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17 - Defiant

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Eddie sat alone in an examination room in the hospital where Dan worked. Jemma had wanted to examine Eddie on SHIELDs plane but Eddie couldn’t do it. There was no way he could step back on the same plane where he had been held against his will, separated from Venom, and he and Venom both almost died.

Luckily Jemma understood so they needed a neutral place. Dan volunteered here. So Eddie was waiting for Jemma to get there, tapping on the examination table with his ring unceasingly.

Finally, the door opened and Jemma walked in. Along with Agent Coulson. Eddies smile quickly turned into a frown. “Whats going on?” He asked.

“Just SHIELD policy.” Agent Coulson cooly assured. “Pretend I’m not here.”

Eddie looked to Jemma who gave an apologetic smile. Venom manifested a head out of a tendril coming from Eddies back and was face to face with Jemma. “Hello Jemma.”

Agent Coulson looked unnerved and his hand went for his back, probably to a sonic gun he had back there. But Jemma laughed, “Well, hello there Venom. How is the phenethylamine powder doing?”

“Good,” Eddie answered at the exact moment Venom said “Not nearly as tasty. Or fun.”

Eddie glared at Venom but Jemma seemed to know that Venom was trying to provoke the extra agent in the room. “You know, as long as you are getting your dietary needs filled, I think I can live with that trade off.”

“But seriously, thanks for finding that for us.” Eddie inserted.

Jemma put down her clip board and put a blood pressure cuff on Eddies arm. As she does the regular doctor examination, Agent Coulson looks to Eddie. “By the way you need to contact your handler.”

“Do I, though?” Eddie asked. “I’ve been on the phone with Jemma much more than the required amount.”

“It’s part of the powers protocol that you signed.” Agent Coulson presses. “Jemma isn’t your handler. Agent Keller is. You need to be reporting to her regularly.”

“Why isn’t Jemma my handler? She’s SHIELD. It would be two birds one stone. Since I already talk to her regularly for this.” He gestured to Jemma checking his ears. “Or Skye. I actually like her.”

“It’s SHIELD protocol, Eddie. And neither I nor Skye are handlers.” Jemma said as she wrote something on his clip board.

Eddie sighed. He didn’t like Agent Keller The woman put both Eddie and Venom on edge.

Jemma sat across from Eddie. “Okay, So the first medication Dan put you on affected Venom correct?”

Venom shrunk back closer to Eddie. “Yeah, He was having trouble contacting me or manifesting like this. He was stuck inside and very weak.”

Venom made a displeased face, watching Agent Coulson carefully. Then he turned to Jemma. “I have been researching.” He told her, earning a small look of surprise. “The first medication was a benzodiazepine. They make the brain less receptive to stimuli. Is it possible they made Eddies brain less receptive to me?”

Eddie was definitely surprised. “When did you get your MD?” He asked.

Venom gave Eddie a wicked smile “I have to do something while you sleep.”

Jemma smiled “That’s very smart, Venom. That is what I was thinking. Dan thought maybe it was a case of you were taking on all the medication and not letting it affect Eddie. But it’s also possible that the medication worked on Eddie but that made his body hostile to you.”

She looked down at her notes. “The second medication you tried was an anti-convulsant. Trying, instead of making Eddie less sensitive to stimuli to make Eddie produce less stimuli. Though originally for seizures, it has shown promise with PTSD so I understand why he suggested it.”

“I felt like I was shot with a horse tranquilizer.” Eddie told her. “And then I couldn’t hear Venom when he spoke to me unless he manifested. Usually we are able to share thoughts.”

“Drowsiness is a side effect, but it sounds like you were more than just drowsy... you see, Dan has been running on the assumption that because of Venom it’s going to take more than normal to help you. Your metabolism is higher, you heal much faster, and we are kind of treating two people not just one. But after seeing how that has affected you and reading Life Foundation notes... I think it’s almost exactly the opposite.”

“Symbiosis that doesn’t kill the host or symbiote was very difficult to find. It had to be a perfect match. So I think that any attempt to change your biochemistry artificially is going is going to mess with your symbiosis and thus have much worse and even different side effects then anyone else.”

Venom perked up, “So no more medication?” The symbiote hated the use of medication from the get go. Felt like he had to be the one to heal Eddie, protect Eddie, fix Eddie.

“I want to try, just temporarily, until we are sure that it works, you being Eddies medication. If it’s alright with both of you.” She looked at Eddie who had been quiet.

“I have understood very little of what either of you’ve said,” Eddie laughed, then looked to his other “but Venom seems to get it. Between that and MD he thinks he got from his research, if you think it’s a good idea I’m all for it.”

Venom gave a wicked smile “Perfect.”


Scott Lang was flying on the back of a flying ant. Even insect size, somehow the people chasing him were getting closer and closer. He wasn’t able to lose them. He’d already been shot by some kind of blast that was making his suit malfunction. “Hank, I’m really going to need some back up.” Scott said into the helmet.

“Well what do you want me to do about it, Scott? You’re the one in the suit!” Hank sounded exasperated. “Get away from them and get over here and we’ll see if I can fix the damage you’ve done.”

“Can’t you send Hope?” Scott asked, narrowly missing a hand reaching out to grab them. Scott yelled out in surprise at how close that call has been, trying to push Ant-Tony faster.

“Yes, when someone is after one of my suits that’s exactly what I should do, send them another one.” The voice answered.

Scott looked behind him. They were getting closer. He had no choice. “Alright, remember you made me do this.” Scott started, then before Hank could get out a protest pushed a button that took him from insect sized, bigger and bigger to human sized, and then kept going.

He looked around him at the city streets of San Francisco as people screamed and backed up, holding their camera phones out. He successfully surprised his followers, but he wasn’t sure what he was going to do now.

He continued running down the street the size of a parade balloon as Hank shouted in his ear “You absolute moron!” When gun shots started going off.


When walking home from the hospital, Eddie and Venom were feeling victorious. The chance at no more medicine and no more symptoms was a pipe dream. But they had hope.

Well, until they heard the screams. It was the middle of the day, and not really in a bad neighborhood, so Eddie at first thought it was just people being much louder than they need to be. Then he heard the gun shots.

Venom pulled Eddie into an alleyway and before Eddie could stop him, completely covered their body. Venom, it’s the middle of the day, we’ll be seen! Eddie protested.

Venom didn’t move from the alley, but didn’t uncover Eddie either. I will keep you safe...

That’s when they saw something that stopped both of them from thinking another word. When Venom covered Eddie, they were about ten feet tall. They never really faced anything bigger than them other than Riot. But running past their little alleyway was a man who had to have been fourteen to twenty feet tall. Also running past were some normal sized people who were shooting at him.

Eddie pulled them forward out of the alley despite himself, just enough to see the giant start to slow down, falling to its knees. Holy fucking shit. Eddie thought.

Even with the giant obviously giving up, the people chasing the thing kept shooting. Everyone else was running away. But Eddie was filled with anger. Why were they still shooting it? It was down!

It was then that he realized, these weren’t police trying to subdue a strange creature. This was someone else, and they were trying to kill him.

Anger flashed through them both as they leaned forward, jumping on the back of one of the them and ripping their gun out of their hands. They broke it in half and threw it and Venom was about to chow down when Eddie stopped them Don’t! The power protocol. He reminded his other.

Venom growled unhappily and moved on to the next target. Quickly disarming him as he screamed before letting him run away. Which left one left who had dropped her weapon and was on the run as well.

They crept closer to the giant, a hand floating over its body tentatively. When they were at its shoulders they gingerly touched it and it shrunk to the size of a regular human being.

Holy fuck, what was that?! Eddie asked.

Venom looked behind them, hearing something Eddie could not. Sirens, Eddie. Police.

They looked down at the unconscious body. Let’s grab him and get out of here. We’ll ask questions when... whoever this is, wakes up.

Chapter Text

The first thing Scott heard was a man talking. He listened but didn’t hear a reply so he guessed he was talking on the phone. God, he was exhausted. Maybe if he ignores the man he can fall back to sleep.

His stomach growled. Nope. He was starving. He’s never been so hungry in his life. With a groan he sat up and opened his eyes then promptly fell off the couch.

He quickly stood up, turning his head in all directions, trying to figure out where he was.

A blond man ran over to him “Hey, hey, hey. You okay?” He asked.

“Where am I? Who are you? Where are the people who were chasing me? Do you have any food?” The questions force themselves out of him.

The man laughed. “I’m Eddie. This is my apartment. When you collapsed w... I chased the people chasing you away and brought you here because you were unconscious and honestly I didn’t know what else to do.” He walked away from Scott to his fridge and threw him a prewrapped sandwich.

Scott ripped it open and devoured it as quickly as humanly possible. Mid-bite he looked up at Eddie who had an amused smile on his face. “Wait a second, how did you chase them off?”

Eddie seemed to think for moment, looking off to his left before laughing and saying “I’m going to try not to take that offensively, but no promises. I did. That’s what matters. Also what matters is how long have you been able to become a giant?”

Despite himself a grin spread across Scott’s face. “Do you know how big I got? I didn’t even know I could go big. I’ve only ever gone small, but one of them shot me with something and it messed with my suit. I wonder if Hank ever went big...” he stopped in his tracks. He looked down at himself and he was wearing unfamiliar clothing. “Where is my suit?”

Eddie had a bewildered expression but walked over to a small end table where the suit was folded and threw it at him. “Don’t worry, we didn’t steal it.”

That caught Scott’s attention. “We? Who else is here? Who helped you chase off those guys shooting at me?”

Eddie sighed, looking to the side for a moment. “Up to you, man.” He whispered to himself.

That’s when a black tendril slid above Eddies shoulder, formed a head with two completely white eyes and a mouth full of teeth that would make a shark ashamed. “Hello” it greeted.

Scott wished he could say he kept his cool when face to face with this monster. He really did. But in actuality he screeched and jumped back like a little girl. “What is that thing?!”

Eddies face went dark but the creature continued to smile. “We are Venom.” They both said perfectly in sync.

Scott gave a terrified smile back to it. The creature disappeared behind Eddies back. “So, now it’s your turn. Who are you? Who was chasing you and why?” Eddies arms were crossed. He was much less friendly than he had been a moment ago.

“I’m... Ant man.” He said tentatively.

Eddie barely cracked a smile but it was there. “Ant man? You’re sticking with that?”

Scott groaned, “Right? I’ve been trying to change it, but...” he stopped himself. He really probably shouldn’t mention Hank. Again. Hopefully Eddie hadn’t noticed the first time “I don’t know who those guys are... there was this one guy Darren Cross who was after my suit to sell it to someone. My guess is, that since he failed that is either the someone he was trying to sell it to or more people that they hired to get it.”

“So all your powers coming from that suit?” Eddie asked, nodding to the fabric in Scott’s arms.

“Well... yeah...” Scott seemed hesitant to say.

Eddie pinched the bridge of his nose. “Alright, well some people will be here soon that can help you.”

“You told people where I was?” Scott jumped, looking ready to bolt.

Eddie put an arm out to calm him down or catch him. “No, Jesus, I just told them I needed them here. I didn’t say why.”

“Who, Eddie?” Scott demanded.

Eddie shook his head. “You can trust them.” He looked to his left, pausing for a moment. He rolled his eyes. “You are human right?”

Scott was taken aback by the question. “Oh course! Aren’t you human?”

Eddie gave him as exasperated look. “Yes, I am. But Venom is very obviously not. You’ll be fine. You can trust them.”

“But you don’t?” Scott eyed Eddie, trying to figure the man out.

Eddie sighed. “I trust them with you.”

Scott looked over Eddies shoulder. “But not with... your friend?” Eddie didn’t answer. “Where did it go?”

Eddie glared at him. “He is still right here.” He said evenly. He looked to the side and paused again. What was that? “I know you don’t care, but I do, V.” Scott was obviously confused by his last statement, but Eddie seemed to ignore it.

There was a knock on the door. “That should be them.” Eddie seemed relieved. He went over and opened the door.


God, these walls are thin. Just going up to Eddies apartment he overheard four separate conversation without even trying. Chris has no idea how Eddie lived here. It would drive him crazy.

Finally he got to Eddies floor. He could hear Eddie talking. “You’ll be fine. You can trust them.”

“But you don’t?” Another voice responded. Chris tried to ignore it until he got to the door and knocked. He didn’t need to listen in. He wasn’t going to break Eddies privacy. His trust.

Eddie sighed. “I trust them with you.”

“But not with... your friend?” Wait, what friend? Eddie literally had three people in his life other than Chris. His boyfriend, his ex and her boyfriend. Eddie didn’t answer. “Where did it go?”

Chris stood at the door. “He is still right here.” Oh shit, did he know Chris was here? “I know you don’t care, but I do, V.” Wait, was that V he was talking to? Man, the guy sounded like a completely different person when they weren’t fighting.

Nope. Chris was overstepping. He was listening in. He was doing exactly what he told himself he wouldn’t. Before anyone could say another word he knocked on the door. “That should be them.” Eddie said and opened the door.

Eddie looked at Chris with surprise. Okay, so he didn’t know Chris was there. “Chris, hey.” He said, still seeming to be getting over his surprise. Then he hit his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Shit, we were going to hang out today, weren’t we?”

“Uh, Yeah. That was the plan.” Chris said with an awkward smile. Eddie forgot.

“I’m so sorry, Chris. It completely slipped my mind...” Eddie gave an apologetic smile.

Chris tried not to smile back so easily, but he couldn’t. He should be mad that Eddie forgot, but how could he not smile when he sees that face? Behind Eddie another man wearing a shirt that he recognized as the shirt Eddie wore the first time he met him walked into view. He didn’t look like Chris expected, but then again he didn’t really know what he was expecting. Chris gave him a nod, “You must be V. I’ve heard a lot about you. I’m Chris.”

Eddie gave V a worried look. But though looking confused, he gave Chris a nod back. “Nice to meet you”

“Look, if you’re busy, it’s no problem. I’ll text you and we can hang out later.” Chris told Eddie.

“Thanks, I’ll talk to you later.” Eddie said and shut the door behind Chris as he left.


Venom was snickering inside Eddies head. Snickering. What?! He didn’t mean to snap but it really had been a rollercoaster of a day.

He thinks that man is me. Venom laughed.

Eddie was suddenly struck by the fact that he didn’t know the guys actual name. Just “Ant-Man.” He turned to the man in question “So, I really don’t want to call you Ant Man so what should I call you?”

He looked embarrassed— He should be— as he said “Scott.”

“Alright, Scott well now that that’s out of the way...” Eddie started to say, but Scott interrupted him.

“Who does that guy think I am?”

Venom chortled. Eddie shook his head, trying to focus. “My roommate slash boyfriend, V.”

“Oh,” He looked confused. “Should I have corrected him? Why didn’t you correct him?”

“Well, one; if I corrected him who was I supposed to say you were? I’m guessing you don’t want people to know you are Ant man.” He waited for a moment and Scott nodded in confirmation. Eddie nodded back. “That’s what I thought. Also, two; it’s not like I plan on him meeting my actual boyfriend.”

“Why?” Scott said, then, blushing, added “Sorry this is probably none of my business.”

Venom peeked out a head, kissed Eddie on the cheek and said ”Yeah, Eddie, Why don’t we introduce me to Chris? We could double date.” Inside Eddies head Venom was laughing uncontrollably at Scott’s shocked and embarrassed look on his face, but he kept a pretty good poker face.

Eddie pushed Venom away from his face. He tried to bury the embarrassment flashing in him. He hadn’t expected some stranger who calls himself Ant-man to be the first person they tell about their newly developed relationship. He figured it would be Annie or Dan. Maybe Jemma if it came up. “Anyway... back to more pressing concerns. What are we going to do about whoever it is that is trying to steal your suit?”

“We?” Scott repeated. “I really appreciate all your help, Eddie, but I’ve got a team and we’re handling it.” He sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Honestly I should probably go back to them before they think I’m dead.”

Scott started for the door, but Eddie grabbed his arm. Well, Venom did, with Eddies hand. Eddie, I smell the people from before. When Scott turned back toward him, Eddie had a finger to his lips. They both waited for a moment then Eddie pushed the suit in Scott’s arms into him and pointed to a door. Someone’s here. Eddie mouthed. Scott looked to the door and left to go change.

Eddie went to the door and looked through the peep hole, Venom covering every inch of him except his head. A group of four people wearing suits stood in his hall way. If he started a fight here he was going to be evicted. And others might get hurt. Gonna have to lead them away. Eddie told Venom.

Venom covered his head and they went over to the window, opened it up and crawled through onto the fire escape. Then Venom sent a long tendril across the room, opening the door.

All four suits looked over to see a big smiling monster on the fire escape and before they could react Eddie and Venom jumped off the fire escape.


Scott ripped off the borrowed clothes as quickly as he could, trying to get on his suit before whoever was outside came in. As soon as he was dressed he hit the button in his hand to shrink himself.

Scott ran under the door just in time to see four people, two men and two women, in suits running toward an open window, shooting.

Scott jumped up, kicking one of the guns out of its shooters hand and using it as a jumping point to punch her in the face. She fell flat on her back. One of them was already on the fire escape shooting at something on the ground below. Scott had one guess what and ran over, jumping up and pushing the man off the fire escape.

He watched the man fall end over end until he was caught in the arms of a huge black form. The form looked up and gave a wicked smile. So that’s how they chased them away before.

“Scott? Scott!” Scott heard over the intercom in his helmet.

“Hey, Hank, kind of busy.” Scott said as another one of the suits, the other woman, came out onto the fire escape.

“We saw video footage of you being taken by some giant black monster, what happened?” Hank demanded.

Scott grabbed the woman’s pant leg and pulled her forward, making her lose her footing and fall before he threw her off the fire escape too. “He’s helping me fight off some would be thieves right now.”

He looked over the edge to see Venom but both the people that were thrown over were now laying unconscious at it’s?... his?... their?... feet.

There was only one suit left, who was shooting blindly out of the window. “Scott, you need to get out of there. The suit is damaged, it’s going to be unpredictable, and we can’t let anyone get it!” That’s when the door was kicked open and more suits came in. But these ones shot the one shooting blindly with some blue ray and she collapsed.

“Oh no,” Scott breathed and jumped off the fire escape. He pressed a button on his chest to call Ant-Tony but it just clicked dully. So he was falling with no flying ant to catch him. “Oh no, oh no, oh no.” He looked down at Venom, closed his eyes tightly and clicked his hand to go back to regular size.

Chapter Text

Venom caught Scott, who became human sized again only seconds before hitting their arms. They could hear the air leaving Scott’s lungs at the impact.

They looked up and saw Agent May looming down the fire escape. “You’re late.” They yelled up at her.

She rolled her eyes and went back inside for a moment, before gesturing for them to come back up. They shrugged and, carrying Scott under one arm, climbed back up into their apartment.

They set Scott down on his feet, who was whipping his head around like crazy, and Venom retreated back under Eddie's skin.

“I can explain.” Eddie said to the the agents in the room, holding his hands up, palms out in surrender.

“I sure hope so.” Agent Coulson looked around the room.

Skye caught Eddie's eye, “You know, didn’t you just see Coulson and Jemma? Don’t tell me you missed us already.”

Eddie opened his mouth, then closed it again. How the hell was he going to explain any of this? “Do I need my lawyer present?” He asked, mostly looking to Skye, knowing she would tell the truth.

“I don’t know, do you need you need your ex-girlfriend for this?” asked Agent May.

He gave them all a look as he tried to decide. You called them. If you wanted Anne you should have called her too. He wasn’t wrong.

“Right, well, while walking home from seeing you guys I ran into this guy” he gestured to Scott, who was looking like a cornered animal “who was being chased and shot at by these guys” he gestured to the unconscious woman on his floor.

Venom appeared over Eddie's shoulder to add “And since we didn’t eat them, after we got him to safety they just followed us and attacked again.”

Scott jumped at that “Wait, you eat people?!”

Venom gave a mischievous smile “Not anymore.”

Eddie groaned “Venom, please.”

“Who are you guys?!” Scott looked back and forth between everyone; they couldn’t see his face because of his helmet, but the bewilderment was very clear in his voice.

Agent Coulson stepped closer to Scott, “We’re SHIELD. Do you know why Hydra was after you?”

His body went stiff “Nope. I mean... who- me? Nope, nope, nope. Not me. I’m just- just a random guy who was out riding his motorcycle.” He gestured to his suit.

Eddie squinted at Scott, trying to figure out why he was suddenly lying.

He doesn’t trust them. Venom answered his unspoken question.

Agent May wasn’t buying it. “Why don’t you take off your ‘motorcycle’ helmet then?”

Scott took it off, cradling the helmet under his arm. “I’m nobody.” He said again.

“Alright,” Agent Coulson started dubiously. “Grant is picking up the Hydra agents on the ground, lets get you both debriefed, and then Eddie and mr. nobody here can go about their business.”

Eddie stepped forward, “Hey, I know I’m kinda pushing it... and with what happened today I’m probably already in trouble... but somebody is obviously after him, even if we don’t know why...” he gave Scott a look “So I feel like once the debriefing is over Venom and I should stay with him to protect him.”

