” This is stupid, it really is. He’s playing with fire every time he opens his mouth. But surprisingly, Venom doesn’t punish him. He just continues twisting around Eddie’s skin and giving occasional snarl if a car gets too close to them.

The anger is still there when they cross the bridge leading towards the Life Foundation, but it’s cooled enough that he can think rationally again. Step One: stop applying human logic to aliens. Venom is never going to understand the dynamics of abuse and power, and Eddie is an idiot for thinking otherwise. Step Two: they need an actual plan to break into the Life Foundation, otherwise they’re going to be caught immediately and that would just be the cherry on top of an already crappy day.

He pulls over after the bridge. They’re still a few blocks from the Foundation, but he parks the bike in an alley behind a dumpster and stows his helmet. “Okay. Get out here and stay low.” Venom actually listens, for once, and curls around Eddie’s left forearm as his head forms. “We need a plan, Venom. A good one. One that gets us in and out with a minimal body count. Preferably a count of zero.”

How did you get in before?

“I was already in. I swiped a security key card, and then I hid in a supply closet for a few hours. They were busy with tours. No one noticed.”

Just go in. I will eat anyone who bothers us.

“Zero,” Eddie stresses. “No bodies. No eating.”

I’m hungry.

So is Eddie, although that’s probably also down to the massive blood loss. He wishes he had a granola bar or something. “You just ate yesterday.”

Need more to be effective. Eggs are good. Brains are better.

“How about we make a plan first,” he suggests, “and then you can eat?”

I like plans that involve eating.

“Are you being antagonistic on purpose?” His temper, still so close to the surface, flares up. Venom reacts faster than thought and freezes him in place. Eddie squirms under the iron grip, irritation giving way to fear. “Okay!”

Do not push me, Venom says darkly. Or you will regret what happens next.

Eddie racks his brain for something not sarcastic to say. This has always been his problem—when he’s cornered, he lashes out with acidity and anger. Not the best impulse in conjunction with an body-inhabiting brain eating monster. And certainly not with this one. If he’s learned anything over the past few days, it’s that Venom follows through on every promise.

He eventually settles on, “I’m sorry,” and Venom releases his grip. Eddie slides down the wall and sits on the cold ground, gaze still on the Life Foundation building at the bottom of the hill. He sits there for a long while—ignoring the throbbing pain in his chest and the growl in his stomach—watching people come and go, staring and planning and abandoning those plans.

I have an idea, Venom suddenly says, and before Eddie can say anything, the blackness envelopes him and together, they leap straight up.

Chapter Text

“I’d like to go on record as saying this is a terrible plan,” Eddie whispers. “Like, absolutely awful.”

It’s better than a supply closet.

“Is not!”

Is.

Eddie looks down from the top of the parking garage where they’re perched. The height makes him sick. “You’re going to wait for someone to come out, and then eat them? That’s your plan?”

Then we take his pass.

“And then what? Unless that guy is my doppelgänger, I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to work beyond the front gate. And that’s assuming the guy even has a pass, and that it’s going to work on all the doors…” Eddie trails off. “This is insane.”

It will work, Venom insists. Trust me.

And beyond all belief, it actually does. Mostly because a security guard is the first to walk out. Venom jumps down, falling four stories with giddy delight before descending on the unwitting guard and biting his head off.

Put on the uniform, Venom says. We will blend in.

“Not gonna work,” Eddie mutters, but he does as instructed. The guard is bigger than him, and he has to pull the belt extra tight before the pants stay up. He’s somehow managed to lose weight, despite eating like a madman. Probably not a good sign. He just really hopes that he doesn’t bleed through the shirt.

He follows Venom’s quiet instructions and walks right back to the front gate, keeping the hat pulled down low over his face. The guard there glances up from his phone, sees the uniform, and waves him in lazily. He doesn’t even ask for ID.

Told you, Venom says gleefully. That guard is useless. He should be eaten.

“I can’t believe that worked,” Eddie says, fighting to keep the grin off his face. He’s still scared, and pretty sure they’re going to get caught, but it seems fucking ridiculous that he was allowed to just walk in like that.

I was watching, before. He let seventeen people in without looking. Four of them in this uniform.

“He should be fired.” Eddie avoids the front doors, walking instead around to the more secluded side entrance.

Or eaten.

“Sure.” He flashes the pass at the side doors, which beep with a green light and hiss open. And just like that, he’s inside the Life Foundation. Easy as pie. “Okay. Know where we’re going?”

Don’t you?

“I don’t remember it very clearly.”

Go left, Venom says decisively, and so left he goes. He walks down a long hallway with an excellent view of the ocean. I remember being underground. We will need to go down soon.

“How long were you here for?”

I don’t know. My sense of time was not accurate. If I had to guess…Memories flicker across Eddie’s vision, memories that definitely aren’t his, memories with a distinct flavor of PAIN FEAR HUNGER HATE twisting around them. Venom turns in his head, then says, Years, I think.

“Jesus.” He almost can’t blame Venom for breaking out. He would too.

I will not leave Carnage to the same thing. Go right.

Eddie turns. “So how exactly do you plan to get him out? Because I’m willing to help you out here, but if you want him to crawl up my ass we’re going to have some words about that.”

Technically you could host us both, but only briefly. No. We will use the transport containers. They are small. We will be able to carry him out.

Something in him relaxes, something he didn’t even know was tense. “Good. Okay.”

We need to go down now.

“I'll look for an elevator.” A moment later, a woman in a lab coat opens a door a ways down the hall and starts walking towards him, her nose buried in papers. Eddie immediately twists down a different direction, the sudden movement pulling at his stitches and making him wince in pain. He presses a hand to the center of his chest, right where Venom had wormed his way into him.

Venom curls over his hand where it rests on his stitches. I am not sorry, he says again. But I think I was…he writhes uncomfortably. I don’t know the word.

“An asshole?” Eddie peeks around the corner. All clear.

Intense. I treated you as Riot once treated me.

“What’s your point?”

I hate Riot. There’s a pause, a strange silence between them, and then he says, I don’t want you to hate me.

Eddie blanches at the words. “You don’t want me to hate you?”

Symbiosis works best with the host and symbiote in harmony. We have been at odds since the start.

Eddie sticks to the corners and side walls. Well whose fucking fault is that sits on the tip of his tongue, but instead he changes the subject. “Are you sure you know where we’re going?”

Yes, down. I can sense him now.

Eddie looks around, then spots an elevator. His key card works again, and he steps inside. “How far down?”

As far as you can go.

“That’s helpful.” Eddie hits the button for the lowest floor and waits as the door closes.

This is not an exact science, Eddie. I can sense the distress, but he’s…quiet. Hard to follow precisely.

“Probably because of the containment,” Eddie says, recalling how he’d unlocked Venom’s. He’s never regretted anything so much in his life. “Is that just the best thing they found to hold you?”

Oxygen atmosphere is lethal to us, Venom admits with reluctance. Eddie nods and files the fact away for later.

The elevator continues trekking downward, and after a moment his inquisitive nature gets the best of him. “So what is it you want, exactly? You want us to be friends? You want us to work together like a little team?”

Yes. We will still have rules. I will still be in charge. But I will try to injure you less severely, if you will try to be good for me.

Eddie touches his chest again. Try to injure you less severely?  In addition to that being a shitty promise, Venom is inside him. He could have done anything to punish Eddie, and he chose to vivisection and drown him from the outside in. So he could see it. “You tortured me,” he says coldly. “You cut me open and tried to drown me. I don’t want to be good for you. I don’t want to be anywhere near you.”

The wordless pulse of possessiveness nearly knocks him off his feet. MINE, Venom snarls. You belong to ME. He freezes Eddie’s feet in place and swirls out from his chest, staring him in the eye. I am trying to give you a choice in how we proceed, Eddie. Choose wisely.

“It’s a crap option,” Eddie says. “If you want me so badly, then maybe consider working with me instead of trying to own me.”

But I do own you.

This argument is going nowhere fast, and neither is he. He rubs his hands over his face and fights back a frustrated yell. “Okay. Fine. Can we finish this conversation later?”

Venom reluctantly sinks back into him, and Eddie continues slinking down the hall. He tries to think about what he’s doing, but Venom’s words keep replaying in his head.

I don’t want you to hate me.

Why? Venom has already proven he cares very little for Eddie or his feelings. Eddie touches his chest again, feeling the deep ache of the lines carved into him. Why bring this up right now?

No. It’s a problem he doesn’t have the time to solve right now. He needs to focus.

The doors finally open, and Eddie steps out. It’s quieter down here. There’s a barely perceptible hum of machines and lights, but otherwise his footsteps are the only sound. “Left or right?” he whispers, unwilling to talk any louder.

Forward, I think. Can you feel it?

“Feel what?”

Hmm. Venom shifts in his mind, and then suddenly there is a strange keening sound in his ears. He just barely stops himself from crying out as he drops to a knee, his hands slamming up to either side of his head.

“What the hell is that,” he gasps. Venom shifts again and the noise drops to a barely noticeable level, which at least allows Eddie to shakily get back to his feet.

That is Carnage.

“That’s—” He shakes his head hard, like he’s trying to dislodge the sound from his ears. “Why does he sound like that?”

Venom oozes from his skin and writhes up and down Eddie’s arms. Distress call. He needs help.

“Can you hear that all the time?”

There’s a palatable sadness behind the answer. Not until I was listening for it.

Eddie walks them forward. There’s a small cell at the end of the hallway with a keypad next to it. He can’t see in it for the condensation on the glass but it at least looks promising. Venom twists around his skin faster, flashes of anger and excitement flickering between them.

He steps up close to the glass door, nearly pressing his nose against it, and then jumps about ten feet when a hand slams into his field of vision.

Chapter Text

“Fuck!” he yells, jumping back.

A face immediately follows the hand. The person inside stares at him, eyes raking up and down his body. “Let me out,” he shouts, muffled through the glass. “Hey! Let me out!”

“We gotta let him out,” Eddie says to Venom, already reaching for the keypad. He doesn't know the code, but he's willing to try anything.

No. Carnage first.

“Are you kidding me? There’s a person in there! We can’t just leave him!”

Venom takes over Eddie’s body, turning him to the right and walking him down the hall. And why is your species more important than mine?

“Let me go,” Eddie snarls, struggling against Venom’s hold. When it doesn’t work, he snarls again and stops. No point wasting energy. “Fine. But we’re going back for him.”

If we have time.

But he isn’t the only body in here, Eddie discovers. He walks down a row of cells and then another, eerily similar to a prison. There are a dozen or more. Some watch him walk by, some just sit on their beds and rock. One girl—can’t be older than ten, Eddie realizes, his heart sinking—just plasters herself against the door and watches him go by. Tears are dripping down her face.

“You weren’t kidding,” Eddie says when they reach the end of the row. He feels sick. “He’s been experimenting on people.”

Yes. He is needlessly cruel to them. I saw their memories when we joined.

Well, if Venom thinks Drake is needlessly cruel, than it’s gotta be a whole new level of nasty. “We have to help them,” Eddie says. “As soon as we find your friend. This isn’t right.”

This is the kind of damning story he’d been looking for the first time. And he’d seen bits and pieces of it before finding Venom, but he’d never gone down far enough. Quite literally, this is a whole new level of hell.

Venom suddenly vibrates around him with excitement. Yes. There. Straight ahead.

Eddie sees it at the same time. A small, lit lab split in half. On one side, a glass room with computers. And on the other side there is a container about half Eddie’s height. Curling inside it, pushing up against the edges, is an amorphous red blob.

Carnage, Venom says. There’s a joyful note to his voice.

“How do we get in?”

I have—Hide!

Venom takes over and shoves Eddie into a small alcove set just before the wall transitions into glass. It’s some kind of closet. Eddie pulls the doors shut, ducks low and tries to hide behind the hanging hazmat suits.

There’s a clip of shoes on the floor from the direction he came, and then a muffled female voice says, “I really don’t think we should do anything else until he gets back.”

“Why not?” replies a male voice. “He’s a match, or at least we think he will be. He signed the paperwork. The police will be bringing him over here tomorrow. We should just get started on trials right away.”

“Drake will want to be here,” the woman insists. Eddie tucks closer into the closet as they walk past, but they don’t even look in his direction. The man flashes his pass at the lab door, and it opens. The woman steps in. “If it goes wrong, do you really want to be the one to explain to him that we went ahead without him being here? Don’t you remember what happened to Jake?”

“Fine,” the man sighs. “I’ll let Thomas know to hold off. I’m sure we can keep Kasady occupied until then.”

Kasady? Cletus Kasady? Eddie tilts his head, thinking furiously. He did say Drake called for him personally. They must be running some kind of experiment on him, and based on what he’s seen so far, Eddie is pretty sure it can’t be any good.

“Thanks for letting me in,” the woman says. “I won’t forget it again.”

“Sure thing, Dora.” The man steps back and the door closes. Then he turns and walks back down the hallway they came from.

Eddie pokes his head gingerly out of the closet. The woman has her back turned and is tapping away on a computer. In the next room, the red blob is unmoving and pressed against its container wall. Eddie has the strangest feeling that if it had eyes, it would be looking straight at them.

Follow him, Venom orders, and so he slinks out of the closet and down the hall. The man has turned two corners by the time they catch up to him.

“Hey asshole,” Eddie says, and the man turns. Venom immediately overtakes him and bites the guy’s head before he has a chance to scream. Then he plucks the man’s security card off his chest and eats the rest with apparent enjoyment. From within, Eddie doesn’t watch, but he doesn’t feel too sad about this one. Anybody who can walk past these cages and not feel sorry for the occupants is not someone the world is really going to miss.

They sneak back down the hallway and return to the closet. The woman doesn’t even turn as he ducks back down, although Eddie notices Carnage starting to writhe furiously against the container.

“Now what?” he whispers to Venom.

Now we wait for her to leave, and then we eat her.

“If that was your plan, why did we follow that other guy?”

The security guard’s pass might not have worked on the lab. And brains are better than eggs.

Eddie rolls his eyes. “No more brains. Let her go.”

Hungry.

“No, you’re not. If either of us needs food, it’s probably me.” He rubs his forehead. There’s a headache setting in. “Please?”

You don’t need food. I am metabolizing energy for you.

“You what?”

We are one. When I eat, you also receive energy. It works both ways.

Eddie tries really hard not to think about how that basically means he’s digesting brains, and instead keeps peeking out of the door.  

They don’t wait long. The woman logs out of her computer and grabs her card and a discarded lab coat before exiting. She taps a pad on the wall as she leaves and the lights dim to near darkness.

As soon as she’s out of sight, Venom stands them up and walks them into the lab. Once inside, he relinquishes Eddie’s body back to him and forms his own, peering into the containment capsule. Inside, Carnage twists and turns with enthusiasm. If he was a dog, his tail would be wagging.

Eddie hits the light switch and squints at Venom. “Now what?”

Now we take him and go.

He joins Venom next to the capsule. “Is that what you look like?”

Without a host, yes.

“Huh,” Eddie says, watching the other alien twist and writhe. There’s a mesmerizing effect to it. He reaches out and touches the glass.

Don’t do that, Venom says, pushing his hand down. We don’t want to let him out.

“I thought that was the point of this.”

No. We take him and find him a host. He needs his own. You are mine.

Eddie nods and grabs the handle. They’ll need to be quick. He doesn’t know how long they’ve been down here already, but every second they’re here is another second for them to be discovered. “Let’s go,” he says, picking up the capsule.

He promptly drops it on his foot because it’s fucking heavy, and even just barely lifting it puts so much pressure on his chest that he wants to scream. Venom watches with apparent amusement as Eddie extracts his toes from underneath and hops around, swearing loudly. I will carry it, he says.

“Thanks,” Eddie says though gritted teeth, trying to decide if his foot or his chest hurts more. He peeks under his shirt, but no stitches have popped, which is relieving. There’s some blood seeping through the bandages. He’ll have to change them soon. “Nice of you to offer.”

Of course.

They both hear the hissing sound at the same time, turning as one to the container. The lid is slightly ajar, knocked off from the fall. Just enough for some red tendrils to poke their way out. “Oh shit.”

Oh shit, Venom agrees. They have time to back up about three feet before Carnage pulls himself free of the container and launches directly at Eddie’s face.

Chapter Text

Carnage lands on him and seeps into his skin so quickly that Eddie barely has time to register what happened. He feels him immediately, though, and the pressure in his head is so overwhelming that it knocks him down to his knees. His eyes close and he falls into himself. It’s like jumping into a pool. Everything is muted around him, and all he can feel is disjointed, warring thoughts.

MINE MINE MINE Venom pulses, wrapping himself around Eddie’s mind. He builds an impenetrable wall, blocking out everything that isn’t the two of them. The confusion fades enough for Eddie to lift his head and look around. He can feel Carnage, but it’s muffled. Too quiet to really be noticed. Nothing but a faint scent of rust and copper around them.

What just happened, he says into the darkness of his own head.

Mine.

Where is he?

Trying to get in. I will not let him.

What do we do now?

Fight.

Is that smart?

Yes. He is weak. We will win.

Eddie shakes his head. Did his container break? How did he get out?

You opened the lid when you dropped it. I will fix it.

There’s a strange feeling from Venom. Eddie can taste it, the sourness sitting in the back of his throat. He doesn’t know exactly what it is, but he has an idea. I didn’t do it on purpose, he says, laying his mind bare for Venom. I promise. It was heavy. It was an accident.

Venom twists around, flickers over his memory, examines his intentions. The sourness slowly vanishes. I believe you.

Thank you. Eddie looks around. There’s nothing but blackness here. How much of that is Venom, and how much of that is just him? Is there even any of him left anymore? He’s never had—

There’s a burst of pain behind his eyes, derailing his thoughts. Venom hisses in anger. Faintly, Eddie hears a voice in the background.

in in let me in i want in i want it

MINE, Venom pulses, and the intrusion slowly slinks away.

Maybe we can reason with him? Eddie doesn’t particularly want to try, but he also doesn’t know how else they’re going to convince Carnage to leave him. He really doesn’t want his brain to become a battleground between two aliens. There won’t be any of him left.

Venom doesn’t respond to his suggestion, but an overwhelming feeling of ‘you fucking idiot’ drifts across their connection. No, he eventually says. We will have to force him out.


venom please share venom don’t make me go back

 

MY HOST, Venom snarls. MINE.

Carnage growls back.

are you here to help can you get me out



We are not here to share. This is MY host.

i won’t take please venom let me talk please help me



Let him talk, Eddie says. The rust and copper smell grows stronger, a wordless plea from Carnage. You don’t have to let him in. We can hear him this way.

Shared as they are, he can’t help but feel Venom’s mix of concern for Carnage and possessiveness of Eddie. I’m not trying to leave you, he says. How would I even do that? Not like I can just hop symbiotes. I wouldn’t know how.

Mine, Venom growls again, but there’s less force behind it. Eddie’s almost got him.

He’s yours too, Eddie points out. Think about how long you were alone. Didn’t you want to talk to your own kind?

Oh, yeah. Argument won. Venom shifts unhappily in his mind, then the walls around Eddie thin just enough to let Carnage grow more present.

They meet carefully, red mixing with black in swirling patterns. Eddie watches carefully. They exchange wordless communication, flashing and pulsing in lighted patterns. It’s like an otherworldly light show. It’s beautiful.

Eventually, they separate. This is my Eddie, Venom says to Carnage.

host yes hello host you are so very warm

 

Uh. Thanks?


i am sorry i jumped i did not mean to scare you i saw venom i got excited


It’s okay, Eddie says, bemused at what’s happening to him. Carnage doesn’t feel the same way that Venom does. Where Venom is ice cold control, Carnage spills over into the empty spaces, makes himself known. He thinks in flashes and colors, each flickering by without a hint of organization. It makes him feel young, like a kid coloring outside the lines because they don’t have the control to stay in.

He is young. He was spawned many cycles after I was. He has never had a proper host. Venom sounds sorrowful, like Carnage has missed so much. Carlton Drake stole him after me. He doesn’t remember when.


carlton drake we hate him drake is cruel to all


Carnage, Eddie says. We need you to go back in your container. We can find you a host. But you can’t have me.


want you though you are warm and soft and i want i want i want

I belong to Venom, Eddie quickly states, trying to ignore the monster’s hum of pleasure at the words. We can find you someone like me. But you need to go in the container so we can get you out of here. Privately—or as privately as he can get with two aliens taking up space in his head—Eddie wonders exactly how they’re going to do that, and how he’s going to feel about subjecting someone else to what he’s going through.

Carnage argues, but Venom and Eddie together are able to convince him to leave. He slowly withdraws from Eddie’s mind, leaving a sense of emptiness in the space he occupied. The pressure in Eddie’s head eases, and he’s able to open his eyes in time to watch Carnage slither back into his tank.

Venom closes the tank and seals Carnage in. That was good work.

“What?”

You. You did well. Venom coils up his arm in his usual manner, but without any threatening intent behind it. He flickers through multiple emotions before finally setting on a sense of fondness. My Eddie. So good for me.

“Um. Thank you?” This is new territory, weird territory, and Eddie isn’t sure how he feels about it.

You’re welcome.

“Oh my god,” says a third voice. Eddie whips around, Venom twisting in space behind him.

Standing in the open doorway is the woman from before, her mouth gaping, her hand already fumbling for the red emergency button.

Chapter Text

Venom roars, overlaying Eddie with frightening speed, and bursts out of the room in a shower of glass. He grabs Carnage’s container and sticks it under one arm, then pounds out past the frightened doctor and into the cells. “The people!” Eddie shouts.

No time, Venom says as an alarm starts to blare.

Eddie thinks about that little girl crying in her cell. “There’s gotta be something we can do!”

There isn’t!

Eddie looks around wildly, thinking as fast as he can. “Punch the lock,” he says to Venom as they skid to a halt in front of a cell. “Punch it!”

Venom does, shattering it into a thousand pieces. Sparks fly, wires hiss and pop, and the door unlatches. Eddie lets out a delighted laugh. “Yes! Get the rest!”

It’s the work of a minute. Venom releases everybody, then hands a security pass to young woman with a scarred face and heavily tattooed arms. Get them out, he says to her, and she nods, strangely calm considering that an eight-foot tall alien is giving her orders. Then again, she’s probably seen worse in her time here.

“Let’s get out of here,” Eddie says with relief. He’d feel better if they stayed and helped, but Venom at least listened to him and released them all. Small victories. Maybe some will be able to leave.

Agreed. Venom lunges for the staircase next to the elevator. He rips the door off and starts taking the steps ten or fifteen at a time.

They make it all the way up to the top without incident, but the staircase ends at the main floor. “Wait,” Eddie says as Venom reaches to rip the door off. “They’re going to be waiting for us. They probably know we’re here.”

I’m ready, Venom says. Projectile weapons will not hurt us. And I will eat anyone who gets too close.

“They’ll break the glass,” Eddie says. “Of the container, I mean.”

I will not let them.

“Okay.” He takes a deep breath. “Run right for the front doors. Go into the bay if you can. They probably won’t follow you there. Better than trying to lose them on the streets.”

Agreed. Ready?

Eddie realizes that’s the first time Venom has ever asked him that, the first time he’s ever asked Eddie’s approval to step forward. “Yeah. Let’s go.”

They rip open the door and step into the foyer, where the plan immediately goes to shit. They’re facing fifty guns or more pointed straight at them, and each soldier is wearing a comically large sized pair of headphones. Eddie stares at them through Venom’s eyes.

“Sound!” one soldier yells.

“Copy!” screams another.

“Sound?” Eddie asks Venom, but then he hears a switch flip and his entire world shatters into pain.

He is nothing but molecules, screaming and seeping his way out of skin. The sound claws at his very soul, at his essence, and he can’t escape it. It’s torture, it’s death, it’s worse than the drowning. He’s going to shake apart right here in front of everybody, he’s going to scream himself into madness, someone needs to make it stop makeitstopmakeitstop!

The sound stops. Eddie slowly, carefully, removes his hands from his ears. He’s back in human form and on his knees, curled over until his head is almost touching them.

Carnage is laying on the floor next to him. The container is thankfully intact. Inside, Carnage is a flattened, writhing mess, slowly drawing into himself.

At Eddie’s knees, there’s a small black puddle, half oozing from him, half sprawled on the floor. Venom, Eddie thinks, and instinctively he puts his hand over it. The symbiote sluggishly flows back into him.

“Stay down!” a guard yells. “Don’t fucking move!”

“Venom?” Eddie whispers, but the symbiote just makes a weak groaning noise. “Venom, come on. Wake up.”

The sound flips on again and Eddie screams, hands going back to his head. This time he can feel Venom seeping out of him, oozing between his cells, and even with everything that’s happened to him the past few weeks, this might be the actual worst thing he’s ever felt. He’s still yelling when it stops, curled up as small as he can possibly get in an effort to escape the sound. He can feel the blood seeping through from his chest, and he knows at least a few of the stitches must have burst.

Venom puddles on the floor again, a quivering mass of black goo around him. Eddie gingerly puts a hand down, and Venom writhes over it, but doesn’t enter.

“Don’t fucking move,” a guard repeats, and Eddie raises his head slowly. The guard has his hand on a small cylindrical tube pointed directly at them. “You try and hulk up, this is going off again.”

“Okay!” Eddie shouts, raising his hands up. The loudness of his own voice makes him feel sick, but it seems to appease the guards. Two of them come over and put him in handcuffs, then yank him up to his feet. Venom writhes on the floor, finally flowing back into Eddie through his leg.

They buckle something around his neck, something big and bulky and uncomfortable. “You do anything,” the man says, “anything at all, and this is gonna make enough sound to shake that thing apart. Understand me?”

Eddie nods jerkily. Venom, where’d you go? He tries to feel the symbiote, tries to find him in his head, but there’s nothing. His body feels like he’s been run through a strainer.

