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Little by little, Eddie learned to understand how Venom communicated: all the little tactile gestures which, like human gestures, straddled the line between deliberate communication and unconscious reaction. He got the impression that sometimes these expressions, shaped by forgotten instincts, caught Venom by surprise, too. Monsters had little room for emotion, and weapons had none at all.

He learned Venom’s most human-like gestures first: the ones that communicated through external touch. The way they spread themself over his shoulders like a mantle when they wanted to show affection and comfort. The way they squeezed around Eddie’s ribs when they were excited. The way they twined themself through Eddie’s fingers when they wanted him to play with them.

He learned later the small ways Venom manipulated his muscles, learned to see them as communication rather than control. The way they made his muscles twitch with aborted movement when they wanted him to do something, or resisted his movements ever so slightly when they wanted him to stop. The way they weighed down his limbs when they thought he should rest or jerked him to his feet like a marionette when he slept through his alarm.

He learned the ways that Venom moved within his body, too. How they twined through a limb when they were asking permission to take control. How they wrapped protectively around his spine when they were anxious (Venom could take over for the heart in an emergency, but nerves were precious). How they stretched themself out along his limbs in the morning. How they curled up in his chest, nestling into the crevices between organs, at night.

He learned early in their partnership that Venom often vibrated with emotion, but it took longer for him to parse all the subtle variations. The almost undetectable thrum of controlled fear. The slight shiver of unease. The shudder when they were upset. And once, just once, the uneven shaking that wracked their body like sobs.

But his favorite gestures were the ways Venom purred. The oscillating purr when they felt playful. The rumbling purr that was like deep laughter and the small, fluttering purr that was like a snicker. The short, hiccuppy purr that came with surprise or quick amusement. The soft, even purr, almost like a hum, when they were content. The quick pulse of a purr that asked for attention. The quiet, staticky purr of affection that Eddie could feel vibrating in his sternum. And the most catlike purr, almost loud enough to hear, which was entirely for Eddie’s benefit, because Venom knew it soothed him.