Coulson looked between the two men, before a sly smirk took shape on his face. “Tell you what, I’ll allow that. On the condition that you meet with your handler every day until this is all over.”

Eddie only barely suppressed a groan. You know what? Maybe he didn’t care that much. Eddie. Venom chastised. Eddie gave a forced smile, “Of course.”


After SHIELD left, Scott turned to Eddie, “Look, I really appreciate everything you did, but I really don’t need a babysitter, so I’m gonna go home.”

Eddie rolled his eyes and walked into the kitchen. Scott was about to say something when Eddie put a finger to his lips to shush him.

He lifted a jar on the counter, picked something up, and crushed in it his hand. Then he looked around the apartment before moving to a lamp by the couch and doing the same thing. “Okay, I think that’s all of them.” said Eddie, facing Scott again.

“Did they bug your apartment?” Scott asked mouth agape.

Eddie shrugged. “Not the first time.”

Won't be the last either.

Eddie gave a smirk at that last comment, then looked to Scott. “How did you already know about SHIELD?” He asked.

Scott tried to hide his surprised expression. A poor attempt. Then again wasn't exactly fair when Venom could hear his heartbeat increase. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You were fine until you found out they were SHIELD. Once they said SHIELD you clammed up.” Eddie pushed. “Why? Do you have previous experience with them?”

Scott sighed, “No, but I’ve heard plenty about them. They’ve been trying to steal this technology for a long time.”

If they’ve tried to steal his suit but he hasn’t met him... Venom started.

“You're not the only one with a suit like that.” Eddie guessed.

Scott flushed red and opened his mouth to object, but Eddie interrupted him.

“Look, we don’t want to steal your suit or it’s technology. I’ve got Venom and I’m happy with that. But I do have two motives that I’m going to be up front about. First off, I’m not SHIELD. I can’t in good conscience just let you face whoever is trying to steal your suit on your own.”

“I’m not alone...” Scott started to protest.

But Eddie interrupted him again. “Which brings us to my second motive. Since SHIELD has found out about Venom and I, we've been on the world's tightest leash. As long as I'm protecting you, we’ve got a little more slack on that leash.”

Venom growled in Eddie's chest. He rubbed his sternum in response.

Eddie held out a hand toward Scott. “Do we have a deal?”

Scott looked back and forth between the hand and Eddie's face. “What did Venom mean when he said ‘since we didn’t eat them?’”

Fuck. Eddie had really hoped that between the debriefing and everything else he would've forgotten about that comment. If he leaves, you realize your big fat mouth is at fault? He thought at Venom. “Venom’s species requires a very specific diet. Part of that diet is a chemical that is... difficult to find. But it can be found in...” God, how should he say this?

“In people? Venom has to eat people to survive?” Scott’s face went white.

Venom snuck a head out to interject “Only bad people.”

Eddie quickly amended “SHIELD has worked with us and found a way to get Venom what he needs without that though.”

Scott looked back and forth between Eddie and Venom. Looking absolutely terrified out of his fucking mind. God damn it, Venom.

“So you're not gonna eat me in my sleep or something?” Scott gave a half-hysterical laugh.

Eddie took a few steps forward and put a hand on Scott’s shoulder. “No, I promise. Cross our heart. We only ever killed people to defend ourselves, and others, and we haven’t even done that since SHIELD found us. One more body and we’re separated and put into the highest security prison for powered people. And I will never let us be separated ever again.”

Scott swallowed, closed his eyes, and offered his hand. “Great. Now it’s just a question of who’s going to murder me first. SHIELD, this Hydra Group, or the reformed cannibal I’ve decided to stay with.”

Eddie gave a laugh. “At least life isn't boring!”

Chapter Text

“Mr. Brock.” A stern woman was standing in their doorway, her salt and pepper hair tied back in a single braid.

Venom hissed internally. Eddie barely suppressed a groan. His fucking handler— like he’s some disobedient dog, some poorly trained pet— stood in the doorway of his apartment.

“Eddie.” He corrected. Again. Agent Kellar walked past him into his apartment.

“And you must be Scott.” she said, looking Scott up and down as he sat at a small table by the window. Her expression uncaring.

“And... you are?” Scott asked, looking to Eddie with questions all over his face.

“Agent Valerie Kellar of SHIELD.”, she stated coldly, her hands behind her back. “Mr. Brock’s handler, and temporarily yours as well.” She looked back over to Eddie. “We need to speak about the rules of you protecting this man.”

Eddie sighed, leaning against the arm of his couch. More rules complained Venom.

“If Venom has something to say, I’d prefer he did so in a way that I can hear him.” She reprimanded.

Eddie sat up straighter for a second, gripping the arm of the couch with both hands. How the fuck did she always know?

Venom sneaked out of Eddie's back, materializing a head that glared at her. Anyone with sense would be afraid. Venom could end her life in half a second without a thought. Her eyes were hungry.

Venom didn’t speak, so she started, her cold eyes on Eddie and Venom. “First of all, of course, I just want to reestablish that even while protecting Mr. Lang, you are under the same laws as everyone else. Murder is still a crime, and if I were you, I would be careful even about self defense. You can only use that plea so many times before it starts to lose merit.” She gave them a smug smile.

Scott fidgeted uncomfortably. “Of course.” Eddie responded, trying to get on with it and change the subject. The faster they got through this, the faster she would leave.

She started to pace around them. Circling them. Heels clicking on hardwood floor. Eyeing every inch of host and symbiote. “You are required to contact me every twenty-four hours. If you are late, it will be assumed something went wrong and we will come to rescue you. False alarms will not be tolerated.”

Venom never took his eyes off of her. His distaste was seeping into Eddie as well. “Anything else?”, asked Eddie impatiently.

She stopped, “Less of a rule and more of a recommendation: Don’t be seen. SHIELD got rid of all the videos of you two on the Internet, but some damage has been done already. You’ve made a name for yourself, Mr. Brock. Any more attention would be... unfortunate.” Her lips curled up at the last word.

“Eddie.” He hissed the correction.

She walked towards the door, opened it, and left with a cutting “Mr. Brock. Mr. Lang.” Before shutting the door behind her.

Eddie finally let out a frustrated snarl, falling back onto the couch. “God I fucking hate her.”

Venom growled at the door. “Agreed.” Eddie reached out to touch Venom. He knew how much his other felt silenced by not being allowed to silently communicate with Eddie. How much he hated that she could always fucking tell. Eddie hated it too. The woman didn’t want them to communicate silently, but then turned around and ignored or dehumanized Venom whenever he materialized. I want her throat between my teeth. Venom sent the mental picture to Eddie.

Eddie gave a laugh before sighing and looking up at Scott. “Well,” he started. “You ready to find out who this Hydra group is?”

Scott stood and took a deep breath “Let’s go.”


“I’m sorry, but I thought investigative journalism was supposed to be fun. Dangerous. Exciting.” Scott bemoaned, flopping on one of the library's tables.

“Hate to disappoint, but gotta get your boring facts before you can get to the fun chase-scenes.” Eddie laughed, flipping through the contents on his computer screen. “Good news though, I think I found something.”

Scott perked up, inching closer. “The Rising Tide?” He read aloud.

“Who knows if half of what these shits say is even true, but they seem to know about SHIELD.”, said Eddie, “Hydra was originally some kind of Nazi organization. Like World War Two Hitler Nazi, not the present-day neo-nazi.” He shook his head. “It was thought to have been dismantled by Shield, but this site says the organization survived. They even have some kind of super-assassin they call the Winter Solider.” Eddie shrugged. “The article is mostly about him and less about the organization, but still, SHIELD is usually very good at getting sites that share information about them to shut down before anyone can read it, but they haven’t been able to get this one... which makes me think they must be insanely good hackers. And why would insanely good hackers waste their time posting lies about a secret organization that nobody even knows exists?”

“Or maybe it’s so wrong SHIELD saw no harm in letting it stay up.” Scott countered. “And why aren’t we doing this at your place anyway? Don't you have a laptop or a smartphone?”

Eddie lifted an eyebrow at him. “You think they aren't watching my phone and my laptop? They bug my apartment, like, every time they are in it.”

Scott looked down in embarrassment. “Oh, right. Well, why aren’t they helping then? They know who Hydra is, right? Can’t we ask them?”

Eddie threw his phone at him. “Go right ahead. It was your idea not to trust SHIELD.”

Scott looked down at the phone. Eddie didn’t look away from the computer. “Well, what do you think about them?” Scott asked. “You said you didn’t trust them with... V, and you take the bugs out of your apartment, and you obviously hate your handler... yet you seemed friendly with some of the people that showed up after the fight - and you called them when I needed help.”

Eddie sighed.

You wanna tell him? Venom asked curiously.

He deserves to know what he’s dealing with. Eddie thought back. Even if Hydra are fucking nazis and SHIELD and Hydra are enemies, that still doesn’t make this whole issue black and white.

He could feel Venom moving just under his skin. I will protect you.

He looked around the computer lab of the library. No one else was there; there was only one camera and by the looks of it, he doubted it had audio. He purposefully turned his back to the camera as well and spoke, looking straight forward instead of meeting Scott’s eyes.

“Venom and I... were still new and getting the hang of our bond, and still getting his dietary needs in... unconventional ways, when we caught their attention.”, whispered Eddie. Thinking about it alone made his heart beat faster. Adrenaline was threatening to flood his system. Venom started poking around, trying to ease the reaction like Jemma taught him.

“They didn’t come to our house to nicely arrest us, reading me my Miranda rights and allowing me a lawyer. They ambushed us. Forcibly separated us. Ripped Venom away from me.” Eddie's voice was getting thick. Every time panic and fear threatened to take over, Venom would do something in his head to keep it at bay, but just barely. It was there, but not overwhelming.

“They kept us there. Wouldn’t tell me anything. They were hurting and starving Venom. My body wasn't exactly reacting well to being separated from him either. We both almost died. Jemma and Skye were the only ones who...” he shook his head. “They saved us. Figured out a way to keep us alive, and between them and Anne -my ex- being my lawyer, they were able to keep Venom and I out of being put in some super max prison for super powered people.”

He looked at Scott “I don’t trust them with V. I don’t trust that they won’t separate us again. I don’t trust that they won't decide they want us as lab rats instead, not even for a second. I don’t trust them. But…” he heaved a defeated sigh. “They found a way for me to keep Venom alive and healthy without hurting anyone. Jemma and Skye saved our lives. Jemma has even helped with my PTSD. But that does not mean I want them bugging my apartment, or controlling my every move with that handler, who looks at Venom like he's a valuable weapon to be used. Not a person."

Scott sat back for a moment, taking it all in. Venom materialized a hand and squeezed Eddie's. He could finally feel the distant panic fade away. You did it. He could feel Venom warm up with pride before going back under his skin.

“I’m sorry,” Scott finally said, before giving him a hesitant smile. “Think I could get Anne’s number? If she was able to get those charges off of you, I want her on my speed dial. I bet you anything, if she had been my lawyer, I would not have gone to jail.”

That surprised Eddie. “You’ve been in jail?”

Scott fidgeted uncomfortably. “Not exactly my proudest moment. I kind of used my masters in engineering to play Robin Hood.”

Eddie smiled, putting a hand on Scott's shoulder. “You’ll have to tell me about it sometime.” He let go and turned back around to the computer. “So the real question is… now that we know who is after your suit, what do we do with that information?”

Scott groaned. “Hydra broke my suit, so there’s no use in going to them for some sort of show down or whatever. I need to get it to Ha-... a friend. He can fix it, and we can hide until things have blown over a bit. It would be easy- if I could just get to him. But with both SHIELD and Hydra following us... I don’t wanna to lead them right to our- uhm… our base, you know?"

Eddie thought for a moment. “How broken is it?”


Chris sat in his apartment, working on his laptop. He just had one more website to finish and he'd be done for the weekend. Just one last... There was a buzz at his door.

Chris stood up and walked over to the intercom curiously. “Who is it?”

“Hey Chris, it’s Eddie... and V.” He heard over the intercom. Chris stared at the intercom for a moment before coming back to his senses and buzzing them in.

After a moment, Chris opened the door to let them in. Eddie looked nervous, rubbing the back of his neck. Scott smiled, “This is a nice place you got here.” He offered.

“Thanks...” Chris said hesitantly. “What’s going on?”

“We kind of need a favor.” Eddie said, handing Chris an envelope.

Chris looked down at the envelope and back up to the two men. “O-kay?”

Eddie took a deep breath, how was he going to explain this? God, how was he going to explain this?

We should have asked Anne or Dan. Venom persisted. He had been against involving Chris from the beginning.

SHIELD knows about Anne and Dan. They’ll be watching them too. Eddie reminded his other.

“How much do you want to know?” Eddie asked.

Chris looked thoroughly confused by now. “Depends, what do you want me to do with this?”

Scott stepped forward. “We need you to take this to an exact location and give it to a woman there.”

Chris stared blankly. “And why can’t you guys do it?”

“We’re being watched.” Eddie told him.

Chris took a step back. “By who? The police? Is this like- drug money or something? Are you doing something illegal?”

“No, Chris. No.” Eddie instinctively held Chris’ wrists. “We are in a bit of trouble, yes, but it’s not with the police. It’s with a organization we got on the wrong side of.”

Realization went through Chris. “This is about one of your stories.” He guessed. “Someone you’re trying to take down knows you are investigating them.” He looked at the envelope and gave it a little shaket “What’s this? A flash drive with your information and sources on it?”

God, why hadn’t Eddie thought of that? But still.... did he want to confirm that, when it was a lie? He hated lying to Chris. Promised himself he wouldn’t do it anymore. He took a deep breath.

“Chris... the more you know, the more danger you're in. But I don’t want you to make a decision to help us without knowing what you're getting yourself into.”

Chris looked back and forth between them. He nodded toward Scott. “V’s involved? Does he know?”

Eddie almost laughed. “We’ve been working on this together.”

He could see Chris fighting within himself. Eddie slowly let go of him, and backed up to give him room to think. “Where? And how do I recognize the woman?”

Scott handed him a piece of paper with an address on it. “Brown hair, and she said she would wear a yellow scarf.” As Chris took it, Scott added, “Thank you.”

Chris gave a nod before looking back to Eddie. “I do expect to be told everything as soon as this hits the papers.”

Eddie smiled. “I’ll happily tell you everything once the danger has passed.” Eddie pulled Chris into a hug. “We’ll leave first. Wait at least fifteen minutes before leaving yourself, okay?” He pulled away to see Chris nod.

Scott and Eddie headed towards the door where Chris let them out. As they walked down the hall to the stairwell, Eddie heard Venom say Wait, and before Eddie could process what was happening, a black wall had already shot out of him - catching a spray of bullets and covering Eddie and Scott.

Venom completely covered Eddie and pushed Scott back into the apartment with Chris, who was still standing in the door. Four figures walked towards him, handguns trained on their head and chest.

Venom and Eddie laughed, walking toward the four agents without caring about the bullets assaulting them. They grabbed one by the throat and threw her into another attacker, rendering them both unconscious.

The two remaining started aiming straight for the face, as if that would make any difference. Eddie and Venom ripped the gun out of a man's hands and used the butt of it to hit him in the back of his head. They then grabbed the last man by the foot and slammed him into the ground.

Would be better if we could eat them. Venom complained halfheartedly as they looked down at the four unconscious attackers.

They turned around and saw Scott and Chris still standing in the hallway. Chris’ eyes wide. Oh shit.

They put their hands up in a peaceful gesture and slowly approached the two. Venom removed himself partially, revealing Eddie's head. “Chris...” He started, trying to calm both Chris and himself.

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. He wasn’t supposed to find out this way.

Too late now.

Eddie heard the crack of a gunshot half a second too late.

And collapsed to the ground.

Chapter Text

Eddie woke with a groan. His head was killing him. He lifted up a hand to put pressure on his temples and found his head was covered in bandages.

Eddie snapped his eyes open and sat up. He was in a hospital room, and there was an IV in his arm. The face and deep voice of his other greeted him, though Eddie wasn’t sure what it said. Relief washed over both of them, overwhelming him for a moment.

“Hey,” He breathed, then stopped and squinted. That voice. The voice of his partner. His other. The love of his life. It was familiar and felt like home. But he couldn’t remember the name that went with the voice.

Eddie panicked for a moment. He remembered his favorite chocolate. He remembered how they met. All their firsts. But he couldn’t remember his love's name. His breathing was turning jagged and uneven.

His love turned his head, yelling something out. Eddie tried to focus on the sounds, but they just made no sense to his ears.

The door opened and two women entered the room. His… friends. What did he call them? The doctor and the special agent.

The doctor sat next to him on the bed and put a hand on Eddie's shoulder and spine, but Eddie couldn’t understand. His breathing getting faster. She made a show of taking deep breaths, and Eddie mimicked her until his breathing normalized.

He looked to the other woman, who was standing by the door. “What happened?” He asked, but his speech was slurred. He was surprised by his own voice.

He felt a hand take his and looked down to see the black goo of his other, forming a hand out of his forearm and holding his own. Eddie sighed.

The doctor beside him spoke and Eddie made every effort to make sense out of the noises. “... leaving... shot... scared...” she started to trail off “... hear...?”

“I... I don’t...” Eddie looked around until he found the face of his love.

Eddie? Are you okay? Eddie sighed, grateful something was finally making sense.

“No... something's wrong.” Eddie admitted, the words coming only slowly.

The doctor stood, pulling Eddie's attention back to her. Speaking slowly and deliberately. “... understand... are... hear..?” But still Eddie had no idea what she was saying.

“I... I can’t...” His face flushed, growing frustrated at not being able to understand them.

Eddie can you hear them? He asked.

“Yes” Eddie said slowly. “But... not...”

The agent spoke, quietly. Eddie shook his head. Trying to force the words to make sense.

Do you know what they're saying?

“No” he looked into his love's white eyes, before swallowing uncomfortably. “What... happened?”

His love, instead of mentally projecting, spoke to the others. The words sounded all jumbled up and garbled. The three of them started speaking to each other. Eddie slammed a fist on his night stand “What. Happened.” he repeated emphatically.

His other looked back to him. Eddie, I’m so sorry. We were leaving Chris’, and Hydra came with guns. I thought I got them all, and you wanted to calm down Chris because he saw us... I thought it was safe. You were shot in the head.

Even speaking telepathically, Eddie's understanding was going in and out like a poor cell phone connection. Eddie repeated each word in his head, trying to make sense of them. “Shot?” He repeated.

I wasn’t sure if we were going to get you back. Scott called SHIELD, and Jemma has been working like crazy, but I still had to control most of your body's regular functions for hours before it could do it on its own.

Eddie shut his eyes. Nothing was making sense. It was like he was missing pieces. “Why can’t...” Eddie stopped “I don’t know...”

Someone spoke, and Eddie was ready to throw something out of frustration when his symbiote jumped in Jemma said brain injuries are tough to heal, even for me. They are complicated and unpredictable. No one really understands them yet. But we have been working, trying to make you better...

Jemma. Right. Jemma. The doctor sitting beside him was Jemma. His love spoke to Jemma, and after she'd answered he looked back to Eddie. If I repeat what she says to you, can you try to answer a few questions? It will help her know what’s going on.

Eddie nodded defeatedly.

There was more speaking, then his love asked What day is today?

Eddie smiled, glad it was something easy. He opened his mouth- and stopped. He shook his head “I know this.”

The agent at the door spoke, and while her voice was trying to be calming, right now it really just made him even more upset.

“No, I know this, I just can’t think of the...” What was it? He lost it. He had it just a second ago. “Dammit!” He slammed his fist again.

Eddie, it’s okay... take your time...

“No, I know. I know this.” He groaned.

Venom repeated something out loud again, something Eddie had heard him say a million times in the short time he’s been awake. But even when mentally linked, he couldn’t make sense of it. He just couldn’t connect the word with a meaning, and it was driving him mad.

“Stop saying that! I don’t know what you’re saying!”

Shock filled his other, spilling over into Eddie a few seconds later.

“I’m sorry,” Eddie whispered.

The doctor spoke, and Eddie sighed while he waited for his love to translate. But there was a long gap of silence before he did.

What’s your name? The question was tentative, afraid of the answer.

Eddie felt his whole body turn hot. “I know who I am.” Eddie urged.

What’s your name? The question was repeated.

Eddie sighed and shook his head.

What’s my name?

Eddie looked into his other's eyes. Tears threatening to spill. “I know I love you.” His voice cracked, and he reached out to touch his love's face. “I know how we met. I remember the first time you did this” he lifted up his hand, still clutching onto his love's for dear life.

The doctor spoke. The symbiote looked to her, then back at Eddie. What are we doing, right now?

“We’re holding...” Eddie stopped. “Holding...”

Hands. His love prompted.

“Is that right?” He wasn’t sure.

The other three started speaking quickly. Eddie leaned back and fingered the bandage that was covering most of his head. Finally they stopped and looked at him.

“What’s wrong with me?” He asked, his voice thick with emotion.

His partner nuzzled up against his neck Don’t worry. I’ll fix it.