“Take him to a cell,” someone orders, and Eddie finds himself pushed forward. “Anders, grab the subject. The rest of you, stop the others and put them back in their containers. No one escapes, understand me?”

“Yes sir!” comes an echoing of voices. There’s footsteps behind him, but when Eddie turns to look, his head is shoved back forward. He thinks about the people downstairs, hopes some of them managed to figure out a way to escape.

Eddie, Venom groans.

“Venom?” Eddie whispers. “You okay?”

A hand tightens warningly on his upper arm. “Don’t fucking think about it, asshole.”

“What the fuck did you do to him?” Eddie asks, worried despite himself. This has all gone to hell in a handbasket, and he’s not getting out of here without the alien’s help.

“Aw, are you worried?” The guard pushes him. “Too fucking bad.”

Eddie looks around. “Where are you taking me?”

“You ask too many questions,” the guard says. “Someone tranq him.”

“No!” Eddie protests, but then a needle finds its way into his neck, and everything goes kind of fuzzy after that.

Chapter Text

“Ugh,” Eddie groans.

Eddie. Wake up.

“Don’t wanna.”

I don’t care. We are not safe.

“S’not?” Eddie pries his eyes open and stares at the ceiling. White. Pure white. Not familiar. He forces his head up a little, taking in the rest of the place with blurry vision. Small room. More white. Uncomfortable cot. Scratchy grey blanket.

“This isn’t home,” he says.

It is not. What do you remember?

His hand goes to his throat as memory slowly comes back. The bulky thing sits there still, humming softly under his hand. Underneath his shirt, his chest has been re-bandaged, but it still hurts like a bitch. He’s got new ones on his back too, overlaying the puncture wounds. “Oh. Oh, fuck.”

Yes, Venom says furiously. Next time I say ‘let’s eat her brains,’ we are going to eat her brains.

Excuse me?”

This is your fault. If we’d eaten the woman, she would not have raised the alarm and we would be OUT.

“Hey now,” Eddie says. “Why didn’t you tell me about the sound thing? That might have been helpful!”

I do not reveal my weaknesses, Venom growls. Why did you surrender?

“Because they had us outgunned and you were out of commission? What else was I supposed to do?”

He’s half surprised when Venom doesn’t manifest a head and eat him for talking back. You could have fought, the monster says instead.

“Have you met me? I’m about as good as wet noodle in a fight. Even less so since you decided to tear me open!”

For such a perfect match, you are an utterly USELESS host.

The sentence stings more than it should. “Well, you’re always welcome to shed my carcass and find someone else,” Eddie snaps, sitting up on the edge of his cot. Venom writhes angrily under his skin and doesn’t respond.

He takes stock of his surroundings. He’s in a cell, much like the ones that Venom busted the others out of. Three solid walls, one made of some kind of glass. “Can you break that?”

No.

“You did it before.”

You’re wearing a sound collar, Eddie. If I do anything other than stay here, it will activate and hurt us.

He sounds frustrated. Eddie wonders if he’s encountered the tech before. “So what do we do?”

We wait. Venom twists around in him, an uncomfortable feeling that Eddie sadly realizes he’s getting used to. We wait until they take it off, and then we strike.

“And you really think they’re going to take it off?”

They have before.

So he has seen it previously. Eddie nods. “Okay. We wait.” He settles down on the cot, wraps the blanket around his shoulders, and does just that.

Except waiting loses its appeal around the fourth hour. Between Venom’s energy and his own, Eddie can’t sit still any longer. He ditches the blanket and stands in the middle of his cell, hands by his side, eyes closed.

What are you doing?

“Tai chi,” Eddie says, moving slowly. He’d taken a few classes on it once, and he always found the movements to be comforting. “Helps keep me calm.” Venom watches with interest as he flows from one position to the next. It’s been awhile since he’s done this, but he remembers most of the steps.

It looks like fighting.

“Sort of, yeah. Just slower.” Eddie finishes his first routine and starts his second. He has to modify most of the movements so they don’t hurt his chest too badly, but it’s better than sitting around. He runs through both of them two times over before Venom perks up in his head. Someone is coming.

“Who?” Eddie asks, straightening up. But he gets his answer as soon as he turns around. He’d recognize those eyebrows and that smug look anywhere. “Oh, if it isn’t Carlton fucking Drake.”

“Eddie fucking Brock,” Drake responds, crossing his arms. He looks annoyingly put together and neat. Eddie stares at the stupidly formal shirt and realizes that he’s still in the bloodstained security guard’s clothes. “So you did break in after all. I thought they were joking. I didn’t think you’d be stupid enough to come back here.”

Eddie shrugs. “I’ve never claimed to be smart. Just overly curious.” He studies the other man. “What happened to the other people? Your little experiments?“

“Recaptured or killed, probably,” Drake says. “I’m not sure what you were hoping to accomplish, honestly. You had to know we’d stop you.”

“You’re experimenting on kids, you asshole,” Eddie growls, hitting his hand on the wall. “I fucking knew you were hiding some sick shit like this.”

“She’s hosted a symbiote longer than any other subject,” Drake says. “Well, other than you.” He looks interested despite himself. “You’ve had my symbiote for weeks now.
What have you been doing with it?”

“Trying to get rid of him, mostly,” Eddie says. “He’s not exactly a barrel of laughs.”

Underneath his skin, Venom’s anger pulses. Eddie flinches. Drake notices. “Is it listening?”

“Yes.”

“I want to talk to it.”

“Take this fucking thing off and you can see him in person,” Eddie says, gesturing to the collar around his throat.

“Okay,” Drake agrees, much to his surprise, and taps something on his phone. The collar unlocks with a thick clunk. Eddie carefully pulls it off and drops it on the floor.

Immediately, Venom flows out of him. CARLTON DRAKE, he snarls, overtaking Eddie’s body.

Drake stares in fascination. “You know my name?”

Of course I know you. You kept me here for years. Venom hits the glass with a thick fist. You will not keep me again.

“Go ahead,” Drake says. “Punch it.”

Venom does. Again, and again, and again. Nothing happens.

“My own design. Shatterproof and symbiote-proof.” Drake uncrosses his arms and smiles smugly. “Why were you trying to steal my property?”

Carnage is not yours. Carnage is mine, just like Eddie is mine. This cell will not hold us.

“Carnage?” Something clicks in his expression. “Oh, the other symbiote? Its name is Carnage?”

Eddie cringes. “Venom, quit giving him information.”

Venom ignores him. He does not belong to you. You stole us. We will make you pay.

“I don’t think so,” Drake says. “What’s your name?”

I am Venom. I will kill you.

“So you keep saying.” He looks at his watch. “I have to go. We’ll have to finish this later. Eddie, put the collar back on.”

Never.

He taps something on the keypad, and suddenly the cell is filled with that terrible high-pitched screaming again. Venom loses his control, roaring in pain, and sinks back into Eddie’s skin as he drops to one knee. As soon as he’s gone, the sound shuts off.

“The collar,” Drake says mildly. “Now, please.” Eddie gropes for it on the floor, clicks it shut around his neck. “Thank you.”

“What’s your plan?” Eddie pants, sitting back on his heels. “Piss him off enough until he kills you?”

Drake is staring at him in a way that makes him very uncomfortable. “How have you managed to host him for so long?”

“Why are you experimenting on kids?” Eddie counters.

A cold look comes over his face. “I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand.”

“What’s there to understand?” He pushes back up to his feet, swaying slightly with residual pain. “This is illegal, Drake.” He throws his arm out, indicating himself and the cell. “And it’s wrong. You know this.”

Drake scowls. “You’re so idealistic, Eddie. So naive. You think we can afford sentimentality? Our world is dying. And we’re the ones killing ourselves. We fight and scratch and claw our way to the top so we can survive just a little bit better than our neighbors.”

“This isn’t about the world, Drake! This is about the people you’re torturing in your basement! You’re insane!”

“I’m not insane!” Drake shouts, slamming a hand on the glass. “You know what’s insane, Eddie? What’s insane is the way humans choose to live today. Think about it! All we do it take, take, take. It can’t go on. We’ve brought the planet to the brink of extinction.” His tone becomes desperate, pleading. “All I’m doing here is trying to kickstart a whole new world.”

Eddie isn’t sure how the argument got from illegal human experimentation to a philosophical debate on the human environmental impact, but he isn’t going to fall for Drake’s grandiose schemes. “Bullshit. That’s what you tell yourself at night so you can sleep better, yeah?”

“It’s the truth. And everyone down here is helping me work towards that vision.” Drake takes a deep breath and steps back, resuming his typical condescending expression. “The question is, Eddie, are you going to work with me cooperatively? Or are we going to have to make this difficult?”

Eddie clenches his fists. “Eat a bag of dicks, Drake.”

Drake nods, like something’s been confirmed. “Get some rest,” he says, and then he pivots and walks away.

“Hey!” Eddie yells, banging on the cell door. “Asshole! You can’t just keep me here!”

Drake looks back over his shoulder and laughs. “Oh, Eddie. Like anyone is even going to notice you’re gone?” He turns around the corner, still laughing, and leaves Eddie’s sight.

I hate him, Venom says flatly.

“He’s a prick,” Eddie agrees. “If you ate him, I wouldn’t be mad.”

I WILL eat him. Slowly. Painfully. In many small bites.

“Glad to see you handle your anger in healthy ways.” Eddie sits down on the cot and fingers the collar around his neck. “So what exactly does this thing do?”

Keeps me in.

“How does it work?”

If I knew that, I would break it.

Fair enough. Eddie lets his hand drop. “Well that certainly makes things difficult.”

The veins in his arm turn black. We will overcome it. I escaped before. I can do it again.

“You had an unwitting victim last time,” he points out.

And I have you this time, too.

“You say the sweetest things.” Eddie flops back onto the cot and stares at the ceiling again. There are thirty-eight tiles up there. All evenly spaced and overly sterile-looking like everything else in this building.

After awhile, he rolls onto his side. “Drake’s going to experiment on me.”

Most likely.

“It’s going to hurt.”

Definitely.

“Great.”

Venom twists under his hands, turning the veins and arteries black. I will protect you as much as I can. The color fades, his hands returning to normal. You should sleep now.

“I thought sleeping wasn’t safe?”

It’s not. But you are still tired and that is not safe either. I will keep watch.

Eddie pulls the blanket over his legs. “Don’t you need sleep?” It’s not really something he’s ever thought about. He has no idea what Venom does when he’s not awake.

Not like you do. Rest while you can. This will not be a pleasant experience for either of us.

“Optimistic,” Eddie sighs, but Venom is right. He really is tired, and this isn’t going to be fun, and he should rest while he has the freedom to do so.

He sleeps in fits and starts, never really completely out but never really awake either. He has no idea how much time has passed when Venom suddenly whispers his name. “Yeah?”

They’re coming.

They turn out to be Drake and the woman, the one who’d screamed and alerted the facility. Accompanying them are five armed guards, including the asshole who’d ordered Eddie to be tranquilized. “It’s a party,” Eddie says, standing up and stretching. “You all here for me?”

“Shut it,” the guard orders, opening the cell door. He aims his sound blaster thing at Eddie. “You’re coming with us.”

“Am I?” God, he’s turning into Venom, what with the answering a question with a question.

“Just an examination,” Drake says. “We want to make sure you’re healthy. After all, you’re the first human to host a symbiote for longer than four days. We need some information from you.”

Eddie weighs his options. There’s not many. He can fight, get hurt, and be dragged out the door. He can argue, get hurt, and be dragged out the door. Or he can walk out with some semblance of dignity and figure out a way out of this mess.

He shoves his hands in his pockets. “Alright. Lead the way.”

Chapter Text

The examination room is another lab, similar to where they found Carnage, with computers on one side and a table on the other. Eddie is directed to sit on the table as the woman snags a computer and rolls it over to him, along with a table full of various instruments.

Her name is Dr. Skirth. Eddie wants to hate her, but her hands are gentle as she directs him to step on the scale, measures his height, takes his vitals. “I need you to take off your clothes,” she says after she pulls the cuff off his arm.

“Um.” Eddie’s not normally a shy guy, but he’s also not an exhibitionist. And while it’s just him, Skrith, and Drake in this little room, there’s a big transparent wall behind him where the guards are, and they can see in just fine. “I don’t want to.”

“You don’t have a choice,” she says softly. “It won’t take long.”

Eddie bites his lip, then pulls the shirt over his head. She’s right. He doesn’t have a choice.

“What the hell is that?” Drake asks, and Eddie looks down. Oh, yeah. He’d forgotten about that.

“That’s the work of your symbiote,” he says. “He vivisectioned me, and then dry drowned me. It was great. Total bonding moment.”

It was a lesson, Venom says, but there’s not much fire to his tone. And you survived, did you not?

“107 stitches,” he says to Skirth. “Got them in yesterday.”

Drake is still staring at him. “You should be dead,” he says. “Dora, how deep are those?”

“Deep.” She probes one of them, ignoring his hiss of pain. “Down through muscle and connective tissue. All the way to the bone.” She meets Eddie’s gaze. “You would have bled out within a short period of time. How are you…?”

“I’m very bouncy,” Eddie says. “Like Tigger.”

Drake’s eyes narrow. “It healed you, didn’t it?”

Eddie gestures to his chest. “Does this look healed to you?”

“Did he stop the bleeding?” Skirth asks.

He doesn’t like the looks that she and Drake are exchanging. “Yeah,” he admits, “but that’s all.”

She types something into her computer. “The rest of your clothes, please.”

Venom growls. “Don’t,” Eddie whispers as he pulls the rest of them off, trying not to think about how often he’s been ordered to strip in the last week.

MINE.

“Shut up,” he hisses.

“Is it talking to you?”

He shrugs, trying for a cavalier tone. “No more than usual.”

“What’s it saying?”

Eddie shifts uncomfortably. “He…uh…”

Skirth smiles encouragingly. “You can tell us, Eddie. The more information we have about your relationship with the symbiote, the more we can understand.”

Venom snorts. Yes, Eddie. Tell them all about our relationship.

He swallows. “He doesn’t like me…um…taking off my clothes.”

No, I like that part. I don’t like them watching.

“He doesn’t like the audience,” Eddie amends.

Drake maintains his neutral expression. “Why?”

Mine. You’re mine.

“He’s…possessive.”

Skrith nods. “We’ve encountered that before. The other symbiote doesn’t speak to us very much, but we have a hard time convincing him to leave the bodies of his hosts.” She directs Eddie to sit on the table, where she attaches a pulse monitor to his hand and starts placing strange electrodes on his body. “How often has he healed you?”

“Less than I’d like. What are these for?”

“Scanning. MRIs are dangerous for the symbiote. We’ve devised something similar that doesn’t operate at the same sound frequency and allows to get information while we work. Can you describe the healing process for me?”

“I don’t know how it works. Ask Venom, he’s the one who does it.”

Drake speaks up. “Eddie, it’s in your best interests to cooperate with us. One way or another, we’ll get the information we need.”

“That sounds vaguely threatening,” Eddie says. Skirth gently pushes him backwards until he’s laying flat on the table.

“It’s just a statement,” she says. “We want to learn without hurting you.” She taps a button on the computer, and straps unfold from the table, stretching across his chest, wrists, thighs, and ankles. The movement startles Eddie, but he’s too slow to evade them. They slap across his body and lock into place with an ominous click.

He pulls hard, but they don’t budge. “This doesn’t look like you want to learn without hurting me,” he says, hating the edge of fear he can hear in his voice. “What’s with the bondage table, huh?”

Not panicking. He’s not panicking. He’s calm, and he can do this. He can take whatever Carlton Fucking Drake throws at him.

“This is just to keep you still,” Skirth says. He’s not reassured. She moves behind him to the table of instruments, and a nervous feeling starts to pool in his stomach. He doesn’t like this, he’s seen this movie, he knows how this ends. Out of his vision, the door opens and another person steps in. He has cruel grey eyes and cold hands that rest on Eddie’s arm. The twisting feeling grows worse.

He licks his dry lips. “Drake, this isn’t necessary. I’ll cooperate.”

“Yes, you will,” Drake says. He meets Eddie’s gaze, and Eddie thinks he’s never seen a more soulless look in anyone’s eye. “I don’t suspect it will take very long.”

Skirth steps over to him with a small video camera. “Ready, sir,” she says, handing something else to the grey-eyed man.

“Start with his left arm,” Drake says.

“Look,” Eddie begins, but he cuts off the rest with a surprised yelp as the newcomer drags the scalpel down his upper arm. It doesn’t hurt, or maybe his pain tolerance has improved, but it sure doesn’t feel good. He twists his head to see it, bumping his chin into that stupid collar.

“First incision,” Skirth says. “Time is 8:01.”

Drake watches the blood drip from the wound. “Tell your symbiote to heal you.”

“What?”

“We’re interested in the healing process. We’ve been able to gather some information, but not from a live, healthy host. We want to know how it repairs you. We want to know a lot of things, really, but we’ll start here.”

“Why?” The man makes another cut, this one longer. Eddie clenches his teeth.

Drake sighs, condescending even in breathing, and says, “Think of the implications, Eddie. If we knew how this worked, we could formulate something similar. No more pain. No more wounds. No more people dying of pointless infections. No more cancer.” He smiles. “You’re helping us with a scientific breakthrough.”

Eddie stares at him. “Fucking what?”

“Tell your symbiote to heal you.”

Skirth squeezes his shoulder gently. “Please,” she says. “Just do it. It will make everything much easier.”

This is very bad. This is worse than very bad. Eddie sees the path this is taking, and all he wants is for Venom to bust out and eat some heads and free them. But he can’t, because Venom is locked away under the stupid sound collar, and he’s strapped to the fucking bondage table, and there are five guards outside this room who would shoot him before he even took half a step.

In his head, Venom comes to much the same conclusion. We’re fucked.

“Agreed,” he says.

This is your fault.

“Probably.” He can’t deny that if they’d eaten Skirth, they probably wouldn’t be here right now.

Venom sighs with resignation. I will do what I can.

“Wait,” Eddie says, and he looks at Drake. “If we participate in whatever the hell this is, I want something in return.”

Drake is looking at Skirth’s screen, but at Eddie’s words he redirects his attention. “Oh yeah?”

“Take this shit off,” he says, raising his neck and banging the sound collar on the table. “And we want to see Carnage.”

Venom hums in approval. Yes. Good plan.

Drake laughs. “No.”

“Come on, man. It’s a good deal.”

“We can’t take that off, Eddie,” Skirth says, patting his shoulder. “That’s the only way we have to control the symbiote and protect ourselves.”

“I can control him,” Eddie lies, ignoring Venom’s amused laugh.

Drake smirks with disbelief. “I don’t think you can, Eddie. And I’m not willing to risk it.” He nods to the other man, who cuts down his arm again. “We’ll take it off when we return you to your room, if you’re a good boy for us here.”

“And Carnage?” Eddie asks, wincing as the scalpel splits his skin.

“We can make time later if you’re that desperate to see it. No contact.” Drake runs a hand up Eddie’s leg, way too close to his dick, and grins as Eddie shivers from the contact. “Does that work for it?”

Eddie grits his teeth and turns his mind inward. Venom?

There’s a wave of irritation, but after a moment he radiates a calm, temporary acceptance of the terms. “That works,” Eddie says.

“Great. Carry on, Riken.”

They all startle as Venom oozes out of his skin just enough to cover the cuts he’s already made, sort of a thin black band-aid. It doesn’t set the collar off, which seems to perplex Drake. He murmurs something to Skirth about adjusting the settings, but Eddie doesn’t really listen. The sensation of cut/heal/cut is unpleasant, and he tries to focus on breathing instead of feeling.

Which is difficult, because Skirth and Drake keep asking him questions. When did you first realize you had the symbiote? How did it communicate with you? Where does it sit inside you? How does it feel? Can you communicate telepathically? Does this hurt? How about this? Can it block pain receptors?

“I don’t know,” he gasps at that last one. If Venom could block his receptors Eddie sure as hell wishes he would, because they’ve moved on from cutting to breaking his fingers, and it fucking hurts.

We’re okay, Venom reminds him. I will fix it.

Drake looks excited. “This is amazing,” he says. “Dora, look at this…” He trails off, or maybe Eddie just stops listening. His whole head feels kind of funny.

Stay awake, Eddie. I think they’re almost done.

“The cellular activity in that area is amazing,” Skirth says. “Look at the count on these. I wonder if it could regrow something?”

“Let’s find out.” Drake looks up to Riken. “Cut off his right small finger.”

Eddie jerks back to alertness and balls his hands into fists. “No. No, let’s not do that.”

Riken smiles coldly and starts to pry his hand open. “Open for me, princess,” he murmurs, the first words he’s spoken to Eddie at all.

“No!” Eddie balls his fists tighter, shifting his gaze to Drake. “Please, man. I’ve answered your questions. He can heal me. You’ve seen it. Please don’t do this.”

“We know he can heal you,” Drake says. “The question isn’t that. The question is what happens in your body while he does it? We’re learning so much from this, Eddie. You wouldn’t even begin to understand how incredible this is. This is the kind of breakthrough we’ve needed.”

Tears start to form in his eyes. “Dr. Skirth,” he says. “Please. Don’t let him.”

“It’ll be over quickly,” she says soothingly, although she does look at least a little disconcerted. Riken growls in impatience and pinches something on Eddie’s wrist, which makes his hand spasm open.

Riken pins it down with his own and smiles darkly at Eddie. “Try not to scream. I hate loud noises.”

Eddie is hyperventilating, unable to focus on anything except the knife in Riken’s hand, and he watches with a kind of numb horror as they cut off his finger.

He doesn’t scream.

“Look at that,” Skirth murmurs, and Eddie stares blankly at his hand as the bleeding slows, then stops completely.

Eddie.

“What?” he whispers, unable to take his eyes off the table. His hand, his right hand, he needs all his fingers, he needs them to write and type and do things, he’s a reporter—

We will eat that one first, I think. Venom is sending calm emotions across their connection, but Eddie can feel the edges of his barely concealed rage. First him, then Drake, then the woman.

“Yeah,” he agrees. “Good plan.”

Drake is studying him, eyes narrowed. “Well?” he demands.

Tell him it will take time. Repair is easy. Regrowth is…more difficult.

“Can you do it?” Eddie asks, another type of fear uncoiling in his stomach.

I think so.

A cooling sensation flows over the stub, dulling the pain and letting him breathe a little easier. “Needs…some time,” Eddie tells Drake once he has a handle on himself. “Regrowth is…harder for him.”

“We’ll wait,” Drake declares.

They do. Eddie floats in and out of awareness, retreating into himself, but eventually his right hand contains five fingers again. He can’t hide his relief at the sight. They do motor and sensory tests and everything is intact. “This is incredible,” Skirth says. “I’d like to get back to my desk and start sorting through all this information.”

“Sure,” Drake says. “Why don’t you take this back to the lab…”

Eddie lets his head fall back onto the table, losing track of the conversation. He’s tired. He’s tired, and he’s in pain, and everything about this sucks massive balls.

Venom flutters around his ribcage, a distinctly unnerving feeling that makes him cough. Eddie.

“Mmph,” he grunts.

Drake waves a hand in his field of vision. “Stay with us, Eddie. We’re almost done.”

Gonna eat him, Venom growls. Gonna eat his stupid, tasty brain.

Eddie huffs out a weak laugh. “Right.”

They find a wheelchair for him, which is just as well because he doesn’t think he really wants to walk anywhere. Riken wheels him back to his cell, grumbling about “babysitting duty.”

He notices that the other cells they pass are empty, and hope that means that the people got out, rather than they were killed during the escape. He wants to ask, but he’s afraid of the answer.

“Inside, princess,” Riken says, stopping at his door. Eddie forces himself out of the chair, stumbles across the threshold, and promptly collapses on the floor. He’s still naked, he realizes, and he’s fucking starving. Or maybe Venom is starving. He has trouble separating the two.

Riken solves the first problem by throwing a bundle of cloth at him. “These are for you. Enjoy your stay at Hotel Carlton.” He laughs at his own stupid joke, then slams the door shut.

Eddie drags the grey sweatpants over his legs, then dresses his upper body in the grey shirt and oversized grey hoodie. “Very institutional,” he says, using the bed to pull up to his feet. “Is Drake afraid of color or something?”

“Shut the fuck up,” Riken says, keying something in a small device in his hand. Around Eddie’s neck, the collar unlocks. He quickly pulls it off and drops it on the floor.

“What’s a guy gotta do to get some dinner around here?”

“Not my problem.” He leaves them with a shrug and a smirk.

Eddie sits on the bed. Finally unencumbered by the collar, Venom slides out of his hand and forms a head to face him. Eddie.

“Venom.” Eddie rubs his free hand over his face. “That sucked ass.”

Venom tilts his head. Agreed.

“Thanks for…well…you know.” He bites his lip. “I uh…I don’t think I would have made it without you.”

Probably not.

“I still don’t like you,” Eddie says. “But I think we need to work together. Otherwise neither of us are getting out of here.”

You don’t have to like me, Eddie. You just have to listen to me.

“Together,” Eddie emphasizes. “As in, we both call the shots.”

I own you—

“I fucking know that,” he interrupts. “Okay? But this is a different situation. We’re in some real danger here, and if you keep trying to control every move I make, we’re going to have a harder time getting out. So we do this together. Deal?”

Venom goes quiet for a long time, then finally says, You should sleep now.

“Do we have a deal?”

Sleep, Eddie.

“Dammit Venom, just answer me—” The alien hisses through its bared teeth. Eddie puts his free hand in front of his face, not wanting to antagonize him any further. “Okay. Okay! Sleeping.” He curls up onto the cot, pulling the blanket over him, feeling miserable and wishing they would turn the fucking lights off.

Chapter Text

He startles awake some undetermined time later. The lights in his cell are finally off, but there’s a dim glow coming from an emergency light in the hallway. Eddie squints into the barely-there glow and gently probes at his abdomen, where Venom is writhing over his skin. “What are you doing?”

Nothing, Venom says innocently, tendrils gently running up and down his stomach. Just touching.

“Not here,” Eddie whispers. “Please, not here.”

Why not?

“I don’t want them to know.”

Venom’s tongue slowly slides up his cock, making him jerk and whimper. Know what?

“What you do to me.” Eddie retreats further into the corner of his cot, which does absolutely fuck-all for his situation. “Please.”

You’re mine, Eddie. I’m just laying my claim to you. Venom licks at him again, then adds, I want them to see. I want them to know.

“No,” he moans, covering his face. “Venom, please. I’ve been hurt enough today.”

It doesn’t have to hurt.

“It always hurts.”

Because I want it to. Because I like it that way. But I can make…accommodations. Venom slides up around his arms, around his neck, over his mouth. I can make you feel so good, Eddie.

He wants to fight. Wants to scream and run away. But Venom’s tone doesn’t leave a lot of room for arguing, and his chest flares with remembered pain. Eddie closes his eyes in defeat. “…I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

Now you’re getting it.

Well if it has to happen, this is the most say he’s had in it at all. He still doesn’t want it, but it’s better to feel good than to be painful. Right? Surely this has to be better.

“Okay,” he says hoarsely. “How do you want me?”

Venom hums happily at his acquiescence. Sit up. Spread your legs.

Eddie leans against the wall and spreads his legs wider underneath the blanket. “Like that?”

Yes. Venom twists and curls over his skin, touching with a gentle pressure. Let’s make a deal, pet. If you can keep quiet, I’ll make sure no one sees us.

“I thought you wanted them to see?”

I do, but I want to see you struggle more. He flickers with amusement. You are very loud.

“I can be quiet,” Eddie says firmly. He is loud, he’s never been good at having quiet sex—which once led to a very awkward breakfast with Anne’s parents the next morning—but here, he can control himself.

Venom starts slow. Just a twitch here and there. A slide over his nipples, a teasing tendril at the sensitive spot on his neck. Foreplay. Eddie bites back his soft moans and rests his hands at his side, letting Venom go where he wants. The curve of his hip, the back of his knee, even around his fucking toes. He’s not normally into feet, but the sensation of Venom sliding around makes him close his eyes in pleasure.

He’s not sure how crossed his wires are, if this actually feels good or if he just has been hurt so much the past few days that anything not painful feels good. But he doesn’t fight it.

Venom doesn’t touch his cock. Just licks and presses and slides around him, slipping over and around and through Eddie so much that he starts to get half-hard on his own. He moans a little bit, shifting his weight enough to push his sweatpants down to his knees, still under the blanket. “Yes,” he whispers. “Can I…?”

Can you what?

He stumbles for the words. He’s never had to ask to touch himself before. “You know. Help?”

No, Venom says, still amused. No, I don’t think so. I want you to sit still and feel.

“Oh.” Eddie tilts his head back, exposing his throat. Venom licks up the new expanse of skin, sending shivers down his spine. “Kay.”

He fists his hands in the blanket and settles back. There’s a warmth slowly growing in his belly, a warmth that he hasn’t felt in a lot of weeks. Venom has edged him and fucked him before, but he’s never made Eddie feel like this.

It’s wanting, he realizes. Not just arousal, it’s a desire to see it continue without fear of what it might become. He trusts Venom to keep his word, to keep it good for him—for all his other faults, the symbiote has never straight-up lied to him. He’s probably insane for thinking that, but he deserves something good for once, dammit. He wants this. Or at least his body does.

The realization hardens him the rest of the way, and he nearly bites through his lip in an effort to keep silent. Perfect, Venom hums softly, wrapping around him. So good for me.

He carries on with the touching, this time adding a maddeningly slow up and down movement on his cock. “Fuck,” Eddie murmurs, rolling into the feeling. “God, feels so good…”

Venom laughs quietly, then his tongue wraps around the tip of Eddie’s cock.

He gasps, pushes his hips up. “Venom!” The word is a lot louder than he intends, echoing through the room with a faint hint of desperation.

I thought you were being quiet, Venom says wryly, but pleasure roils through their connection. He likes hearing his name, Eddie remembers.

“Venom,” Eddie says again, a little softer this time, and Venom shudders around him. “More, please.”

More? Like this? His tongue wraps around him, and Eddie moans. Yes. You like this.

“Yeah,” he says, and it’s the last coherent thing that comes out for awhile. This isn’t like the other times, with a slow tortuous buildup and back off. Venom just works at him steadily, tongue wet and warm around his cock, and tendrils sliding everywhere, so smooth and wonderful and soft—

Come for me, Eddie, Venom whispers, and he does, spurting into the writhing mass around his cock. His mind goes blank, his nerves singing with pleasure, and Venom hums softly as he licks the last few drops out before seeping back into his skin.

In the post-orgasm clarity he hates himself a little bit, for being weak enough to give into Venom like that. He should be standing his ground, demanding the symbiote leave him alone. He should never have let things get this far.

He’s fucked. His head is so fucked. He’s never going to be the same after this.

His breathing slowly returns to normal and he pulls his pants back up, feeling like he should say something. “Um. Thanks. That was…”

I agree to your plan.

“Huh? You what?”

We need to work together.

“Wait. You do?” Eddie pushes up onto his elbow. “Are you serious?”

I am still in charge. But it will take both of us to get out of here. And I am growing weary of you fighting me.

“I won’t fight you for this,” Eddie says quickly. “I want out of here too.”

Good. Then we are agreed.

A wave of relief fills him. He thought maybe Venom would be stubborn, or unwilling to concede control back to Eddie for anything. It’s a good feeling to finally be working with the symbiote rather than grinding along in their endless struggle for power.

Mine, Venom says, sliding around his arm in his favorite way.

“Yeah,” Eddie agrees, searching for the sick feeling that usually accompanies Venom’s claims, but finding only that quiet relief in its place.

Yep. He’s fucked.

Chapter Text

Eddie is hungry. Ravenous. He dreams about food, drifting just out of his reach, far enough that he all he can do is sit there and salivate at it. When he wakes up, he’s still hungry.

You need to eat. Soon.

“Thank you, Captain Obvious.” Eddie sits up and rubs the sleep out of his eyes. “I’ll just call down for a breakfast in bed, shall I?”

Don’t use that tone with me, Venom says, and Eddie laughs.

“You’re not my mother,” he says. “I’ll use whatever tone I damn well want.”

He gets up, ignoring whatever Venom mutters, and walks over to the opposite hallway. Lo and behold, Drake actually is standing out there, talking to Skirth, and making grandiose gestures with his hands. Eddie can almost hear the conversation in his head.

Good morning, Dora! Are you ready to torture more prisoners today in the name of science?

Why yes I am, my good friend! Should we start with Eddie Brock and make his shitty life even more miserable?

What an excellent idea. You get the scalpel, I’ll strap him down.

He grins to himself, then shakes off the thought and knocks on the wall. They don’t even look at him, which pisses him off immensely.

“Hey! Whose dick do I need to suck to get something to eat, huh?” Eddie slams his hand on the glass. Drake doesn’t even flinch. “Drake!”

Finally, the other man turns his head towards him, then keys something on the pad outside Eddie’s cell. “Did you want something, Eddie?” he asks, voice in surround sound through the speakers.

“Yeah, asshole. We’re starving. We need food.”

“We?”

“Yes, we.” Eddie gestures to himself. “Me, the human, and Venom, the symbiote. We both need food.”

I like brains, Venom says, poking out from his shoulder. Eddie likes sandwiches.

Drake looks unconcerned, if not a little disgusted. “You’ll eat later,” he says. “We have something to do first.”

He waves to someone down the hallway, then turns back to Eddie. “Gonna cut off something else?” Eddie asks, aiming for nonchalant rather than terror. “I mean, I don’t really need my toes, do I? Or I’ve still got my appendix, you could take that out.”

“You fancy yourself quite the comedian, don’t you?”

“I’m fucking hilarious.”

“I can tell. Put the collar on, please.”

Eddie looks at the sound collar, still laying on the floor from when he dropped it yesterday. Or earlier. Before. His sense of time is all fucked up. “Uh, hard pass.”

The answering effect is almost predictable: a high-pitched sound wave echoes through the speakers, and Drake sighs. “Eddie, have you ever heard the phrase ‘pick your battles?’”

Eddie picks himself up off the floor and stands, trying not to throw up from the combination of his and Venom’s nausea. “I do pick my battles,” he says, then adds, “Just always the wrong ones.”

“I can tell that too.” Drake hovers his finger over the button, and Eddie reluctantly reaches for the collar. As soon as it’s on, the door opens. A moment later, Riken comes in with a cart and a nasty grin.

“Morning, princess,” he says quietly, stopping the cart. “Feeling better?”

“Felt fine til I saw your ugly-ass face,” Eddie says, but he’s too busy staring at the cart to assess the reaction.

Or rather, staring at the containment chamber on it.

Venom puts the pieces together as quickly as he does. I WILL NOT.

“No fucking way,” Eddie says to Drake. “Absolutely not.”

“This is another ‘pick your battles’ moment,” Drake says, looking bored. “We won’t hurt it. But we need to study the two of you apart. Like I said, no one’s ever hosted a symbiote for so long. We want to know why. What makes Eddie Brock so special?”

The way he says it makes it sound like a threat.

“He’s not going to go,” Eddie says. “He can’t anyway. Not with this thing on.”

“Riken,” Drake says, and Riken leaves the cell. The door closes, the collar unlocks, and Eddie pulls it off with a shaking hand. Immediately, Venom blasts from his skin and forms up around him.

I WILL NOT, he says again, snarling at Drake and slamming a clawed hand on the glass. If it were Eddie out there, he’d be pissing himself. Drake doesn’t even flinch, the bastard.

“You don’t have a choice.”

MINE. EDDIE IS MINE. I WILL NOT LEAVE HIM.

Drake hits the sound, dropping Eddie to the ground. It goes on long enough that Venom shakes his way out of Eddie’s skin again until he’s a gooey puddle on the floor. Eddie gently probes with his fingers and Venom slides up his arm, slowly melting into this skin.

“I can do this all day,” Drake says. “But in one minute, I’m going to start getting annoyed. And for every minute past that that you aren’t in there, I will allow Riken to spend one minute hurting Eddie. Hurting your host.” His smile is too contrived, too sure. He knows exactly what he’s saying.

Sure enough, Venom slowly forms up around Eddie. YOU WILL NOT TOUCH HIM.

I’m not going to. I probably won’t even watch.” Drake crosses his arms. “Humans are so poorly designed, you know, and he’s not in that great of shape to begin with, thanks to you. How long do you think he’ll be able to hold out?”

Venom doesn’t answer.

“I can take a beating,” Eddie tells him, attempting to sound brave. “But if they separate us, we’re fucked. They might not let us back together again.”

Venom still doesn’t answer.

Drake hits the button. They end up on the floor again, with Eddie curled up onto his side and Venom quivering half a foot away. It takes longer for them to rejoin this time.

“Two minutes,” Drake says as Venom finally seeps back into Eddie.

I hate him.

“Me too,” Eddie growls, glaring at Drake.

Two minutes becomes three, then five. Drake waits patiently. Finally, Venom growls.

Move closer. Your environment is toxic to me.

“Don’t!” Eddie whispers, turning away from Drake. “We can figure something out!”

The longer we wait, the more likely you are to be injured.

“You can heal me!” The irony of the situation doesn’t escape him, begging Venom to stay when he’s spent the last few weeks trying to figure out how to get rid of him. But in addition to wanting to get out, Venom is really the only thing interesting about Eddie. Once he’s out, there is nothing to stop Drake from killing him and dropping his corpse into the Bay after his experiments are over. “What about rule five?” he says desperately. “You can’t leave, remember?”

The rules only apply to you, Venom says. He sounds terse, but a tendril whips around his hand and squeezes. Eddie stares down at it. Take care of yourself, pet. If I come back and you are dead, I will not be happy.

“Venom,” Eddie whispers, but he doesn’t know what else to say. Do go? Don’t go? Stay and protect me?

Jesus Christ, his head is so fucked.

He steps closer to the container, then extends his arm and touches the top of it. Slowly, like black paint, Venom drips out of his arm and into the container.

“Close it,” Drake says.

He closes the lid. There’s a hissing sound as all the air is vented out. As soon as the oxygen is gone, Venom perks up and presses up against the container wall. Eddie puts his hand on the outside of the glass.

“Step away.”

He looks up at Drake, then steps backwards. “Now what?”

Drake ignores him and looks at Riken. “Five minutes. Try not to damage him too badly, alright? We still need some information from him.”

“I’ll be careful,” Riken says in a tone that doesn’t sound like he’ll be careful at all.

Eddie flinches. “Wait, what? You were serious? I thought you were just—”

“I’m always serious.” Drake taps his watch. “Five minutes only. Then take him upstairs to Lab Seven.”

The door opens and Riken steps in, cracking his knuckles. Eddie backs up until he hits the opposite wall, but there’s nowhere for him to go. He suddenly feels very fragile. Very human.

“Not the face?” he says, without much hope. Five minutes. I can survive five minutes.

“Sure thing, sweetheart,” Riken says. “Hold still, will you?”

Chapter Text

They finally give him food, after another round of blood draws and tests, and that sets the pattern of his next few days. Wake up, do tests, eat, sleep. He runs on treadmills, stands in scanners, gives them enough blood to satisfy a very hungry vampire. They take samples of everything, even more…personal fluids, and by the end of it Eddie feels like nothing more than a pincushioned lab rat. It’s very degrading.

At the very least, he does get some decent medical care. Skirth checks his chest and back every day and cleans the wounds, keeping infection from settling in since Venom isn’t there to halt it or fix them. She also patches up his wounds from Riken. She makes no comment, but he can tell she’s not pleased about the beating. Probably more annoyed at the damage to the merchandise than anything else.

It’s been three days since they took Venom from him, and while Eddie appreciates not having to watch his every move and word, he’s worried. He still needs Venom to escape and break out Carnage with them. He can’t do it on his own. They’re watching too closely, and Riken, with his demeaning words and wandering touches, is always too happy to punish Eddie for perceived missteps.

There’s an emptiness in his head too, a strange space that he didn’t know he had before Venom was there. It’s like a missing tooth. It doesn’t hurt, but he keeps poking at the empty spot and thinking something should be in it.

This morning, the usual crowd comes to take Eddie down to the labs. He contemplates arguing, decides it’s not worth getting hit, and follows them out. Riken looks vaguely disappointed at his acquiescence, but he consoles himself by pushing Eddie at least six times on the five minute walk.

They take him down to the labs. “What are we cutting off today?” he asks Skirth, who is once again standing at the computer banks.

“Nothing,” she says, offering him a sunny smile. “We have a different test in mind for today. Would you like to know?”

“Yes,” Eddie says instantly. He looks at the screen, which is showing readouts that he doesn’t understand. Something about white blood cell counts and vitals and cellular activity. He squints. “Is that all about me?”

“Sure is.” Skirth indicates the computer. “This is a complete evaluation of your body and all its functions. We’ve been gathering data about you since your first day here.”

“Yeah, I know. What have you found?” He’s intrigued despite himself. He’s been wondering more and more how much Venom has changed his body.

The answer is a lot, apparently. Eddie listens as Skirth describes the modification of his immune system. “Yours is much more extensive than what we usually see,” she says. “We’ve found that the host and the symbiote do have to be somewhat compatible—think like for organ donation—but then the symbiote makes the rest of the necessary changes to the host’s body.”

“Like modding a car.”

“Exactly.” Skirth points at the screen. “See these values? These are extremely different from a typical male around your age. We unfortunately don’t have any data from before, to compare you to, but we can make educated guesses.” She points out a couple more things, slowly sliding into medical jargon. Eddie nods until he doesn’t understand, then nods some more.

Finally, he interrupts her. “So what’s all this mean? What’s next?”

“Well…we have to gather more information. And then the next step is to replicate it. We want to see if we can figure out how to make other people like this without exposing them to the symbiote. Not everyone survives the exposure like you—”

The door opens behind them and Drake steps in. “Hello, Dora. Eddie.”

“Asshole,” Eddie greets.

Drake rolls his eyes and turns to Skirth. “Ready?”

“Yep.” She types something else, then steps back. “Alright, Eddie. If you’ll just stand back here…” she directs him a few steps to the left and has him face the back wall “Good. Stay there, if you don’t mind.”

They leave then, which surprises him. He turns around to face the transparent wall. “Hey. What gives?”

They don’t answer his question. Drake says something to Skirth, and she nods, entering something into a data pad. Eddie walks over to the wall and slams his hand on it. “Hey! Would you just fucking talk to me?”

Drake glances over, then sighs. “Brock, please go back to where we placed you.”

“Give me a straight answer and I’ll think about it.”

“Always the smartass, aren’t you?” Drake crosses his arms. “We want to see how well you do with another symbiote.”

“What other—Carnage? You want to put Carnage in me?”

“Not for long,” Skirth says. “Don’t worry. We’ll call him out with sound when the time is up. We need him for something else.”

“The time? What time? How long?”

She looks to Drake. “Lifting panel now.”

“No!” Eddie shouts, but it doesn’t mean a goddamn thing. On the far left wall, a panel slowly starts to rise up. Red tendrils sneak their way from the crack, then ooze down to the floor. “No, no, no,” Eddie says, backing up past the table. “No! Don’t!”

But his protests are useless, like everything else he’s said today, and Carnage leaps the distance between them with ease, settling onto his skin. Eddie drops to his knees and tries to breathe as the void left by Venom is suddenly overflowing with a brilliance of red.

host host eddie yes you are mine where is venom

“He’s gone,” Eddie says, fingers curling into his hair. He doesn’t like this.

gone where where is venom is he alive

“I don’t fucking know. They took him from me and I don’t know.”

that is okay eddie i will keep we you us safe

 

Red slides over his skin. It’s different from Venom. Venom was methodical in his movements, careful in his exploration. Carnage just rolls over him without consideration. The feeling makes him wince. His stomach is churning. “Can you be more careful please?”

 

you are already ready for me venom is good at changing hosts

i am not trying to hurt you

hold still

Eddie takes a shuddering breath and tries to hold still. Carnage twists a little more, then settles into his skin and stops moving. After a moment, the nausea abates. Eddie slowly removes his hands from his head and looks up.

Skirth and Drake are alternating between looking at him and looking at a screen. “How do you feel, Eddie?”

“Sick,” Eddie says honestly. “It’s uh…different. I don’t…I don’t like it.”

“How’s the symbiote?”

“Adjusting.” He winces again as Carnage slides around the incisions on his chest. “Hey, be careful—”

i will fix this

 

The symbiote curls over him, then into the wounds. Eddie grits his teeth, pulls his shirt up, and yanks the bandages off so he can watch as they slowly close up. It’s like watching a time-lapse video. The cuts pull together, then slowly bond and form new skin. Carnage isn’t as good at it as Venom is—there’s thick scar tissue left behind—but the pain is slowly vanishing. His back suddenly feels itchy, and he realizes that the same thing must be happening back there.

he was cruel to you

i will be better

 

Eddie runs a hand over his new scars, unsure how to feel about them. He’s glad the incisions and stitches are gone, but he’s getting really sick of having his body modified without his permission.

Skirth and Drake are furiously scribbling notes. “Scar tissue,” she notes, and Drake nods. “Unusual. The other one heals seamlessly.”

“Carnage is younger,” Eddie says, dropping his shirt. “He’s got less experience.”

“How do you know that?”

why do you still want him back

“What? No, I don’t.”

“Then why did you say it?”

“Not you!” Eddie turns away from them. “I don’t want him.”

yes you do i can see your thoughts your feelings your desires

 

“I need his help,” Eddie hisses. “That’s all.”

i will help you

i will not let you go i promise you are mine mine mine

 

Godfuckingdammit. He’s had just about enough of this. “I’m not yours,” he says. “I’m not yours, I’m not theirs, I’m not Venom’s. I don’t belong to anyone. Get the fuck out of my head.”

lies lies lies

Eddie turns back around. “Are we done?” he asks, looking directly at Drake.

“Not yet,” Skirth answers. “We’ve got a few things to do first.”

“Then fucking do them,” he says, sliding down to sit on the floor. “I want him out.”

They make him put the sound collar on, then come in to do the usual battery of tests. Eddie follows instructions without complaint, trying to get a handle on himself as Carnage continues to probe through his mind.

i don’t want to leave you eddie

i like it here

i will be nicer than venom i will not hurt you like he did

 

He doesn’t answer. He doesn’t know what to say. And isn’t it just his fucking luck that two aliens both want to be up his ass? He’s not necessarily thrilled with Venom, but they were at least starting to come to some kind of understanding. Better the devil you know, right?

 

don’t want to go don’t make me won’t leave you mine now i claim you

“You have to leave,” he says eventually. “They won’t let you stay.”

“No, we won’t,” Drake says. “Dora, open the chamber.”

Carnage doesn’t last as long against the sound as Venom had. Despite his protests, he flows out of Eddie without too much resistance, and back into his container. The panel closes up.

“Thank you, Eddie,” Skirth says, coming back into the room. “This is amazing data.”

“Uh-huh.” Eddie slumps back onto the floor. He’s so tired.

Drake turns to Skirth. “How’s Subject Two?”

“Prepared.”

“Great. Let’s match Two with B.”

“We still need to move Two. His door isn’t secure.”

“Why isn’t his door secure?”

“From the escape. Technicians couldn’t get it working properly. It only seals about half the time.”

Drake looks at Eddie. “Match him and then put them with Brock. We’ll see how the symbiote reacts to having two hosts in the same room.”

Eddie blinks slowly, the words taking a second to process through his haze of exhaustion. “Who’s Two?”

“You’ll like him,” Drake says, motioning to Riken to pick Eddie up. “He certainly likes you. He talks about you a lot.”

“Huh?”

“Your boyfriend,” Riken says, shoving Eddie out the door.

There’s a sick feeling in the back of his mind. He’s not positive, but he’s got a pretty good idea of what Riken means, and he doesn’t want anything to do with it. Doesn’t even want to think about it.

There’s a tray of food in his cell at least. Eddie makes himself eat it slowly. When he’s done, he sets it by the door and returns to his bed. He’s tired, but he doesn’t want to sleep yet. He needs to be awake. He needs to know.

An hour later, Riken opens his door. “Hey princess,” he says, pushing a stumbling prisoner wearing a head bag and a sound collar. “Got a roommate for you.”

“I don’t want a roommate,” Eddie says, standing up. Riken just smirks and steps back out, then keys off the sound collar. It clicks open, and with slow, deliberate movements, the prisoner pulls it off. Then he reaches up and pulls off the head bag.

Eddie isn’t aware of moving, but he must have because he’s suddenly pressed up against the wall, heart hammering. “You don’t want a roommate?” Cletus Kasady says with a grin as Carnage flows over his skin with smooth, undulating movements. “Well. That’s just a damn shame now, isn’t it?”

Chapter Text

“Eddie, Eddie, Eddie,” Kasady says, stretching like a cat. “It’s so good to see you again, my friend.”

“What the hell are you doing here?” He’s still pressed against the wall, but there’s really nowhere for him to go.

“I told you,” he says, ambling forward. “Carlton Drake asked for me personally.”

“Why?”

Kasady just lifts his arms, showing the twisting motions of Carnage, who is happily playing over his flesh. “Wanted to introduce me to a new friend. It’s interesting, you know. These symbiotes are utterly fascinating.” He watches Carnage writhe over his hand. “So much…energy.”

He lowers his arm and looks at Eddie. “This one likes you, you know.”

“I’m aware,” Eddie says, his fingers opening and closing against the wall. “Trust me.”

“But he likes me more,” Kasady says. “We are so very…compatible.” He keeps staring at Eddie with a predatory gaze, and Eddie does not like it. “Much more compatible than you two were.”

He steps forward, slowly encroaching into Eddie’s space until barely an inch separates them. He’s taller, and broader, and Eddie swallows hard as he tries to keep his breathing under control. “Back up, asshole,” he says, drawing himself up as much as possible.

“You know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life,” Kasady says, gently touching his fingertips to Eddie’s cheek. “Good and bad both.”

Eddie pushes his hand away. “You’ve never done a good thing in your life and you know it.”

“Well,” he concedes, “good might be pushing it a little. But I’ve done things, at least. And you know what I’ve learned in the past fifty-five years?”

“That you’re a psychopathic dickhead?”

Kasady leans in until his lips are an inch from Eddie’s ear. “I’ve learned that if you want something, you have to take it. Because in this world, no one is gonna give shit to you. If you want it…it’s up to you to make it happen.”

Eddie sidesteps away and spins opposite of Kasady so the wall isn’t at his back anymore. “That’s your excuse for everything you did, huh? For killing people? You wanted it, so you took it?”

“Yes.” Kasady steps closer. “And do you know what I want, right now?”

Oh yeah. He knows. Eddie backs up, but there’s still nowhere to go. This room is too fucking small. “If you touch me, I’ll kill you,” he says, but the threat is too empty to do anything other than make Kasady laugh.

“You will, huh? Tell me, darling. Have you ever killed anyone before?” He doesn’t give him a chance to answer, stepping closer and closer as Carnage continues to slowly stretch towards him. “No, you haven’t. I can tell. A man gets a look about him when he takes another man’s life. You’re still so…soft.”

Soft. Warm. Jesus Christ, is he ever going to be described as anything else? “I’m not fucking kidding,” he says, ducking as one of Carnage’s tendrils reaches for his shoulder. “Keep your goddamn symbiote off me.”

“No,” Kasady says. “No, I don’t think we will.”

Carnage bursts from his chest and latches onto Eddie, spinning him and pushing him back against the back wall. Slowly, his wrists are pinned up above his head and his legs are spread uncomfortably wide. “No,” Eddie says, yanking at the bonds. “Goddammit, Kasady, don’t do this!”