Tears were streaming down his face. He tried to keep breathing evenly but failed. And his love repeated the word again out loud, his favorite word it felt like. The one he kept saying over and over again earlier. Eddie. You are Eddie.

Eddie. It felt wrong and… weird, but he trusted his love.

Eddie tried to mentally project, embarrassed to ask out loud. What... do I call you?

It was an eternity before his other answered, and Eddie almost feared that the communication hadn’t worked. Venom.

He was overwhelmed with guilt and grief as he sobbed “I’m so sorry.”


Venom watched as Eddie slept. Watched the slow rise and fall of his chest.

“It’s some kind of aphasia. Maybe even anomia? I’m not sure, I’m not a neurologist.” He could hear Jemma saying.

“How do I fix it?” Venom's voice was cool and even, not giving away that he was falling apart inside, not even for a second.

Eddie. Something was wrong with Eddie. He hadn’t fixed him right, and now he didn’t know Venom’s name. Didn’t even know his own name. And it was all Venom's fault. He had to fix it.

“Venom, we don't know that this is permanent, it might just be temporary. I mean- he was shot in the head, and the brain is a complex thing. He might just need some time.” Jemma went to touch Venom but he jerked away from her hand.

He can’t understand anything you're saying. He’s so confused and lost.” Venom buried himself between Eddie's chin and collarbone.

“He might have to relearn things. From what I could see, his brain's functioning just fine, I think you healed him correctly. But now he has to relearn everything that was stored in that part of the brain.”

Skye piped in. “We'll just have to take things as they come, Venom. This is going to be really hard on Eddie, but together we can get through this. Eddie will be alright.”

Venom could feel Eddie's pulse quicken, his adrenaline getting higher. Venom carefully tried to slow down his heart rate and press his brain to release serotonin instead, but something went wrong…

Like at New Years Eve, Venom was forced to relive a memory they shared.

A bullet running through Eddie's skull. Blood spraying.

Eddie!

Venom covered his head back up and shot a tendril out of their back, breaking the neck of the shooter. He uncovered Eddie to focus everything he had in him on stopping the bleeding from the entry and exit wounds. Venom was running their body while he repaired the brain, the organ no longer giving the rest of the body the proper signals to function.

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! The symbiote pleaded, but his host didn’t respond.

Chris wanted to run up to them, but he was held back by Scott before he could reach him. There was yelling, but none of it made sense. Venom was too distracted by keeping Eddie's body in homeostasis, while drowning in worry because Eddie wasn’t responding. Venom used Eddie's mouth to speak, unwilling to separate from his host to form a head of his own “Call SHIELD. I’m healing him the best I can. Then get out of here!”

Scott reached into Eddie's pocket and grabbed his phone, then he pulled Chris away. Chris was still shouting, but Venom was focusing all his attention on keeping their body going, on repairing the damage. On Reconnecting synapses. On getting the brain to start producing chemicals on its own again.

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

Eddie bolted upright, waking up, jerking Venom out of the memory.

Jemma jumped, then put a hand on Eddie's shoulder. “Eddie, it’s okay, it was just a dream.” She said in a hushed tone. He looked around wildly, adrenaline still pumping through their veins when he locked eyes with Venom.

Venom nudged his host with his head, felt their heart rate decrease and his love calm down.

“What happened?” Eddie asked between deep breaths.

Jemma and Venom shared a look. What do you remember?

“We were fighting... but it was done...” Venom watched as Eddie's face fell, his confusion written all over it.

One of them regained consciousness and grabbed a gun. I wasn’t covering your head. You were shot. Do you remember?

Eddie bit his lip as he concentrated. “You told me this already.” He looked up for confirmation. Venom and Jemma both nodded. Worry clouded his face.

“Eddie, can you understand me?” Jemma asked tentatively.

Eddie looked at her with big eyes. “I... I think so.” He looked to Venom. Eddie. His Eddie. He was a lost puppy. Confused and afraid. Venom tried to keep his own worry from spreading over to his host.

Jemma gave a smile “That’s great Eddie! You’re already improving.”

Venom formed a hand to hold Eddie’s. He could feel the relief that the physical contact was giving his host.

“Where’s...?” Eddie stopped and closed his eyes, concentrating.

I’ll tell you when we are alone. Venom told him. Jemma will be leaving soon.

“Jemma?” Eddie repeated slowly.

Jemma nodded. “Jemma Simons. ” she reminded him gently.

Venom could feel Eddie's heart beating faster. “Why can’t I remember?”

“You were shot in the head, Eddie.” Jemma said with a light tone. “If forgetting a few names and words is all that happens, I'd say you got off pretty lucky.”

We’ll help you remember, or relearn anything you need to.

Eddie's heart slowed, though it was still faster than normal. “I’m sorry.” He whispered.

You have nothing to be sorry for. Venom assured him. It was Venom who had failed to protect him. That was his job, and he failed, and now Eddie was hurt and confused.

Jemma excused herself, leaving the two of them alone. Eddie looked at his and Venom's hands, tears welling up in his eyes.

Venom's (metaphorical) heart broke. What’s wrong? What can I do?

“I don’t know... I can’t remember the words... I don’t know what anything is called.” He looked at his other. “I don’t know anything.”

Know this, because it’s all you ever have to know: know that I love you. Know that you’re mine. Know that we will get through this.

Eddies voice was low and defeated “I’m broken.”

We’ll fix this. I’ll fix this. Venom assured him.

Chapter Text

Chris was almost hyperventilating behind a dumpster. Not ideal, but neither was their situation.

To be completely honest Scott felt like he was about to throw up as well, but least one of them would have to stay calm.

Chris looked up at Scott.

“We can’t just leave him there.” He said between gasps. Then, he got angry. He suddenly stood up and pushed Scott. “He’s supposed to be your boyfriend, how could you just leave him there?!”

Scott steadied himself and tried to shush the other man. “Keep quiet, will you? There are probably more Hydra agents on their way.”

“Yet you just left him there!” Chris pushed him again.

“Venom said he had it under control, okay? He said he was healing him.” Scott shook his head, as if the motion could get rid of the image. It was the weirdest thing to see Eddie laying on the floor, a bullet hole through his head, and have Venom’s voice come out of his mouth. “He said to call SHIELD and leave.”

“He was just shot in the head! Why were you even listening to anything he was saying?! We should have called an ambulance! We shouldn’t have left him there!” Chris voice was a harsh whisper, but it was starting to get louder.

Scott started pacing up and down the alley, Chris watching with folded arms. “Yes, Eddie was shot in the head, but Venom was fine. He was fixing it. An ambulance would have only meant more people finding out about them. And we needed to get away from him. They aren’t after Eddie, they are after me. If I’d stayed, it would have just put Eddie in more danger.” Scott explained, albeit poorly.

This was impossible.

This was not the plan.

This was so fucking far away from the plan.

Now he had to avoid both Hydra and SHIELD, and get to Hank without his suit and without Eddie.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Scott really didn’t have the time to get into this right now. And even if he did, how was he supposed to explain everything that was going on to a stranger? He didn’t even have the whole story about Eddie. And he definitely didn’t know how much Eddie would want Chris to know either.

“Look, Eddie will explain everything as soon as he’s better, okay?”

Because he was going to get better. He had to.

Venom said he was healing him, and honestly it should surprise Scott that that’s even possible, but after all the things that he’d seen already...

“We need to get going.”

“Going where?” Chris asked.

Good question. Scott stopped pacing and massaged his temples.

Eddie was out of commission. They weren’t going to be getting any help from him. Scott’s suit was broken. So whatever they did, it’d have to be done without the suit. SHIELD and Hydra were both going to be looking for them, so he couldn’t just go straight to Hank either. He looked to Chris, glaring at him, betrayal all over his face.

“Did any of them see you?”

“What?”

“The Hydra agents. You were still in the apartment when they attacked, right? And we didn’t leave the apartment until they were unconscious. The one that shot Eddie and might have seen you is dead now anyway, which means-” Scott nodded to himself. “We’re gonna stick with the original plan.”

“Which is what exactly?” Chris asked dubiously. “I thought you guys were working on an article together to bring down some crooked big business! But seeing as Eddie turned into some- demon, or- or- or creature- or just-” he gestured angrily, searching for words “into that thing in the hallway of my apartment building, and you didn’t seem even the slightest bit surprised, I’m starting to think this is more than that.” Chris let out a big angry huff and leaned down, sitting on the back of his heels, barely off the ground, head in his hands.

Scott sighed and pulled the envelope out of Chris’ hand. “You take this envelope to Hope. Brunette woman, yellow scarf. I'll go and cause a distraction. Her father will fix the suit and send reinforcements.”

“What suit?” Chris asked exasperated.

“Chris, can you just trust me?” Scott begged, holding the envelope back out.

Chris looked at Scott, his face going through a hundred emotions at once. Anger. Fear. Grief. Disappointment.

“You just… left him.”

“Chris, if you can't do this then-... then it'll have all been for nothing.” Scott pressed.

Chris ripped the envelope out of Scott’s hand. “I hope he dumps your ass, V.” He spat, and walked away.

Scott sighed. “I’m not... his boyfriend” He whispered to himself before leaving in the opposite direction.


Eddie was slipping in and out of consciousness. Unable to stay awake longer than twenty minutes.

It’s fine, Eddie. You need to rest. Venom assured.

Venom. He had to repeat the name to himself over and over again. Venom. Venom. Venom. He was so afraid he’d wake up and not remember it again.

He woke up and two people were sitting on his bed, one on each side. His ex, that he almost spent the rest of his life with - and her new boyfriend, the perfect doctor.

The woman was first to notice that Eddie was waking up.

“Eddie,” she sighed in relief. The word still sounded wrong. Was that really his name? “Jemma called us. We’re your-... we came as soon as we heard. God, I’m so glad you’re alright.”

Eddie closed his eyes, trying to focus. Trying to remember.

It’s Anne and Dan. Venom reminded.

Eddie nodded and opened his eyes. “Anne.” He repeated slowly.

“What were you doing? How the hell did you get shot?” Anne asked.

Eddie bit his lip. He felt like he had to think through every word, his speech halted and slow.

“I was… helping someone... he needed... my help... we went to… to...” he groaned in frustration.

Who? Eddie snapped, despite himself.

Scott. We were helping Scott. And went to Chris’ apartment. Venom's voice was small.

“Chris” he spat out the word before he could forget it. “We went to... Chris... but we were attacked... by...”

Hydra.

Eddie groaned, grabbed the first thing he was able to reach and threw it in frustration - a plastic cup, from the tray. “I can’t... I don’t know...”

Anne wrapped him in a hug. “It’s alright, Eddie. I’m really sorry, I wasn't- I didn’t mean to upset you, I promise.”

Her boyfriend... God damn it, Venom just told him his name... stood up. “Would you rather we go? We can let you rest, if you want.”

Anne let go of Eddie, looking at him expectantly for an answer. Hot embarrassment filled him.

“I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to throw the...” Shit, what was that thing called? Eddie stared at it. “You drink from it...”

“The cup?” Anne offered.

Eddie closed his eyes again. Defeated by the word cup.

Cup.

“Cup. Yeah. That.”

Eddie… maybe you should rest. Venom was hesitant.

Eddie laid back down on his side. “I’m sorry.” He repeated again. “I’m sorry.”


Chris was walking down the street, looking for the shop he was supposed to be looking for, and the brunette with the yellow scarf who was supposed to be there.

He just needed to deliver this, and then he could go and find Eddie.

Eddie.

God- when those shots rang out after the two men left, Chris’ heart had just- stopped. He had just been about to go out into the hallway to try and help however he could, when something had slammed into his chest all of a sudden and knocked him off his feet. By the time they'd both gotten back up on their feet and out into the hallway, all the attackers were already down. A large, ten foot tall figure seemingly covered in black rubber had turned around to them. Completely white eyes and a mouth filled with more teeth than a shark's maw, looking right at him. Until the head suddenly disappeared, revealing Eddie's face. Eddie.

Guess Chris knew his secret now.

The picture of Eddie's face, filled with worry and concern, but coming out of that monstrous body… That was forever burned into Chris’ mind.

But then another shot rang out, a giant exit wound appearing on Eddie's forehead.

A black tentacle flew back and snapped the assailant's neck. A fucking tenctacle. And Eddie fell to the ground, changing back into the man Chris knew.

He looked so fragile and… broken. Chris screamed and tried to get to him, to hold him one last time- but that traitor, that stranger that dared to call himself Eddie's boyfriend, had held him back, emotionless.

Then somehow, Eddie talked. From underneath a terrifying amount of blood, his lips moved and a voice that wasn’t his came out. “Call SHIELD. I’m healing him the best I can. Then get out of here!”

Chris knew that voice, and it didn’t belong to Eddie. He was frozen in place as the man holding him back let go, retrieved something from Eddie's pocket, and then dragged Chris along with him as he just fucking left him there.

Chris would be haunted by this day, that moment, for the rest of his life. Eddie's head coming out of a monstrous body. His head exploding as he was shot. Only to start speaking in a voice, familiar but not his, when all common sense was saying he should be dead.

But still... all he wanted was to see Eddie again. To see him, alive and well like Chris was promised he would be. To finally learn the truth, and hear it from Eddie's own lips.

But… would he really ever have that opportunity?

Something grabbed Chris by his shirt collar, pulling him out of the street and into a building. He fell flat on his back and looked up to see a brunette woman wearing a yellow scarf.

“Do you have it?” She asked urgently.

Chris held out the envelope in his hand.

She snatched it away and tore it open, then smiled and sighed.

“Thanks.” She said, then disappeared. Literally, fucking disappeared. Into thin air. Like she was never even there.

Chris contemplated just checking himself into a psych ward at this point. But instead he pulled out his phone and called the only other person who might know where Eddie was.


Scott was walking the streets of San Francisco.

Alright.

A distristraction.

He could do this. He just had to be careful. It needed to be the perfect distraction. If it was too big, they’d know he was trying to distract them and ignore it. If it was too small they might not even see it.

It needed to be just right.

So what would get their attention? What would make them find him? Maybe he could get himself on the news somehow? The only way he knew how to do that was crime… even if Eddie’s ex/lawyer was the best in the world, Scott didn’t really want to chance it.

It was really hard to find anything on SHIELD and Hydra though, so maybe if he posted something on the internet? They would find it and… would they even try to confront him about it or just delete it?

Scott sighed. This was harder than he thought. Maybe if he…

In one swift motion, Scott was hit over the head and dragged into an alley before he could even hit the ground. His assailant dragged him a little further in and started patting him down. Finding nothing, the attacker pushed Scott away and stood back up.

“It’s Kellar. I found Mr. Lang.” She said into her ear piece. “He doesn’t have it.”

“Then who the hell does?” She heard on the other end.

She sighed and looked at her cellphone. “I think I have an idea.”

Chapter Text

Eddie woke up, and for the first time there was no one else in the room with him. It was just him and Venom. 

Venom. 

Venom. Venom. Venom. He had to remember that name. Even if he forgot every other. Even if he forgot his own. He had to remember Venom. 

“Venom?” Eddie hesitated. 

Yes, Eddie?

He didn’t have the words to ask his question, but the need to know was burning him up inside. Eddie focused his mind with everything he had on picturing his curly haired ex lover, and the man he was supposed to protect. “...Okay?” 

Venom wrapped a tendril over Eddie's shoulders and rested a head on his chest. 

That’s Chris and Scott. Venom reminded him. They weren’t hurt when you were attacked. I told them to call SHIELD and run after you went down. 

Eddie considered that. Chris and Scott. They were... protecting Scott , so they went to Chris , hoping to get Chris to... hide something? No, that’s not right. Transport something. Take it to someone else. Is that why Venom told them to run? So that Chris could still take whatever it was to whoever was supposed to get it? Or did he not want Chris and Scott around when SHIELD came? 

“Why... run?”

The people who shot you. They’re after Scott. Scott or that stupid suit he was having Chris deliver. Venom looked Eddie in the eyes. I was completely focused on keeping you alive. I couldn’t lose you, Eddie. If Hydra came for Scott before SHIELD got there, we’d all be dead. Scott can’t use his stupid suit. Chris is just a civilian. If I took my attention off of healing you for even a second I… I could’ve lost you forever. I wanted them gone

Eddie didn’t respond right away. Part of it was that he was trying to use context-clues to find out what half of the words Venom had said even meant. Like suit, shield, and Hydra. The other part was trying to wrap his head around how close he actually came to dying. 

Eddie slowly stood up, getting off the bed. 

What are you doing? Venom demanded. 

Eddie waved vaguely, “Gotta use the...” he sighed “gotta fucking piss.” 

Eddie was pleased to find that, even though his head was slow, he was at least able to walk without any problems. Maybe this forgetting words business really was the only side effect. Which, yeah , he had to admit really was lucky for getting shot in the fucking head like an idiot. But still... words were his livelihood. How would he get by if he couldn’t write or report? It was the only thing he’d ever done. He took a deep breath to steady himself, but just as he got to the door for the little adjacent bathroom, the one to the main room was flung open. 

Before he could even react, pain was already tearing through every atom of Eddie’s and Venom’s body. Eddie fell to his knees, Venom flailing both in- and outside him. Eddie had to use every ounce of willpower to try and grab Venom, holding his other close to his chest. 

Venom was reduced to clinging to Eddie with everything he had, and writhing in unfathomable pain, his very atoms unable to stay in Eddie’s body for long. It was only through sheer force of will that Venom was able to re-enter Eddie despite the blinding pain just as quickly as he was continuously thrown out. 

Gunshots rang out and the pain evaporated. Eddie crumpled to the floor in relief. He felt someone grabbing his arm and pulling it over their shoulders, helping him up and practically carrying him. He was too weak to be of much help. He looked over to see who his savior was, surprised to find the stern face of his handler, Agent Kellar. 

“Finally warming up to me, eh?” Eddie joked weakly. 

Agent Kellar did not look amused. She said something, but Eddie didn’t really understand her. And didn’t stay conscious long enough to find out either. 

 

———————

 

Eddie woke up in a warm bed, wrapped in the covers. He opened his eyes, but again his head was killing him. That’s what he got for getting shot. The pain was so distracting, it took him a moment to notice that something was wrong, and another to realize what.

They weren’t in the hospital anymore. 

It took him a moment to find the word, but with a truckload of relief he finally found it again. 

“Venom?” 

I’m here Eddie. Venom assured him. 

“Where...?” He started looking around. They were in a bedroom. The walls were made of large logs. This was some kind of log home or cabin. Hard to find one of those in the middle of San Francisco, that's for sure. 

Eddie started to stand and almost fell, his legs unable to support his weight. But Venom promised I got you, and was able to catch them when Eddie couldn’t. 

“I want... to go to the...” he started, then stopped with a groan. Eddie closed his eyes and pictured the window in front of him. Sending the image through their mental link. 

Window .  Venom reminded him, helped them over towards it, and at once Eddie opened the curtains. They were in some kind of forest. Fantastic

The door behind them opened and Eddie turned around to see a young woman with her blond hair in a low ponytail, the end resting over her shoulder and curling around her neck. Eddie's eyes must have adjusted by now, because his headache was starting to abate.

“Eddie Brock?” The girl asked timidly. 

Eddie nodded. Should I...? He started to ask Venom.

We don’t know her. Venom told him. 

“I’m Agent Chloe Anderson.” She offered. “We’re at a SHIELD safe house...” 

A safe house? Venom repeated. Then formed a head over Eddies shoulder, making Chloe jump. 

Why are we here?” 

Chloe looked away anxiously. “Um... you were attacked at the hospital... we wanted to keep you safe and out of Hydra's hands.” 

Eddie, finding the strength in his legs had returned, walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder. 

Behave , he told his other, she looks terrified.  

“It’s okay.” She looked up at Eddie, but quickly averted her gaze again when she locked eyes with Venom. “He won’t... bite.” He tried to joke, but his words faltering made it fall flat. 

Liar

“I won’t... let him.” 

“I’m sorry.” The words quietly stumbled out of Chloe’s mouth. 

“You’re new to... to...” Eddie struggled to express his question. 

You haven’t been an agent long, have you?” Venom asked. You’re new to SHIELD. 

Eddie tried to hide the hot embarrassment that he couldn’t ask one stupid question without Venom stepping in to help him. He might have been able to hide it from Chloe, but not from his other. 

Sorry

Chloe gave a breathy chuckle. “That obvious huh?” 

Eddie still had questions, but couldn’t find the words to match them. He hated not being able to ask them. It made him want to groan and yell and throw things, but the poor girl looked terrified already. 

How did you get us as your first assignment? Venom asked, articulating one of the questions that were bugging Eddie for him. Somehow it didn’t make Eddie feel better. His head was starting to hurt again. 

“Agent Kellar, your handler, is my supervising officer.” She looked to the door. “She’s doing a quick patrol of the perimeter right now, but she’ll be back soon. I’m sure you’d rather talk to her.” 

Eddie didn’t understand. Wait, what? He asked silently. 

Venom showed an unflattering mental image of their handler. Agent Kellar is her boss. She’s outside right now. 

“How long...?” Eddie started. 

“She’ll be back in five minutes tops.” Chloe assured. 

No, how long do we have to be here? Venom corrected. 