The fingers are back, stroking over his face and hair. “But we want to,” he whispers. “Don’t worry. We won’t hurt you. Too much.”

Eddie slams his head against the wall in frustration, feeling tears prickle in his eyes. He is so tired of this. So tired of being pulled at and manipulated and forced into things. “Please,” he whispers. “Please, don’t.”

Kasady swipes over his tears with his thumb before sucking it into his mouth. “You’re pretty when you cry.”

He kisses Eddie’s forehead, then slowly moves down and sucks at his neck. Eddie stares at the ceiling and tries not to make any noises. Kasady seems to take his silence for agreement, moving up to brush his lips and licking up the tear tracks.

His hand slips into Eddie’s sweatpants, slowly encircling his cock with a cold hand. “Been waiting to do this for a long time,” he says, gently pumping up and down. “That feel good, baby?”

Eddie shakes his head and doesn’t take his eyes off the ceiling. “Please stop.”

Carnage seeps over his skin, pushing his shirt up and over his head, pinning it to the wall above him. Kasady makes a noise of pleasure and starts touching the newly revealed skin with his free hand. “How’d you get these scars, baby?”

Eddie doesn’t respond, but Carnage must give him the information because after a moment Kasady sighs. “Oh. Venom wasn’t very nice to you, was he? Not like us.”

“You call this nice?” Eddie chokes out, trying to control his fear.

“Compared to what we could be doing to you? Yes, Eddie. This is very nice.” He rubs a thumb over Eddie’s scars. “We could tear you apart, love. We could fuck you from the inside out. We could cut you into pieces and use your own blood to ease our way in.” He puts his lips next to Eddie’s ear. “We could destroy you. Ruin you forever and wear your skin like a trophy.”

Fear rushes through him and he pulls against Carnage’s hold again. Kasady eases back, taking his hand out of Eddie’s pants, and steps away entirely. His irises are swirled with red, giving him a horrifying demonic look. Eddie wonders if he looks like that when Venom is in him.

He needs Venom. He needs the alien. He’s too weak to protect himself, always has been. He’s never going to make it on his own.

You made it for years without him, some part of his brain rages, but it’s distracted by the return of Kasady’s hands to his hips. “Do you want to move this to the bed?” the other man whispers. “Or would you prefer to be fucked against the wall?”

“What?”

“We just want you to be comfortable,” Kasady purrs. “We don’t mind either way.”

“What—no—I’m not choosing anything! I’m not participating in any of this!”

“Guess the wall works just fine, then.”

Eddie struggles, but it doesn’t work. It never works. He fights and he fights and it always ends like this, with him backed into a wall and completely, utterly, literally fucked. He couldn’t fight off Venom, he couldn’t fight off Riken, and he can’t fight off Kasady. He’s fucking useless.

He shudders as Carnage slips around and slowly presses into his ass, loosening the way for his host. Other tendrils slip around him, so much like Venom and yet so different. Eddie can’t hear the symbiote’s disjointed thoughts, but the same enthusiasm is delivered through the rippling sensation. Carnage slides over his navel, then around his nipples, then around his cock, like he doesn’t know what he wants to touch first. He coils over the sensitive skin and vibrates, like a toy with low batteries. Eddie bites his lip and refuses to make a sound as his cock starts to harden without permission.

“Slow down,” Kasady murmurs, and it takes Eddie a moment to realize which one of them he’s talking to. “We got all night with him.”

Nausea sweeps through him as Kasady slides their pants out of the way, then slips Eddie’s knee up around his hip. “This might hurt, baby,” he whispers, pressing a kiss to Eddie’s lips. “But we’ll make it good in a second.”

It does and it doesn’t. Partially from Carnage’s attempts at prep and partially because Eddie is used to Venom, and he knows how to relax and make it easier. It still burns without lubrication, but not as badly as it could. He clenches his teeth against the low whine that threatens to emit from his mouth. He’s going to take this, and he’s going to do it quietly. He might be useless, but he can endure.

So he does. He closes his eyes and tilts his head back and thinks of other things. Reporting. Motorcycles. Anne, laughing at him on their first date when he’d spilled ice cream on his shirt. His father, smiling at him from across the table on one of the rare good days. Receiving his first journalism award.

He doesn’t feel Kasady gripping at his cock while gently pumping into him. He doesn’t hear the words whispered into his ear. He doesn’t feel Carnage’s tongue sliding over his body, the movement so Venom-like and yet so horribly alien. None of it really touches him. It’s like he’s watching it outside his own body.

He sinks deep into his headspace and doesn’t come out until both his feet are back on the floor and his hands are by his side again. There’s his own cum on his stomach, and more dripping down his leg, and Kasady is tucking himself back into his sweatpants. “You were perfect, baby,” he says, kissing Eddie’s cheek. “So perfect for me.”

Carnage finally lets go and Eddie yanks his own pants back up. He can’t help his terrified glance towards the camera, his thought that Drake just saw everything and didn’t do a goddamn thing about it. His legs give out then, and he sinks down to the floor. He wants to shower. He wants to scrub this sick feeling out of him. He wants to get out of here.

Kasady sits next to him and wraps an arm around his shoulders. Eddie is trembling hard, but it doesn’t seem to deter him. Carnage seeps from his skin and drapes over his legs like an odd, pulsating blanket. It’s strange to have a symbiote on his skin, but not hear his thoughts. He thinks Carnage is pleased though, given the way he’s twisting over the both of them. Kasady is murmuring things softly, letting the symbiote play through his open fingers.

Eddie wraps his arms around his knees, buries his head, and doesn’t come out for a long, long time.

Chapter Text

He sleeps a little, tucked up into his own body, but the cold prevents him from getting anything truly restful. Well the cold, and the serial killer sitting uncomfortably close to him. That doesn’t help much either.

At some point, they push food into the cell. Eddie doesn’t move from his huddle, but he does look up at the tray. Only one, but it at least looks like enough for two people. “Stay,” Kasady says, standing up. He picks up the tray and carries it back, settling himself on the floor in front of Eddie. “You hungry?”

“Yeah,” Eddie admits, his voice rough. He uncurls enough to extend an arm forward, reaching for one of the peanut butter sandwiches, but Kasady pulls them backwards.

“Hey,” he says, taking Eddie’s hand and rubbing it soothingly in his own. “We’ll feed you baby, it’s okay. We’ll take care of you.”

“I can feed myself,” Eddie says, pulling his hand back. Irritation flares over Kasady’s face and he freezes, unsure what to do. This is not exactly someone he wants to piss off right now.

“I said we’ll take care of you.” The tone doesn’t leave room for argument. Kasady takes the sandwich, tears a small piece off, and holds it to Eddie’s lips. “Eat.”

Humiliation makes his face flush, but he gingerly opens his mouth and takes the bite from Kasady’s fingers. The answering smile tells him he made the right move.

They eat the whole meal like that. Sandwich, applesauce—which Kasady spoon-feeds to him like he’s a baby—and even a fucking cookie. His face is red as hell by the end of it, and there’s marks in his palms from his fingernails digging into his hands, but he gets through the whole thing without saying a word. When the tray is empty, Kasady pats his head before eating his own portion.

Eddie watches him. Carnage is still visible and wrapped around him. Kasady doesn’t seem to mind the intrusion in the slightest. He just watches the redness play over his skin with a fond expression. “Well,” he finally says, pushing the tray across the floor. “How should we occupy the rest of these long hours?”

“Maybe you should ask for some hair dye,” Eddie says tiredly, leaning his head against the wall.

Kasady laughs. “That’s why I like you, Eddie. Your sense of humor is just…perfect.” He scoots closer and runs a hand down Eddie’s cheek. “I’ve got a few ideas.”

“I’m sure you do.” Eddie pulls his head away. “I’m not interested, Kasady.”

“We’ve been intimate, Eddie. You can call me by my first name now.”

“Intimate? Is that what you think that was?” Eddie stands up, suddenly feeling an urge to pace. “That was rape, Kasady, and you know it.”

Kasady watches him walk around the cell. “Call it what you like, Eddie.”

“We should be trying to get out of here,” Eddie says. “There’s two of us and a symbiote. Better odds now.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. We have a plan.”

He pauses at that. “Wait, what? You do?”

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.” He gets up from the floor and stretches. “Come over here.”

“Fuck no,” Eddie says. “I’ll maintain my personal space over here, thank you very much. Tell me about your plan.”

“I just want to talk,” Kasady says innocently. “We had such a nice conversation the other day.”

“Nice is one word for it. Not the one I’d use.” He crosses his arms, trying to look tough and not like he’s terrified. Which he totally is. “What was up with the pictures, anyway? Couldn’t you at least have picked some of my good side?”

“I put those up for you. I wanted you to feel welcome.”

“Uh-huh. Opposite effect.”

“Shame. I collected those for years, you know.” Kasady smiles. “I’ve been following your career since the beginning, Eddie. Since your very first article.”

Eddie thinks back. “My first article was about motorcycles, and it was half a column in a shitty little magazine. I didn’t even get a check for it.”

“I know.” He sighs. “Don’t worry, I made sure they paid for that slight later.”

Well, that’s a disturbing thing he never wanted to know. He’s got enough blood on his hands already. “Uh.”

“I knew you’d be good,” Kasady says. “You were always so determined as a child. So desperate to leave your father and make your own name.”

That makes Eddie stop pacing. “Fucking what?”

“You don’t remember me? I’m disappointed, Eddie.”

“I never knew you, asshole! First time I met you was a week ago!”

“No, it’s not.” Kasady sits on the bed and pats the space next to him. “Sit down, Eddie.”

He doesn’t. “What do you mean?”

“Sit down.”

Eddie shakes his head. “Tell me what the fuck you mean. As a kid? I didn’t know you as a kid. I’m pretty sure I’d remember being neighbors with San Francisco’s most notorious serial killer.”

Carnage bursts from Kasady’s body, wraps around Eddie, and yanks him onto the bed. “I said sit,” Kasady says as Carnage oozes over him like a tree root, sprouting tendrils everywhere and pinning his legs to the bed. “And let’s get rid of this.” Between the two of them, they manage to pull his shirt off Eddie’s flailing arms, ignoring his protests. “There. Isn’t that better?”

Better? Eddie is stuck on his back, half-naked, his arms pinned to his side by a gooey alien and his head in the lap of a man who has apparently been stalking him since childhood. How the fuck is this my life? “I fail to see how this is better.”

“You complain a lot,” Kasady tells him, running a finger up and down the scars on his chest. “Hush now.”

Eddie opens his mouth to complain some more, but Carnage oozes over and covers it. He sucks in a breath through his nose and tries not to flinch as Kasady starts playing with his hair.

“It was 1997,” he finally says. “Spring. I was working as a mechanic at a local high school.” He shakes his head. “Long days. And I was very…under-appreciated.”

His other hand rubs over Eddie’s chest again, leaving goosebumps in its wake. “I remember the first time I saw you. You were walking home from somewhere. You wore a blue soccer uniform. You looked so sad, even though you were wearing a medal.”

“I don’t…” Eddie starts, before remembering his mouth is covered. He racks his memory, trying to think of when he played soccer. Fourteen? Thirteen? Before high school. Blue uniform…that would have been the Cyclones..

Holy shit. He remembers this. He’d won his soccer game, single-handedly scoring three of their seven points. He’d run up to his father afterwards and proudly shown him the medal, and his father had made some offhand comment about the one goal he’d missed. And then he’d gotten a business call and had to leave. Eddie had walked four miles home.

Carnage melts away from his mouth. He stares up at Kasady. “I talked to a guy on the way home,” he says slowly. “Outside the high school.”

Kasady smiles. “Yes, Eddie. That was me.”

Holy shit. Holy shit.

Why the long face, kid?

My dad’s an asshole. And I’m done trying to impress him.

“You told me to stop worrying about impressing my dad. That I was worth ten of him, and that he wasn’t worth the energy spent thinking about him.”

“So you do remember.” Kasady tiptoes his fingertips along Eddie’s collarbones. “I’m surprised.”

He does remember. He’d already decided on the way home that he was done trying to impress the old man, and the weird janitor guy had only reinforced that decision. “You looked different.” Brown hair instead of red, complete with a ragged beard. Hunched over. Beaten down. He’d stopped to talk out of pity. Because the guy looked even more defeated than Eddie had felt.

“I was different.” He strokes Eddie’s throat, making him swallow convulsively. “But yes. That was our first meeting.”

“So what, after that you just decided to stalk a random thirteen-year-old?”

Kasady looks affronted. “I did not stalk you, Eddie. I kept an eye on you. Watched you grow up from a distance.”

“That’s the same fucking thing!”

“Stalking implies harassing. I just…watched.” He pats Eddie’s cheek. “And helped, on occasion.”

“Helped?” His voice is way too high pitched. “Do I even want to know what that involved?”

“Probably not.” Kasady grins at him, a shark-grin with too many teeth and not enough emotion. “I don’t think you’d approve.”

Oh, God. Eddie can only imagine. Don’t worry, I made sure they paid for that slight later. People have been killed in his name. He's gonna be sick.

“Why me?” he finally asks, when he can get words out again without fear of vomiting. “I was thirteen. I was just walking down the street. We’d never even met before. Why me?”

The fingers are back, pressing over his heart. “I was ready to kill myself that day,” Kasady says, bushing his thumb over Eddie’s left nipple. “I had the gun at home. I was going to do it. But then I saw you. A child, already broken by the world. But you were still so determined. There was such a…fire in your eyes. And that’s when I decided.”

“Decided what?”

“That if you could break like that and still come back fighting, then so could I.” He smiles at Eddie. “You gave me hope, Eddie. The first bit of hope I’d had in a very long time. I went home that night and I threw the gun away. You saved my life.”

“Oh,” Eddie says faintly, because that’s all he can say. 1997. Kasady’s first recorded murder was in 2001. They didn’t find the body until long after he was captured.

Jesus, he was just starting to come to terms with hosting a brain-eating alien. He doesn’t know how to handle the fact that he’s also the reason a serial killer decided not to commit suicide.. If he’d walked somewhere else that afternoon, then Kasady would have killed himself, all his victims would be alive, and Eddie would be…

He wouldn’t even be here. Kasady was the one who clued him into the whole prisoner thing, which was the whole reason Eddie came here in the first place.

He closes his eyes, fighting back the tears. It’s unfair. It’s all really just so goddamn unfair. He doesn’t deserve any of this shit. He just wants to go home.

“Shhh…” Kasady murmurs, stroking his head. “It bothers you, doesn’t it? Knowing that you saved me?” He leans down and kisses Eddie’s forehead, then his lips. “Don’t worry, love. We can make you feel better.”

Eddie’s eyes fly open. “No,” he says, pulling away from Kasady’s mouth. “Just…let me up, please. I don’t want this.”

“We’ll make it better.” Kasady slides out from under him and eases his pants down to his knees, Carnage lifting his hips to help. “You just relax, darling.”

“Why are you doing this?” Eddie whispers, staring up at the ceiling. His fists are clenched again. He can feel the drops of blood slowly seeping from his palms.

“I’ve watched you for a long time,” Kasady breathes from between his legs, tongue barely touching his cock. “I wanted you for years, Eddie. Now I have you. Now you’re mine.”

Eddie bites his tongue hard, trying to think of the least arousing things possible as Kasady starts sucking his cock. He is not going to get hard from this. He is not going to come from this. He’s going to sit here and not think and not play this game.

Except he does get hard, of course, because biology fucking sucks. He tries to get back into his headspace from last night but that doesn’t work either because Carnage joins the party, and the symbiote’s tongue pressing into his ass was not something he was expecting. “Motherfuck!”

“Language,” Kasady chides, gently rubbing his thigh. “He’s still very young and impressionable, you know.”

Eddie doesn’t respond, because his first instinct is to say “suck a dick” and he really doesn’t want to encourage this to go any further. Not that Kasady needs encouragement, but still. He focuses instead on clenching his jaw shut and thinking about tax returns and his grandmother and other unsexy things. Definitely not thinking about the other night. Definitely not thinking about how it felt when Venom touched him like this.

He gasps a little and hates himself for it, pushes his hips up and hates himself even more. Kasady drinks in every reaction and tries to replicate his favorite sounds. Carnage slides deeper into his hole, finding his prostate with a tendril and gently licking at it. Eddie has to choke off a moan at that. His fingers scrabble at the mattress as he tries to control himself.

He spares a thought for the camera that’s still trained on them, then dismisses it. No one is going to help him. He just needs to get through this. What’s one more trauma on top of this week, right?

The thought makes him giggle hysterically, which actually does make Kasady pause for a second. “You all right?”

“My head is fucked,” Eddie tells him, and he nods before resuming the world’s slowest blowjob. Fucked up heads is probably something he understands well.

Another twist of his tongue, another curl around his prostate, and Eddie is coming in spurts down Kasady’s throat, unable to hold back his moans as his body twitches and pleasure floods his synapses. Kasady swallows without a word, then slowly pulls off and slides a hand up Eddie’s thigh. “Good?”

Eddie makes a strangled noise that Kasady takes as an answer. “My turn,” he hums, and Eddie’s blood turns cold because no fucking way is he going to trade the favor—

But that’s not what Kasady means. He’s ditching his own pants, then murmuring something to Carnage and pushing Eddie’s knee up towards his chest. It doesn’t hurt at all this time when he slides in, but knowing who it is makes him sick anyway. He turns his head to the side and stares accusingly at the camera as Kasady thrusts into him, Carnage slipping and sliding over both their skins as he moves between them.

Kasady turns his head back. “Look at me, Eddie. Don’t worry about them.”

Eddie meets those red eyes and can’t suppress the shiver of fear that runs through him. Kasady reaches down and takes Eddie’s limp cock, gently stroking in time with his thrusts. “I think you can come again,” he whispers. “You want to?”

No. He doesn’t. But he doesn’t have a choice, so he nods and lets Kasady stroke him, making all the appropriate sounds. The sooner this is over with, the sooner he can sleep.

And it does end, eventually. Kasady clutches at him and lets out a deep moan and comes all over his chest. He’s somewhat grateful that it wasn’t inside, and some barely-aware part of his brain is chiming off about STD risks and the dangers of unprotected sex. Wonder if Drake will give me an HIV test if I ask.

Probably not.

Kasady collapses next to Eddie and wraps an arm over his chest, pulling him closer in a mockery of intimacy. Or maybe it’s not a mockery for him. Who knows. “It’s late,” he murmurs in Eddie’s ear. “You should sleep.”

He has no idea what time it either, and most likely neither does Kasady. But Eddie doesn’t comment. He just shifts to a slightly more comfortable position and tries to pretend that he’s with Anne, or an ex-girlfriend, or a sentient teddy bear. Literally anything other than a stalking rapist serial killer.

After awhile, he falls into an uneasy sleep.

Chapter Text

He finds himself in the bed later, unsure of how he got there or what’s going on. Kasady is still in the cell, leaning against the window. “Mornin’, sleeping beauty,” he says as Eddie uncurls from himself. “Feeling alright?”

He’s not. He feels like complete and utter shit, and the memory of last night is slowly returning. There’s still dried cum on his stomach. He halfheartedly scrubs at it before giving up. “I’m fine.”

“Hmm.” Kasady clearly doesn’t believe him, but he goes back to looking out the window. “Think they’re coming to take you away from me.”

At that, Eddie scrambles to his feet, wincing at the soreness in his ass. Away is good. Away is not here. He finds his discarded clothes on the floor and hurriedly slides them on. “They’re coming?”

They are. Drake, Riken, and a few others walk into view. Drake looks at Kasady, then over to Eddie, and a smirk crosses his face. “Well, we certainly got some…interesting data from you two last night. You boys have fun?”

“Certainly did,” Kasady drawls, looking over his shoulder at Eddie.

Eddie doesn’t answer, but he’s sure his expression says it all. Drake motions towards the sound collar. “Put it on, please.”

Kasady doesn’t move for a moment, and Eddie thinks he’s going to fight Drake over it. But then he smoothly bends down and picks up the collar, putting it around his neck. “Happy?” he asks.

“Sure.” Drake turns his attention to Eddie. “Come with us, Brock. We’ve—”

“Got more tests. Sure, whatever. Open the damn door.”

Riken laughs and puts in the code. “Eager to be out, Brock? We figured you’d enjoy your time together.”

The door unlocks and Eddie immediately steps towards it. He doesn’t care what they want him to do, he’ll flay his own skin off if they ask; he needs to get out.

At first, he doesn’t recognize that he’s been stopped. He is half a foot from the threshold when he suddenly falls, tripping over his own feet he thinks at first, but as he hits the ground he sees the red tendril around his ankle. The red tendril that isn’t supposed to be there. The red tendril that’s supposed to be contained.

“We don’t appreciate you trying to take our toys, Carlton,” Kasady growls, and the collar drops to the ground as Carnage overtakes his body.

Eddie whimpers, but the sound is lost in the panic outside as Drake shouts orders and all five security guards lift their sonic devices. Carnage roars, shaking the walls, and lunges for the door. He bursts out into the hallway and grabs the sonic devices, crushing them instantly.

Eddie doesn’t want to watch, but he can’t tear his eyes away. Carnage unhinges his jaw and devours Riken, then the two other guards. Drake and the rest run back the way they came, leaving just the bloody remains of their comrades in the hallway.

Carnage smashes all of the cameras within view, then seeps back in Kasady’s skin. “Come on, darling,” he says, turning back to the open door. “We think we can get us out of here.”

“Jesus Christ,” Eddie says faintly, not moving from his position on the floor. “What the fuck just happened? Was that the plan?”

Kasady shrugs. “We don’t like being a pawn in other people’s games,” he says. “Are you coming? You don’t get to say no.”

“Oh well, in that case…” Eddie picks himself up and steels his stomach against the gruesome sight. He takes three steps into the hallway, then throws up anyway.

Kasady’s hands rub over his neck. “Shhh, darling,” he whispers. “Let it out. We’ll get you away from here. Don’t worry.” He takes Eddie’s hand and tugs, pulling him away from the bodies. “We’ll keep you safe,” he says, leading him down the hallway. “We’ve wanted to for a long time, you know.”

“Uh huh,” Eddie says, looking around desperately for something to do. He sure as hell wants to escape, but somehow escaping with Cletus Kasady and Carnage just doesn’t seem like the best plan. As in, it belongs on the shelf of Things That Are Most Likely Going to End in Eddie’s Death. The symbiote is young, and impressionable, and Eddie has zero doubt that Kasady is taking advantage of that. The perfect killing duo.

He remembers his conversation with Venom from ages ago. “Wouldn’t you be happier with someone else? I’m sure there’s plenty of people who wouldn’t mind sharing a body with a head-eating monster.”

At the time, he couldn’t think of anyone who fit in that category.

It’s almost amusing now.

“No,” Kasady snarls suddenly, and Eddie stumbles. “No, we’re not going to.”

“What?”

“Not you, darling.” He smiles, aiming for reassuring and falling more towards horrifying. “My friend here wants to go find Venom. Wants us all to be a happy little family together.”

Yes. Venom. Eddie latches onto the idea. “Why not? Would probably double our chances at getting out of here.”

“We don’t trust him.” He pauses, and then says, “Fine. I don’t trust him.”

“How do you even know him?”

“Oh, we spent some time together.” Kasady gives Eddie a measured look. “He is very possessive of you. Didn’t talk about much else.”

“You hosted him? You hosted Venom? When? Is he okay?” The questions spill from Eddie faster than he can control. “Where? What did they do to him after?”

Kasady shoves him into the wall and slams a forearm into his throat. Eddie chokes and pushes on him. “Get off!”

“Stop asking questions,” Kasady says, the red flickering into his eyes again. “You do what we say, when we say it, and we will get out of here alive. Without Venom. Understand me?”

“Yeah,” Eddie grunts, and Kasady lets him drop. Eddie coughs and massages his throat, then straightens up. He doesn’t take Kasady’s hand again, but he does follow him down the hallway. He’s going to have to be smart about this one. Gonna have to wait for his chance.

His chance, as it turns out, comes sooner than expected. Kasady, probably guided by Carnage, expertly leads them through twisting hallways. Eddie stays on alert, not entirely sure what he’s looking for. He can’t leave the building with Kasady, he knows that much. If the three of them get out, Eddie is resigning himself to a lifetime of being a serial-killer-turned-head-eating-monster’s pet. Which as a whole is definitely worse than being Venom’s pet. He’d rather be vivisectioned again than let Kasady assault him one more time.

“Wait here,” Kasady says, putting a hand on Eddie’s chest. They’re at a juncture, and Eddie can hear the pounding of boots ahead. “We’ll take care of this.” He pats Eddie’s cheek. “Wouldn’t want you to get sick again, would we doll?”

This. This is it. “I’ll wait,” Eddie says, trying for a smile. “You get ‘em.”

He’s sure it comes off as a grimace rather than a happy expression, but Kasady doesn’t seem to mind so much. He kisses Eddie’s hand, murmurs something nonsensical, then turns into Carnage and steps around the corner.

Eddie waits three heartbeats, then takes off running back the way they came.

He can hear the fighting behind him. They’re using sound weapons, but from the screaming and roaring, it doesn’t seem to be having a ton of effect. Or they are, and the screaming is from Kasady. He’s sure as hell not going to go look.

He takes corners at random, sliding around them in his bare feet before regaining traction. He has no idea where the fuck he is, can barely hear anything over the pounding heartbeat in his ears and his own ragged breaths. He doesn’t know if Carnage has finished his rampage or has been recaptured, but he’s going to get as far away from that as he possibly can.

The next corner he rounds, he hits something hard. Hard enough to throw him off balance and send him skittering across the floor. “Eddie!” someone says. Dora Skirth.

“Doctor,” Eddie says, rolling back onto his feet, ready to fight if he has to. She’s not going to stop him.

There’s a distant roar behind them. A furious, carnivorous roar that makes them both tense in fear. Guess he won that fight.

“Here,” she says, shoving something into his hand. “Take this. The other symbiote is down the hall in Lab 27, and if you can get to Hallway J, there’s a staff-only staircase that will take you to the main floor.” She starts to turn away, then pauses. “I’m not sorry for what we learned, Eddie. But I wish we could have done it a different way. And I am sorry about last night. We shouldn’t have put you two together. That was wrong.”

There’s thundering footsteps behind him, faint but growing louder. “Yeah, you fucking think so?” Eddie says, already moving down towards the indicated lab. “You’d better run, Dr. Skirth, because if he finds you, I'm not going to stop him.”

He doesn’t look to see if she does or not. He doesn’t really care if she lives or dies, honestly. She’s the nicest of the bunch, but she stood by while they tortured him and he will never, ever forgive her for that.

The lab door opens at his pass, and he immediately sees Venom. The symbiote is in his container, pressed against the wall facing Eddie. Eddie closes the door behind him and hurries over. “Hey. Can you hear me in there?”

A ripple of movement. “Good. Listen up, asshole.” He puts a hand on the container. “I’m only going to let you out of here on a few conditions. One, you stay focused on the job. We’re not getting revenge. Not yet. We’re getting the fuck out of here first. Two, you hold up our deal. We work together. You forget your goddamn rules. You don’t own me. I’m not your pet. This is teamwork, not a dictatorship. You listen to my suggestions, I listen to yours. We get out of here together, and then we figure out where to go from there. Copy?”

No movement. Complete and utter stillness.

“If you don’t like it,” Eddie says, “then I’m going to leave you here. Forever. And I’m getting out on my own.”

He’s so lying. He won’t make it out on his own, especially not with Carnage chasing after him. And despite what Venom has done to him, Eddie feels a sick sense of guilt at the thought of leaving him to Carlton Drake for another undetermined amount of years. But Venom isn’t in his head, and can’t read his thoughts, and this is the best chance he’s ever going to have to make the parasite listen.

Finally, Venom ripples in what can only be agreement. Eddie lets out a sigh of relief and reaches towards the top of the container, searching for the release mechanism.

His fingers have barely touched it when the glass in front of the lab shatters, and Kasady steps through it. Carnage melts back into his skin. “Little pig, little pig,” he croons, stepping without care on the shattered glass with his bare feet. “Why’d you run away, little piggy?”

“I'm very invested in my own survival,” Eddie says. “And I’m not going anywhere with you. Ever.”

“Nonsense. Come with us, darling.” A red tendril extends forward.

Eddie ducks and reaches for the container again. “No thanks. Calendar’s full. Try again next year.”

“Don’t you fucking dare,” Kasady says, red rippling over his skin, more tendrils oozing from his back and slinking towards Eddie, like a slimier version of Doc Oc. It would look almost hilarious if it wasn’t so goddamn terrifying. “If you touch that container, darling, we’re going to make it so much worse for you.”

Eddie swallows and darts his eyes to Venom. He’s got an idea. He’ll probably regret it.

“Step away from the table,” Kasady warns. His eyes are red and his voice is deeper, a mixture of him and Carnage speaking together.

Eddie takes a deep breath. “Okay,” he says, putting his hands up. “Okay. I’m coming around.”

Kasady relaxes a little, a satisfied smile flitting over his face, and Eddie immediately shoves the container as hard as he can. It rolls off the counter and seems to fall in slow motion towards the floor. Eddie watches it go, trying to get ready. This will probably not be pleasant.

Carnage roars.

The container shatters.

Venom consumes him.

Chapter Text

EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE

There is nothing but blackness swirling around him. Blackness and Venom overlaying every sense, fitting into the empty place in his head like a missing puzzle piece. MY EDDIE.

“Hiya buddy,” Eddie gasps, trying to breath through the sensation of a symbiote sliding through his body. He’s never going to get used to that.

“NO!” Kasady shouts. He takes a furious step forward, eyes blazing, red overlaying his skin with a sudden fury. “He’s OURS!”

HE IS MINE, Venom roars, forming up around him. HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN MINE. YOU HAVE A HOST, CARNAGE. NOW LEAVE US.

 

venom please let us have we him we love him and you are cruel nothing but cruel

you hurt him we would not do that we would never we love him we want him

 

Venom reaches out and slams Carnage into the wall. He doesn’t want to kill Carnage. Eddie can sense that much. He doesn’t really want to hurt the other symbiote at all. But Carnage, fueled by Kasady, is growling and scratching and writhing in his grip, protesting loudly all the while. Venom snarls and hits him again. They are coming, he says, a flare of pain echoing through them at a particularly vicious scratch. They are coming, Carnage. We need to go. Stop fighting me.

The other symbiote growls, then slowly settles. He melts back into Kasady, and Venom drops him onto the floor. Get out. Now.

Kasady slowly gets to his feet, wiping blood from a split lip. “This ain’t over,” he says, poking Venom in the chest. “Not by a long shot.”

We have given you a gift of freedom. Do not waste it, little human.

Kasady steps out of the lab, still walking on the shattered glass, and vanishes around the corner. Venom snarls in satisfaction.

“Let’s go,” Eddie says. “Please?”

Yes.

He roars fiercely, bursting out of the last remaining window and into the hallway. They sprint towards the door Skirth mentioned, rip it open, and take the stairs up, up, up. Eddie can’t help but remember the last time they did this, and how it ended, but this time Venom doesn’t stop at the main floor. They keep going up until they hit the roof.

“You’re going to jump off, aren’t you?”

Yes.

“Fuck.” Eddie closes his eyes. “I hate heights, Venom.”

Don’t worry. You are safe with me. They walk up to the edge of the roof and look out onto the water below. Close your eyes. I’ll tell you when it’s over.

He remembers the sensation of falling off the roof, way back when that guy was trying to steal his bike. “Ugh, I think that makes it worse.”

Venom pauses, eyes taking in everything below. The shouting guards, the blare of searchlights. The launchpad with a giant rocket sitting on it. Eddie files the information away for later and tries to prepare himself for a five-hundred foot drop into the ocean.

We could climb down, Venom offers. It is slower. But then there is less falling.

Eddie blinks. “What?”

We could climb down there. He points, and Eddie follows the edge of the building down to the roof of the lower section, about two hundred feet below. If we jump from there, there is less falling.

“You…you would do that for me?”

Yes. But decide quickly, because they are coming up the stairs.

Eddie swallows, then looks down at the guards. “No,” he says. “No, if we go down that way they might see us.”

Are you sure?

“Just do it.” He takes a deep breath. “It’s just fear. I’ve been afraid before.”

My brave little Eddie. Venom backs up across the roof. We will compromise.

“We what?”

They run forward and launch themselves into the air, falling down towards the next tier of buildings and landing with a spectacular crash. They roll to their feet, then run again, jumping down to the next tier, and then the next. On the last one, Venom lets out a roar of triumph and they sail off the edge, diving for the ocean below. A much shorter drop than before.

The water is cold but they don’t really feel it. They barrel through the waves, moving faster than any boat until they reach the opposite side of the bay and burst out in a shower of water. Venom seeps back into Eddie as he hits the dirt and rolls. “Holy fuck,” he mutters, pushing to sit up. “That was…”

Exhilarating.

“Still terrifying,” Eddie corrects, scooting over so he can lean against a tree. “But thanks for doing it in parts, I guess.”

Of course.

He twists over Eddie’s skin, touching every single inch of him. Cataloguing new bumps and bruises. He fixes things as he goes, cuts and scrapes and sore spots healing up in the wake of the tendrils.

He pauses over the scarred incisions. Carnage?

“Yes.” Eddie holds his breath, half afraid that Venom will slice them open again. He really can’t handle that right now. "I didn't ask him to do it, he just did."

Still a baby, Venom sighs. Not good at healing. Hold still.

Eddie’s chest itches suddenly, like a storm of fire ants is crawling on him. He groans and reaches to scratch, but Venom freezes his arms in place. Hold still, Eddie.

After a moment, he releases him. Eddie pulls up the hem of his very wet sweatshirt and runs a hand over the skin. No scars. No pain. Nothing. Like it never happened. “Wow,” he says, tracing a finger over where the two scars had met. He reaches around and probes where the puncture wounds were. Same story. “I…thank you, Venom. I mean it.”

I said I didn’t want you to hate me. Venom twists around his wrists, briefly pinning them together before releasing.

Eddie leans his head back against the tree. “I remember.”

I was telling the truth.

“I know.”

Do you?

“Do I hate you?”

Yes.

He sighs. “I don’t know, man. I don’t know what to think about you anymore.”

It’s true. He doesn’t think he hates Venom, at least not right now, but he definitely doesn’t really like the symbiote either. There’s too much shit between them for him to just suddenly be all buddy-buddy. But he also can’t deny that the symbiote seems to be changing in some way. The Venom of last week would torn him apart for letting Carnage heal the wounds. “I need some time before I can answer that, okay?”

Okay.

He examines Eddie’s memories then, flipping through the torture with a growing sense of anger. When he gets to the night with Kasady, he growls and bursts from Eddie’s hand, spinning back around to face him. HE TOUCHED YOU.

“I’m okay,” Eddie says, cringing, praying Venom doesn’t blame him for it. “Well no, I’m not. I’ll probably need a shit ton of therapy. But physically, I’m okay. He didn’t really hurt me. He just…well…did that.”

I should have killed him, Venom fumes, twisting around in anger. I should have RIPPED HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF. You are MINE.

“I couldn’t stop him,” Eddie says, hoping to calm him a little. “I’m sorry.”

Venom stops moving around him for a second, then coils into his hand. He bobs in the air between them. More quietly, he says, It was not your fault.

That’s a change of pace. “Say what now?”

You are weak. I would not expect you to fight both Carnage and his host combined. They would have destroyed you.

“I thought you’d be pissed,” Eddie says weakly. He was braced for retaliation, and now he’s completely blindsided. This is a lot of changing in a short time. “At me.”

I told you to stay alive. You did.

“Poorly.”

Yes. Venom twists around his wrist. Carnage will suffer for his crimes. We will eat his host and find him a better one. A more stable one.

“Well, you can still do that. I’m sure he’ll try and come back.” Eddie shudders. “They both have some kind of weird obsession with me.”

Venom hums in anger. Kasady, I cannot explain. But Carnage is being manipulated. We are easily influenced by hosts when we are young, and time with Drake has not helped his mind form correctly. Kasady’s desire for you has fed back into Carnage.

“Kasady said they were…compatible?”

Some hosts require significant amounts of modification. Others do not. The less modification needed, the more compatible you are with a host. It is not uncommon for us to take multiple hosts on a planet to have a greater chance of success. He twists through Eddie’s fingers, then adds, We are lucky.

“Who is lucky?”

Us.

“You fucking kidding me?” If the past week is his life’s version of luck, Eddie’s going to hurl himself off the nearest bridge.

We have achieved true symbiosis, Eddie. When I took you as a host the first time, I did not know that you were capable of sustaining me, let alone that you would be so good at it. Your biology is perfect for our race. Perfect for me. You required very little work.

“Most people would not consider that lucky.”

You are not most people. You are my Eddie.

Eddie doesn’t know how to feel about that. “So Carnage and Kasady are compatible the same way we are?”

Kasady is a compatible host in general. We were together for a short while. I modified him to help me survive. But I suspect he and Carnage are a perfect match like you and I.

“Yeah, he said you hosted him. What was that like?”

Disturbing. Venom shudders in his head. I think he is the worst of your species. His mind is…twisted.

That’s not reassuring. “And now he’s got Carnage.” Eddie rubs a hand over his face. “We’re going to have to do something about that.”

Definitely.

Well, great. “Then we need a plan,” he says, standing up. “Starting with getting back to my bike. I need my phone. I have to tell Anne I’m okay. She’s probably shitting bricks right now.”

Venom pauses in his movements, curiosity flickering through him. Do humans do that?

“Shit bricks?” Eddie laughs. “No, V. It’s an expression. It just means she’s probably really worried.”

Oh. There’s a quiet second, then, Why would she be worried?

“Um, because we told her I’m hosting an alien in my body, and then we went dark for over a week?”

That would worry her?

“That would worry most people, yes.” He starts walking. “So we need to get back onto the island. That’s where my bike is.”

I remember. Venom forms up around him. I will get us there.

He swims them back across the bay and partially around the island, then lets Eddie walk the rest of the way to where he left the bike. It’s quiet. He’s sure Drake is out looking for him—no way he’d let two of his symbiotes go without a fight—but it doesn’t look like he’s got any active patrols out right now. Not that Eddie would even really know what to look for. But no one shoots at him and no one deploys any sound weapons, so he’s calling this a win.

He doesn’t have his keys, unfortunately. They’re probably somewhere in the Life Foundation. But it’s not the first time he’s had to hotwire his bike. He’s got a spare key back in his apartment.

You called me V, Venom says.

“Huh?” Eddie is focused on his task, but the moment comes back to him. “Oh yeah. Guess I did.”

What does that mean?

“Doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a nickname.” He feels Venom’s confusion. “Shorter way to say your name. Like Eddie. Shorthand for Edward.”

Edward Charles Allan Brock.

“Oh my God, don’t do that. I just had flashbacks to my dad yelling at me as a kid.”

Why do you give yourselves so many names and then not say them? Why have them at all?

“More names makes us sound fancy? I don’t know. Not my area of expertise.”

Humans are very odd.

“No argument there.” Eddie pulls his phone out of the storage compartment and dials. “Be quiet for a sec.”

The phone rings, and rings, and rings. Eddie’s already preparing to leave a voicemail when it finally clicks. “Eddie?”

“Anne!” Eddie says, somewhat relieved. “Hey, Anne, yeah. It’s me.”

“Eddie, you need—” there’s an odd sound, then a scuffling noise.

“Anne?” Eddie asks, a sick feeling starting to trickle through him. “Anne, you okay?”

“Mr. Brock,” says the slimy voice of Carlton Fucking Drake. “Lovely to hear from you. How’s my symbiote doing?”

Chapter Text

They remove him from the red-hair-murder-human and put him back in his containment chamber. Venom flows in gratefully, eager to be out of the mess in the human’s mind. He nearly lost himself in the strange maze, in the chilly logical patterns of thought, and that’s never happened. He’s always had iron control. Always been able to take what he needed from his hosts. This one is different. Strong willed and single-minded and cold, so very cold.

It’s so different from Eddie. Eddie was a roaring fire, burning with a heat that Venom both loved and wanted to tame. He’s never had such a perfect match. Such a wonderful host.

A terrible feeling fills him, and at first he thinks it’s rage. And it might be—he is angry, so angry that Drake took away his human. So angry that he could only sit helplessly in his container while the other human beat Eddie to the ground. But then the anger dissipates, and Venom is left with something else. Want? Desire?

No. It’s longing.

It is new for him. He and his kind take hosts, use them, and then discard without thought. Venom has never had a host worth longing for.

He is not longing for you, a small voice in his mind says. Who would? Look at what you did to him.

Venom twists and turns against the unforgiving glass. An image of Eddie rises, eyes bright and pleading.“If you want me so badly, then maybe consider working with me instead of trying to own me.”

I do own you, Venom snarls at it, and it sinks away, only to be replaced by another image. Eddie, sitting on the blue-shirt-dog-woman’s table, shouting at him. “You know what this is doing to me, you know what this is like, and you don’t care because it makes you feel powerful?”

The words cut at him now like they didn’t then. He does want to feel powerful. He has spent his life under Riot’s thumb, beaten down and trodden on by all the symbiotes above him. Finding Eddie was like breathing for the first time. Finally, a host who could bend without breaking, a host who could fight back and challenge him. A host he could control.

But now Eddie is gone, and Venom is alone. Powerless again. And even if Eddie does get out, he would not come for Venom. Why would he?

He howls and throws himself against the side of the container, trapped in a prison of his own making. This is his fault. He is never going to see Eddie again, and it is his fault.

I’m sorry, he thinks, and the strength of it surprises him. He has never been sorry before.

He settles down on the floor of the container and waits. There’s nothing else he can do.

Time passes.

There is a commotion somewhere above him, and yelling, and he can feel the vibrations through the container. Something is happening. Something big. He perks up a little, then settles back down in dismay. He is too well hidden. Whatever is happening, no one will find him here. He is alone.

The commotion stops. Venom coils into himself, then expands along the glass of the container. There is nothing to do but wait, and he has always hated waiting.

Subtle vibrations. Someone coming towards him. Drake, probably, for more experiments. Venom would really like to eat him. He presses further into the glass, imagines it shattering under his touch, then suddenly stops as a familiar figure steps through the lab doors.

Eddie is here.

Eddie is standing in front of him. There are circles under his eyes and he looks so pale, but he is here and every molecule of Venom is singing with joy. Eddie Eddie Eddie you came back for me.

“Hey,” Eddie says, stepping over. “Can you hear me in there?”

Venom ripples, his only communication method his body. It’s primitive, but Eddie seems to understand. He touches his hand to the container and Venom waits for the release mechanism to open, waits for the lid to move so he can jump back into the warmth of his perfect host, his Eddie.

But the lid doesn’t open. Instead, Eddie talks. “I’m only going to let you out of here on a few conditions. One, you stay focused on the job. We’re not getting revenge. Not yet. We’re getting the fuck out of here first. Two, you hold up our deal. We work together. You forget your goddamn rules. You don’t own me. I’m not your pet. This is teamwork, not a dictatorship. You listen to my suggestions, I listen to yours. We get out of here together, and then we figure out where to go from there. Copy?”

Venom doesn’t move for a second. His need to be in control, to be powerful, wars with his need to be with his host again. And he wants revenge, wants it so badly he can taste it. There is a furious desire in him to destroy everything Carlton Drake has ever built, then eat his family and friends and acquaintances until he’s standing in a lake of blood, sated and triumphant.

“If you don’t like it,” Eddie says, drawing his attention, “then I’m going to leave you here. Forever. And I’m getting out on my own.”

He is probably lying. He won’t make it out alone. He is too weak, too tired, and Venom can hear Carnage coming. He considers agreeing just to appease Eddie, then taking control as soon as the lid opens. Asserting his dominance. Eddie is his to own and his to play with. He can take control and eat Drake and then take Eddie home. Mark his territory. Slide along the smooth skin and make him make the sounds that Venom loves so much.

But he also doesn’t want Eddie to hate him. He meant that. And doing that might make Eddie hate him more.

“If you want me so badly, then maybe consider working with me instead of trying to own me.”

Eddie stares at him through the glass, eyes scared but determined. He is always so determined.

Venom thinks about Riot, who called himself a team leader. But Riot did not want a team. He wanted complete and utter control, and that is why Venom hated him so much. He held too tightly.

In a sudden rush, Venom realizes that maybe his pet is right. He doesn’t need to tame or control the fire. He needs to work with it. They can burn the world together. As a team.

Venom is not Riot. He will never be like Riot again. He will get out of here and he will make it right with Eddie, and together, they will be vengeance incarnate. Unstoppable and bloody and fierce and perfect.

He ripples again, hoping that Eddie will see the agreement. Eddie lets out a breath and reaches for the release mechanism.

Then Carnage comes in and there is a tense exchange between Eddie and the red-hair-murder-human. Venom eyes the other symbiote, feeling a sense of sorrow. There is likely nothing left of Carnage in there, as corrupted and twisted as the other human’s mind was. Venom could barely keep himself together in there. His brother is probably gone.

Eddie steps around the table and Venom panics. No Eddie don’t go with him don’t leave me here Eddie Eddie Eddie—

Then his host turns and shoves the container and Venom is falling. The glass shatters around him, the oxygen makes him cringe, but Eddie is right there, right there, and Venom latches onto him with a roar of joy.

The warmth surrounds him, and it feels like coming home.

Chapter Text

Eddie is frozen, his hand clenched so tightly around the phone that he almost feels it’s going to break. “Drake?”

“Here’s how this is going to go,” Drake says. “I have your girlfriend. You have my symbiote. In one hour, you’re going to meet me at her apartment. We will perform a trade, and then we’ll go our separate ways. I’ll leave you alone. You never contact me again. Your girlfriend gets to live. Understand?”

“Let me talk to her,” he demands. “I swear if you fucking touch her—”

“I’m not going to touch her. My men, on the other hand, are extremely angry with how Riken met his end, and if you’re not here in an hour I might not be able to control them. Do you understand?”

“Yeah,” Eddie says roughly. “I understand.”

“Good. Looking forward to seeing you.” The line goes dead, and Eddie slowly lowers the phone from his ear.

This…is not good.

“Not good?” A hysterical laugh bursts from him. “Forgetting your groceries in the car is not good, Venom. This is a goddamn nightmare.” He buries his face in his hands for a second as panic slowly swallows him. “We have to go get her. We have to help. We can’t—I can’t—”

He can’t get the words out. Venom has him now, there’s no reason for the alien to go back put himself in harms way for Anne’s sake.

Calm yourself, Venom says.

“We have to help her,” Eddie says again. “Please, Venom. Please. We can’t leave her to that. She didn’t ask for any of this. It’s not fair.”

Settle down. Venom slides over his face, silencing his desperate words. We will help her.

Eddie blinks in surprise, then paws at the blackness covering his mouth. Venom lets him pull it away. “What? We will? You will?”

She is important to you. And I would like a chance to repay Drake for his…mistakes.

His head is spinning from all the sudden personality turns Venom is making, but he decides not to make a fuss about it. He’s getting what he wants. It’s enough. “Thank you.”

You’re welcome. Venom slides over the back of his hand. It might not end well for us, though. I will not willingly go back to him. There will be a fight.

“Well, I wasn’t planning on just giving you back.” Eddie drums his fingers on the bike, trying to think. There’s got to be a way to do this without losing anyone.

No? There’s a note of happiness in his voice.

“No way. I give you up, he either takes me back to the labs or he kills me. Letting me go is a pipe dream.” Eddie rubs the back of his neck. “Together we might be able to ambush and take him down. At least distract him long enough for Anne to get away.”

And then we eat his brain.

“Slowly. Painfully. In many small bites.”

Yessss. Venom laughs and twists around him. Do we have a plan?

“Honestly, our plans always go to shit. I say we go to Anne’s apartment and just wreak havoc.”

Venom considers, then says, I am okay with that.

“Good.” He sits on his bike and revs it into life. “You’re driving, by the way.” Time is of the essence, and the alien is a way more reckless driver than he is.

Venom makes delighted noise and oozes down his arms, twisting the throttle to make the bike roar. Hold on tight, then.

He holds on. Venom weaves them in and out of traffic, crossing red lights and using sidewalks when necessary. Eddie spends most of the trip swearing loudly and shouting for people to get out of the way. They almost clip two pedestrians, but Venom kindly scoots them over at the last second.

Okay he throws them out of the way, but it amounts to the same thing. Better than being hit by a motorcycle.

They eventually reach Anne’s block, and Eddie instructs him to pull over. “Okay,” he says once the roar of the engine is off. “So we know they’re going to have sound weapons.”

Yes.

“Do we have any defense against those? Can I wear earplugs or something?”

I don’t think that will work. It damages my body on a molecular level. I don’t have to actually hear it.

“Okay, well is there anything that would work?”

If I destroy them. I was not ready when they got us the first time.

“Can we have a backup idea?”

Destroy them quickly?

“That’s not a backup idea.”

That is the best idea we have.

He’s right, sadly. Eddie sighs and looks down at his bare feet, which are now black and filthy from his bike and walking around the streets. Hopefully he doesn’t step on a needle or something. “We need to look inside somehow,” he says. “Get a headcount and see if they brought anything really nasty. And we need to see where Anne is.”

Hmm. Vemom takes control of him and looks around. Up there.

They climb up a fire escape to a balcony, which affords them a slightly better view. Through the living room window, they can see six guys in Life Foundation uniforms, including Drake. In the middle of the room is a large black…thing, which Eddie assumes is an amplifier. “I see her,” Eddie says, pointing. “Shit. Dan’s next to her. I didn’t know he was there.”

They are not restrained, Venom points out. They might be able to help.

“No way. We need to get them a window to get out. We don’t want Drake using them against us.” He thinks for a second. “Okay. I might have an idea. Like, a really terrible idea.”

How terrible?

“They’re expecting us, right?”

Yes.

“Probably looking out every window, and watching every inch of the street.”

Yes.

“So what’s the only way they’re not looking?”

…that is a terrible idea, Eddie.

“Yep. Can you do it?”

Maybe?

“It’s the only chance we’re gonna have.”

Anne will not be happy.

Eddie snorts a little. “She’ll be alive, V. I don’t think she’ll much care.”

Getting onto the roof Anne’s apartment is nerve-racking. Not because he doesn’t think they can do it, but because every second he expects to feel gunfire shredding him apart. Or hear the frequency designed to shake him apart.

“Are you sure you can do this?” he asks, kneeling down and putting his hand on the roof.

No.

“Oh. Great.”

Get ready, Venom warns him. This will likely hurt us both.

“Oh, great.”

Venom forms up around him, then jumps straight up. They shoot into the air, a dizzying height that makes Eddie feel like vomiting. At the height of the jump, two tentacles extend from them and latch onto the roof. For a moment they’re suspended in midair, teetering at the top of an unstable triangle.

Then Venom pulls.

They rocket towards the roof in a dizzyingly fast drop. Eddie has a millisecond to think holy fucking shit we’re gonna die before they smash through the roof in a fantastic cacophony of ceiling tiles, plaster, and wood. The force of the pull takes them down through all three floors, ending with a crater in the living room where the amplifier used to be, smack in the middle of Anne, Dan, and twelve Life Foundation guards.

“Ow,” Eddie says, trying to wheeze in a breath. Even surrounded and protected by Venom, that fucking hurt.

Agreed, Venom says, sounding a little dazed.

They pick their head up enough to see Drake peel himself up from the floor and stagger to a knee, looking like a ghost from the plaster dust. There’s a cut on his head and he touches it gingerly. “You fucking pain in the ass,” he hisses, pushing up to his feet as he picks up his gun.