Chloe looked surprised and embarrassed. Not that Venom cared. 

Hey, she’s just trying to help. Eddie scolded. 

I don’t trust her, Eddie. 

Eddie didn’t have time to respond before she answered Venom, “Until we stop the Hydra agents that are after you two.”

They’re after Scott and his suit. Not us. Venom pushed back. 

V... I think I need to lay down. Eddies head was starting to swim with pain. He was probably trying too much too fast. Standing too long, learning too much at once, it was all starting to overwhelm him. 

Chloe looked like disagreeing with Venom was the last thing in the world she would want to do. 

“They wanted Scott’s suit because they thought it was the most advanced weapon they could find... until they saw you two in action. Now they want you.” 

I can protect Eddie.” Venom almost growled. 

Eddie's legs crumpled under him, causing him to fall to his knees. Chloe grabbed him just in time, stopping him from falling to the ground completely . 

“Eddie! Are you okay?” 

Venom snapped his teeth at her until she let go and backed up. 

“Venom!” Eddie yelled. “What the fuck ?” 

Venom looked into Eddie's eyes. Let’s go, Eddie. I don’t like it here. 

Eddie shook his head. “I need... I need to...” 

Eddie, lets go. 

“I can’t!” Eddie slammed a hand on the floor. “I’m... I’m broken ... I need... I need their... their... goddammit!” 

We don’t need their help, Eddie. 

Eddie scoffed, “I do.” 

Venom was quiet for a moment, retreating back under Eddie's skin. I can fix this. 

I just want to fucking lay down, Venom . Eddie begged. 

Okay

Eddie waved to Chloe and she cautiously came back over and helped Eddie to the bed. Eddie fell asleep the second his head hit the pillow. 

 

————————

 

Eddie woke again, his head still pounding. God, what he wouldn’t do for an aspirin. 

Eddie? Venom's voice inside his head was hesitant. 

“Morning, love.” He whispered to himself. The sound of his own voice hurt his ears. 

I’m sorry, Eddie. 

That surprised him. “Sorry?” 

I should have protected you better. I should have healed you better. You shouldn’t be going through this. Eddie could feel the remorse, the regret, the guilt of his other washing over him. 

“God, V... I don’t... I don’t blame you.” 

I do . Venom insisted. But I also won't let it happen again. 

Eddie slowly got out of bed. This room had two doors. That girl— the new agent— had come from the one door, so Eddie tried the other. The bathroom. Hallelujah.

Eddie moved to the sink and looked at himself in the mirror. He didn’t know what he had expected. Some still bleeding bandages? A scar? Something? But there was no sign that a bullet had torn through his head as he was looking at himself now. 

Not to say he looked well - or even healthy . His skin was still pale, with a sheen of sweat on his face. His eyes were bloodshot with deep dark circles under them, like he hadn’t been sleeping ninety percent of the time ever since it happened. 

He bent over and splashed his face with water, before going out to explore the rest of the safe house. He left his room and found himself in an open living room with a fireplace and a sectional couch. To the left, on a low platform, his handler and the new agent were in the kitchen. 

Agent Kellar. Venom reminded him. 

Agent Kellar turned to face them. “Mr. Brock.” She greeted coolly. 

Eddie opened his mouth, ready to correct her even if it meant stumbling over his words for twenty minutes, but the other agent interjected. 

“Actually, he prefers Eddie.” Then she looked away, blushing  “It’s in his file.” 

Eddie fought back a laugh at the anger in Agent Kellar’s face, but he couldn’t help but smile. The younger agent looked back at him too. “We made breakfast. Are you hungry?” 

Eddie opened his mouth but it was Venom's voice that answered “Starving.” Eddie jumped at that. 

She laughed, seeming more comfortable. Whether it was the doing of Kellar's presence as a buffer or the distance between them, but either way she seemed more at ease. 

“Venom, would you like to join us, or are you going to continue to hide like a child?” Agent Kellar asked expectantly. 

Venom slid out from under Eddie's shirt and stuck out his tongue, morphing it to look like a snake's. 

“Your file said you eat a lot, so I hope we made enough.” Chloe interjected, obviously trying to ease the tension. 

Agent Kellar huffed and the two took the food to a table. Eddie slowly made his way over and sat down. As soon as the food was all in front of them, Eddie ate as much and as quickly as he physically could, with Venom humming happily in his chest. He wasn’t even complaining that it was dead. 

Agent Kellar put a glass in front of them. “Your phenethylamine.” 

Eddie couldn’t help but smell it before deciding it smelled like what he had at home and chugging it.  

“You and Venom are probably going to need more of the phenethylamine than usual because of all the effort Venom is putting into healing you, Eddie.” The younger Agent told him. “Jemma also sent a hefty list of things she wants us to do with you and send the results to her. She’s very disappointed she can’t be here to help but understands it’s for everyone’s safety.”

“Thank you,” He said, then to Venom What’s her... 

“Something wrong, Mr. Brock?” Agent Kellar interrupted. 

Venom hissed and Eddie went hot. He wanted to ask Venom mentally specifically because he didn’t want them to know. But somehow Agent Kellar always knew when he communicated silently with his symbiote. 

“I... I can’t... I can’t remember... I can’t...” Eddie stumbled. 

“Spit it out Mr. Brock. I’ve seen your cute little show. I know your tongue is quicker than this.”

“Valarie!” The trainee's voice dropped “He was just shot in the head.” 

“Yes, no thanks to his alien parasite that’s supposedly so helpful.” 

Eddie slammed a fist on the table. “Don’t. Don’t you dare .” 

“Don’t I dare what , Mr. Brock?” Agent Kellar lifted an eyebrow. 

The anger in his head clouded Eddie's mind, only making it harder to find words, which in turn only made him angrier. Venom retracted his head and covered Eddie from the shoulders down. Both the agents' hands went to their hips. He stood up and left the table without a word and slammed the door to his bedroom behind him, then re-absorbed into Eddie. 

Eddie, calm down. 

His head was pounding. He paced back and forth. The door opened and he turned to yell at Agent Kellar, whether his words would make any sense or not. However, it wasn’t Agent Kellar's face that looked back at him. 

“I’m so sorry Eddie.”

Eddie laughed dryly, “It’s not you... it’s... it’s...” he pointed to the door. “ Her .” Her arrogance, her entitlement, her believing she was so much better than him. But he couldn’t name any of that. He didn’t have the words. He turned his back on her, hiding his face. 

I’m here, Eddie. Venom promised. It’ll get better. 

I know . He replied, even though he didn’t know if it was true. 

“I’m sorry.” She repeated again. 

Eddie heard her open the door and sighed and turned around. “Name.” He choked out. “I can’t... I... I can’t remember... your name.” 

She looked back at him, but her smile was small and sad. 

“Chloe.” Then she left, shutting the door behind her. 

 

Chapter Text

“What do you mean he’s missing?!” Anne’s voice was practically a screech, while Dan held her partly so she wouldn't fall to the floor in grief, but mostly to hold her back from ripping Agent Coulson's head off with her bare hands. 

“I heard gunshots. In his room! And you don’t know where the hell he is?!” 

“Miss Weying, I’m going to need you to calm down.” Agent Coulson looked exhausted. 

Chris stood there, completely numb. Frozen. He should have known. He should have known better. Why did he dare letting even just that tiny sliver of hope worm it’s way in? 

He saw a bullet exit Eddie's fucking face. He should have known that would be the last time he saw him. 

Chris walked past them all. They were all too distracted by each other to take notice of him. The agents distracted by the grieving loved ones, the loved ones distracted by the emotionless cool distance of the agents. He was invisible, making his way to the room where Eddie once was— But was not anymore. 

There was a hospital bed, an overturned IV stand, and blood on the floor. Was that Eddie's blood? How could he have anymore left to bleed here, after all the blood he'd already lost in the hallway of Chris’ apartment building? 

A hand touched Chris’ shoulder. He looked back and saw a stranger in a doctor’s coat. 

“I’m terribly sorry, but you’re not supposed to be here.” Her English accent distracted him for half a second. 

“They weren’t supposed to be after him.” Chris whispered. 

It wasn’t the response she was expecting, that much was obvious. 

“Excuse me?” 

“He said they weren’t after Eddie.” His voice caught. “They were after him . And whatever it was that I took away, so that Eddie would be safe.” 

“Him who ?” 

Chris sneered. “His new fucking boyfriend. That Eddie thought was worth taking a bullet for.” 

The woman shook her head, “Eddie has a boyfriend? Who?” 

“I don’t know ? He never told me his real name, just fucking ‘V’, like it’s clever or something to have a fucking letter instead of a name like a normal human being.” Chris sighed. He didn’t even have the energy to be angry anymore. Or even sad. He was just... empty. 

That was, until the woman laughed. Like anything about this was fucking funny. Chris glared at her. “ What ?”, he snapped. 

“I- I'm sorry,” she said, trying to choke down the laughter. “I know this is wildly inappropriate, I just- I didn’t realize that Eddie and Venom had pursued a... romantic relationship. Though I guess I should have... after all the stuff they said when Eddie first woke up...”

“Venom?” Chris asked dubiously. God , how was that name worse than V ? Still... it tickled something in the back of his mind. 

Venom said he had it under control, Okay? He said he was healing him... 

Yes, Eddie was shot in the head, but Venom was fine. He was fixing it. 

“Eddie's dating a guy that speaks in third person?” No, that doesn’t make sense. That idiot left Eddie there. He wasn’t even pretending to care for him. 

“More like the first person plural.” She shrugged. “Though, I’m not sure if he counts as a guy either? I mean, he prefers male pronouns, but from what I can tell his species are agender. Which makes me wonder why he chose that pronoun over any other? Especially they/them, since he sees Eddie and him as one...” 

Chris grabbed her arm and she stopped talking. “I’m sorry, what? ” 

“I… have a feeling I said too much.” She blushed. 

“No actually, I’m pretty sure no one involved in this place has said nearly enough.” Chris pressed. “His species? ” 

“Do you not know what Venom is?” 

“Why is that a what and not a who ?” 

She swallowed. “I... I thought you were- were there when Eddie got shot…?” 

“Yeah, until his good for nothing boyfriend dragged me out. Just- left him there to die.” 

Understanding crossed her face. “Oh- oh god no, that wasn’t Venom. That was Scott .” 

“Who the fuck is Scott?” Chris let go of her arm and covered his face with his hands. What the fuck was going on here?

“Eddie just met Scott less than twenty-four hours ago.” The woman spoke slowly. “He saved Scott’s life, and then took him under his protective custody.” 

“Then who is his boyfriend? V? Venom? Whatever.” Chris looked back at her. 

She took a big, steadying breath, and put a hand on each of Chris’ shoulders. 

“The black monster that seems to consume Eddie when they fight? That’s Venom... his alien symbiote. And, I guess, his boyfriend.” 

 

—————————

 

Skye sat across from Grant Ward, holding onto her whiskey glass for dear life. 

“We’ll- we'll find him right? I mean it’s not like he’s dead right? There wasn’t a body, so they- I mean, they must've taken him then. That means they need him alive, and we can still save him. Right?” She looked up at Ward. 

“You’re in denial.” Ward said slowly. 

“It’s not denial if it’s right, though.” Skye pressed. “I mean they just couldn’t find him. He’s missing, he’s not dead, we don't know that.” 

“Skye... even if they did take him alive... that just makes it worse for them, not better.”

“So we’re- what? Not even gonna look for him? We’re not even going to try?” 

“Of course we are looking for him, Skye. But... they don’t want Eddie. They want Venom . And we learned the hard way what happens when they are separated... Hydra doesn’t know they need each other. If they succeed in separating them, and kill Eddie before realizing it will kill them both ...”

Ward took Skye’s hand. “We just… need to be realistic about what we might find when we find them.”

Skye ripped her hands from his and walked away. 

 

————————

 

Scott woke up in an alley. He frantically looked around for his attacker, but he was alone. Looks like his distraction worked then. 

Well, kind of, anyway. 

They found him and he didn’t even have to do anything. 

He looked more closely and saw a line of ants walking away from him, not very typical for ants in an alley. Usually. 

Scott stood and followed the ants to a van. The door opened and Hope waved him in. He entered the van, still rubbing his sore head. 

“Did he get the suit to you?” Scott asked, his words rushed. Hope nodded and Scott collapsed into his seat in relief as Hope started driving off. “Thank God.” 

“Do you have any idea how close they came to getting it? You can’t be so irresponsible, Scott.” Hope scolded. “And you broke the suit! Do you have any idea how much time will have to go into fixing it?”

“We got it back. Safe and sound. Can I use your phone?” He asked, changing the subject. 

“For what?” She looked at him dubiously for a second before looking back at the road. 

“I want to make sure the guys who helped me are alright.” 

“Scott.” 

“They are the only reason I got the suit to you, I couldn’t have done it without them.” Scott was getting defensive. 

Scott .” 

“Hope, I owe them, the least I can do is give them a call.” 

 “Scott!

What? ” 

“We’ve been listening in on SHIELD's communications... Eddie was shot in the head...” Hope spoke slowly, hesitating. 

“Yeah, I know, I was there. But Venom said he was healing him. He’s fine, right?” Scott felt his stomach drop as he spoke. 

“He’s alive, but he was weak. Hydra took the opportunity and abducted him.” 

Scott looked out the window while that processed. Hydra had Eddie and Venom? Why? What did they want? They didn’t have the suit, and wouldn’t know where the suit was either -  kidnapping them wouldn't achieve anything.

Unless they were held for ransom. 

Unless the suit wasn’t why they were kidnapped at all. 

“Okay, well, when your dad fixes the suit you and I can go look for them.” Scott reasoned. 

Hope laughed, “And risk them getting the suit? Both of the suits? No, Scott. SHIELD is working on getting Eddie and Venom back, we need to just let them take care of it.” 

“They only got kidnapped because they helped me.” Scott pressed. “We can’t abandon them.” 

“We’re not abandoning them, we are leaving it to the professionals. SHIELD has got this.” Hope parked the van, and really looked at Scott. “I know you want to help Scott, but we'd be doing more harm than good.” 

But all Scott could hear was Chris accusing him outside the apartment building. We can’t just leave him there! 

“Scott?” Hope interrupted his thoughts. “SHIELD will get him out, it’s going to be okay.”

“Yeah, Hope, I know.”

Chapter Text

Chloe sat on the edge of Eddie’s bed. Sprawled all over the bed were a checklist, note cards, and pens of various colors. 

“Alright. I don’t want Jemma yelling at me, so we’re gonna start on her list.” She gave Eddie a big smile. 

Eddie nodded slowly, eyeing everything around them with distrust. 

Venom chuckled in Eddie's chest. 

Remind you of something? Venom pulled up a memory of Eddie studying with a girl in high school. Luckily, his head was actually feeling better, but he had a feeling it wouldn’t stay like that for long. 

“Now, we’re going to need you to follow these two rules to make sure your recovery actually makes progress.” Chloe started “First of all, if there’s ever a word you don’t understand, you have to tell me. No matter how embarrassed you feel about it, you have to be truthful so that we can help you.”

Eddie stared at her blankly. Venom chuckled again and repeated what she said to him. “Yeah… like… most of that.” 

“Oh.” Chloe backtracked. “Sorry, I’ll go slower. Okay?” 

“'Kay.” Eddie smiled meekly. God this was so embarrassing. He felt so dumb. So stupid. So…

God damn, no good waste of space. 

Eddie jerked at his father's voice, suddenly piercing his mind. 

“So Jemma gave me this list.” 

“List?” 

Chloe held up the sheet of paper full of bullet points and handed it to him. While Eddie looked at it, she grabbed an index card and wrote the word “list” on it. 

“And… Jemma?” Eddie asked. “Sounds familiar…” Chloe opened her mouth to speak but seemed at a loss. Venom showed Eddie a mental picture of Jemma. He nodded “Nevermind... Venom’s got it.”

Chloe sighed in relief and made an index card with another color that said “Jemma”

“What… what are you doing?” Eddie asked. 

“Making study cards. The words you don’t know will be made into study cards, that way we can work on them until you do know them.” 

Eddie held up one of the “study cards” then looked at Chloe dubiously. 

“Study card?” He repeated. She nodded. He shrugged. “Okay.” 

“Venom seemed to explain the first rule, you’re catching on fast.” Chloe looked back down to her list. “The second rule is more for Venom…” she looked down at her hands.  “I really appreciate you helping Eddie understand, I do, but when we're working on the study cards, try… not to help?” she quickly amended “At least not until Eddie has let me know what he doesn't remember. Once we know that, please help all you want… we just need to know where Eddie's at, and I can’t tell when you two are talking like Agent Kellar can, so we just don’t want you giving him the answers and then have us thinking that he’s better off than he is and—“ 

Please make her stop. 

Eddie laughed and held up a hand. Did you get all that? Because I didn’t.

Venom became warmer in his chest. 

Tell her I understand and accept. 

“He understands and accepts.” Eddie said slowly. 

Chloe smiled. “Good. Good. Then let’s start!” She seemed excited. Probably because this was her first assignment. Everything was still new and fun and exciting. Even helping some brain-damaged trash monster relearn his first language. She looked at the list and cleared her throat. 

“What’s your name?” 

“Eddie.” He smiled. He knew this one. It still sounded felt strange on his lips, but he was getting used to it. 

“And your full name?” 

His smile fell. He could feel Venom wanted to tell him and lifted up a finger to signal him to wait. 

“I don’t know.” He admitted. He let his hand fall back into his lap. 

“Edward Charles Allen Brock.” Chloe said as she wrote it down on yet another study card. “Do you remember my name?” 

“Chloe.”

She nodded “Agent Chloe Anderson. Though that won’t be on the test.” She looked back at the list, “You've already said Venom's name unprompted.” She made a check mark. “What are we sitting on?” She asked. 

Eddie closed his eyes, though he knew it was useless. He didn’t know it. He shook his head. “I don’t know.” 

“It’s a bed.” She made another card. Eddie had a feeling he was going to hate those fucking things. “What is a bed’s function?”

“Sleep.” Eddie replied. 

Among other things. Venom interjected. Eddie smiled at his love. 

And on it went. Chloe asked him to name and describe almost everything in the room. The function, the color, the texture. An eternity later she finally looked up at Eddie and put the cap on her pen. 

“Well, good news is it seems like it’s mostly nouns. You have a pretty good handle on the majority of verbs and adjectives. It’s just the name of the nouns that you struggle with.” 

“Good news.” Eddie repeated ironically. 

Chloe put a hand on Eddie's “For getting shot in the head, that’s amazing. And we got some study cards now. We’ll work on them together, add to them as needed, and get rid of them as you learn them.” 

Venom wiggled unhappily in Eddie's stomach. 

We can work together too. I’ll help you study, Eddie. 

Jealous, babe? Eddie joked. Venom didn’t answer. 

“Why don’t you take a break? I’ll see you at lunch.” She stood up and left the room. 

Eddie picked up the study cards still on his bed and flipped through a few of them. Just looking at them hurt his head, when it was doing fine all morning. He put them back down. 

Eddie, let’s just do this with Jemma. We don’t need to be in a safe house for this. 

“V, it wouldn’t be safe for Jemma for us to do this with her. Jemma gave Chloe all the… She gave Chloe… the… the list. That’s all she needs to help us.” Eddie laid back down, suddenly happy for the break. God his headache was just getting worse. 

I don’t like it here. Venom repeated. 

“I don’t love it either.” Eddie rolled his eyes. He could feel Venom's displeasure. “But part of the… the… thing we signed… the…”

Power protocols? Venom offered 

“Yeah, that. They say we have to listen to… SHIELD?” The last word was a question. It didn’t feel right. 

SHIELD. Venom affirmed. 

Eddie groaned. “Look, can we talk about this later? My… my…” dammit, Chloe had just said it earlier. “Where I was shot…” 

Your head .

“... hurts.” 

Venom materialized and curled up around Eddie’s neck, resting between his chin and his shoulder. 

I know. I’m sorry. 

 

———————

 

Eddie fell asleep pretty quickly. He was still struggling with staying awake for long after getting shot in the head less than twenty four hours ago. But thus far every time he’s slept it had just been pure unconsciousness, dreamless. 

This time it wasn’t. 

Eddie wandered the halls of Chris’ apartment building. He was trying to find Chris’ door but they all looked exactly the same and he couldn’t remember which was his. 

Eddie knocked on one of the doors, planning on just asking the neighbor if they knew which door belonged to Chris. The door opened and Agent Kellar glared at him from inside. 

“What are you doing?” she demanded. 

Eddie opened his mouth to speak... but nothing came out. Confused, he tried again. Nothing. He tried screaming. Not a single sound left his throat. Agent Kellar rolled her eyes and shut the door in his face. 

Panic crept up Eddie's spine. He knocked on the next door frantically. This time it belonged to his neighbor Ziggy. Ziggy didn’t live in the same apartment building as Chris. Eddie tried to say so but nothing came out. Ziggy also got annoyed and slammed the door in Eddie's face. 

Eddie tried to reach out for Venom but got no response. His heart was pounding in his chest faster and faster as he knocked on door after door. 

Until Chris opened the door. 

Eddie watched as the black of his love enveloped Chris’ body and Chris held a gun up to Eddie’s forehead-

and pulled the trigger. 

Eddie sat up, breathing like he had just run a marathon. He felt Venom wrap himself around Eddie’s shoulders. 

I’m here. You’re safe. Deep breaths, love. 

Eddie slowly regained control of his air intake. Focusing on each inhale and exhale. 

I’m here. I’m here. You’re okay. You’re safe. Venom just kept repeating the words until Eddie's heart slowed. Are you okay? He hesitated to ask. 

“Fine,” Eddie breathed, focused on steadying his shaking hands, then gave up and just sat on them. 

Venom retreated back inside of Eddie and swam uneasily in his gut. 

I’m sorry about the nightmare. I should have stopped it. Jemma told me it was my job now that we aren’t taking medication. I’m supposed to be your medication. 

Eddie gave a short laugh “V, it’s not your… you aren’t…” his laugh faltered, frustrated by his inability to say what he wanted to say. “Don’t say sorry.” 

It didn’t make Venom feel better. 

It is my fault. All of it. 

You have PTSD because of the fight with Riot that I brought you into. 

You can’t be treated for the PTSD because you are my host. 

You still have symptoms of it because I'm not doing my job. 

Now you can’t even articulate what you want to say because I left you vulnerable and you got shot. Because I wasn’t able to heal you properly

Fuck, lets be honest, you wouldn’t even be on Hydra's or SHIELD's radar if it weren’t for me. You wouldn’t be protecting Scott. You wouldn’t…

“Venom!” Eddie slammed his hand down. He was on the verge of a headache. Venom stopped. 

“You do not get to… get to… ugh! ” Eddie grabbed the pillow off the bed and threw it at the wall in frustration. He closed his eyes and focused on their conversation right before they fought Riot, bringing the memory to mind. 

 

The one with drake is Riot. 

Venom had told Eddie the second he was returned through their kiss with Anne. 

“Who’s Riot?”

Riot is what you would call a team leader. He has an arsenal of weapons. 

“Drake’s got his own symbiote.” Eddie told Anne.

He is unstoppable. Venom warned. 

“Oh, great.” Anne breathed.

We have got to go! 

“Go where? Where are we going?” It was already ‘we’ again. There was no doubt in Eddie's head. 

 

There was a jump as Eddie skipped ahead through his memory. 

 

Now they were walking through the forest. 

If we do not stop Riot, he will come back here with millions more of my kind.

“Millions?” Eddie's voice was high, “What, you were gonna- you were gonna take- the rocket and you were gonna come back here with an invasion force? Then what were you gonna do, you were gonna feed on a whole planet ?”

Yes! But- it is different now, Eddie. I have decided to stay. 

Eddie stopped walking. “Wow!”

On my planet, I am kind of a loser- like you. But here, we could be more. 

Eddie shook his head and kept going, “Excuse me?”

And I’m getting to like it here. 

“Oh you like us now, do you, huh?” 

However there will be nothing left to like if we do not stop that rocket. 

Oh I see. Right. When it comes to being completely annihilated, then it’s back to ‘we’.” 

It is we. Like it or not, it is going to take both of us.  

“Cut the bullshit. What really made you change your mind?”

Venom covered Eddie completely. 

You. You did Eddie. 

 

Eddie moved forward one last time. To watching Rocket jump out of the Life Foundation building toward the rocket. 

 

“Oh, Jesus! You can take this guy right?”

He has got shit you have never seen. 

“What does that mean? What are our chances?”

Hmmm Venom thought. Pretty much zero.

“Oh, fuck it. Well, let’s go save the planet.” 



Eddie was brought back to reality. He thought with all his might I agreed

He focused on when he first got Venom back. 



Eddie collapsed in his bed. After a moment he reached out for a bottle and hit clothing instead. He looked up, and there was his annoying neighbor. 

What the fuck was he doing in his bedroom? 

But then his eyes flashed black. 

Eddie's voice cracked “Venom?!” He shot to stand up. 

His neighbor was engulfed in black and Venom's stupid toothy grin was in front of Eddie's face. 

You have any idea how hard it was to get here? To find you?  

The black jumped off of his neighbor and entered Eddie, leaving his neighbor to fall to the ground with a thump. 

Then your apartment was empty, you weren’t even here... 

“I missed you too buddy.” Eddie said aloud. 

That stopped Venom in his tracks. Eddie could feel Venom searching him. You mean that.  

Eddie laughed. “Yeah, I mean that.”

 

Eddie focused on each word. I wanted you back. 

 

He remembered running into Scott. Watching him fall and still being attacked. 

 

I would have helped no matter what. 

 

Eddie opened his eyes, “Not your fault.” Venom didn’t say anything “Not your fault.” Eddie pressed. 

I want to be the one who protects you. I want to protect you from everything. 

“You can’t, love.” Eddie sighed. “I wouldn’t… I… I wouldn’t want you to. Now stop it. I’m… I’m supposed to be the… the one with… the one who… ugh forget it.”

What do you want me to do? How can I help? Venom fussed. 

“Don’t… blame yourself.” Eddie said finally. “And don’t leave.” 

Venom moved from his gut to his chest, doing calm figure eights. 

I would never . He promised. 

 

———————


With a groan, Eddie stood up and walked out of the room into the living room. 

Agent Kellar was talking on a satellite phone, while Chloe was playing solitaire at the table where they had breakfast that morning. Eddie sat down across from her and watched her play in silence for a moment. 

“Do our… does…” Eddie stumbled. To her credit, Chloe waited patiently for Eddie to find the word he was looking for. 

Help me out here? He imagined Anne, Dan, Chris, Scott, Skye and Jemma. 

Our friends. 

“Friends... Do our friends know we’re okay?” Eddie asked. 

“They know you’re alive and safe. That’s all they need to know.” Chloe said, not looking up from her cards. 

Eddie bit his lip. It wasn’t enough. Things ended on such a bad note between him and Chris… and he had to know what happened with Scott after Venom pushed him away… and if he didn’t know when he’d be back, he was worried about Anne and Dan as well. Obviously Jemma was being kept up to date, but he’d still like to talk to Skye too. 

“Could I… could I talk to them somehow?” Eddie asked. 

That did make Chloe look up. 

“Eddie, cell phone calls and emails can all be traced. We’re keeping you here to keep you safe. Kind of defeats the purpose if you’re broadcasting your location with unsecured communication.”

Eddie shook his head. He knew the rule was that he was supposed to say if Chloe said words he didn’t know, but there was no way he was saying it in front of Agent Kellar. He looked pointedly over to Agent Kellar in the living room and lowered his voice 

“Gonna need more…” he paused, he knew this word. He knew he knew it. “Study cards.” 

Chloe smiled at him, looking him up and down, then looked over to Agent Kellar. 

“Alright, I’ll tell you what,” she whispered “I get one private phone call a week. I will trade you for it.” 

“Trade?” Eddie repeated, still keeping his voice low. 

“You have to earn it.” She said simply, going back to her card game. 

“How?” Eddie asked. 

Her sly smile grew. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out the study cards. She counted out ten of them. 

“Get every single one of these right.” 

Eddie’s face fell. There was no way he could… 

I could help. Venom offered. 

That’s against the rules. Eddie reminded him.

Like you’ve ever cared about that. Venom is was right. He’s never been a stickler for rules. Hell, Eddie’s broken rules for no other reason than because someone told him not to and he’s that kind of a self destructive ass.

But… for some reason it felt wrong to do that to Chloe. Like it would physically hurt him to lose her encouraging smile. 

“Can’t hurt to try.” She prodded, pulling him out of his own head.

Eddie sighed, “Okay.” 

She smiled and picked up the cards. Then she called over to Agent Kellar. 

“Hey, can you come ref for me? I’m quizzing Eddie, and I need to make sure Venom isn’t giving him all the answers.” 

Fuck

Told you. 

Agent Kellar walked over and sat across from Eddie, watching him closely. He squirmed under the scrutiny.

“Alright, first question: what’s your full name?” Chloe asked. 

“Edward… Allen… Charles… Brock” he said slowly. 

Agent Kellar smiled and opened her mouth, no doubt to make Eddie feel even worse, but Chloe spoke first. 

“I’m counting it because it was the right words, even though they weren’t in the right order. Charles Allen not Allen Charles.” 

Eddie sighed in relief, it would have been so embarrassing to lose his chance on the first fucking question. And under Kellar’s scrutiny to boot. 

Chloe went through nine more cards. Each one took Eddie a while before he could come up with the name, and he was really close to being defeated by the word chair, but eventually he got all ten correct. 

Eddie pumped a fist in the air. Agent Kellar was unimpressed and stood up, walking away. 

“Alright, alright, smart guy. Who do you wanna call first?” Chloe asked in a whisper. 

“Chris.” He said quickly. It had to be him. He owed him as much. As long as everyone knew he was safe and alive they were okay, but Chris had to be so confused. It was time for him to tell the truth. 

Chloe smiled, “Alright, next time Agent Kellar goes on patrol we’ll make the call.” 

It felt like forever, but eventually Agent Kellar grabbed her gun and went to check the parameter. 

Eddie practically ran up to Chloe, who was sitting on the couch. She laughed and opened the computer in front of her. 

“This is massively encrypted, but still only one video call per week.” She said pulling it up. She entered in Chris’ information then pushed the laptop so that Eddie was the only one in frame. 

It rang. And rang. And rang. 

Chris’ face appeared on the screen. For a split second the expression was stern, distrustful, almost angry. However, as soon as he saw Eddie's face, the expression melted into that of just pure relief. 

“Eddie.” he breathed. 

“Hey, Chris...” Eddie said lamely. 

“I didn’t believe them,” he admitted. “They said you were still alive, but… I saw you get shot in the head.”

“I’m here.” Eddie said carefully. 

Chris leaned in closer to the camera, “God you can’t even tell. There’s not a mark or anything.” 

Mark? Eddie asked mentally. Venom presented him with an imagined portrayal of Eddie with a large scar where he was shot. He gave a single nod.

“Not… not a visible… mark.” Shit. He was hoping he’d get farther before he started stuttering. 

“Are... you okay?” Chris’ face was full of concern. 

Eddie took a deep breath. “I’m having… I’m slower… talking is all.” 

That didn’t seem to make Chris feel better. 

“No, right, of course. Anne and Dan said talking was difficult for you when you woke up. I guess I just… I was caught up in my doubts that you were even alive.” He laughed meekly. 

“I’m sorry .” Eddie tried to put everything he couldn’t say into those two words. 

“Hey, you don’t need to be sorry for that.”

“Not that…. I’m sorry that… I want to tell you…” he sighed, this was going to be impossible. “I’m sorry I lied.” 

Chris seemed to watch Eddie carefully. 

“I mean, I’m pretty sure you didn’t. You were always super careful to just not tell me anything without saying anything that wasn’t true. Though, admittedly, in a very deceiving way, but… still.”

“Would you… would you like to meet V?” Eddie asked, swallowing nervously. “The real V?”

Chris gave him a questioning look. 

Ready, love?  

Venom formed a head over Eddie’s shoulder. His headache was starting to get worse. 

“Hello, Chris.” 

Chris opened his mouth and shut it again a few times. 

“Um… I am... so confused.” 

Eddie and Venom chuckled in perfect synchronization. 

“I am Venom. I am an alien symbiote and Eddie is my host.” 

“Your… host?” Chris repeatedly slowly. 

“We share… share a… share…”

Eddie shares his body with me. Which allows me to live on this planet. We help each other. I heal him, and protect him, and he shares his body with me.” 

Eddie could see the wheels in Chris’ head turning.

“And… how long have you been in Eddie?” 

Venom cocked his head to the side, “ He first became my host almost six months ago, but we were separated during the Life Foundation explosion, causing his PTSD. However, I did find him again and we were rejoined.” 

“So… roommate was a euphemism… and every time I was with Eddie… you were there too?” 

“Chris,” Eddie tried to draw his attention off of Venom. “I know this… this is a lot… I…” 

From across the room, Chloe gestured to her wrist. 

“Fuck,” he whispered, then returned to his normal pitch “Chris, I can’t… I can’t talk often. Let Anne and… Anne and Dan tell you. I’m so sorry I couldn’t tell you… in… in…” rushing did not make this faster. God, his head hurt. 

Eddie wishes he could have told you in person, and taken his time to tell you everything and answer any and all questions. However, we are in a safe house and can’t make a lot of calls, and our time is almost out on this one.” Venom spoke for him. 

“I’m so sorry,” Eddie said again. 

Chris nodded numbly, “Okay… bye...” He waved. Chloe shut the laptop and pushed Eddie to his room. The door shut just as he heard Agent Kellar walk back into the safe house. 

Chapter Text

The nightmares didn’t stop. 

On one morning Eddie woke up in a cold sweat and Venom had to calm him down. He materialized to brush Eddie’s hair out of his face and started to kiss him.

The kiss was slow, and perhaps Venom meant to stop at only a kiss, but Eddie grabbed the back of Venom’s head and kept it going. Eddie would never understand how something with so many teeth could actually be a good kisser, but Venom somehow still pulled it off. 

Venom could feel Eddie getting lightheaded and chuckled. He moved away from Eddie’s lips to his jaw, breaking away to give Eddie a chance to breathe. 

Eddie barely suppressed a moan, well aware that they were not alone in the cabin. 

Now, stay quiet Eddie, you don’t want anyone to hear you. Eddie could feel a part of Venom pool at his groin in no particular shape, just an amorphous mass of his love massaging his dick, his ball, going up his ass. 

I’ve missed this. Venom purred in their joined mind. I wish I could take you somewhere just you and me. So I could fuck you loud and no one would hear us. 

Eddie ripped his shirt off and stuffed it into his own mouth in hopes of keeping himself quiet. Then he leaned back into the bed, hips thrusting up even though it made no difference. 

Venom looked right into Eddie’s eyes, You’re mine . Only mine. I got you. Venom chastely kissed Eddie’s forehead - and a jolt of pain shot through them both.

A bullet ripped through the back of Eddie’s head, breaking through skull, tearing through brain matter, before shattering more skull and going through his forehead. 

Blood splattered everywhere as Eddie collapsed to the floor. He was no longer breathing. His heart wasn’t beating. His brain no longer telling the rest of his body to keep him alive. 

Eddie rolled to the side of the bed and vomited onto the floor. The sharp pain of the memory was blinding. Black dots dancing in front of his eyes, blocking his vision. 

Venom pulled back inside Eddie, checking every centimeter of Eddie’s body for injury or illness. 

Eddie! Eddie! 

Eddie coughed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, his vision finally returning as the pain subsided to a dull and much more bearable roar. 

Eddie, talk to me, please. 

“I’m okay.” He breathed. “I’m okay. I’m okay.” He just kept repeating it. Couldn’t stop himself even though he wanted to. “I’m okay. I’m okay.” 

Tears welled up in his eyes. He shook his head. No he wasn’t. He wasn’t okay. But he just kept saying it. Sobbing it. “I’m okay. I’m okay. ” 

Shhhhh. I’m here, Eddie. I’m right here. You’re safe now. You’re safe. I’ve got you. 

Eddie hid his face in the pillow, trying to muffle the sounds of his own breakdown while Venom watched helplessly. 

I’m so sorry, Eddie. I’m so sorry. 

 

———————-

 

The days had a sense of endless monotony. 

Eddie woke up from whatever fresh hell of a nightmare he had that night, and after breakfast (which Venom would sulk through because Agent Kellar always insisted on seeing him but didn’t allow him to talk) Chloe would work with him on their study cards. No matter how many words he learned though, Chloe would add more. 

After lunch, it was physical therapy, which was painstakingly slow. Chloe took Eddie to the basement where there were weights, a treadmill, and mostly empty space. 

She would have Eddie walk on the treadmill. Just walk. Not even a quick paced walk or anything. Then she would give him fucking five pound weights. Which was a fucking insult seeing as even before Venom, Eddie was in good enough shape to bench press his own weight without issue. 

Chloe tried to work with Eddie on his hand tremors, but he explained slowly that they weren’t from the brain injury, but instead something he’s had for a while now, from his PTSD. She had nodded and easily moved on from the subject. 

Before dinner, there’d always be testing. Testing Eddie’s memory, giving him elementary school math problems, logic puzzles, everything. 

Eddie fought with Agent Kellar constantly. Which was less them fighting and more Agent Kellar riling Eddie up - and it working every goddamn time. Then Chloe would come in and apologize for her superior officer’s behavior. 

There was one particularly bad fight after Agent Kellar made a snide comment about Venom, and Eddie had yelled at her until he was red in the face. He had a glass in his hand and was seconds from throwing it, not at Kellar, necessarily, but just out of frustration in general, because he felt like he was failing at defending his love. Chloe had stepped between them and put a hand on Eddie’s arm. 

“Eddie, stop, calm down.” 

Eddie looked down at Chloe’s pleading eyes. 

Eddie. Venoms voice caught his attention. 

Eddie stormed out of the room, going to their bedroom instead, slamming the door behind him. 

“I hate her. I hate her.” He fumed. 

Eddie, lets leave. Venom suggested again. I don’t like it here. 

Eddie sighed. Maybe Venom was right. If he was being completely honest, if it had just been Agent Kellar and him he would have left the first day. 

But Chloe was there, helping him study, giving him the tests, pushing him through physical therapy. Chloe who would give a small smile when he named something correctly, or managed to go a whole sentence or longer without slipping. Chloe, who praised Eddie after every small victory. Chloe who defended him even when it meant going against her superior officer. 

His head was pounding from the confrontation. 

“Where would we go?” Eddie asked. “We can’t go… go…” he focused on an image of their apartment. 

Home. Venom named for him. No, we can’t go home. But everywhere else is better than here. I don’t think it will end well if we stay. 

Eddie shook his head. “We can’t go home, we don’t have any… any… fucking hell, I know this… money ! And we can’t contact anyone we know without putting them in danger.” Eddie reminded him, sinking into the bed. 

I think you underestimate SHIELD’s motives. They don’t want to protect us for our sake, but for their own instead. And they don’t want Hydra to get us anymore than we do. They’ll protect us to the best of their ability, even if we leave. And I will protect us. So let’s just- go. 

But that gave Eddie a different idea. With a smirk, Eddie left the room and went to the living room. Agent Kellar and Chloe looked up from the table. 

“Is your temper-tantrum over?” Agent Kellar asked sarcastically. 

Eddie ignored her and went straight for the satellite phone he’s seen Agent Kellar use every few hours for the past few days to check in. As he picked it up she stood up and protested, but didn’t get to him before he used it to call whoever it was that Kellar spoke to. 

“Hello, this is Eddie Brock, I have a… I need to talk to someone in charge.” 

Agent Kellar stood in front of Eddie. “Mr. Brock, this is highly irresponsible and unacceptable behavior. Give it back.” 

Eddie, what are you doing? Venom asked hesitantly. 

A voice Eddie didn’t recognize answered back. “You have our attention, Eddie Brock.” 

Eddie picked his words carefully. Now was not the time to stumble over words. 

“Kellar leaves, or I do.” 

Pure shock showed on Kellar’s face. He could feel Venom’s surprise as well.

“Agent Kellar is your handler.” The voice told him. 

“Get a new one.” Eddie was unwavering. 

He wanted to say more. Say he appreciated what they were doing by trying to protect him at the safe house, but he would refuse their help unless Agent Kellar was gone. However, his heart was jumping out of his chest, and he really didn’t think he would be able to get even half of that out anyway. 

Eddie, that’s not what I meant… 

There was a long silence as everyone in the room was watching the satellite phone. 

“Agent Valarie Kellar, return to base by 0800 tomorrow morning. Agent Chloe Anderson, you are Eddie Brock’s new handler until further notice.” The voice said and the connection ended. 

Agent Kellar stood in shock, before she gathered herself and walked out of the living room to her own bedroom. 

Eddie looked to Chloe with a sly smile. It worked. It actually worked

“Congrats,” he told her “I think you just got… promoted?” He was unsure about that last word. 

Chloe looked back at him and her expression was hard to read. Was she simply surprised as well, or was she upset that Eddie had gotten her boss taken off his case? Was she happy to be given the new responsibility? Impressed that he was able to do that? Or was she angry to be alone with him and Venom?

Eddie was suddenly worried that he messed up. That he actually shouldn’t have done that. 

Then she gave him a curious smile back. “You never cease to surprise me.” 

 

———————

 

Agent Kellar left in the morning without saying another word to Eddie or Chloe. 

Chloe was told another Agent would be sent to join them as soon as they could find one to spare. Eddie wondered how much this would change their dynamic, their daily routine when they didn’t have Agent Kellar there. However, it seemed that nothing changed. 

They worked on Eddie’s vocabulary, did physical therapy, and tested Eddie on harder and harder subjects. From the tests it was soon clear that the only lasting effects were his linguistic difficulties and the headaches. Which was good, because Eddie wasn’t sure how he would have responded if he had to learn to read again. 

Eddie had been there almost a week. But not once during that time did Eddie ever leave the safe house. And it was driving him crazy. 