“Move!” Eddie shouts, and they roll, blasting an arm towards the gun to knock it away. “Get their sound things!”

There’s a snarl of agreement and Venom spins, multiple tentacles springing out to knock the Foundation guards over. They pick up one and throw him into another, then shove Anne and Dan out of the way into the hall.

A guard gets himself up from the floor and rushes towards them, hand reaching for his sound device. They grab it from him, hurl it out the window, and flip him over their shoulder into another guard.

“Take him down!” Drake shrieks, sounding both pissed off and a little worried.

Venom and Eddie grab the coffee table and throw it at two oncoming guards. They hit the floor with a crack that makes Eddie wince. “Four down.”

I can count, Venom growls.

“I know—duck!”

They duck in time to miss a vase being hurled across the room. Venom growls in irritation and throws the offending man opposite, tossing him into Drake. They both tumble across the floor and hit the wall. Stop giving me directions!

“I’m just trying to help!”

I don’t need your—

One of the guards jumps on them, then holds something right next to their ear. The sound frequency hits like a cannon, making them scream and shake and writhe. Eddie strains to keep his eyes open as Venom slowly starts to drip off of him, losing control. The guard grunts, levering a something bulky around Eddie’s neck. A sound collar.

“Fuck…you…” Eddie growls, his human hand groping for something, anything, to knock this guy off. He finally grabs a couch pillow and whams it backwards as hard as he can. The guard, probably not expecting a sudden pillow fight, grunts in surprise and lets up on the sound for a second. It’s enough for Eddie to fall onto his back and land on the guy.

Then Venom is back, fully formed around him. They rip the device away and crush it with a tendril, then pick the guard up with a dozen more. That hurt, Venom growls, and with a roar, he rips the guard in half.

“Dude,” Eddie says, disgust swelling in him as blood and guts drip everywhere. “Oh man, Anne’s gonna be pissed about the carpet…”

Another guard runs at them with another collar, ready to jump and put it on. Venom snarls, but before they can do anything, the guard is suddenly flying sideways as Dan suddenly appears, hitting the guy with an NFL-worthy tackle. The momentum carries them into the kitchen, where they both hit the counter and slump to the ground.

“Dan!” Eddie shouts breathlessly, but he doesn’t get a chance to do anything as three more guards rush him. Using a dozen thick tendrils, they slam the three into the floor, breaking their individual sound weapons. There’s a containment chamber nearby, somehow unbroken, and they pick it up and smash it over one’s head. The other two are slammed together with a crunch of bone, then unceremoniously dropped in a heap.

The last few face off against them, looking very nervous. “You wanna give up now?” Eddie shouts, unsure if they can actually hear him while he’s inside Venom.

I suggest you run away, Venom snarls, stepping towards them.

Two of them do. They drop their guns and sprint for the door. The last one, Eddie recognizes him as a friend of Riken’s, just twists his face in anger and raises his gun. “You killed my friend,” he says, raising his gun.

Venom doesn’t hesitate. He grabs the guy, pulls him in close, and bites his head off.

“BROCK!”

They turn, still holding the guard’s body, and see Drake standing there, holding a gun to Anne’s head. She is clawing at Drake’s arm, but it’s protected in that stupid leather jacket. “I’ve had just about enough of this,” Drake says furiously. His head is still bleeding, leaving trails through the plaster dust. It gives him an eerie look. “Put your fucking symbiote away. NOW.”

Venom immediately melts back into Eddie, who clenches his fists and steps forward. “We broke your container,” he says, gesturing at the pieces on the floor by the bleeding guard. “And we’re not going back with you. Let her go.”

“No,” Drake says, backing into the kitchen. “I don’t think I will.” He kicks something towards Eddie. A sound collar, one of the ones the guards were going to put on him earlier. “Put that on, Brock. Now. Or she’s dead.”

“Eddie, don’t,” Anne gasps out. Drake tightens his grip on her neck.

“Are you fucking deaf, Brock?”

“I’m not going to give him to you,” Eddie says, desperation filling him. Venom winds around his chest underneath his shirt. “I won’t, Drake.”

“Do you want me to kill her?” His finger tightens on the trigger.

“Don’t!” Eddie shouts, putting his hands up. “Drake, let her go!”

“Put it on!” His finger tightens more.

Do it, Venom says. Eddie. Just do it.

“What?”

He’s going to kill her. Put the collar on right now.

Eddie kneels down, reaching for the collar with a shaking hand. “Okay,” he says, moving slowly. “Okay. I’m doing it.”

“No,” Anne moans, but Drake just smiles.

“Good choice, Brock. Very smart.”

Eddie picks up the collar, a sinking feeling in his stomach. He can’t put it on. He can’t. He won’t go back to being another one of Drake’s experiments. He won’t subject Venom to that. But if he doesn’t…

He swallows, and puts the collar around his neck.

“Lock it,” Drake says. “I’m not falling for that twice.”

Eddie fumbles for the mechanism, staring up at Drake. “Please,” he starts, but then there’s a clanging sound that echoes throughout the room, and Drake suddenly crumples like a puppet with its strings cut. Anne tumbles to the floor with him, unable to keep her balance.

Standing behind him is Dan, holding a skillet in one hand and covering his mouth with the other. “Oh, my God,” he mutters, staring down at the unconscious man. “Oh, my God. I just hit him. I hit him on the head. I’m a doctor, and I hit him on the head.”

“Good work,” Eddie says weakly, dropping the collar on the floor. “Jesus, man, I thought we were toast. Are you okay?”

Anne extracts herself from Drake’s limp arm and Dan helps her up. “Yeah,” he says, still looking surprised. “Uh. Yeah. I’m okay. Are you guys okay?”

“I’m fine,” Anne whispers, wrapping her arms around Dan. He hugs her back. Eddie looks away.

Venom winds though his fingers and squeezes them. Are you alright, Eddie? Are you hurt?

“I’m a little sore,” he says. “From…well, from that.” He points up at the roof. “Otherwise, no. I’m alright.”

Hmm. Venom pops out from his shoulder. That’s going to cost a lot.

Eddie laughs a little. “Understatement, buddy.” He looks up at the hole, sees the lazy clouds drifting across the sky. “Anne, I’m really sorry about…well about all of it, really. But especially that.”

“Eddie,” Anne says faintly, looking up at the roof. “Did you…did you cannonball into my house?”

Eddie looks up at the hole, then back at her. “…yes?”

She starts to speak, then shakes her head and collapses onto the floor instead. Dan sinks down with her, his face completely white. Eddie stumbles over to him. “Hey. Hey, Dan. You okay, man?”

“You bit someone’s head off,” Dan whispers.

Eddie looks at the guard’s body. “Yeah. Yeah, that’s not really pleasant to see. I’m sorry.”

“What is…” he gestures helplessly to Eddie. “What…how…”

“This is Venom,” Eddie says, sitting next him. Venom forms on his shoulder, bobbing in the air. Examining Dan. “He’s an alien from another planet. He’s uh…sharing me.”

Dan looks like he might either throw up or pass out. Possibly both. Eddie knows the feeling. “It’s okay,” he says. “Really. I’m alright with it.”

“But you were hurting him,” Anne says to Venom, glaring at him with a rancor that makes Eddie feel like hiding under a rock. “I saw the bruises! You called him your—“ She doesn’t finish, but her face turns red with rage.

“We’ve got a lot to tell you.” Eddie shifts his weight, trying to find a way to sit that doesn’t hurt his back. Christ, he’s sore. He’s never jumping into another building again. “We spent some time in the Life Foundation, and now—”

Eddie.

“Yeah, V?”

He’s awake.

“Uuuuuggh,” Drake moans, shifting on the floor.

Carlton Drake, Venom says, twisting around Eddie.

Drake mutters something that’s either a curse or a prayer, and rolls over onto his back. “Eddie Fucking Brock,” he says weakly. “Of all the people.”

“Drake,” Eddie says. “You’re the worst human being I’ve ever met. And that list sadly includes three pedophiles, an arsonist, and San Francisco’s most notorious serial killer.”

“That wounds me,” Drake coughs, rolling onto his side. “Long journal entry about that tonight.” He slowly gets onto one knee, then stands up, using the wall for support.

Eddie rolls his eyes. “How many people died in your labs, Drake? How many experiments?” He shoves the other man back into the doorframe. “How many kids, Drake?”

“It was for the good of the world,” Drake hisses. “For humanity. I was going to save us all! I wouldn’t expect you to understand, you dull, simple-minded–”

A tentacle shoots forward and wraps around his throat, cutting him off and lifting his feet from the floor. You are a monster, Venom growls simply. And now, you are dead. He forms up around Eddie and leans forward, opening wide.

“Wait!” Anne shouts, running forward. She puts a hand on their arm. “Eddie. Venom. Don’t, please. Let’s call the police. He needs to go to jail and answer properly for the things he’s done. You don’t have to kill him.”

We don’t have to, Venom agrees, backing off. There’s a look of relief on Drake’s face as they lower him back to the ground. A small tendril sprouts from their arm and lands on Anne’s shoulder, gently pushing her back a few feet. But we really, really want to.

They unhinge their jaw, and bite Drake’s head off.

“Oh…” Anne says. That’s all she gets out before she throws up on the floor.

Venom drops Drake’s body and sinks back into Eddie, who stumbles back a few steps. “So much for small bites,” he says, shaking his head. “Anne. I’m sorry. I—”

“Well,” a familiar voice says. Eddie turns to see Cletus Kasady leaning against the open door, Carnage sliding over his arms, red flickering in his eyes. “That was certainly dramatic.”

Chapter Text

“Oh for fucks sake,” Eddie says exasperatedly, Venom snarling the same thing inside him. “Have you been following me this whole time?”

“No, actually,” Kasady says. “We were following him.” He gestures to Drake. “But turns out he was looking for you, so it all worked out.”

“Don’t worry, I bet you were next on the list.” Eddie rolls his shoulders back. “Sorry if we ruined your revenge plot.”

“Oh no. I think he got what he deserved.” Kasady walks past him and nudges Drake’s body with his foot. “Definitely what he deserved.” He examines the rest of the room. “Looks like it was an impressive fight. I’m almost sorry we missed it.”

“I’m sure,” Eddie says. He looks around. There’s still a few guards left alive, although they’re still unconscious. He’s not really sure what to do about that. “So what the fuck do you want, then?”

“I was looking to eliminate a threat,” Kasady says. “But seems like you took care of that for me.” He smiles. “So I guess now we’re just here for what’s ours.”

Eddie tenses, and his eyes flick towards Dan and Anne. Kasady notices, and his grin gets noticeably wider.

“What is this?” Anne asks. She’s pressed herself into Dan, and her face is white. “Eddie?”

“Eddie and I were together in the Life Foundation,” Kasady says to her. “We got pretty close, didn’t we, Eddie?”

“Not the word I’d use.” Eddie steps in between them, his mind racing, trying to figure out the best way to keep everyone alive. If Venom and Carnage fight here, the collateral damage would be…considerable. “Why don’t we take this somewhere else?”

“Trying to keep your girlfriend safe? Very noble of you, Eddie.”

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Glad to hear it.” Kasady moves a little closer, cutting into his personal space. There’s still dried blood on his shirt from the escape. “I wouldn’t want there to be any…distractions between us.” He reaches out.

Black tendrils slap his hand away. Don’t touch him, Venom snarls, forming at his shoulder.

“Ah, Venom. There you are.” There’s a predatory glint in his eye. "Good to see you again. Miss having you around."

In his head, Venom shudders a little. Fear? Disgust? Eddie isn't sure.

“Did he tell you about our night together? Did you watch it in his mind?”

Eddie flushes red and glances at Anne and Dan. They’re staring at him with open mouths. Dan looks a little sick. “Stop,” Eddie says, leaning backwards. “Kasady, stop. It’s over, okay? Drake’s dead, I’ve got Venom back. This is done. Just give up already.”

Kasady ignores him. “He makes such pretty sounds,” he says to Venom. “And he has so much stubbornness in him. So much…tenacity. Just doesn’t know when to stop fighting.”

He is very stubborn, Venom agrees, a tendril winding around Eddie’s arm. And he’s mine. All mine. Forever.

“Of course he is,” Kasady says. Eddie blinks in surprise. “We don't want to take him, Venom. We only want to play a little. That’s all.”

Venom hums and twists around Eddie, something like interest stirring across their connection. Play?

“You can keep him. Do whatever you want to him.” Kasady licks his lips, leans a little closer. “We just want to…help.”

“Oh fuck you,” Eddie starts, but Venom winds around his wrist and squeezes hard.

Define help.

“Think about it,” Kasady whispers, moving even closer. Eddie tries to stand his ground, but then his composure cracks and he moves backwards until his shoulders hit the wall behind him. Even with Venom as backup, this guy still scares the shit out of him.

Think about what?

“The three of us, working together. Holding him down.” Carnage slips over his skin in patterns, like a weird undulating tattoo. “We could watch him struggle in our grasp before taking him over, and over, and over again.” His voice drops lower, sending shivers down Eddie’s spine. “Think of the sounds he would make for us.”

At his shoulder, Venom stops moving. There’s a strange tilt to his head, and Eddie feels the cold creep of dread seeping into his gut. “Venom.”

No response. “Venom,” Eddie says again, a little more desperately this time. He tries to push into their mental connection, but there's a wall between them that he can't breach. “Please. Come on. You can’t be thinking about this.”

He does make lovely noises, Venom says slowly, and Kasady grins.

“V!” Eddie says, shoving the alien’s head. “Listen to me!”

A tendril pulls his arms down, then they’re twisted and tied up behind his back. Eddie growls and struggles, but Venom just takes over his muscles and locks them in place. “Please don’t do this,” he says, fighting the urge to hyperventilate. “I’m yours, you said I’m yours, we were working together! You can’t do this to me!”

Venom twists around him until he and Eddie are face to face, and Eddie is staring into the horrible teeth. I can do what I want with you, he says coldly. You are my pet, and I am the one in control.

Eddie starts to say something, but blackness smothers his mouth. He sucks in air through his nose and tries not to panic, which doesn’t really work so well. So much for that alliance, he thinks, and despair fills him alongside the anger.

He really shouldn’t be surprised. He knew it was a long shot. There’s too much of a power imbalance. Venom has a thousand ways to manipulate and control him, and he has no recourse against any of it. But it still hurts like a punch to the gut when Venom turns back to Kasady and says, We should go now. Because for a few moments, he really thought that they might be a team. That they might be able to make this whole symbiosis thing work.

You fucking idiot, he thinks, and tears well up in his eyes.

Kasady makes a soothing noise and brushes them away with his thumb. “Don’t worry,” he whispers. “We’ll take such good care of you.”

His eyes blaze red for a moment, and Eddie shrinks away in fear. Then Carnage emerges from his back and flares outward. Behind him, Dan and his frying pan hit the floor with a groan.

“Did you think I was distracted?” Kasady asks angrily, stepping over and kicking the pan away. He puts his foot on Dan’s outstretched wrist. Carnage seeps from his leg and covers Dan, immobilizing him on the floor. “I’m disappointed, doctor.”

“Let me go,” Dan says, struggling against Carnage’s hold. He looks terrified, but his voice is steady. “You’re insane. We won’t let you hurt Eddie.”

Venom snakes out from Eddie and blocks Anne, who is standing up as well. Stay down, Anne, he orders her, and she sinks back to the floor.

“You don’t have any choice in what happens to Eddie,” Kasady says, leaning harder on Dan’s wrist. Dan shoves at him but he doesn’t move. “Eddie doesn’t have any choice in what happens to Eddie.”

“This is wrong,” Anne says from her spot on the floor. “He’s our friend, you can’t just—”

Be quiet, Venom hisses, wrapping a tendril around her throat, and she stops talking.

Kasady is still standing on Dan, and Eddie does not like the way he’s staring, as if Dan is a particularly fancy butterfly and Kasady’s trying to figure out how to display him. He shouts behind his gag. Nothing intelligible, but it’s enough to make Kasady turn a little and wave a hand. “Let him talk.”

Venom melts into him. “Please,” Eddie gasps, trying to breathe in and plead at the same time. “Kas—Cletus, don’t hurt him. Let them go. We’ll go with you.”

“Yes, you will,” Kasady says. “I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned about your friends having misplaced ideas.”

“They won’t,” he says. “They won’t. They’ll leave us alone. They’ll let us go.” He looks at Dan and Anne, who look very much like they’re going to do the opposite. “They’ll let us go,” he repeats, more forcefully.

Anne meets his eyes and holds them. Eddie tries to communicate as much as he can, unsure how much is actually getting across to her through the terror written all over him.

Finally, she nods. “We won’t do anything,” she says to Kasady.

“Anne!” Dan says. “Anne, you can’t be serious!”

Kasady raises an eyebrow. “Doesn’t sound like your doctor is on board, my dear.”

Eddie twists against Venom and curses under his breath. “Tie them up,” he says. “Tie them up or lock them in a closet or something. Please don’t kill them.” He lets his voice go softer. “For me?”

They end up doing both. Carnage takes the handcuffs from the unconscious guards, and Kasady takes Anne and Dan out of Eddie’s sight. He listens with a pit in his stomach, but he doesn’t hear any murderous sounds, and Kasady is back moments later. “They’re in the bathroom,” he says at Eddie’s questioning look. “Alive, yes.”

“Thank you,” Eddie says. He doesn’t try to hide the relief in his voice.

There are sirens in the distance. Kasady pauses, obviously listening, then says, “Let’s go, sweetheart, before the company gets here.”

Venom is still in control, and he’s the one who walks them out to the Life Foundation car outside the house. Eddie resigns himself to being a passenger in his own body, although he makes sure Venom knows exactly how pissed off he is about it. The alien doesn’t flinch.

Kasady gets behind the driver’s side and pulls away with a screech of tires. They turn down neighborhood streets and cross roads until they reach the highway, where the car turns north.

“Where are you taking me?”

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of you.”

“I’m not going to let you do this,” Eddie says, turning as much as Venom will let him. “You hear me? I’m not just going to sit back and—”

Venom curls back over his mouth, cutting off his words. Eddie makes a noise of protest, but Venom just presses in tighter.

“I know you want to fight,” Kasady says, navigating onto the interstate. “I look forward to it.”

The predatory look is back, and Eddie remembers what he’d described to Venom. The three of us, working together. Holding him down.

God, he isn’t sure how he’s going to get out of this one. Venom alone is enough to control him, there’s no way he can fight against Carnage and Kasady too. The only weapon he has is his voice, and even that’s under Venom’s mercy. He's fucked. He's absolutely fucked. There is no scenario here where he comes out on top.

Eddie tries to stay calm, but his breathing is too fast and shallow. He’s on the edge of a panic attack, he can feel himself tipping into the abyss, and the only thing he can do is clench his hands into fists. Use the feel of his fingernails in his skin to try and ground himself. Count up to ten, then back down again.

When he feels some semblance of calm, he opens his eyes and stares out the window. He can do this. He can keep himself together. He’s not going to give Kasady the satisfaction of seeing him break so fast.

Venom peels away from his mouth, then finally releases his hands. Eddie immediately pulls him around to his front. Stay calm, Venom says, winding over the back of his hand. We’ll be okay.

“Uh-huh.”

We will. I promise.

He doesn’t respond to that. Doesn’t know what to say, or how to say it without crying or panicking again. So instead he sets his jaw and punches the radio, because if he has to unwillingly road trip with San Francisco’s most notorious serial killer, he’s not going to do it in complete awkward silence.

They finally turn off the interstate. Eddie isn’t sure where they are—they’re definitely not in San Fransisco anymore—but Kasady seems to know exactly where they’re going. He takes turns with practiced ease, humming along to the radio, looking perfectly comfortable as Carnage continues to crawl all over him.

The neighborhoods start to fall away, replaced with more mountainous terrain. It’s pretty out here, at least. He’ll get some decent scenery while he lives out his life as an alien plaything. The thought makes him both want to laugh and cry, so he puts it away and watches as Kasady pulls onto a long gravel road instead, driving into the hills. The road takes them to a tiny ranch-style house tucked away into the side of a mountain. Almost cozy looking, in a way. It makes Eddie’s skin crawl.

“Please tell me you didn’t bring me to your long-lost murder shed,” he says as Kasady shuts the car off.

The other man laughs. “No, Eddie. This is just a safe house. I’ve had it for years.”

“Oh.”

He stays in the car until Kasady opens his door and pulls him out, then pushes him up the path. “Walk.”

The house has very little in it. It’s one room as far as Eddie can see, with a twin bed tucked into the corner, a shitty little kitchen with a shitty little table, and a desk with a very sleek laptop sitting on it. It looks entirely out of place in the rustic cabin.

Eddie eyes the laptop. He’d lost his phone at some point during the fight, but he could use that to send a message to…somebody. Anybody.

Yeah, and who the fuck is going to come for you? Who else do you want to put in danger?

“On the bed,” Kasady says, closing the door behind him and moving to the desk. “Now, please.” He puts the laptop in a drawer and locks it.

“Getting started right away, huh?” Eddie doesn’t move.

“We don’t like to waste time.”

Eddie.

“What?”

I need you to trust me.

“I don’t,” he mutters, turning away from Kasady, pretending to examine the oddly serene landscape artwork on the wall. He’s not sure if it’s supposed to make the place feel homey, but it really just makes him more nervous.

I know. Venom sounds sad. I don’t deserve it. But I need you to anyway. Just for a moment.

Eddie raises an eyebrow at this. “What’s going on?”

“Eddie,” Kasady says. “I believe we gave you an order.”

Go, Eddie. Do what he says.

“Yeah. I’m going,” he says to both of them, stepping over to the bed. He sits on the edge and taps his fingers nervously on the mattress. There’s something going on here. Something Venom’s not sharing with him. He doesn’t like it.

Lay down.

Eddie bites his lip, but turns so he’s on his back looking up at the ceiling. “What’s the play, Venom?” he whispers, not really expecting an answer.

Venom takes over, pulling Eddie’s arms above his head and securing them there. Trust me.

Eddie bites his lip, sucks in a breath, and nods. He doesn’t have any other choices.

Kasady comes over and stands next to the bed, eyes roaming appreciatively over Eddie’s vulnerability. “Beautiful,” he says, red flaring into his eyes again.

Carnage, Venom says, forming a head and torso from Eddie’s chest. Join us.

The red spills from Kasady’s flesh, pulling him up and taller until the whole symbiote is standing before him, crimson and tall and terrifying.

 

yes yes yes eddie eddie you are here and ours we will make you feel good

 

He leans in.

Be ready, Venom warns Eddie.

“For what?”

As soon as Carnage touches Eddie, Venom strikes. Black latches onto red, pulling and ripping it forward. Carnage howls in pain and Venom snarls in triumph, pulling harder. For this.

Venom oozes around Eddie and jumps up, forming giant claws and ripping into Carnage’s skin. Carnage stumbles backwards, but Venom is faster, overlaying the red and pinning the younger symbiote down to the floor. They sit on top of Carnage, one massive hand around his throat and the other gripping his upper jaw.

I told you, Venom snarls, Carnage’s upper jaw gripped underneath his claws. Eddie. Is. MINE.

Carnage snarls in defiance, and Venom pulls. Eddie watches in horror as the jaw slides away in a grotesque manner. Carnage loses his form, revealing Kasady beneath him, screaming in pain. Venom gives one final yank and pulls Carnage away completely, kicking the human to the side. Enough, he says furiously. We are done here.

Carnage twists and squirms in Venom’s hand, a writhing mass of distressed red goo. “Oh my God,” Eddie says, feeling both relieved and slightly nauseated. “Did you just rip his head off?”

I extracted him from his host. We will find him a new one now.

“Oh.” Eddie’s head is spinning. He feels weak. “Wait, that was your plan all along?”

Yes.

“And you couldn’t share that with the class because…”

Needed you to believe it. Needed it to look real. He might have guessed otherwise.

“You’re an asshole,” Eddie says, but there’s too much relief in his voice to really get his point across. So he wasn’t wrong about Venom after all.

There’s an amused snort. So you’ve said.

He looks around the building. “Is there any particular reason we let him drive us out to his murder shed?”

You wanted to keep Anne safe. We had to go with him. Had to get away.

Eddie concedes the point. “So what do we do with him?”

We will absorb—

Something hits them, knocking them to the floor. They roll right back up to their feet and spin. In their hand, Carnage twists and stretches out—

“NO!” Eddie shouts, Venom echoing him, but it’s too late. Carnage and Kasady make contact, and the red symbiote slips Venom’s hold, melting back into Kasady.

Shit.

Kasady spits a mouthful of blood to the side and crosses his arms. “Did you really think it was going to be that easy?”

Yes, Venom says shortly. He is young. You might have corrupted his mind, but we will fix it. We will make him better.

Eddie wonders for a moment if he’s trying to reassure Carnage or convince himself, but the thought is derailed as Kasady cracks his knuckles. Red slides over him, turning him into Carnage once more. He speaks, and the child-like tone of a moment ago is replaced by a raspier, deeper mixture of the two voices. It sends shivers down Eddie’s spine.

If you want us, you will have to come and take us. We will not leave our host willingly.

 

I know, Venom says, sadness rippling through his voice. I’m sorry, Carnage.

They run forward, and the two symbiotes collide.

Chapter Text

The collision nearly knocks the wind out of Eddie, even while he’s wrapped inside Venom. Carnage roars and rears back, but Venom slams a fist into his gut and sends him flying completely through the opposite wall.

“What now?” Eddie shouts over the breaking of wood. “We pull him out again?”

Yes. We have to separate them.

They burst through the hole and over to Carnage, who is laying on the ground in a pile of rubble. That was painful, he says again in that deeper voice, rolling to his feet.

We don’t want to fight you. They look down at the smaller symbiote. But we will not let you continue like this.