 When he wasn’t actively focused on working on something with Chloe, Eddie felt like he was trapped. Like the walls were closing in on him. He’d never really been claustrophobic. His fear of heights was the only real phobia he’s ever had. But anyone would go crazy not being allowed to leave a small cabin for days with no phone or contact to the outside world. 

Venom was restless as well. He was relieved to be able to talk to Eddie whenever he wanted, without Kellar forcing him to materialize and calling him out every time he tried to have a private conversation with his host. But still, it was obvious Venom also missed their old routine at the apartment. 

Living together, just the two of them. 

Working on stories and then going home. 

The weekly dinners with Anne and Dan. 

The occasional visit from Chris. 

They both longed for their life before all this mess. 

Then one morning, while going through the study cards at the table in the kitchen, Chloe stopped and grabbed Eddie’s hand, surprising him. 

“Stop it.” 

“Stop what?” Eddie was suddenly self conscious as Chloe took her hand away. Venom laughed at him internally. 

“You’ve been tapping your finger non-stop all morning.” Chloe informed him. This was the first time Eddie actually saw her annoyed. She was always so encouraging and shy. Her round face was flushed as she exhaled slowly. 

“Why don’t we start physical therapy early?” She offered. “We can work that energy off before continuing with your vocabulary.” 

“Sure.” Eddie agreed half heartedly. In reality though, going into the windowless basement was the last thing he would want to do. He was already feeling like he was suffocating. He stood up and was ready to go, but Chloe didn’t move. 

Chloe watched him carefully. “You know, you’ve done really well with following our rules.” She complimented. 

“Thanks…?” Eddie responded, unsure where this was going. 

“You have! ” she laughed at his obvious discomfort, “You let me know when you don’t know something, you don’t use Venom to cheat, and you’ve stayed cooped up in this safe house when I know it must be driving you and Venom crazy.” 

Even Venom was getting curious, pulling out a head, slightly cocked to the side, to watch Chloe continue. “So…?” 

Chloe was even getting used to Venom, no longer looking away when Venom showed himself. Though she still didn’t look at Venom, but at Eddie instead. 

“So… I’m thinking I can trust you to follow the rules if I take you on a little field trip.” Chloe said slowly. “How about we go for a run around the perimeter for your physical therapy today?” 

Eddie grinned like it was Christmas. He’d never been so happy to run before. “Seriously?” 

“There will, of course, be special field trip rules” Chloe reminded him. “You’ll need to stay within five feet of me at all times. If we see anyone you will follow my lead without question. Seriously.” She emphasized, apparently thinking Eddie wasn’t taking her seriously the first time. Most likely because of the shit eating grin on his face. “My word is law. If you want to fight about it you can fight me about it all you want once we are both back and safe, but you will not question an order in the field. Agreed?”

“Agreed.” Eddie said easily, already bouncing on the balls of his feet. “And when we get back, add ‘field’ to the study cards. You used it twice.” 

Chloe smiled and shook her head. “Get dressed. I’ll meet you at the front door.” 

 

——————

 

Eddie put on the sweatpants and sweatshirt in his dresser. Seeing as he was wearing a hospital gown when Hydra attacked he didn’t have clothes of his own, so he had been wearing the ones someone bought for him, presumably by the same person as whoever it was that had set up the safe house. They weren’t exactly his style, very simple and basic, but it was better than going around naked. 

He went to the front door and Chloe was already there; her usually low ponytail was bound up higher now, and she was dressed in proper running gear. 

Venom was buzzing in Eddie’s chest with excitement. 

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! The alien’s child-like eagerness made Eddie laugh. 

Chloe looked at Eddie seriously for a moment. 

“Rules.” she reminded him. “Five feet. Follow my lead. Obey orders.” 

Eddie bounced foot to foot. “Orders?” He laughed, then waved her off when she opened her mouth to explain. “I got it from context. Five feet. Follow you. Do as you say.” He gave a big grin, “Ready?” 

She half sighed, half laughed. “Don't make me regret this.” she warned, and opened the door. 

As soon as the door was opened they both ran out, letting it shut on its own. The cold winter air hit their faces, the chill nipping at their skin. It invigorated Eddie and Venom, energy coursing through their veins like electricity. Eddie ran as fast as he could push himself, reveling in the pull of his muscles.

Chloe easily kept up with him, which was disheartening at first, but it was also obvious that she was a regular runner. 

Help me with a word? Eddie silently asked. Then he pictured people running competitively. He pictured the track, the finish line. 

Race. Venom’s excitement increased. Can I race her? 

Five feet. Eddie reminded. Besides, you know you would win. 

That didn’t dissuade him. And now she can know that. 

“You race?” Eddie asked Chloe through heavy breaths, ignoring his other’s request. 

“Marathons.” She spoke easily, like she wasn’t even breaking a sweat to keep up with him. 

Eddie smiled, but it might have looked more like a grimace because of all the effort he was putting into pushing himself. 

“Don’t push yourself too hard there,” Chloe coached. “We’ve got a while to go, this is a big perimeter.” 

Eddie focused on his breath and the beat of his feet on the hard dirt. 

“If you can’t easily talk, you’re going too fast.” She informed him. 

Eddie let out a laugh. “Then I’m going too fast when I’m not moving.” 

Chloe’s blushed and kept her eyes on her feet. “Oh, shit, sorry.” 

“No worries,” Eddie slowed, still running but trying to listen to her advice about needing to be able to speak. “I’m getting good at avoiding what I can’t say.” 

That earned him a smile. “Still need to learn them.” 

“I will.” He promised. 

They ran through the trees, carefully avoiding rocks and roots in their path. They talked easily until they were about at the halfway point, then Venom formed a head to say My turn” before masking Eddie. 

Chloe jumped back a little at Eddie suddenly being covered and becoming 10 feet tall, not breaking stride as he used his hands and feet to run alongside their new handler. Venom grinned mischievously. 

“Let’s see exactly how fast you can go.” He tempted. “Don’t worry, I promise to stay five feet.” 

Chloe grinned before looking forward with serious intent and pushing forward faster. This time Venom easily kept up with her, though he was still very impressed with her speed for a human. 

They were back to the safe house in half the time it took for them to get that far when Eddie was setting the pace. Once they were at the porch Venom retracted back inside Eddie. 

“Impressive.” Eddie complimented between heavy breaths. 

Chloe looked at Eddie in obvious awe.

“What?” Eddie was starting to feel self conscious at the blatant staring. 

“Your file does not do you justice.” She said, still catching her breath as well. 

Pride swelled in Eddie’s chest and it belonged to both of them. “Thanks.” they both said at the same time using Eddie’s mouth. 

Chloe pushed Eddie in through the door. “Come on, now, go shower, you stink.” 

 

———————

 

The next day was phone call day. 

This week Eddie had to earn his phone call with twenty correct study cards in a row. Chloe shuffled them all up and kept quizzing Eddie, counting how many he got correct and starting from the beginning if he got one wrong. I took a couple hours, mostly because he kept messing up somewhere between the fifteenth and nineteenth card, but eventually he earned his second phone call. 

Now that things were settled with Chris, he desperately wanted to call Anne and Dan. 

Chloe gave him the computer and started the timer on her watch as soon as it started ringing. Venom happily brought his head out to greet their friends as well. 

The tension as the call rang made Eddie’s head ache. What if she didn’t answer? What if she was busy?

Anne answered the video call wearing her suit and Eddie didn’t recognize the background, so he figured she must have been at work. 

“Eddie? Venom?” She seemed surprised. 

Hello, Anne.”

“Hey... How’s it going?” He asked. 

“How’s it going? Really? ” She gave her I’m-so-angry laugh. “You’ve been gone nine days! I thought this was supposed to be temporary...” 

Eddie started keeping a mental tab of the words Anne used that he didn’t know, to tell Chloe later. 

“I’m sorry, Anne, you know I’m just trying to do what they tell me… what SHIELD tells me.” He specified as he remembered the name. 

“...I should have been allowed to talk to you, I’m your lawyer. Even if you are in protective custody or witness protection, you are supposed to be free to talk to your lawyer.” Anne continued. 

“Anne, it’s for your own...” Fuck, he had done so well too. “We’re trying to protect you.” 

“I don’t need you to protect me, Eddie.” 

“I know, I know. You can fight ugly.” Eddie shook his head. “This isn’t…” he sighed, it was getting harder the more he fought with Anne. Hard to think of the words when he was upset. 

This is different from Riot.” Venom finished for Eddie. And you know I didn’t even want you near that.” 

“It should be my decision.” She pressed. 

Eddie looked up at Chloe and she gestured that he was running out of time. 

“Alright, I’m sorry, next time we’ll ask first.” Eddie rushed. “I don’t have much… we’re running out of…” 

“We can’t talk for long, Anne.” 

Anne sighed as she looked at both of them. “Well, you look good. And Eddie you sound better.” 

Eddie didn’t feel like he sounded better. He felt like a mess. “Thanks, Anne.” 

“You’re staying safe right?” 

“I’m protecting him.” Venom assured. 

That made Anne smile “I know you are Venom.” 

Eddie’s head was getting worse. “Tell Dan hi,” He said, “We’ve got to go.” 

We still have time. Venom protested silently. 

“Bye Anne.” Eddie continued.

Bye, Anne.” 

“Bye guys.” She managed to say before Eddie shut the laptop. He laid down on the couch and massaged his temples. Venom snuggled his head under Eddie’s chin. 

Though she didn’t say anything, Eddie heard Chloe getting up and walking away. He wondered if he had somehow offended her and started to worry, until she came back and Eddie opened one eye to see her set a glass of water beside him. She put a hand on his shoulder as he drank it and the water made him feel a little better. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” she said softly and went to her own room. 

Eddie, are you okay? Venom asked. 

Yeah, Eddie answered back mentally Just my… I just hurt. 

Chapter Text

Chris sat in an uncomfortable folding chair, surrounded by his PTSD support group. He numbly stared at the floor, not really listening to what Eli was telling them about his flashback at the supermarket.  

It used to be so simple. If he had a problem, he would share it with his friends from group, the only friends he really had, and together they would work it out. Now though, now he had this huge problem and he couldn’t tell them. 

Chris could finally empathize with Eddie in that. After speaking with that SHIELD doctor it had all started to make sense. The partner Eddie lost in the explosion was Venom. But even when Venom came back, the PTSD was still there. The constant fear that he would lose him again. 

Had Eddie just so happened to have an alien roommate that he also ended up falling in love with, it would have been weird for sure, but Chris would have gotten over it. No big deal. 

But Chris just still could not get over the fact that they weren’t just roommates. They shared a fucking body. Meaning Venom was there every time Chris talked to Eddie and shared his darkest fears and thoughts. Meaning Venom was there for every kiss, every touch, every time they slept together. 

He felt betrayed and violated. 

But that didn’t stop the hurt and grief he felt because Eddie was missing. Chris couldn’t close his eyes without seeing Eddie get shot. He should be dead. Maybe he was dead. But why tell Chris “Hey, Eddie is alive, he’s just been abducted” if he was dead? What good would that do? 

Where was he? Was he okay? Were they holding him in some prison-like cell? Or doing experiments on him while he was helplessly strapped to a table? Chris didn’t even know what they wanted him for. How long would they keep him alive? It’s been over a week… 

“Chris...” Chris jumped at his name and squirmed away from someone’s hand on his shoulder. It was Beth, she was standing over him; she seemed quite concerned. Chris looked around but everyone else was already gone. “Chris, are you okay?” 

 “Yeah, I’m fine.” Chris shrugged her off, standing and folding up the chair he had been sitting on. He put it in the corner with the others and walked out of the fellowship hall, leaving the church behind, somehow heavier than when he walked in.

 

———————— 

 

Anne sat at her kitchen table, staring at her laptop but not actually reading what was displayed. She jumped slightly when Dan came over and wrapped his arms around her, but then leaned into the warmth. 

“Anne, he’s going to be okay. They are going to find him.” Dan whispered into her ear, kissing it. 

Anne scoffed “ They’re the ones who lost him in the first place. Forgive me if I’m not optimistic about them getting him back.” She shook her head and turned to face him. “We should have stayed in the room. One of us, at the very least. We didn’t both need to get coffee at the same time. And if one of us had been in the room we could have yelled for help or something so that people would have known what was happening before the gun shots.” 

“Anne,” Dan tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and caressed her face.  “The survivor’s guilt you are feeling is perfectly normal, but it is a lie. There was nothing we could have done. If SHIELD couldn’t stop Hydra, then we couldn’t have stopped them either.” 

“He’s been gone so long, and no one has heard a word from SHIELD. And even if we do get him back… he was so scarred by what had happened when SHIELD had him, and that was only a couple days. Hydra’s had him for over a week… ” she trailed off. “Why would they keep him alive that long?” 

Dan pulled her to his chest and held her in his arms. “I don’t know, sweetie.” He petted her hair as he continued, “Have you heard anything from Scott or Chris?” 

Anne pulled away slightly, just enough to see his face, still allowing herself to be held and comforted. “No one has heard from Scott. Chris thinks he’s still hiding from SHIELD, convinced that they are after him too. Beth is really worried about Chris, and so am I. We have each other, and Scott has whatever team of people he has, but Chris has no one to talk to about all this.” 

“Maybe we can invite him to dinner?” Dan suggested. 

Anne made a face at the idea, “That makes me feel like we’re replacing Eddie. Like since we can’t have dinners with Eddie every Thursday anymore, let’s get ourselves a new broken friend to take care of.” She shook her head “It doesn’t feel right.” 

“We aren’t replacing Eddie,” Dan promised, “We are leaning on other people who care about Eddie too. Who are just as hurt by his absence.” 

Anne wiped away the tears from her eyes. “I just want Eddie back.” 

 Dan kissed her forehead “I know. Me too.”

 

——————— 

 

Chris rang the doorbell to the unfamiliar house. After a moment, Anne opened the door. Chris gave a hesitant smile as Anne invited him inside. 

Before Eddie was shot, Chris had met Anne and Dan only a few times. They went on a double date, and Anne was the one who told him when Eddie was in the hospital with a different and much less deadly bullet wound, but that was basically it. 

He knew Eddie’s ex was still his emergency contact person, and that’s why he had called her to figure out where Eddie was, after he gave the envelope to Scott’s mysterious woman with the yellow scarf. So when Anne called Chris and invited him to dinner that night, his stomach immediately dropped to his knees. 

 It was bad news. It had to be. They found Eddie and he was dead after all. Or something

Anne gestured to the couch, “Why don’t you have a seat,” she suggested. “What would you like to drink?”

 “Water.” Chris choked out. It was only prolonging to inevitable. She eventually sat down across from him. 

“So…” Chris started. “He’s dead, isn’t he? That’s why you asked me to come over?”

The surprise on Anne’s face couldn’t be faked. “ What? Oh, no. Chris. No. I’m so sorry. Did you… oh God. I’m so sorry if you thought I asked you to come because I had news.” 

“You haven’t heard anything?” Chris was hesitant. Sure, they wouldn’t tell him . But maybe they would tell her . Something. Anything

“No, Chris. Not since the hospital.” She moved to put a hand on one of his, but he gently pulled it away. 

“Why did you want me to come over then?” His confusion was distrustful. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

“Beth is worried about you.” Anne told him. “And so am I. You need to have someone to talk to about this.” 

Chris laughed and looked away. “The only person I want to talk to about this is Eddie.” 

Anne nodded, understanding. “Would you mind if I talk then?” She asked. 

He didn’t answer, so she continued slowly, ready to stop if he showed any signs of wanting her to. 

“I’m terrified for him.” she said. “I’m terrified that they are doing just… horrible, terrible things to him. I’m terrified that they might separate him from Venom, which would be hard enough on the two of them already, but with this brain injury… I’m afraid he wouldn’t last a minute without Venom.” 

She stared at her shaking hands, and Chris looked at them too. 

“Eddie is... a part of me. We might not be together anymore— and I love Dan with all my heart— but even after all that he’s done, all the ways he’s hurt me and betrayed my trust, I still love him, even if it’s not in a romantic way anymore.” 

“How did you find out about Venom?” Chris whispered the question. 

Anne laughed. “Which time? When he first became host to Venom he didn’t know what was happening, though eventually we figured it out together… and then, later, I was there when they lost each other. During the explosion. Dan and I did everything we could to help Eddie through the loss…” 

Her face became hard. “But when they found each other again, he didn’t tell me. I found out while you guys were dating. At the last tree lighting ceremony, at the park. You were supposed to be there too, but you had to work. You were so close to finding out at the same time as I did…” 

She shook her head. “I was so hurt when I realized that Eddie had lied to me. Again. I didn’t forgive him for a while…”

“Why did you?” Chris asked despite himself. 

Anne bit her lip. “I’m not even sure when it happened. It wasn’t a conscious decision, to forgive him. I just saw him with Venom, and how much they loved each other, and-… I wasn’t angry anymore. That he chose to keep it a secret, that he would lie even to me. He did it in order to protect Venom. And I couldn’t find it in me to be angry about that.” 

Chris sighed and looked at his own hands. He didn’t want to be angry with Eddie. He just wanted Eddie back

“SHIELD won’t find him.” He said mostly to himself. 

Anne scoffed, “Yeah, I don’t think so either.” 

He watched Anne carefully. “But maybe we can.” 

Anne was curious, but hesitant “How so?”

Chris scooted to the edge of his seat. “Eddie used to do the Brock Report, right? I mean, he still gets recognized for that. He’s low-key famous. If we can get it out that he’s missing, if we can make that go viral, everyone will be looking for him.”

“You really think Hydra would let Eddie be seen, be out in public, after they kidnapped him?”  

“No,” Chris admitted “but if just one person saw something, anything at all, it’s a lead.” He sat back in his chair again “I just know I can’t sit back and do nothing.”

 

———————

 

Scott was hunched over his computer dissecting lines of code. “Scott,” he heard Hope say his name over his shoulder. 

“What?” He mumbled, only half paying attention. 

“You know Eddie’s not stuck inside that computer, right?” 

He rolled his eyes. “No, but the answer to where he is might be.” 

Hope sat beside him. “Scott, you need to leave this room. Go out into the sun. See your daughter.” 

“Cassie is with her mom. Who still won’t let me near her any more than she absolutely legally has to.” 

He tried the new code. 

Failed. 

Again

With a groan, he started from the top. 

“I’m fine. Just trying to get this stupid program to work.” He looked to Hope “You don’t by any chance have a rubber duck with you, do you?” 

“A rubber duck?” She repeated. “Sorry, fresh out.” 

“It’s a computer programming trick. If you get stuck and can’t figure out why, you take a rubber duck, set it down in front of you, and explain your code to it, line by line.” Hope still looked dubious so he added “I know it sounds stupid, okay? But it works. Trust me.”

“Why can’t you do that with any inanimate object?” Hope asked.  

“Because the only thing that would make me feel even dumber than talking to a rubber duck would be talking to a pencil.” He huffed, “Forget it, I’ll figure it out.”

Hope sighed. “Just explain it to me. What are you doing?”

“Trying to find Eddie.” 

How?” 

Scott sighed and pushed himself away from his keyboard. 

“Whoever took Eddie had to both know where he was, and when he’d be alone in the room. The only people who knew his location were the guys from SHIELD. And SHIELD agents were supposed to be posted at his door, as well as throughout the hospital. The only way he could have been taken, is if SHIELD did it - or if someone in SHIELD is actually a member of Hydra.”

“Okay, but why would SHIELD fake an abduction?”

“They abducted Eddie and Venom once before already. The only reason they got out was because Anne found them and flexed her lawyer muscles.”  

“So you think they abducted him again, but this time they staged it to be Hydra so that Anne couldn’t get him back?”

“Or Hydra has a mole inside SHIELD, and the mole took him.” 

If she thought one explanation was more likely than the other, she surely didn’t show it. 

“So what are you doing?”

“SHIELD doesn’t just spy on innocent people, they also spy on themselves. No one is more paranoid than Nick Fury. So, I’m trying to create a program that will hack into SHIELD, figure out who within SHIELD knew about Eddie and had access to the hospital, and then cross reference that with their communications and digital footprints to figure out who is most likely to have taken Eddie, whether it was a mole or just someone doing their job doesn’t matter. Either way, we find out who did it, and from there we can find out where he is.”

“What’s your starting point for the hack?”

Scott shrugged “Our already established point to listen in on communications.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“It’s SHIELD. Everything, even the stuff that’s encrypted is also in code. I can’t just search for communications that say ‘hey hydra it’s your mole here what should I do with this alien’ because I’ll find none. I need to know the code.”

“You know, I think you’re going about this the wrong way; you’re thinking way too obvious. Fury would already be checking for moles regularly.”

“Well what do you suggest?”

“I suggest that you drop it, because even if you find Eddie? There’s nothing you can do. My father will never let you risk the suit for him.” 

Scott rolled his eyes and turned away from her. 

“What I would not suggest, is that you use a unique spin to make this go from a ‘looking for a mole to find Eddie’ to ‘look for Eddie to find the mole’ operation.” She continued.  

“And of course I would not suggest that you take into consideration that whoever this is, they didn’t kill but instead abducted them. So they want them alive. I would not remind you that for Venom to stay alive, especially with how much he’s putting into healing Eddie, he needs some weird chemical, right?” 