 

You can try, Venom. You will not win.

 

So be it, Venom says, and they lunge forward, grabbing Carnage by the leg. Carnage snarls and claws at their arm but they spin around and throw, sending him flying several hundred yards. He lands hard, gouging a crater in the dirt.

“Jesus,” Eddie says. “Guess it’s a good thing we left the civilians behind.”

Venom grunts in agreement, then ducks as Carnage throws a small tree at them. If you have any ideas, now is a good time.

“Oh, now you want my ideas?” They pick up the tree and throw it back. “You sure as hell didn’t want them before!”

This is not the moment to be petty—

A giant boulder slams into them, hurling them backwards. Venom loses control and melts back into Eddie as they hit the ground, leaving his very human form to tumble along for several painful yards.

“Ow,” Eddie mutters, rolling onto his back, feeling vaguely like laundry in a dryer. “Unfair.”

Venom oozes back around him. A few joints pop back into place. Hang on, he says, and they push up hard from the ground, soaring over the next projectile and landing on top of Carnage.

The battle becomes a desperate grapple of claws and teeth and snarls. Venom doesn’t stay fully intact around him, but instead slips and slides to block wherever Carnage is striking. Eddie shakes a hand free and manages to punch Kasady in the nose, which hurts his knuckles but also elicits a satisfactory grunt of pain. Venom takes advantage of the momentary distraction and forces himself in between Carnage and Kasady, then flares outward. The two are forced to separate briefly before Carnage pushes back and regains control.

Enough, Venom growls. They shoot out dozens of tendrils and wrap around Carnage like a vice, squeezing his arms to his side and his legs together. He loses his balance and hits the dirt like a sack of bricks. This is enough. They plant a foot on Carnage’s chest and lean down. He struggles underneath them. Give up, Carnage. Leave your host and come with us. We can help you.

 

We do not need your help.

 

You can have what we have, Venom says, and Eddie can hear the desperation behind his words. Your host has twisted and corrupted you, Carnage. This is not true symbiosis. We can show you what that is. But you have to leave him. He is hurting you.

For a second, Eddie thinks they might have him. Carnage stops struggling and looks up at him with interested eyes. When he speaks, he sounds like himself again.

 

you will help me find another host you will not hurt me kill me dead?

 

We do not want to kill you. We want to help you. Venom’s tone is pleading, and they lean a little closer. Please let us help you.

Carnage stills even further, then says, Yes. You can help us.

“V, wait,” Eddie warns, but Venom is already stepping back and loosening his hold—

Carnage lunges up from the ground, his hand forming a formidable knife. He thrusts it right in their heart and roars loudly as he twists it further. The pain makes them drop to their knees, gasping for air under the weight of it.

 

What you have is weak, Venom. This is true symbiosis. This is true power. We do not need your help. Your time here is over.

 

The knife withdraws and Venom instantly starts repairing the damage, but they don’t have time to duck the fist that swings at their head. They fly backwards again, hitting the ground in an explosion of dirt and gravel.

“Venom,” Eddie says weakly. “V.”

I am fixing it. He seeps back into Eddie, focusing on the giant hole in his torso. Eddie winces as the wound starts to close.

“I know, buddy.” He picks his head up and looks at Carnage, who is snarling and crouching down. “Shit, we gotta move!”

Venom forms around him and scrambles them out of the way just in time to miss being jumped on again. Carnage growls and forms his knife hands again.

“Why can’t you do that?”

Fixing. Takes energy. Duck.

Eddie ducks. Venom seeps down his leg and they kick Carnage, sending him in the opposite direction. “Before, dude. Why not before?”

Venom goes back to his chest. Didn’t want to kill him.

He looks at the other symbiote. “I know that too. But I think we’re gonna have to, maybe.”

I know.

“I’m sorry,” Eddie says, as Carnage picks himself up and starts running at them again. “I don't want to.”

Me neither. He forms around Eddie again.

They collide once more, and then it’s back to the grappling. Eddie punches where he can, ducks where he can’t. He and Venom work as one, moving smoothly from step to step without the need for words. The connection between them is practically sparking with images and feelings; they are fused so tightly so he isn’t sure where one begins and the other ends. His every motion is sure and focused and he can feel Venom like a drumbeat in his bones, set to a perfect rhythm. Synchronized with every pulse.

True symbiosis, he thinks. That’s what this is.

Then Carnage gets between them in the same move Venom had tried earlier, and the beat stutters slightly. It’s enough for Carnage to pull and rip and peel him away and suddenly Eddie is alone, symbiote-less on the ground. Carnage is standing triumphant over him. In his right hand is a squirming mass of black that Eddie instantly recognizes. “Venom!”

Weak, Carnage snarls. And utterly useless.

Eddie shoves up to his feet, but Carnage steps on him and pushes him back down. Stay down, he orders. Don’t move.

“Fuck that,” Eddie growls. He grabs the nearest thing he can—a splintery piece of wood—and whacks Carnage across the leg with it. Something hits his head in return and the pain of it lights up his vision, knocking him out of reality for a moment.

When he comes back to life, he is released and Carnage is standing alone. No sign of Venom.

“What the fuck did you do with him,” Eddie says. He scrambles backwards on his ass, unable to really get his feet to properly work. “Venom! Venom!”

 

He is gone, Eddie.

 

Eddie shakes his head. “No. No fucking way. You’ve got him somewhere!” He finally manages to get his feet underneath him, standing on wobbly legs as Carnage recedes back into Kasady.

“He’s gone,” Kasady repeats, wiping a drop of blood from his nose. “And now you’re ours.”

“Fuck that,” Eddie says again. He stumbles backwards, tripping over debris from the cabin wall. “Tell me where you put Venom!”

Kasady shoves him hard, sending him back onto his ass and knocking the wind out of him. Eddie wheezes as he hits the ground. “He’s gone,” Kasady says again, reaching down with a red hand and picking him up by his shirt collar. “Give up, darling. It’s over.” He leans in closer, his lips brushing Eddie’s ear. “You lost.”

He carries Eddie inside and throws him onto the bed. Carnage seeps out and winds around his wrists, holding him down to the mattress. “No,” Eddie moans, trying to sit up.

“Yes,” Kasady says. He climbs onto the bed and moves until he’s straddling Eddie’s hips. Carnage spills from him with a hundred tendrils, all of them moving and winding over Eddie until he’s completely pinned down. “This is going to happen, Eddie. You might as well get used to the idea.”

There are tears blurring Eddie’s vision. He blinks them away as much as he can and stares up at Kasady’s face, into those deep black eyes. Eddie stares, completely unnerved. “Please don’t,” he whispers, then freezes as Carnage rips his shirt off him, shredding it in the process.

“Don’t worry,” Kasady says, leaning down to drag his tongue up the newly revealed skin. His fingers stray up to Eddie’s neck and tighten. “We said we’d take good care of you. And we will.”

Eddie shudders under the assault, his mind frantically thinking. There’s something wrong with this. Something he can’t put his finger on. There’s—

It comes to him suddenly, as his airflow constricts and he chokes under Kasady’s hand.

Black eyes.

Not red.

Venom.

He doesn’t understand how, or why, but Venom is in there, he’s right there, and Eddie has to get him back. Somehow. Direct physical contact probably, which means he has to…

He makes himself go completely still. Forces himself to stop struggling. Above him, Kasady pauses, then pulls his hand back. “What’s this?”

Eddie coughs a little, then clears his throat. “Okay,” he says when he can speak again. “Okay.”

“Okay, what?”

“I’ll—” He flushes, tries to find the right words. He has to do this. Has to sound convincing. “Cooperate. With you.”

“Will you?” Kasady tilts his head. “That’s a change of pace.”

“Yes.” Eddie pushes against his restraints a little. “Just let me sit up. Please.”

After a moment’s careful consideration, Kasady nods. Carnage pulls away from him and Eddie pushes up onto his elbows. He flicks his gaze back to those black eyes and hopes like hell Venom will get the message, or else this is going to be very awkward. “Okay,” he whispers. “I’m ready.”

Then he leans forward, and he kisses San Francisco’s most notorious serial killer.

There’s a moment where his brain thinks wow he’s actually not that bad at kissing which is immediately followed by what the actual hell is wrong with you Eddie Brock which is then followed by a chorus of EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE—

“Hi,” Eddie gasps, pulling back, and Venom instantly forms up around him and punches Kasady in the face.

He flies backwards through the hole in the wall, the tendrils ripping off Eddie like tissue paper. Are you okay? Venom asks, stepping off the bed and walking over to the broken wall.

“Yeah, buddy. I’m okay.”

They step outside and look down at the writhing body beneath them.

Carnage, Venom says. I’m sorry.

Kasady groans again, and Carnage seeps out to cover him. But he doesn’t make a move. He just stares up at Venom, eyes wide and chest heaving.

 

do it venom

 

Venom snarls.

 

can’t fight him not strong enough do it please need help he won’t let go won’t get out of my head i need him out please please

 

“V,” Eddie says softly. “We have to. Or else it’s not gonna end.”

I know.

They reach down and grip Carnage in one hand, then give a tremendous pull. With a terrible sucking sound, Carnage emerges from Kasady and writhes over their fist, getting out of reach of Kasady’s grasping arms.

“No,” Kasady hisses from the ground. “Give it back. Give it back to me!”

You don’t deserve him, Venom growls. You hurt him.

“It’s mine!”

No, he’s not. They reach down with tendrils and pull Kasady up by his neck. He hovers a foot above the ground, thrashing and snarling. There’s no trace of the usual cool, collected persona. This is animalistic fury, horrifying and visceral.

“I take back what I said about Drake,” Eddie says. “You’re definitely the worst person I’ve ever met.”

“You—” Kasady starts, but Venom winds over his mouth and silences him.

You talk too much, he says, and the tendrils twist hard, snapping his neck. Eddie winces at the crack, then winces again as Venom drops the lifeless body onto the floor. It is time to be quiet now.

“Please don’t eat him,” Eddie says. “I really don’t want that brain in our system.”

Venom ignores him, turning instead to look at Carnage. You are safe with us.

 

thank you venom

i can go now can go happy can go free

 

“Go?” Eddie asks. “What does he mean, go?”

No, Venom snarls. We can host you until we find another. You will NOT die here.

 

mind is ruined

can still feel him

feel his cold

 

We can fix it, Venom insists. A new host. A better one.

 

won’t help not enough time you know that

stuck in my mind stuck forever can feel it

would put you in danger eddie in danger all in danger please don’t make me

 

We can find you a better one, Venom says desperately.

 

don’t want new host

want to rest here with you

want to be free

 

No, Venom says, and he sounds heartbroken. Carnage. Please.

 

eddie can i be on you i won’t take just want to be warm i’m so cold

 

“Yeah,” Eddie says, his mind spinning. “Yeah. V, back off for a sec. Let him on me.”

Venom eases back into him, leaving only his head, and gently deposits Carnage on Eddie’s left arm. The red winds around him, gently gliding over his skin. “I’m sorry,” Eddie says. “I wish this could have been different.”

 

me too

take care of venom

you are good for each other

 

“Yeah, kid,” he whispers. “I will.”

Carnage, Venom murmurs, but he doesn’t say anything else.

They sit and watch as the tendril eventually slows, then stops moving. After a long moment, the red drips off his arm and puddles onto the floor.

“Is he…is he dead?” Eddie asks.

Yes.

“Why did he do that? Why wouldn’t he take a new host?”

I told you. Our hosts can influence us, especially one as young as Carnage. Sometimes hosts are so strong they can override our own desires and instincts. Kasady was…He trails off, then says, I almost lost myself in his mind. Carnage would not have had a chance.

“But wouldn’t a new host have changed that?”

Irreversibly contaminated. He would always be susceptible to host manipulation after that. And if it was another like Kasady…all it would take is the right mindset, and he would be another threat. Venom sighs. We would not have had enough time to find the best host. You could only have held us both for a short time.

“Oh.” Eddie scratches his chin. “Makes sense, I guess.”

This was a mercy. Venom stretches forward and gently touches the corpse. He was brave in the end. Braver than I would have been. His voice, normally so deep and raspy, cracks a little bit.

Eddie, for lack of anything better to do, lays his hand on Venom’s head and gently strokes it. “I’m sorry, V.”

Venom startles at first, then slowly leans into the touch. I know.

They sit and contemplate the dead symbiote for a few minutes. “We should bury him,” he finally says. “Make a little grave.”

There’s a moment of uncertainty, but then Venom pulses in agreement. Yes. I think that would be best.

“Take all the time you need,” he says softly, gesturing at the red puddle. “I’ll get started.”

Thank you. Venom slowly twists around Carnage, making a soft keening noise. Eddie picks up a broken piece of wood, jabs it into the dirt, and starts to dig.

Chapter Text

“So what happened to you?” Eddie asks later as they’re driving back from the murder shed. “When they pulled you out of me. You disappeared for a few minutes.”

They hosted me briefly. Similar to what happened in the lab. He twists around the steering wheel, forming a head over Eddie’s wrist. I would have survived long enough to see.

Eddie doesn’t need clarification for that. He feels a little sick at the words.“Oh.”

But I knew you would figure it out.

“Yeah.”

They drive a few more miles, then Venom says, You didn’t have to kiss him, by the way.

“What?”

You could have just touched his face. There’s a gleeful tone in his voice, like he’s trying to hold back a laugh.

“I—” Eddie struggles for the words. “What? You fucking serious?”

I only needed a few moments of direct contact.

“Oh god.” The nausea is back in full force. “Oh, my god. I—you—oh my GOD.”

The laughter breaks free. I won’t judge your choices. It was a desperate moment.

“I would like to die now,” Eddie says, flushing a crimson red. “You can just kill me. Right now. That’s fine.”

Nonsense. Venom licks the back of his hand affectionately. You’ll survive.

“Anne does NOT need to know.” He points a finger at Venom. “You hear me? Not a goddamn word to her.”

Of course not.

Eddie sets his jaw and clenches the steering wheel.

So how was it?

“We’re not talking about it, V.”

Venom laughs again, but he lets the matter drop. Eddie relaxes a little, even as a smile twitches his lips.

They drive for a little longer, then Eddie taps his fingers on the steering wheel. “Okay, I’ve got something else to ask you.”

Yes.

“You’ve been…different. Since the Foundation. You’re less…” He sighs. “I don’t know. Less asshole-ish.”

Mmm.

“We don’t have to get into it,” Eddie says quickly. “If you don’t want to. But I was just curious why.”

I…Venom twists all around his forearms. I had time to think. When I was apart from you.

“What did you think about?”

Many things. But mostly us.

Eddie doesn’t take his eyes off the road. “Yeah?”

I realized I was…wrong. In what I did. I was trying to hold too tightly. Like Riot.

“Riot’s the guy who hurt you, right?”

Yes.

“And you don’t want to be like him.”

No, I don’t. He moves right into the center of the steering wheel, locking eyes with Eddie. It will be different now.

Eddie nods. He’s still a little unsure about all this, and he’s not entirely certain he believes Venom. The lie had come too easily to him before, when he’d agreed to go with Kasady, and Eddie isn’t sure how much of it was an act and how much was real desire.

I would not have.

He startles. “What?”

What Kasady wanted. I would not have helped him.

He forgets, sometimes, that the symbiote is in his head. Can read his feelings. “No?”

You’re mine, Eddie. Only mine. And I don’t share.

“Oh.” Eddie thinks on some level that should not be very reassuring, but it is a little bit. Venom says it like a fact. Like it’s always been true. Grass is green. The sky is blue. Eddie is his.

Venom curls around to face him. Now I have a question.

“What?”

Do you hate me?

“Oh.” Eddie picks at his fingernails and considers it while he drives. Does he hate Venom?

He thinks about it for a long time as the miles roll past. Finally, he says, “No. I don’t hate you.”

Venom pulses with…happiness? Joy? Something along those lines, writhing along his arm in pleasure. Eddie holds up his hand. “But I don’t think I can just forgive you either,” he says, looking into Venom’s eyes. “You really hurt me, Venom. In a lot of ways.”

I know. Venom stops moving. He sinks back into Eddie until only his head remains, a little golf-ball sized apparition on the back of Eddie’s hand.

“But you also helped me save Anne and Dan. And stop Kasady and Carnage. And get out of the Life Foundation.”

Yes.

“But a few good things doesn’t erase all the bad shit either.”

Venom makes frustrated noise. You are confusing.

“I know, V. I know.” He rubs a hand over his face and sighs. “Look, it’s not a balance thing, okay? Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that shit.”

Why not?

“Because that’s not how things work here.” Eddie taps his fingers and watches the other cars pass. “I meant what I said in the labs, before. If you want this to work, we need to be a team. As in, I’m not your pet. As in, you forget the rules and we start over. We work together. No more secrets. And no more lies either, even if you’re trying to keep me safe.”

He takes a deep breath. “I don’t forgive you for what you did. But if you can promise me that, then I think I can be okay with you being here.”

There’s a long silence, but he can feel Venom considering his words. Eddie fixes his eyes on the horizon and waits.

He doesn’t know what he’ll do if Venom says no. Anne and Dan might be able to help him, but he’d have to get to them and it would be unlikely that Venom would let him do that. He remembers how quickly he lost control before, and how thoroughly Venom was able to ruin his life in just a few days. No. He can’t do that again. This has to work.

I think I could do that, Venom finally says, and Eddie sags against the seat in relief. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

“Okay,” he says. “Good.”

A silence falls, but for once it’s comfortable. They don’t need to fill the air with words. Venom exudes a quiet contentment as he plays over Eddie’s skin, and Eddie alternates between watching him and the road, thinking about how strange his life has gotten. And how a tiny little part of him is starting to not mind so much.

There’s more to be said. But they don’t have to say it now. For now, this is alright.

They ride in peace for a while, then Venom curls over the dashboard and watches the road signs flash by. You are going the wrong way.

“No, I’m not.”

You are. Anne’s house—

“We’re not going to Anne’s house.”

Then where?

Eddie takes a deep breath. “The Life Foundation.”

Venom’s reaction is similar to the last time Eddie said those words, and he cringes with remembered pain as Venom growls in his ear and loops around his neck. He doesn’t tighten, but his presence there is a little unnerving. I do not want to go back there.

“I know you don’t. But we have to. We don’t have a choice.”

Another growl. Why? We are out. We are free. We ate Drake. No one will hurt us again.

“Yeah, exactly. We killed Drake. There’s going to be an investigation into his death.” Eddie slows to take an exit. “He was a big guy, V. Lots of people knew his name, and now he’s headless on Anne’s living room floor. That sort of thing’s not gonna just slide by.”

I don’t see your point.

“My point is, we have to get ahead of this. Drake has a fuck ton of data about us. If someone starts digging into the Foundation and that stuff comes up, you and I are going to be lab experiments again faster than you can blink.”

I will eat anyone who tries to do that to us.

“You can’t eat everyone.”

Watch me.

Eddie sighs in frustration. “Look, V. I’m not suggesting we move in there. We go in, we clear out any data about us, and then we take the rest to the police. We make it look like Carnage was the only successful symbiote pairing, and that he eventually escaped. Drake was into a whole bunch of shady shit, it won’t take much to convince anyone. Hopefully they’ll be distracted by the appearance of an actual alien, and they won’t ask too many questions about how I got tied up in this.”

Venom is silent for a moment, then grudgingly says, You make sense.

“Of course I do.”

Don’t be smug.

“Sorry.”

Venom squeezes gently around his wrist. How are we going to get in?

That, Eddie doesn’t know. He doubts walking in will work again. They’re bound to be on some insanely high alert. The escape feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been hours. A lax security guard isn’t the best plan, and he really doesn’t want to go in guns blazing either. “We’re gonna have to wing that one. I don’t really have an idea.”

But as it turns out, they don’t have to wing it. A phone rings, somewhere in the car, and Eddie fumbles around in confusion for a few moments before Venom finally snakes under the seat. Found it.

It’s a nice phone, probably Drake’s. He taps the button. “Yeah?”

“Drake, it’s Dora.”

“Dr. Skirth!” Eddie says. “Still kicking, huh?”

There’s a beat of silence, then with a disbelieving voice she says, “Eddie Brock? Is that you?”

“Sure is.”

“How—what—where’s Drake?”

He is dead, Venom hisses in satisfaction, oozing between his ear and the phone. We ate his stupid, tasty brain like we promised.

There’s a faint noise of disgust. “…oh.”

“So what did you want from Drake?”

Skirth laughs a little. “Well, I was calling to tell him I’m resigning. I guess that’s moot now.”

“Resigning?” Eddie swaps the phone to his other ear, earning a hiss of annoyance from Venom. He bats the probing tentacle away. “That’s new.”

“Yes, well, I’m tired of being party to this.”

“That’s great,” Eddie says. “I wish you would have been tired of it a few days ago.” There’s more acidity in his voice than he meant, but he doesn’t really care. She’s just as bad as the rest of them.

“I know,” she says, her voice small. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t mean much. But I am.”

Eddie gets an idea suddenly. “When we were getting out, you said you wish things could have been done differently.”

“I do,” she says. “I still do. It…” Her words are suddenly broken, soft. “What we wanted was right. How we got it was wrong.”

Venom growls. Eddie holds up a hand. “Well, now’s your chance to make amends for it.”

She doesn’t answer for a long time. So long that Eddie pulls the phone away from his ear, sure they’ve lost the connection. But it’s still there, and he puts the phone back in time to hear her say, “What do you need me to do?”

He grins. “Alright. Listen carefully.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t want to do this,” Skirth says.

They’re sitting outside the Life Foundation on a bench, watching the sun set across the bay. They don’t have long. Maybe ten minutes at most.

“I know,” Eddie says. “But I’m glad you are.”

Me too.

For once, the plan had worked like a charm. Skirth had met them outside the compound, then drove the car in while they hid in the backseat. Once inside, it was short work to get the necessary data and have it deleted. I’m not the only one who feels this way, she’d said, and they’d found a few other dissenters who were willing to see the Life Foundation fall.

Every trace of Venom was erased from the computers. Every second of footage, every tidbit of data. The gaps were skillfully filled in by the tech team. By the time they were done, as far as the Life Foundation was concerned, there was only ever one symbiote in its walls. One bonded pair.

Eddie’s presence was harder to erase. We need a reason for Drake to end up at your friend’s house, Skirth had said. You’re the only thing connecting the dots between them and here.

He’d flicked his eyes to the video of him and Kasady in the cell, and nodded around the lump in his throat. It was added to the evidence pile.

By the time they were done, Eddie was holding a nuclear bomb of a flash drive in his shaking hands. There was enough there to bring down not only the Life Foundation, but also the agency that supplied the guards, the construction company that had built the prison cells underneath the building, and even some of the contracted scientists.

Like Skirth.

The rocket, he learned, was built as an express mission to grab more symbiotes. Venom had growled and twisted and nearly smashed a computer at this part. It had taken Eddie almost ten minutes to calm him down, and another ten to talk the little group into finishing what they’d started.

Finally, when the last video was deleted and the last files erased, Skirth had turned to Eddie. So what happens next?

Now, he’d said, pulling out Drake’s phone, we make a couple calls.

The first call was to Anne. There wasn’t an answer, which didn’t surprise Eddie. He’d heard the sirens. They were probably in police custody by now, which made the next few calls all the more imperative.

The second call was to Jack. The network exec was happy to finally hear from Eddie, considering he’d pretty much dropped off the face of the earth after his interview. He was less happy with the wild story Eddie was spinning, but once Skirth got on the line he’d dropped his reluctance and started demanding more. Eddie had the techs send him some choice files, then promised a follow-up in a few days.

The third call was to the friendly FBI agents McDouchey and McAsshole, who at first were not particularly interested to hear from him. But when he said “Cletus Kasady” and “alien studies” and “Life Foundation,” McDouchey responded with a terse, We’re on our way.

Skirth and Eddie had left the techs to mop up the rest, and gone upstairs to wait.

“They’re going to crucify me,” she says now, turning the drive over in her hands.

“No,” Eddie says, trying for reassuring, but she just gives him a look.

“They are. Once they see everything on here? Everything we did? Everything I helped do?”

He puts a hand on her knee. “You’re making it right now, Skirth. That’s what matters.”

She shakes her head. “I’m going to jail. I deserve it.”

Eddie doesn’t know what to say to that. She probably will go to jail. There’s too much against her. He feels like he should try say something opposite, but honestly, he agrees. She’s a good person at heart, but he still can see her standing over him when he was strapped to the table. “The cellular activity in that area is amazing. Look at the count on these. I wonder if it could regrow something?”

We will not forgive her for that, Venom says forcefully. I refuse.

He flexes his pinky finger and shakes his head. No. He doesn’t forgive her either. She needs to pay. They all do.

The FBI arrives with an entourage. Skirth stands up and straightens her glasses, then walks up to McDouchey as he approaches. “I’m Dora Skirth,” she says. “Thank you for coming.”

“What is this about?” McDouchey asks Eddie.

He nods at Skirth, and she holds out the drive. “It’s evidence,” she says. “Carlton Drake was experimenting on kids, misusing funds, and holding people against their will.” Her voice cracks a little, and she adds, “I watched him do it. I helped him do it.”

He slowly takes the drive from her hand. “Yeah…I’m gonna need a little more than that.”

Eddie scoots over and pats the bench next to him. “You might want to sit down, then. It’s a long story.”

McDouchey sighs. “Just get on with it, Brock.”

I don’t like him very much, Venom says. Let’s eat his brains.

Eddie shakes his head and gets on with it. After ten minutes, McDouchey sits down. After twenty, he’s sending frantic text messages on his phone. At the half-hour mark, he holds up a hand and says, “I think we should finish this somewhere else.”

Somewhere else is an interrogation room in the local FBI office, where they sit Eddie and Skirth down with a recorder and make them tell it all again. Then again, for a slightly larger audience. Then again for a slightly smaller audience of different people. Then one more time, at which point Eddie is pretty sure they’re just doing it because they can.

They’re not thrilled with his explanation of how he got wrapped up in all this—I’m an investigative journalist, guys, and I got a little too close for Drake’s comfort, that’s all there is to it—but without evidence to counter otherwise, they’re forced to rely on Skirth and Eddie’s story.

Skirth ends up in handcuffs, led away by a little intern who looks both puffed up with self-importance and also slightly terrified be in the same room as them. Eddie watches her go without a word. McAsshole scowls and brings him a cup of coffee. “This is some messed up shit,” is all he has to offer, and Eddie can only shrug helplessly.

They finally release him in the early hours of the morning with a stern warning of don’t leave town, Mr. Brock, we’ll be in touch. It would have been sooner, but he’d had to get them to call and help out Anne and Dan, then someone had helped him put together a short statement that he could release to Jack. Not the full story he’d promised, but it would be enough to get the ball rolling.

McDouchey himself drops Eddie off at Anne and Dan’s house. They’re extremely relieved to see him. They’re less relieved to see Venom, but Anne still gives him a hug before quickly stepping away. “Eddie,” she says. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

“Yeah, I’m alright.” He tries for a smile, finds it comes easier than expected. “We’re both alright.”

“And…?” she trails off, but he gets what she’s asking.

“They didn’t hurt us much. They’re dead now.” There’s a pang of sorrow in his chest as he thinks about Carnage, and he’s not sure if it’s from him or Venom.

“Oh.” Anne looks at Dan. “Um…”

Eddie shakes his head. “I don’t want to go into it, Anne. Not right now.” Not again.

We are tired, Venom says, poking a head into existence. We would like to sleep now.

“The couch is open,” Dan says, gesturing to the ruined living room. “There’s a hole in our guest room, unfortunately.”

“Mm. Sorry.” Eddie is already collapsing onto the couch. “Fix it later.”

Dan starts to say something else, but Anne puts a hand on his chest. “Not now,” she says softly, and Eddie has two seconds to be grateful before sleep pulls him under. The last thing he feels is Venom, extending over his arms like a warm, squishy blanket.

 

***

Three weeks later, Eddie is standing in Anne’s newly renovated apartment, eyeing the gaggle of reporters outside through the flimsy curtain. “Never seen the frenzy from the other side,” he says absently to Venom. “I don’t like it.”

We can eat some of them, if you’d like.

“Nah. Too much work.” Eddie drops the curtain.

But I’m hungry.

“Later, V.”

But I’m hungry now.

“I said later.”

One perk of being an unwilling science experiment that managed a miraculous escape—he’s basically set for life, at least in terms of money. Jack had offered him a staggering amount of money for an exclusive interview, which Eddie agreed to—provided he had final say over the story. The result was a headlining, four page spread tell-all about the Life Foundation, starring Eddie as the unwitting hero who stumbled upon a dark secret and rooted deeper to find out everything. Risking his career and his life and proving himself to “earn the title of the most dedicated, talented, and resourceful investigative journalist of our time.”

Eddie thought it was a very nice article. Venom thought it was over the top.

Regardless, when it broke a few days later, he was an instant celebrity, way beyond what the Eddie Brock Report ever offered. It was novel at first, but now he’s getting a little tired of the crowds. He can’t walk out the front door without being shouted at by assholes shoving recorders in his face.

Anne walks into the kitchen and sets her purse on the table. “I have to go to work,” she says, digging out her keys. “They still out there?”

“You might wanna go out the back door.” Eddie leans against the wall. “They’ll give up at some point. They’re just scrounging for scraps.”

“Hmm.” She swings her purse over her shoulder. “Did you find a new apartment yet?”

Are you kicking us out? Venom asks, forming a head from Eddie’s arm. Rude.

“She’s not kicking us out,” Eddie says. “She and Dan are adults who want their own space. It’s fine. And yeah, I have. Waiting on the application to go through.”

Anne nods. “Sounds good. Dan’s working late tonight. Feel free to make dinner.” She smiles at him. His heart does its usual little backflip at the sight, and he wonders vaguely if he’ll ever be over that. “I’ll be back around five.”

“I’ll be here,” Eddie says.

We’ll be here, Venom corrects. Both of us.

Eddie rolls his eyes even as he smirks a little. “It’s implied, Venom.”

Anne waves at him and disappears out the back door. Eddie looks out at the reporters again. It’s been two weeks officially since the story broke, and despite what he just told Anne, it isn’t going to die down anytime soon. The Life Foundation’s demise will be felt for years to come. This is only the start of it.

Venom hums and twists in his ribcage. Are you sure we can’t eat one? They are very annoying.

“We managed to convince the world that you don’t exist,” Eddie says, moving over to the couch and collapsing heavily on it. “I doubt you bursting onto the front lawn and eating them is going to help us keep that up.”

We’re hungry, Eddie. Venom shifts again. It’s been so long.

“Tonight, okay? When it’s dark. I promise.” Eddie turns so he’s laying on his back, staring at the ceiling. He’s still not thrilled with the idea of Venom eating people, but he also really doesn’t see an alternative. Your organs, or someone else’s. Rotten little parasite.

Maybe he can limit it somehow? Or at least make sure they’re eating the right people? He mulls the idea over for a bit, then puts it away for later. He can’t focus on that right now. Despite being in safety for the first time in a few weeks, his mind is racing. He feels restless. He wants to go outside, to move, but the moment he sets foot out the door he’ll be swamped. “Fucking vultures,” he mumbles, ignoring the irony inherent in that statement.

Venom oozes from his arms, then forms half a torso over him. You feel strange.

“I’m bored,” Eddie says. “I’m bored, and I’m sick of being in this house.” He props up on an elbow. “Two weeks I’ve been stuck in here. I want to go outside.” He feels Venom prepping his standard answer, and cuts in, “And no, you’re not going to eat anyone who bothers us. We had that discussion.”

Then what do you want to do?

“I don’t know.” Eddie flops back onto the couch. “Something.”

I have an idea.

He pushes up again at that, because he knows that tone, and the sound of it twists something in his gut. “Venom—”

Just lay down, Venom says, sliding underneath his jeans. It’s been a long time for this too. Let us take care of you.

Eddie’s heart rate skyrockets, and he shakes his head. “Venom, wait.”

Shhh.

“No.” Eddie scrambles backwards, like he’s done a dozen times before when trying to get away. Except this time, it actually works. Venom lets him retreat into the cushions, pausing where he’s got Eddie’s pants halfway down his thighs. “I don’t—no.”

But you like this, Venom says, his head tilting. It feels good.

“That doesn’t matter!” He needs to calm down, he’s on the edge of a panic attack. He can feel the phantom of Kasady’s touch, the pain of all the other indignities Venom has made him suffer, and it’s just making everything worse. “I don’t want it!”

Venom blinks a few times, then says, I don’t understand.

“I know you don’t.” Eddie lets out a bitter laugh, then clenches his fists on his thighs and tries to breathe. It takes a few minutes for the rush of blood in his head to quiet.

When he feels like he can speak without screaming, he raises his head and looks up at Venom. “It doesn’t matter that it feels good, Venom. What matters is that I don’t want it.” He gestures to himself. “Look, sex is…well, it’s complicated. But what’s important is something called consent.”

Explain.

“I…” Eddie casts for a way to explain in terms Venom will get. “Okay, you saw the cell, right? You saw me and Kasady?”

Yes. Venom’s tone grows murderous. We should have killed him slowly for that.

“Okay. He said he wanted to touch me, and I said no. I kept saying no. He didn’t have my agreement, but he went ahead and did it anyway. That’s called rape.” He forces the memory away. “And you can feel how I feel about it, right? How it messed up my head?”

You dream about him.

“It’s called a nightmare, V. That happens sometimes when humans get hurt or scared.”

Yes.

“Well, you did the same thing to me.” Eddie sets his jaw and looks Venom right in the eyes. “You did the exact same thing. I said no, and you didn’t stop.”

There’s a distinct bitter taste across their mental connection. It takes Eddie a long moment to realize it’s shame. From VenomBut it felt good, he says, sounding remarkably child-like.

His lips twitch in a humorless smile. “Physically, maybe. But I don’t want it. It hurts me.”

It doesn’t have to. I can be nice.

“It’s not about being nice, Venom. I don’t consent to it, and I need you to respect that. Every time you touch me without my permission, you hurt me up here.” He points to his head. “Psychologically. In my head. It doesn’t matter how my body feels. My mind doesn’t want it.”

What if we like it?

“It’s still not okay, V. It’s not okay unless I say so. Unless we both say so.”

Venom hums and twists around his index finger. I do not fully understand. Eddie starts to respond, to explain it more, but the alien cuts him off. But if it causes you such damage, I will stop.

Eddie closes his eyes and lets out a long breath. “Thank you.”

Forever?

“For…for now.” He’s sure he can’t hold the symbiote off forever, but he can breathe easy for at least some time. It’s not the therapy he probably needs, but it’s better than nothing. “I need some time. A lot of it.”

Okay. Venom seeps completely back into him. Eddie pulls his pants back up, taking a deep breath of relief as he does so. That went…well, much better than expected. He half feels like he should do something nice for the symbiote, as a returned gesture. Make him a thanks for not raping me omelet. Or something. He snorts a little. Your head is still fucked, Brock.

Eggs are tasty, Venom says, picking up on the gist of his thoughts, if not the full intention. I like eggs.

“I thought you liked brains.” He gets up and heads into the kitchen.

I like both. Start with eggs. Brains later.

“Sounds like a plan, V.”

Chapter Text

Two nights later finds them sitting on the edge of a downtown roof, watching as the last of the sun fades out beyond the horizon. He’d had to enlist Anne as a distraction for the reporters, but they’d managed to escape without being seen. It feels amazing to be outside. To breath something other than house air for the first time in two weeks. Eddie hadn’t realized just how bad the cabin fever was until he got out.

He flicks a pebble of the edge of the bricks and looks down over the city below. He’s not really afraid of heights anymore, although they still make him a little nervous. But somehow after the Life Foundation, and a serial killer stalking him, it seems like a silly thing to be scared of. Plus, if they fall, Venom will definitely save them, which helps take the edge off the terror.

Venom emerges from his shoulder and coils around in the dying sunlight. Your planet is very warm.

“It’s summer,” Eddie says. “It won’t be this warm in the winter.”

No, I like it. Klyntar was always cold.

“Klyntar.” Eddie tries the word out. “Is that where you’re from?”

Yes. There are millions of us there.

There’s a tiny bit of sorrow in the symbiote’s voice. Eddie rolls his shoulders and gently touches the roiling black tendrils connecting them. “Sorry you can’t go back.”

I wouldn’t anyway. I was not welcome there.

Eddie leans forward, his interest piqued. “Really? Why?”

Story for another time.

“Alright.” He tucks the tidbit away for later. They sit quietly for a while as the sky slowly darkens. It’s peaceful up here. The streets below are busy as ever, but from this view, it’s just a blur of lights and sounds. He could almost fall asleep to it.

I know you don’t like doing it, Venom eventually says. But I need to eat. That is not negotiable. I cannot survive on your human food alone.

Eddie brushes some dust off his jeans. “Yeah, I know, bud. My organs or someone else’s, right?”

I meant that. If I don’t eat someone, I will have to start eating you. I will have no choice.

“Please don’t.” Eddie puts a hand over his kidneys, like he can somehow protect them from the outside. “I need those.”

Then brains. Now.

“Yeah. Okay.” Eddie stumbles up to his feet and looks out at the horizon. Being up here in the dark makes him feel kinda like Batman, just hanging out above the city, waiting to find some trouble. He’s got a Halloween costume somewhere. If he could talk Venom into being a cape, they could totally make it work.

He chuckles a little, taking two steps towards the fire escape.

Then he stops. Maybe he can’t be actually be the guy, but the whole vigilante justice thing…now that might be something they could work with.

Why are we stopping? Venom asks impatiently. Eddie. I’m hungry.

“I’m having an idea on that, actually.” He turns around. “You’re in my head, right? Find whatever you can about Batman.”

Venom rifles through his memories, then makes an amused sound. You want us to play this character?

“Man, that’d be so cool.” He indulges himself for one more second, then shakes his head. “No. I want us to go after criminals.” Eddie gestures to the city below. “There are good people in this world, a lot of them. And then there are bad people. San Francisco’s got a decent crime rate. If we have to eat people, I’d rather it be people who are hurting others. The Kasadys and Drakes of the world.”

Venom twists in interest. Hmm. That could be entertaining.

“You get to eat brains. I get to feel less guilty. You get to channel your inner drama queen and be all intimidating. Everyone wins. Well, except the bad guys.”

That earns him a scoffing sound. I am not dramatic.

“You are so dramatic.”

I am not!

“Parasite,” Eddie says, and Venom blasts out from him in a cloud of black, forming his intimidating, overly broad body, complete with teeth and tongue and snarling. It’s still terrifying, but Eddie stands his ground and smirks, crossing his arms for good measure. “Oh yeah. That wasn’t a dramatic reaction at all.”

Hmmph. Venom oozes back into him, leaving only his head. If I’m dramatic, then you’re a pussy.

“I’m comfortable with that.”

Sirens catch his attention. Police, it looks like, about fifteen blocks to the west. Venom tilts his head, then looks at Eddie. Bad guys, right?

“Could be. You said you were hungry?”

I could eat.

Eddie grins at Venom, who grins back, and something like peace uncurls in his chest. It’s been a shitty few weeks. A shit month. A shit year, if he’s really being honest. But things are finally starting to look up for him, and despite the uncertainty of his future, he’s okay with what he’s got right here, right now. And that’s enough.

“Let’s go,” he says.

Venom forms up around him and together, they leap off the roof.

Chapter Text

“C’mon.”

They are sitting outside a sandwich shop, waiting to talk to a potential source. Eddie is restless, constantly shifting and moving on the uncomfortable bench. It’s a big story he’s working on. Not as big as the Life Foundation, but a string of city politicians taking backdoor bribes from famous companies isn’t exactly anything to sneeze at either. This source will either confirm his hunch or completely ruin everything he’s been working on for the last two weeks.

No.

Eddie looks at the coffee shop across the street. “Pleeeeeease.”

I said no.

“But it’s been so long.”

I don’t like it.

“You got to eat twice yesterday. Twice!” Once for the usual snack, and then a bonus when they’d accidentally stumbled into a mugging at the park.

It tastes weird.

“Dude, how do you think brains taste?” He glances sideways, smiling awkwardly at a woman walking by.

Venom growls. You don’t taste them.

“You can’t pull that shit both ways,” Eddie says. “If I don’t taste brains, then you don’t taste coffee.” He pokes the black band around his wrist, a welcome replacement for the collar from so many months ago.

I do taste it.

“You’re just being a brat,” Eddie tells him. “Make you a deal. I get coffee now, and you can have the whole rest of the cake when we get home.”

This gets Venom’s interest. The one Anne brought? The good one?

“The chocolate one. You can have all of it. I won’t even ask for a bite.”

Venom mulls it over for half a second. Agreed.

Eddie grins and immediately heads to the shop, where he orders the largest, strongest coffee they have. Venom growls about it, but mostly lets Eddie drink in peace. The caffeine kicks in about the time his source shows up, and they spend the better part of an hour exchanging information and questions on the bench across the street. After the source leaves, Eddie spends another fifteen scrawling into his notebook, which he then tucks into his jacket. “Okay. Let’s go home.”

Home is no longer his shithole apartment, which Eddie occasionally misses for its close proximity to Mrs. Chen’s store. He’s in a more upscale building now, with pipes that don’t constantly leak and neighbors who don’t play shitty guitar at weird hours. It’s not perfect, but he’s comfortable, and that’s all he really cares about. Venom likes it for the view out the window, which looks directly onto the busy street beneath them. He likes Eddie to sit there while working so he can people-watch the unsuspecting victims below.

Eddie unlocks the door and tosses his jacket on the kitchen table, then strips off his shirt and tosses that aside too. Venom prefers being on his bare skin, so Eddie’s taken to going shirtless around the apartment, which helps make up for all the time the symbiotic has to spend hiding inside him.

As soon as the shirt comes off, black tendrils ooze from his skin and wrap around his torso. Cake.

“Yep.” Eddie pulls the cake out of the fridge, then lets Venom have at it. It’s gone in about two seconds. He snorts a little and sticks the plate in the sink, making a mental note to wash and give it back to Anne. Venom noisily licks the smeared chocolate from the counter, then licks Eddie’s cheek for good measure.

Thank you.

“Gross,” Eddie says, but he smiles and pats Venom’s head.

He spends some time on his computer typing up the rough draft of the story. Venom is content to play around his bare skin and occasionally peek out the open window behind him.

Eddie loses track of the hours, immersed in the ever increasing web of lies and deceit. There’s so much to unravel and uncover here. He’s definitely on to something. There’s even some ties to the shattered remains of the Life Foundation, which he intends to explore later. Corrupt politicians isn’t anything new, but on this scale…damn. He’s on the verge of something huge. He can feel it.

You need to sleep, Venom eventually says, closing his laptop with a single tendril. We are tired.

“Mm. Yeah.” Eddie lets Venom push them away from the table and walk them into the shower. He gets his body back when they turn the water on, and Venom deposits a soapy washcloth into his hand. “Thanks.”

Wash.

Eddie makes it through the shower without falling asleep, then manages to stumble his way to bed. He doesn’t bother with pajamas, just collapses face first onto his mattress and lets Venom pull a blanket over him. He crashes hard and doesn’t dream.

The early morning sunlight wakes him as it streams through the half-closed blinds. Eddie grumbles something not intelligible and shifts over onto his side. “Morning, V.”

Good morning, Venom says, sounding just as groggy as he feels.

Eddie picks up his phone and goes over the schedule for the day. There really isn’t anything in particular for him to do. They’re supposed to have dinner with Anne and Dan tonight, and at some point this afternoon they should probably go visit Skirth like he’d promised last week. But he’s ahead of schedule on his main story, and none of his freelance work is due for another few days. And after yesterday’s marathon workday, he’s entitled to a few hours away from his computer. “Looks like we got a day off,” he tells Venom. “What do you want to do?”

The symbiote is quiet, half-oozed over him like a oddly pulsating blanket. I don’t know.

“We could go to the park,” Eddie suggests. “Or the beach. We haven’t gone to the beach in awhile.”

Eddie.

Eddie pushes up to lean against the headboard. “Uh-oh. That’s your serious voice.”

What? This is my regular voice.

“Uh-huh,” he says. “So what’s up?”

Venom forms a head and meets him gaze for gaze. Eddie, I would like to touch you.

Oh.

Oh.

It’s been a year. A year since Venom and Eddie first met, a year since Kasady and his wandering hands, a year since Eddie’s life was turned upside down. Venom hasn’t laid a tendril on him since that last night, and even Eddie hasn’t really bothered with touching himself. He’s thought about it several times, but the idea of doing anything sexual with Venom around turned his stomach too much. Too many bad memories.

Now, Eddie gently lays a hand on the blackness over his stomach. “V, I don’t know about that.”

I can be nice. I promise to be nice.

“I know that. It’s just…”

I want to make you feel good, Eddie.

“I know that too.”

Please let us.

Eddie considers. “It’s just hard for me, V. There’s a lot of bad memories and feelings tangled up with sex. With you.”

We can have good memories too. I want to try.

Eddie bites his lip. He’d be lying if he said he didn’t want to get off. He doesn’t have a super high sex drive, but it’s been a year and he wouldn’t mind something. But he also doesn’t feel very good about Venom being the one to do it, considering how the last encounters were.

Then again, Venom is here to stay forever. And it’s not like Eddie is never going to touch himself again, or never have sex again. He doesn’t want that either. And he trusts Venom to some extent. Trusts him to have his back or to keep his life on track. Trusts him to talk things over before rashly acting. He wants to trust Venom with this too. They’ve spent a lot of time talking about consent, and feelings, and he thinks Venom understands—as much as he’s able to, at least.

He mulls it over for a long time. Venom doesn’t make a comment. Just slides over his skin like a gentle whisper.

“Okay,” he eventually says. “But there are some rules.”

Venom perks up instantly. I can handle rules.

“I’m in charge,” he says. “Of all of it. So if I say stop, I need you to stop. If I say slow down, I need you to slow down. Understand?”

Yes. Venom is thrumming with excitement. We will be good for you.

“And you don’t get to push me,” Eddie continues. “No begging, no pleading, no nothing. If I say stop, that’s it. We’re done. You don’t get a say after that.”

Yes. Yes. Venom coils around his fingers. What else?

“You gotta ask before you do something, so I can tell you if it’s okay or not.”

There’s a pause, then Venom says, Consent, right?

Eddie nods.

Okay. Anything else?

“I don’t know. I’ll let you know if I think of more.” Eddie puts a hand on Venom’s head and pulls him closer. “I want to trust you with this, V. I do. Please don’t make me regret it.”

I won’t, Eddie. I promise. The tongue licks along his jawline, Venom’s version of affection. Then he starts sliding over Eddie’s skin, familiar and yet with a hint of more to it, moving through the flesh like water. Eddie relaxes into the bed and spreads his limbs out, taking up space and making himself comfortable.

I want to taste you, Venom says. Can I?

“Yeah.”

Venom’s tongue swirls over him, licking at his neck and the hollow of his throat. Mine, he growls, and Eddie feels his pulse rush a little at the word. Faint arousal starts to trickle into his veins.

Make noises, Venom commands.

“Noises, huh?” Eddie teases. “You want the First Amendment this time, or just Bible verses again?”

You know exactly what I want, Venom says petulantly, and he licks along Eddie’s skin, close enough to his dick that a small moan escapes his mouth. There we go.

“Oh, those noises. You gotta be specific, V.”

Again, Venom demands, dragging his tongue back down.

“Venom,” Eddie breathes. His muscles twitch under the gentle press, and he curls his hands into the blankets.

Do you like that?

“Yes, I like that.”

And this? Venom forms his own body, connected to Eddie by swirling tendrils. His hands, so much bigger than Eddie’s, slide up and down every inch of skin they can reach. So soft. So warm.

“You know, just once I wouldn’t mind you calling me manly and tough,” Eddie says, putting his own hands on Venom’s arms. “Soft and warm makes me think of pastries.”

But we like pastries. And you. Venom twists over his arms. My delicious little muffin, he adds, and Eddie bursts out laughing.

Venom grins in delight at the sound, then coils around Eddie’s waist, lifting him up. Want to be inside you, Eddie.

“No,” Eddie says, and Venom pauses. “I’m not ready for that. Not yet.”

Okay. Venom lowers him back onto the bed, then slides down to his hips. Can I touch?

“Yeah.”

A tendril slides down, just barely ghosting over his skin, then flattens and expands over his dick. Eddie gasps a little at the new sensation. Venom hums and undulates around him, and his hips push up without conscious permission. “Venom!”

More?

“Fuck, yes.” It feels amazing, better than any guy or girl he’s ever been with; his dick has gone from 0 to 100 in about half a second and Venom is pulsing and gently moving around him, reading his reactions with glee. Another tendril slides down to his balls, playing and teasing around the sensitive skin. Eddie makes some obscene sound and spreads his legs wider. Venom lets out a approving murmur and extends up his chest, stopping to tease a nipple along the way.

Gonna make you come, he says, gently rubbing on Eddie’s collarbone in a motion that should not be particularly sexy, but somehow definitely is.

“Oh yeah?” Eddie manages, focusing on his hips, working with the steady up-down rhythm that Venom has set. “That what you want?”

I want this forever. I want you forever. He projects an array of images, of teeth and tongues and tentacles wrapping around Eddie, binding and blindfolding him until he’s writhing in ecstasy under Venom’s smooth touch.

“Fuck,” Eddie breathes, feeling his dick get even harder at the thoughts. A tendril winds around his fingers, turning into a hand, and Eddie grasps it as he moves faster, fucking up into Venom even as the symbiote moves back against him, tongue flickering out to tease at the tip of Eddie’s cock. “Yes. Yes. Don’t stop, don’t you fucking stop…”

Venom is undulating and writhing around him in a fucking indescribable motion and Eddie can barely breathe through the sheer pleasure of it all; the sensations keep building and building until he finally manages to get out, “V, I’m gonna—”

Yeah you are, Venom says roughly, and Eddie is gone. He’s vaguely aware of gripping Venom’s hand as he yells in pleasure, coming all over the two of them. His muscles go taut for a long second before he lets out a whimper and collapses into the symbiote’s hold, panting in short little gasps. Darkness plays at the edges of his vision and it’s all he can do to hold on, to stay awake as Venom curls around him in a secure embrace.

“Goddamn,” he says, when he can string two words together again. “That was…that was something else.”

Venom is happily slipping over every inch of bare skin that he can reach. Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie Eddie

Eddie starts to sit up, but his muscles don’t cooperate very well and he decides he’s better off just laying here for awhile.

Venom finally draws back into himself, forming one singular mass on Eddie’s chest. Was that okay?

“That was amazing,” Eddie says honestly. “That was perfect.”

Was that consent? Did I do it right?

Eddie laughs. “Yeah. That was consent.” He gently touches the puddle of blackness. “Thank you for listening to me.”

You are ours, Venom says. I want this to be good for us.

Eddie smiles lazily. “You did good, V.”

Can we do it again? Venom melts back onto his chest, snuggling against him like a weirdly slimy cat.

“Later. I need a moment. A lot of moments.” He shoves a pillow under his head and settles down into the bed. He should probably clean up, but his bed is comfortable, and Venom is practically purring against his skin, and the sun pouring through the window is warm and wonderful on both of them.

Their life isn’t perfect. They argue and disagree and eat way too many people for Eddie’s liking. He still has nightmares, and Venom still tries to control him sometimes, but they are light-years from what they started with. They’re partners. They’re friends.

Mine, Venom says, nudging under his chin. It sounds like a promise.

“Yours,” Eddie says back, and it is.