“Yeah starts with a P or something.” 

“Then I would definitely not tell you, under any circumstances, to let that lead you. That whoever is holding them will need to gather a supply of P-whatever, which I'm guessing is not exactly a common purchase. I definitely do not suggest that you look for people who have purchased it in large quantities and have ties to SHIELD.” She winked at him, “Because, you know, my father would never give you the suit to save your friend.” 

Scott stood up, grabbed each side of Hope’s face, and kissed her. 

“Hope! You’re amazing!”

Chapter Text

Another week went by and SHIELD still didn’t send a replacement for Agent Kellar. 

“I’m really surprised they're…” Letting? Forcing? “...having you stay with me alone.” Eddie brought up the subject during one of their meals because Venom had mentioned it to him. 

Her expression was half smug half amused “I can take care of myself, I promise.” 

“I didn’t mean…” he started embarrassed. 

“I’m not alone.” She reminded “I have you- and Venom.”

“What if I was some…” Eddie struggled “... I could hurt you. They shouldn’t…”

“You really couldn’t.” She laughed as if the very idea was ridiculous, which was a hit to Eddie's pride. 

“With Venom…” he started again, but Chloe interrupted. 

“Do you want to hurt me Eddie?” 

“What? No!”

“Okay, then.” She said as if that settled that.

Which it didn’t. Eddie was still worried and a little angry at SHIELD for assigning someone, especially someone obviously new , to be locked in a safe house alone with someone else. Especially when the obviously new agent was a woman being told by her employer to lock herself in a safe house with a strange man. Didn’t SHIELD have any precautions to make sure their workers wouldn’t be sexually assaulted? 

He’d worked on too many stories about women being forced into mistreatment by their job. 

But he didn’t press it any further. 

To be honest, Eddie was enjoying this. He was getting better at communicating everyday. He was definitely relearning and not remembering the words, but it only took a few times of being told that this word went with that object before he got it. Which had to have something to do with Venom, because he’s never been a good student. 

Physical therapy was going well too. He enjoyed his now daily run with Chloe around the parameter before they went to the basement and she had him lift weights. They were still under what he was able to do before he met Venom, but at least they were increasing and not embarrassingly low anymore. 

Chloe had finally run out of tests to give him, so now they would just talk instead. 

Eddie told her all about how he and Venom had met and their struggles since, and even though she probably already knew a lot of it from his file, she still seemed genuinely interested in hearing what he had to say. 

Chloe didn’t talk about her personal life much, but would go on and on about SHIELD and her training, and about how excited she was to finally be an agent. Which didn’t make Eddie suddenly like SHIELD, or forgive them for what they had done to Eddie and Venom, but… he liked listening to her talk about how much she believed in them, so he didn’t fight her on it.

The more time he spent with Chloe in the safe house, the less his head hurt. The headaches still happened and they were never pleasant, but with all these things... he was finally feeling whole again. 

One day after he was done with his usual physical therapy, he was chugging his water-phenethylamine-mix and was about to go upstairs to shower, but Chloe stopped him. 

“Wait,” She said before disappearing into a closet and returning with two pairs of boxing gloves. She threw a pair at Eddie. 

Eddie caught them and watched her curiously as she went back into the closet. 

“You're worried for my safety, right? Let me show you that you really don’t have to be.” Chloe said over her shoulder, then brought out tape and mouth guards. 

“Chloe…” he started. “I wasn’t trying to insult you. I know you can take care of yourself.” 

Chloe started wrapping her hands. “I’m not insulted.” She said easily. “But I want to assure you that there is no reason to be worried.” 

I don’t think this is a good idea. Venom said. Even with Chloe knowing about Venom, he kept most of his commentary just between him and Eddie, showing himself only rarely. 

“Eddie.” Having finished wrapping one hand, she started on the other. “I’ve been trained by SHIELD. I promise you, as long as Venom doesn’t show up and bite my head off, I’ll be fine. And I promise that I won’t go for any head shots, just in case you're worried about that.” 

She put her mouth guard in and gloves on. 

“Fight me.” She mumbled through the mouth guard. 

Eddie looked at the tape and gloves and mouth guard in his hands. Shit. He should have paid attention to how she taped her hands. He looked back at her, “I’ve never boxed before.” 

She rolled her eyes, but removed her mouth guard and gloves and put them at his feet. Eddie put down his own gloves and mouth guard beside hers and held the tape. She took it from his hands and started taping his hands for him. 

“How am I supposed to learn if you do it for me?” Eddie teased.

“Watch.” She shrugged. 

He was. He watched her hands wrap the tape around his palm and wrist, covering his knuckles as well. She put her fingers between layers of tape and tugged. Testing them. Seemingly satisfied, she moved to his other hand. 

Eddie, Venoms voiced snapped him out of his fixation. 

I’ll be fine, V. Just… let this be me. If you help I’m afraid we’ll accidentally kill her. 

I won’t let her hurt you. 

Eddie rolled his eyes. Don’t murder her over a few bruises. I’ll let you know if I can’t handle it and I need your help. 

Venom wasn’t happy about it but didn’t say more. After Chloe finished wrapping his hands they both put on their gloves and mouth guards. 

“Fight me.” Chloe mumbled again and threw a punch. 

Eddie blocked it and kept his hands by his face. She threw a left hook. He dodged it. 

“Fight me!” She said louder. 

He hadn’t done much, and Chloe hadn’t hit him yet, but his ears started ringing. The pitch of it hurt his head. She swung again, but this time he ducked under it and tackled her, grabbing her by the waist and pushing her back. 

She pushed him down and snaked out of his arms. The second he turned back around to face her, she hit him in the stomach. Eddie lost his breath. She got three more hits in before he regained his composure. 

Eddie…  

Eddie started throwing wild punches. She blocked them all and managed to land got two more hits in. He backed up, shook his head, and went back to trying to get her at least once. He tried feigning right and hitting left, he tried high and low. Nothing got past her defenses. And she was smiling through her mouth guard the whole time. 

Eddie had never actually been trained, but he was scrappy. He had been in a lot of fights in high school before his dad kicked him out. He should be getting at least one hit in. But Chloe was good

She was hitting him plenty. And not lightly either. Finally, in a half second of luck while she was wailing on him he threw a punch and it connected. 

Surprise hit her face, before it became serious and her eyes grew cold. In one fluid motion Chloe tripped Eddie, hit him once in the face and pinned him to the ground. 

Venom growled, making Eddie's chest vibrate. Easy, there. 

I want her off of you. His voice was low, but still a snarl. 

Eddie was still catching his breath “Okay, you win.” He huffed between breaths. 

Chloe gave a mischievous smile and stood up, offering him a hand. Eddie took it and she helped him to stand as well. 

His face hurt and he could tell it was going to bruise. A reminder of the fight for days to come. But as soon as he thought of it, he felt the warmth of Venom under each part of bruised skin, healing every mark before it even had the chance to appear. Eddie was strangely regretful, and wished Venom hadn’t healed him - before realizing how ridiculous that was and flushing in embarrassment. 

“Good job.” She praised as they both took off their mouth guards and gloves. “You held your own a lot better than I expected. You’d make a pretty good SHIELD agent…” then her face fell, “well, you know , if it wasn’t for…” 

Eddie looked down, “Yeah, I know.” He mimed his fingers as a gun shooting his head and made the sound of it going off. 

Chloe pulled the hand away from his head, “What? No. Eddie, you’re doing so well . I really feel like you’re going to make a full recovery.” 

Eddie started at his hand in hers. “Then… what…?” 

Venom's head appeared over his shoulder and he took control of Eddie’s hand to pull it away from Chloe’s.  

“She means me.”  

That surprised Eddie. “Wait, what?”

She looked away, “Not Venom , just his… eating habits , and the bad experience with SHIELD that those caused.”

“Right. SHIELD abducting us was my fault.” Venom said sarcastically. 

Eddie hesitated, “… she didn’t say that.”

He could feel Venom's shock and hurt course through his veins. He looked at Eddie before sliding back under his skin. 

“Venom, I didn’t mean…” he started, but didn’t know how to finish. And for once he couldn’t even blame the brain injury.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.” Chloe’s words were rushed. 

“Venom, talk to me.” Eddie begged, but Venom was small and unmoving in his gut. 

“Just give him his space.” She advised.

What? No? Venom was hurting . He needed to make it better. His love didn’t need space… they needed each other

Chloe put a hand on his arm.  “Come on, let's go another round.” 

He had to fix this with Venom. But he couldn’t disappoint Chloe. She was looking at him with a serious expression. Where was her encouraging smile? He wanted to talk to Venom, but he needed to listen to Chloe. 

His breath was starting to become short and shallow, head cracking open with pain. 

Just go, Eddie. We can talk later. Venom finally spoke. His voice was hesitant, but Eddie was too relieved to hear him at all to care about that right now. 

He put his boxing gloves back on, and Chloe smiled at him and all the pain and fuzziness in his head went away. 

“You’re wasting energy by putting all your strength in every punch. Reserve energy and use your body weight, not just your arm muscles.” She instructed and then they sparred again. 

 

—————————

 

Eddie was sore when he went upstairs to shower. Once in the bathroom he turned on the water to let it heat up before taking off his clothes. Venom finally started moving to his muscles, repairing the stretches and tears causing him pain. 

You were still right. Venom said suddenly. 

“Wha— huh?” 

Just because she can take you doesn’t mean she’s safe from me . You were right to be worried for her. Venoms tone was even and emotionless, but that didn’t fool Eddie. It might not have been meant as a threat, but Venom was still angry. 

“V, she probably has one of those sonic pens to protect herself if needed. I'm sure she just didn’t want to bring it up.” Eddie sighed and started undressing. 

Venom changed the subject. Who do you want to call this week? 

Eddie got into the shower and stood under the stream of water for a moment before answering.

“Honestly, I’m kind of tired. I’ll make my call later. Tomorrow or something.”

I want to try something. Venom said suddenly. Black tendrils exited his skin and started rubbing his muscles. I can make you feel better. 

Eddie couldn’t help but smile. “I know you can.” 

A head appeared behind him and started kissing his neck. Eddie’s ears started ringing again but he ignored it, focusing all his attention on the feeling of Venom against his skin, massaging him, kissing him. The almost too hot water pouring off both of them. One tendril wrapped around his neck, not choking him but applying pressure. You’re mine . The words had a bite to them they usually didn't. Only mine. 

Maybe the water was too hot. Eddie was beginning to feel dizzy. He blindly reached for the knob that changed the temperatures. 

“V…” he breathed. 

Venom’s teeth tugged on his ear. Yes, Eddie? 

His vision swam, and his legs gave out underneath of him. Venom reached out, the tendrils catching Eddie before he hit the floor. 

Eddie! 

Eddie’s head lulled to the side. He was struggling to stay conscious. Water… ‘s too hot. 

Eddie, I’m so sorry. Venom turned off the shower and hands held his face, forcing him to look Venom in the eyes. Eddie, stay with me. 

“Mmm here.” He mumbled. Eddie could feel a part of Venom flit through their body, tickling inside of him. He giggled. 

Your body is healthy . Venom's voice seemed unsure. How are you feeling? 

“Fine, it waz jussst the water.” His speech slurred like he was drunk. 

Venom went back under Eddie's skin and took control of his body, walking Eddie to the bed and laying him down on top of it, still naked and soaking wet. 

Eddie was starting to feel better already. His vision stopped swimming and the ringing was getting duller. 

Eddie, we need to tell Jemma about this. We should call her. 

Eddie nodded but curled up in the bed, nuzzling a pillow. “First thing tomorrow.” He promised. 

Venom used two tendrils to ease the comforter out from under him and cover him with it instead. 

First thing tomorrow. Venom repeated, his mind racing. 



Chapter Text

Three weeks after Eddie was taken Chris was sitting on his front porch, numbly watching people as they were walking by. When his phone buzzed in his pocket he thought about ignoring it. Really considered it. But instead he chose to pull it out of his jeans and answer the unknown number. 

“Hello?”

“Chris! Thank God!” The voice on the other line said. 

It took a moment for Chris to place the voice. “Scott?” 

“Yeah, hi, sorry. It’s Scott. I found a lead on Eddie. Where are you?” Scott spoke quickly, his thoughts scattered.

Chris shut down. A lead? A hopeful voice inside him sprung up, doing the emotional equivalent of cartwheeling. 

No. Don’t even think about. Don’t you dare hope, Christopher the more realistic voice in his head shot the other down. 

Yeah, but… this is the first lead they’ve gotten. 

Which probably means it’s a lead to his body !

Chris shook his head, trying to shake the thoughts away. 

“My apartment.” He eventually replied.

“I’ll be right there to pick you up.” Scott hung up before Chris could even react to that. 

Chris waited on his porch. Worrying his bottom lip. Pacing. Because, oh God, they finally got a lead, they were going to find Eddie. Except it’s been three weeks and he’s probably dead by now. His heart went back and forth between hope and despair like a ping-pong ball, until a van pulled up in front of him. Chris walked to the passenger door and saw Scott waving him in from the driver's side. 

Chris opened the door but didn’t enter. 

“How… how far are we going?” Chris eyed the van distrustfully. “I don’t do well in cars.” 

“Trust me, this isn’t going to be like most car rides.” Scott promised. 

Chris timidly entered and shut the door. And as soon as the door was shut the world blurred around them, and when Chris looked back out the window everything was huge. Chris almost jumped out of his seat. 

“What the fuck?!”  

Scott laughed. “Shrinking van. Promised you it wasn’t like most cars.” 

 

———————

 

Chris and Scott were the last ones to enter the room full of Eddie’s loved ones, situated inside a building that Chris was sure he’s never seen on this street before. 

He knew Anne and Dan and Scott, but everyone else in the room was a stranger. Though then he recognized one of them as that doctor he'd talked to at the hospital. The one who explained exactly… what…. V was. Is . Whatever.

“Alright, quick introductions so we can get to the good part;” Scott’s words were rushed “Chris, you know Anne and Dan; this is Skye and Jemma from SHIELD,” he gestured to the two, one of them being the doctor "and you might remember Hope, who works with me.” 

The room was some kind of conference room, complete with a table, chairs, and a blank projector screen. Scott clapped his hands and went over to a computer in the far corner, waking up the projector screen in front of them. 

It showed a paused video of a split screen with Eddie looking into the camera on the left, and Chris doing the same on the right. 

“Wait… what?” Chris mumbled. 

He had never video chatted with Eddie before. They either texted or talked in person. That was it. So what the hell was this?

“So, I’ve been spending the last three weeks looking for Eddie. We knew he was being kept alive because they didn’t just kill him at the hospital, which meant he needed that weird chemical stuff…” 

“Phenethylamine” the British doctor —Jemma— interjected. 

Scott pointed at her, “ That! Exactly! And we also knew that only SHIELD personnel knew where Eddie was that day. So I looked up who had both contact with SHIELD and has been purchasing large amounts of phen-ethyl- that stuff.” 

“Phenethylamine” She said again. 

“Our hit? Agent Kellar.” 

Skye rolled her eyes. “Agent Kellar is Eddie's handler. She’s been getting him his phenethylamine since the beginning.”

“So she has access to the chemical needed to keep him and Venom alive, and as his handler she would also know where he was at all times.” Scott continued. “So I looked where SHIELD has had our Agent Kellar stationed, now that Eddie has gone missing.” 

“I’m sorry, but how did you do this? This is classified SHIELD information.” Jemma interjected. 

“Agent Kellar is more than just Eddie’s handler. She’s been dealing with another one of her subjects.” Skye said at the same time. 

“Yeah, well, I looked at where Agent Kellar is supposedly helping a different subject” Scott continued, ignoring Jemma's protests “and in the communications going in and out I found this:” 

He pressed a button and the video started to play. 

“Eddie.” The video-Chris spoke. 

“Hey, Chris...” Eddie replied. 

“I didn’t believe them,” video-Chris kept talking “They said you were still alive, but… I saw you get shot in the head.”

“I’m here.” Eddie said. 

“What is this?” real Chris turned on Scott. “This- didn’t happen! I haven’t heard from Eddie since he was taken!” His voice was louder than he intended, but the whole thing was freaking him out. 

“I know.” Scott said with a sad smile. “It’s been faked.”

Fake-Chris leaned in closer to the camera, “God you can’t even tell. There’s not a mark or anything.” 

Eddie paused for an uncomfortable amount of time before speaking. “Not… not a visible… mark.”  

“But… how?” Anne asked, putting a hand on Chris’ shoulder. She had been so quiet, Chris almost forgot she was there. 

“SHIELD has the technology.” Skye admitted. “If you have the right sensors and the right program, you can make anybody look and sound like anyone else on a video call.” 

“Can you reverse it, so that we can see who it is that's pretending to be Chris?” Dan asked. 

“Not just Chris.” Scott tapped a few keys and a similar video came up on the screen, this time of Eddie with Venom's head over his shoulder and Anne. 

“Eddie? Venom?” Fake-Anne mimicked surprise.

“Hello, Anne.” 

“Hey... How’s it going?” Eddie asked. 

“How’s it going? Really?” She laughed angrily “You’ve been gone nine days! I thought this was supposed to be temporary...” 

“I’m sorry, Anne,” Eddie tried to explain “You know I’m just trying to do what they tell me… what SHIELD tells me.” 

Scott paused the video. “They think they’re in a SHIELD safe house. That they are there so that SHIELD can protect them from Hydra. That they are talking to us.”

Anne turned to Jemma and Skye and glared “Maybe that’s exactly how it is. Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve taken Eddie.” 

“Hey, we know as much as you do!” Skye put her hands up. 

“If Eddie is with his SHIELD handler, and he’s safe and obviously not being tortured or separated from Venom… Maybe it is SHIELD, and you guys are just not high enough clearance to know about it.” Dan suggested. “You also said SHIELD has the technology to fake the videos.” 

Skye and Jemma considered this, but Scott jumped in to stop that train of thought before it could take off. “Except Agent Kellar isn’t there anymore.” 

He pulled up a redacted report. 

“She was kicked off the mission last week, even though she was supposedly the only SHIELD agent on the mission. Eddie hasn’t reappeared and no other SHIELD agents are shown to have taken her place.” 

“So he's dead.” Chris’ voice was cold and unfeeling. “No matter who took him, they wouldn't just leave him alone in there.”

“No SHIELD agent did but…” He pulled up a picture of a young woman with a round face and blond hair. “This is the woman Agent Kellar is supposed to be handling. Another powered person. Chloe Anderson.” 

“So you think Eddie is with her?” Anne asked. 

“God, let’s hope not .” Skye said, turning around her tablet to show the file she'd pulled up to everyone else. “Her powers are scary. Biochemical manipulation. This girl can do everything to you that a drug can, and she doesn't even need to touch you to do it. Though it looks like physical contact does strengthen the effects.” 

“SHIELD wouldn’t leave two powered people alone without an agent, especially not in a SHIELD safe house.” Jemma asserted. 

“I don’t even know what would be worse, SHIELD or Hydra.” Scott admitted. 

Chris stepped forward “I don’t care who it is. We know where he is, so we can get him back.” 

“Then I’m going to need your help.” Scott said, looking at each person before landing on Hope. “As soon as Hank is done repairing it, I have to steal my suit back.”

 

————————-

 

A few days later Skye walked into the Fitz-Simmons lab on the bus. They were both working diligently on their current cases. 

“Hey Fitz?” Skye called. 

Fitz made an affirmative sound without looking up. 

“Coulson needs you in his office.” She continued. 

Fitz whined “Right now? I’m in the middle of some very delicate calibrations.” 

“I’m just the messenger.” 

With a huff, Fitz stood up and walked out of the room. Skye looked over to Jemma, who was already walking over to her. Skye quickly pulled out her tablet and with just a few strokes she turned off the cameras and sound-recorders, and locked the door. 

“I found something. We need to call Scott.” Skye said seriously. Jemma pulled a chair up beside Skye, while Skye leaned over the table with her tablet and started the video call.

Scott answered, his hair a mess, obviously sitting on a dirty couch. “What’s up?”

“Scott, I found something.” Skye said. He sat up a little straighter in response. “There’s only been one more communication with Eddie. He talks to a fake Jemma. I’m sending it to you now.” 

As they watched the video, Jemma was making uncomfortable tuts. 

“He has to know that’s not me, right? I mean, come on, that doesn’t even sound like me. And I would never-!

Skye interrupted her “Unfortunately he could believe anything right now.” She forwarded the video to where Eddie was throwing the laptop away, and paused it as the video caught a short glimpse of someone else in the room with him. “I already did a facial recognition scan to confirm. He’s with Chloe Anderson.”

Jemma breathed out a barely audible “no,”

“So, wait- what does that mean?” Scott asked. 

Jemma answered “Chloe is able to manipulate the chemicals in a person's body. If you can do it with a drug, Chloe can do it as well. So she could be doing any number of things to Eddie…” she trailed off, unable to finish. 

Skye continued for her, putting a comforting hand on Jemma's arm. 

“Including making him highly suggestive, so that if Chloe says “you’re talking to Jemma” then Eddie believes it, even if the person is a six foot sumo wrestler.”

Realization hit Scott “So what do we do?”

Skye thought for a moment. “We have one chance. One shot, all or nothing. Once you get the suit, when you go to break him out, you absolutely need to neutralize Chloe before showing yourself to Eddie. If you show yourself, and she’s still in play , she could easily turn him against you.”

“Or a number of other horrible things.” Jemma whispered quietly. 

Scott gave an uncomfortable laugh “Neutralize? Sorry, but I don’t kill people.”

Jemma looked insulted. “We don’t want you to, obviously. But- maybe between you and Fitz, maybe we could find a way to- to configure a night-night gun to still have the same potency? Even when it's shrunk?” She looked to Skye. 

“Do you really think Fitz would help us? We’ve been keeping all this just between you and me... I didn't even tell Coulson.”

“We can trust Fitz.” She assured. 

“He’s never really liked Eddie…” 

“We can trust Fitz.”

“Okay.” Skye relented. “We’ll talk to Fitz. Try to figure out a way you can use a night-night gun while small. Once the suit is fixed and you go in small, first thing you have to do is shoot Chloe to get her out of the way, and then you can get Eddie out of there.” 

“He’s going to be okay until it’s ready, right?” Scott looked unsure and uncomfortable. “I don’t know how long it will take Hank to fix the suit… but I don’t know how else to get him out either.” 

Jemma closed her eyes, trying to hold back tears. “He’ll have to be.” 

Skye put a hand on her shoulder. “Eddie’s strong. He’ll make it through.” 

 

————————

 

After a few weeks of Fitz begrudgingly helping Scott with a shrinkable night-night gun, they were finally able to make it work. Chris, Anne, and Dan spent the time making Eddie’s missing person case go viral. Everyone in San Francisco was looking for the former reporter. All they needed now was the suit itself. 

But before anyone got any word that it was finished, Skye called an emergency meeting with everyone on Team Eddie. Once they were all gathered Skye looked to Scott “I hope that the suit is ready. We need to get Eddie out now.”

“Why? What's-what’s wrong?” Anne’s voice shook. 

“I’m not sure. But I found something weird when I hacked into one of their communications, weird and therefore alarming. Something is scheduled to happen tomorrow, and- and I don’t know what it is, I couldn't get any details. Not only is everything encrypted, but it’s also in some kind of code, and we don't have the time to crack it. But something big is going to happen. And I know it'll happen tomorrow.”

Scott spun in a circle in his spot, putting his head in his hands. “Oh no, oh no, oh no.”

Jemma looked to Fitz and then back to Skye. “When tomorrow?”

Skye answered “Oh Five Hundred.” 

“So we have to do this now.” Chris was sure. “Ready or not. Whatever they're planning, it can’t be good. We can’t lose Eddie, not now.” 

“I’m afraid I have to agree.” Jemma said in a low voice. 

“Then we're getting the suit.” Scott nodded. “Tonight.”

 

———————

 

Hope ran into her dad's office. 

Upon hearing her, Hank Pym turned around to see his daughter red in the face. 

“SHIELD found us!” 

“Shit!” Hank started grabbing things. “Get the building ready for transport!” He ordered as he ran past her.

Once he was out of sight, Hope went over to the computer he had just been working on and inserted the flashdrive Scott had given her. 

“We’re in” She said over her comms, communicator hidden behind her hair. 

After a few seconds, the flash drive worked its magic and a blackout went through the whole building. Even the emergency generator turned off. Using that breach in security, Scott went into the tall building standing in the middle of the forest and started climbing the stairs. 

Jemma and Skye stood outside the building, holding night-night guns pointed at the door. “This is SHIELD, open up!”

Moving on according to the plan, Hope went to one of the main rooms needed for shrinking the building. Her father should be here, trying to fix everything… but it was empty. 

Hope spoke into the comms “Scott, he’s not here.”

“Oh no,” Scott huffed as he sped up the stairs. “Oh no, oh no, oh no…” he opened the door to exit the staircase, only to find Hank already standing there, waiting for him. 

“Hi, Hank.” He greeted uneasily. 

“Did you really think I was that stupid, Scott?” Hank asked, raising an eyebrow. He shook his head “You're gonna need to be a little better than that.” 

Scott became serious, “Hank, I need that suit. Eddie is in real trouble.” 

“Scott, we cannot risk the suit for one person. If Hydra or SHIELD got a hold of this technology, a whole lot more people than just Eddie are going to be in trouble.” He put a hand on Scott’s shoulder, “I am terribly sorry about your friend, but the answer is no. Now how about you turn the power back on?” 

Scott could still hear Hope over their comms. 

“Scott I just heard from group two. They need more time. Do not let my dad turn the power back on!” 

Scott ducked under Hank's arm and started running toward the workshop where Hank worked on the suit. Hank swore before running after him. Scott made it into the workshop and shut and locked the glass door before Hank could catch up to him. They stared at each other, before Scott turned back around and started looking for the suit. 

“Having trouble, Scott?” Hank asked through the glass. 

Scott looked on the tables, under the tables, he moved things around. It wasn’t here. The suit wasn’t here.  

Scott turned around to face Hank again. 

“Where is it, Hank?” He demanded, pulling on the glass door - but it wouldn’t open. 

“I knew you’d try to get it back, so there was no way I was going to keep it here. The suit is safe. And it’s going to stay safe and hidden, until I am convinced that you’ve let this go and have learned the importance of keeping it out of the wrong hands.” 

“I am not the wrong hands, Hank!” Scott pleaded. “And I wouldn’t let anything happen to the suit, you should know that by now!” 

Hank shook his head and started to leave. Scott looked around hopelessly, until he saw a group of ants gathered on the table in front of him. He smiled to himself before continuing to call out to Hank half heartedly “Wait, Hank, no, don’t leave me here.” 

The suit, having being carried by the small colony of ants, unshrunk in front of him. Scott quickly started putting it on before speaking into his comms “Got it guys. Thanks so much!” 

He smiled as he heard Luis' reply “Of course, buddy! Anything for a friend! Man, that was kind of fun, we should do this more often!” 

Scott hit the button to shrink and mounted one of the flying ants. 

“Group One, Group Two, meet at the rendezvous spot in one hour.” He ordered as he and his flying ant took off. “I’m gonna go get Eddie.”

Chapter Text

Venom knew something was wrong the moment they first came to the “safe house”. He just couldn’t quite place his tendril on what . Everything about it seemed just slightly off somehow, not quite right. 

At first Venom’s guilt blinded him to the truth. But he should have seen it earlier. He should have known better.

Eddie’s flashback when they were kissing was pushed off as being triggered because Venom had kissed where the bullet left his head. PTSD could be triggered by the strangest things. 

Agent Kellar leaving seemed too good to be true, but it made life in the safe house just so much more bearable. 

But the headaches should have clued him in. 

He should have been smarter, should have known better . The headaches — now that Venom thought about it— only happened when Venom formed outside of Eddie, and somehow Chloe was always the magic cure. 

Even Eddie’s brain chemistry had been different lately. Venom thought this change came from getting shot. Either Venom didn’t heal him completely right, causing a change, or it was a reflection of Eddie’s feelings toward Venom after Venom had let him get hurt so badly.

It was the fight that made Venom realize none of these theories were the case. 

When Chloe told Eddie to fight her, and he only dodged and blocked instead of fighting back-that was when Venom had heard it. That familiar high-pitched whine, only going away when Eddie did as Chloe said. 

It would explain the headaches. 

Then when Eddie defended her. Chose her side over Venom’s. He was hurt and shocked and distracted - until once again she commanded him. 

And he tried to fight it for Venom. Venom could feel him trying to fight it. And it was making him suffocate. That familiar high pitched whine started up again. Chloe touched him and suddenly his brain chemistry changed, with no command from his brain to do so. 

They were controlling him. Like some kind of pavlovian bitch. 

Any time he wasn’t with Chloe, any time Venom dared to show up, any time Eddie disobeyed, they were emitting a sound frequency that hurt them without them being able to hear it. 

They were being watched constantly too, if Eddie and Venom’s kiss in the bedroom was any indicator. 

Venom needed to test one last thing though… but first, he had to give his host the permission to obey Chloe so that he wouldn’t get hurt. Just go, Eddie. We can talk later. 

So after they finished sparring, Venom watching their every move along with trying to find any cameras in Eddie's peripheral vision, Venom started his test. The only room they haven’t had an issue in yet was the bathroom. 

So Venom pulled out some tentacles to massage Eddie’s skin and started smothering him in kisses. And there it was, once again - loud enough to do damage, but not enough to be heard. Eddie crumpled in pain. 

He was right. He had hoped so much he would be wrong. That he was being paranoid. But he was right. 

Damn it.

They needed to tell someone. Someone they trusted. Someone who could help

Eddie, we need to tell Jemma about this. We should call her. 

“First thing tomorrow.” His love promised. 

Venom didn’t want to wait, but he also didn’t want to worry Eddie. He could play along until then. 

First thing tomorrow. Venom repeated. 

 

————————

 

Eddie fell asleep early that night. His body was exhausted, but that didn’t stop his mind from attacking him. His dreams were incoherent thoughts and images, more chaotic than usual, and they had never been exactly normal to begin with.

Venom was materialized in Eddie's arm and Agent Kellar was trying to rip him away. 

Chris’ expression when he saw Eddie and Venom fight in the hallway of his apartment building, seconds before Eddie was shot. 

Jemma and Skye standing outside his glass cage on the SHIELD plane, looking down at him as he went through a seizure. 

Eddie woke with a jolt, needing a moment to catch his breath. 

Eddie… are you okay? Venom asked hesitantly. 

Eddie wiped the sweat off his forehead. 

“I’m fine.” He whispered the words before standing up and heading to the bathroom. 

After a quick shower, Eddie got dressed and went to the kitchen to get breakfast. Chloe was already there, eating cereal. Eddie sat beside her and poured his own bowl in silence. 

“How are you feeling?” Chloe asked. 

Eddie shrugged, “I’m fine.” He said again. 

“And Venom?” She pressed. Eddie stiffened, they hadn’t really talked about what happened. Venom said they would, but then Eddie had that episode and just fell asleep instead. Chloe bit her lip at Eddie's silence. “Venom, I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to make it sound like I blame you.”

Eddie, ask if we can talk to Jemma. Venom ignored Chloe, getting right to the point. 

“I get to make my... call today right?” Eddie asked. 

Chloe gave a sad smile, taking the hint, “Yeah, I’ll test you right after breakfast and then you can make the call.” She stood up and started putting her dishes away. “Any ideas who you want to call this week?” 

“Jemma.” Eddie told her. 

Chloe turned around at that. “I think she’d love that. Let her see how much you’re improving.” 

Eddie nodded, starting to eat. 

“Just don’t mention our runs, will you?” Chloe asked, “It’s kind of against protocol and I don’t want to get in trouble.” 

Eddie laughed at that. “What about you beating me up? Is that protocol?” 

“That’s practically expected .” Chloe teased. 

After Eddie finished eating, Chloe brought out the study cards and quizzed Eddie. He was rather proud of himself for easily getting almost every question right without much thought. 

“Alright, I’d say you definitely earned your call with Jemma.” Chloe grinned as she grabbed the laptop and started to pull up the encrypted video chat line. 

She handed the laptop to Eddie and he could feel Venom buzzing inside his chest. He smiled as he put a hand on his sternum, feeling it vibrate against his skin. 

“Eddie!” Jemma greeted brightly. “It’s so great to see you!” 

“Hey, Jemma!” Eddie smiled at the doctor. 

“How are you and Venom?” She asked. 

Come on out, love. Eddie suggested. 

Venom wanted to, but was afraid that it would cause one of Eddie’s headaches. He watched Chloe carefully as he materialized a head before looking at Jemma. There was a slight discomfort that Eddie seemed to ignore. 

“Hello, Jemma.” Venom greeted. He opened his mouth to tell Jemma why they called, when she interrupted. 

“Are you guys following my plan? How is it going? Are the flashcards working? What about the physical therapy? Are you experiencing any symptoms?” Jemma gushed, firing out questions one after another without waiting for a response. 

Eddie laughed at her excitement. 

“We are following your plan, yes. Chloe is doing great helping us with the study cards and the physical therapy. She said we’re making great… progress.” He struggled for half a second on the last word but still was overall proud of himself. 

“You sound amazing Eddie.” Jemma beamed. 

“But we did want to talk to you about some concerns…” Venom said, both telling Jemma and reminding Eddie that everything wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. 

Jemma's eyebrows furrowed in response “What’s wrong?”

“I’m still struggling with stuff from my PTSD.” Eddie confessed, lowering his voice, even though Chloe was still right there on the couch in the living room and could probably hear him. “And headaches.” 

Jemma’s face fell. 

“I’m sorry, Eddie. I’m all out of ideas. Everything we’ve tried to give you has made your body hostile to Venom. If Venom isn’t able to manipulate your body chemistry like I thought… I don’t know what else to do.” 

Eddie’s disappointment and regret swirled with Venom’s, feeding off of each other. “Right, no, it’s fine, that makes sense.” Eddie muttered. 

“Can you tell me how bad it is?” Jemma asked gently. 

Eddie ran his fingers through his hair. “The nightmares won’t stop.” His voice was quiet, but shook. “My… hands are still shaking. I’ve been fine here, ironically, but I’m afraid once I go back home I’ll just have more issues with the paranoia and panic attacks again.” He looked up at Jemma, his eyes full of trust and hurt “And I’ve had flashbacks.” 

Jemma sighed. “I’m afraid there’s nothing more I can do Eddie. If Venom can’t do what I asked of him… you're just going to have to choose between Venom and treatment for this.”

To his credit, anger flared in Eddie’s chest. “There’s no choice to make . I am not losing Venom.” His voice growled. 

“Eddie, I didn’t mean…” Jemma started, but Eddie picked up the laptop and threw it across the room before she could say more. 

What was that supposed to mean? He had to choose between Venom and treating his PTSD?! They weren’t even trying! Two medications don’t go well, and they were just giving up when Venom couldn’t fix it either? 

Eddie kicked the table, making it screech across the floor. Chloe stood up and ran over. 

“Hey, what’s going on?” She asked, hands hovering over Eddie's arm. 

Eddie pulled away. “They won’t even try!” His voice was louder than he wanted it to be. He just couldn’t help it. They weren’t even trying to help him and Venom! It was so frustrating. 

“Eddie…” Chloe started and he knew exactly where she was going that tone. 

Don’t tell me to calm down, Chloe!” He snapped. He knocked over a chair with a grunt and Venom slid back under his skin. “They’re blaming Venom, when it isn’t even his fault, it’s theirs!” He pointed at the laptop. “ They are the ones who can’t find a medication to help me!” 

Eddie… Venom’s voice was a warning. 

Chloe grabbed him by the shoulders and he finally looked down to her. 

“I wasn’t going to tell you to calm down.” She said, then continued when she saw his confused expression. “Eddie, you have been through so much. You were shot at, kidnapped, in an explosion, had half of yourself ripped away from you multiple times, and then you were shot. In the head . Causing a horrible traumatic brain injury that took away your one way of communicating.” 

She handed him the bowl that Eddie had left on the kitchen table from breakfast. “Anyone would be angry, Eddie. You have a right to be angry.” 

Eddie stared at the bowl before taking it. “So- what? What do you want me to do?” He asked suspiciously. 

Chloe grinned. “Let it out.” Then she took the bowl from his hands and smashed it on the ground. 

Eddie jumped away from the shattered pieces before letting out a surprised laugh. “What?” 

Chloe went over to the cabinets and pulled out two plates. She threw one of them to Eddie and he barely caught it. 

“Let your anger out , Eddie! You can’t bottle it up forever, it’s not healthy.” To make her point more clear, she shattered the plate in her hands. 

Eddie looked at the ceramic plate he was holding “You're… serious?” 

Chloe was already grabbing more plates. “Eddie, let it out.” She repeated. 

Eddie looked at the plate, then at her, before slamming it to the floor, shattering it into pieces. He laughed at the destruction, at the ridiculousness of it. He looked up to see Chloe’s encouraging smile as she handed him another plate. 

With a wicked grin, Eddie threw this one against the wall. Then he grabbed one of the kitchen chairs and threw it as well. Chloe smirked and sat herself on the kitchen counter as she watched Eddie throw and break everything he could get his hands on in the small safe house, until he was worn out and breathing heavily. 

Seeing that he was done, she jumped off the counter and walked up to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. 

“Doesn’t that feel better?” She asked. 

Eddie grinned, still catching his breath “Yeah, it—“ 

Before he could finish his thought, Chloe pulled Eddie’s head down and planted her lips on his. His eyes went wide as his brain processed what was happening, but it was slow. Oxytocin, serotonin, and all those other feel-good chemicals were flooding his head, making it so cloudy he couldn't hold a single thought anymore. Finally, he came to himself and pulled away from Chloe, who gave him that encouraging smile of hers that he lived for. 

But all he could think of was — “Venom” 

He turned away and fled into the bedroom, shutting and locking the door behind him.

“Venom, please, you have to understand.” He said into the air. 

You kissed her. It was a statement. On the surface, it was completely devoid of emotion. But Eddie could feel the betrayal in their shared blood. 

“Venom, she kissed me. I didn’t mean… I didn’t know…” he groaned as he struggled for words. Not now. Not now!  

Venom was quiet for a moment. But you liked kissing her. Eddie started to respond, to deny it, but Venom didn’t let him I could taste it, Eddie. Every drop of your brain chemistry. I could feel how much you liked it. 

“Venom, I never wanted to cheat on you… I wasn’t trying to cheat on you!” Eddie begged. 

No good, God damned waste of space. His father's voice ran through his mind. You ruin everything you touch. You fuck everything up. 

He could feel Venom processing this. Analyzing it. Thinking about it. It’s fine, Eddie. He finally said. 

“No, it’s not fine.” Eddie shook his head. “I know, I broke a promise to you. And I am so sorry. ” 

You didn’t promise me anything. 

“As soon as you were my boyfriend there was an unspoken promise. It counts.” God, how did Eddie let this happen? 

Was that even a real question? He let it happen because that’s who he is. A fuck up. No good waste of space that ruins everything he touches. And now he’s ruined the best thing to ever happen to him: his relationship with Venom. 

Eddie. We don’t have to be boyfriends. 

Dread filled every ounce of Eddie’s body. “Wait, no, Venom. Please . Don’t go. I’ll do anything , I swear, just- please . Please don’t go.” 

I won’t go if you don’t want me to… Every word out of Venom was careful. We don’t have to be boyfriends to be host and symbiote. If you want Chloe… 

“Venom, I want you. ” Eddie pressed. His head was pounding. His chest hurt. He couldn’t lose Venom over this. He couldn’t

But inside Venom was fighting a completely different war with himself. He felt betrayed and lost and hurt by the kiss. But more than that, he felt fear. 

Because if there was one thing he knew about Jemma, if there was one thing he learned when they were temporarily host and symbiote together, it was that she would never give up. She never would have told Eddie he would have to choose between Venom and getting his PTSD under control. 

So that wasn’t Jemma. 

And if that wasn’t Jemma… who was Venom supposed to get to help break him and Eddie out of this safe house that was anything but safe? That was manipulating and hurting his host? 

The kiss with Chloe had been the last straw. Venom could see the chemicals Eddie's brain wanted to secrete, and what chemicals were appearing instead. Chloe was somehow controlling his neuro-chemicals through her touch. 

Between the negative reinforcement of emitting a harmful frequency when Venom appeared or Eddie disobeyed, and Chloe messing with his brain chemistry... They were trapped. Who knew what whoever had them there would do if Venom and Eddie tried to escape? 

Venom wanted to tell Eddie everything. To tell him that this wasn’t his fault. He was literally being controlled. But… what if they punished him for it? Venom couldn’t be the reason for any more of Eddie’s pain. If he was going to protect Eddie, they were going to have to play Chloe’s game. 

I won’t leave, Eddie. You are my perfect host. Venom prayed Eddie would cling to those words as he forced the next statement out. But I don’t want this. Go be with Chloe. 

Venom curled up inside himself, making himself small inside Eddie's abdomen, putting up mental walls to separate himself from the love of his life. 

“Venom! No! Venom!” Eddie cried out, yelling it. But he got no response. Eddie knew Venom was still there, could feel him. But he felt so goddamn empty . “Venom, please talk to me!” 

Eddie grabbed the first thing he could get his hands on— the dresser— and flipped it on its side in anger. Hearing the loud noise, Chloe tried to open the door, only to find it locked. Eddie pulled one of the drawers out of the overturned dresser and threw it against the wall. There was a bang! behind Eddie, and he looked to see Chloe had kicked down the locked door. She ran into the room and Eddie was heaving in air as drawers and clothes were scattered on the floor. He turned to look at her and his face was so full of agony. 

Chloe wrapped Eddie in a tight hug and he collapsed in her arms, both of them falling to the ground. Eddie broke down as she held him. 

“I ruined it. I ruined everything . This is all my fault.” He repeated over and over again as she shushed him and combed his hair with her fingers. “I lost him.”